This brochure briefly describes the nine summer tours offered by Union Pacific in 1958. With one exception, all of these tours were also offered in 1935, the exception being a trip to the southern Utah parks with a side trip to Las Vegas.
Inflation had more than doubled prices between 1935 and 1958 (the GDP deflator was 2.11; the consumer price index was 2.15). But per-day tour prices grew by an average of 96 percent. One reason was that some of the tours were longer, meaning passengers spent less time en route and more time actually seeing scenery. Apparently, hotel costs were lower than first-class tickets plus Pullman fares. To be fair, the fares quoted in the brochure might be for upper berths rather than the lower berth prices quoted from the 1935 summer tour book.
If the 1958 prices seem reasonable, it is mainly because the 1935 prices, which UP had advertised as the lowest ever, were still very high. Only the wealthiest could afford to take a Union Pacific escorted tour. In today’s money, the 1935 tours averaged $190 per day while the 1958 tours averaged $175 per day. That’s in line with cruise ships and similar catered travel today, but even today most Americans can’t afford to routinely take such tours.