There is something awesome about watching one of those best travel movies which not only give you the wanderlust but inspire you to enjoy an endless adventure around the world. Whether you fancy a backpacking movie, an adventure travel movie or a movie about travelling the world, this list will take you beneath the surface and behind the scenes of cities and cultures around the world. Here is my ultimate list of the best travel movies.
This is perhaps one of my favourite travel movies to date. Tracks is an Australian drama film which focuses on Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) who travels for 1700 miles Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. She has four camels and her dog, and her journey is documented by photographer Rick Smolan. Tracks made me believe that any type of travelling can be done as long as you have the motivation and will to do it. Although most of the action happens in the Australian desert, Tracks is anything but boring and monotonous. I’ve seen Tracks on my way to Tokyo during a long-haul flight, and I can’t wait to re-watch it very soon!
Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) is determined to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Her solo trip is in pursuit of healing and self-discovery, despite her lack of hiking experience. Although she encounters numerous problems and issues along the way, Strayed wants to redeem herself and continues on her journey.
Wild is an emotional drama about the turmoil of life and desperate need of redemption and hope.
Captain Fantastic is definitely not your ordinary travel movie, but it’s a film which inspires me to travel more and live unconventionally. Ben and his wife Leslie decide to live freely, in nature, together with their six children. As they don’t want to live the ordinary American life, they decide to educate their children in a non-conventional way. All children have great survival skills, know how to be self-reliant and think critically. Leslie is hospitalised and eventually commits suicide. The plot develops as Ben and his children have to go on a road trip to recover Leslie’s body and meet her last wish.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Grand Budapest Hotel is a fantastic movie which presents the life of Zero Moustafa who tells the story of how he managed to acquire ownership of the Grand Budapest Hotel. The film itself is very quirky, fun and incredibly well executed. Although set in the town of Nebelsbad in the Republic of Zubrowka (a fictional country), there is something about the Grand Budapest Hotel which is sure to give you the wanderlust.
Full disclosure: I avoided watching this movie for a long time because I didn’t like the trailer, nor I tend to like documentary films with no narrative or voice-over. However, one sunny afternoon I decided to finally watch it and what do you know?! I thought it was one of the best travel movies ever. Baraka is a documentary film which explores our planet via a kaleidoscopic compilation. Give it a chance, and I promise, it will change the way you travel because you will pay so much more attention to cultures, locals, activities and traditions.
It’s only natural I’m going to mention Samsara, which is considered to be Baraka’s sequel. Samsara is a fantastic travel movie which is sure to give you the wanderlust. It’s a non-narrative documentary which was filmed over 5 years. If you love different cultures and fantastic landscapes, then Samara is the movie for you.
Eat, Pray, Love
I still remember the first time I watched Eat, Pray, Love. As a result, I wanted to leave and teach in Indonesia for a year and then take it from there. It didn’t happen as in due course I met my future husband, but we both started travelling around the world. Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) wants to rediscover herself and buys three tickets to Rome, India and Bali. It’s a romantic comedy and one of the best travel movies.
Not the ordinary travel movie, but it sure instigates an Asian wanderlust. The Handmaiden was filmed partly in Japan and partly in South Korea. The movie is about a Korean con artist handmaiden whose sole purpose is to make the Lady fall in love with a fake Count. The plan is to steal her money and put her in an asylum. However, there are a few twists of events which make the movie incredibly exciting and rather unexpected. A real gem which will make you want to travel to both Japan and South Korea.
EuroTrip is a film is about Scott who got dumped by his girlfriend Fiona and decides to join his friends on a summer trip to Europe in pursuit of a German girl he really likes. The movie is about unpredictable adventures one will encounter during travels and it’s an easy movie which will put a smile on your face. Although some parts are highly exaggerated (like the trip to Bratislava), EuroTrip is meant to be a fun American movie which really plays on the European stereotypes.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Walter Mitty is a man who always dreams of doing more, being more and having a spectacular life. He is a negative assets manager at Life Magazine and works with photojournalist Sean O’Connell. Mitty receives the latest negative from O’Connell which is meant to go on the cover of the magazine. Mitty realises that the negative is missing and has to go in pursuit of O’Connell to retrieve the missing picture. The movie is about the unexpected adventures Mitty has, a true travel movie which motivates us all to stop day-dreaming and start our journeys.
Into the Wild
I know a lot of people really loved Into the Wild and in all fairness, it deserves to be on the list. BUT, although I totally understand the drive behind Chris’ travels, I’m not too sure I agree with his choices. Regardless, this is definitely one of the best travel movies out there which has to be watched at least once. The plot is relatively simple, Chris has enough of the material world and decides to break free. He is on a quest to get to Alaska and be self-sufficient into the wild…
The Best Marigold Hotel
This is an amazing story of how because of travels, people learn to become accepting and nice to each other. The Best Marigold Hotel is about eight individuals who have to go to India and decide to stay in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is not yet finished. The movie made me want to visit India and understand a completely different culture. One of the best travel movies for sure
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Set in the New Zealand bush, a young boy and his stepdad become the subject of a manhunt. The movie itself is quite an adventure with its comedy moments and dramatic parts. It’s definately a must see which will make you want to fly to New Zealand and explore the wilderness for yourself.
The Danish Girl
Not really classed as a travel movie, The Danish Girl is a must see for those interested in seeing beautiful Copenhagen. I loved the shots of the city, they made me want to visit the Danish capital. The Danish Girl is a romantic drama which about a husband who realises his lifelong identification as a woman. Are you ready to see Copenhagen in mid 1920s?
Going on an adventure has no age because these two twelve-year-olds fall in love and make a pact of living their lie in the wilderness. It’s a really nice movie which should inspire everyone to just follow their heart and embark on an adventure of a lifetime.
Under the Tuscan Sun
Under The Tuscan Sun is about an American writer who decides to go on a trip to Italy as a result of a devastating divorce. This movie is a great reminder that life is a chain of unexpected events and we just have to take each day as it comes and make the most out of it.
Not your ordinary travel film, In Bruges is an action movie set in Belgium in the beautiful city of Bruges. I must admit, I watched this movie on several occasions just to admire the filming locations. Bruges is charming and quaint and it gives me the wanderlust, everyday, without fail.
Up in the Air
Up in the Air is about Ryan Bingham (Goerge Clooney) who is a frequent flyer and spends most of his time in various airports. He wishes to become the seventh and youngest person to earn ten million frequent flyer miles with American Airlines.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Everyone recommends Vicky Cristina Barcelona as a great travel movie, but to be honest, I am not usually a fan of Woody Alan movies. I think he is an acquired taste. The movie is about two friends who spend a summer in Barcelona and become rather enamoured with the same artist.
Letters to Juliet
Sophie goes to Verona, Italy and discovers an answered letter to Juliet, left at the lover’s Verona courtyard. She makes it her mission to find the mystery behind the letters and reunited the lovers. Set in beautiful Italy, Letters to Juliet is a wonderful romantic movie which is sure to make you want to travel.
P.S. I love you
I was obsessed with the book and the movie when it first came out. It was because of P.S. I love you that I truly wanted to visit beautiful Ireland. A romantic drama where Holly received letters from her dead husband who helps her find her way.
Little Miss Sunshine
This is the tale of an unconventional family who takes a cross-country road trip in their VW bus in order to get their daughter to the finals of a beauty contest. Noby said travelling with the family would be easy, but it will sure turn out to be full of weird adventures.
Departures is not about travelling per se, but it shows some touching customs from Japan. Along beautiful scenary, fantastic music and deep human connection, Departures is one of my favorite Japanese movies which always makes me want to move to the Japanese countryside.
Our Little Sister
This is yet another movie which will make you want to visit Japan and interact with the locals. It’s a story about family, loss and gain, betrayal and forgiveness. It’s a very simple story which will warm your heart and make you want to move into an old Japanese wooden house.
This is perhaps one of the best travel movies I’ve seen in recent years. Thomas Avery goes to France to retrieve the body of his son who died on the Camino de Santiago. Tom decided to walk the ancient trail and honour his son. This is a fantastic story which teaches us all that life is to be lives no matter what.
Anna Brady (Amy Adams) decided to fly to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend during leap year. The trip itself became an adventure and she is forced to take other means of transportation together with a handsome (and cynical) Irish innkeeper.
Lost in Translation
Please don’t hate me, but I didn’t like the premise of Lost in Translation at all. Sorry! But the reason why I would watch this movie over and over, is because of how cool Tokyo looks like in this film. The streets of Shinjuku, the beautiful view from the hotel’s window…WOW.
Bob and Charlotte form an out of ordinary connection whilst both having a bad time in Tokyo. They bond one night after experiecing the local Japanese nightlife and culture.
Set in the beautiful French Riviera, Priceless is about a beautiful woman who only dates rich men. One night she falls for a hotel employee who pretends to be ridiculously rich. A fun little French comedy, Priceless is a great movie to watch during a flight. And of course, you will want to visit Nice after seeing the amazing filming location.
Made of Honor
Who doesn’t want to watch a movie about Scottish traditions full of amazing views and sights of Scotish castles? Made of Honor is a romantic comedy about an American girl who finds her perfect Scotish fiancé during an art trip to Scotland and asks her best male friend to be her maid of honor.
I am recommending the Great Expectation from 1998, because this was by far my favourite version. Great Expectation is the contemporary adaptation of Charles Dickens novel. Finn falls in love with Estella which is set to break his heart.
I watched The Shallows on my way to the Seychelles so probably, not the best choice! The Shallows is a survival thriller film starring Blake Lively who goes to a secluded beach in Mexico to surf. Although the story itself is a little simple and far-fetched, The Shallows will make you want to surf and enjoy some seriously secluded nature by the beach. Just do me a favour, and don’t watch it before your honeymoon in the Seychelles…
I hope you enjoyed this list of the best travel movies and you are now ready to be inspired to go on an adventure. Which one have you seen already and which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments section bellow.
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