The Best Travel Movies to Inspire Your Wanderlust

The Best Travel Movies to Inspire Your Wanderlust

Looking for some movie inspiration to fuel your Wanderlust? In this blog post I have asked some of my fellow travel bloggers to share the best travel movies that inspired them to travel. From travel adventure movies to romantic travel movies and everything in between. There are travel movies on this list for all tastes!

 

Best Travel Inspiration Movies

The Secret Garden

 

When I was a child, I spent summers at the library, taking out both books and movies. I always borrowed the 1993 film The Secret Garden, a movie based on 1911 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The movie starts off in India, and then after a long sea voyage, takes place in Yorkshire, England. The main character, a young girl named Mary, makes the voyage herself and spends a lot of time exploring her new home in England on her own. She was courageous and curious and certainly inspired me to get out there. 

Candy Pilar Godoy from boogiethepug.com

Farewell My Concubine


I first saw this epic Chinese historical drama 26 years ago at age 21. Farewell My Concubine follows the life of two young boys forced into servitude with a Peking Opera company. It helped spark a fascination with Asia that led to a six-month backpacking trip thereafter I graduated university.

Ingrid from Second-Half Travels 

Y Tu Mamá También ( and your Mother Too)

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón ( Children of Men, Roma, Gravity) Y Tu Mamá También is a coming-of-age dramatic comedy released in 2001 and starred Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal as teenagers who take a sensually-charged road trip to a distant beach with an older woman. The gorgeous cinematography features shots of seedy bars, winding highways, untouched beaches and endless skies. The film was shot in many locations throughout Mexico but it’s the images of the remote and pristine beaches near Huatulco, Oaxaca on the Pacific Coast that are the most evocative and have inspired many people ( including myself) to travel to Mexico to experience them personally.

Michele Peterson from A Taste for Travel

Eat, Pray, Love


For me Eat, Pray, Love is the perfect travel movie It combines three of the things I’m most passionate about; food, spirituality, love and one more: travel! The movie is set in so many inspirational locations. It’s absolutely beautifully done with an awesome message!

Sarah from The Prosperous Blonde

Memoirs of a Geisha

 

I had already read the book but seeing Memoirs of a Geisha on film further inspired me to plan a trip to Japan. From the beautiful cherry blossoms to the mystique surrounding geishas, the movie made me want to view it all in person.

Matilda from The Travel Sisters

The Way Back


There are movies that have inspired me to travel and make life-changing decisions while some movies simply wanted me to travel to the places they were filmed. One of my favorite movies is The Way Back, the 2010 American film. The film is based on the memoirs of a Polish prisoner of war who had escaped from the Soviet Gulag along with a few other inmates and walked 4000 miles (6400 km) to freedom. They started from Siberia and went on to Mongolia crossing the Lake Baikal, crossed the Great Wall of China, walked through the Himalayas to finally reach Sikkim in India.

I totally admired the spirit of the protagonist who braved such harsh and difficult conditions to reach his destination. The movie is all about patience, faith and survival and ultimately, the value of life. The stark landscape of Siberia, beautiful Mongolia and the rugged Himalayas has inspired me to travel to these places. A very small part of the film was shot in Darjeeling in India. I had visited Darjeeling just after I saw the movie and explored the tea gardens there. The film also inspired me to do a few treks in the Indian Himalayas. There are two more places that are still in my bucket list – Siberia and Mongolia. I hope I explore them soon.

Amrita Sen from Tale of 2 Backpackers 

The Quiet American


Vietnam had long been a country that intrigued me and when I saw the film, The Quiet American, based on Graham Green’s novel, the colonial period of Saigon attracted me to the country and fuelled the interest for my first visit. Modern cities are very similar, but Saigon still has many examples of colonial influence in both architecture and traditions, and the allure to experience them led me to not only visit Vietnam many times since but to now call the country my second home.

The Roaming Fork

Anne of Green Gables


While I haven’t made it to Prince Edward Island where Anne of Green Gables was set yet, it is on my list and in my thoughts often when I think of where to travel next. Both the book and the 1985 movie were based there. Every time I watch it, I’m transported to another era. Prince Edward Island seems to combine the rustic greenery of a small village alongside sweeping coastal views. Now that I have kids, I can’t wait to experience this beautiful island along with them.

Rachel from The RX For Travel

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

After Walter thinks he has lost the negative for the final issue of ‘Life’ magazine, he decides to go directly to the photographer to get another copy. One of the most iconic scenes of this movie is Walter on a longboard speeding down an Icelandic road. The landscape and the freedom he feels is one that will make you want to book your tickets to Iceland immediately.
Once he meets the photographer in the Himalayas, he gets the chance to see the elusive snow leopard and joins a locals soccer game. I know one of the top things I like to experience when I travel is to see animals in their natural habitat and to experience the everyday lives of people from around the world.

 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel


I loved The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, set in Rajasthan, India. It wonderfully captures the beauty, color, and chaos of travel in Rajasthan. It also has some of the best lines about travel in India. When one character asks another why he loves India, he says: “The light, the colors, the smiles. The way the people see life as a gift, a privilege — and not a right. All life is here.

Read the full movie review of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel here.

Mariellen from Breathe Dream Go

The Motorcycle Diaries


Four years ago, when I told my husband I wanted to pull our kids out of school and travel for a year. I realized that I didn’t know what would happen after that experience. I only knew that traveling would change us and alter our life path. One of the most famous examples of this was Che Guevara – the famous Cuban revolutionary socialist. Did you know that before Che became famous, he was “just” an average medical student with an itch for travel. Che’s diaries from this time were published as the book The Motorcycle Diaries.

He and his friend Alberto Granado decided to travel around South America and the Andes. Their game plan was threefold: see the world; assist as doctors in leprosy colonies; and sleep with as many girls as possible. While traveling, Ernesto Guevara witnessed so much poverty and injustice between the “haves” and the “have-nots” that it changed him and made him a socialist who then become a revolutionist. And if he had not decided to travel he probably would have become a doctor and perhaps the Cuban revolution would never have happened.

Ania James from The Travelling Twins

The Best Movies About Europe Travel

Roman Holiday


This classic movie Roman Holiday is a great way to introduce children to Rome. We created a ‘film festival’ before taking our kids to Europe. This was the absolute favorite! [A princess, Roman scenery, comic twists, and a bit of G-rated romance.] As we explored Rome, our kids (ages 9-14) kept pointing out sites from the movie. So much fun!

Amy from Traveling Tulls

Before Sunrise


Since watching the movie Before Sunrise a romantic drama between an American man and a French woman, I have been inspired to visit Vienna. The movie starts with a chance meeting on a European train journey, this results in the pair exploring the city by night getting to know each other. In my mind, the place looked fantastic and romance is great. I recently got to visit the city arriving by train with fiancé in tow after watching the film again before we departed on our adventure. 

RJ from RJ On Tour UK

Harry Potter


Many people exclaim that the world-famous Oxford University looks like Hogwarts when they first visit. It’s true, it does look just like the magical British boarding school that J K Rowling describes, which is why it has served as a Harry Potter filming location on numerous occasions. What Potter fan wouldn’t want to walk through the real-life Hogwarts? That’s why I hopped on a bus from London to Oxford. I visited the dining hall that inspired the Great Hall, the Hogwarts steps, the hospital wing, the restricted section of the Hogwarts library and more. Check out this post for more information about the Harry Potter tour of Oxford University.

Laura from What’s Hot

Under the Tuscan Sun

 

Under the Tuscan Sun is a beautiful movie about a woman who starts a new life in Italy on a whim after a painful divorce. The movie is shot as if it is a love letter to Italy and it inspires intense travel lust. It highlights the wonderful friendships and new experiences, both good and bad, of the main character’s new life. This movie made me want to explore Italy and Europe. Instead, I moved to and travel around Mexico. I may be under the Mexico sun, but this is the movie that started it all.

Natalie from Blissmersion

Marie Antoinette


The movie Marie Antoinette inspired me to learn more about French culture, and eventually, to travel to France. Although Marie Antoinette takes place in the eighteenth century, the movie uses vibrant colors and modern music to truly bring that period to life. Watching Kirsten Dunst portray a life of glamorous morning routines, over the top hairstyles, and decadent food displays at meals and parties piqued my curiosity about palaces like Versailles and Fontainebleau and the lives of the monarchs who once dwelled in their walls.

Theresa from Fueled By Wanderlust

The Great Beauty


If any film shows Rome behind the tourist curtain, it’s The Great Beauty, a film directed by Paolo Sorrentino that won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2013. The Great Beauty, or La Grande Belleza, shows a wearied world of Italian high society, but in such a sensual delicious way it makes even jaded decadence seem heroic – or at the very least it makes the journey of self-discovery for the main character Jep Gambardella appear like a worthy struggle we can all relate to. It also makes Rome itself more relatable, as if we’ve been given a glimpse into a flawed and fabulous city few people see. For me, it was as if all the sights and sounds of Rome had suddenly been given a heartbeat, and inspired me to explore Rome in more depth and with fresh eyes.

Carol Perehudoff from WanderingCarol.com

In Bruges


I have only been inspired to travel to a place once due to a movie and that was ‘In Bruges’. A year after seeing the movie my wife and I spent a long weekend in Bruge staying in the medieval capital of Flanders. The 2008 black comedy is like the ultimate tourism movie for the city, with the two main characters being sent to Bruges to escape from a tragedy in the UK and taking the time whilst they are there to explore. Whilst the plot has some very dark themes it manages to showcase Bruges’ bars, UNESCO heritage sites, and medieval alleyways in a way that can’t fail to spark your interest.

Ben from The Sabbatical Guide

P.S. I Love You and Leap Year

 

Ireland and doesn’t need much inspiration or motivation in order for people to visit. It’s pure magic on its own. However, there are several movies and tv shows set in Ireland that help put a little bit more punch in your already present Irish wanderlust. Even if rom-coms aren’t your genre of choice, both Leap Year and P.S. I Love You are worth a watch before traveling to Ireland purely for the beautiful scenery and, admittedly, the Irish accents. If you haven’t already been dreaming of Ireland, these two movies are sure to move it up your list of places to visit and perhaps take an Irish road trip such as this Belfast to Giant’s Causeway magical and memorable road trip

Ashley from Wild Hearted 

Letters to Juliet

 

Letters to Juliet is a movie I like to watch every time I can. I like its plot ( an old lady comes back to Italy to find her love lost years ago due to a letter from Juliet), but most of all I like the places where it was filmed. The romantic Verona and the picturesque Tuscany are the scenery of this movie. The main characters meet in Verona and start a long journey through Tuscany. After this film, it is impossible not to fall in love with Italy even more! I always end up longing after a new trip to Italy!

Corina from Another Milestone

 

Best Adventure Travel Movies

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings series of movies sparked a deep interest in me to explore New Zealand. To be honest, New Zealand wasn’t even on my radar at all until I watched the series. The series portrayed the rolling hills, beautiful mountains, and stunning valleys in such an elegant and captivating way that I had no option but to book my flights. Exploring New Zealand was life-changing for me and the adventures I had there are some of my favorite memories. In addition, the quotes in the movies evoke major wanderlust no matter the destination.

Disha from Disha Discovers

The Way


I’d known about the Camino de Santiago before watching The Way but I couldn’t really imagine what kind of walk it was. One of my friends recommended me to watch the Way and I can say in a way it’s changed my life. Since then I’ve walked seven different Camino de Santiago routes and despite the fact that my personal experience was very different from the movie I enjoyed every Camino I’ve walked. The movie gives pilgrims walking their first Camino a good idea about the Camino, what kind of people you meet on the route, about pilgrims’ life in general, its highlights and challenges. It shows that every person does the Camino for different reasons, some people find what they are looking for and some don’t. The Way is an inspiring movie and a must-watch for those who want to walk the Camino.

Alya from Stingy Nomads

Everest


Everest is based on a true story in 1996, the plot and progress of the film also portray how it’s like to climb a mountain eight thousand meters above sea level. For example, how the lack of oxygen affects the mental of climbers, how quickly the weather changes in the mountains, how climbers work together, etc. And of course, how dangerous the attempt is.

What I love about this movie is the rawness and the way the story is being told. In fact, the film introduced me to Nepal and inspired me to go backpacking in Nepal and trekking in Annapurna Circuit, a 14-days trek in the Himalaya Mountain Ranges.

Give the film a go if you’re also curious about how mountaineers live their life and how extreme mountain climbing is like.

Yen from Wandering Journal

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

 

When I watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time I was mesmerized. I was about 10 years old and from that moment in I was obsessed with all things Egypt. I watched every TV special I could and read hundreds of books on the country. A few years ago my dream came true and I set foot in Egypt. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. Unfortunately, a young Harrison Ford wasn’t there. 

Retha from Roaming Nanny

Seven Years in Tibet


Seven Years in Tibet tells the story of two men who escape a World War II POW camp in Asia and find themselves in Tibet. This true story of adventure, cultural immersion and exploring some of the world’s most beautiful natural scenes, sticks with me. Every time I watch this film, I am encouraged to experience other cultures abroad and to seek more remote, unusual destinations. After a couple of hours, my wanderlust is thoroughly reenergized!

The Hangry Backpacker

180 Degrees South

 

I never had a burning desire to visit Patagonia in southern Chile and Argentina, but that all changed once I saw the beautiful and cinematic documentary called 180 Degrees South. This incredible film by Jeff Johnson retraces a trip to Patagonia taken by his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Douglas Tompkins in 1968. Not only is the story inspiring but the breathtaking scenery is really what caught my eye and made me have to go. In 2016 we made our first trip to Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park, shortly after Doug Tompkins suffered a fatal accident there while kayaking. Patagonia will always hold a special place in my heart. And now because of the vision and generosity of Doug and Susie Tompkins who purchased and gifted so much land to the Chilean government, Torres del Paine will be preserved forever for adventure travelers around the world.

Lori from Travlinmad

Congo


Paramount’s 1995 movie Congo is probably rightly panned for being a sub-par film. It was a shameless Jurassic Park cash-in coming from the same writer and ( avid traveler) Michael Crichton. However, even if talking animatronic gorillas aren’t your bag (shame on you) the film does successfully capture an incredible sense of adventure. From ancient jungle-clad ruins to treacherous hippo infested river crossings, all kicked off by Ghostbusters Ernie Hudson drugging a gorilla with a tainted banana and throwing it out of an airplane. If you have any interest in off-beat adventure travel at all this film will have you booking your flights to Africa to look for the lost mines of King Solomon yourself. Just don’t bring Tim Curry.

Bernard from thewanderingboo.com

Best Movies About Travel

Into The Wild

Into the Wild is a movie about letting go of the past, embracing new experiences around you, engaging with nature, and valuing social connections. Based on a true story – “Into the Wild” inspired my travels because it emphasized that you don’t need much or have to invest in too much to have deep and meaningful travel experiences. Travel can be simple – and it can also be done with a small environmental footprint, should that matter to you.

Eric from Ontario Away

Track

A movie that inspired me to travel is Track by John Curran, it tells the true story of a young girl who travels the Australian desert with only camels. This movie inspired me because it shows that traveling is not about the journey in itself but more about what it teaches you. I can’t think of a better way to learn about yourself, on how to learn to be alone but also a movie who shows that traveling helps you be empathic and tolerant. For all these reasons and also because the movie portrays that a girl can do anything if she puts her mind to it inspired me to explore new places.

Amandine from Beaux Voyages

Forrest Gump


The movie that inspired me to travel to Vietnam was Forrest Gump. I was interested to find out more about this exotic country because the war was such a seminal and contentious part of Australian history, although I was too young to be affected personally. The scene about rain in Vietnam was both comical and compelling — and true, so I discovered!

Diane from Travelling Home Body

Jammin in Jamaica


Jammin in Jamaica is truly one of the best animated movies in the world, PLUS it inspires young people to travel. The movie follows the main character, Barbie, whose boyfriend’s band wins the opportunity for a major indie band competition in Jamaica. Barbie and her friends work tirelessly to raise enough money to fund their own trip to Jamaica, teaching the value of hustling for your goals. Barbie and the gang have to learn how to balance the fun of the island and remaining responsible for band practice as the movie progresses, and ultimately leading to the lesson of commitment.

Kay The Awkward Traveller

Best Comedy Travel Movies

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

The movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was one of the first movies to spark my interest in the world and explore different cultures. I love the idea of time travel and although we can’t technically travel back in time, when we visit certain cultures it can seem we have gone back in time. Inspired by Bill & Ted’s journey I started my first solo travel trip to Latin America and begin to learn about the Mayan world and other ancient cultures.

Daniel from Layer Culture

The Bucket List


We all love to travel. Some know that since childhood, others need a little trigger to learn this. With us, it was a bit different. A couple of years ago we watched a movie called “The Bucket List”. Shortly after that, we decided to create our own list of things we would like to do. Only shortly after that, we discovered that all positions on our list were travel destinations! This movie was a true inspiration and a turning point in our lives – and that day we decided to create darekandgosia.com

Derek from Darek and Gosia

The Chipmunk Adventure

 

The movie that most inspired me to travel is The Chipmunk Adventure, the cartoon which came out in 1987.

I absolutely adored this movie and watched it all throughout my childhood. In the film, the Chipmunks and the Chipettes set out to travel the world riding in hot air balloons. What follows is a mystery, intrigue, and lots of singing, as they drift around the world seeing famous places. This made me want to see everything I could. And you might say it had a strong impact on my decision to become a travel blogger, as well. In a sort of homage to this inspirational travel movie, my blog logo is a hot air balloon!

Amy from Two Drifters 

Africa United


Africa United is an extraordinary story about four Rwandan children who walked 3,000 miles to the World Cup in South Africa. Throughout the movie, you will be dazzled by the incredible sights as they travel through Eastern and Southern Africa. The region itself boasts some of the best safari tours in the world! Although you may not want to go on foot, if you are like us, you will want to experience Africa for yourself while in the safety of a vehicle.

Lydia from Africa Wanderlust

Coming to America


Watching Coming to America as a young child in the ’90s spurred my imagination about life outside the four corners of my home. Although it was a few more years before I got my international passport and more years after that before my first international trip outside of Africa, seeing America from the lens of an African, however fictional, made me excited to experience life in America (and a few more countries shortly after). I can’t wait to see the sequel, Coming 2 America, slated to be released in 2020.

Louisa Moje from La Passion Voutee

The Hangover part 2


After watching the Hangover part 2 I knew I needed to visit Bangkok! Even though I am not the “party hard” kind of person, I loved the fact that the capital of Thailand is so surprising and anything could happen there. There are so many awesome things to do in Bangkok! My favorite was visiting the Grand Palace and trying the street food.

Karolina Klesta from Lazy Travel Blog

Hector and the Search for Happiness 


Hector, Simon Pegg, is a psychologist driven mad by the mundanity and repetition of everyday life. The question of “What is happiness?” drives him to escape his life and travel the world, encountering all forms of happiness as well as sadness from different cultures around the globe. Realizing the two emotions are intertwined brings his own life some perspective and meaning. Lovely film and weirdly very inspiring.

Jo from Lost Wanders

Forgetting Sarah Marshall


We were inspired to visit Oahu after watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall. We had just returned from a year of international travel and had no idea what to do next, but halfway through the movie found ourselves looking for places to stay to see if it could work. By the following week, we were booked for a 5-week visit. It was just as beautiful as in the movie and Oahu offers more to do than we could have imagined! You can find a sampling of our favorites to do in Oahu here.

Melissa from The Family Voyage

 

Are you looking for some travel inspiration? Then check out this ultimate list of the best travel movies to inspire your wanderlust. These epic movies about travel will be sure to inspire your next adventure #travelmovies #travelfilms #filmsabouttravel #adventuremovies #travelinspo

Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
  • Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Some great movies here! No question that some of these have inspired our trip planning, but they’re great for armchair travelers too! .I’ve seen about half of these, and will add more to my list!

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