This 1940 booklet that I scanned from the Spokane Public Library Northwest Collection offers pre-war travelers four trips from Chicago to the Northwest. The first takes the Milwaukee to Seattle, a Canadian Pacific liner to Victoria and Vancouver, the Canadian Pacific-Soo Line to Minneapolis, and the Milwaukee back to Chicago. The 14-day trip cost $226 (about $3,000 in today’s dollars), including rail travel, a lower berth, hotels, meals, and local transportation.
Trip 2 went to Seattle, then south to San Francisco on the Shasta Route, a visit to the Golden Gate Expo, the Coast route to Los Angeles, and east to Chicago via the Grand Canyon on the Santa Fe. This 17-day trip cost $252 (about $3,400 today).
Trip 3 was like trip 2 but skipped Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon, heading straight east from San Francisco over the traveler’s choice of the Overland Route or the more scenic Exposition Flyer route. Either way, the 14-day trip cost $215 (about $2,900 today).
Trip 4 went to Gallatin Gateway over the Milwaukee, with a 2-1/2-day bus tour of Yellowstone followed by a trip on the Union Pacific from West Yellowstone to Salt Lake and then the Rio Grande via the Royal Gorge to Denver (with a stop in Colorado Springs to see Garden of the Gods or Pikes Peak) and then via the Union Pacific and Milwaukee back to Chicago. This 11-day trip cost just $149 (about $2,000 today).
For $105 more (about $1,400 today), people taking tours 1 through 3 can take a 9-day side trip to Alaska, cruising on a steamship from Seattle to Skagway. The booklet mentions the possibility of other side trips including dude ranches, Olympic National Park, and Yellowstone as a side trip to tours 1 through 3.
None of these tours were escorted, which meant that travelers could leave any day of the week. The booklet invites people to “ask about prepaid, personally escorted, all expense tours,” which no doubt cost something more and only left Chicago about once a week.