I am a travel addict. When I am not actually travelling, or planning travels, or even talking, writing and reading about travels, I watch movies about travel to treat my travel bug. Because i believe when you can’t visit the places yourself, the best way to experience the virtual travel is through cinema.
I think every wanderlust lover enjoys a great travel movie so in this blog I am going to take you through a list of travel movies and documentaries. They stream on different platforms that can make you travel the world in a little under two hours and can be super inspiring.
So lay back on your couch everyday this month of july with a bucket full of popcorn and a big gallon of juice to get lost in the spectacular sceneries of these 30 films.
- Eat Pray Love
“In all its forms, Eat, Pray, Love is a travel classic and the most loved movie for female solo travelers. The film is a true story adaptation of writer Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir as she leaves her busy New York city life behind after a messy divorce and embarks on a spiritual 9-month long journey to seek new adventures and to re-discover her true self in Italy(for good food), India (to meditate) and Bali (to perhaps find true love)”. This movie is a visual dream with meaningful life lessons and so much more. This movie is an absolute classic and one of my favourites.
- The Before Trilogy
Linklater’s trilogy of Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013), “while a love story at its core tells the romantic relationship between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Cèline (Julie Delpy) as it begins, begins again, deepens, and strains over the course of almost two decades, as they first meet in Vienna, find each other again in Paris, and then are seen arguing in an idyllic beachside Greece, also evokes something true about travel. Each setting is perfectly suited to their respective journey, using Europe as a conduit to focus on themselves and their emotions. On each occasion, they venture through a singular European city, discussing their hopes, beliefs, and the meaning of their existence, all under the pressure of a ticking clock. All three films can essentially be watched independently of each other but still effectively combine to tell one complete story like if the events of Sunrise were a dream, then what unfolds during Sunset is a reality check. Midnight then raises the stakes even higher as the characters, now married and parents to two daughters, face the possibility that their relationship may be over. It is one of the greatest trilogies of all times”.
- Casino Royale (2006)
If James Bond has been there, it’s safe to say that the destination is a can’t miss one. This one follows 007’s very first mission which involves foreign foes and black-ties as he is earning his license to kill and is involved in a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale, Montenegro. The movie was shot in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy, and the United Kingdom
- Midnight in Paris (2011)
This dreamy romantic comedy is both a travel film and a time travel film, that follows the story of Gil Pender, a screenwriter and aspiring novelist on a trip to Paris with his fiancée but the relationship with his materialistic fiancée quickly comes into question once he retraces the steps of various literary icons through some of Paris’s most iconic neighbourhoods until one of those very icons sweeps him into the back of his car and back in time to the 1920s for an evening of revelry where he finds romance and inspiration by mingling with his artistic idols.
- The Bucket List (2007)
A travel movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman is a film worth watching! The film that coined the phrase that has inspired so many people to travel is a heart-warming tale about two terminally ill men who head on a once-in-a-lifetime kind of road trip to go to all the places they had always wanted to see before they die. “This ultimate travel movie follows the pair as they visit the most incredible places globally From the Great Wall to the Taj Mahal, Mount Everest and the Egyptian pyramids. What’s more, they embark on many adventures, from an African Safari to skiing in the alps to skydiving ticking off some of the most stunning places on the planet and while the concept of this movie is simple, it serves as a refreshing reminder to make the most of the time we have left and live life to the fullest”.
- Into the Wild (2007)
This “Oscar-nominated film is based on a Jon Krakauer book by the same name that is is a true story pieced together from family accounts and journals from Christopher McCandless. It tell the tale o a successful graduate and top student from Emory University as he sells all of his possessions and even donates all of his savings to give it all up and departs to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way as he hikes and hitchhikes all across North America, hitting California, North Dakota, Colorado, Utah, and many more U.S. states before ending up in Canada, he’ll encounter people that will forever make an impact on his life. While i may not have had such an intense travel experience, as a freedom seeker, i can relate to Christophers’ desire to break free from society”. I don’t want to give too much away, but this film is undoubtedly a tear-jerker!
- Up (2009)
I am a fan of animated movies and this easily is my favourite travel film for all the family. This comedy adventure proves that you’re never too old or too young to travel. “This lovely film tells the story of Carl Fredrickson, a little friendly widower who lives alone in a house restored along with his late wife, Ellie, whose memory he cherishes constantly. Forced to leave his home, threatened by real-estate interests, to live in a nursing home where he didn’t want to go, Carl decides to go on a long journey to the wilds of South America (not the real one still worth it), a place they always dreamed about travelling together so departs with his home through a system that he created and that makes it fly. But the journey is bound to change radically when he meets the scout Russell, eight-year-old, grabbed on his porch, an unwitting passenger on that trip”.
- Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
This movie based on the Book, “Seven Years in Tibet: My Life Before, During and After outlines the remarkable journey of Henrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer, who was detained in India by the British Raj during the outbreak of World War II. After a daring escape, Harrer fled north to neutral Tibet, in hopes of eventually reaching Japanese occupied China. In Tibet, he journeyed from the western Himalayas eastward to the Tibetan capital Lhasa. In Lhasa, he befriended and tutored the young Dalai Lama before they were forced to flee the Red Chinese invasion. Although the movie is about Tibet; it has been shot in Argentina and British Columbia”. It is a wonderful movie that gives an insight into the Tibetan and Buddhist cultures.
- Due Date (2010)
Well, when you are in a wanderlust mode and want to find exotic new locations then you watch this pretty good road trip buddy flick movie. The movie has a compelling star like RDJ always in a cool mode, a decent comedian zach galifianakis, real troublemaker, always in the hangover mode and a small old-buddy role of jamie fox. The two guys on an unusual circumstance become a travel partner and get involved in various trouble throughout their journey. It was a fast paced, short movie that give you some minor LOL moments, it was not a decent comedy movie of the year but when you are bored it takes you on a beautiful yet hilarious road trip across the United States and the landscapes are nothing less than amazing.
- Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Zoya Akhtar’s beloved buddy road movie, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (which translates to You Won’t Get A Second Life) celebrates life in all its forms as it takes you on a road trip adventure of three friends through Spain which turns into an opportunity to mend bridges, past grudges, fall in love and make lifelong memories. While the film has established squad goals for fans it has also mesmerized audiences with its awe-inspiring and ethereal locations as the simple story also serves to highlight the stunning locations of Spain. They have a lot of fun as each of them chooses a dangerous sport for the group to partake from bull-run, sky-diving, deep sea diving to the La Tomatina festival. The film definitely puts Spain on the must-visit list for all the travel enthusiasts out there.
- Queen (2014)
Kangana Ranaut’s solo honeymoon in ‘Queen’ after the groom walked out just before the wedding was a path-breaking film that not only takes the protagonist, Rani on a solo trip to Europe where the journey of self-discovery also gives her a new perspective on living life on her own terms but also convinced skeptical souls for solo trips. The unexpected experiences on a vacation from meeting new people to becoming lifelong friends with them, dealing with “street thieves to opening up to an all-new world while roaming around Paris and Amsterdam made for a wonderful travel film”.
- Tamasha (2015)
Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Tamasha’ depicted the unexplored beautiful land of Corsica to us in this yet another Bollywood film where the protagonist is on a path of self-discovery. The sizzling chemistry between Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in the film along with some picturesque scenes is the perfect getaway for someone who is looking for a nice holiday and experience some local flavors of the Mediterranean island.
- Lion (2016)
I still remember bawling my eyes out when I watched this film based on true events. It’s the tale of Brierley, who got lost and separated from his parents at only 5 years old from India and ended up on the other side of his home country and never saw them again, getting adopted later and moving to Australia. But the story kicks off when Brierley decides to go on a journey to find them! The movie will take you on a heart-wrenching journey across India and Australia.
- Mamma mia (2008)
An uplifting and comforting travel film featuring Meryl Streep checks all my boxes. The story takes place on a Greek island and follows a young woman named Sophie who’s about to get married. She wants her father to be there but doesn’t know who he is. So Sophie invites all three of her potential dads to the wedding. It’s a true rollercoaster of a film. Plus, it’s a musical, so there’s even more to love about it!
- Expedition Happiness (2017)
If you’ve yet to pack up your life and hit the road to explore the best United States road trip destinations, this travel movie will convince you to pack your bags before you even get to watch half of it!
This travel documentary follows an adventure-seeking young German couple who transform an old school bus into a motorhome to escape their hometown and sets off on a road trip across the USA, Mexico, and Canada. They explore all of North America with their dog.
- Lost In Translation (2003)
One of my favourite backpacking travel films of all time. Lost in Translation perfectly captures the small but funny and interesting moments that make travelling to a new country so amazing. It tells the tale of two American travellers in Tokyo, who are experiencing loneliness and human connection even in a city filled with millions that solo travelers often experience on long stints away from home. Tokyo is the perfect backdrop for such a story, with its neon-filled karaoke bars and bustling streets.
- The Terminal (2004)
“I’m sure we’ve all had worrisome thoughts of being stranded in an airport so this movie may not be one that you’ll want to watch the night before a flight, but pretty much everyone and their mother knows this is an incredible movie nonetheless. The story follows the ordeal of an Eastern European man who is stranded and spends nine months in New York’s JFK airport after arriving, only to find his passport is invalid and he can’t return home as his country suffered a military coup and his life would be in danger”. So he stays there, making a terminal his new home as he waits for asylum. This is a classic and you should not miss it! The terminal scenes were actually shot on a soundstage built into a hangar at L.A.’s Palmdale Regional Airport.
- The Fundamentals Of Caring (2016)
This is the ultimate road trip movie with “an inspirational buddy comedy element perfectly exemplifying how life-affirming road trips and traveling can be.
It follows the story of Ben, a writer who retires early after a family loss and decides to become a caregiver for a troubled teen, Trevor, who’s fed up with being stuck in a wheelchair”. As the boy loves American roadside attractions, Ben convinces his mother to let him go on a road trip across the country. The film is packed with views of the open road with a emotional touch.
- The Beach (2000)
This evocative blockbuster adapted from Alex Garland’s book of the same name is a true classic travel film as it commercialised and turned the island of Phuket and Ko Phi Phi into one of the world’s most popular beach destinations.
It follows Richard and his group of young backpackers friends who come across a strange map that leads them in the search of an idyllic, romantic beach paradise.
- Wild (2014)
Based on the real-life extraordinary story of Cheryl Strayed, who in her 20s recently lost her mother and decided to start a new life by going on a 1,100-mile solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. As with all travel with a purpose, the miles walked provided Cheryl with the time and space to reflect on her life and she begins to discover herself. It is While going on a long hike on your own may not be everyone’s idea of a holiday, the stunning backdrop of the Pacific will definitely inspire more women to travel solo around the world.
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
If you need a little inspiration to visit India, a truly magical, spectacular and spiritually rich country with an ancient history to boot but an intimidating destination because of its intense summer heat waves and challenging economic divides then this British dramedy by John Madden is for you. Epitomizing the phrase you’re never too old to travel, this film beautifully captures the chaos and colour of this contradicting country, india, where a group of senior Britishers decides to travel and outsource their retirement to a hotel in jaipur to stay at the supposedly newly restored Marigold Hotel. What follows is mayhem, madness, romance, and tragedy that slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways and will have you both laughing and crying at the same time.
- Adrift (2018)
“Another movie adaptation of a book tells a True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea. The movie follows Tami as she sails with her beau Richard from Tahiti to San Diego. The couple’s path is intersected by one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in history, setting them adrift and into survival mode”. It’s a gripping story, that’s for sure!
- Forrest gump (1994)
This American classic is one you’ve probably seen dozens of times before. But we never get tired of this movie! This story follows the beloved character, Forrest Gump, across a tale of his eventful life while he waits at a bus stop. His memoirs also depict a series of key events in American history, so it’s quite the emotional ride. It’s a longer movie, almost two and a half hours long, but certainly an unskippable one!
- Holiday in the Wild (2019)
This movie is one of the reason for my trip to South Africa last year. The exotic shots of the African Safari convinced me for a Holiday in the Wild. This movie is about “an American woman whose husband unexpectedly leaves her. She decides to go alone on what was supposed to be their second honeymoon, a trip to Africa.
However, during the solo safari, she finds purpose in helping the animals and extends her stay. Although a little predictable, it’s a pleasant, easy-viewing film about leaving the modern luxuries of the western world and experiencing a simpler life in the wild”.
- The secret life of Walter Mitty
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty did for Iceland what The Beach did for Thailand. The story starts in New York with a man who hates his job and with some crazy twists goes on a journey of self-exploration to Iceland, Greenland, and Afghanistan. Its a must watch if you don’t want to miss out on the breathtaking scenery of all the northern lush green countries.
- Yeh jawani hai deewani
This is the perfect film which will make you immediately call your friends and plan a backpacking trip. This romantic love story showed “how a trip can bring out a major change in a person and can end their search for love. The film then takes you up from the adventurous mountain trekking to Ranbir’s journey around the world as a videographer for a travel show on TV, it was a big hit pepped up with added flavours of a Holi celebration and an entire unmissable destination wedding sequence shot in the grand palace of Udaipur”.
- Dil dhadkane do
Just like Imtiaz Ali, filmmaker Zoya Akhtar also has a penchant for travel films. The cruise taken by the “Mehras, a dysfunctional Punjabi family along with their family and friends, came as a breath of fresh air. Not only did it give a glimpse of the lavish cruise life while sailing across the Mediterranean, it also showed glimpses of the tourist spots on land in France, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, and Italy”. With fun and drama on the ship, how the vacation brought up a huge change in the lives of the characters formed the crux of the film.
- The talented mr. ripley
Though quite dark and twisted, this psychological thriller follows a con man on a vacation across Italy. Set in the 1950s, its lavish depictions of Italy feature everything from the pristine beaches of Lazio to opulent hotels of Venice. Though the titular Mr Ripley seems to murder his way across the country, this magnificent film truly does justice to the vistas it captures.
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, 1992 (New York City)
New York is one of the most popular settings for movies. Lots of films set in the city, including popular ones like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Devil Wears Prada, Serendipity, and When Harry Met Sally. But Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” is one of the most iconic. Armed with his father’s credit card, Kevin McCallister is alone again for the holidays in New York City. Through his crazy adventures, the audience gets to explore Central Park, The Plaza, and Rockefeller Center during a magical Christmas.
- Love actually
Like New York, London is the setting of lots of films. “Rom-com classics like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary” all feature London in a big way; but it’s another Christmas Movie, Love Actually that does it best. In this ensemble film which features numerous storylines set all around the city, London itself becomes a background character.
So that’s a wrap on my movie recommendations about travelling. There are alot more travel films around, but these are my current favourites. What is your favorite travel movie? Let me know in the comments. Now go enjoy those wanderlust-packed films and if you are inspired enough, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and leave on your own adventure today.