Watching the best travel movies can give you so much inspiration. Have you ever watched a movie that made you want to immediately pack your bags and take off to a new destination? Perhaps it is a gorgeous setting that is so stunningly beautiful, you want nothing more than to be there in person. Or maybe it inspires you personally, to push yourself to experience something new and different…to break out of your comfort zone? Being the Travel Nuts that we are, there is a lot of travel inspiration with the best travel movies that make us feel this way.
Some movies affect us personally, and we can connect with their stories of personal triumph. While others give us a unique perspective on life and inspire us to find our own journey on this Earth. But other movies we watch purely for the scenery alone – just because it gives us a chance to daydream! Whatever the reason, here are our top travel inspiration movies that inspire us to hit the road every time we watch them.
Best Travel Movies of All Time
(our opinion and in no particular order)
The Way (2010)
“you don’t choose a life, you live one”
Martin Sheen plays an eye doctor following the footsteps of his one and only son. He finds himself alone on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage he did not plan. Along the way, he runs into some unexpected and interesting characters who help him to complete his journey and find a new outlook on life. We absolutely LOVE everything about this movie. The scenery is great, but the story is what gets us every time. We enjoy the writing, as well as the cinematography — and the way we feel like we are experiencing the journey too.
*This is high on our shortlists of Best Travel Movies
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)
This hilarious British comedy brings 5 senior citizens out of their comfort zone for a chance to continue living their lives in India, of all places. The movie proves that you can have a new life adventure at any age and that sometimes, a bit of change (or a big change) can be good for the soul. Even if it is not quite the change you were initially looking for. This movie is a great example of learning to “go with the flow” and that life really is what you choose to make of it. Plus, it takes you to India — a feast for anyone’s senses!
Stand By Me (1986)
I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t include this favorite movie from my childhood. Stand By Me is filmed in the ’60s and in a small town in Oregon. 4 friends set off on an adventure and along the way, they experience adventures that they will never forget.
Endless Summer (1966)
This is a documentary based on Bruce Brown’s 10-year project following around 2 surfers as they continually find an endless summer. This beautiful documentary shows you some of what living and surfing in the ’60s was like. Best travel movie of all time?
Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
Brad Pitt plays a beautiful role, taking on the true story of Heinrich Harrer. Heinrich is an Australian mountain climber who had befriended the Dalai Lama during China’s takeover of Tibet.
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
This dramatization of a motorcycle road trip based on Che Guevara through South America. He and his friend have numerous encounters that will leave lasting impressions on their lives forever.
Indiana Jones (All of them)
Okay, so who doesn’t like the Indiana Jones series?!?! These movies are a classic for anyone who has a spirit for adventure! All of them are just great. Every time we come across temples we think of Indiana Jones and his adventures.
Couples Retreat (2009)
It’s no secret that we LOVE ridiculously funny movies. And not only does this movie have some seriously hilarious moments and awesome comedic actors (Vince Vaughn monologues in this movie are enough to bust my gut laughing), but the scenery is beyond spectacular! Bali, seriously?!?! Enough said! I want to pack my suitcase immediately.
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Alright, so obviously this one was picked by Liz. It’s been talked about a million times, so we won’t go into detail. Yes, it’s a story about moving on with life. And a story about taking risks in order to live a life of your dreams…that you never really knew you wanted. But of course, it’s Italy — and Tuscany no less. So the scenery is great, and the characters and moments in the movie make us laugh — because if you have been to Italy, you know how Italians can be! This is Liz’s best travel movie of all time.
One Week (2008)
One Week chronicles the motorcycle trip of a school teacher, Ben Tyler, as he rides from Toronto to Tofino, British Columbia. He stops at various landmarks along the route during his quest to find meaning in his life before his marriage.
Classic. Stupidity, luck, and always a great story! Brings back memories, oh yes it does… Best travel movie???
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
One year after their father’s death, three brothers attempt to bond over a trip across India. This funny movie will take you on a hysterical journey through India and show remind us all that many trips don’t go as planned.
A Map for Saturday (2007)
When you travel around the world, every day is a Saturday. This documentary follows 4 “regular-joes” as they travel solo around the world. Ultimately they find themselves helping Thai tsunami victims, they explain why Nepal’s Guesthouses are empty, and why Brazil’s stoplights are ignored. The documentary tracks the emotional rollercoaster of teenagers and seniors as they trek around the world. This will inspire you to back your bags today!
The Beach (2000)
If you are a traveler at heart, then you must watch this movie. No doubt, this flick will inspire you to seek out a beautiful white sand beach in the remote islands of Thailand. We have been fortunate to walk on this famous beach in Thailand, minus the man-eating sharks and crazy leaders. Amazing movie and always on someone’s best travel movies of all time lists.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
I remember seeing this in a small, independent theater when it first came out. Not having a clue what it was, I was pleasantly surprised! It’s quirky, that’s for sure, but underneath it has a great message about family always being there for you (no matter how irritating and ridiculous they can be). But even more, it reminds us that nothing can bring together quite like a good ol’ fashioned road trip! And growing up with a family who was always going on a road trip, I can relate!
The Holiday (2006)
Ah yes, another girly movie from Liz! Okay, the story is a classic romantic comedy – but mostly, it’s the idea of swapping houses and a life with another person in a totally different country that is pretty cool to think about. Of course, it always helps if the person has a quintessential cottage in a quaint village outside of London during the holidays, and if the other person has a mansion in LA. Still, it’s always cool to think about just up and escaping everyday life for a totally new one…even for just a short amount of time.
180 Degrees South (2010)
This beautiful documentary follows adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia. This adventure film will inspire you to see just how far you can push yourself. Not to mention, the scenery is breathtaking.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Based on the novel, this is a classic for anyone who was born to travel. Life really is an adventure, and this story reminds us of that. Sometimes we need to be pushed to do things that we don’t think we are capable of, but in the end, we realize that we really can do anything – and we shouldn’t need to be pushed. Ah yes, just the reason for us all to take the leap and travel…right!?! This is one of the best travel movies of all time.
So we watched this movie shortly after beginning to date, and while the first 2 minutes made us want to turn it off with massive tears of sorrow (damn you Disney and Pixar…we bawled our eyes out worse than Mufasa!) but it was well worth watching the whole movie! What a perfect example that you are never too old to pursue your dreams, and a good reminder that you shouldn’t wait to live the life that you want…because you never know what can happen in the future. Seize today!
The Bucket List (2007)
Another tearjerker. I remember watching this movie in the theater and thinking it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. But still, it inspired me to do all the things that I want to do in life…including traveling. It was a good reminder that you should live your life every day enjoying things on your bucket list.
Y Tu Mama También (2001)
In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other. A great road trip movie for all ages.
P.S. I Love You (2007)
A young widow, played by Hilary Swank, discovers that her late husband has left her 10 messages intended to help ease her pain and start a new life after his death. He leads her on an epic journey to help her discover a full and happy life without him. Good luck trying to make it through this one without shedding a tear. The scenery in this movie is beautiful.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Another inspiring tale of personal triumph. But for us, this movie was a real eye-opener into life in India. We still have not been to India, but it is definitely on our travel bucket list. However, this movie helped to show us what life is really like in India. And even with all the bad, there is still hope and determination among so many of the people.
This film will make you want to pack your bags and start seeing the world now. It is a beautiful movie that depicts different cultures around the world and shows you all the beauty the world has to offer. Watch this movie!!!
The Proposal (2009)
Yup, another romantic comedy…but seriously, the scenery is awesome! We’ve always wanted to visit Alaska, but we haven’t had the chance to get there yet. This movie is full of amazing vistas that will definitely make you want to book your trip now. We can’t wait to get to Alaska and explore the natural beauty, especially in the islands around Sitka…but the first big question, how can we stay at that house?!?! Seriously, that is the perfect example of Liz’s dream house!
Encounters at the End of the World (2007)
Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica. He is looking to capture the continent’s beauty and investigate the characters living there, which may surprise you. Have you ever wanted to visit Antarctica?
National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)
A “top travel movie” list would be incomplete without the hysterical National Lampoon’s European Vacation. The Grizzwalds drive across Europe and encounter some pretty ridiculous situations. A memorable movie to say the least.
Forrest Gump (1994)
This is a movie that many travelers may not consider an inspirational travel movie. Well, honestly this is one of my favorite movies of all time. Forrest Gump takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions as we see his progression in life. The soundtrack of this movie is one of the best fo all times and scenery is jaw-dropping. “I just felt like running!”
*Another one of the best travel movies of all time on our shortlist.
Up in the Air (2009)
What traveler doesn’t want to be in the million-milers club?!? We all wish we can have the perks that come along with being a valued frequent flyer. Even though this movie shows off some of the loneliness of a busy business traveler’s life, I can’t help but relate to the love of flying.
Due Date (2010)
A ridiculous story of an accidental cross-country road trip, the kind no one would ever want to have. Zack and Robert Downey Jr make a hilarious duo in this film.
Into the Wild (2007)
Most travelers are familiar with this story. After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. It’s a great book, but an amazing film worth watching.
Reese Witherspoon gives an Oscar-worthy performance of a solo hiker who walks 1,100 miles to be able to recover from a catastrophe. This is a spiritual journey that will take you on a roller coaster of emotions. Reese does this role justice. No wonder she got nominated for Best Actress for this role.
The Goonies (1985)
Easily one of the best adventure movies of all time, especially for people from our generation. There’s something special about the idea of going on a treasure hunt with our best friends. The great thing about this movie is that it never gets old. “Hey, You Guys!!!!” It’s a classic story of youth adventure!
Tell us below if we missed one of your Best Travel Movies of all time!
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