Here is our selection of the best travel movies. One of them will give you inspiration for your next travel adventure.
Films, whether traveling or not, and of all kinds, make it possible to get to know the world without leaving your home. What distinguishes the best travel movies is that they tell a story about a journey. Whether in space or time. Whether physical or spiritual. And a well-told story awakens, in many, the “travel appetite”.
The travel films remind us that ‘traveling’ is part of our DNA. After all, being a nomad is something that has been in our genes since the very beginning. In some of us, the power of these genes is so strong that it manifests itself in an uncontrollable desire to discover the world, what we call wanderlust.
The best travel films are those that make our feet uneasy, stimulate the mind and awaken the urge to escape, to venture out. This applies both to crossing borders and to exploring our own “backyard”.
On the other hand, one thing that encourages many people to travel is a good travel film. It gives inspiration and motivation to a new destination, or creates that courage needed to make travel dreams a reality.
The best travel movies can transport you to another world. They entertain, generate the desire to dicover, encourage one to seek out real travel experiences, makes us aware of other realities and can even change our lives.
So that you can get to know the world through the best travel movies, we have handpicked them among our favorites and the ones that most inspire people to travel. So, grab the popcorn, sit comfortably on the couch and get inspired for your next trip.
Best Travel Movies
Into the Wild (2007) | 2h 28min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
Synopsis: “Emory University’s best student and athlete, Christopher McCandless, decides to abandon his materialistic life after graduating. He sells his stuff, gives all his savings of thousands of dollars to charity and hitchhikes through various states of the USA to the wild and superb, but icy and isolated Alaska, the last wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. ”
One of the best travel movies ever made, without a doubt. The real story of this young idealist is inspiring, moving and heartbreaking in equal measure. It portrays the possibility of living with much less than what we have and are concerned with having. But the film shows the good and the bad of solo travel, vanlife, immersion in wild territories, the search for isolation in nature.
Inspirational phrase: When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.
Where will it take you: USA.
Wild (2014) | 1h 55min | Biography, Drama
Synopsis: “With the separation of her husband and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed lost all hope. In a hasty decision, with no experience and driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl walks more than a thousand kilometers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Alone. Cheryl moves on against all odds on a journey that goes crazy, strengthens and finally heals. ”
Although it relies heavily on clichés (sometimes we need to repeat them 100 times until we can get them in) it is on our list of best travel movies for two reasons. Firstly, because we believe that walking is the best way to travel today, whether on a long trail in contact with nature or in more urban travel destinations as we better capture the essence of places (and ours). Second, because the Pacific Crest Trail sets are simply superb!
Inspirational phrase: There’s a sunrise and a sunset every day, and you can chose to be there for it.
Where will it take you: USA
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) | 2h 6min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
Synopsis: “The dramatization of a medical student’s motorcycle trip, accompanied by his best friend, in search of the meaning of his life. The young man who would later become known in the world as the revolutionary Che Guevara. ”
The film portrays the encounters between people and the perception of the value of life (and of values in life) against the backdrop of a succession of beautiful landscapes in South America. A film of self-discovery and maturation where human topography is mapped.
Inspirational quote: You gotta fight for every breath and tell death to go to hell. (“Hay to profit from every bit of air and send the muerte al carajo.” In the original language it sounds more … sincere!)
Where will it take you: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela
The Way (2010) | 2h 3min | Drama, Comedy
Synopsis: “A conformist father travels to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, an anonymous city on the border between Spain and France to rescue the body of the son who died in the Pyrenees while traveling El Camino, the Camino de Santiago . Lost in the emotions and pain of mourning, he decides to make the pilgrimage himself that his son has not finished. ”
Funny, moving, current and introspective, The Way is one of the best travel movies we’ve ever seen! Several times! A film that shows that the journey is more important than the destination and how a pilgrimage can be transformative. The Way is inspiring, cathartic, poetic, hopeful and will make you want to put a backpack on your back, walk out the door, start walking to meet.
Inspirational phrase: You don’t choose a life. You live one.
The Beach (2000) | 1h 59min | Adventure, Drama, Romance
Synopsis: “Richard travels to Thailand and, arriving in Bangkok, finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumors say that the map indicates a lonely paradise on the beach, a destination of absolute tropical happiness. Excited and intrigued, he decides to meet him with a group of friends. ”
This film is on many lists of best travel films and deserves for the scenery of Thailand’s idyllic beaches and jungles that make us dream of trips to exotic places. It also teaches us, in the most difficult way, that there can be a big difference between dream and reality, and that not everything that light is gold.
Inspirational phrase: I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for. Because it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something. And if you find that moment… It lasts forever.
Where will it take you: Thailand
Tracks (2013) | 1h 52min | Biography, Drama
Synopsis: “The true and remarkable story of Robyn Davidson, a young woman who leaves her life in the city to take a lonely walk through almost 3,000 kilometers of vast Australian desert. Accompanied only by her dog and four camels, she sets out on a journey of self-discovery that changes her life. Halfway there, she meets National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who starts photographing her trip. ”
It had to be part of our list of best travel films as it stands out (and amazes us) for the natural and wild scenery of the beautiful and lonely Australian countryside, a dream destination for any Vacancy. It is inspiring for the way it brings to the surface the remarkable strength of a traveling woman without covering the dark side of her journey.
Inspirational quote: Face your fears, find your way.
Where will it take you: Australia
Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001) | 2h 2min | Comedy, Romance
Synopsis: “Amélie is an innocent and naive young woman who lives and works in Paris. One day, he decides to change the world by changing people’s lives: helping the people he knows motivated by his own sense of justice. In the process, discover love. A comical and charming fantasy with a great soundtrack. ”
We found Amélie on all the lists of best travel movies. Or almost all. It is a film about traveling, dreaming, fleeing. If you have not been to Paris before, you will have a sudden urge to plan a trip after entering the world of Amélie that shows us more than 80 places of charm and exquisite mystery of modern and current Paris, through a look of “belle naive”.
Inspirational phrase: You are in love with others, you can be a friend.
Where will it take you: to a dream Paris, made of light and cotton candy.
Eat Pray Love (2010) | 2h 13min | Drama romance
Synopsis: “Liz Gilbert has everything a modern woman dreams of: husband, home, successful career. Until one day everything falls apart. Lost, confused, recently divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of his comfort zone, risking everything to know what he is really looking for in life. Embark on a journey around the world that becomes a search for self-discovery. On her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of food in Italy, the power of prayer in India and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali. ”
Who wouldn’t put this film on a list of best travel movies? True, it uses a very romanticized and soft language. But at the center are travel as a way of defeating fears, destroying prejudices, achieving self-knowledge and transforming being.
Inspirational phrase: You gotta stop using your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.
Where will it take you: New York, Italy, India, Bali – Indonesia
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) | 1h 54min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Synopsis: “When your work as a photo negative archivist is threatened, and depends on finding a unique and mysterious negative, the timid and insecure Walter (who daydreams about his fantasy world where he is heroic, balanced, sure of himself and the owner of his destiny) is forced to leave his comfort zone and take action in the real world, embarking on a trip around the world that becomes the most extraordinary adventure he could ever imagine. ”
When the topic of a film is to inspire anyone to escape from everyday life and embark on an adventure, their place on a list of best travel films is instant. Have fun with the adventures of Walter Mitty to see what happens when a monotonous life takes a 180º turn and becomes an epic adventure.
Inspirational phrase: Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.
Where will it take you: Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Nepal, Afghanistan, USA
The Painted Veil (2006) | 2h 5min | Drama romance
Synopsis: “A story of (un) love set in the 1920s that tells the story of a young English couple, Walter Fane, a middle class doctor, and Kitty, an upper class woman, who gets married for the wrong reasons. Upon moving to Shanghai, Walter learns that Kitty was unfaithful to him and, in an act of revenge, he takes a job in a remote village in China devastated by a deadly epidemic. Kitty is forced to go along. Their journey brings meaning to the relationship and gives them a life purpose in one of the most remote and beautiful places on Earth. ”
The film takes place between the mystical fog of placid rivers and the torrid dryness of desert landscapes and a multiplicity of natural greens that surround us. Perhaps a metaphor for the emotions of the two main characters. Anyway, it is one of the travel films that most inspired us to visit China.
Inspirational phrase: Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people.
Where will it take you: China
Lost in Translation (2003) | 1h 42min | Drama romance
Synopsis: “Lonely fifty-year-old Bob Harris, a former movie star, and Charlotte, a newlywed young woman in inner conflict, meet by chance at the hotel bar in Tokyo. Bob is there to film a Japanese whiskey commercial. Charlotte accompanies her husband. Strangers in a foreign land, the two find escape, distraction and understanding in the blinding lights of Tokyo and form a bond that is as unlikely as it is sincere and meaningful. ”
When it comes to culture clashes, communication difficulties and misunderstandings, Lost in Translation hits the scale. And in a fun way. Nothing like an “eye-opener” of what is truly the search for new experiences in different cultures to make one of the best travel films.
Inspirational phrase: You’re not hopeless.
Where will it take you: Japan
Seven Years in Tibet (1997) | 2h 16min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
Synopsis: “The arrogant Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer travels to the Himalayas to climb mountains in 1939. The war begins in the middle of his journey and he is detained in a prisoner of war camp by the Allies. Harrer flees to Tibet, where he befriends the Dalai Lama child and witnesses the Tibetan-Chinese confrontation when China takes over Tibet. ”
A film about friendship, maturity and humility that won a place in the list of best films about travel due to the irresistible desire that arouses anyone to travel to Tibet.
Inspirational phrase: We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can’t be solved, worrying will do no good.
Where will it take you: Austria, Tibet, China
The Bucket List (2007) | 1h 37min | Comedy, Drama
Synopsis: “Edward Cole, a corporate billionaire, and Carter Chambers, a working-class mechanic, have nothing in common except their terminal cancer. Forced to share a hospital room together, they decide to flee and do all the things they have always wanted to do before dying, crossing every point on their respective wish lists. In the process, they become unlikely friends and finally find joy in life. ”
This comedy is an excellent way to remember to live life to the fullest, to take advantage of all situations. And we have to understand that the adventure of traveling is ageless. It also motivates us to move from dream to action. So, include this movie in your list of best travel movies if you need a little push to start scratching the “dream trips” off your list and making them real. No euphoria or urgency. After all, it’s never too late.
Inspirational phrase: Find the joy in your life.
Where will it take you: USA, India, Egypt, France, China, Tanzania
Life of Pi (2012) | 2h 7min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Synopsis: “In Canada, a writer visits Indian storyteller Pi Patel and asks him to tell him his life story. Pi tells the story of his childhood in India. One day, his father, who owns a zoo, explains that he has no support to maintain the zoo and therefore decides to move to Canada with his family to sell the animals. They all board a Japanese freighter with the animals. Out of nowhere, there is a storm, followed by a shipwreck. Pi survives in a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger nicknamed Richard Parker. Drifting in the Pacific Ocean with the hyena getting aggressive and Richard Parker going hungry, Pi has to find a way to survive. ”
A real trip? A fable? A metaphor? The fertile imagination of a boy taken by fear leads us to travel across … Sea! A fantasy world, endearing on the one hand, scary on the other, but always vivid and bold. Because of the different perspective of travel, through the eyes (or imagination) of a child, it goes directly into the list of the best travel films. It teaches us that, in good and bad, a trip always teaches us something.
Inspirational phrase: Don’t lose hope. Doubt is useful. It keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it has been tested.
Where will it take you: Canada, India
The Darjeeling Limited (2007) | 1h 31min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Synopsis: “An emotional comedy in which three brothers join in a journey of self-discovery and resumption of broken family ties, with the vibrant and sensual landscapes of the Rajasthan region in India as a backdrop on board the Darjeeling Limited train. An authentic feast of the senses that transports us to the vibrant colors, intense smells and exotic flavors of India. ”
The film is a metaphor for how heavy and exhausting it is to carry the past with us and that only by leaving behind things that weigh, hold and force us to shape ourselves can we truly progress.
Inspirational quote: I love the way this country smells. I’ll never forget it. It’s kind of spicy.
Where will it take you: India
Before Sunrise (1995) | 1h 41min | Drama romance
Synopsis: “Jesse, an American tourist, and Céline, a French student, meet casually on the train they both took in Budapest. The strong empathy between the two develops and Jesse asks Céline to get off the train with him in Vienna and spend the day together. Until dawn. Céline accepts. In less than twenty-four hours and as the hours progress, these two complete strangers connect so intimately that it raises the question of what special chemistry unites two people so strongly? What will become this bond so magnetizing? Unfortunately, they both know that this will probably be their only night together! ”
Of all these travel films, and if we abstain from the romantic side, this is a very well told story of how travel puts us in places in the world where there may be someone with whom we have high empathy and have managed to create such strong ties.
Inspirational phrase: If there’s any kind of magic in this world… it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know it’s almost impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.
Where will it take you: Vienna. As a bonus, there are still two sequels! Before Nightfall takes you to Paris and Before Midnight to sunny Greece.
Little Miss Sunshine | 1h 41min | Comedy, Drama
Synopsis: “A family. Failed father, anxious mother, stubborn rebel son, suicidal uncle and heroin addicted grandfather, are determined to do everything possible to make little Olive arrive in time for a beauty contest. To do this, they have to cross a series of American states in a… decrepit VW. The first of the (many) misfortunes (to be guessed) on this trip is the van breakdown. ”
A family roadtrip? Theoretically, it is the pinnacle of a happy family on vacation … In reality, it can be a nightmare or a Greek tragedy. Either way, it is memorable. Not everything works on wheels. But does it have to work? As we love roadtrips, we would add any iconic movie from a road trip to this list of best travel movies. After all, it motivates anyone to do their Route 66.
Inspirational phrase: If I want to fly, I’ll find a way to fly. You do what you love, and f @ * # the rest.
Where will it take you: USA