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Wanderlust Movies: Best Travel Movies to Inspire You

This list of the best movies about travel will give you a sense of wanderlust to plan your next adventure. I asked fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite wanderlust movies that inspired them to travel. From adventure to romantic movies and everything in between, these are the best movies about travel!

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

The Best Travel Movies

Inspirational Travel Movies

The Secret Garden

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

As a child, I spent summers at the library renting books and movies—I always returned to the 1993 film “The Secret Garden,” based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The movie begins in India, recounts a harrowing sea voyage, and settles in Yorkshire, England. The main character, a young girl named Mary, journeys to England and spends much time exploring her new home in England alone. She was courageous and curious, which certainly inspired me to get out there.best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Candy Pilar Godoy from boogiethepug.com

Farewell My Concubine

I first saw this epic Chinese historical drama 26 years ago at the age of 21. “Farewell My Concubine” follows the life of two young boys forced into servitude with a Peking Opera company. It sparked a fascination within me about Asia that led to a six-month backpacking trip after graduating from university.

Ingrid from Second-Half Travels 

Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too)

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (“Children of Men,” “Roma,” “Gravity,” etc.), Y Tu Mamá También is a coming-of-age dramedy released in 2001 starring Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal. The pair are 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 the images of the remote and pristine beaches near Huatulco, Oaxaca, on the Pacific Coast, are the most evocative and have inspired many (including me) to visit Mexico and experience them.

Michele Peterson from A Taste for Travel

Eat, Pray, Love

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

For me, “Eat, Pray, Love” is the perfect travel movie that combines some of the things I’m most passionate about: food, spirituality, love, and travel! The movie is set in many inspirational locations—it’s beautifully shot and has an awesome message.

Sarah from The Prosperous Blonde

Memoirs of a Geisha

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

I’d read the book beforehand, 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

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Some movies have inspired me to make life-changing decisions, while some have simply made me want to visit the filming locations. One of my favorite movies is “The Way Back,” a 2010 American film based on the memoirs of a Polish prisoner of war who escaped from the Soviet Gulag along with others and walked 4000 miles to freedom.

The group started in Siberia, traveled to Mongolia across Lake Baikal, crossed the Great Wall of China, and walked through the Himalayas to get to Sikkim in India. I admire the protagonist’s spirit for braving harsh and difficult conditions to reach his destination. The movie is about patience, faith, survival, and, ultimately, the value of life.

The ruggedly beautiful landscapes of Siberia, Mongolia, and the Himalayas inspired me to travel to these places. A small portion of the film was shot in Darjeeling India. I visited Darjeeling right after watching the movie and explored the tea gardens featured in it. The film also inspired me to do some treks in the Indian Himalayas. There are two more places that are still on my bucket list (Siberia and Mongolia), and I hope to explore them soon.

Amrita Sen from Tale of 2 Backpackers 

The Quiet American

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I was already intrigued in Vietnam when I saw the film “The Quiet American,” based on Graham Green’s novel. The colonial period of Saigon portrayed in the movie attracted me to the country and fueled my interest in visiting. Modern cities are often similar to each other, but Saigon has many examples of colonial architecture and traditions—the allure led me to visit Vietnam many times, and I now call the country my second home.

The Roaming Fork

Anne of Green Gables

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

While I haven’t yet made it to Prince Edward Island, the setting of “Anne of Green Gables,” it’s often at the top of my list when I plan future travels. The book and the 1985 movie are set there—every time I watch the film, I’m transported to another era. Prince Edward Island combines the rustic greenery of a small village with sweeping coastal views. Now that I have kids, I can’t wait to experience this beautiful island with them.

Rachel from The RX For Travel

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

In “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” the main character thinks he’s lost the photo negative for the final issue of the fictional Life magazine. Walter decides to go to the photographer directly to get another copy of the picture. One of the most iconic scenes in the movie is when Walter speeds down an Icelandic road on a longboard. The landscape and sense of freedom he evokes will make you want to book your Iceland ticket immediately!

Once Walter meets the photographer in the Himalayas, he sees an elusive snow leopard and joins a local soccer game. These scenes connected with me because I love to see animals in their natural habitat and experience the everyday lives of people worldwide.

Helena from Through an Aussie’s Eyes 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

I loved “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” set in Rajasthan, India—it wonderfully captures the beauty, color, and chaos of travel in Rajasthan. It’s one of the best movies 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 my full movie review of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel here.

Mariellen from Breathe Dream Go

The Motorcycle Diaries

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Years ago, I told my husband I wanted to pull our kids out of school and travel for a year. I didn’t know what would happen, but I felt that traveling would change us and alter our life path for the better. One of the most famous examples of this idea was Ernesto Che Guevara, the famous Cuban revolutionary socialist.

Did you know that before Che became famous, he was an average medical student with an itch for travel? Che’s diaries from this time of his life were published as the book “The Motorcycle Diaries,” later adapted into a movie.

Che and his friend Alberto Granado traveled around South America and the Andes—their plan was threefold: see the world, assist as doctors in leprosy colonies, and sleep with as many girls as possible. She witnessed poverty and injustice between the “haves” and the “have-nots” that inspired him to become a socialist and then a revolutionist. If he hadn’t decided to travel, Che probably would have become a doctor, and the Cuban revolution might not have happened.

Ania James from The Travelling Twins

Best Travel Movies About Europe

Roman Holiday

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Roman Holiday” is a classic movie to introduce young people to Rome. We put on an at-home film festival before taking our kids to Europe, and this was their favorite since it featured a princess, Roman scenery, comic twists, and some G-rated romance. While exploring Rome, our kids (aged 9-14 at the time) kept pointing out sights from the movie, which was fun.

Amy from Traveling Tulls

Before Sunrise

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Watching “Before Sunrise,” a drama about the romance between an American man and a French woman, inspired me to visit Vienna. The movie begins with a chance encounter on a European train journey, which results in the pair exploring the city by night. I loved the setting and the romance—I recently visited by train with my fiancé in tow, making my dreams a reality!

RJ from RJ On Tour UK

Harry Potter

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Many say that world-famous Oxford University looks just like Hogwarts, which is fitting since it served as a “Harry Potter” filming location several times. 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, where I visited the dining hall that inspired the Great Hall, the Hogwarts steps, the hospital wing, the restricted section of the 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

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

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 was filmed as a love letter to Italy and inspires intense wanderlust. “Under the Tuscan Sun” highlights the wonderful friendships and new experiences (good and bad) of the main character’s new life. This movie made me want to explore Italy and all of Europe. Instead, I moved to Mexico—I may be living under the Mexico sun, but this is the movie that started it all.

Natalie from Blissmersion

Marie Antoinette

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Marie Antoinette” inspired me to learn more about French culture and, eventually, travel to France. Although the movie takes place in the eighteenth century, it uses vibrant colors and modern music to bring the period to life. Watching Kirsten Dunst portray glamorous morning routines, over-the-top hairstyles, and decadent meals piqued my curiosity about the lives of those who once lived in palaces like Versailles and Fontainebleau.

Theresa from Fueled By Wanderlust

The Great Beauty

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If any film shows Rome behind the tourist curtain, it’s the Oscar-winning “The Great Beauty,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino. “The Great Beauty,” or La Grande Belleza, depicts the wearisome world of Italian high society in a sensually delicious way. It makes even jaded decadence seem heroic—or, at the very least, makes the main character’s self-discovery journey of self-discovery appear like a relatable struggle.

The film also makes Rome more relatable, as it offers a glimpse into a flawed yet fabulous city few people truly see. For me, it seemed to give the Roman sights and sounds a heartbeat, inspiring me to explore Rome more deeply with a fresh set of eyes.

Carol Perehudoff from WanderingCarol.com

In Bruges

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

One of the best travel movies that inspired a sense of wanderlust in me was “In Bruges.” A year after seeing the movie, my wife and I spent a long weekend in Bruges, in the medieval capital of Flanders. The 2008 black comedy follows two characters sent to Bruges to escape a tragedy in the UK. Whilst the plot has some dark themes, it highlights the best bars, UNESCO heritage sites, and medieval alleyways in Bruges. I guarantee your interest in Bruges will be sparked by this film.

Ben from The Sabbatical Guide

P.S. I Love You and Leap Year

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel
best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Ireland is stunning—you don’t need much inspiration or motivation to visit since it’s pure magic. However, there are several movies and shows set in Ireland that might elevate your Irish wanderlust. Even if romcoms aren’t your genre of choice, both “Leap Year” and “P.S. I Love You” are worth a watch before traveling to Ireland for the beautiful scenery and Irish accents. If you haven’t already been dreaming of Ireland, these two movies will move up your list of must-visit places and perhaps inspire you to embark on a Belfast to Giant’s Causeway magical and memorable road trip.

Ashley from Wild Hearted 

Letters to Juliet

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

I watch “Letters to Juliet” as often as possible because I like the plot and filming locations. The romantic and picturesque cities of Verona and Tuscany are the main settings, as the main characters meet in Verona and travel through Tuscany. After seeing this film, it’s impossible not to fall even more in love with Italy.

Corina from Another Milestone

Best Travel Movies About Adventure

Lord of the Rings

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

The “Lord of the Rings” franchise sparked a deep interest in me to explore New Zealand. New Zealand wasn’t on my radar at all until I watched the series, which portrays the country’s hills, mountains, and valleys in such an elegant and captivating way that I had no option but to book a flight. Exploring New Zealand was life-changing for me, and my adventures are some of my favorite memories. Many quotes from these movies evoke major wanderlust, no matter the destination.

Disha from Disha Discovers

The Way

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

I was familiar with the Camino de Santiago trail before watching “The Way,” but I couldn’t imagine what kind of trek it was. One of my friends recommended I watch the film, which 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 them all.

The movie gives pilgrims walking their first Camino an idea of what kind of people they’ll meet and the ups and downs of nomadic life. “The Way” shows that everyone does the Camino for different reasons—some find what they’re looking for, and others 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

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Everest” is based on a true event that occurred in 1996 and depicts the experience of climbing a mountain eight thousand meters above sea level. In “Everest,” we see how the lack of oxygen affects the climbers mentally, how quickly the mountain weather changes, how people work together, and, of course, how dangerous the summit attempt is.

What I love about this movie is the raw and genuine storytelling. The film inspired me to go backpacking in Nepal and tackle the Annapurna Circuit, a 14-day trek through the Himalayas. Give the film a go if you’re curious about how mountaineers live and how extreme mountain climbing can be.

Yen from Wandering Journal

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

When I watched “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” for the first time, I was mesmerized. I was about ten years old, and from that moment on, 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 (except for a young Harrison Ford, sadly).

Retha from Roaming Nanny

Seven Years in Tibet

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Seven Years in Tibet” tells the story of two men who escape a World War II prisoner-of-war camp and find themselves in Tibet. This true story of adventure, cultural immersion, and exploring some of the world’s most beautiful natural scenes stuck with me. Every time I watch this film, I’m encouraged to experience other cultures abroad and seek more remote, unusual destinations. After watching this movie, my sense of wanderlust is thoroughly re-energized!

The Hangry Backpacker

180 Degrees South

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

I never had a burning desire to visit Patagonia in southern Chile and Argentina, but that changed once I saw the beautiful and cinematic documentary “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. While the story is inspiring, the breathtaking scenery caught my eye and made me want to visit Patagonia.

In 2016, I made my 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. Thanks to the vision and generosity of Doug and Susie Tompkins, who purchased and gifted a significant amount of land to the Chilean government, Torres del Paine will be preserved forever for worldwide adventure travelers.

Lori from Travlinmad

Congo

Paramount’s 1995 movie “Congo” is (probably rightly) considered a sub-par film—it was a shameless “Jurassic Park” cash-in from the same writer and avid traveler, Michael Crichton. However, even if talking animatronic gorillas aren’t your cup of tea, the film successfully captures an incredible sense of adventure.

“Congo” has everything from ancient jungle-clad ruins to treacherous hippo-infested river crossings, all kicked off by Ernie Hudson of “Ghostbusters” drugging a gorilla with a tainted banana and throwing it out of an airplane. If you have any interest in off-beat adventure travel, this film will have you booking a flight to Africa to look for the lost mines of King Solomon.

Bernard from thewanderingboo.com

All-Around Best Movies About Travel

Into The Wild

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Into the Wild” is a movie about letting go of the past, embracing new experiences, engaging with nature, and valuing social connections. Based on a true story, “Into the Wild” inspired my travels because it emphasizes you don’t need to invest much to have deep and meaningful travel experiences. Travel can be simple and, if done right, can leave a minimal environmental footprint.

Eric from Ontario Away

Tracks

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

One movie that inspired me to travel is “Tracks” by John Curran, which tells the true story of a young girl who travels the Australian desert with camels. This movie shows that traveling is not about the journey itself but more about what you learn along the way.

Traveling helps you become more empathetic and understanding, which “Tracks” perfectly encapsulates. I consider this one of the best wanderlust movies because it depicts a young girl unafraid to embark on solo adventures.

Amandine from Beaux Voyages

Forrest Gump

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

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

Diane from Travelling Home Body

Jammin’ in Jamaica

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Jammin’ in Jamaica” is 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 a major music competition in Jamaica. Barbie and her friends work tirelessly to raise enough money to fund their own trip to Jamaica, highlighting the value of working hard to accomplish your goals. Barbie and her crew learn to balance the fun with responsibility, ultimately teaching viewers an important lesson about commitment and priorities.

Kay The Awkward Traveller

Best Comedy Travel Movies

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

The movie “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” was one of the first to spark my interest in the world and exploring different cultures. I love the idea of time travel, and while we can’t technically travel back in time, learning about certain cultures can make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Inspired by Bill & Ted’s journey, I embarked on my first solo travel trip to Latin America, where I learned about the Mayans and other ancient cultures.

Daniel from Layer Culture

The Bucket List

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

A couple of years ago, we watched a movie called “The Bucket List” and decided to create our own list of things we’d like to do. We soon discovered all the items on our list were travel destinations! This movie was a true inspiration and a turning point in our lives—that day, we decided to create darekandgosia.com, and the rest is history.

Derek from Darek and Gosia

The Chipmunk Adventure

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

The movie that most inspired me to travel is “The Chipmunk Adventure,” a 1987 cartoon. I adored this movie and watched it many times throughout my childhood. In the film, the Chipmunks and the Chipettes set out to travel in hot air balloons. What follows is a tale of 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 had a strong impact on my decision to become a travel blogger. In a sort of homage to this inspirational travel movie, my blog logo is a hot air balloon!

Amy from Two Drifters

Africa United

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

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’re dazzled by the incredible sights of Eastern and Southern Africa. The region boasts some of the best safari tours in the world! While you may not want to go on foot, if you’re like us, you’ll want to experience Africa for yourself (from the safety of a vehicle).

Lydia from Africa Wanderlust

Coming to America

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

Watching “Coming to America” as a young child in the ’90s spurred my imagination about life outside the four corners of my home. It was a few more years before I got my international passport and more after that before my first international trip outside of Africa. Seeing America through the lens of an African, however fictional, made me excited to experience life in America (and a few more countries shortly after).

Louisa Moje from La Passion Voutee

The Hangover Part 2

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

After watching “The Hangover Part 2,” I knew I needed to visit Bangkok! Even though I’m not the “party hard” kind of person, I love how surprising and spontaneous the capital of Thailand is. 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 & the Search for Happiness

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

In “Hector & the Search for Happiness,” Hector, played by Simon Pegg, is a psychologist driven mad by the mundane 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 and sadness from different cultures around the globe. Realizing the two emotions are intertwined gives Hector’s life perspective and meaning. It’s a lovely film and weirdly very inspiring.

Jo from Lost Wanders

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

best travel movies,wanderlust movies,movies about travel

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. A few days later, 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

Travel Guide Planning

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m traveling?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

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
View my entire travel movie list on Amazon
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Amy

Friday 3rd of January 2020

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!