We’re all caught up in the desultory trap of 9 to 5, or with some people, 9 to never. Travel gives us the perfect opportunity to get in touch with that part of ourselves that we fear is lost. The very thought of going away to a strange new place just makes our hearts beat faster, doesn’t it? That’s the appeal of travel movies. They just make you feel like catching the next flight somewhere else. Here are the 10 best travel movies that’ll inspire your wanderlust to take wing and fly to distant places.
This movie shows Paris as you’ve never seen it before. The movie is about a naïve girl called Amélie who tries to help those around her. Along the way, she discovers love, as often happens during travel. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus and Lorella Cravotta, this movie brings Parisian life to life. Feast your eyes on the Paris metro, the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, street-side cafes and the Sienne.
Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
This movie depicts the true story of Austrian mountain climber Heinrich Harrer, who made friends with the Dalai Lama during China’s takeover of Tibet. Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Brad Pitt, Seven Years In Tibet is filled with scenic views of the Potala Palace, The Himalayas, and life in Tibet.
Into the Wild (2007)
Ever felt like throwing all your worries away and packing a backpack? That’s what college grad Christopher McCandless does, after handing over his life savings to charity. He hitchhikes to beautiful Alaska, meeting various people who shape his life along the way. Directed by Sean Penn and starring Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Keener, this movie is all about wanderlust and the rewards of travel.
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Che Guevara, before he turned into a Latin American revolutionary rode across South America with his cousin on a motorcycle. For eight months they traveled covering 14,000 plus kilometers. This movie depicts that epic journey. Directed by Walter Salles and starring Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, Mía Maestro, and Mercedes Morán, this movie has stunning visuals of Miramar, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Caracas, Venezuela; Patagonia; Nahuel Huapi Lake; Machu Picchu and the Atacama Desert.
180° South (2010 Documentary)
Follow adventurer Jeff Johnson and his friends as they travel in the footsteps of Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia in 1968. The pals pack their surfboards and climbing gear and head off to Patagonia and on the way, learn what ails our world. Directed by Chris Malloy, this movie stars Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins, Keith Malloy, Alicia Salome and Acuna Ika. The fantastic scenery and great soundtrack come together to deliver the message that travel adventure is a form of art.
Reese Witherspoon stars in this remarkable Jean-Marc Vallée movie, which chronicles a single woman’s 1,100-mile solo trip on the Pacific Crest Trail after losing her mother. Watch this movie for stunning images of the dusty Mojave desert, lush forests and snowy fields. You’ll learn to conquer grief and embrace acceptance along with the hiker.
Four camels and a faithful dog – more than enough companions to trek for 1,700-miles across the deserts of West Australia, you think? Watch this John Curran directed movie starring Mia Wasikowska, as she travels the breathtaking landscape of Western Australia, meeting a few human animals on the way. If you’re a woman who wants to travel alone, you can take great inspiration from this movie.
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
This movie showcases the beauty of India as three brothers travel across the country to reclaim their lost bonds with each other. This Wes Anderson directed movie stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Amara Karan. Enjoy scenic depictions of the magnificent Himalayas, the Indian rail routes, temples and the people of India. This hilarious movie will open your eyes to the joys of traveling and getting to know alien cultures.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
So what happens when your job is threatened? You take off, like Walter Mitty, on a global journey that transforms into an extraordinary adventure. This Ben Stiller directed movie stars Ben Stiller in the leading role, along with Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly and Kathryn Hahn. This movie takes you around the world, and lets you imagine yourself in Walter’s shoes having all those adventures.
The Endless Summer (1966 Documentary)
This 1966 cult classic spurred a global wave of adventure travel, with people packing up their surf boards, looking for that perfect wave. Directed by Bruce Brown, this movie takes you to Hawaii, New Zealand, and South Africa as the protagonists crest waves with other surf-lovers. This movie has an ongoing impact on surf culture and tourism. It has everything any surfing traveler dreams of – exotic locations, cultural exchanges, great stories and many perfect waves!
The Art of Travel (2008)
If you know anyone whose wedding plans have crashed, help them go on a solo honeymoon to any place they like. There’s nothing like travel when it comes to healing hurt souls. Directed by Thomas Whelan, this movie stars Christopher Masterson as the protagonist who trades the American dream of white picket fences and suburbia to travel miles into the spectacular South and Central American rainforest.
A Map for Saturday (2007 Documentary)
Backpackers, take note. This movie by Brook Silva-Braga, starring Scott Erikson, Rebecca Filmer, Sabrina Hezinger and Kate McNair is a travel guide for all backpackers. The protagonist abandons his cushy job to backpack the world for a year. Be prepared for life-altering discoveries and the joys of exploring the world with all your worldly goods on your back.
We can give you the names of many other travel movies that’ll make you sit up, look around, and reevaluate your present life. Be sure to check out the movie ‘Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)’ which will inspire you to travel to Tuscany, that lush Italian paradise. After watching some of these movies, do sketch a plan for the liberation of your soul via travel.