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Cover of Automobile tourist's handbook, 1924.
1924 cover of auto tourists handbook

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Traveling by Car
Almost from the beginning, people liked to use their cars to go on vacation. Gas was cheap and traveling by car was an affordable way to see the country. With so many people taking to the road, the U.S. had to create a national highway system to support all that traffic. Gas stations began to dot the scenery. An increased demand for rubber tires caused the rubber industry to flourish. Roadside diners and drive-ins catered to auto tourists.

People also needed information on interesting places to visit and how to reach them, so road atlases and travel guides were developed. Popular Mechanics Auto Tourist Magazine was first published in 1924. It offered suggestions on everything from camping equipment, to car repairs, to portable radios. In the early days of auto travel, where do you think people stayed?

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