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34 Movies That Will Make You Want to Get Off the Couch and See the World

From "The Holiday" to "Romancing the Stone" to "Eat Pray Love," these travel movies will inspire some serious wanderlust.

best travel movies

There's nothing like an epic on-screen adventure to get you acquainted with some place new and dreaming up an enviable vacation itinerary. For me (and basically all my childhood friends), this first happened following a viewing of Disney's "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" back in 2003, when Hilary Duff's character traveled to Rome to live out every teen's parent-free European fantasy. Though I've graduated to more mature travel movies over the last 18 years, one thing hasn't changed: films with gorgeous backdrops give me an unruly case of wanderlust.

From classics like "Around the World in 80 Days" and "Roman Holiday" to modern masterpieces such as "Wild" and "Crazy Rich Asians," travel films tend to ignite a longing for freedom and excitement. Maybe it's the sight of beaches on your screen triggering a phenomenon known as Blue Mind , or maybe watching a couple of pals take to the open road for a life changing road trip just makes you want to feel unconfined. Whatever it is, sometimes a travel film is all you need to provoke that feeling. That's why we've rounded up, in no particular order, 34 of the best travel movies that inspire wanderlust. Maybe they'll be cause for a change of scenery — or maybe they'll incite the adventure of a lifetime.

'Thelma & Louise' (1991)

Widely regarded as one of the best road trip movies of all time, this buddy film follows best friends Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) as they drive through the American Southwest after Louise kills a man in Arkansas.

'The Holiday' (2006)

A Hollywood movie trailer producer (Cameron Diaz) and a London reporter (Kate Winslet) decide to switch homes for a few weeks after finding out their respective boyfriends have been cheating on them. The results offer enough glamor shots of Los Angeles and cozy footage of England's countryside to make you want to pack up and head to either city immediately.

'Crazy Rich Asians' (2018)

Though this movie revolves around the conflict between New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and her boyfriend's wealthy family, "Crazy Rich Asians" could pass as a tourism film for Singapore . If the Southeast Asian country wasn't on your bucket list before, this film's dazzling shots of Singapore, specifically the acclaimed Marina Bay Sands Hotel , may convince you.

'Wild' (2014)

Based on a true story, "Wild" sees Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) hike more than a thousand miles from California to Washington on the Pacific Crest Trail following her divorce and the death of her mother. On her journey, Cheryl treks through the Mojave Desert , the Sierra Nevada, and Mount Hood National Forest while reflecting on her life.

'Eat Pray Love' (2010)

After her divorce, Elizabeth (Julia Roberts) sets off to explore the world with hopes of finding herself in the process. Elizabeth's inspiring and uplifting journey takes her — and viewers — to Italy , India , and Indonesia where she discovers the pleasure of nourishment, prayer, and romance.

'La La Land' (2016)

Admittedly, this musical doesn't feature much traveling (save for a brief road trip to Mia's hometown in Nevada), but the dreamy, oversaturated shots of Los Angeles in nearly every scene are enough to make anyone want to book a flight to the City of Angels.

'Before Sunrise' (1995)

Two strangers meet aboard a train from Budapest. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is hoping to catch a flight home to the United States while Céline (Julie Delpy) is en route to Paris . Instead of sticking to their plans, the two disembark in Vienna and spend the entire night exploring the city and falling in love. A viewing of this movie will leave you longing for an epic adventure in the picturesque Austrian capital .

'National Lampoon’s Vacation' (1983)

National Lampoon 's classic comedy series is now six films strong, but it was 1983's "Vacation" that started it all. Unlike the franchise's most famous film, "Christmas Vacation," the original movie sees the Griswolds actually hit the road for a trip to Walley World, an amusement park several states away. After you watch Chevy Chase's hilarious hijinks unfold in this film, let sequels "European Vacation" and "Vegas Vacation" inspire further travels.

'The Darjeeling Limited' (2007)

After the death of their father, three estranged brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman) decide to hop aboard a train in India called The Darjeeling Limited to reconnect and experience spiritual self-discovery. Viewers catch glimpses of the Indian countryside, Hindu temples, and eventually the Himalayas — but not without a few jokes along the way.

'Up' (2009)

Arguably the most heart-wrenching animated film of all time, "Up" earns a spot on our list thanks to adorably grumpy widower Carl Fredricksen's determination to fulfill his own wanderlust. With the help of thousands of balloons and a young sidekick named Russell, Carl and his house soar across the world on an incredible journey that culminates at Paradise Falls (based on Angel Falls in Venezuela).

'Raiders of the Lost Ark' (1981)

"Raiders" kicks off the iconic Indiana Jones series with a quest to find the fabled Ark of the Covenant. On his journey, Indy (Harrison Ford) makes stops in Nepal , Egypt , and the Aegean Sea , and, of course, famously runs from a giant rolling boulder in a temple in Peru . Follow up this film with its sequels, "Temple of Doom" (1984), "Last Crusade" (1989), and "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (2008), to see Indy travel to Jordan , the Amazon jungle, and beyond.

'Mamma Mia!' (2008)

Few movies offer the kind of gorgeously colorful beach imagery "Mamma Mia!" and its 2018 sequel, "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" provide. If you haven't seen the films, you likely know them as "the movies with all the ABBA songs." But if you have seen them, you know they're actually about three men who travel to the impossibly beautiful, albeit fictional, Greek island of Kalokairi, each believing they're the father of a young bride-to-be.

'Nomadland' (2020)

After losing her job in the town of Empire, Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) decides to sell her belongings, buy a van, and drive across the country working odd jobs. Fern travels through deserts, small towns, and nomad communes where she works, makes new friends, and learns about life. If you've ever fantasized about dropping everything and taking to the open road, "Nomadland" will probably either convince or deter you.

'Romancing the Stone' (1984)

When New York City-based romance novelist Joan Wilder's sister is kidnapped in Cartagena , Joan (Kathleen Turner) ends up on a rescue-mission-turned-treasure-hunt with adventure-seeking Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas). Don't be surprised if a viewing of this movie makes you want to trade in your annual beach vacation for a wild ride through the Colombian jungle .

'Paris, Je T’aime' (2006)

Paris, Je T'aime is different from the other films on this list in that it's not one film — it's 18 short films that all feature Paris as a central theme. Because the project is made up of 18 different stories in 18 different arrondissements around the city, viewers get a true, unfiltered sense of Paris, and may even find themselves inspired to visit lesser-known locales in the City of Light.

'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert' (1994)

If you've ever longed to take a laughter-fueled road trip with your best friends, this film is worth a watch. In the flick, pals Tick (Hugo Weaving), Adam (Guy Pearce), and Bernadette (Terence Stamp) head out on a cross-country road trip through the Australian outback to perform their successful drag act in a new town. The trio takes up residence in an oversized tour bus called Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in this fun, ahead-of-its-time dramedy.

'RV' (2006)

While plenty of road trip movies have been made over the years, "RV" might be the only one that takes place in, well, an RV . Though the main characters in this movie face more bad luck than fun, family bonding, the film does feature generous desert , mountain , and wilderness scenery, as well as an all-star cast (Robin Williams, Kristin Chenoweth, Cheryl Hines, and Josh Hutcherson are just a few that appear).

'Point Break' (2015)

Yes, we're talking about the "Point Break" remake rather than the original film from 1991, but hear us out: the imagery in this movie inspires some serious wanderlust. The story takes viewers to several of the wildest places on Earth (Mexico's Cave of Swallows, Venezuela's Angel Falls, etc.) and though the plot is slightly different from the original (think eco-terrorism rather than bank robberies), it is quiet possibly the most visually stimulating travel movie ever made.

'Girls Trip' (2017)

When was the last time you took a trip with just your core group of girlfriends? A quick watch of this comedy will have you planning your next gal pal getaway faster than you can say "PTO." In the film, a group of friends (Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, and Jada Pinkett Smith) head to New Orleans , but you'll be ready to travel anywhere with your best buds after watching "Girls Trip" — even if it's just to the next town over.

'The Way' (2010)

After his son is killed walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route to Galicia, Spain, Tom Avery (Martin Sheen) sets out on the trail himself to retrieve his son's body. Along the way, Tom meets several other travelers who are walking the trail in hopes of changing their own lives for one reason or another. This inspiring film may just persuade you to make the famed pilgrimage yourself, or to book a similarly reflective trip.

'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' (2005)

If you were a teen or pre-teen in 2005, you have likely seen this movie and its 2008 sequel, and can attest that both inspire major wanderlust. The first film follows best friends Carmen, Lena, Bridget, and Tibby (who share a magical pair of jeans that fits them all perfectly) as they spend a summer in different parts of the world. Lena (Alexis Bledel) travels to Santorini, Greece , which makes for some seriously dreamy backdrops. In the sequel, the whole gang heads to Greece, but not before Bridget (Blake Lively) spends some time in Turkey .

'Up in the Air' (2009)

This George Clooney-led comedy-drama makes business travel and airports look glamorous — hospitable, even. Boasting just as many cityscape shots as it does plane scenes, "Up in the Air" will have you longing to be in the skies, jet setting off to some place new. Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga also star in this critically-acclaimed film about a man who lives out of a suitcase.

'Around the World in 80 Days' (1956)

If this classic adventure film doesn't inspire daydreams of traveling somewhere new, we're not sure what will. In 1872, Englishman Phileas Fogg makes a bet with several members of his gentleman's club that he can travel around the globe in just 80 days. On his journey, he and sidekick Jean Passepartout bring viewers along as they travel by gas balloon to France , Spain , Italy , India, Hong Kong , the United States , and more.

'Home Alone 2: Lost in New York' (1992)

The Home Alone movies usually fall under the comedy or holiday categories, but if you think about it, the second installment in the series is totally a travel movie. The film does a fantastic job of showing off the glamorous side of New York City , the place young Kevin McCallister accidentally ends up while the rest of his family vacations in Florida. From shots of the Rockefeller Christmas tree to the Manhattan skyline , this film is sure to inspire a trip to the Big Apple.

'Under the Tuscan Sun' (2003)

You won't find shots of northern Italy as serene as the ones in this feel-good film about independence, love, and friendship. After losing everything in her divorce, American writer Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) suddenly finds herself beginning a new life in the small Tuscan town of Cortona. And if you're anything like us, Googling "Tuscan villas for sale" will become a regular part of your life after watching this film.

'Angels & Demons' (2009)

Though "Angels & Demons" is classified as a thriller, it'll definitely make you want to head to Rome and dig up some history, both figuratively and literally. Based on the Dan Brown novel of the same name, the story follows Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) as he discovers secrets of the Vatican and faces off against the supposed Illuminati. If you're a fan, check out other Dan Brown adventure travel films, "The Da Vinci Code" (2006) and "Inferno" (2016).

'Easy Rider' (1969)

Our list features travel by plane, train , RV, and even hot air balloon , but "Easy Rider" is the only movie that follows a journey via motorcycle. In the film, drug smugglers Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) ride from Los Angeles to New Orleans in hopes of reveling at Mardi Gras to celebrate their latest score. On their journey, they stop in several small towns, make a few friends, and unsuccessfully try to evade trouble.

'Out of Africa' (1985)

If Africa doesn't currently have a spot on your bucket list, this film might make you rethink that. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford star in this true story about Karen Blixen, a Danish woman who moves to Nairobi with her new husband, and builds a life there despite their many marital issues. "Out of Africa" features sweeping panoramic shots of Nairobi in nearly every scene, leaving it no wonder the drama won seven Academy Awards, including one for Best Cinematography.

'Johnson Family Vacation' (2004)

This family comedy starring Cedric the Entertainer, Vanessa Williams, and Solange Knowles follows the mildly dysfunctional Johnsons as they road trip to their family reunion in Missouri. On the drive, the family hilariously encounters just about every road trip cliché, from picking up a problematic hitchhiker to running out of gas, before making it to the reunion and performing a musical number to nab the coveted Family of the Year trophy.

'Midnight in Paris' (2011)

Set in present-day Paris , this Oscar-winning film is typically a favorite among art and literature lovers. At midnight each night, screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson) is transported back in time through different eras of Paris, where he befriends Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Pablo Picasso, and even strikes up a romance with a 1920s woman named Adriana. The film offers plenty of inspiration for a culturally rich trip to France.

'The Parent Trap' (1998)

"The Parent Trap" is another film that may not immediately stand out as a travel flick, but once you take into account the film's many settings ( London , San Francisco, Napa Valley , and the northeastern U.S.), it's easy to see that this family classic has been a travel film all along. Plus, the main characters spend lots of time on planes, boats, and camping trips throughout the movie.

'The Talented Mr. Ripley' (1999)

Carefully spliced between disturbing revelations and suspenseful plot twists are luxurious shots of Italian beaches in this Matt Damon-led film. When Tom Ripley (Damon) is paid to travel to Italy and bring Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) back to the States by Dickie's father, Tom ends up befriending — and later becoming obsessed with — Dickie. Despite the plot quickly darkening, viewers are treated to bright, colorful scenes in Rome and glamorous seaside villages .

'Roman Holiday' (1953)

Romance? Check. Stunning visuals of Rome ? Check. Audrey Hepburn? Check. This classic travel comedy lands at the top of many movie buffs' all-time favorite lists, and for good reason. Bored with her mundane life as a European princess while on a trip to Rome, Ann (Hepburn) ditches her duties and hits the town with journalist Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck). The two take viewers on a tour of the Eternal City and fall in love in the process.

'Pee-wee’s Big Adventure' (1985)

Before you roll your eyes, take a moment to acknowledge that this film essentially sends happy-go-lucky Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) on the great American road trip in search of his stolen bicycle. In this comedy for adults and children alike, Pee-wee stops at the Alamo, the Cabazon Dinosaur park in California , and Hollywood . Traveling by car, truck, and train, Pee-wee befriends a biker gang, competes in a rodeo, and of course, famously dances to "Tequila" before his journey is through.

Hillary Maglin is a digital editor who splits most of her time between New York City and Pittsburgh. You can find her on Instagram @hillarymaglin , where her DMs are always open to discuss travel gear, wine bars, and Taylor Swift's latest record.

60 Best Travel Movies to Inspire Wanderlust

Written By: The Planet D

Travel Movies

Updated On: May 24, 2023

What makes for great travel movies? We feel it is when the destination becomes the star. A movie that showcases beautiful cities , landscapes, and culture is a movie that inspires us to visit a destination or relive our time there when we get home. Dave and I love movies. We worked in the film business in our previous careers and lived for the cinema. So when we chose our list of the best travel movies, we took it seriously. 

Table of Contents

The Best Travel Movies

Our choices for the best travel movies are probably very different than yours, so leave a comment and let us know what you think the best travel movies are. We are always looking for new travel films to ignite our wanderlust. To rent or buy one of these travel films to inspire wanderlust right now, check out Amazon Instant Video

The Best Travel Movies to Inspire Wanderlust

1. in bruges.

This is by far the best travel movie. One of the characters actually carries around a guidebook! If you love a good caper set in an exotic location, you’ll love In Bruges. Collin Farrel and Brendan Gleeson star as two hit men who are sent to Bruges, Belgium to hide out after a job goes bad.

The more Colin Farrell’s character complained of hating Bruges (in Belgium), the more you took in the surroundings of Bruges and noticed just how picturesque the city is. While the film is primarily a crime drama and dark comedy it intertwines the city’s picturesque locations and cultural aspects with the narrative seamlessly.

Rent or Buy In Bruges on Amazon

2. banshees of inisherin trailer

I was so excited to see Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson reunite and this time, they share screen time in one of the newest travel films on our list, the Banshees of Inisherin. The movie takes place on the Aran Islands of Ireland and showcases the beauty of that destination as two friends go through some very dark times.

Gleessan’s character Colm decides he has wasted his life and cuts ties with his lifelong best friend Pádraic (Farrell) and all kinds of darkness begins. It had some of the best acting I’ve seen in years, and every one of the four main cast was nominated for Acadamy Awards.

3. One Week

One of our favorite travel movies of all time. And not because it is set in Canada. One Week follows a young man driving a motorcycle on a cross-country road trip across Canada after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. No movie has made me want to explore a country more than One Week. It showcases Canada beautifully.

I didn’t want to see this movie because of its morbid subject, but it ended up being an uplifting and enlightening film of self-discovery. It truly is the ultimate Canadian road trip movie. Rent One Week Here on Amazon

4. Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I had to watch this most popular of all travel films twice before deciding I liked The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and I can understand why it is at the top of most lists of best travel movies. This movie takes you from New York, to Iceland, Greenland and the Himalayas.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty shows how taking a risk and getting out of your comfort zone can lead to great things. The ending was my favorite, but I won’t spoil it for you. Rent it now .

5. Before Sunrise Trilogy

We have three of our favorite travel movies in one package! And each showcases the destination they are in. The Before Sunrise movies are about love but they are also very much travel films. They were filmed 10 years apart and they take place in three different locations around Europe – Vienna , Paris , and Greece .

The Before Sunrise trilogies capture the essence of each destination. And here’s a cool fact – Dave and I stayed at  Costa Navarino  in Greece where After Midnight took place!

It is probably the best of all romantic travel movies out there that literally spans three decades. (They film a movie every 10 years). Watch Before Sunrise and Sunset on Amazon Prime

6. Planes Trains and Automobiles

John Candy and Steve Martin take an unexpected cross country road trip from New York City to Chicago. This is Dave’s pick for the best travel movie.

This is considered one of the great comedy travel movies, but I look at it as a drama. John Candy’s character breaks my heart. You may think of it as a holiday film but it is also one of the funniest travel films out there. If you’re in the mood for a good heartfelt comedy,  rent it today.

7. Julie & Julia

Not only does Julie and Julia star the great Meryl Streep but this travel movie is based on blogging. It’s like it was made for us! I was surprised by how much I loved this movie based on the true story of Julia Child and I didn’t go in expecting much.

Julie & Julia follows the life of Julia Child during her time in Paris and cuts throughout to the present day in New York . It makes you crave French cuisine and a life of decadence in France. When it comes to choosing a  favorite travel movie this one is right up there. Rent it now

8. The Big Year

The Big Year follows Jack Black (who doesn’t love Jack Black?), Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin traveling around the United States with hopes of becoming the number 1 bird watcher in the world. It ended up being one of the most surprising travel films I’ve seen.

They are obsessed with spotting more species of birds than any other person in 365 days. I related to this movie because it is more about the journey and how having a great adventure can change a life. Rent it Now

Best Travel Movies for Adventure Lovers

9. into the wild.

The real-life true story chronicles the journey of  Christopher McCandless who went on a cross country road trip through the US and ended up in Alaska .

I read Into the Wild years ago and was mesmerized trying to figure out how someone could give up everything to go and live off the grid. John Krakauer dug into the psyche of McCandless and what motivates people to take risks.

Things don’t turn out as he hoped, and it is a lesson learned for would-be adventurers. Enjoy it now !

Wild is an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s travel memoir, From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail. Based on a true story, it follows her journey about putting a life back together after it all falls apart.

Pushing the limits physically on the Pacific Crest Trail and stepping out of her comfort zone take her on a journey of self-discovery. A struggle and journey can change a life and Reese Witherspoon is excellant as usual. Check it out on Amazon

11. Everest

Everest by John Krakauer is the true story of the catastrophe that happened on Everest in 1996. It’s a first-hand account by Krakauer who was on Everest at the time. While the movie focuses on the events, it does showcase the psyche of why people climb mountains and it shows the culture and beauty of the Everest Region.

As far as travel movies go, even though it is based on a dark subject, it does make me want to go to Everest. So we did! Plus, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin, so how can you go wrong?

  • You can rent this movie made in Hollywood
  • You can also check out the documentary.

Tracks is another travel movie base on a true story and I really enjoyed it. It’s a film about a young woman who walks across Australia from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with four camels and her pet dog.

What I really liked is how the lead character Robyn Davidson learns the skills needed to survive. She is visited by a photographer from National Geographic who shared her story and was led through the sacred lands of the Outback by an Aboriginal elder. Watch this Amazing true story on Amazon ! 

13. World’s Fastest Indian 

From New Zealand to America, Anthony Hopkins takes his Indian Motorcycle to the salt flats to see how far he can go. The World’s Fastest Indian is one of my favorite performances by Hopkins and it is one of the great underrated travel movies.

He is vulnerable, lovable, and inspiring. This true story takes you on a fun road trip along the way until he reaches the Salt Flats of California and that is when you really start rooting for him to win! Rent it on Amazon Prime

14. Adventures of Pricilla Queen of the Desert

Adventures of Pricilla Queen of the Desert follows a group of drag queens taking a cross country road trip in a van named “Pricilla” from Sydney to Alice Springs where they are going to perform their drag show.

They meet a lot of characters along the way and this film introduced us to superstars Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce who joined the already-established Terrence Stamp.

15. Motorcycle Diaries

Ever since watching one of the best travel movies about South America, (you guessed it, the Motorcycle Diaries) wanted to do a road trip through South America. (PS. I’m still dreaming of that road trip through South America one day)

Gael García Bernal stars as Che Guevera and it follows his journey on a motorcycle trip through South America before he became a part of the revolution. This movie is based on a true story where Che traveled through the continent and I believe it was traveling through South America that Che saw what people were going through and that is what sparked him to take action in his own way.

  • Check it out for yourself
  • Rent it on Amazon

16. The Way

Dave and I have always wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain. This movie is a bittersweet tribute to the epic hike. Acting legend Martin Sheen walks the trail to honor his son Emilio Estevez (also director) who died on the walk. This movie explores themes of grief, regret, and understanding.

Sheen’s character finishes what his son started helping him connect and understand his son while examining his own life and is one of the most moving travel movies on our list. You can watch it on Amazon

Best Classic Travel Movies

17. lawrence of arabia.

Lawrence of Arabia made us dream of the Arabian Desert and that is what travel films are meant to do. I would say that this is often considered one of the best travel movies of all time. It’s the original travel movie for sure and it really does capture the majesty of the Arabian Desert.

When we got the chance to visit Jordan and walk in the footsteps of the real Lawrence of Arabia, we couldn’t believe we were living our own travel movie. This will make you want to go on an adventure and spend the night in a Bedouin tent. Rent it on Amazon Prime Now

18. Out of Africa

If you want another Meryl Streep vehicle that is often considered one of the best travel movies, you should try  Out of Africa. Out of Africa takes place in a different time, but it captures the heart of Africa beautifully.

Based on a true story, Meryl Streep stars as a married baroness in love with big game hunter Robert Redford. Their chemistry is unmistakable. She falls in love with Africa and you will fall in love with it too.

The cinematography is outstanding. It won 7 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Cinematography. Rent Out of Africa

19. Romancing the Stone

Who didn’t fantasize about an adventure in Colombia after watching Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone? As a kid I always thought about the line “ I need to get to Cartagena ” and while I had no idea where Cartagena was,(It’s in South America by the way) I knew it was exciting.

In the most romanticly fun of travel movies, Kathleen Turner transformed from a scared writer who merely writes about adventure, to a woman encountering an adventure and meeting a rugged mysterious man in exotic Columbia. Watch Romancing the Stone today

20. The Bucket List

With two of my favorite actors and a message to live life to the fullest, the Bucket List is one amazing movie and one of the best travel movies. I think it actually invented the term, The Bucket List. The phrase has been overused in recent years, but the message never gets old. The Bucket List is the original “live your dreams now” travel movie.

It’s beautifully acted, heartfelt, and showcases how life should be lived to the fullest. Rent or buy it here!

Most people say that Amelie is one of the best travel movies of all time. So this list wouldn’t be complete without it. I did love the views of Paris and the everyday life showcased in Montmartre.

I also enjoyed the uplifting message of a quiet young woman named, Amelie helping the people around her in the lovely district of Montmartre in Paris. If you want to watch sweeping scenes through Paris streets and if you love Paris, you can’t help but like Amelie. So check it out !

22. Roman Holiday

This did not age well in our opinion. We watched it recently and it is just downright bad. Many people will probably disagree. But as far as travel movies go, it is fun to see a princess posing as a regular young Woman zipping around Rome.

They should remake Roman Holiday, it would be fun. Rent it on Prime

23. Sideways

I admit it. After this movie came out, I didn’t drink Merlot for years! Sideways takes us on a road trip through California wine country and it really is filled with amazing performances by Paul Giamatti, Sandra Oh, Virginia Madsen, and Thomas Hayden Church.

We have been to Santa Maria, California, and this movie captures the feel of wine country perfectly. Rent or buy on Amazon Prime 

24. Up in the Air

Up in the Air makes you love the idea of travel but it shows the emptiness that the life of a vagabond can lead to if you don’t stay grounded with your family and friends. It’s not in the genre of typical travel films out there, but travel is the main theme.

I cannot go through airport security anymore without thinking of George Clooney as his character has the art of travel down to a science.

This movie also has a great message that Dave and I can relate to. We all become so consumed with our careers and our lives that we forget about what is important. Get it on Amazon Instant Video

Best Travel Movies Highlighting Destinations

25. ticket to paradise.

Our newest addition to our travel movies is from two legends, George Clooney and Julia Roberts who take us to Bali for their daughter’s wedding. The two divorced years ago, but agree that their daughter is too young to get married and decide to sabotage the wedding.

This movie showcases the culture and beauty of Bali while showing us once again how travel can be transformational and can change your life.

I love these two together, George and Julia, and great friends in real life and have amazing on-screen chemistry.

26. The Beach – Thailand

The Beach is the original backpacker slacker travel film. The Beach captures what Thailand was like before tourists started flocking to it en-masse. At one time, it was an off-the-beaten-path backpacker destination. We enjoyed the book more, but you can never go wrong with Leo.

If you want to get a sense of what it was like to travel to Thailand before mass tourism, this is a good movie for you. Plus it is beautiful and as far as travel movies go, it will make you want to go to Thailand. Not only are the people beautiful, but the scenery of southern Thailand is also out of this world.

Take in the journey as they search for a hidden beach that is pure perfection.

27. Lost in Translation – Tokyo

Tokyo is a bit strange. It is unlike anywhere else on earth, and Lost in Translation showcases the culture shock that one feels when staying in a different city.

There are different customs in Japan and the culture is much different than anywhere else and this movie captures that odd feeling you get when traveling there. Lost in Translation highlights some of the best spots in Tokyo.

The hotel where the movie takes place still has one of the best views in the city! And who doesn’t love Bill Murray? He is priceless and it’s one of Scarlett Johanson’s best performances. Check it Out

28. Slumdog Millionaire – India

We traveled to India in 2010 and Slumdog Millionaire seemed to capture the true slums of India while showcasing the heart of the people. Many of the rich cities are modern, but when traveling through rural India and the poorer areas, this is what it’s like.

Dev Patel stars as a young Indian boy who gets on a game show that could change his life. It’s heartbreaking, raw, and sometimes uncomfortable which is exactly what travel can be too hence why it made the list of our favorite travel movies. Download it here on Amazon

If you are a fan of Dev Patel (as we are) you will love him in another of our favorite travel films, Lion. Lion is based on a true story and is an emotional journey that takes audiences across India and Australia spanning cultures, and decades.

Patel plays Saroo Brierley, a young Indian boy who gets lost on a train in India at the age of five. After surviving several challenges on the streets of Kolkata and eventually being adopted by an Australian family, Saroo, as an adult, uses Google Earth to find his birth mother and the journey begins. The movie also stars Nicol Kidman.

30. Vicky, Cristina Barcelona – Spain

Admit it, we all want to go to Spain and run into beautiful people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Barden. I think this movie did so well because it inspired everyone to go to Barcelona. (That’s our criteria for choosing the best travel movies, how they inspired travel)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona makes us dream of the cities in Spain , the passion of the Spanish people and getting away for a summer in Spain.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona definitely is an inspiring travel movie and one of the best travel films out there. It really captures the energy and passion of Spain in Barcelona . Rent Vicky Christina Barcelona on Amazon

31. Under the Tuscan Sun – Italy

For the romantics out there, Under the Tuscan Sun is one of the best travel movies. Wouldn’t you just love to buy a villa in Tuscany and fall in love with a stranger?

This is one of my favorite romantic travel films and Under the Tuscan Sun based on a true story. After a bad divorce, her character takes a trip to Italy courtesy of her best friend, (The incredible Sandra Oh!) and buys a house!

This travel movie is based on a true story where our star shares the trials and tribulations of renovating a Tuscan villa. You can rent Under the Tuscan Sun on Amazon

32. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – India

We always preach that you are never too old to try something new and you are never too old to travel and that is the premise of one of the most beloved travel movies, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s chock full of great legendary actors including Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and Maggie Smith.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of retirees who travel to India to live out their days at a crumbling retirement hotel. All mayhem and madness ensue as things can only in India. There’s romance, tragedy, and hope. Rent it now

33. A Good Year – Provence France

A Good Year made me want to go to Provence and live a simple life…on a multi-million dollar vineyard estate. That’s reasonable, right? And that’s what travel movies make you want to do…Pick up and go somewhere.

A Good Year makes life in Provence look like the Garden of Eden and I want a piece of it. Everyone is beautiful, everyone is a wine connoisseur, and everyone is pure and good. Who wouldn’t want to go to the south of France after seeing A Good Year? Rent it now.

34. Midnight in Paris – Paris

Looking for travel movies that combine time travel this movie night? Midnight in Paris captures the golden years of Paris as Owen Wilson walks through the streets at night in search of that romantic nostalgia of the city.

Blending time travel with traditional travel, this film showcases Paris’s rich history and examines how different eras appeal to different people.

He ends up meeting the famous patrons of the 1920s including Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and more! This travel movie makes me want to hop on a flight to Paris every time! Watch it on Amazon Prime or get it on DVD

35. Australia – Australia

This movie was crucified by the critics, but I loved it and its one of the best travel movies showcasing the beauty of Australia’s landscape. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman take her cattle across the Outback.

It also touches on the injustices of how Australia treated the Aboriginal People, reminding me of what Canada did with residential schools to our own indigenous communities.

It’s beautifully shot and is a love letter to Australia while highlighting the true story of the Aboriginal struggles. I think it deserved more love than it got. Check it out on Amazon

36. The Impossible

It took me forever to finally watch the impossible because it is based on the true story of surviving the devastating Tsunami in Southeast Asia. It follows a family from England who are vacationing in Thailand and are impacted by the Tsunami.

It showcases the huge hearts that the Thai people have. Even while going through their own trauma, they play a huge role in helping this family get back together and survive.

The movie stars Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland and it is one of the best performances I think Naomi Watts has ever done.

Lighthearted Travel Movies

37. eurovision.

This is one of the funniest travel movies out there. The movie kicks off (after a brief flashback) in Iceland showcasing its beautiful landscapes and waterfalls with sweeping drone shots of the stars performing.

It has all the stereotypes and cliches of Iceland, but it is done with heart and fun. It really is a love letter to Iceland. Follow Lars and Sigrit as they try to fulfill their dream of competing in Eurovision in Edinburgh. The movie gives a nice showcase of that city too making it two travel movies in one. Rent it on Amazon

38. Darjeeling Limited

This quirkiest of travel movies takes Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrian Brody across India one year after their father’s death starting on the Darjeeling Express train. It’s strange, heartbreaking, hilarious, and pure Wes Anderson.

When they visit their mother in an Ashram, it makes me think of the strange people that run away to India to find themselves. Oh yeah, he gets it. Check it out on Amazon Prime

39. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Set in the very real Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu this pick on our travel movies list stars Jason Seigel as a Hollywood Writer who goes to Hawaii to heal his wounds after getting dumped by his girlfriend Kristen Bell. It turns out, she is there on vacation with her new boyfriend and shenanigans ensue.

This movie makes you want to book a plane to Hawaii and have your own stay at Turtle Bay which has now become very popular. Rent it on Prime

40. Last Holiday

If you are searching for comedy travel movies, this should be at the top of your list. This is the ultimate fairytale on how travel can change a life. And how we should all strive to live a better life. It’s too short to wait.

Queen Latifa is priceless as a woman who is diagnosed with a terminal disease, so she takes her life savings to enjoy her final holiday at a luxurious resort. She does everything from base jumping to snowboarding and indulging in decadent French cuisine.

If everyone took a holiday like this, we’d all live happier lives. Rent, Buy or Watch on Amazon Prime

41. The Holiday

It may be a Christmas movie, but The Holiday is one of the best travel movies out there. We watch it every year and it shows how travel is transformational. Starring Kate Winslett, Jack Black, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz, The Holiday flips back and forth between Los Angeles and England.

The two female stars have very different vacations as they house swap, but both have their lives changed through travel.

42. French Kiss

Meg Ryan plays a woman named Kate who is afraid to travel. When her fiance falls for another woman in France, she vows to win him back and travels there despite being terrified. Hilarity ensues when she meets con man Kevin Kline and they venture across the country together following the formula of travel movies galore.

My favorite scene is when she is indulging in cheese on the train. It’s that French moment that made me daydream about traveling by train across the French countryside. Watch French Kiss for yourself

43. My Life in Ruins

While not as good as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, My Life in Ruins is a nice comeback for Nia Vardalos in a fun-loving travel film.

She plays a tour leader taking stereotypical tourists through the sites of Greece. It’s fun, it’s romantic and the setting is beautiful. It’s not going to win any Academy Awards, but for a fun Saturday afternoon movie, this will transport you to Greece. Rent it or buy it on Amazon

44. The Hangover 2

The First Hangover was far better and it too is a travel movie taking you to Vegas. But when choosing travel movies from this trilogy, I had to choose the setting of Bangkok. It captures the crazy energy of the city.

My favorite scene is when Bradly Cooper has to go to the hospital and comes out with an absurdly low hospital bill. Dave and I have been to the hospital in Thailand and can attest, it is cheap. Rent it now! 

Blockbuster Travel Movies

45. star wars: the rise of skywalker & the last jedi.

One wouldn’t think of a movie based in outer space to be a travel movie that inspires wanderlust, but the last Star Wars Trilogy featured one of our favorite destinations on Earth, Skellig M ichael

This 6th-century monastery was a star unto itself as Luke trained Rey in the ways of the Force. It has now inspired many travelers and film buffs to take the hair-raising boat ride out to these rocky islands 12 km off the coast of Ireland. Check it out

46. Mama Mia

We actually learned where Mama Mia takes place while visiting the location where it was filmed, Pelion, Greece. The Greek islands are paradise, and Mama Mia follows the story of Meryl Streep who runs a hotel on the coast. We thought it was filmed somewhere like Santorini or Mykonos.

When her daughter becomes engaged, she invites three men who might be her father. It’s a rip-roaring good time of music, fun and beautiful scenery.

The Santorini blue and white houses, the crystal clear blue sea, and the music of Abba become those who watch to travel to Greece! Watch it on Prime today

47. Once Upon a Time in Mexico Trilogy

How sexy are Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayak together? You must watch the entire trilogy to really appreciate this series by Robert Rodrigues. Once Upon A Time In Mexico ends the trilogy with Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, and Cheech Marin. El Mariachi started it all starring Carlos Gallardo. My favorite of the 3 is Desperado , but they are all entertaining.

Once Upon A Time In Mexico is a fantasy and it is a stereotype of Mexico, but it makes you want to go to Mexico and have a great adventure. The scenery is gorgeous, the film is filled with cool style, and the music is fabulous. Watch the Trilogy today!

48. The Legend of Tarzan

The $180 million dollar budget makes sure to showcase the beauty of the African Savannah, the dense jungles, and the majestic wildlife. You feel as if you have entered the heart of Africa. Seriously, rent it, you’re going to like it a lot more than you think! Rent it on Amazon

49. The Tourist

It’s a little indulgent, and Angelina Jolie is a bit annoying to watch with how amazing she thinks she is in this, but it does capture taking an international trip to Europe beautifully.

It makes you want to have a romantic tryst in Venice . It makes you want to ride a train and have a mysterious encounter. It gives you a glimpse into how the rich live and travel the world.

50. The Thing

Recently we had someone write to us with a list of their favorite movies about travel. He mentioned the first Alien vs. Predator took place in Antarctica and I remember that being a pretty entertaining film. Then I thought about the classic Kurt Russel movie, The Thing .

This thriller takes place at a scientific base camp in the Antarctic and really lets you feel how claustrophobic and isolated researchers must feel when spending the winter at the bottom of the world. Watch it now!

51. Thelma and Louise

Who would have thought that Thelma and Louise would be heralded as one of the best travel films of all time, but it has. When researching this article, I saw that everyone had it on their list, so I had to include it. Besides, I love this film. I saw it at the theatre when it came out and it blew me away.

Brad Pitt makes his debut in this dark road trip adventure. Susan Sarandon and Geena Dave about female empowerment, friendship, and the transformative power of travel.

52. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Yes, this was a blockbuster film for teenagers. I remember working at YTV and this movie was going mad in the teen realm so I had to add it to my best travel movies list. The premise of the story revolves around four friends—Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen—who find a pair of jeans that, despite their differing body types, fits each of them perfectly. They decide to share these “magical” pants as they embark on their separate summer adventures, thus maintaining their connection with each other.

Where does the traveling come in? Well, Lena travels to Greece , Bridget goes to Mexico , Carmen visits her father in South Carolina, and Tibby stays in Maryland.

While not a “travel movie” in the traditional sense—where the main characters are often journeying together or the narrative revolves solely around their travel experiences—”Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” embodies elements of travel movies by incorporating different cultures, locations, and the concept of journeying (both physical and emotional) into its narrative.

53. Bourne Movies, James Bonds, Mission Impossible & Indiana Jones Movies

The Bourne movies, James Bond, Indian Jones, and Mission Impossible take us around the world with each movie and really are the best travel films to showcase the globe. These epic travel movies take audiences to a whole new level of taking an international trip with decadence, wealth, espionage, and romance.

I wanted to include them because if you are looking for some beautiful scenes from Europe and the Middle East, these travel films fit the bill. They are so good at taking you away to exotic places .

Our Favorites of These Epic Travel Movies are

54. the bourne identity.

The original takes us on an international trip from Switzerland through Paris. It’s the car scene in Paris that really captures the city but the entire movie is one big travel movie.

55. Casino Royal – James Bond

This makes us dream of living with the high rollers in Montenegro the beautiful people in the Bahamas. It’s as epic as epic travel movies get riding on trains, planes and yachts and it’s the best James Bond with Daniel Craig.

56. Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

It’s not often that sequels are better than the original, but when it comes to the Mission Impossible series, each one out does the other. Tom Cruise loves to travel and push the limits creating the most epic travel movies on the planet. I chose Ghost Protocol because of its setting in Dubai and Cruise scaling the walls of the Burj Khalifa. (The tallest structure in the world)

Best Travel Movies in Fictional Settings

57. grand budapest hotel.

I can’t help it, I love Wes Anderson movies. He is offbeat and quirky. Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the best travel movies that isn’t set in any real place. This is all in a fictional setting.

I like this for a travel movie because it reminds me of the grand old hotels from another era. Well, it should because it is set in another era. The hotel is fictional, but it does take you away to another world. Rent it on Prime

58. Black Panther

Wakanda may be a fictional place in Africa, but this movie captures the spirit of East and South Africa. It embraces the African culture and many of the movie’s scenes were filmed in Africa.

We have been to Africa numerous times and this movie transported us there again. It may be fictional, but Black Panther is one fo the best travel movies to make you want to discover the culture and beauty of Africa. watch it now!

59. Lord of the Rings and Hobbit

They may be set in Middle Earth, but the Lord of the Rings movies are a love letter to New Zealand. As far as setting go, the trilogy makes for epic travel movies! Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit Movies make us want to go to New Zealand and these films capture its beauty perfectly.

Rent the trilogy on Amazon today

60. Eat Pray Love

And let us end with the mother of all travel movies, Eat Pray Love. Who doesn’t love Julia Roberts? However, Eat Pray Love wasn’t my favorite travel movie at all. But The book was okay but the movie starring Julia Roberts is dreadful. If you liked it, let me know. Maybe I’ll give it another watch in case I missed something. Rent it on Amazon

We’ll be updating this list regularly and we love finding new travel movies to watch. So, if you have suggestions for your favorite travel movies, leave them in the comments below and we’ll be sure to give them a watch!

Tell me what you think are the best travel movies and we will compare notes.

You May Enjoy these other inspiring posts:

  • 44 of the Best Road Trip Songs
  • Best Travel Songs Playlist
  • Best Travel Books to Inspire Travel
  • 60 of the Best Road Trip Songs to Rock the Long Drive
  • 101 Best Travel Quotes in the World with Pictures

Disclosure:  The links above are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. We receive affiliate commissions, but it’s no extra cost to you!

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Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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107 thoughts on “60 Best Travel Movies to Inspire Wanderlust”

Very interesting and thought-provoking list. Another film I think belongs in this company is “A Month by the Lake,” a 1995 work starring Vanessa Redgrave, Edward Fox, and Uma Thurman. Its setting, at the Villa del Balbianello on a peninsula in Lake Como, was used in scenes from a number of other movies, but here it gets starring role.

one of my favorite travel movies is “If it is Tuesday it must be Belgium”. it captures the travels and travails of some very uninformed American tourists on a guided tour. One of the wives, tired of the endless strings of cheese shops they visit heads back to their tour bus. The problem is it is the wrong tour bus. Hilarity ensues …

Thanks for the thoughtful list. Might I add a few more wanderlust-inducing movie recommendations/destinations that I have a hunch you will love?

Enchanted April (Italy) Shirley Valentine (Greece/Mykonos) Everything is Illuminated (Russia/Ukraine) Summer Lovers (Gene Siskel’s ‘guilty pleasure) (Greek Islands/Santorini) The Hundred Foot Journey (India/France) Local Hero (Scotland — and perfectly depicts how an enchanting location can change your view of what’s important in life) Anne of Green Gables — Kevin Sullivan version (Price Edward Island) Outsourced (India) Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring (Provence France) The Quiet Man (Ireland) A Passage to India (India)

These are fantastic suggestions, thank sfor sharing! I’ve been wanting to see The Hundred Foot Journey. I think that will be my weekend watching!

Hi , thanks for sharing the best travel movies.

I love to watch 72 hours is my best travel movie all time.

Brilliant! Some of my teal favourites and now a list to watch. …many, many thanks. Allison

Great movies list all movies are best and all movies have a good rating on IMDb actually my favorite movie is LORD OF THE RINGS AND HOBBIT. and next, I would like to watch Star wars series.

Great choices of movies you have given a big list a great work

Great article! I will definitely choose a few movies that I haven’t seen yet. I could add a movie called “The Hundred-Foot Journey”. This film is about a Hindu family who moves to France, where they open a restaurant.

I’ve been meaning to watch that one. I think I will have to check it out this weekend and add it to the list! Thanks for the reminder.

Very comprehensive list! lots of great movies, and some of my favourites such as Seven Years inTibet and Walter Mitty.

I have to disagree with you about The Darjeeling Limited though: “When they visit their mother in an Ashram, it makes me think of the strange people that run away to India to find themselves. Oh yeah, he gets it.”

I felt the most important scene in the movie is when the guys rescue the boys in the river, and one doesn’t make it. They take part ion the family grieving and funeral, and have a very life-changing, profound experience. I felt the movie actually validates people “running away to India.”

In these difficult times especially, finding a sense of purpose, or meaning, or spirituality, or whatever you want to call it, is more important than ever. I think we will see a lot more people “running away to find themselves” and in fact, I am working on offering spiritual itineraries.

How about Red Eye and Flight Plan? I think they both portrait (fear of) commercial flying experience pretty good!

We have already watched quite a few of these ? gotta love a great movie night! Thanks for a great list, that we will start to work our way through ?

Great choices for movies! Others that come to mind are “Before Sunrise” and “Into the Wild.”

LORD OF THE RINGS AND HOBBIT is my favourite. i had watch so many times but always loved

This list couldn’t have come at a better time as we currently shelter in place and travel only through our TVs! Thank you.

All movies are great and my fav <3

great films..i watched some movie

OOH Julie and Julia is one of my all time favorites! And Eat Pray Love…It’s a good time for movies at home for sure!

Love the list. Thank you for sharing. As a classic movie buff, however, you are so wrong about Roman Holiday. This movie is a classic. I recently saw it on the big screen for the millionth time and it was amazing. How can you not love Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn?! His voice alone is worth a listen! And the old scenes of Rome are wonderful. Have to truly disagree about this one. LOVE this movie.

Anyway, thanks again!

SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY movie motivates people to dare to make a decision.

I love this list!! You hit some of my favorite movies. I’ve watched a lot of these but I have a feeling I’ll be rewatching some of them in the coming weeks. Thanks for remind me!

GREAT list, thank you! I’ve seen some Bollywood films and loved them, and would love a best of list of them!

Great site for everything

Great list, guys — you really dug deep. If you love The Sounds of Music, you have to visit Salzburg, where you can see the actual places where they shot many of the scenes, including the palace in the middle of town. You can even stay in the Von Trapps’ house. And I may have missed it in your list, but The Year of Living Dangerously absolutely captures the exotic atmosphere and the beauty of Southeast Asia — the gamelan music stays in your head for days. Also, Gandhi for a virtual trip to India.

Very well collections, Really some of the names are not heard. This type of movies are oxygen for any traveler.

Great list of movie i like slumdog millionaire once upon a time in mexico

Secret Life of Walter Mitty for sure, this movie made me so pumped to travel while ‘into the wild’ made me a little depressed and not wishing to become a mentally ill person who goes eating dead animals and rejecting society

Lovely idea, great movies! Love your blog!

I really love this movies.

Each movie is an exciting adventure, felt from the film, emotions, as well as an impressive moment. Thanks for your collection!

Thank you for your list! Lawrence of Arabia for certain, but almost any film by Werner Herzog, especially Aguirre:The Wrath of God. But I am partial to “art” or “foreign” films over Hollywood.

I loved a movie I watched and I can’t remember the name and I can’t find it. It was about a woman, maybe in her 40’s maybe 50’s that traveled to India to meet up with her husband. Her husband was detained by work and sent his male Indian assistant to meet her. While waiting for her husband to arrive, the assistant showed her the sites of India. A romance developed with the assistant over many days, but never crossed the line. Would love to watch this again….

Maybe you’re thinking of the movie ‘Cairo Time’. It’s set in Egypt, not India, but has the exact plot you’re referring to.

All are attractive and I will watch each movie

I shared the movies I shared. The movie content is very interesting and interesting, I like it very much.

This is also a very good post which I really enjoy reading

For me Motorcycle diaries is best.Thanks for list. I will check other movies too.

Nice list, you got almost all of my favorite travel films! A couple additions I would make are “The Sheltering Sky”, and “Voyager”.

The Painted Veil – gorgeous!

I hope it will be show at CGV

Definitely a great list of movies that gets us thinking about travel. Everest was one that really took our breath away and told an amazing story. In Bruges is still one of my favorite. Thanks for sharing!

Loved the post and the films. I still didn’t see 9 films and already want see. Will try found they for this weekend. But the best is to see Indiana Jones in the list.. it’s my prefer film of life <3

the beauty of this movie list is that this in includes movies in Malayalam, Hindi English and believe me these movies are the very best travel movies I have seen . kudos?

Great Choices !

Always on the lookout for movies to watch on the plane!!! Thanks for the recos!!!!

Great choices for movies

I hate you after watching only 2 of these movies from your list i feel like travelling but unfortunately my my academics. By the way best list of travel movies I have seen on internet. Good going brother. wish to see more content in future.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday. A very ridiculous movie, but the cinematography is amazing, and it’s very inspiring.

Great article and awesome collection of movies. Red balloon is my favorite movie and it’s amazing storey

Film is called Before Midnight. Not after.

Thanks for the correction. I mixed up the Trilogy in my head, thinking “the one after Before Sunset.” – There is Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight.

Great article, many good informations

I love watching movies ahead of travelling and often find them inspirational. For Western Australia I found ‘Rabbitproof Fence’ a very good movie. You’ve chosen some good ones!

Great collection of movies to watch. I absolutely loved The Bucket List. As usual Morgan Freeman was awesome. Great movies about travel and for when traveling.

Can you believe that I never saw Stealing Beauty? Now I am going to have to check it out. I agree with Sideways too. Loved that show. It made me want to drink Pinot Noir.

Wild is a great book and the movie is pretty true to the book. Reece Witherspoon is really good in it. Based on true story of a troubled woman who decides to hike one of Americas longest trails with little money and not enough experience. Humbling and left me feeling the wanderlust pretty hard.

The Bucket List and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are the best travel movies in my opinion. Iceland is on my travel bucket list, hope I can visit that place.

Best Movie Collection. my favorite movies also include in these. love to see the collection of movies thanks to sharing this information with us.

Nice article! inspiring people for Traveling

Thanks for compiling this list. It’s interesting to know the place where the movie was shot. I absolutely agree on what you said about James Bond movies.

Thanks for the post. Some I have seen and some I haven’t, and looking forward to (Especially ONE WEEK)

I’d like to add LOCAL HERO. There are some melancholic moments in the film accompanied by Mark Knopfler’s beautiful soundtrack. Would make anyone jump off the couch, dump all the COMFORTS OF CITY and visit rural Scotland and walk the beaches and witness the Aurora Borealis. One of my favourites alongwith The Motorcycle Diaries and Into the Wild.

Great choices

Excellent list, but Indiana Jones really is a wonderful trip. Note 1000.

Under a Tuscan sun is my favorite!!!! Been to Tuscany because of that movie!! 🙂 Jotted down a few to watch from your list! Thanks!

thank you guys. Into the wild is my favourite one on the list.

You named quite a few of my favorites but the two I’d like to recommend are Hector and the Pursuit of Happiness starring Simon Pegg, and The Way starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.

The Way inspired me to walk the Camino de Santiago which turned into an incredible trip.

Great list of best all time travel movies. I must admit that there are still so many movies I have not yet seen. I need to work on that sooner rather than later!

Great list but would certainly add :

– The way (with Martin Sheen) , very inspiring movie about Camino de Santiago – Motorcycle diaries, simply a great movie about travel and life

Fantastic films, thanks for making this kind of film! Many people should watch it! Thanks for sharing this list.

Wow! This list is great! I will surely add these in my playlist. Hopefully, I will be able to watch most of these travel movies. I plan to travel soon, I’m juts looking for more inspiration and travel tips. Glad I came by your blog!

Whoa! You gave me a completely new set of movies to add to my list here! Into the Wild is one of my favorites and the Everest is a spine-chilling movie. A great list Dave & Deb!

Check out Maindentrip, the story of the youngest girl to sail around the world, Laura Dekker. I think my wife finally believed we could do it if a 13 year old can.

Thanks for the recommendation!

These ultimate travel tips for when they have a desired of lust.

What about “Blue Hawaii” and any of the Jurassic Park videos for Hawaii?

Thank you for your list – I am constantly looking for good travel movies.

Till the date bucket list is one of my favourite movie 🙂 Thank you for the information about other movies too

Thank you for this great list. I see some old favorites on the list but also a number of movies I need to see. I’ve added them my list. You’re right about movies inspiring travel. After seeing, Under the Tuscan Sun, I’ve always wanted to visit Tuscany. I’m finally making it there soon.

What a fantastic list full of excellent movies! There’s no doubt that these titles can help to light the spark of wanderlust in anyone. I was actually lucky enough to stumble upon the making of Ridley Scott’s upcoming Alien Covenant movie in New Zealand’s Milford Sound. I’m very much looking forward to its release so I can see the spectacular panning shots of that breathtaking landscape. Movies are a great medium to translate the beauty of travel.

No way! That is so cool. I’m such a fan of Alien, it would be amazing to see them filming it. I love seeing landscapes of places I’ve been in movies.

Slumdog Millionaire and Secret Life of Walter Mitty are Good Movies

Nice list – a few of my favourites there: Everest, Into The Wild, Slumdog Millionaire, The Bucket List, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Nothing like a good movie for inspiring travel.

A few others to consider: The Beach, Midnight Express, Kundun, Seven Years in Tibet…

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

Hi, Oh wow I really love this list, seriously is so right! Holidays is another good one that invites you to discover surrey :), I enjoyed so much Amelie, unfortunately I cannot say the same of Paris, Je t’aime, which is other of the “must seen movies”, honestly… overrated… anyways, nice list I really enjoy it.

Great list… something a lot of people leave off the list is Julia and Julia. That movie is HUGE to foodies, chefs, etc… Makes me want to hop on a flight every time I see it! Julia Child was a machine, so glad you guys included that movie on this list!

I am a movie addict person, and I loved to travel. I enjoyed all of these films. Very Inspirational lists. Thank you, Dave, for this excellent Article. Loved it:)

A lots of movies that needed to add here. I watched a few of then not all and find very inspirational and heart touching. Slumdog millionaire is one of my favourite and very heart touching.

I love this list, but I’d add almost any movie filmed in San Francisco, even if they weren’t that good (like “The Wedding Planner” or the “The Rock”). They’d actually have to be filmed there and not just set there, like the last “Godzilla” movie 😉

Thanks for the additions. I loved the wedding planner. Although I just watched it again recently and realized what a schmuck Matthew Macoughnay’s character is. He totally led Jennifer Lopez’s character on and was a jerk to his fiancé. haha. But it’s a good lighthearted romantic comdey. They don’t make enough of those anymore..

I came to this article to ensure you had Romancing the Stone..and you didnt let me down. I used to love that movie growing up. I am totally with you, on thinking about Cartagena as some exotic far away place that I had to visit. I eventually found out the movie wasn’t actually filmed in Cartagena or Colombia because of the dire security situation at that time…but when i finally visited Cartagena, i found it even more magical and exotic than the film…love the film, and love the city even more now.

I am so glad we didn’t let you down! I am also so glad that you felt the same way about Cartagena. I always envision Kathleen Turner saying “come to Cartagena with me” It was such a grand adventure. We need more movies like that!

Cool list! I would add:

– Before Sunrise (Vienna) – Waking Ned Devine (Ireland, though filmed in the Isle of Man) – Lost in Translation (Tokyo)

Great additions. I loved Before Sunrise, I can’t believe I forgot about that one. I saw it in the 90s and then watched the whole trilogy. I haven’t seen Waking Ned Devine, I’m going to check that out and yes, Lost in Translation is a good one for Tokyo. I have to watch that again. I barely remember it, but I do remember loving Bill Murray

Just what I needed, thank you guys. Into the wild is my favourite one on the list.

I don’t think any movie has made us want to travel more than Amelie.

2 Days In Paris, on the other hand, was kind of a turn off.

Amelie celebrated Paris, but 2 Days kinda made fun of it. .-= The Jetpacker´s last blog .. UFO Hotspots — 11 Best Places To See UFOs In The World =-.

I don’t need a movie to inspire me to travel. I always want to travel, but some movies make me want to travel more I guess is how to put it. BTW. I thought Up in the Air stunk and don’t get why it was so popular. I loved In Burges which many people have never seen. Guess I’m just weird. .-= Gwen´s last blog ..Kids Grease Costumes =-.

You’re not weird at all! That is what makes watching movies so great. Everyone has different opinions on them all. We didn’t love Amelie and I have never met another person that didn’t like it. We were more into the quirkiness of Two Days in Paris and nobody liked that one:-)

Great choice, I never really fancied visiting Bruges until watching the hilarious In Bruges (and I agree the film also did Colin Farrell a huge favour). Tuscany is still on my must see list after the gorgeous ‘Stealing Beauty’ and being from the UK, Sideways and Swingers always made me want to go to California.

OK, I obviously need to get myself to the nearest pirated DVD place since I’ve only seen 3 of these movies! Thanks for the advice. .-= Audrey´s last blog ..Couch Surfing with KGB Agents =-.

Fantastic post, though most of these movies I haven’t seen (yet) but Vicky Christina Barcelona has really made me want to see Barcelona. I’m really bad for being easily suggestible when it comes to travel. If a place is featured on a movie or tv have a sudden desire to go there. Like I watch a John Waters movie and I wanna go to Baltimore, or the way Shirley Valentine made me really want to go to Greece. Even places that were never really on my travel to do list, like watching Dexter has made me want to visit Miami (even though most of the show is filmed around LA). .-= Alouise´s last blog ..List 9 – How To Have A Cheesy Time At West Edmonton Mall =-.

Wonderful list! I’ve seen a few of these and just loved them (Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Julie & Julia, In Bruges, Up in the Air, and Romancing the Stone)…..and I still dream of someday going to Cartagena, Columbia because of that movie! There are so many great movies that inspire travel that I’m sure it must have been hard to winnow it down to just eight. The rest of your list I’ll have to add to my Netflix queue! .-= Trisha´s last blog .. PR-Blogger Relations Manifesto =-.

I love that you think of Cartagena because of Romancing the stone. There were so many movies that I had on a list. I could have just listed about 50 and that could have been good enough. Maybe I will do that for a post one day when I am out of ideas:) It was very difficult to narrow it down to eight, we were trying to be a little unique in our choices, but then again, it is hard to be unique when it comes to choosing great travel movies. I guess, it was more of a reminder post. Everyone thinks of the choices like The Beach, The James Bond Movies and the Bourne Movies, but we haven’t thought about Romancing the Stone or Once Upon a Time in Mexico in a while.

Great list! We think movies and books add so much to travel that we brought a bunch with us on our open ended world tour. We’re in France now, so tend to watch French ones here and ones that are family friendly since we travel with a kid. 😉 I think we love the Red Balloon and Chocolate best for France.

Two that really stick out on our trip were Troy ( watched again and again through out Greece while reading Homer, including also while we were in Troy in Turkey) and “The Medici, Godfathers of the Renaissance” a thrilling PBS special series that we watched in Florence before we toured. .-= soultravelers3´s last blog .. Captivating Colliore- France on Bastille Day =-.

Thanks for the additions. I forgot about Chocolate. I loved that movie and Johnny Depp and Juliet Binoche were both so charming. I haven’t seen Red Balloon, I will check it out. It is wonderful to watch movies for inspiration before, after and while you are at that place.

Great choices for movies! Others that come to mind are “Before Sunrise” and “Into the Wild.”

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Reese Witherspoon in Wild.

20 of the best travel films

From Rome to the Amazon, in these 20 films stunning locations play a starring role – and they’re all on now at a laptop or TV near you


Wild (2014).

Cheryl Strayed decided to walk the Pacific Crest Trail to face her demons, and her memoirs were turned into this uplifting film starring Reese Witherspoon as the inexperienced hiker who turns her life around. Director Jean-Marc Vallée was adamant that the movie be shot entirely on location: the journey starts in the Mojave Desert, heads up to Mount Hood – the highest point in Oregon – and the magnificent Crater Lake, before culminating in the iconic Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks on the Oregon/Washington border. Netflix , Google Play , Sky Store . Read the Guardian review

Tracks (2013)

Mia Wasikowska as Robyn Davidson Adam Driver as Rick Smolan

Another memoir adaptation, Tracks stars a young Mia Wasikowska as Robyn Davidson, who spent nine months trekking across the Australian desert on camels. Her journey begins in Alice Springs and takes her across scorching outback to the Indian Ocean, via sights such as Uluru and Coffin Bay. It’s an inspiration for would-be solo travellers, given that Robyn was only accompanied by her dog and, at some points, a photographer (Adam Driver). Amazon , Google Play , Sky Store Guardian review

Into The Wild (2007)


Graduate Christopher McCandless gave away all his possessions and money to charity and hitchhiked across Northern America to Alaska, where he attempted to live in the wild. This poignant account of his journey is directed by Sean Penn and stars Emile Hirsch in many of the real locations visited by Christopher, aka “Alexander Supertramp”. Feast your eyes on peaceful Lake Tahoe, camping at Beard’s Hollow, kayaking down the Colorado River and run with wild horses … There’s plenty to envy until things take a darker turn. Sky Cinema , NOW TV , Amazon Guardian review

Lion (2016)

‘Lion’ Film

If you fancy a good cry as well as a virtual trip to India, then Lion is for you. Based on a true story, it tells of a young Indian boy, Saroo (Sunny Pawar) who accidentally boards a train to Kolkata and becomes homeless. After being adopted by an Australian couple, the older Saroo (Dev Patel) searches his memory – and the evolving internet – in an attempt to locate his childhood home and find his family. This is a film with plenty of compassion as well as armchair travel, with locations including Tasmania as well as India. Netflix , YouTube , Google Play Guardian review

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Under the Tuscan Sun

A cheerful comedy-drama about a divorcee rediscovering herself, this memoir adaptation features scenery as charming as the central performance from Diane Lane. Frances Mayes’ pals send her on a tour of Tuscany, where she ends up falling in love with a ramshackle house and buys it on a whim. She meets a plethora of interesting people, including Polish builders and an eccentric old British actor, and becomes a major fixer-upper. The film was shot in and around the town of Cortona, near Arezzo: think gorgeous little houses cut into the hillside overlooking glistening waters. Amazon , YouTube , Google Play , Sky Store Frances Mayes on writing Under the Tuscan Sun


Hunt for the wilderpeople (2016).

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Go tramping in the New Zealand bush with this adorable comedy-drama directed by Oscar-winner Taika Waititi. A winning family adventure, it sees grumpy foster uncle Hec (Sam Neill) following his cheeky young charge Ricky (Julian Dennison) into the wilderness for a trek that turns into a gripping adventure – and an opportunity for the pair to try out their survival skills. Most of it was filmed around the Auckland area, and includes jaw-dropping scenery that Hec describes as “majestical”. BFI Player , Amazon , Google Play , Sky Store The landscapes behind Hunt for the Wilderpeople

The Way (2010)

Martin Sheen in The Way

Follow in the pilgrims’ footsteps with this touching, meditative drama starring Martin Sheen as a grieving father who decides to walk the ancient spiritual trail after the death of his son (played by Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez, who also directs). The route to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia takes in sensational landscapes as well as a variety of entertaining characters, including James Nesbitt as an Irish travel writer. Amazon Prime Video , YouTube / Google Play , Sky Store Guardian review

On the Road (2012)

On The Road - 2012

Based on Jack Kerouac’s novel set in the late 1940s/early 50s, literature’s most famous road trip did not make it onto the big screen until 55 years after the book was published. Sam Riley is the writer who heads to Denver, North Carolina, San Francisco and Mexico by car and occasionally bus. Head here to vicariously experience a hedonistic road trip with sexually fluid bohemians played by an array of Hollywood’s hottest, including Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge and Kirsten Dunst. Amazon Prime Video , Sky Store Guardian review

Captain Fantastic (2016)

George MacKay, Nicholas Hamilton (obscured), Viggo Mortensen, Annalise Basso, Samantha Isler in Captain Fantastic - 2016

This film immediately plunges the viewer into the forests of the Pacific Northwest: you’re greeted by lush green trees, the sound of birdsong and the sight of a deer munching its way through the bush. Said deer is short-lived, however, as a pack of children led by Bodevan (George MacKay) slaughter it and take it home for tea with their father (Viggo Mortensen – who’s also in On the Road). It’s a chance to live out your off-grid fantasies, before the family are plunged back into society on a road trip with entertaining consequences. Netflix / Amazon , Sky Store Guardian review


The darjeeling limited (2007).

‘The Darjeeling Limited’

Three brothers have madcap adventures on a train in this quirky, colourful film that could only have been made by Wes Anderson. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman are the warring trio who bicker and bond their way through a scenic rail journey in India. Though the film was shot mainly in Rajasthan, the fictional route also convincingly takes in the Himalayas – and reminds you of the wonders of train travel abroad. Amazon , YouTube / Google Play , Sky Store Guardian review

Before Sunrise (1995)


A train to Vienna is the romantic setting for this cult drama starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. After meeting on the journey, they spend the night walking around the city together. Their frank, naturalistic exchanges are involving and funny, and it’s easy to fall in love with the Austrian capital as the pair jump on trams and ferris wheels along the banks of the Danube. Director Richard Linklater followed this with Before Sunset and Before Midnight, but this remains by far the most romantic in the series. Amazon , YouTube , Google Play , Sky Store Guardian review


The secret life of walter mitty (2013).


A daydreamer finally lives out his travel fantasies in this whimsical adventure based on James Thurber’s short story. Walter (Ben Stiller) works a dull desk job at Life magazine, and goes on a globe-trotting treasure hunt in search of a missing negative by legendary photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). Walter’s travels take him to Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas, and although some of the locations are stand-ins, the film captures the wonder of globe-trotting in a cosy, feelgood format. Amazon , YouTube , Google Play , Sky Store Guardian review

Patagonia (2010)

PATAGONIA film still Matthew Rhys

The psychological benefits of travel are at the heart of this tender drama that explores the links between Wales and Argentina. A Cardiff couple travel to Patagonia where they are guided by a Welsh-Argentine guide (Matthew Rhys). Meanwhile, an older woman journeys from Argentina to Wales to discover her roots. It’s a moving watch with a fun backstory: Rhys found out about the production when travelling through Patagonia on horseback , where he bumped into the director, Marc Evans, who was scouting for locations. Amazon , iTunes , Google Play Guardian review

Black Mountain Poets (2015)

Black Mountain Poets - Jolene Films

Rural south Wales provides a handsome setting for this con artist comedy from writer-director Jamie Adams. Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells star as sisters on the run who resort to posing as a pair of famous beat poets at a retreat in the Black Mountains – what could possibly go wrong? As they camp out in nature, the remote location forms a backdrop for their potential redemption, as well as plenty of improvised humour. YouTube , Google Play , BFI Player Guardian review


Meek’s cutoff (2010).

MEEK’S CUTOFF, left: Shirley Henderson, right: Michelle Williams

You wouldn’t want to re-live the journey these characters make, but the landscape looks remarkable from the safety of your sofa. Loosely inspired by an infamous incident in 1845, it sees a small group of settlers travelling across the Oregon High Desert and becoming increasingly less confident in their guide, Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood). Kelly Reichardt’s western shows the gender dynamic slowly shifting as the stakes get higher, and she’s assembled an excellent cast lead by Michelle Williams, Shirley Henderson and Zoe Kazan. Amazon Prime Guardian review

The Lost City of Z (2017)


Explorer Percy Fawcett had a compulsion to travel, undertaking hugely risky journeys in the Amazon in to prove his theories about a disappeared civilisation – theories that were ridiculed by his contemporaries in the early 20th century. James Gray’s film stars Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett, Sienna Miller as his wife, and Robert Pattinson as his right hand man, who helps him navigate the rainforest, which looks tantalisingly beautiful despite the dangers that unfold. Amazon , YouTube , Google Play , Sky Store . Also showing on BBC2 Friday 27 March at 11.05pm Guardian review

Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Fitzcarraldo - 1982

An ambitious adventurer makes an eventful jungle voyage in Werner Herzog’s German-language classic inspired by the life of Peruvian rubber baron Carlos Fitzcarrald. Notoriously volatile actor Klaus Kinski’s wild eyes glint with lunatic abandon as he dreams of building an opera house in Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon, and navigating the Pachitea river in a huge steamboat. The shoot (famously as troubled as the events it depicts) took place in the wilds of Brazil and Peru, where Herzog and cinematographer Thomas Mauch vividly captured the cast’s period costumes against the sights and sounds of the jungle. BFI Player , iTunes Guardian review


2 days in paris (2007).

2 Days in Paris

Julie Delpy writes, directs and stars in this whipsmart dramedy that puts a humorous spin on the notion of a romantic city break. She plays Marion, a photographer who lives in New York and decides to spend two days in the French capital with her neurotic boyfriend Jack (Adam Goldberg). It takes in plenty of famous spots, including the Père Lachaise cemetery, the Pasteur metro station and – should you be missing the Eurostar – the Gare du Nord. Amazon Prime Guardian review

In Bruges (2008)


Who knew a film about a couple of hitmen could showcase a city’s charms so beautifully? The Irish contract killers hiding out in Belgium have very different goals: while Ray (Colin Farrell) just wants to get drunk, Ken (Brendan Gleeson) would prefer to see the cultural sights. And so Martin McDonagh’s bitterly funny black comedy takes in architectural delights such as the Belfry of Bruges as well as canal trips through the medieval city. Amazon , YouTube , Google Play Sky Store Guardian review

Roman Holiday (1953)

‘Roman Holiday’

Take a trip back in time to Rome, circa 1953, where a princess (Audrey Hepburn) is trying to stay incognito. After she’s befriended by an American reporter (Gregory Peck), he realises her identity, but keeps his a secret in an attempt to get a scoop. Romance follows, along with iconic black and white shots of the Eternal City. Look out for a meeting on the Spanish Steps, a tour of Colosseum and Vespa ride through the city traffic. Sky Cinema , YouTube , Google Play Guardian review

Rental prices generally between £1.99 and £3.49 depending on household subscription status. Netflix and BFI Player films are included in a monthly subscription and are subject to change. Most films also available on DVD/Blu-Ray

Anna Smith is a film critic and host of the podcast, Girls On Film

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30 Best Travel Movies to Inspire the Wanderer in You

Julie Last updated: January 16, 2024 Travel Inspiration 6 Comments

Best Travel Movies

Have you ever been inspired to visit a new place just because you saw it in a movie? Movies have a way of bringing the world to our TV sets. They can be inspiring, they can be motivational, and they can make us want to go out and explore the world. Here are 20 of the best travel movies to inspire your wanderlust.

Table of Contents

Best Travel Movies

1. the secret life of walter mitty.

I am going to start with our favorite movie on this list. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is brilliant in so many ways.

Walter Mitty Best Travel Movies

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty | Best Travel Movies

Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller) works at Life magazine and his uneventful days are filled with daydreams of heroism and adventure. When a film negative goes missing, Walter has to step outside of his comfort zone and travel to remote locations in search of the negative. His adventure takes him to Greenland, Iceland , and Afghanistan. This marvelous journey is a life changing experience for Walter, who ends up becoming a more confident person who abandons the daydreams for real-life adventures.

The movie is inspiring, lighthearted, and comedic at times. This performance is one of Ben Stiller’s best, the cinematography is stunning, and the soundtrack is amazing.

2. Into the Wild

Into the Wild is based on the true story of Christopher McCandless. In 1992, McCandless, who just graduated from college, donates his $25,000 in savings to a charity and steps out into the wild. He backpacks his way around the US and ends up in Alaska. Four months after starting this journey, his remains are discovered in Alaska.

Into the Wild Best Travel Movies

Into the Wild | Best Travel Movies

Even though it has a tragic ending, this is an inspiring, thought-provoking story. This is a story about giving up a cushy lifestyle and stepping out into the unknown and being self-reliant.

3. Under the Tuscan Sun

Have you ever traveled to a place and liked it so much you wanted to live there forever? Well, for Frances Mayes (Diane Lane), that is exactly what happens. While on a 10-day trip to Tuscany, Frances impulsively purchases an abandoned villa.

This movie is filled with humor, romance, and plenty of gorgeous vistas of Tuscany. Under the Tuscan Sun will have you packing your bags for Italy.

Best Travel Movies Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun | Best Travel Movies

4. Midnight in Paris

Not only does this movie whisk you away to Paris , but it also travels back in time.

Gil (played by Owen Wilson) is visiting Paris with his fiancée (played by Rachel McAdams) and her parents. He is in the midst of a dilemma about ending his career as a film writer in order to put more time into writing his novel, when, at midnight, he is transported into Paris in the 1920’s. He meets Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Gil finds himself at home during this golden age and returns to 1920’s Paris on a nightly basis and this reshapes what he thinks about his marriage and his future.

In Midnight in Paris, be transported back and forth from modern Paris and 1920’s Paris. The cast and the acting is superb and this is a uplifting, entertaining movie.

Midnight in Paris Best Travel Movies

Midnight in Paris | Best Travel Movies

Everest is a movie that dramatizes the real-life climbing disaster that occurred on Mount Everest in 1996. It is based on the book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

The first part of the movie, from Kathmandu through the trek to Everest Base Camp , is our favorite part. The actual trail to Base Camp was used in the filming of the movie. 

Everest Best Travel Movies

Everest | Best Travel Movies

6. Lion 

Lion is an amazing true story about a young Indian boy who gets lost in Calcutta, far from home. He ends up being adopted by a couple in Australia. As an adult, he sets out on a mission to find his family, which is challenging, since he has very few memories of his original home.

This movie takes place in India and Australia. Dev Patel plays Saroo/Sunny Pawar and Nicole Kidman plays the adoptive mother.

It is a miraculous story, from Saroo surviving on the streets of India as a young boy, moving to a very different set of circumstances in Australia, and then finding and reuniting with his family in India.

Lion is one of the best travel movies on this list.

Lion Best Travel Movies

Lion | Best Travel Movies

7. Touching the Void

Touching the Void is a real-life adventure story that takes place in the mountains of Peru . Joe Simpson and Simon Yates are the first people to successfully climb Siula Grande. During their descent, disaster strikes. Simpson falls a short distance, breaking his leg. This is an amazing story of survival and the dangers that go with mountaineering.

Best Travel Movies Adventure

Touching the Void | Best Travel Movies

The Way is another one of our favorites on this list. It is a heartwarming, inspiring story that just may have you dreaming of walking the Camino de Santiago.

Tom (Martin Sheen) travels to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the body of his son (Emilio Estevez), who was recently killed in a mountain storm. To honor his son, Tom decides to walk the entire Camino de Santiago. Along the way, he becomes friends with three other travelers, each on this pilgrimage for their own personal reasons.

This is a movie about camaraderie and the self-transformation of travel. For those who are dreaming about walking the Camino de Santiago, this movie is a must-see.

The Way Best Travel Movies

The Way | Best Travel Movies

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Directed by Wes Anderson and starring a long list of big name actors (Jeff Goldblum, William Dafoe, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, and Edward Norton, just to name a few), The Grand Budapest Hotel takes place inside a famous European hotel between WWI and WWII.

Grand Budapest Best Travel Movies

The Grand Budapest Hotel | Best Travel Movies

This comedy has many outrageous plot twists and mysteries. The cinematography is excellet, the cast and acting are top notch, and this is a wonderful, quirky movie.

The town of Görlitz in Saxony, Germany was a filming location for this movie.

10. I Dreamed of Africa

The first time I saw I Dreamed of Africa I was overcome with an overwhelming desire to visit Africa. The cinematography is gorgeous, filled with the amazing landscapes and wildlife of Africa.

Kuki Gallman (Kim Basinger) leaves her luxurious life in Italy for a rugged existence in Kenya. She lives on a ranch with her husband and son, braving storms, poachers, and wild animals. Hers is a story of adventure, beauty, and personal loss. This is a tragic story, one that will leave you heartbroken in the end, but it is one that is filled with the dangers and the beauty of Africa.

Dreamed of Africa Travel Movie

I Dreamed of Africa | Best Travel Movies

11. 7 Years in Tibet

This movie is based on the memoir of Austrian alpinist Heinrich Harrer.

In 1939, after a failed attempt to climb Nanda Parbat in the Himalayas, Heinrich (played by Brad Pitt) is taken prisoner at a British detention center. Heinrich escapes and goes on a trek through the Kingdom of Tibet. He ends up in Lhasa where the Tibetans welcome him. Heinrich meets the Dalai Lama, renounces Nazism, and begins to practice Buddhism.

7 Years in Tibet is a movie about a beautiful country and the radical transformation of Heinrich Harrer.

7 Years Tibet Best Travel Movies

7 Years in Tibet | Best Travel Movies

12. Paris Je T’Aime

Paris Je T’Aime is a collection of 18 short movies that take place in the different arrondissements of Paris. There is an American woman on her first international trip, a young backpacker who falls in love with a vampire, and a tourist who gets involved in a conflict with a young couple in the Tuileries metro station. Some stories are better than others, some are in English, and some are in French with subtitles.

If you have a love affair with Paris like me, you will love this movie.

Best Travel Movies Paris

Paris Je T’aime | Best Travel Movies

13. The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries is a true story based on the life of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Ernesto and his friend, Alberto Granado, hop on a motorcycle for a road trip through South America.

Filled with mishaps and adventures, it is a life-changing journey as they travel across the continent. As they encounter the social problems and inequalities of South America, Che grows from a naïve young man to the iconic revolutionary we know today.

Best Travel Movies South America

The Motorcycle Diaries | Best Travel Movies

14. The Bucket List

The Bucket List is about Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) and Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson), two men recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. They meet and become friends while sharing a hospital room. Over the next three months, Carter and Edward share bucket list adventures around the world, including an African safari, trekking to Everest Base Camp, and flying over the North Pole.

Best Travel Movies Bucket List

The Bucket List | Best Travel Movies

15. The Darjeeling Limited

Directed by Wes Anderson, The Darjeeling Limited is a story about three brothers who are traveling by train through India to find their mother. It’s funny, it’s sad, and it is a beautiful movie with an excellent soundtrack.

Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrien Brody are the lead actors and Bill Murray makes a brief appearance.

Darjeeling Limited

The Darjeeling Limited | Best Travel Movies

16. National Lampoon’s Vacation

Vacation is the hilarious tale of the Griswold’s road trip across the US. Filled with mishaps and what not to do while on vacation, this movie will have you laughing out loud.

Almost as good is European Vacation , the sequel to Vacation. The Griswold’s win a trip to Europe and leave a trail of destruction through London, Paris, Bavaria, and Rome.

Lampoons Vacation Movie

17. A Map for Saturday

What would it be like to travel the world for a year? A Map for Saturday answers this question.

“A Map for Saturday” is a documentary about around the world travel. It is filled with interviews from other backpackers during their journey. From all stages of the trip, from first leaving your home country, to what it is like to backpack across the globe, to what it is like to finally return home, this movie covers it all.

For those with dreams of traveling around the world , this movie is a must-see. “A Map for Saturday” does a great job accurately portraying what it is really like to travel around the world, mirroring our personal experience.

Best Travel Movies Around the World

18. Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit Trilogy

To see the gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand , put any of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy or the Hobbit Trilogy movies on your list. With an epic storyline and breathtaking landscapes, the Hobbit Trilogy and the Lord of the Rings each make a great series for movie marathons.

Hobbit Best Travel Movies

19. Mission: Impossible Series

The Mission: Impossible collection is a series of six movies which star Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. In each movie, Hunt and his team stop an enemy force to prevent a global disaster.

This movie series is filmed in locations around the world, from famous cities to more off the beaten path places.

Best Travel Movies Mission Impossible

Mission: Impossible , filmed in 1996, mostly takes place in London and Prague.

Mission: Impossible 2 starts off with Ethan Hunt rock climbing at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah. Most of the remainder of the film was filmed in Australia, mainly around Sydney.

Mission: Impossible 3 features scenes from the Vatican , Rome, and Shanghai, China.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol takes place in Budapest , Red Square and the Kremlin in Moscow, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and Mumbai, India (although Prague and Vancouver were used as the actual filming locations for Moscow and Budapest).

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation takes place in London, Vienna, and Morocco.

Mission: Impossible Fallout was filmed on Pulpit Rock in Norway , in Queenstown and the Milford Sound, New Zealand, and in Paris and London.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 was released in July 2023 and has scenes filmed in Rome , Venice , Abu Dhabi, England, and Norway (the motorcycle stunt was filmed at Helsetkopen Mountain, not far from Geiranger and Ålesund ).

20. Planet Earth

Planet Earth is a masterpiece. Witness the amazing diversity of this planet, from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains to the driest deserts. It’s gorgeous, it’s educational, and it’s perfect for all ages.

Planet Earth Best Travel Movies

The Planet Earth Collection | Best Travel Movies

More Great Travel Movies

Here are several more great travel movies that take place around the world.

Castaway is about a man who is the sole survivor of a plane crash and ends up living on a remote island. Much of this movie was filmed on Modriki Island, Fiji.

The Beach is about a young man, played by Leonard DiCaprio, who travels to Thailand and goes in search of paradise on a hidden, mysterious island.

The Big Year is a funny, inspiring movie about birdwatchers competing to spot the most species of birds in one year. This lighthearted movie stars Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin. 

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil takes place in Savannah, Georgia and is based on a true story about a murder.

The Tourist, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, is about an American man on vacation in Venice who meets a mysterious woman and gets tied up in a web of deceit. In this movie, Venice is the main character.

Nomadland is a movie about Fern (Frances McDormand) who leaves conventional life behind, living out of her van as she moves from job to job and place to place across the American Southwest. Badlands National Park , Wall Drug Store, Custer State Park , and Scottsbluff all make appearances in this movie.

Amelie , Taken , and The DaVinci Code are all filmed in Paris, France.

Wild is based on a true story about a young woman who walks the Pacific Crest Trail after recovering from a personal tragedy. It is funny, uplifting, and very inspiring. The book is even better than the movie.

Did we miss anything? What do you think are the best travel movies? Comment below!

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Best Travel Movies

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100 Foot Journey, La Vien Rose, Bread & Tulips, A Month At The Lake, Enchanted April. Now, I’m going to watch a few of your suggestions!

Avatar for Trish

Meru has become a family favorite viewed several times. Thanks,for the other suggestions

Avatar for Julie

Thanks for the suggestion! I just added it to our Amazon Watchlist (it’s included with Prime!). Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Wanda ZUEGE

Thank you for the 15 Best yravel movies. I look forward to more travel news.

Avatar for Cathy

I would add ‘Meru’. An amazing film with beautiful videography. There are a couple movies you listed that I have not seen, thank you for sharing. Three years into my life of a full time traveler! Love following your adventures as well. Best wishes, -Cathy

Thanks for the recommendation! Happy travels, Julie

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Home » Budget Travel » The Ultimate List of Travel Movies Updated For 2024

The Ultimate List of Travel Movies Updated For 2024

There is a pretty high chance that you were first inspired to get out of your hometown and see a bit of the world by a film. Maybe you were filled with a deep desire to be in nature after watching “Into The Wild”, or perhaps you just fancied partying in Thailand after seeing “The Beach”. Alternatively, (like me) you simply wanted to visit the chic cafes of Paris after watching the works of New Age Wave autre John Luc Goddard.

In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the best travel movies, documentaries and TV shows ever. As well as introducing the films, we’ll reflect on what makes them special and what they say about travel.

Unlike some other travel blogs, the Broke Backpacker boasts several self confessed film snobs amongst its writing staff and our eclectic list reflects this. We have included some true classics  (ie, golden oldies),  a few leftfield, indie-gems, and yes, a few definitive backpacker faves that we simply could not leave out. Oh and I’m happy to tell you right now that “Eat, Sleep, Pray” did  not  make our list.

What is a Travel Movie?

Firstly I think it’s worth taking a closer look at what we mean by a “travel film” or “travel movie” as the definition is not as apparent as it may at first seem.

In order to qualify as a travel film on this list, the film needs to have “travel”, or the journey of the protagonists as a central theme. Alternatively, it must use travel as the setting to explore the characters’ story arcs. So does this mean that Lord of the Rings qualifies? After all, the characters cover a fair few miles over the course of the trilogy. Well no, because to make it onto our list it also has to take place in a ‘real world’ setting.


It is also not enough for a movie to simply be set “abroad” in order for it to qualify and for this reason, “Lost in Translation” qualifies whereas “Enter The Void” doesn’t. Whilst both are essentially films about Americans in Tokyo, there are some crucial differences. “Enter The Void” is simply a story that happens to take place in Tokyo whereas the central theme of “Lost in Translation” is the alienation of being a stranger in a strange land (oh and much of the film takes place in a hotel!).

Finally, it’s only fair to tell you in advance that some films may make it onto this list purely because I say so!

The Best EVER Travel Films 

Now that we all know the rules, let’s meet the contestants. These are the best travel movies EVER. Pass the popcorn…

Into The Wild (2007)

Into The Wild

Firmly established as a contemporary backpacker favourite, Sean Penn’s Into The Wild casts a young Emile Hirsch as “Alexander Supertramp”; a disillusioned young man who leaves his home, turns his back on society and sets off in search of the simple, free life. 

Based on a true story, Into The Wild examines the possibility of living a nomadic, cash-free existence in modern America as he ventures towards a hermetic existence in the wilds of Alaska . Critics of the film point out that it seems to gloss over the protagonist’s mental health issues and portrays his self-destructiveness as a form of nobility.

Into The Wild has become a very influential film and has (kind of) inspired a generation of backpackers as well as an Arcade Fire song (the book did anyway) . Pretty much all of The Broke Backpacker team have been told we are “just like the guy from Into The Wild” at some point or another – we don’t agree, as we are all glued to the capitalist system. But we don’t think it would necessarily be a good thing anyway if you’ve seen how it ends.

On The Road (2012)

On The Road is based on the seminal Jack Kerouac book of the same name and tells the semi-fictitious tale of the author’s alter-ego, Sal Paradise, as he crosses back and forth across America in the 1950s. Setting out from New York with his best friend and idol, Dean Moriarty, the film is an amphetamine fuelled, jazz soundtracked take on the nature of freedom and the symbolism of the road.

On The Road

Sam Riley puts in a solid performance as Sal/Kerouac and there is also a notable cameo from Steve Buschemi. A few people would argue that the film fails to even come close to the novel, but it is indeed a worthy attempt.  

I first read the book as a young man and it inspired me to get out and travel, although it took me a good few years to muster the courage and save the cash to actually do so. Whilst On The Road has gone down a truly great piece of literature, its greatest achievement is perhaps putting hipster city Denver on the map.

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Seven Years in Tibet

Let’s start with a fun factoid, this worthy adaptation of the memoir of the same name is one of the few films you can watch at the little cinema in Manang, halfway up Nepal’s Annapurna circuit . If you are ever passing that way, be sure to check it out.

Seven Years in Tibet tells the true story of Austrian (Nazi sympathising) mountaineer Heinrich Harrer who gets effectively stranded in the (closed) country of Tibet when World War II breaks out. After finding refuge in the “forbidden city” of Lhasa, Harrer is hired to serve as a tutor to the young Dalai Lama who inevitably ends up teaching him.

The film is a touching tale of redemption and enlightenment that examines the nature of friendship and fatherhood. The film is also notable for depicting the unique (and lost) Tibetan culture and the tragic invasion of Tibet by China’s Red Army in 1950.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

The Darjeeling Limited

For some bizarre reason, there seems to be a shortage of travel films set in India. This Wes Anderson comedy throws together a stellar leading cast including Owen Wilson (we’ll be seeing more of him) and Adrian Brody.

Seemingly set in the 1970s (judging by the fashion and soundtrack), The Darjeeling Limited documents the train journey 3 brothers decide to take across India to commemorate their Fathers passing.

As with most Wes Anderson films, the film does dry, dark humour very well. Moreover, as a travel movie the film examines the cliches and realities of the notion of India as a “spiritual country” . It also looks at the dynamics between travel companions – if you have ever taken a trip with your relatives, you know the pain.

Raiders of The Lost Arc (1981)

Raiders of The Lost Arc

The first of the Indiana Jones series introduces Harrison Ford as the world’s most bad-ass archeologist. This fast paced and utterly lovable flick sees Jones travel from Peru, to Nepal and onto Egypt trying to beat the Nazis to the Arc of Covenant. The original 3 Indie films are all raucous globe-trotting masterpieces but this is probably the pick.

Despite being fantastical, the Jones films did nevertheless inspire a generation of youngsters to go out and seek adventure. Even to this day, when I find myself exploring the Temples of Bagan, or the overgrown Fort in Bundi, Rajasthan, I get giddy with excitement channelling my inner Indie.

Caravan (Himalaya) (1999)

Caravan (Himalaya)

This French-backed Nepalese feature film rightfully won a raft of awards upon its release and to date stands as one of the few Nepalese films to ever meet with worldly success. Set and filmed in Nepal’s mysterious and ancient Dolpang region, Caravan tells the story of traditional Nepalese mountain folk making their annual journey to sell rock-salt.

Despite such a simple premise, the film is utterly gripping. The journey across the Himalayas is tough and arduous and to make it, the cantankerous but wise Tinle must reconcile with young protegge Karma.

Most of the characters in the film were absolute amateurs – Dolpanese villagers making their acting debuts – but the performances are so perfect you would never tell.

You can also watch this film at Manang cinema too.

Before Sunrise (1995)

Before Sunrise

The first (and best) instalment of the beautiful Before trilogy , Before Sunrise introduces Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as 2 American backpackers who meet on a train whilst interrailing around Europe.

Finding an immediate and deep connection (which seem to come thick and fast when backpacking) the pair are both ending their trip and decide to spend their last 12 – 24 hours exploring Vienna together before going their separate ways forever (or at least until 2004’s Before Sunset).

What this film does majestically, is encapsulating the joy of simply walking around a city with somebody interesting. Vienna is nice, but it ultimately serves as a backdrop to the two protagonists’ deeper explorations of one another.

Once you see this film, your challenge is to try and blag a “pay you later” bottle wine like Ethan Hawke’s character does. Let me know how it goes.

Fitzcarraldo – The Burden of Dreams (1982)

Fitzcarraldo - The Burden of Dreams (1982)

This West German underground masterpiece by auteur of the weird Werner Herzog is perhaps amongst the most unique films to make this list. Set in the Amazon Rainforest in the 1920s, Fitzcarraldo is based on the exploits of real-life Rubber Baron Roberto Fitzarrold.

Fitzcarraldo, played by the intense and charismatic Klaus Kinski, is an entrepreneur and Opera fan. Fitz dreams of building an Opera house in the middle of the jungle so he can invite legendary Tenor Enrico Caruso to open it. In order to raise the cash, Fitz needs to find a way to access the lucrative rubber trees buried deep in the forest, so he decides the easiest way is to carry his steamship over a mountain.

The film is utterly balmy. It’s surreal, humorous and possibly unlike anything else you have ever seen.

In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges (2008)

Even Gangsters need vacations right? Well, kinda yes, but mostly no. In Bruges tells the story of 2 bungling gangsters who are sent to Ghent, er I mean Bruges, by their crime lord boss apparently to lay low after a hit gone wrong back in London. After spending the first few days confined to a tiny hotel room, the 2 begin taking it in turns to go out and explore the city making friends and enemies as they go. Eventually, it becomes clear to the pair that their jaunt in Brugge is not just a jolly, but there is another hit that needs doing…

Starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes, the all-star cast are on their comedy best and the film packs in plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and memorable one-liners (what about the Vietnamese?).

“It feels like a dream but I know I’m awake” is how Colin Farrel’s character describes Bruges (actually he didn’t, he said it was shit, watch the film to find out why this is funny). Indeed the film put Bruge firmly on the map for weekend breaks and stag do’s – a clientele even less desirable than hitmen.

Roman Holiday (1953)

Roman Holiday (1953)

Rome has never not been an “in demand” holiday destination and the eternal city has been attracting visitors even long before St Paul made his pilgrimage there to establish a death cult. Still, in the 1950s, chic Rome was possibly at its peak, thanks in part to Richard Burton living there. But also thanks to this classic piece of black and white cinema.

Roman Holiday stars everyman Gregory Peck and the elfin beauty of Audrey Hepburn as a reporter and a secret Princess who meet one day exploring Rome . What follows is now a textbooky comic-romantic-adventure involving Vespa scooters, the Spanish steps and a ton more Roman tropes.

One of the oldest travel films to make our list, Roman Holiday is a true classic from one of Hollywood’s golden periods.

Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider (1969)

“Two men set off in search of America, they couldn’t find it anywhere” – is how Easy Rider was summarised on its release in 1969. Filmed and set in California at the height of the 60’s counter-culture, Easy Rider follows the 2 protagonists (Dennis Hopper and Hollywood-hippy Peter “Wow’ Fonda) as they journey up from Mexico across the south-west en route to sell a giant haul of cocaine.

The film celebrates the simple joy of the open road examines the thriving hippy counterculture of the time. The New Orleans graveyard scene is perhaps one of the earliest and most successful attempts to capture the LSD experience on film. Easy Rider also packs an awesome soundtrack including The Byrds’ “Wasn’t Born To Follow”. The less than happy ending reminds us that not all journeys end well…

Midnight Express (1977)

Midnight Express (1977)

Now for a look at the darker side of travel. Midnight Express is based on the true story of American Billy Hayes who spent 5 years in a Turkish prison for attempting to smuggle hashish out of the country.

The film is not for the faint hearted and depicts the brutality of the Turkish prison regime which drives the protagonist to the point of insanity.

Whilst watching this film, I was reminded that each year young backpackers around the world are arrested and sentenced to long jail sentences in foreign prisons for drug offences – please don’t take the risk and please stay safe in Istanbul !

Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation (2003)

Sofia Coppola’s critically acclaimed (but actually quite boring) indie flick sends Bill Murray alongside Scarlett Johansen (in her breakout role) to Tokyo. Murray is an American film star who has been sent to Tokyo by his agent to do some commercials, whereas Johansen is a bored wife who’s husband is always too busy working.

The film slowly examines one of the lesser acknowledged aspects of travel – the occasional melancholy and “why the fuck am I here?” moments that can make a traveller wonder whether actually, those who wander truly are lost after all.

There is plenty of substance in this film, some genuine moments of dry humour and the soundtrack features shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine.

Midnight in Paris (2011)

midnight in Paris

I wasn’t a fan of Owen Wilson and initially dismissed him as a floppy Woody Harrelson until I saw this. Directed by another Woody, Woody Allen’s (who’s neurosis Wilson channels throughout) Midnight in Paris is the story of a Hollywood writer and his fiancee holidaying in Paris with her conservative (boo!) parents.

Despite having always dreamed of visiting Paris, Gil (Owen) is ultimately disillusioned with its reality and it just cannot live up to his expectations. He constantly finds himself wishing he “was here in the 20’s” or “here in the rain” and is endlessly seeking a romanticised version of the city that only ever really existed in the novels of Hemmingway and films of Truffaut anyway. Can you relate to any of that? Because I certainly can.

I won’t give away too much, but the film takes on a magical twist when (around midnight), Gil is transported back in time to the Paris of his fantasies – cue inevitable, happy, eventual realisation about the only time and place worth being here and now.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

I was loath to include war films on this list. Basically, I don’t really think that invading France or bombing Vietnam is what people have in mind when they think about “travel” despite what the shitty army recruitment campaigns try to suggest (‘Get Paid To Travel! Your Country Needs You!” etc)..

Anyway, I have included this firstly because it is a masterpiece and true classic, but also as it invites us on an intriguing cinematic voyage across a Middle East that is now lost forever. Leading an all legend cast, Peter O Toole plays British agent T.E Lawrence in the true story of his life and exploits in “Arabia” during WWI. Lawrence travels from Jordan to Syria to Iraq, basically trying to convince the Arab tribes to rebel against their Ottoman overlords and fight alongside the British.

Needless to say, both Lawrence and the Arab tribes are screwed over the British once get what they want from them. Thank God it’s only a film ( oh wait…) .

The Beach (2000)

Do I even need to tell you what this one is about?! The Beach follows a young Leonardo Di Caprio finding himself on his gap year (yada-yada) around Southeast Asia. He quickly grows disillusioned with “doing the same old shit” and having inauthentic experiences in Thailand, so decides to head out in search of something else.

Inspired by a scene-stealing Robert Caryle, Di Caprio and his hostel-buddies set off in search of a mysterious, hidden backpacker paradise known as “The Beach”. Upon finding it though, they soon realise that Paradise comes at a cost.

This one is rightfully established as a contemporary-classic travel film. It perfectly caught the Zeitgeist and feels as pertinent today as it did upon its initial release in 2000. The Beach forces us to acknowledge the dark side of hedonism and moreover, to confront the huge elephant (pants?) in the waiting lounge; are travellers actually looking for something or simply running away from something?

The actual beach used in the film is now closed after Thai backpackers pushed the eco system to the point of ruin.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Another golden oldie, The Man Who Knew Too Much is my excuse to include a film offering from ‘the master of suspense’ Alfred Hitchcock.  Featuring James Stewart and Doris Day (two other film & media legends), The Man Who Knew Too Much is a classic adventure romp across French Morocco and makes extensive use of Casablanca’s and Marrakech’s cinematic charm .

If you’re in the mood for great, entertaining filmmaking, they don’t make ’em like this anymore.

The Italian Job (1969)

The Italian Job (1969)

The Swiss/Italian border high up in the Alps makes for perhaps one of the most scenic drives in the world and has been utilised by filmmakers countless times – never more memorable than in The Italian Job.

This 60s classic casts Michael Caine as a debonair, loveable ex-con who, upon his release from jail, sets to work on his next caper – a bold plot to rob the Italian gold reserve. The Italian Job is the only heist film you ever need to see. It fuses witty dialogue with some unforgettable visual set pieces. The mini chase around Turin looks as impressive today as it must have done in 1969.

FYI – There is a shitty remake of this film knocking about which is to be avoided at all costs.

Withnail & I (1987)

Withnail & I (1987)

If any of you have ever taken a country break in the UK, then you will know firsthand that they tend to descend into squalid, traumatic disasters that leave you wishing you’d never left the city. 

This is essentially Withnail & I! Two out of work, out of luck, out of it actors decide to escape 60’s London for a few days and head to “the country” to gatecrash the rural cottage owned by Withnail’s (Richard E Grant) eccentric Uncle Monty. The two quickly find themselves making enemies of the country folk at every twist and turn as they bumble from one disaster to another.

Things only take a turn for the worse when Uncle Monty turns up and takes a bit too much of an interest in the protagonist “I” (Paul Mcann). This is British Black humour at its best. A true cult classic packed with t-shirtable one-liners.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

The Talented Mr Ripley is an alluring, seductive and sinister story of obsession, envy, longing, belonging and social class. Young psychopath Thomas Ripley’s (played by Matt Damon) great talent is that he can almost “become” anybody and accordingly, is dispatched to Italy by a wealthy shopping magnate to persuade his wayward son to come home and grow up.

Arriving in 1950’s Italy, Thomas finds himself immersed in the intoxicating lifestyle of Dickie (Jude Law) and his young & monied circle. I have to be mindful not to give away any plot devices here so suffice to say, tensions start to build and things get a bit dark.

As a travel film, this focuses on the strange concept of travel nostalgia ( Italy in the roaring 50s – yes please!) along with the sobering realisation that no matter how much we like to pretend otherwise, travel is still reserved for the privileged.

Mr. Nice (2010)

Mr. Nice (2010)

Mr Nice tells the story of everybody’s favourite drug dealer, Howard Marks. Based on Marks’ memoir (which he wrote in jail), the film tells the (true) story of a simple boy from the Welsh Valleys who became one of the world’s biggest marijuana smugglers.

Funny, witty and fast paced, the film follows Marks from swinging London, to troubled Ireland, to Afghanistan and Mallorca before doing an unwanted tour of countless american penitentiaries. Ouch.

In case you have moral misgivings as to whether it’s ok to like a drug dealer so much, remember that Mark’s never dealt in hard drugs and never used violence. Outlaw yes, criminal no.

James Bond (1961 – Present)

James Bond (1961 - Present)

I mulled long and hard over whether to include the Bond franchise on this list and mulled even harder over which one to single out as the best. In the end, I decided James Bond films do qualify but there are simply too many nuggets to choose just the one!

A supercool Brit fighting and shagging his way across the world whilst being utterly culturally insensitive, Bond was in many ways my original travel hero ( although I’m not so much into that Queen and Country crap) . What Bond does well (or awfully) is serve up delightfully patronising travel tropes whether it’s the Q-mechanised Indian Rickshaw in Octopussy or the cartoon Haitian Witch Doctor’ in Live and Let Die.

Ever wanted to jump from the Eiffel Tower? Cos Bond’s done it. Ever wanted to drive a Soviet tank across Red Square? He’s done that too.

Want to visit some of the spots made famous in the movies, check out the best James Bond filming locations for some inspiration.

Best Ever Travel Documentaries

These real-life documentaries are bound to astound and inspire you. Let’s take a look at the best travel documentaries ever.

Samsara (2011)

Samsara (2011)

The last word in travel porn was how our very own Ralph Cope described this – and he’s not far wrong. Samsara is a non-narrative documentary that basically splices gorgeous images from around the world set to a haunting soundtrack featuring Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance). 

From the sacred to the mundane, delving into the profane, the film’s iconic scenes feature the temples of Bagan in Myanmar, as well as jails in the Philippines. Whilst not always an easy watch, Samsara is rewarding, unforgettable and will inspire you to see more of the world.

Parts Unknown (2013 – 2020)

Parts Unknown (2013 - 2020)

Parts Unknown is essentially a cooking show for people who hate food (or at least hate cooking shows ). Celebrity Chef and all round hero, Anthony Bourdain (dec’d) travels the globe in search of great recipes. On his way, he takes a close look at the cultures behind the food, meeting the people, learning the histories and seeking out the hidden spots that only the locals know about.

Various episodes have seen Bourdain drinking beer and eating noodles with Barack Obama in Hanoi, and have seen the chef getting pissed on a train in Myanmar. What I love about this show is that it reminds us how important food is to the travel experience – it’s no coincidence that all of my favourite countries have great cuisines.

Above all, it also reminds us that a good meal with the right people in the right setting, is an experience in itself and can take you away.

Planet Earth (2006)

Planet Earth (2006)

If you are reading this, then there is a pretty good chance that you live on Planet Earth. This lauded BBC David Attenbrough series collates some utterly mesmerising footage from the 4 corners of the flat-earth and weaves them into the narrative of our planet.

From the snows of Bhutan, via the deserts of Sudan, to the Jungles of Milan, it’s all in here. The series melds never seen before, HD footage of some of the world’s great wonders with Attenbroughs familiar Grandfatherly tones offering the narration.

As well as Planet Earth, Human Planet and Blue Planet are equally unmissable.

Around The World in 80 Days (1989)

Around The World in 80 Days (1989)

Before Bond and before Jack Kerouac, my first ever travel inspiration came as a 12-year-old boy watching the erstwhile, BBC-perfect, prototype Brit, Michael Palin going around the world in 80 days. In the late 1980s, Palin set out to re-create the fictional journey undertaken by Jules Verne’s character Phileas Fogg in the 19th-century classic novel.

Getting around the world in 80 days sounds easy enough until you realise that staying true to the source material, Palin was forbidden from flying and was instead forced to use trains and boats. This is where I caught my first ever glimpse of Tokyo’s pod hotels and the Orient Express. As a naive working-class boy from a small town, I had no idea that such a world existed and a seed was planted.

Palin’s gift is to make the ordinary extraordinary and all of his travel series are a delight. Also, I have a confession for you – as much as I like to think I’m Bond, in truth I’m closer to the amiable Palin. In fact, whenever I find myself in challenging situations out on the road, I ask myself “What would Michael Palin do?” and try to channel his unflappable manner of being calm, pleasant and just a bit bumbling; after all, it’s gotten him out of many a jam.

Tribe – with Burce Parry (2002 +)

Tribe - with Burce Parry (2002 +)

Ex-Royal Marine and trek leader Bruce Parry travels to some of the most remote places on earth to visit and ingratiate himself with various indigenous tribes. Parry seeks out tribes who still live a traditional way of life more or less untouched by the modern world. His challenge in each episode is to immerse himself in their culture, master their ways or surviving and sometimes even undergo their brutal initiation rituals.

Over the course of the series, Parry has lived with Inuits in the Arctic, Mongolian horse tribes in the Steppes, and even dined with some of the earth’s last cannibal cultures.

Long Way Down (2006)

Long Way Down (2006)

Long Way Down takes 3 of the coolest things in the world and throws them together in one long road trip. Yes, the winning formula of Motorcycles + Travel + Obi Wan Kenobi (or Ewan McGregor as he insists on been called) proved to be a massive hit.

The show follows McGregor and his best mate Charlie Boorman John o’ Groats in Scotland through eighteen countries in Europe and Africa to Cape Town in South Africa. It is a follow-up to the Long Way Round of 2004, when the pair rode east from London to New York via Eurasia and North America. On the way they visit the set of Star Wars in Tunisia, make their way (minus the camera crew) across Libya and bribe their way through multiple African border crossings.

Best Ever Travel Series

Let’s face it, this is the Netflix era and Hollywood is dead. For the last decade, HBO, Sky and now even the BBC have been producing absolutely awesome long-form TV series that rival even the greatest pieces of film in terms of storytelling and cinematography. Therefore it would be churlish (as well as Boomer as Hell) to not allow TV Series onto this list.

The Serpent (2021)

The Serpent (2021)

Made by the BBC, The Serpent transports us to 70’s Bangkok by way of India and Nepal. It tells the true story of a Dutch Diplomat who gets wound up in the investigation into 2 missing backpackers. Unimpressed by the Thai Police’s apathy, he takes matters into his own hands and ends up hot on the trail of notorious backpacker killer, Charles Sobhraj.

The show is gripping, fast paced and the characters well executed. Best of all, it shines a light on the seedier side of the 1970’s hippy trail and reminds us that we backpackers are pretty vulnerable. Don’t let your parents watch this before you set out on a trip is all I can say!

The Terror (2018)

The Terror (2018)

The Terror is a fictional account of the very real lost voyage to the Arctic of Sir John Franklin which took place between 1845-1848. His ships leave England headed towards the cold North seeking out a mythical shortcut through the Arctic.

Strange things happen at sea and it seems even stranger things happen on frozen seas. As well as having to deal with the usual diet of rum, sodomy and the lash, the crew are challenged by ice-breaks, the arctic winter and a strange monster that haunts the frozen wasteland.

As winter drags on, the surviving crew slowly lose their grip on sanity (lead in your food will do that) and the boundaries between dream states and reality dissipate.

Fortitude (2015)

Fortitude (2015)

Right, so this one breaks my rules a bit. It is a drama set in a travel-place but it isn’t really about travel. Still, I am making an exception because it is set somewhere you just need to see, because it has an international cast and because I did warn you that sometimes I would just say so!

Fortitude is filmed on and based on Svalbard, although they renamed the city Fortitude in the show for dramatic purposes. It’s about a terrible prehistoric disease that breaks out in the isolated frontier settlement because of melting ice caps – how 2020 of them.

When I visited the Norwegian territory myself in 2016, I immediately said “this place is simply fascinating, it would make a great TV show” before the barman said, “they already made one, I was in it!”.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed writing this one and I hope you enjoyed reading it. I could have included more but let’s keep it sensible, right? How many of these have you seen? Are you inspired to see a few more? If you have any gems that you think I missed, do let me know in the comments!

best travel movies

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Aiden Freeborn

Aiden Freeborn

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Best travel films

The 40 best travel movies

Hit the trail with some of cinema’s most magical destination films

There’s loads to be said for the transportive power of cinema – that magical ability to whisk us off to places we’d never otherwise go – but we’re often glad of its power to bring us back again. It’s fun to pay a visit to Mos Eisley or Twin Peaks but you probably wouldn’t want to linger too long. Occasionally, though, a movie will leave you with itchy feet and an urge to hit the trail (or at least, low-cost airline website) for real. Here are 40 films that’ll have you reaching for your passport.

An email you’ll actually love

Sideways (2004)

Sideways (2004)

Destination: Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA

They may be insufferable wine bores cursed in perpetuity by merlot producers the world over, but it’s hard not to kinda love pent-up Miles (Paul Giamatti) and laconic Jack (Thomas Haden Church) in Alexander Payne’s Oscar-winning comedy-drama. For one thing, the hapless roadtrippers are never dull; for another, they introduced the moviegoing world to California’s lush Santa Ynez Valley and its array of sun-kissed valleys, bountiful vineyards and roadside staging posts. If you’re ever following in their footsteps, be sure to stop in at Miles’s favourite restaurant, The Hitching Post II . PDS  

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild (2007)

  • Action and adventure

Destination :  Denali National Park, Alaska, USA

Things go south when Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) heads north in Sean Penn’s moving biopic of the young hiker’s journey from comfortable middle-class life to the vast Alaskan wilderness. This true-life adventure may have a heartbreaking ending but the journey there is pretty special, backdropped by unforgettable American landscapes and life-changing encounters in the spirit of all great road-trip movies. The vast solitude of Alaska’s Denali National Park, five hours’ drive from Anchorage and overshadowed by North America’s highest peak, Mount Denali (aka Mount McKinley), leaves a haunting impression. PDS

Wild (2014)

Wild (2014)

Destination: The Pacific Crest Trail, USA

There was a reason thousands of solo hikers set off on the Pacific Crest Trail IRL after seeing this movie. Based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir of the same name and starring Reese Witherspoon, ‘Wild’ paints a vivid picture of life off-grid and on-foot on the PCT, an equal parts gruelling and stunning hiking route which weaves through the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges on America’s west coast. The urge to pack up your water purifier and your emotional baggage and hit the trail as the credits roll is hard to ignore. EWA

The Sheltering Sky (1990)

The Sheltering Sky (1990)

Destination: Aït Benhaddou, Morocco

Paul Bowles’s bohemian account of post-war life in north Africa is hardly the greatest advertisement for tourism – the jaded American couple at its heart aren’t the most open-minded pair – but Bernardo Bertolucci’s visually rich adaptation makes it all seem well worth the trip anyway. It has Debra Winger and John Malkovich as the pair of slightly insufferable roamers (‘We’re travellers,’ they’re at pains to point out, ‘not tourists’) but the real stars of the show are the Saharan landscapes, Tangier souks and dusty villages. One of those villages, the ancient fort of Aït Benhaddou, is a film star in its own right, having appeared in ‘Gladiator’, ‘Babel’, ‘Kundun’ and ‘The Mummy’, among others. PDS  

Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation (2003)

Destination: Tokyo, Japan Sofia Coppola’s classic is one of the quintessential travel movies, not just for its Japanese locations, both postcard-famous and off-the-beaten-track, but in perfectly capturing that unmistakable sense of dislocation that can come with hitting the trail. Here, it’s magnified by deeper life crises for Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray’s two lonely travellers, but their existential woes spark a powerful connection – and we’ve all been there. As far as the travelling goes, they’re doing it the luxe way, staying in the now-very-famous and expensive Park Hyatt Tokyo and taking day trips to Kyoto soundtracked by Air. Other hotels (and Spotify) are available. PDS

A United Kingdom (2016)

A United Kingdom (2016)

Destination: Serowe, Botswana

This true-life love story between Bechuanaland royal heir Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) and Londoner Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) plays like a cross between a Disney fairy tale and a bracing slug of social realism. The couple are subjected to prejudice and disapproval in all its guises – straight-up racism in post-war Britain and prescriptive protocols in Africa – but coolly face it down to make history. The story is inspiring and the backdrops scarcely less so. Director Amma Asante filmed on location in Seretse’s home village of Serowe, so head there for a two-in-one cinematic and historical pilgrimage (and check out the rhinos while you’re there). PDS

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Destination: Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

This comedy-drama is at once an Aussie classic, a road trip gem and a glorious celebration of difference – all crammed on to a bus called Priscilla and driven across Australia’s Outback to a gig in Alice Springs. The movie’s spiritual home – as its website proudly points out – is The Palace Hotel in hardscrabble Broken Hill, where a night in the tacky-flamboyant Priscilla Suite will set you back around A$200. It’s here that Bernadette Bassenger (Terence Stamp), Mitzi Del Bra (Hugo Weaving) and Felicia Jollygoodfellow (Guy Pearce) stay over en route to the Northern Territory. Or if you want to keep things strictly underground, head for the subterranean White Cliffs motel in the bizarre town of Coober Pedy– another port of call for the trio. PDS

A Room with a View (1985)

A Room with a View (1985)

Destination: Florence, Italy

What’s most charming about this 1980s Merchant Ivory classic, which follows the  first visit to Italy of the young Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter)? It’s a tough call between the sun-soaked streets of Florence and all those becoming Edwardian ruffles. Though it does a very good job of capturing England’s bucolic countryside too, it’s the first half of the film, full of glorious views of the languid Arno river, the city’s terracotta rooftops and ochre-coloured landmarks that lingers in the memory. EWA

A Walk in the Woods (2015)

A Walk in the Woods (2015)

Destination: The Appalachian Trail, USA

According to the Bill Bryson memoir from which this warm-hearted outdoorsy adventure is adapted, 2,000 people attempt the 2,200-mile-long Appalachian Trail every year, but only 10 percent make it. Attempting to beat the stats are Robert Redford and Nick Nolte’s old-timers. The trail – the longest hiking-only path in the world – runs from Maine to Georgia, with glorious, Ansel Adams-esque scenery and killer hills all the way. Will our grizzled heroes make it? Do bears shit in the woods? Finally, a movie that can answer both questions. PDS

Monos (2019)

Monos (2019)

Destination: Chingaza National Natural Park, Colombia

The brilliant ‘Monos’ sometimes feels like a war film, sometimes like a sci-fi and sometimes like some new genre we’ve never encountered before. Its high-altitude locations are guaranteed to have intrepid types reaching for their passports. Rising to more than four kilometres above sea level, Colombia’s Chingaza National Natural Park, where it is filmed, feels like the roof of the world and director Alejandro Landes gives its cloud forests, waterfalls and rocky outcrops the full widescreen treatment. Within range of Bogotá, it’s catapulted straight on to our bucket list. PDS  

Journey to Italy (1954)

Journey to Italy (1954)

Destination: Naples, Italy

This influential Roberto Rossellini film follows discontented marrieds Katherine (Ingrid Bergman) and Alex Joyce (George Sanders) as they drive to Naples and bicker their way towards something that looks likely to involve eye-watering legal costs and a painful conversation about who gets to keep the Frank Sinatra LPs. Watching these sophisticated travellers slugging it out can be an emotionally arduous ride, but they find calm and beauty amid the city’s archaeological treasures. For her, it’s the volcanic Phlegraean Fields and the ancient artefacts of the Naples Museum; for him, a ferry ride to Capri. For us? A trip to the EasyJet website.  PDS

The Way (2010)

The Way (2010)

Destination: El Camino de Santiago, Spain 

Whether it’s to the football, the pub or just to Homebase for something to de-grease the barbecue, a father-and-son pilgrimage is a special thing. It’s arguably even more special when there’s an actual pilgrimage involved, as is the case in this touching 2010 drama directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his dad, Martin Sheen. The movie follows the path of Galicia’s Camino de Santiago, a UNESCO listed network of hiking trails that leads pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. With its stunning landscapes and moments of footsore camaraderie, it’ll have you itching to follow in its footsteps. PDS

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Destination: Oahu, Hawaii, USA Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy tracks down girl in far-flung corner of Hawaii. Boy discovers girl is now having mindblowing sex with a rockstar (Russell Brand). Major bummer. Still, on the upside for Jason Segel’s lovelorn musician – and everyone else in the film – this lol-some romantic-comedy unfolds on Oahu’s stunning north shore. Specifically, the Turtle Bay Resort , a honeymooners’ paradise that comes equal first with Bora Bora from ‘Couple’s Retreat’ in a list of dream destinations Kristen Bell has managed to visit for work . PDS

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Destination: Paris, France

Americans swooning over the City of Light is nothing new. But rarely are their chansons d’amour so persuasive as Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’. Gil (Owen Wilson) is a jobbing Hollywood screenwriter on vacation in gay Paree with fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. Each night he wanders off alone, and on midnight’s chime, is transported into a magical-realist time warp: first the 1920s (hello, Ernest, Zelda and Scott), then the Belle Époque of Degas, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. From Rodin’s hôtel particulier to abandoned fairground the Musée des Arts Forains , Gil is swept up by the city’s charms, and as he falls deeper in love, so do we. HO

The Passenger (1975)

The Passenger (1975)

Destination: Vera, Spain

From the nocturnal streets of Milan to the Aeolian Islands and even south-east  London, Michaelangelo Antonioni’s locations often got as much screen time as his actors. Even larger-than-life Jack Nicholson feels swallowed up by the epic sweep of southern Spain, the last stop for his journalist-gone-rogue David Locke after an almost 007-worthy itinerary (Algeria, London, Munich, Barcelona). The dusty Andalusian hilltop town of Vera, with its dilapidated bullring and now-demolished Hotel de la Gloria, is the filming location for the famous six-minute tracking shot in which Locke’s fate is sealed – in typically cryptic Antonioni style, naturalmente . JM

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Destination:  Seyðisfjörður,  Iceland Timid Life magazine staffer Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) heads off to track down grizzled photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) and finds himself along the way. It’s basically a mega-budget version of that gap year your mate Charlie still goes on about. But if Walter’s fantastical daydreams of superpowered adventure and heart-stopping romance are eclipsed by the rugged Icelandic landscapes, what landscapes to be eclipsed by. If you want to recreate his high-speed longboard ride , just head for Seyðisfjörður on the eastern edge of Iceland. Just be sure to check the terms of your travel insurance first. PDS

Leap Year (2010)

Leap Year (2010)

Destination: Aran Islands, Ireland It may not be a great advertisement for filmmaking but this romcom is an excellent billboard for the Irish counties of Wicklow, Mayo and Galway. Matthew Goode plays Irish innkeeper Declan O’Callaghan and Amy Adams is Anna Brady, the American visitor looking to exploit an arcane tradition whereby a man proposed to on a Leap Day must accept (because no marriage is more likely to last than one you’ve been forced into by an ancient form of blackmail). Forget the plot contortions and focus instead on the glorious Irish vistas, especially those of the rocky Aran Islands where much of the movie was filmed. PDS

L'Avventura (1960)

L'Avventura (1960)

Destination: Aeolian Islands, Italy In Michelangelo Antonioni’s languid classic, a young woman (Lea Massari) vanishes during a yachting trip to the rocky, mysterious Aeolian Islands and her boyfriend Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti) and BFF Claudia (Monica Vitti) make a slightly half-hearted attempt to find her (think Tommy Lee Jones in ‘The Fugitive’, only on Xanax). The disappearance itself takes place on the tiny volcanic outcrop of Lisca Bianca, which can be visited only by private boat, but Sandro and Claudia’s ensuing wanderings will have you adding Sicily to your holiday wishlist too. Even in black and white, the Tyrrhenian Sea sparkles enticingly. PDS

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Destination: Skopelos, Greece Abba-inspired ‘Mamma Mia!’ is movie Marmite, but it’s impossible to watch the film, or it’s more recent sequel ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’, and not be left pining for Greece’s many paradise-like islands. And if you’re into tales of friendship, motherhood, a secret search to find a father figure and a dungare ed Meryl Streep singing ’70s hits, they are pure joy. Oh, to be skipping through a Greek orange grove, falling in love in an intimate taverna or diving off a boat into the clear waters that surround sunny Skopelos right now…  EWA

Tracks (2013)

Tracks (2013)

Destination: Western Australia

Australia’s dusty town of Alice Springs is the jump-off point for an outback adventure that’s based on a true story. Mia Wasikowska plays Robyn Davidson who, in 1977, trekked 1,700 miles across the continent with only her dog, Diggity, and four dromedaries for company. At least, until National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) pitches up to cover her incredible undertaking. It’s a pure travel movie: a celebration of the dangers and majesty of the great outdoors that captures the spirituality of Aboriginal lands, the vastness of ever-shifting deserts and the spellbinding starscapes of the Australian night sky. PDS

The Two Faces of January (2014)

The Two Faces of January (2014)

Destination: Crete, Greece Like ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’, this underrated thriller has everything you could possibly want from a Patricia Highsmith adaptation: gorgeous costumes, slippery characters and exotic European settings. Oh, and foul deeds – let’s not forget about them. Here the double-dealing and betrayals take place in Greece rather than Italy, but the soft Mediterranean light and shimmering seaside backdrops are equally to die for as Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac’s vying tricksters, and Kirsten Dunst’s beautiful sorta-moll, journey from the tourist traps of Athens to Crete’s sun-baked hills and its Minoan ruins. PDS

Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

Destination: Zion National Park, Utah, USA In movie terms, Utah is most famous as home to Monument Valley, a landmark in all those great John Ford westerns. Head a few hours west, though, and you’ll find the even more remote dream destination for the hardcore western lover-cum-outdoors type: Utah’s mountainous Zion National Park, where Robert Redford western and handy gif generator ‘Jeremiah Johnson’ was partly filmed. The real-life Johnson was the nineteenth century’s answer to Bear Grylls and probably smelled badly of bison liver and fetid beard, but needless to say, Redford makes him a total thirst trap(per). PDS

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Destination :  Ventura, California, USA It may not be Big Sur or Malibu but Ventura is famous for a few things: its sandy beaches, long pier, surfing and – surely the topper – hosting the climactic moments of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. It’s in this sun-kissed corner of California that the dysfunctional Hoover clan pull up in their yellow VW microbus and unleash comedy mayhem. In the film, the setting is actually Redondo Beach, 70-odd miles south, but Ventura was the real-life stand-in for the pier scene . If you really want to get close to the action, check in to the Crowne Plaza Hotel Ventura Beach where Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin) unleashes her superbly inappropriate ‘Super Freak’ on that unsuspecting beauty pageant. PDS

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Destination: Machu Picchu, Peru Before becoming a doctor, rebranding as ‘Che’ and becoming the last word in revolutionary chic, Ernesto Guevara (Gael García Bernal) embarked on a roadtrip across South America with his old friend Alberto Granado that is faithfully recorded in Walter Salles’s excellent 2004 biopic. The pair visit the spectacular Incan citadel of Machu Picchu without once referring to ‘Lonely Planet’ and set about exchanging revolutionary ideas and posing for snapshots. If they’d had Instagram back in 1952, @Che would have been lapping up the likes. PDS

Local Hero (1983)

Local Hero (1983)

Destination: Pennan, Scotland

Home, as they say, is where the heart is, and in this enduring delight that means Scotland’s unspoiled east coast, with its tiny fishing villages, crystal-clear skies and mystical vibes. It’s here – the fictional seaside village of Ferness, specifically – that oil company exec (Peter Riegert) is sent with a brief to buy the place so it can be turned into a refinery. Unexpectedly, the villagers like the idea because, well, fishing is hard work. It’s a lovely comic twist that throws the whole film winningly off its axis. Any ‘Local Hero’ pilgrims should head for the village of Pennan in Aberdeenshire, Ferness’s real-life stand-in, and grab a selfie by that famous phonebox. PDS

Patagonia (2010)

Patagonia (2010)

Destination: Trelew, Patagonia, Argentina This gentle travelogue has Welsh photographer Rhys and his partner Gwen discovering the charms of Patagonia, where their guide (Matthew Rhys) introduces them to the region’s Welsh heritage and the chapels built by Welsh settlers. If you’re intrepid – or Welsh and fancy undertaking a similar pilgrimage – head for the Welsh town of Trelew in Argentina and saddle up for a horse ride into the dusty desert. Bizarrely, it’s exactly what Rhys was doing when he bumped into ‘Patagonia’ director Marc Evans location-scouting the film. PDS

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring (2003)

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring (2003)

Destination: Juwangsan National Park , South Korea This lushly located Korean masterpiece exudes seriously serene vibes as it charts a young Buddhist monk’s rocky spiritual journey under the tutelage of his master across 40 or so years. Since the film came out in 2003, its location – a purpose-built floating monastery on Jusanji Lake in Juwangsan National Park – has gone from hidden secret to national treasure, with visitors making the trek to sit in the shade of its willow trees and get zen by its tranquil waters. It’s a tricky trek to get there, though: Juwangsan is one of Korea’s most inaccessible national parks and the hike to the lake is a real glute-burner. PDS

Roman Holiday (1953)

Roman Holiday (1953)

Destination: Rome, Italy Sly but chivalrous American journo Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) shows Audrey Hepburn’s royal fugitive, Princess Ann, around the Eternal City in a classic romance that’s fizzier than a flute of prosecco. He takes her on a whirlwind Vespa tour of Rome’s famous tourist attractions – Joe isn’t one for the hipster haunts – taking in the Spanish Steps, the Mouth of Truth and the Colosseum. Other films have majored on the city’s jaded hedonism (‘La Dolce Vita’, ‘The Great Beauty’) and social ills (‘Bicycle Thieves’); this one just makes Rome feel like a dream. PDS

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Destination: Lhasa, Tibet

A Sun-In blond Brad Pitt plays Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer who sets out to climb the Himalayan peak of Nanga Parbat in 1939 only to end up in a POW camp. He escapes, crosses the border into Tibet and becomes tutor to the Dalai Lama in Lhasa – then the Chinese plan an invasion and things get complicated. The film faced a couple of problems: Harrer turned out to be a Nazi IRL and Tibet itself was off-limits to the production. Scorsese had the same issue on ‘Kundun’ and recreated it in Morocco; here, it is Argentina and the Canadian Rockies. But director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s time in Tibet recce-ing the country pays off and he does a fine job capturing its rugged beauty on screen. PDS

The Piano (1993)

The Piano (1993)

Destination: Karekare Beach, New Zealand If you’re looking for a beach holiday with a movie pilgrimage thrown in, head for New Zealand’s west coast where Jane Campion’s period drama is set. The gripping emotional journeys of Holly Hunter’s mute immigrant and her young daughter (Anna Paquin) as they deal with the harshness of nineteenth-century life steered the film to eight Oscar nominations. It was all filmed on the black sands of Karekare Beach, only 30 minutes’ drive from Auckland but stretched out at the foot of rugged cliffs in splendid isolation. If there was an Oscar for beaches, it’d be a shoo-in. PDS

Australia (2008)

Australia (2008)

Destination: East Kimberley, Western Australia

With its glorious shots of the outback and Hugh Jackman taking his kit off, Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’ celebrates the continent’s rugged natural phenomena in all its forms. Sure, the film – an homage to the old westerns of John Ford – is a mite corny, but it showcases the scenery of Western Australia so beautifully, you’d think the tourist board funded it. And sure enough, they did: to the tune of $1 million. Luhrmann also filmed in Sydney and Queensland, but if you want the proper ‘Australia’ experience, head for Kununurra and from there the Kimberley, approximately a bazillion square miles of canyons, cattle stations and beaches. Saddle up. PDS

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Destination: Barcelona, Spain

Set in a world full of beautiful people doing impossibly bohemian things at extreme short notice, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ is the life we’d all lead if we weren’t at home worrying about loo roll. It’s a seductive love letter to Catalonia and, in particular, a billboard for the beauties of Barcelona: as the title implies, the city itself shares top billing with Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), two friends who fall under the spell of Javier Bardem’s artist while visiting. Needless to say, the movie is full of Barca landmarks, including Park Güell, the Miró Museum, Parc de la Ciutadella and the Sagrada Família, and they all look utterly dreamy. PDS

The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

Destination: Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA

This feelgood yarn has rough-around-the-edges Kiwi biker Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) travelling from New Zealand to Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, aiming to beat the land speed record (just north of 200mph) on his trusty 1920 Indian Scout motorbike. A true story, it was filmed on location on an expansive salt pan in northwestern Utah that attracts petrolhead pilgrims to the annual Bonneville Speedway every summer. It also pops up in ‘Mad Men’, when a sweat-mottled Don Draper manages to blag a drive in a 1970 Chevelle SS, and ‘Independence Day’ . It’s another reason why anyone embarking on a movie-themed road trip should head straight for Utah. PDS

The Lost City Of Z (2016)

The Lost City Of Z (2016)

Destination: Tayrona National Park, Colombia Colombia has been South America’s go-to country for big-screen adventure since the days of ‘ Romancing the Stone’ and ‘The Mission’ in the ’80s. It offers a suitably mysterious landscape in James Grey’s dazzling epic about a British explorer (Charlie Hunnam) trying to find an undiscovered civilisation in the early twentieth century. Robert Pattinson joins him as a fellow military man with Ray Mears-like knowledge of the Amazon jungle. Grey and his crew used the Colombian Caribbean town of Santa Marta as a base, but you’ll need to head into the Tayrona National Park – the film’s Amazon scenes were filmed on the nearby Don Diego River – to follow in R-Patz’s and co’s boot prints. PDS  

Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall (2012)

Destination: Istanbul, Turkey There’s not many desirable locations that 007 hasn’t passed through over his 25 film outings. The Caribbean has been a popular pitstop, right from his first film outing in ‘Dr No’, while he’s ticked off more European capitals than a 19-year-old Interrailer. One of them, Istanbul, has hosted the big man three times and just about emerged unscathed. In ‘Skyfall’, Daniel Craig’s Bond takes us on a high-speed tour of the city’s vast and labyrinthine Grand Bazaar in pursuit of a mercenary with a vital hard drive. One day, he’ll go back and just have a nice browse instead. PDS

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

Destination: Lech, Austria Beyond James Bond, ski resorts are a rare sight in movies. After all, there’s only so much drama to be juiced from fondue evenings and teenagers necking pints, right? Wrong! Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger), who could ring drama from an empty packet of ready salted, delivers her own inimitable brand when Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) whisks her off to the Austrian Alps, hurricaning down the slopes and into a pharmacy to request a pregnancy test in strangled German, worried that she is ‘mitt baby’. Hosting the mayhem is Lech, a resort that promises ‘200km of high alpine powder’ and at least one skiable chemist. PDS

Unrelated (2007)

Unrelated (2007)

Destination: Tuscany, Italy  A spiritual cousin to ‘The Green Ray’, another movie that sets a woman’s personal crisis against a woozy summer holiday backdrop, Joanna Hogg’s debut film has fortysomething Anna (Kathryn Worth) joining some friends at their villa in Tuscany where she finds herself gravitating towards their young public school-y offspring – led by Tom Hiddleston in his first film role. It’s all surprisingly edgy stuff and culminates in a barney for the ages but the setting is to die for: the holidaying families staying in villa on the San Fabiano Estate just outside Siena, a world of rolling hills and olive groves. It’s a real B&B so you can check in any time; you just might not want to leave. PDS

Out of Africa (1985)

Out of Africa (1985)

Destination:   Chyulu Hills, Kenya

Your grandma’s favourite film has Danish farmer Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and Tiger Moth-flying big-game hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) falling in love on the Kenyan savannah, despite the presence of hungry lions and (irksomely) an actual Mr Blixen (the astonishing  Klaus Maria Brandauer). It all goes on for ages which allows for plenty of time to take in the sweeping African landscapes, replete with watering holes, green hills and the vast, sunbaked expanse of the Great Rift Valley. If you’re looking for the ‘Out of Africa’ experience, head for Kenya’s Chyulu Hills where the film was shot. PDS

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)

Destination: New Zealand 

The action is plentiful in the big-screen adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s magical ’Lord of the Rings’ epic, but the setting is jaw-dropping enough to still be a distraction. While Frodo and his fellowship battle their way across Middle-earth to return the One Ring to Mordor, the only place where it can be destroyed, New Zealand’s sweeping plains, lush forests and snowcapped mountains are in the background like an 11-hour advert for Tourism New Zealand. A one-way ticket to Rivendell via Auckland International, please. EWA

The Green Ray (1986)

The Green Ray (1986)

Destination: St Jean-de-Luz, France

Sometimes a holiday isn’t enough. Secretary Delphine (played by director Éric Rohmer’s muse Marie Rivière) finds herself dumped and facing the prospect of being stuck in sweltering Paris for the summer ( quelle horreur! ). But trips to Cherbourg, the Alps and Biarritz only serve to make her feel more alienated – from smug couples, flirtatious singles, clueless tourists and the whole seething mass of humanity. Then, she finds a transcendent sunset in the Basque beach town of St Jean-de-Luz. Rohmer’s classic is not only a funny, magical exploration of human connection but a snapshot of a French summer – complete with dodgy holiday fashion. JM  

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Full Suitcase Travel Blog

21 Best Travel Movies That Will Inspire Your Wanderlust

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: September 8, 2023

21 Best Travel Movies That Will Inspire Your Wanderlust

Are you looking for some good movies about travel to kindle your wanderlust? This article has some great suggestions and some of the best travel films of all time . Find out!

Have you ever found yourself inspired to travel to one or the other location just because you saw it in a movie? It happens to me all the time! So in this article, I share some of my favorite travel movies , the ones that got me googling the filming location and planning a trip before the movie was even over.

If you are looking for a good story or some travel inspiration, then you’ll definitely find it in these films. These are one by one great travel movies and stories that will get you out of the couch and booking a trip to discover new destinations.

Below is my personal selection of some of the best travel movies of all time. Take a look!

Click on the title of the movie to see reviews, get a DVD, or watch it on Amazon Prime . Some of these movies are also available on Netflix.

These are the best travel films:

Into The Wild

Into The Wild is an unbelievable true story of a top student and athlete who abandons everything he has and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. This movie will probably stay with you forever.

It’s an inspiring story taking place in the most incredible landscapes of Alaska. If you choose just a few movies to watch from this list, definitely include this one in your selection!

Into The Wild - one of the best travel movies

The Way is a heart-warming story of a father who heads overseas to retrace the last days of his son’s life who passed away while traveling the Camino de Santiago trail in the Pyrenees (France – Spain). Once he gets there, he decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

This movie is about family, friendships, and life choices. And of course, the beautiful places along Camino de Santiago. It’s a powerful story that will make you think deeper about the difference of the life we live and the life we choose.

The Way - amazing travel film

Under The Tuscan Sun

Under The Tuscan Sun is a romantic story that takes place in rural Tuscany . Lovely landscapes, an Italian lifestyle, and a heart-warming life story make it a perfect choice for a relaxing evening.

This beautiful light-hearted movie will get you planning a trip to Tuscany in Italy sooner than you think.

Under The Tuscan Sun - the movie that will get you planning a trip to Italy

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty   is a light-hearted story for a movie night with friends. The movie features some of the most incredible travel destinations all over the world.

A lot of the scenes (even the ones from the Himalayas and Afghanistan) are filmed in Iceland and some in Greenland . The unbelievable adventures of Walter Mitty will leave you longing for an extraordinary adventure of your own.

This film is so good that it has inspired thousands and thousands of people to travel more and discover new places. If you watch just one movie from this list of the best travel films, make it ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’. You’ll love it!

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty - probably the best travel film ever

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods movie is based on a true story and a book by Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail .

The famous writer who never hiked much sets on the Appalachian Trail. With a total length of about 2,200 miles (3,500 km), this famous American hiking trail stretches through 14 states along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine.

I haven’t read the book and the reviews are somewhat mixed (it seems that people either love or hate Bryson and his writing style). But I find that the movie is really funny, entertaining, and the scenery will definitely inspire you to get outdoors and take a hike of your own.

Best travel movies - A Walk in the Woods

Out of Africa

Ok, I know it’s an old one, but Out of Africa definitely deserves a place in the all-time favorite travel movies list.

Filmed in Kenya and the UK, this classic that has won 7 Oscars and countless other prizes will definitely get you dreaming of Africa. It’s one of those movies that you can watch again and again.

Out of Africa - classical movie that will inspire your wanderlust

The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries is an awe-inspiring film that is based on the memoirs of Che Guevara.

It will take you to the most beautiful places in South America. A beautiful story in an incredible setting.

The Motorcycle Diaries - great travel movie

In Bruges  is very different from all the rest of the travel movies on this list. But I just had to include this movie in the top-20 of the best travel films because it’s filmed in Belgium, where we live.

It’s a hilarious dark comedy and a great performance by all three main characters in the most fantastic setting in Belgium’s most beautiful fairytale town.

If you haven’t been to Bruges, you’ll definitely want to visit it after watching this movie! Here you can find some inspiration with our insider tips for the best things to do in Bruges .

In Bruges - great travel film

Before Sunrise – Before Sunset – Before Midnight

If you like Europe and deep meaningful dialogues with a good dose of humor, you’ll love this trilogy called Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight . We only discovered these films recently when we accidentally saw the first one, Before Sunrise, on TV. 

Regarded as one of the most significant films of the ’90s, Before Sunrise, was followed by two more sequels. We watched all three films and loved every second of it.

The first movie takes you to Vienna, Austria, the second one – to Paris, and the third – to the Greek Islands.

These travel films are probably not for everyone, but if you can appreciate this style, you’ll love them all!

Movie series Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight


If you haven’t been to Paris yet, you will definitely want to plan a trip after watching this movie. If you have, you’ll want to return.

Amélie is a beautiful example of French cinema. It will also take you to the most inspiring locations in Paris. The film is set in the Montmartre neighborhood in Paris and shows you the more local side of living in this fascinating city.

Amelie - good travel movie that will inspire to visit Paris

This travel movie is based on a true story of a young woman who sets on a journey of over 1,000 miles hoping to recover after the passing of her mother.

Wild  is full of beautiful scenes throughout the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. This is one of those travel films that remind you that often the journey is more important than the destination.

Wild - one of the best travel movies ever

Lost In Translation

A beautiful film that shows the fun and unexpected side of traveling in a new country. Lost In Translation is about the many little random travel experiences that stay with you long after you return back home.

The sights and the energy of Tokyo will get you planning a trip to Japan.

‘Lost in Translation’ is considered a real classic and one of the best travel films ever.

Lost in Translation - one of the best travel movies

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris is a bit different travel film than all the rest in this selection. And it’s probably not for everyone…

But if you like Woody Allen, Paris, and the artist lifestyle, then you’ll love this surreal story that takes you back to Paris of the 1920s.

Midnight in Paris - travel film

A Good Year

A Good Year is a light-hearted romantic story that takes place in the most beautiful setting in the Provence region in the South of France.

This movie will not only inspire you to visit France but might also make you reconsider your life choices. It’s a story about leaving the rat race, getting back to your roots, and enjoying the simple things in life.

A truly great film!

A Good Year - great travel film

The Way Back

The Way Back is inspired by an incredible true story of seven prisoners from very different backgrounds who try to escape from a Siberian prison in winter.

This movie is filmed in some amazing locations in India, Morocco, and Bulgaria and features some great actors.

Film The Way Back

The Beach is a great film from the ’90s that has a little bit of everything: good story, beautiful music, and amazing scenery from Thailand. Oh, and the young Leonardo DiCaprio, who once again proves that he deserves the Oscar he finally got recently.

For a while, Thailand even had to close Maya Beach on Koh Phi-Phi due to its increasing popularity which has been attributed mainly to this film. So if you feel inspired to visit Thailand after watching ‘The Beach’, you may want to look for some alternative beaches and beautiful islands.

You can find some inspiration in our Thailand island hopping itinerary .

The Beach - one of the best travel movies

Tracks is a beautiful adventure film of a young woman who crossed 1,700-miles over the deserts of West Australia with four camels and her faithful dog.

It’s based on a true story and featuring some amazing Australian landscapes. A beautiful film that will inspire you to visit the Australian Outback !

Tracks - good travel film

Encounters At The End Of The World

Encounters At The End Of The World is an incredibly beautiful and funny travel film about the people and animals who live in Antarctica.

If Antarctica was not on your travel list yet, it will be after watching this great documentary!

Encounters At The End Of The World

The Bucket List

The Bucket List is sentimental, predictable, and yet a very heart-warming story that will inspire you to tick off your bucket list sooner rather than later.

Filmed in various locations in India, China, Egypt, Tanzania, France, and the U.S., this movie will definitely give you some new ideas for the next trips.

The Bucket List - one of the great movies about travel

Photos: IMDb

So, this is a list of some of my top travel films and favorite movies about travel. Have you seen any of these films? Which one is your favorite travel movie of all time?

If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

The best travel movies of all time

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Monday 18th of September 2023

When I’m always about to go on an adventure I keep coming back to this page to get inspired to travel to somewhere new

Thursday 21st of September 2023

What a great way to find some trip inspiration, Joshua. Happy travels!

Sunday 5th of March 2023

They aren’t travel movies, but The Lord of the Rings trilogy inspired me to go to New Zealand! How could those scenes in the mountains not inspire everyone?

Monday 6th of March 2023

Agree! (and New Zealand is absolutely stunning ;))

Thursday 2nd of March 2023

Thank you for sharing! This list is awesome!

Saturday 22nd of October 2022

If you wanna know one more... U can watch "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara". It means "U won't have a second Life again". It's soo good and so inspiring...thank me later.

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

Thanks for the recommendation, Asif! Will see if we can find this movie.

Sunday 10th of April 2022

Thank you for the awesome movie recommendations


41 best travel movies: films that inspire wanderlust.

Looking for some awesome travel films to fuel your wanderlust? Check out this list of 41 of my favorite and best travel movies to add to your watch list:

41+ Wanderlust Travel Movies

Eat, Pray, Love

One of my favorite books and movie, Eat, Pray, Love is the ultimate wanderlust/travel to find yourself kind of movie!

Watch on: Amazon , Apple TV , Google Play

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

“When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.” – IMBd

Into the Wild

“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.” – IMDb

best travel movies

Photo from IMBd

Midnight in Paris

“This is a romantic comedy set in Paris about a family that goes there because of business, and two young people who are engaged to be married in the fall have experiences there that change their lives. It’s about a young man’s great love for a city, Paris, and the illusion people have that a life different from theirs would be much better.” – Apple TV

best travel movies

“ With the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed has lost all hope. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision. With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. WILD powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.” – Google Play

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“Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young American backpacker, willing to risk his life for just one thing: the mind-blowing rush he can only get from braving the ultimate adventure. After hearing the improbable tale of a secret island – the perfect beach, unsullied by tourists – Richard sets off on a journey to find paradise on Earth. But Richard soon discovers that what seems like paradise can hide a deadly secret. Now desperate to escape, Richard explores the hidden perils and dark places that lurk just beyond the shores of paradise” – Apple TV

Best Travel Movies - The Beach

Photo from IMDb

The Darjeeling Limited

“A year after their father’s death, three American brothers who haven’t spoken since the funeral embark on a soul-searching journey across India. Their “spiritual quest”, however, veers rapidly off-course and a new, unplanned journey suddenly begins.” – Google Play

best travel movies

“180° South: Conquerors of the Useless follows Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia. Along the way he gets shipwrecked off Easter Island, surfs the longest wave of his life – and prepares himself for a rare ascent of Cerro Corcovado. Jeff’s life turns when he meets up in a rainy hut with Chouinard and Tompkins who, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all the experience of raw nature – and have come to Patagonia to spend their fortunes to protect it.” – Google Play

best travel movies

“Embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this visual masterpiece from Oscar winner Ang Lee*, based on the best-selling novel. After a cataclysmic shipwreck, an Indian boy named Pi finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with a ferocious Bengal tiger. Together, they face nature’s majestic grandeur and fury on an epic journey of discovery.” – Google Play

best travel movies

Life in a Day

“Life In A Day is a historic film capturing for future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010. Executive produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.” – on YouTube

Watch on YouTube

Lost in Translation

“Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson star in this flat-out hilarious film about two Americans who develop a surprising friendship while venturing through Tokyo.” – Google Play

Traveling Movies - Lost in Translation

Maybe not a movie you’d normally find on a list of best travel movies, but I love Up! “Carl Fredrickson, a retired balloon salesman, is part rascal, part dreamer who is ready for his last chance at high-flying excitement. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, Carl sets off to the lost world of his childhood dreams. Unbeknownst to Carl, Russell, an overeager 8-year old Wildnerness Explorer who has never ventured beyond his backyard, is in the wrong place at the wrong time — Carl’s front porch! The world’s most unlikely duo reach new heights and meets fantastic friends like Dug, a dog with a special collar that allows him to speak, and Kevin, the rare 13-foot tall flightless bird. Stuck together in the wilds of the jungle, Carl realizes that sometimes life’s biggest adventures aren’t the ones you set out for.” – Google Play

best travel movies

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Up in the Air

“Ryan Bingham (Academy Award® winner, George Clooney) is truly living the high life. Flying all over the world on business, he never stops moving…until he meets Alex, a fellow passenger and learns that life isn’t about the journey, but the connections we make along the way.” – iTunes

Travel Movies - up in the air

Out of Africa

“Hoping to forge a better life, Denmark native Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) enters into a marriage of convenience with a womanizing baron. But when the couple moves to Nairobi, Karen falls in love with a free-spirited hunter (Robert Redford) who can’t be tied down. Director Sydney Pollack’s lush period drama earned seven Academy Awards, including statues for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography.” – Google Play

Roman Holiday

“Roman Holiday was nominated for ten Academy Awards®, and Audrey Hepburn captured an Oscar® for her portrayal of a modern-day princess rebelling against her royal obligations who explores Rome on her own. She meets Gregory Peck, an American newspaperman who, seeking an exclusive story, pretends ignorance of her true identity. But his plan falters as they fall in love. Eddie Albert contributes to the fun as Peck’s carefree cameraman pal.” – Google Play

Travel Movies - Roman Holiday

Watch on: Sony Crackle (free) , Apple TV , Google Play

“From the producers of THE KING’S SPEECH comes this remarkable true story of Robyn Davidson, a young woman who leaves her urban life to trek through almost 2,000 miles of sprawling Australian desert . Along her journey of self-discovery, she meets National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who begins to photograph her life-changing voyage.” – Apple TV

Under the Tuscan Sun

“UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN follows San Francisco writer Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) to Italy as a good friend offers her a special gift — 10 days in Tuscany. Once there, she is captivated by its beauty and warmth, and impulsively buys an aging, but very charming, villa. Fully embracing new friends and local color, she finds herself immersed in a life-changing adventure filled with enough unexpected surprises, laughter, friendship, and romance to restore her new home — and her belief in second chances.” – Google Play

best travel movies

Before Sunrise

“Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy star as two young people who meet–and whose lives are forever changed–on a train from Budapest to Paris. They may have only one night, but when soul mates find each other, anything can happen Before Sunrise.” – iTunes

The Endless Summer

“They call it The Endless Summer, the ultimate surfing adventure, crossing the globe in search of the perfect wave. From the uncharted waters of West Africa, to the shark-filled seas of Australia , to the tropical paradise of Tahiti and beyond, two California surfers, Robert August and Mike Hynson, accomplish in a few months what most people never get to do in a lifetime – they live their dream.” – iTunes

Movies with Travel - The Endless Summer

Watch on: Amazon , Apple TV

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

“Two young American women, Vicky and Cristina come to Barcelona for a summer holiday. Vicky is sensible and engaged to be married; Cristina is emotionally and sexually adventurous.  In Barcelona, they’re drawn into a series of unconventional romantic entanglements with Juan Antonio, a charismatic painter, who is still involved with his tempestuous ex-wife Maria Elena. Set against the luscious Mediterranean sensuality of Barcelona, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA is Woody Allen’s funny and open-minded celebration of love in all its configurations.” – Google Play

Two For the Road

“ On their third identical voyage from London to the French Riviera , Joanna Wallace (Audrey Hepburn) and husband Mark (Albert Finney) explore their 12-year marriage in a series of wry and illuminating flashbacks. They reminisce about the glorious beginning of their love affair, the early years of marriage and the events that led to their subsequent infidelities. As they try to understand their relationship, they must accept how they have changed if they are to rekindle their original love… The film is arguably one of the most stylistically influential movies from the ’60s.”

Movies with Travel in it - Two for the Road

“From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.” – Disney

Watch on: Amazon , Apple TV , Google Play , or on Disney+

“John Krasinski (The Office) and Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) star in the heartfelt film that explores the comedic twists and turns in one couple’s journey across contemporary America. Anticipating the birth of their first child, longtime couple Burt and Verona embark on an ambitious itinerary to visit friends and family in order to find their perfect home.” – Universal Studios

best travel movies

The Bucket List

 Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star in the comedic drama The Bucket List, a touching, no- holds-barred adventure that shows it’s never too late to live life to its fullest. “Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.” – IMDb

“A five-year-old Indian boy is adopted by an Australian couple after getting lost hundreds of kilometers from home. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.” – IMDb

Crazy Rich Asians

“This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.” – IMDb

This is another movie that is not necessarily about travel, but after watching it, Singapore jumped to the top of my bucket list so I had to add it to this Best Travel Movie list!

Best Travel Movies - Crazy Rich Asians

Watch on: Amazon ,   Google Play , Hulu

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The Motorcycle Diaries

“Based on a true life story, The Motorcycle Diaries is an inspiring and thrilling adventure that traces the youthful origins of a revolutionary spirit. The film follows two daring friends, Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Gael Garcia Bernal, Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna), who hop on the back of a beat-up motorcycle for a breathtaking and exciting road trip across Latin America.” – Google Play

best travel movies

Letters to Juliet

“In Verona, Italy – the beautiful city where Romeo first met Juliet – there is a place where the heartbroken leave notes asking Juliet for her help. It’s there that aspiring writer Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) finds a 50-year-old letter that will change her life forever. As she sets off on a romantic journey of the heart with the letter’s author, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), now a grandmother, and her handsome grandson (Christopher Egan), all three will discover that sometimes the greatest love story ever told is your own.” – Google Play

The Art of Travel

“Conner Layne  is about to embark on an adventure – just not the one he had planned. After discovering his fiance is having an affair with his best friend, he leaves her at the altar and heads off on his honeymoon alone. 

While experiencing the wonders that South America offers, he meets a friendly couple – Darlene and her husband, Christopher, who are planning a dangerous trip across the Darien Gap. Along with a ragtag group of foreigners, they venture on a 100-mile long journey through the undeveloped jungle that separates Panama and Columbia. Ready to leave his past behind, Conner joins the unknown for the quest of a lifetime.” – Apple TV

best travel movies

Rio + Rio 2

Laugh if you want, but after seeing this movie in theaters, I have been dying to go to Rio adn explore South America! 

Hector and The Search for Happiness

“Hector is a quirky psychiatrist who has become tired of his humdrum life, yet he’s offering advice to patients who are just not getting happier. So he embarks on a global quest in hopes of uncovering the elusive secret formula for true happiness.”

best travel movies

Couples Retreat

Couples Retreat is another romantic comedy movie that’s set in such a beautiful place, I just had to include it!

A Map for Saturday

“On a trip around the world, every day feels like Saturday. A MAP FOR SATURDAY reveals a world of long-term, solo travel through the stories of trekkers on four continents. The documentary finds backpackers helping neglected Thai tsunami victims. It explains why Nepal’s guesthouses are empty and Brazil’s stoplights are ignored. But at its core, SATURDAY tracks the emotional arc of extreme long-term travelers; teenagers and senior citizens who wondered, “What would it be like to travel the world?” Then did it.”

Watch on: Amazon

“Through the open country and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A to New Orleans , and along the way, meet a man who bridges a counter-culture gap they are unaware of.” – IMDb

best travel movies

“ONE WEEK tells the story of 20-something Ben Tyler (Joshua Jackson), who flees from an impending marriage, a ho-hum job, and a recent diagnosis in an attempt to live life to the fullest. His misguided road trip on a vintage motorcycle becomes an adventure of self-discovery set against the great Canadian landscape.”

Encounters at the End of the World

“Welcome to Antarctica – like you’ve never experienced it. You’ve seen the extraordinary marine life, the retreating glaciers and, of course, the penguins, but leave it to award-winning, iconoclastic filmmaker Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn) to be the first to explore the South Pole’s most fascinating inhabitants…humans. In this one-of-kind documentary, Herzog turns his camera on a group of remarkable individuals, “professional dreamers” who work, play and struggle to survive in a harsh landscape of mesmerizing, otherworldly beauty – perhaps the last frontier on earth.”

best travel movies

“A powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an irascible American doctor who comes to France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees while walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn’t plan on, is the profound impact the journey will have on him. Inexperienced as a trekker, Tom soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey.”

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

“An award-winning, all-star cast, led by Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson, lights up this “buoyant comedy laced with genuine emotion”. When seven cash-strapped seniors decide to “outsource” their retirement to a resort in far-off India, friendship and romance blossom in the most unexpected ways. Smart, life-affirming and genuinely charming, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a “true classic that reminds us that it’s never too late to find love and a fresh beginning at any age”.”

best travel movies

The Tourist

“Frank (Johnny Depp), a mild-mannered American on vacation in Venice, Italy, is befriended by Elise (Angelina Jolie), a breathtakingly beautiful woman with a mysterious secret. Soon, their playful romantic dalliance turns into a complicated web of dangerous deceit as they are chased by Interpol, the Italian police, and Russian hit men in this suspense-filled, international action thriller.”

The Grand Budapest Hotel

“THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of legendary concierge Gustave H. and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft of a priceless painting; a raging battle for an enormous family fortune; and a desperate chase on motorcycles, trains, sleds, and skis – all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing continent.”

best travel movies

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

“Resplendent in flamboyant ballgowns, looking down over the vast red Australian desert : for three showgirls it was the dream of a lifetime, a four week cabaret engagement in Alice Springs. The problem is simply getting there intact, along with their bus Priscilla.”

best travel movies

Phew! There ya go, my list of the 41 best travel movies to fuel your wanderlust! Any ones I missed?  Drop a comment below or  DM me on Instagram !

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The 25 Greatest Time-Travel Movies Ever Made

best travel movies

It must say something, surely, about humans, how often time-travel movies are about returning to the past rather than jumping to the future. As Mark Duplass’s forlorn character says in Safety Not Guaranteed , “The mission has to do with regret.” With all the potential to explore the unknown world of the future, so often when our minds conspire to bend the rules of time it’s instead to rehash the old. It’s compelling to watch a character in a movie do what we cannot — right past wrongs or uncover the reason for or meaning behind the events in their lives, whether they be emotionally catastrophic or merely geopolitically motivated.

So absent is the future from the canon, in fact, that when it is involved, typically future dwellers are leaving their own time to come back to the present. Back to the Future Part II aside, it seems as if there’s something about going forward in time that just doesn’t track for humans. (Of course, you could argue that this is because the present-day concept of bidirectional time travel would infinitely multiply or change beyond recognition any future that may occur, but that’s a knot for another article.)

In any case, the time-travel stories deemed worthy of Hollywood budgets aren’t always straightforward in their mechanics. Some films on this list barely qualify as time-travel movies at all; others could hardly qualify as anything else. There are movies about trips through time but also ones about the bending and fracturing and muddying thereof; then there are those about, as Andy Samberg aptly puts it in Palm Springs , “one of those infinite time-loop situations you might have heard about.” There’s even a movie in which we get only 13 seconds’ worth of time travel, when it functions more like a joke whose punch line hits at the film’s climax.

What these films all do have in common is a fascination with changing the way time works. That being said, the list leaves out movies in larger, more extended franchises in which time meddling is a one-off dalliance thrown into a sequel with little by way of foreshadowing: think Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , Avengers: Endgame , and Men in Black III . (It also leaves off perhaps the Ur-time-travel movie, Primer , and the quite good Midnight in Paris because their directors don’t deserve the column inches.) We’re looking at self-contained stories using time mechanics from the start, with preference given to those that involve themselves more intently with the ins and outs of time travel; that ask questions about time, aging, memory and so forth; and that try to succeed at it in new and interesting ways. So let’s get to it.

25. Galaxy Quest (1999)

Does Galaxy Quest really count as a time-travel movie? Some compelling reasons argue that it doesn’t: Time travel isn’t a major factor in the plot, and the time traveling that does occur is, yes, only a 13-second jump. But its use of time travel is meaningful insofar as the movie itself is a loving spoof of Star Trek , which makes use of time travel in three films ( one of which made this list ), not to mention dozens of episodes across its various TV iterations. Tacking on time travel as a deus ex machina for the actors in a Star Trek– like show pressed into service as an actual space crew by an endangered alien race is the exact right amount of ribbing in a movie that’s as on point as it is hilarious.

Galaxy Quest is available to rent on Amazon .

24. Happy Death Day (2017)

Pick away at the surface of a time-loop movie and you find a horror movie. Most of the entries on this list are covered in enough feel-good spin to land as comedies, but Happy Death Day stares the horror of the time-loop phenomenon right in the face. (It’s also quite funny.) Reliving the same day over and over is an unimaginably potent form of psychological torture, and adding murder to the equation does little to dull that edge. The film follows a college-age protagonist struggling to escape from a masked slasher hell-bent on killing her again and again while she tries to solve the mystery of how she got stuck in a time loop.

Happy Death Day is available to rent on Amazon .

23. Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Seriously, this may be the only good movie in which the film’s whole focus is using a time machine to travel into the future. The fact that it’s a sequel is telling — the characters already traveled into the past in the first movie , and the filmmakers decided to save “traveling even further into the past“ for the third film in the trilogy. Still, Back to the Future Part II is a fun time that makes great use of sight gags and references, recasting scenes from the first film in the distant future year of 2015 with all its hoverboards and self-lacing Nikes.

Back to the Future Part II is available to rent on Amazon .

22. See You Yesterday (2019)

It’s a dirty little secret of time-travel movies that they tend to be, well, pretty white. Tenet ’s Protagonist aside, if Hollywood’s sending someone through time, they’re almost certainly not a Black person, and for obvious reasons: Most of post-contact North American history is deeply unfriendly to people of color, and the problems a person running around out of time and place is going to encounter are deeply compounded if they’ll likely be the target of racist abuse or violence — which makes See You Yesterday all the more compelling. Produced by Spike Lee and featuring one of filmdom’s most famous time travelers in a cameo role, it follows a Black teenage science prodigy who uses a time machine to try to save her brother from being killed by a police officer.

See You Yesterday is streaming on Netflix .

21. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

No offense to the Back to the Future franchise, but time travel never looks more fun on film than it does in the first Bill & Ted movie. It’s a concept that feels distinctly of a different era, so pure is its zaniness, that it’s hard to imagine anyone concocting it today. The titular duo, Californian high-school students in the ’80s, travel through the past looking for historical figures in order to ace a history project, then bring them all back to the present. High jinks ensue! We get Genghis Khan in a sporting-goods store and Mozart on an electric keyboard. What more could you want?

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is streaming on HBO Max .

20. Source Code (2011)

Time-travel-film aficionados know this won’t be Jake Gyllenhaal’s only stop on this list, but no matter. Source Code finds him repeating the same eight minutes over and over as he struggles to find the culprit in a train bombing — with each replay ending in his own death by explosion. For some reason, a romantic subplot is shoehorned into this, along with a bunch of frankly unnecessary technical mumbo-jumbo, but the core idea is a compelling mix of the time-loop movie and the train whodunit that Gyllenhaal is a perfect fit for.

Source Code is available to rent on Amazon .

19. 12 Monkeys (1995)

Some sort of law of nature dictates that every genuinely good idea and/or piece of true art has to at some point be turned into a Hollywood movie. Thank God La Jetée was adapted into something that can stand on its own feet artistically. 12 Monkeys may not retain its source material’s black-and-white look or stripped-down, static-image presentation, but it is a rollicking good time nonetheless. That’s in no small part due to director Terry Gilliam getting the best out of Bruce Willis and a young Brad Pitt, and recasting World War III as a planet-decimating virus. Which, like at least one other movie on this list , “speaks to the present moment,” or whatever.

12 Monkeys is available to rent on Amazon .

18. Run Lola Run (1998)

Unlike almost all of the other films on this list, the terms time travel and time machine don’t show up anywhere in Run Lola Run . Rather, it’s a sort of de facto time-loop scenario in which the protagonist tries repeatedly to pay a ransom to save her boyfriend’s life. In fact, if not for a few key details, it could easily be characterized (and often has been) as an alternate-endings movie rather than a time-travel film. But the fact that Lola seems to be learning from her past attempts with each successive one suggests that she is, indeed, using knowledge gained from previous loops to bring a satisfactory end to this situation.

Run Lola Run is available to rent on Amazon .

17. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

One of the most striking things about Groundhog Day is the mutability and replicability of its core conceit. Perhaps the best case in point is Edge of Tomorrow , sometimes known as Live. Die. Repeat. after its original tagline. It’s the kind of physically grueling movie only an actor as genuinely unhinged as Tom Cruise could pull off. A noncombatant thrust into a war against invading aliens, Cruise’s character finds himself reliving day one of combat over and over, slowly but surely refining his techniques in order to survive the extraterrestrial onslaught. Like the central twosome in the much less violent Palm Springs , he winds up with a partner in (war) crime, teaming up with the similarly time-trapped Emily Blunt, and the explanation for the replay glitch here is actually pretty satisfying.

Edge of Tomorrow is streaming on Fubo TV .

16. Star Trek (2009)

If you could create some sort of an advanced stat to measure controversy generated per unit of interesting filmmaking decisions, J.J. Abrams would have to be near the top in terms of his ability to rig up movie drama from almost nothing. This is a guy whose filmography is like Godzilla rip-off, Spielberg homage, safe reboot of cherished IP, repeat. Star Trek may be his best film, though, a sure-footed reinvention of a dorky sci-fi franchise that made it, well, cool. Somehow, the beauty of Spock and Kirk’s bromance being woven through chance encounters with future selves kind of … works?

Star Trek is available to rent on Amazon .

15. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

There’s a relative dearth of time travel in animated film, which perhaps is a function simply of the fact that it’s less impressive to stage in a world that’s already unreal. If you can Looney Tunes your way through physics, what’s so special about grabbing the flow of time and tying it into a bow? Still, the original Girl Who Leapt Through Time deserves mention here. It’s a beautiful story that interlaces the complexity of time leaping with the intensity of teenage emotion and the thorny process of growing up where the opportunity to redo things leads, over time, to growth — a less shitty Groundhog Day , in a way.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is available to rent on Amazon .

14. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

She may not be the most famous, decorated, or emulated actress of her generation, but Aubrey Plaza is someone whose personality spoke to the irony-soaked 2010s in a way that simply could not be denied. Her character on Parks and Recreation , April Ludgate, was, by all accounts, created specifically to channel Plaza’s real-life personality to the screen, and she plays essentially the same character in Safety Not Guaranteed . Here, she’s a sarcastic intern at a magazine working on a story about a would-be time traveler and using her feminine wiles to slowly gain his trust. The chemistry between Plaza and Mark Duplass is probably the film’s high point; the subplot about the FBI feels like it was clipped out of a bad X-Files episode.

Safety Not Guaranteed is streaming on Tubi .

13. La Jetée (1962)

At only a 28-minute run time, La Jetée is arguably too short to merit inclusion on this list. However, what it lacks in content (and in, well, moving images; it’s almost exclusively a collection of static black-and-white shots set to voice-over), it more than makes up for in inventiveness and influence, and it would be a travesty to leave it out in favor of more recent by-the-book fare. Tracing the tale of a man held prisoner in post-WWIII Paris being used in time-travel experiments as his captors seek to remedy the postapocalyptic state of the world, he’s sent into both the future and the past and ends up unraveling a lifelong personal mystery while he’s at it.

La Jetée is streaming on the Criterion Channel .

12. Planet of the Apes (1968)

Unlike the worse but more straightforwardly time-traveling Tim Burton remake, the relationship between the original Planet of the Apes and time travel is inexact — technically, the astronaut crew that lands on the titular planet does travel forward 2,000 years, but it’s not done via a time machine. The travel isn’t instantaneous: It literally does take them 2,000 years to get there; they’re just unconscious and on life support. Still, the way the film’s ending handles the iconic reveal is exactly in line with the best of the time-travel canon, the telescoping, mise en abyme feeling of the world shifting in front of your very eyes without your moving an inch.

Planet of the Apes is available to rent on Amazon .

11. Groundhog Day (1993)

The famous Bill Murray vehicle essentially invented the infinite-time-loop genre (and it’s hardly a movie that succeeds on the strength of its concept alone), but the idea at its core is so steeped in the casual misogyny of late-’80s and early-’90s cinema that it’s hard to watch today without cringing. Murray’s character employing what amounts to PUA-style techniques over and over and over in a desperate bid to fuck his hapless co-worker just doesn’t hit the way it did back then. If the story arc didn’t present a guy detoxifying himself of the worst aspects of masculinity in order to be worthy of a woman’s love as the primary way for a 20th-century white man to achieve full personhood, this would be much higher on the list.

Groundhog Day is streaming on Starz .

10. Predestination (2014)

This is probably the most complicated film on the list. Following a “temporal agent” (played by Ethan Hawke) who’s trying to prevent a bombing in 1970s New York, it’s based on a Robert A. Heinlein short story and features Shiv Roy herself, Sarah Snook, in a star-making turn as someone with a complicated backstory and a secret. Like the best sci-fi, the film’s premise raises all kinds of fascinating questions about the titular concept and throws in some interesting musings on sex, gender, and the self in the process.

Predestination is streaming on Tubi .

9. Looper (2012)

Wes Anderson gets a lot of flak for his overwrought twee visuals, but Rian Johnson has a knack for making movies that feel and function like dioramas even if they don’t look it. Narratively speaking, everything here is constructed just so — and there’s a certain beauty in that — but who ever had a profound experience of art by looking at a diorama? Looper was probably Johnson’s least precious pre– Star Wars film, which is nice because the temptation to drastically overmaneuver the mechanics of a time-travel story can lead to disaster. The tech used to Bruce Willis–ify Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face is distracting, and the third act’s retreat from the postapocalyptic city of the future to the postapocalyptic corn farm of the future is a brave choice that the film struggles to land. Still, Johnson’s vision of a future in which organized crime runs time travel is compelling and well worth a watch.

Looper is streaming on Netflix .

8. Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko is a bit of a genre mash-up. Part high-school movie, part sci-fi flick, part bleak meditation on the soullessness of late-’80s America, it’s nevertheless a weirdly successful piece of filmmaking that makes fantastic use of a young Jake Gyllenhaal, a great supporting cast (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, and Patrick Swayze among others), and an absolutely iconic haunting cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World.” Watching high schoolers navigate parallel universes, wormholes, and time travel is a dicey proposition, but director Richard Kelly makes it work, somehow.

Donnie Darko is streaming on HBO Max .

7. Back to the Future (1984)

While it’s clearly superior to the sequel (and leagues ahead of the final film in the trilogy), the original Back to the Future is a bit of a mess (John Mulaney was right , to be honest). Its racial and gender politics are cringey, and the incest subplot is weird (“It’s your cousin Marvin. Marvin Pornhub . You know that new plot element you’ve been looking for?”), but there’s a clear interest in time travel beyond its shimmering surface: the very real addressing of the “grandfather problem” in time travel via the slow disappearance of Marty from his family photo, the accidental invention of rock music, and a genuine curiosity about the nuts-and-bolts mechanics of time machines. Ahh, what the hell. It’s a romp.

Back to the Future is available to rent on Amazon .

6. Palm Springs (2020)

No offense to Gen-Xers and boomers, but the best time-loop movie of all time is Palm Springs . The film isn’t without its missteps, but it’s much more curious about life than Groundhog Day was through the eyes of Murray’s misanthrope. Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg‘s characters, stuck in the loop together, are a perfect comedic match, and their shared humanity makes for a beautiful arc. The film raises questions about what’s worth doing in life when nothing lasts and how to stay sane when every day is the same. Of course, as a sort of polar opposite of Tenet , it benefited from coming out during the pandemic by speaking, as it does, to the experience of lockdown.

Palm Springs is streaming on Hulu .

5. Tenet (2020)

Interstellar wasn’t enough for Chris Nolan, apparently. Tenet ’s legacy may end up being little more than that of the COVID action movie no one saw — a bloated thriller that Nolan fought to get into theaters and bar from home viewing reportedly to swell the size of his own pockets. It really did suffer from bad timing, though, because this is genuinely a quintessential big-screen popcorn movie whose absurdity is all the more palatable when it’s given the audiovisual bombast it deserves. Ambitious in scope as it traces a war on the past by the future (yes, you read that right), Tenet is as enamored of action tropes as it is in bucking them, and its investment in rendering visible the brain-bendingly knotty mechanics of moving through time is laudable, even when the movie itself remains opaque — as impenetrable as the future, as hazy as the past.

Tenet is streaming on HBO Max .

4. The Terminator (1984)

A partner to Blade Runner in the mid-’80s invention of sci-fi noir, The Terminator is a stunning film in many ways, despite the third act’s now-iffy visual effects. While it’s not James Cameron’s debut, and it would go on to be bested by its sequel , it functions as an incredible showcase for an emerging young director who would exclusively make big stories for the rest of his career. Arnold Schwarzenegger is perfectly cast as the relentless, unemotional killer cyborg sent back from the future to terminate the mother of the eventual resistance leader, and the film’s romantic subplot has just the perfect amount of time-travel-induced cheesiness for it to work.

The Terminator is streaming on Amazon Prime Video .

3. Interstellar (2014)

It’s not inaccurate to say Christopher Nolan is a director who’s more interested in scale and scope than in expressing the minutiae of the human experience in its purest form. But in Interstellar, a Nolan movie in its titular ambitions, there’s a core element of time travel wrought not as sci-fi fireworks but as a paean to the sheer force and will of the power of love. It both does and doesn’t work, depending on your capacity for cheese in space, but even besides that, Nolan’s use of time as story arc — the way Miller’s planet functions, in particular — is conceptually masterful in the best kind of time-travel-movie way.

Interstellar is streaming on Paramount+ .

2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Whereas the franchise’s first movie spends more time on the question of time travel, in the second it takes a bit of a back seat to the action itself. It’s hard to fault director James Cameron for this decision; T2 remains one of the best action movies of the ’90s and — along with Jurassic Park and The Matrix — one of the decade’s best when for special effects. The groundbreaking T-1000 would honestly be enough to get this movie on the list; a tween John Connor grappling with questions of predestination and the fact that he is vicariously responsible for his own conception feel almost like icing on the time-travel cake. Much as in 12 Monkeys , time travel here is mistaken for delusion, as valiant Sarah Connor, in a Cassandra-esque nightmare, has to battle against the future only she knows is coming. Of course, Cassandra never had access to any firepower stored in underground desert arsenals.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is streaming on Netflix .

1. Arrival (2016)

It’s fair to wonder whether Arrival really is, in fact, a time-travel movie. The Ted Chiang short story it’s based on isn’t about time travel per se; rather, it’s an exploration of alternate forms of temporal understanding. The linguist protagonist, played by Amy Adams, doesn’t travel through time so much as come to experience it differently. Still, the plot ends up hinging on foreknowledge that she is granted not via visions but by actually experiencing her future simultaneously with her present and past. For our purposes, though, that’s time fuckery enough to merit inclusion, and boy howdy does the film deliver in overall quality. Partly, that’s simply a question of the source material. Chiang is arguably the most talented (and possibly the most decorated) American sci-fi writer of his generation. But the source story is not especially Hollywood friendly, and director Denis Villeneuve has adopted it lovingly, borrowing a plot device from another of Chiang’s stories, the more straightforwardly time-travel-based “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” in order to add some third-act blockbuster flavor. The result is a beautiful meditation on love, choice, and courage that packs art-film ethos into a genuine sci-fi blockbuster.

Arrival is streaming on Hulu and Paramount+ .

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My (Current) Ultimate List of Travel Movies

People watching movies

Way back in 2008, I created a list of ten of the best travel movies ever. It was a great list. But 2008 was a long time ago. Since I watch a lot of movies on flights and there have been many wonderful and breathtaking travel movies made since then, watching The Way a few days ago made me realize that we’re long overdue for a list of my all-time favorite best travel movies that will inspire you to get off the couch, pack your bag, and head to unknown lands:  

1. Lost in Translation

lost in translation with Scarlet Johansson

2. Whale Rider

whale rider blue photo with whale

3. Lord of the Rings

lord of the rings movie

4. Into the Wild

into the wild film

5. In Bruges

two men talking in movie in bruges

6. Under the Tuscan Sun

under the Tuscan sun scene

7. Nowhere in Africa

girl in nowhere in Africa reading to African children

8. Crocodile Dundee

crocodile dundee main character

9. Up in the Air

scene at the airport from up in the air with George Clooney

10. The Beach

Leonardo Caprio in the Thai waters in The Beach movie

11. The Motorcycle Diaries

Characters fixing a bike in the travel movie: The Motorcycle Diaries

12. Any Indiana Jones

Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones in this classic travel film

13. Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise riding off famously in their convertible car

14. Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia riding camel back through the desert in this classic film

15. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Character in drop clothes in the Australian desert in the film: Priscilla, queen of the desert

16. A Good Year

Russell Crowe riding a motorbike in the vineyard in A Good Year

17. Eurotrip

Backpackers on a European street in the movie Eurotrip

18. Seven Years in Tibet

Brad Pitt in a hat in Tibet staring from the 7 Years in Tibet film

19. The Darjeeling Limited

man running after a train in India movie called the darjeeling limited

20. Midnight in Paris

love scene from Midnight in Paris

21. Monsoon Wedding

rainy wedding scene from the popular Indian movie monsoon wedding

22. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

backpacking scene from the secret life of walter mitty with ben stiller

23. The Way

old man hiking in the way

24. Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Scarlet Johansson lounging in European backyard in Vicky Cristina Barcelona

25. Y Tu Mama También

Main characters splashing in the ocean in y tu mama tambien film

27. Before Sunrise

love scene between two backpackers in Before Sunrise trilogy

28. A Map for Saturday

a map for Saturday documentary logo

30. Roman Holiday

A black and white scene from the film Roman Holiday

31. Queen of Katwe

A young black woman in a classroom, a scene from Queen of Katwe

32. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

A piece of expensive sushi on a plate

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner . It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld . If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Want to Travel for Free? Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip? Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.

Ready to Book Your Trip? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.  

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75+ Best Travel Movies to Inspire Your Wanderlust

Home » Blog » Travel » 75+ Best Travel Movies to Inspire Your Wanderlust

 curated a giant list of wanderlust-inducing movies that’ll make you feel as if you are on an adventure far, far away. This list of travel movies covers all genres, from comedies to dramas to documentaries and even a big section of travel series on Netflix!

Best Travel Movies

It’s not always possible to jump on a plane bound for a far-flung destination, but that doesn’t mean your wanderlust just quietly subsides. Nah, that’s when those itchy feet get even itchier. We know the struggle all too well, friends.

There’s no real cure, but sometimes looking at old travel photos does the trick and other times, getting wrapped up in a good travel book makes you almost feel like you did get on that plane after all…

But let’s be real, sometimes you just need to curl up on your couch and turn your brain off for a while. Finding a good travel movie (or Netflix series!) lets you escape reality andexperience the magic of traveling without ever leaving your living room.

We’ve curated a giant list of travel movies including some of our personal favorites as well as some films that are on our to-watch list. Some of these movies are specifically about travel, while others give you a glimpse into places around the world that might inspire your next big trip.

Whether you’re an avid traveler or someone who prefers to “explore” from the comforts of home, these movies will transport you to new and exciting locations around the globe. So bring on the popcorn and cozy slippers and get ready for your next travel adventure!

Types of Travel Movies

We’ve done our best to round up a variety of different kinds of travel movies — from comedic and light-hearted tales to action-packed thrillers to educational series. There is even a section of Netflix-produced films for easy accessibility! Whatever your movie genre preferences, you’ll find pretty much everything on the list.

Psst! Be sure to look for our personal notes, as we’re sharing our favorites on this list as well as a handful that are on our to-watch list!

Jump to the type of movie you prefer and see all the options we’ve gathered just for you:

Action & Adventure

Inspirational travel movies.

Travel & Romance

Outdoor Adventure Movies

Animated Travel Movies

Travel documentaries, netflix original travel series.

If you’re looking for a little comedic relief and some light-hearted travel inspiration, these movies are for you!

The Bucket List

Travel Movies | The Bucket List

Where: Around the world

What: This is the uplifting story of two strangers who decide to make the most out of life while facing their impending deaths. 

Two strangers nearing the end of their lives form a bond while sharing a room in the hospital. They decide to take a journey across the globe together checking off items on a list of things they want to accomplish before they kick the bucket. 

Watch trailer | Purchase | Rent

Crazy Rich Asians

Travel Movies | Crazy Rich Asians

Where: Singapore, New York City

What: A romantic comedy about love exceeding cultural barriers and family and societal pressures. 

TWS Favorite!

In this hilarious and heart-warming film, a girl from New York City, Rachel, agrees to go to Singapore with her boyfriend Nick to meet his family for the first time. She discovers his family is not only crazy-rich but he is also one of the country’s most eligible bachelors and she must fight off the competition – mostly his family – who don’t believe she is good enough for him. 

Watch trailer | Purchase | Rent  

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Travel Movies | The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Where: Iceland, Greenland, New York City

What: An inspiring film about stepping into the unknown and embracing unexpected adventures.  

Based on a short story, this movie is a blend of adventure, comedy and drama. The viewer follows the life of Walter Mitty, a man who is living an ordinary and often boring life but daydreams of more. Adventures begin to unfold when he steps out of his comfort zone, and he follows a hunch that brings him to Greenland and Iceland. A little predictable at times, but we like this movie a lot! The stunning landscapes and inspirational storyline are always a good pick-me-up. 

Psst! When this movie makes you want to pack your bags and travel to Iceland , we’ve got tons of tips and useful info for you!

Lost in Translation

Travel Movies | Lost in Translation

Where: Tokyo, Japan

What: A comedic drama about an unlikely friendship and facing personal challenges.

Bob is an aging American actor on assignment in Tokyo where he meets Charlotte, a young college graduate who’s been left behind by her photographer husband. Gradually the pair forms an unlikely friendship and face the challenges in their lives that they were running away from. 

Inspired to travel to Tokyo after watching this movie? We’ve got a huge list of the best things to do in Tokyo to help you plan a future trip!

The Darjeeling Limited

Travel Movies | The Darjeeling Limited

Where: India

What: A comedic film that examines the role of grief, extravagance and spirituality in the bond of family. 

Three brothers set out on a so-called “spiritual journey” to try and reconnect a year after the death of their father. Their adventure takes them across India on a train called the Darjeeling Limited and forces them into self-reflection. 

Travel Movies | In Bruges

Where: Bruges, Belgium

What: A dark comedy set in a beautiful medieval city in Belgium   

After a job goes wrong, Irish hitmen, Ray and Ken, decide to hole up in Belgium until things cool down. In the medieval city of Bruges, they meet tourists and locals and even find romance. 

Last Holiday

Travel Movies | Last Holiday

Where: Europe

What: A comedic film about breaking out of your shell, throwing caution to the wind and finding true happiness in life. 

After the discovery of a terminal illness, a shy woman (aka Queen Latifah) cashes out her bank accounts and jets off to Europe to live out her last days like a millionaire. Her positive attitude charms everyone she meets, the only thing she is missing is her long-time crush. While this movie might be a bit cheesy and cliché, it’s an uplifting comedy for a light-hearted movie night. 

Midnight in Paris

Travel Movies | Midnight in Paris

Where: Paris, France

What: A comedic film in which Woody Allen mocks the classic American ideals of status and class, set against the backdrop of nightlife in Paris. 

While on vacation in Paris with his fiancee and her family, Gil is having a hard time fitting in with her stuffy, pretentious family. In the midst of trying to finish his debut novel, he is beguiled by the city, which takes him to a time past, away from his fiancee.

The Hangover Part II

Travel Movies | The Hangover Part II

Where: Thailand  

What: The sequel to The Hangover, this movie follows a group of friends on a comedic adventure in Bangkok, Thailand.

If you’ve seen the original, you know this group of friends makes some poor decisions that lead to cringe-y but laugh-out-loud consequences like face tattoos and marrying strangers. Set 2 years after the original movie, one of the friends (Stu) is getting married in Thailand, and all that can go wrong does…

Psst! If all the bad things that happen in this movie don’t scare you away from planning a trip to Thailand , we’ve got all the information you need!

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Travel Movies | The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

What: An uplifting tale of self-discovery, romance, and second chances.

Seven strangers decide to uproot their lives in the UK and live out the remainder of their golden years in what is promised to be a luxury resort for seniors. They get a lot more than they bargained for when they arrive in India to find the hotel in less than operational standards. However, with the encouragement of the hotel’s enthusiastic owner, they form unlikely bonds and bring the hotel and each other back to life. 

Amelie | Travel Movies

What: Uplifting film about a young woman who sets out on a mission to make other people’s lives better.

This quirky comedy is set in Paris, and brings you on a journey through this iconic city. The story follows Amélie, a young woman with a unique perspective on the world who is making it her mission to bring her own unique sense of justice to the world. As she’s helping others, she embarks on her own love story. 

Watch trailer | Purchase

Up in the Air

Up in the Air | Travel Movies

Where: Airports

What: The ups and downs in the lives of (very) frequent travelers.

This witty comedy starring George Clooney and Anna Kendrick, mostly takes place in airports and in the air instead of the destination itself. While it’s focused on travel for business, most travelers can relate to the “airport life” that you either love or hate, but can’t really escape.

Watch trailer | Watch Movie (Free with Amazon Prime Video)

Note: If you dig the airport setting, then be sure to check out Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal .

Be on the edge of your seat as you journey across the world with these dramatic tales adventures that take place around the globe. No packing necessary! Although you might want to keep the Kleenex box nearby for a few of the movies on this list…

Travel Movies | The Beach

Where: Thailand

What: This drama based on the best selling novel of the same name, examines the idea of self-discovery and limits of a utopian society. 

TWS Favorite! (We also like the book !)

Young American backpacker Richard arrives in Thailand with a thirst for adventure and the desire to discover something new. After hearing rumors about “The Beach”, he sets out to find paradise with his new friends. Soon after they arrive on the idyllic island, they realize that paradise isn’t always what it seems and find themselves in a fight for their own survival. 

The Motorcycle Diaries

Travel Movies | The Motorcycle Diaries

Where: Motorcycle trip around South America

What: A film about two young men on a journey to “forget who they were and discover who they are.”

TWS Favorite! (This is a book too !)

A biopic based on the memoir of 23-year-old Ernesto “Che” Guevara (later known as a Marxist guerilla leader and prominent figure of the Cuban Revolution, Che Guevara) as he finds his calling in life while on a motorcycle road trip across South America with his best friend Alberto. 

Travel Movies | Babel

Where: Morocco, Japan, Mexico and the US

What: This film gives an interesting take on cultural diversity and the barriers that both separate and connect humankind around the world. 

Told non-linearly, this is the story of four disparate groups of people on 3 separate continents whose destinies are intertwined after an accidental shooting leaves an American tourist fighting for her life in a remote village of Morocco. The film depicts the emotional struggles and traumatic situations as each of the characters tries to deal with their problems and winds up making an even greater mess of things. 

Travel Movies | Lion

Where: India and Australia

What: A biographical drama based on the memoir of Saroo Brierley.

At 5 years old, Sarroo is separated from his family in an unlucky series of events that leaves him alone on the streets of Calcutta, facing many challenges while thousands of miles from home. After being adopted by an Australian family, 25 years later he sets out on a journey through India to find his long-lost family. 

Y Tu Mama También 

Travel Movies | Y Tu Mama Tambien

Where: Mexico

What: With a combination of drama, comedy and sex, this coming-of-age film follows two teenage boys on their road trip across Mexico.

Julio and Tenoch, like most 17-year old boys, are driven by raging hormones, intense friendships, and a reckless rush towards adulthood. While on a cross-country road trip over the course of a summer with an older female companion, the two best friends get into plenty of trouble but ultimately find connection with each other, themselves and the world around them. 

Seven Years in Tibet

Travel Movies | Seven Years in Tibet

Where: Nepal, Tibet

What: Based on the memoir, this is the film adaptation of the real life events that lead Heinrich Harrer to spend seven transformational years in Tibet.

Follow legendary explorer, Heinrich Harrer, on his extraordinary journey across the frozen Himalayas. From being imprisoned by the Chinese to becoming one of the first Europeans to enter Tibet and the Forbidden City of Lhasa where his friendship with the young Dalai Lama transforms his life. 

The Impossible

Travel Movies | The Impossible

What: Based on a true story of survival and the desperate drive to be reunited with family. 

In 2004, tragedy struck Southeast Asia in one of the worst natural disasters in human history. The Bennett family is on holiday in Thailand when a tsunami hits without warning, devastating the country and separating the family, leaving them to survive the initial impact and embark on a heart-wrenching search to reunite amongst the chaotic aftermath.   

Memoirs of a Geisha

Travel Movies | Memoirs of a Geisha

Where: Japan

What: A Cinderella story set in a mysterious and exotic world where against all odds a house servant rises to decide her own destiny.

Sold to a geisha house at the age of nine-years-old, Chiyo Sakamoto becomes a victim of unpleasant circumstances, but her fate changes when she meets Mameha. The relationships of two couples become complicated and deceitful and Chiyo blossoms to become the most captivating geisha of her time. 

Half of a Yellow Sun

Travel Movies | Half of a Yellow Sun

Where: Nigeria

What: A drama that brings together the lives of four people during the struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria.

On the top of our to-watch list!

Twin sisters from a wealthy Nigerian family, who were educated in England, return to Nigeria to take wildly different paths in life. However, both become swept up in the struggle of the Nigerian civil war.

Watch trailer | Purchase (Free on Amazon Prime Video) | Rent

Slumdog Millionaire

Travel Movies | Slumdog Millionaire

What: Loosely based on a true story, this is one young man’s emotional and uplifting tale of rising above circumstance to fulfill what he believes is his destiny. 

A Mumbai teen becomes a contestant on the Indian version of the show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ When he is accused of cheating, he reflects on his childhood in the slums, his struggles and his long lost love, revealing how he knew all the answers.

If your favorite kind of movies usually involve guns, spies, or some kind of action hero who narrowly escapes death multiple times before the credit scene, then these travel movies are for you!

Travel Movies | Sahara

Where: North Africa

What: An action-packed comedy following treasure hunters on an adventure through the most dangerous parts of Northern Africa.

An explorer finds the adventure of a lifetime when he and his wise-cracking sidekick venture through some of the most dangerous parts of North Africa in search of a lost Civil War battleship known as the Ship of Death. Using their wits and clever heroics, they partner up with a beautiful WHO doctor who believes the ship may have something to do with the mysteriously spreading plague she is investigating.

Indiana Jones

Travel Movies | Indiana Jones

Where: US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Jordan, Egypt, India, China, Peru, etc. etc. etc.!

What: A classic action series based on the around the world adventures of Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, a fictional professor of archaeology. 

TWS Favorite: These were my favorite movies growing up as a kid, and they still spark a sense of adventure in me today!

Follow the adventures of Dr. Indiana Jones and his unlikely sidekicks as he sets out on assignments to find ancient artifacts and save the world from Nazis and bad guys. Though the original 3 movies were filmed in the 80s, they are filled with action-packed comedy that has stood the test of time and still carry a fan-base to this day.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: Peru, USA, Nepal, Egypt, Tunisia

Temple of Doom: China, India

The Last Crusade: USA, Venice, Jordan

While there was a 4th Indiana Jones (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) released in 2008, and a 5th set to hit theaters in 2021, we’d definitely recommend starting with the originals!

The Da Vinci Code

Travel Movies | The Da Vinci Code

Where: France, UK

What: An action-packed mystery thriller is based on the best selling novel about a fictional professor of Symbology. 

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon travels to Paris to investigate a murder inside the Louvre. Once he realizes he’s under investigation, he pairs up with the deceased’s daughter following clues hidden inside Da Vinci’s works to discover a religious secret that could shake the foundations of Christianity. 

Like this movie? Watch the following two films in the series: Angels & Demons and Inferno .

The Italian Job

Travel Movies | The Italian Job

Where: Italy, Los Angeles

What: An action-packed crime drama following a group of professional thieves from Italy to Los Angeles.  

Professional thief Charlie Croker pulled off the heist of a lifetime in Italy, but was betrayed by one of his team members and left for dead. Along with the help of his former boss’s safe-cracking daughter, Croker assembles a team of con artists and formulates a plan to retaliate by stealing back the gold from his former ally. 

City of God

Travel Movies | City of God

Where: Brazil

What: This action-heavy film illustrates the crippling effect of poverty with limited choices for survival. 

Set in the poverty-stricken favelas of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s, this film follows two young men as they navigate the increasing drug-related violence of their neighborhood. José is an ambitious drug dealer who uses photographer Rocket, and his photos of the crime-ridden slums, as a way to increase his fame while a turf war erupts with his rival. The film was shot on location in Rio’s poorest neighborhoods.

The Tourist

Travel Movies | The Tourist

Where: Italy

What: A romantic action thriller about the dangerous world of espionage. 

An American tourist is seeking solace in Italy after a recent heartbreak finds his life turned upside down when he meets a beautiful woman on a train going to Venice who convinces everyone that he is her lover who is wanted by the police.

Lord of the Rings trilogy

Travel Movies | Lord of the Rings

Where: Middle-earth (aka New Zealand)

What: A series of three epic fantasy adventure films based on the novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the films follow the hobbit Frodo Baggins as he and his companions embark on a quest to destroy a ring that will ensure the destruction of its evil maker and save the free people of Middle-earth.

This epic fantasy adventure is filmed mostly on location in New Zealand , so while the movie may take place in a fictional land, the landscapes give a peek into the real-world southern hemisphere destination. 

If you are looking to be lifted up and inspired, these feel-good movies will bring you along on transformational journeys and will reignite your wanderlust.

The Art of Travel

Travel Movies | The Art of Travel

Where: Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Bolivia and California

What: A film that explores the very nature of wanderlust, how it informs character and transforms life.

On his wedding day, Connor walks out on his cheating bride-to-be and decides to embark on his honeymoon alone. While on the road in Central and South America he befriends a ragtag group of travelers and encounters both physical and metaphorical obstacles as he learns the art of travel.

Watch trailer | Watch (Free on Amazon Prime Video)

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Travel Movies | Hector and the Search for Happiness

Where: UK, China, Africa

What: One man’s search around the globe for joy and ultimately purpose. 

Disillusioned by his own existence, psychiatrist Hector feels he is a fraud for treating patients who never seem to improve or get any happier. Finally reaching his breaking point, he decides to make a change and embarks on an international quest to find the formula for happiness. 

Travel Movies | Tracks

Where: Australia

What: Based on the bestselling memoir, this drama chronicles the author’s solo journey across the Australian desert.

Mia, a young Australian woman, sets off on a journey to find solitude by embarking on a solo trip across the desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. She is accompanied only by her dog and 4 camels to make the 9-month journey on foot.

Whale Rider

Travel Movies | Whale Rider

Where: New Zealand

What: An uplifting family drama that questions gender roles in cultural traditions. 

When her twin brother dies at birth, Pai decides to fulfill the destiny he was given to become the chief of their Maori tribe in New Zealand. The only problem is, only males are allowed to become chiefs. With the help of her grandmother and the training of her uncle, the 12-year-old strives to win over her ultra-traditional grandfather and claim her birthright. 

Learning about Maori culture is one of the many things you should know before planning a trip to New Zealand .

The Fundamentals of Caring (Netflix Original)

Travel Movies | The Fundamentals of Caring

Where: Road trip across the United States

What: A feel-good movie about overcoming personal challenges and finding hope in friendship. 

After suffering a personal tragedy, retired writer Ben decides to become a personal caregiver to Trevor, a snobby 18-year-old with muscular dystrophy. They take an impromptu road trip across the US to see all of the quirky road-side stops Trevor has become obsessed with when they meet Dot, a runaway, who joins them on their journey and helps them come to understand the importance of friendship and hope. 

Watch trailer | Watch on Netflix

Travel Movies | One Week

Where: Road trip across Canada

What: A humorous and moving film about grappling with one’s own immortality on a search for self-discovery.

When 20-something Ben Tyler is given a terminal diagnosis, he flees from his impending marriage and boring job in an attempt to live out the rest of his life to the fullest. His misguided road trip on a vintage motorcycle becomes an adventure of self-discovery set against the great Canadian landscape.

Queen of Katwe

Travel Movies | Queen of Katwe

Where: Uganda

What: An inspirational story of a young girl who lifts herself out of poverty through the game of chess.

This film from Disney is based off of the real life story of a girl named Phiona who grew up in a slum in Uganda called Katwe. At the age of 10, Phiona is introduced to the game of chess and soon begins competing. Her talent opens doors that she never thought would be possible.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Travel Movies | The Hundred-Foot Journey

Where: A small village in the French countryside

What: A heart-warming tale of overcoming cultural differences, romance, and following one’s passion.

This story follows an Indian family who moves to southern France and shakes things up in a small village when they open a restaurant across the street from a Michelin-starred French restaurant. When the son decides to go cook for the competition across the street, cultures clash, loyalties are tested, and boundaries are pushed.

Kodachrome (Netflix Original)

Travel Movies | Kodachrome

Where: A road trip across the US

What: An emotional and somewhat humorous film with incredible cinematography. 

When Matt’s estranged father’s nurse shows up at his office out of the blue, asking Matt to drop everything and honor his father’s dying wish, he finds his life turned upside down. Reluctantly, Matt joins his famed bad-boy photojournalist father and the nurse on a journey to the last remaining lab in the country that is still developing Kodachrome film. 

Travel Movies | The Way

Where: The “Camino de Santiago” trail in Spain, France and Portugal

What: A powerful and inspirational film about dealing with loss, family dynamics and unlikely friendships. 

When Tom’s adult son is tragically killed in a storm while walking the The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James trail, he sets out to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect his son’s remains. But instead of returning home as planned, Tom decides to complete the historical pilgrimage in honor of his son. 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Travel Movies | Hunt for the Wilderpeople

What: An adventure comedy-drama film about personal growth and relationships.

TWS Favorite! 

When a rebellious boy is left in the care of tough but loving foster parents, he and his foster uncle become the subject of a nationwide manhunt after they get themselves stranded in the wild New Zealand bush. 

Inspired to travel to NZ after watching this? This film brings you through some beautiful landscapes across Kiwi country, and we’ve got tons of resources to help you plan an epic vacation to New Zealand !

A Dog’s Way Home

Travel Movies | A Dogs Way Home

Where: A journey across Colorado

What: A humorous and moving film about the bonds of love and friendship between man and dog. 

Told from the perspective of Bella, a rescue dog, who gets separated from her human and embarks on a 400-mile journey across Colorado to be reunited with him. Along the way, she encounters people and animals that need her help and help her to reach her final destination. 

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Travel Movies | The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Where: Greece, Mexico and suburban America 

What: A coming-of-age tale that highlights the bonds of friendship when grappling with family relationships, romance, and change.

In this “guilty pleasure”-esque flick, four best friends who couldn’t be more different in personality and style find a pair of pants that miraculously fits each of them perfectly. As they set out on separate adventures spending their first ever summer apart, they agree to share the pants between them in the hope that it will keep their bond strong.

*If you like this movie, check out the sequel , which brings all four friends to Greece!

The Road Within

Travel Movies | The Road Within

What: An inspiring film about grappling with mental health and overcoming personal challenges. 

After the death of his mother, Robert, a young man with Tourette’s Syndrome is sent to an in-patient facility to get help with his condition. There he meets two unlikely friends and together they embark on an adventure across the country in a stolen car. An epic road trip that will change their lives forever. This feel-good movie takes a deeper look at interpersonal relationships and the stigma of mental health, proving that life is truly about the journey and not always the destination. 

Watch Trailer | Watch (Free with Amazon Prime Video)

Travel & Romance Movies

Get swept off your feet (or couch!) with these light hearted tales of romance and adventure that take place around the world.

Eat Pray Love

Travel Movies | Eat, Pray, Love

Where: New York, Italy, India, Indonesia

What: Based on the best selling memoir, Eat Pray Love is one woman’s journey to reignite her passion for life, connect with her spirituality and focus on herself. 

Leaving behind her comfortable life and a marriage she was no longer happy in, Elizabeth Gilbert takes a year-long sabbatical for a journey of self-discovery eating her way through Italy, practicing meditation in India, and finding love in Bali, Indonesia. 

Perhaps one of the most cliched travel + love stories, this one doesn’t resonate with everyone, but those for whom it does tend to be pretty inspired by this true journey. (In our opinion, the book is better, but the movie indulges you with some pretty scenes from Italy, India and Indonesia!) 

Bali dreaming? After watching this movie, you’ll want to plan a trip to Bali (trust me!). Check out our list of top things to do on this island (we lived there for 6 months, so we’ve got quite the list!).

Under the Tuscan Sun

Travel Movies | Under the Tuscan Sun

Where: Tuscany

What: This film is about stepping out of your comfort zone and finding / creating your own happiness.  

Frances Mayes is a 35-year-old writer living in San Francisco, suffering from writer’s block and depression after her recent divorce. When her friend gifts her a trip to Italy, she impulsively decides to buy an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside. Restoring the home leads her to new friends and a life-changing adventure filled with unexpected surprises. 

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Travel Movies | Vicky, Christina Barcelona

Where: Barcelona, Spain

What: A Woody Allen film about the nature of love and how it plays out between consenting adults. 

Vicky and Cristina are two friends who are spending their summer vacationing in Barcelona when they meet a handsome artist named Juan Antonio and begin an illicit affair. When his ex-wife Maria Elena comes back into the picture, things get interesting and the girls get more than they bargained for. 

Monsoon Wedding

Travel Movies | Monsoon Wedding

What: This movie follows the complexities, drama, comedy, romance and utter chaos that is an Indian wedding.

Aditi is the only daughter in a modern, upper-middle-class family in Delhi, and her family has arranged her marriage to the son of a family friend who lives in Texas. Their wedding is going to be the event of the year. However, it is not without its twists and turns, hidden family secrets, affairs, and unexpected romance.

Letters to Juliet

Travel Movies | Letters to Juliet

Where: Italy, New York

What: A romantic chick-flick about following your heart and finding true love. 

Sophie is an aspiring writer in New York City who travels to Verona, Italy with her chef-obsessed boyfriend, where she meets the “Secretaries of Juliet” and finds an old love letter hiding in a wall. Sophie sets out on a journey across Italy with the woman who wrote the letter, Claire, and her reluctant grandson, to reunite her with her true love from decades past. 

P.S. I Love You

Travel Movies | P.S. I Love You

Where: Ireland, NYC

What: A tragic story of life after loss and finding new love and happiness.

This movie follows Holly, a young woman who has just lost her husband to cancer. Before his death, he organized a scavenger hunt type of adventure that brings her back to his hometown in Ireland with her girlfriends. 

A Good Year

Travel Movies | A Good Year

Where: Provence, France

What: Set in French wine country, this movie follows a man’s journey to finding love and realizing what is important in life. 

Max is a work-a-holic London banker who makes a quick trip to Provence with the intention of selling his late uncle’s vineyard and estate. But things don’t go as planned. Max unearths secrets, finds romance, and gets a lesson on what’s really important in life. 

Before Sunrise

Before Sunrise | Travel Movies

Where: Vienna, Austria

What: A story of modern-day romance between people from two different worlds.

If you’ve ever had a travel fling, this indie film will grip you. It follows the story of an American traveler, Jesse, who falls for an Austrian student he meets on a train. Their connection is strong and they spend a night exploring Vienna together before Jesse’s flight leaves the next morning. 

Like this one? Lucky for you, there are two more in this 3-part series: Before Sunset (takes place in Paris) and Before Midnight (takes place in Greece).

Outdoor Adventure Travel Movies

To our fellow outdoor adventure lovers, this list is for you. From dramatic mountaineering feats in the Himalayas to transformational treks across the USA, these movies will take you on some epic outdoor adventures around the globe.


Travel Movies | Everest

Where: Climbing Mt. Everest

What: Inspired by a true story, this dramatic and thrilling adventure is about overcoming mental and physical challenges to achieve the nearly impossible.

Everest documents the dramatic and awe-inspiring journey of two expeditions to summit Mt. Everest during a devastating snow storm. The climbers battle the elements and face nearly impossible obstacles as their lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for survival. 

Want to know more? Read about our 17-day journey to Everest Base Camp !

A Walk in the Woods

Travel Movies | A Walk in the Woods

Where: The Appalachian Trail

What: Based on the best-selling book, this is the story of two friends attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail. 

On the top of our to-watch list (we loved the book )!

Sick of life being all about ailments and funerals, Bill decides to push himself on an adventure hiking the Appalachian Trail. After protests from his wife, he recruits an old friend for the journey. 

This is the light-hearted and humorous story of the ill-prepared friends on their attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail in their later years of life. 

Into the Wild

Travel Movies | Into the Wild

Where: Hitchhiking across North America to Alaska

What: Based on a true story, this is a biographical adventure drama film of a young man’s journey to find meaning, belonging and love on a solo journey. 

Christopher McCandless is a young man who decides to hitchhike across North America to reach the Alaskan wilderness. During his transformative journey, he encounters several people and situations which change who he is as a person. This story is also a book ! 

Travel Movies | Kon-Tiki

Where: Crossing the ocean from Peru to Polynesia

What: A historical adventure-drama about the 1947 Kon-Tiki trans-oceanic expedition.

Norwegian explorer Thor believes that the South Sea Islands were originally colonized by South Americans. He sets out to prove his theory by recruiting 5 companions to set sail from Peru on a wooden raft built from an ancient design with only the stars and ocean currents to guide them. Along the way their moral and physical limits are tested as they encounter more than they bargained for. 

Travel Movies | Wild

Where: The Pacific Crest Trail

What: Based on the best-selling memoir, this is the story of one woman’s transformative journey hiking the PCT. 

When her life feels like it’s hit rock bottom after losing her mother, battling drug abuse, a slew of one-night-stands, and her marriage crumbling, Cheryl Strayed (played by Reese Witherspoon) makes the impulsive decision to hike over 1,000 of the Pacific Crest Trail, with no experience or training, completely solo. 

Get the family together for a cultural experience or a far-flung adventure to another world. These movies will take you on a comedic journey to some interesting places, and hopefully remind you that animated movies are not just for kids!

Travel Movies | Coco

Where: Celebrating the culture of Mexico

What: This light-hearted and comedic tale deals with family dynamics set against the backdrop of Dia de Los Muertos celebrations in Mexico. 

TWS Favorite! We watched this for the first time on a bus to Oaxaca (one of our favorite Mexican cities!), and it taught us a lot about local culture.

Young Miguel has a passion for performing. Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, he dreams of becoming a singer like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. After a mysterious series of events during the Dia de Los Muertos celebrations, Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead where he befriends a trickster and winds up uncovering secrets of his family’s history. 

A delightful and excellent portrayal of the cultural holiday, this animated film is a must-see for anyone interested in learning more about the Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. Plus, it’s great for kids!

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Travel Movies | Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Where: Life as an animal in the African bush

What: This is the comedic portrayal of what happens when New York City zoo animals find themselves in the wild African bush. 

In the sequel to the popular Dreamworks hit, Madagascar, this fun bunch of NYC zoo animals find themselves in Africa for the first time in their lives. The characters hilariously portray what it would be like to discover “the wild” for the first time after being raised in a zoo, and the difference between New York City and the African bush. With humor that can span generations, this is a fun film for the whole family. 

Travel Movies | Up

Where: An imaginary adventure in South America

What: A comedic animated film about taking chances and fulfilling one’s dreams before it’s too late. 

78-year-old Carl Fredricksen decides to tie thousands of balloons to his house and flies away on his an adventure into the wild of South America. When he realizes he’s accidentally brought along a 9-year-old Wilderness Explorer as an unwitting stowaway, the two have to make the most of their circumstance and build a friendship. 

Travel Movies | Moana

Where: Polynesia

What: A lovable Disney movie that follows the adventures of a brave young girl on an important mission.

Moana is a high-spirited teenager who is on a mission to save her people  by sailing across the open ocean in search of answers. Along the way, she meets a demigod, fights monsters, defies impossible odds, and discovers her true identity. The whole family will love this movie and its catchy songs, plus, you’ll feel as if you’ve escaped to a tropical island! 


Travel Movies Ratatouille

What: A story of rising above one’s circumstances and proving once and for all that truly anyone can cook.   

Remy, a resident of Paris, has quite the sophisticated palate and aspires to become a French chef. There is just one problem… he is a rat. When he winds up in the sewer beneath one of Paris’ finest restaurants, Remy befriends a young kitchen worker and together they cook up amazing dishes using Remy’s talents.

Sahara (Netflix Original)

Travel Movies | Sahara

Where: A journey across the Sahara Desert

What: A story of friendship and love takes these characters on a journey out of their comfort zones. 

When his new love is captured by an evil snake charmer, a kind-hearted cobra and his best friend, a scorpion, set out on a wild rescue mission across the Sahara desert. This cute animated film is best for children. 

Find out what life is like around the globe through your own eyes in these compelling documentaries about travel, humanity and the species that share our planet.

Life in a Day 

Travel Movies | Life in a Day

What: A National Geographic feature documenting daily life in 192 countries around the world. 

From National Geographic, Producer Ridley Scott and Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald asked the world to chronicle their lives via video in a single day. They took the 4,500 hours of footage submitted from 192 countries — all shot on July 24, 2010 — and created the groundbreaking documentary, Life in a Day.

Watch trailer | Watch for free on YouTube

Losing Sight of Shore 

Travel Movies | Losing Sight of Shore

Where: Rowing across the Pacific Ocean

What: An inspiring documentary about overcoming challenges, both mental and physical, to achieve a common goal. 

Four women set out to make history as they row across the Pacific Ocean, from America to Australia. Covering over 8,000 miles of open ocean, they must overcome extreme mental and physical challenges during their nine months at sea.

Expedition Happiness

Travel Movies | Expedition Happiness

Where: Road trip from Alaska to South America

What: An inspiring documentary about taking chances and following your dreams in the pursuit of happiness. 

A filmmaker and his musician girlfriend leave their lives in Germany behind and buy a school bus which they renovate and move into for their journey driving from Alaska to South America with their dog.

Did this film get you curious about #VanLife?! We’ve got all sorts of content on campervans , from how to build your own to insider advice and epic campervan adventures!

Pedal the World 

Travel Movies | Pedal the World

Where: Around the world by bicycle

A filmmaker and his musician girlfriend leave their lives in Germany behind and buy a school bus which they renovate and move into for their journey driving from Alaska to South America with their dog. 

Planet Earth & Planet Earth II

Travel Movies | Planet Earth

Where: Nature up close around the globe

What: A documentary series and follow up series that takes a close look at nature in our planet’s many ecosystems. 

A BBC-produced television docu-series with breathtaking high-definition footage of some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders — from the oceans to the deserts to the polar ice caps. Actress Sigourney Weaver narrates the American version, while David Attenborough is the voice of the original production.

Human Planet

Travel Movies | Human Planet

What: A documentary series that takes a close look at humans and their relationship with nature around the globe. 

Filmed in dozens of locations around the world, this awe-inspiring BBC production documents how humans interact with their natural surroundings. Each episode is tied to a particular habitat to showcase humans who have adapted to thrive in these extreme environments by building complex relationships with their animal neighbors. 

A Map for Saturday

Travel Movies | A Map for Saturday

What: A film documenting the emotional arc of extreme long-term travel for everyone who’s ever wondered what it would be like to travel the world. 

“On a trip around the world, every day feels like Saturday.” Long before the time of Travel influencers and vlogging, documentary filmmaker Brook Silva-Braga made a movie documenting his solo travels through four continents by telling the stories of travelers he meets along the way from Thailand to Nepal to Brazil.  

Encounters at the End of the World

Travel Movies | Encounters at the End of the World

Where: Antarctica

What: Documentary that gives you a glimpse into the least-visited continent on earth.

The only film on this list set on the continent of Antarctica, this documentary follows filmmaker Werner Herzog on his journey to the most remote parts of the earth. See the austere beauty of the landscapes and meet the people who have dedicated their lives to studying this unique part of the world.

Travel Movies | Baraka

What: A transcendent global tour that explores the sights and sounds of the human condition.

With no conventional narrative, this is a film about people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness to former concentration camps, the movie takes viewers around the globe and doesn’t shy away from the dark side of humanity when portraying a variety of natural and technological spectacles. Ultimately proving the interconnectivity of the world by both the tragedy and celebrations of life.

Travel Movies

Netflix has made streaming incredibly accessible in homes across the globe. If you’ve already got an account, these series will be free to watch! Also, be sure to look for throughout the rest of this list, as we’ve done our best to make note of all the movies that are available on Netflix as well!

Travels with my Father

Travel Movies | Travels With My Father Netflix series

What: A docu-series following comedian Jack Whitehall as he attempts to introduce his stuffy father to the world of backpacking through SE Asia. 

In the first season, adult comedian Jack Whitehall convinces his aging and reluctant father Michael to join him on a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia in an attempt to strengthen their bond.

They are recreating the “gap year” experience and along the way they take part in unique experiences including attending an elephant polo match in Bangkok and taking a primitive train ride in Cambodia. When their trip is completed, the pair reflect on the impact of their journey. Subsequent seasons take the pair to other parts of the world. 

Watch on Netflix

Travel Movies | Our Planet Netflix series

What: A documentary series about the wild inhabitants of our planet through the lens of climate change.

This is sort of Netflix’s answer to Planet Earth and the increasing concerns of climate change. This series takes an up close look at our planet’s inhabitants — from polar bears to wildebeests to marine life — and how climate change is affecting every living species on earth. 

Tales by Light

Travel Movies | Tales by Light Netflix series

What: A documentary series about photographers and the making of their images to inspire change.

From wildlife photographers in Africa to underwater photographers in the Arctic seas, to photojournalists documenting at-risk children, this captivating Netflix series takes viewers around the world to showcase talented photographers in their mission to use imagery to save the world.

Each episode follows a photographer and shows what happens behind the lens to create their powerful images. 

Street Food: Asia

Travel Movies | Street Food: Asia Netflix series

Where: Streets and food markets in Asia

What: A documentary series exploring street food in some of the world’s most vibrant cities in Asia.

From the hawker stalls of Singapore to food carts in India, this series brings viewers all over Asia to highlight the stories of perseverance and culture that bring life to various countries’ cuisine. Nations visited include Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam.

Psst! If you like this show, you’ll love the late Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Parts Unknown . We love binging these shows (you can purchase them to watch on YouTube) before traveling to a new country and then trying out the restaurants he features! We’ve been to a bunch of Bourdain-approved locales around the world.

Extreme Engagement

Travel Movies | Extreme Engagement Netflix series

What: In this reality series, find out if an extreme around the world trip will bring this engaged couple closer together or wind up tearing them apart.

A newly engaged couple embark on a year-long around the world journey, hoping to discover the secret of marriage by exploring marriage customs in cultures around the globe. They hope this journey will help them to know if they are really ready for a lifetime commitment to each other. 

Night on Earth

Travel Movies | Night on Earth Netflix series

What: A documentary series that uncovers the wonders of the nocturnal wildlife around our planet. 

Similar to Planet Earth , but entirely shot at night. All around the planet, the most interesting animals reveal themselves in a completely new light.  Using new night vision technology, this nature series allows viewers to lift the veil of darkness and witness the wonders of the nocturnal world like never before. 

The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes

Travel Movies | Extraordinary Homes Netflix series

What: A reality series that showcases the most unique properties around the world. 

This property series  showcased the most extraordinary homes found all over the world. The hosts travel across mountains, through forests, along coasts and deep underground to find unique properties in every corner of the globe. If you’re a travel enthusiast and also a fan of HGTV, then this one’s for you! 

Restaurants on the Edge

Travel Movies | Restaurants on the Edge Netflix series

What: A reality series that helps struggling restaurants around the world by reinventing their business model. 

Follow a team of three experts — a restaurateur, a designer and a chef — as they travel the world in search of struggling restaurants that need their help. For each episode, they target a restaurant and tap into the surroundings, culture and community to remodel each business for a chance at success. 

Looking for more travel movies?!

While we couldn’t possibly list all the travel movies out there, here are a handful of more honorable mentions to add to your watch list:

The Grand Budapest Hotel , comedy/drama

Away We Go , comedy/drama

Like Father , Netflix original comedy/drama

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert , comedy/drama

Little Miss Sunshine , comedy/drama

Adrift , drama

The Terminal , drama

The Talented Mr. Ripley , drama

Catch Me if you Can , drama

Eurotrip , comedy

Just Married , comedy

National Lampoon’s Family Vacation , comedy

The Holiday , romance/comedy

Tomb Raider , action & adventure

Murder on the Orient Express ,  crime (1974 original, 2017 remake)

Lawrence of Arabia ,  adventure/drama

Nowhere in Africa ,  drama (in German)

You may also like…

Books for Travelers

Staying Home Survival Guide

The Ultimate Travel Planning Guide

How to Save Money to Travel the World

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Movies for Travelers | Two Wandering Soles

We want to hear from you!

What travel movies are on your watch list? Did we miss one of your favorites? Comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

Comments (11) on “ 75+ Best Travel Movies to Inspire Your Wanderlust ”

Brilliant! Thanks for sharing the list, this is very helpful. I will do my best to watch all. Sometimes I write about the movies too. Here’s a handpicked list of movies that make you want to travel and fuel your wanderlust, in case you or any of your readers find it interesting. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to see something new from you. Cheers!

What a great list. I really like that you have broken it up into genres – makes it so much easier to find what you might be looking for.

Glad to hear you like the travel movie list! Hope you got to add a few to your watch list!

Wow, what a comprehensive list! Netflix’ Street Food: Asia was one of the show I was actively watching prior to going to South Korea. I was even happy to see the lady on the SK’s segment. I had to stop and try her food and yes it was delicious.

Amazing! That’s so cool you got to try her food! I want to go to every one of the street food stalls on that show!

75 movies, I thought, wow there’s no way I’ve seen even half of these… but I was surprised at how many I’ve seen! Great list with some out of the box inclusions, too.

We tried our best to get a big variety of travel movies. We’ve seen a lot of these as well, but definitely have more to add to my watch list!

Wow that’s an awesome list .I have only seen half of them..but I will make sure to see all

Glad you liked the travel movie list, Madhu!

I started watching Travels with my Father but couldn’t finish it, because my American husband just couldn’t get the British humour or the way that Jack and his dad treated each other. I’ll have to finish watching it without him.

Hey Katherine, I can understand, it goes get a little dry at times. But I love the way Jack says "Daddy!" It gets me everytime!

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The 50 All-Time Best Time-Travel Films

The ability to travel through time is by far my favorite movie storyline. Who hasn't, at least once in their lifetime, wished they could turn back the hands of time to buy a winning lottery ticket or to set something right that once went wrong? The movies listed below have a wide range of inventive ways on how the subjects are moved across time. Many of these films use either a mental ability, magical device or a time machine, some seem to have help from a higher power and sometimes the person just wakes up in a different time. If you love TV shows like Outlander, Timeless, Doctor Who or Quantum Leap, then this list of the best time-traveling films is for you.

  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • Release Year

1. The Time Machine (1960)

G | 103 min | Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi

A man's vision for a utopian society is disillusioned when travelling forward into time reveals a dark and dangerous society.

Director: George Pal | Stars: Rod Taylor , Alan Young , Yvette Mimieux , Sebastian Cabot

Votes: 44,341

2. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox , Christopher Lloyd , Lea Thompson , Crispin Glover

Votes: 1,290,016 | Gross: $210.61M

Also included are Part II and Part III, all three as one film.

3. The Terminator (1984)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A human soldier is sent from 2029 to 1984 to stop an almost indestructible cyborg killing machine, sent from the same year, which has been programmed to execute a young woman whose unborn son is the key to humanity's future salvation.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger , Linda Hamilton , Michael Biehn , Paul Winfield

Votes: 914,655 | Gross: $38.40M

4. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

R | 137 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten year old son John from an even more advanced and powerful cyborg.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger , Linda Hamilton , Edward Furlong , Robert Patrick

Votes: 1,161,462 | Gross: $204.84M

5. Time After Time (1979)

PG | 112 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

H.G. Wells pursues Jack the Ripper to the 20th Century when the serial murderer uses the future writer's time machine to escape his time period.

Director: Nicholas Meyer | Stars: Malcolm McDowell , Mary Steenburgen , David Warner , Charles Cioffi

Votes: 20,428

6. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal , Jena Malone , Mary McDonnell , Holmes Osborne

Votes: 842,173 | Gross: $1.48M

7. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet where highly intelligent non-human ape species are dominant and humans are enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston , Roddy McDowall , Kim Hunter , Maurice Evans

Votes: 190,742 | Gross: $33.40M

8. Groundhog Day (1993)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A narcissistic, self-centered weatherman finds himself in a time loop on Groundhog Day.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Bill Murray , Andie MacDowell , Chris Elliott , Stephen Tobolowsky

Votes: 675,743 | Gross: $70.91M

Living the same day over and over again for maybe a hundred or more years.

9. Run Lola Run (1998)

R | 80 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Franka Potente , Moritz Bleibtreu , Herbert Knaup , Nina Petri

Votes: 205,674 | Gross: $7.27M

10. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

R | 86 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.

Director: Colin Trevorrow | Stars: Aubrey Plaza , Mark Duplass , Jake Johnson , Karan Soni

Votes: 130,406 | Gross: $4.01M

11. Doctor Strange (2016)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch , Chiwetel Ejiofor , Rachel McAdams , Benedict Wong

Votes: 795,312 | Gross: $232.64M

12. Arrival (II) (2016)

PG-13 | 116 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A linguist works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world.

Director: Denis Villeneuve | Stars: Amy Adams , Jeremy Renner , Forest Whitaker , Michael Stuhlbarg

Votes: 753,270 | Gross: $100.55M

13. Primer (2004)

PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.

Director: Shane Carruth | Stars: Shane Carruth , David Sullivan , Casey Gooden , Anand Upadhyaya

Votes: 113,199 | Gross: $0.42M

14. Interstellar (2014)

PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

When Earth becomes uninhabitable in the future, a farmer and ex-NASA pilot, Joseph Cooper, is tasked to pilot a spacecraft, along with a team of researchers, to find a new planet for humans.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Matthew McConaughey , Anne Hathaway , Jessica Chastain , Mackenzie Foy

Votes: 2,051,438 | Gross: $188.02M

There are all kinds of time-travel in Interstellar.

15. 12 Monkeys (1995)

R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Bruce Willis , Madeleine Stowe , Brad Pitt , Joseph Melito

Votes: 642,142 | Gross: $57.14M

Brad Pitt is so freaky crazy in this film and I love it!

16. La Jetée (1962)

Not Rated | 28 min | Short, Drama, Romance

The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Étienne Becker , Jean Négroni , Hélène Chatelain , Davos Hanich

Votes: 36,679

This short film inspired 12 Monkeys.

17. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

TV-PG | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda | Stars: Riisa Naka , Takuya Ishida , Mitsutaka Itakura , Ayami Kakiuchi

Votes: 70,207

18. Frequency (2000)

PG-13 | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father's life, but then must fix the consequences.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Dennis Quaid , Jim Caviezel , Shawn Doyle , Elizabeth Mitchell

Votes: 114,828 | Gross: $45.01M

No humans travel in time in Frequency but thanks to a ham radio and a phenomenon that opens up a channel, John is able to communicate with his father, 30 years in the past.

19. Timecrimes (2007)

R | 92 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo | Stars: Karra Elejalde , Candela Fernández , Bárbara Goenaga , Nacho Vigalondo

Votes: 68,164 | Gross: $0.04M

20. Deja Vu (2006)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington , Paula Patton , Jim Caviezel , Val Kilmer

Votes: 325,114 | Gross: $64.04M

The second film on this list with actor Jim Caviezel, who is also in Frequency.

21. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart , Ian McKellen , Hugh Jackman , James McAvoy

Votes: 739,524 | Gross: $233.92M

22. Pleasantville (1998)

PG-13 | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Two 1990s teenage siblings find themselves transported to a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that colorless, complacent world.

Director: Gary Ross | Stars: Tobey Maguire , Jeff Daniels , Joan Allen , William H. Macy

Votes: 135,444 | Gross: $40.57M

23. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

PG-13 | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Tom Cruise , Emily Blunt , Bill Paxton , Brendan Gleeson

Votes: 727,191 | Gross: $100.21M

Live. Die. Repeat.

24. The Philadelphia Experiment (1984)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

A United States Navy destroyer escort participates in a Navy "invisibility" experiment that inadvertently sends two sailors forty years into the future.

Director: Stewart Raffill | Stars: Michael Paré , Nancy Allen , Eric Christmas , Bobby Di Cicco

Votes: 16,583 | Gross: $8.10M

25. About Time (I) (2013)

R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

Director: Richard Curtis | Stars: Domhnall Gleeson , Rachel McAdams , Bill Nighy , Lydia Wilson

Votes: 380,700 | Gross: $15.32M

26. The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Henry DeTamble, a librarian, possesses a unique gene that lets him involuntarily travel through time. His wife, Claire Abshire, finds it difficult to cope with it.

Director: Robert Schwentke | Stars: Eric Bana , Rachel McAdams , Ron Livingston , Michelle Nolden

Votes: 156,983 | Gross: $63.41M

Rachel McAdams must love time-travel because she has been in 4 of them but she is never a time traveler in any of them. She was also in Doctor Strange and Midnight in Paris.

27. Somewhere in Time (1980)

PG | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time and meet the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.

Director: Jeannot Szwarc | Stars: Christopher Reeve , Jane Seymour , Christopher Plummer , Teresa Wright

Votes: 32,080 | Gross: $9.71M

The most romantic film on the list.

28. Happy Accidents (2000)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Romance

New Yorker Ruby Weaver believes she has found the man of her dreams in Sam Deed, who is her best catch in some time--except that he assures her that he came from the future.

Director: Brad Anderson | Stars: Marisa Tomei , Vincent D'Onofrio , Holland Taylor , Mick Weber

Votes: 10,175 | Gross: $0.69M

An underrated film.

29. Time Bandits (1981)

PG | 110 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

A young boy accidentally joins a band of time travelling dwarves, as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Sean Connery , Shelley Duvall , John Cleese , Katherine Helmond

Votes: 67,647 | Gross: $42.37M

30. Lucy (I) (2014)

R | 89 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Scarlett Johansson , Morgan Freeman , Choi Min-sik , Amr Waked

Votes: 529,066 | Gross: $126.66M

31. Sleeper (1973)

PG | 89 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

A nerdish store owner is revived out of cryostasis into a future world to fight an oppressive government.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen , Diane Keaton , John Beck , Mary Gregory

Votes: 44,569 | Gross: $2.91M

32. Midnight in Paris (2011)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Owen Wilson , Rachel McAdams , Kathy Bates , Kurt Fuller

Votes: 446,610 | Gross: $56.82M

33. Looper (2012)

R | 119 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt , Bruce Willis , Emily Blunt , Paul Dano

Votes: 598,649 | Gross: $66.49M

34. Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

A malfunctioning time machine at a ski resort takes a man back to 1986 with his two friends and nephew, where they must relive a fateful night and not change anything to make sure the nephew is born.

Director: Steve Pink | Stars: John Cusack , Rob Corddry , Craig Robinson , Clark Duke

Votes: 184,944 | Gross: $50.29M

35. 13 Going on 30 (2004)

PG-13 | 98 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Unpopular schoolgirl Jenna Rink makes an unusual wish on her birthday. Miraculously, her wish comes true and the 13-year-old Jenna wakes up the next day as a 30-year-old woman.

Director: Gary Winick | Stars: Jennifer Garner , Mark Ruffalo , Judy Greer , Andy Serkis

Votes: 213,037 | Gross: $57.23M

13 Going on 30 is a fun and funny film.

36. The Time Machine (2002)

PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.

Director: Simon Wells | Stars: Guy Pearce , Yancey Arias , Mark Addy , Phyllida Law

Votes: 129,560 | Gross: $56.68M

A really good remake of the original 1960 film and the coolest time-machine in any movie.

37. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

PG-13 | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Kathleen Turner , Nicolas Cage , Barry Miller , Catherine Hicks

Votes: 40,397 | Gross: $41.38M

38. Next (2007)

PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A Las Vegas magician who can see into the future is pursued by FBI agents seeking to use his abilities to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack.

Director: Lee Tamahori | Stars: Nicolas Cage , Julianne Moore , Jessica Biel , Thomas Kretschmann

Votes: 165,200 | Gross: $18.21M

Nicolas Cage was also in Peggy Sue Got Married.

39. Predestination (I) (2014)

R | 97 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.

Directors: Michael Spierig , Peter Spierig | Stars: Ethan Hawke , Sarah Snook , Noah Taylor , Madeleine West

Votes: 301,427 | Gross: $0.07M

This movie is trippy, no pun intended. Just when you think you have figured out the twist, the ending blows your mind.

40. The Lake House (2006)

PG | 99 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

A lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside house begins to exchange love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.

Director: Alejandro Agresti | Stars: Keanu Reeves , Sandra Bullock , Christopher Plummer , Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Votes: 156,700 | Gross: $52.33M

Keanu has been in 3 time-travel movies.

41. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

PG | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Music

Two rock-'n-rolling teens, on the verge of failing their class, set out on a quest to make the ultimate school history report after being presented with a time machine.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Keanu Reeves , Alex Winter , George Carlin , Terry Camilleri

Votes: 140,510 | Gross: $40.49M

42. Source Code (2011)

PG-13 | 93 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

A soldier wakes up in someone else's body and discovers he's part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train within 8 minutes.

Director: Duncan Jones | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal , Michelle Monaghan , Vera Farmiga , Jeffrey Wright

Votes: 545,251 | Gross: $54.71M

Jake Gyllenhaal has been in three time-travel films, including Prince of Persia (not listed).

43. The Jacket (2005)

R | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a doctor's experiments, and his life is completely affected by them.

Director: John Maybury | Stars: Adrien Brody , Keira Knightley , Daniel Craig , Kris Kristofferson

Votes: 118,637 | Gross: $6.30M

44. The Final Countdown (1980)

PG | 103 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Director: Don Taylor | Stars: Kirk Douglas , Martin Sheen , Katharine Ross , James Farentino

Votes: 26,580 | Gross: $16.65M

45. Frankenstein Unbound (1990)

R | 85 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

The ultimate weapon which was meant to be safe for the mankind produces global side effects including time slides and disappearances.The scientist behind the project and his car are zapped from the year 2031 to 1817's Switzerland.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: John Hurt , Raul Julia , Nick Brimble , Bridget Fonda

Votes: 4,077 | Gross: $0.33M

46. Freejack (1992)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

Bounty hunters from the future transport a doomed race car driver to New York City in 2009, where his mind will be replaced with that of a dead billionaire.

Director: Geoff Murphy | Stars: Emilio Estevez , Mick Jagger , Rene Russo , Anthony Hopkins

Votes: 17,296 | Gross: $17.13M

47. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.

Directors: Eric Bress , J. Mackye Gruber | Stars: Ashton Kutcher , Amy Smart , Melora Walters , Elden Henson

Votes: 516,807 | Gross: $57.94M

Changing one thing in the past can cause chaos in the future.

48. Idiocracy (2006)

R | 84 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Corporal Joe Bauers, a decisively average American, is selected as a guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program but is forgotten, awakening to a future so incredibly moronic he's easily the most intelligent person alive.

Director: Mike Judge | Stars: Luke Wilson , Maya Rudolph , Dax Shepard , Terry Crews

Votes: 179,213 | Gross: $0.44M

49. Army of Darkness (1992)

R | 81 min | Comedy, Horror

When Ash Williams is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., he must retrieve the Necronomicon and battle an army of the dead in order to return home.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell , Embeth Davidtz , Marcus Gilbert , Ian Abercrombie

Votes: 192,805 | Gross: $11.50M

50. Timecop (1994)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

Max Walker, an officer for a security agency that regulates time travel, must fend for his life against a shady politician who's intent on changing the past to control the future.

Director: Peter Hyams | Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme , Mia Sara , Ron Silver , Bruce McGill

Votes: 63,503 | Gross: $44.85M

Timecop 2 is not very good.

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The 50 Best Travel Films of All Time

By CNT Editors

The 50 Best Travel Movies of All Time

It's arguable that, more than any other piece of pop-culture ephemera, movies have the power to transport—to sweep you away on a European adventure ( Before Sunrise ), cross an African desert ( Out of Africa ), even send you to the never-before-seen Paradise Falls ( Up ). These 50 films are especially captivating, with well-told stories that evoke the magic (or harsh reality) of travel, and beautiful scenery that overwhelms the senses. Read on for the favorite travel movies of editors past and present—and get your Netflix queue ready.

This gallery was originally published in 2015 and has been updated.

Image may contain Human Person Clothing Apparel Kay Kendall Building Architecture Tower Suit Coat and Overcoat

Roman Holiday (1953)

What’s not to love about this black-and-white classic? It’s got Audrey Hepburn, it’s got Gregory Peck, it’s set in Rome ; there’s a quirky, comical love story. Hepburn plays a princess in town for a goodwill tour, Peck a journalist for an American news bureau who misses his big interview with HRH. When he helps a young, seemingly drunk woman one night and lets her sleep it off in his apartment, he realizes he may have the scoop of his career as the next day’s news reports say the princess has canceled her engagements due to illness. And then he pieces the two together. What follows is a grand romp, with Peck playing the regular joe and local guide to the princess, who just wants to shed the royal obligations and enjoy a little freedom for a change. Their tour of Rome proves the perfect catalyst for their budding romance, and it’s impossible not to have the same effect on the audience. –Corina Quinn

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To Catch a Thief (1955)

Cary Grant as a cat burglar, Grace Kelly as a rich debutante, falling in love under the guidance of Alfred Hitchcock? Sold. This stunning thriller was filmed in Cannes and Nice and perfectly captures the Golden Age of travel we always wax poetic about, that time when bringing a gold lamé gown to the beach was a no-brainer. – Meredith Carey

Image may contain Hair Human Person Omar Sharif Face Clothing Apparel Suit Coat and Overcoat

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Russia during the Soviet Revolution doesn't exactly sound like a prime tourist destination, but director David Lean makes a big argument for the country's haunting beauty in this romantic epic (even thought it was actually shot in Spain). From the opulence of Imperial Moscow to the flowering countryside of the Urals to the windswept Siberian tundra, Lean's camera is as much as in love with the landscape as it is with Julie Christie's doe-eyed Lara. – Jenna Scherer

Image may contain Human Person Outdoors Nature Sport Sports Vegetation Plant Water and Land

The Endless Summer (1966)

“Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world,” sang the Beach Boys; and if ever a film embodied that mindset, it’s Bruce Brown’s 1966 surfer documentary. Brown shadowed buddies Robert August and Mike Hynson on a round-the-world surfing trip, filming their travels to places like Hawaii , New Zealand, and South Africa as they crested waves and met like-minded surf obsessives. The film’s impact on surf culture and tourism was huge, thanks in no small part to Brown’s cinematography, as well as the subjects’ ability to make riding those impossibly large waves seem effortless. – Amy Plitt

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Two For the Road (1967)

Travel is a constant theme in this romantic dramedy about a married couple, played by Albert Finney and Aubrey Hepburn. The movie starts off with a road trip to Saint-Tropez, and as they drive through France, the audience is treated to flashbacks of previous trips that have affected their relationship. - Jenni Miller

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Easy Rider (1969)

Released the year of the Woodstock festival—perhaps the biggest event of the ’60s counterculture movement— Easy Rider couldn’t have come out at a better time in history. The film plays out like a motorcycle travelogue, following Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) on their sojourn from Mexico to Los Angeles to New Orleans . Shot on a shoestring budget, the film is flush with desert landscapes and towns that the pair of nogoodniks (and co-stars, like a young Jack Nicholson) pass through on their drug-and-booze-fueled hippie adventure. – Will Levith

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Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

While the 2017 remake of Murder on the Orient Express was pretty to look at , you simply can't beat the 1974 original. The mystery boasts an excellent ensemble cast led by Albert Finney as Agatha Christie's iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. He’s minding his own business on the long-distance train when a fellow passenger is murdered in the middle of the night. Poirot agrees to investigate the murder, along with the train's first-class compartment full of characters, ranging from a Russian princess to a gorgeous young countess. Throw in the snowy Yugoslavian countryside, and train travel has never looked so glamorous. (Minus the murder, of course.) – J.M.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders of the Lost Ark was a giant-sized collaboration between two of the world's biggest blockbuster directors at the time: Steven Spielberg ( Jaws ), who directed, and George Lucas ( Star Wars ), who executive produced. The film follows hunky explorer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) as he circles the globe on a quest to track down the legendary Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do. With filming locations in France and Tunisia (which stood in for Egypt ), Raiders is travel porn at its mega-blockbuster best. – W.L.

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National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Vacation was the world’s introduction to the Griswold family, led by accident-prone dad-in-chief Clark (Chevy Chase). The film spoofs the tried-and-true American tradition of the family road trip , taking the Griswold car through at least two real-life national parks—Death Valley and Grand Canyon—on their way to the fictional amusement park, Walley World. Add in an unforgettable cameo from Christie Brinkley and a hit theme song in “Holiday Road,” and you have a movie every vacationer should watch once in their lifetime. – W.L.

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Romancing the Stone (1984)

The ’80s were the era of the action movie, but Romancing the Stone took that concept and blew it out, mixing in pinches of Indiana Jones and pulpy romance novel. Co-starring Reagan Era sex-symbols Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, the adventure begins when novelist Joan Wilder (Turner) travels to Colombia in search of her kidnapped sister. – W.L.

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Out of Africa (1985)

Meryl Streep and Robert Redford star in this tragic love story about a married baroness who falls for a big-game hunter, based on the autobiographical novel by Isak Dinesen. Filmed on location in the U.K. and Kenya, including the Shaba National Game Reserve , Out of Africa feels about as epic as the doomed love affair between two very different people. – J.M.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Set around Thanksgiving, Planes uses the travel rush in the days leading up to the holiday as a more-than-worthy comedic vehicle. Steve Martin goofs as Neal Page, who faces a series of travel nightmares on his trip from New York City to Chicago in advance of Turkey Day. After his flight is canceled due to inclement weather, Page ends up sharing his trip home with salesman Del Griffith, played by the late, great John Candy. The actors' chemistry is hard to deny… especially when they’re sleeping in the same bed together on the road. –W.L.

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Withnail & I (1987)

“We’ve gone on holiday by mistake!” Withnail’s (Richard E. Grant) desperate moan is the centerpiece of this British cult comedy, which sees two hard-drinking, unemployed actors escaping the horrors of their impoverished London flat with a trip to the countryside. Naturally, the countryside turns out to be even worse. But the desolate, windswept beauty of Cumbria, in Northern England, is the perfect setting for their self-created drama and melancholy. – J.S.

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Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thelma & Louise reinvented the concept of the buddy movie by putting two women on the road, escaping good-for-nothing men and setting off on an adventure of their own making. For the first time, women were at the center of the picaresque. Ultimately, Thelma and Louise don't get their happy ending, but the best coda is knowing their movie paved the way for countless other women to hit the road on their own. – Lilit Marcus

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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving, and Terence Stamp star as two drag performers and a transwoman who travel to Alice Springs, Australia , in a lavender-hued school bus they've named Priscilla. A road trip across the Outback serves as a dusty backdrop for personal revelations and general awesomeness, like a fireside lip-sync performance of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." – J.M.

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Before Sunrise (1995)

Richard Linklater turned the stroll-and-talk into an art form in his slow-cinema trilogy. It all began with this quiet, lovely indie, which features a baby-faced Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy flirting and philosophizing as they wander the cobblestone streets of Vienna after hours. The city becomes the third character in the romance, just as Paris would nine years later in Before Sunset, and Messenia, Greece, nine years after that in Before Midnight. All three movies are a testament to travel's power to realign your perception of your own life. – J.S.

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The English Patient (1996)

From its star-crossed love story to its sweeping cinematic shots, few movies of the modern era are as lavishly romantic as this adaption of Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize–winning novel. With a storyline split between pre-war Egypt and post-war Italy, director Anthony Minghella gives us artfully crafted glimpses of both locations: a bombed-out villa in Tuscany and Lawrence of Arabia -esque sweeps of the Egyptian desert (actually filmed in Tunisia). – J.S.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

It may be creepy as hell, but The Talented Mr. Ripley also happens to be one of the most beautiful depictions of Italy ever captured on film. Set in the 1950s, the movie follows a group of pretty young things (including Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Matt Damon as the titular sociopath) on their luxurious-slash-murderous holiday, from the pristine beaches in Lazio to the opulent hotels in Venice . – Caitlin Morton

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The Beach (2000)

Richard (played by a boyish Leonardo DiCaprio) finds himself tramping from one Thai hostel to the next, desperately searching for something meaningful. A tip from a fellow traveler in Bangkok sends him on a journey to a hard-to-reach island, described as the ultimate paradise—white sands, clear water, and only a handful of other travelers who’ve sworn to keep its location a secret. But, of course, paradise isn't exactly what it seems—and the same goes for real life too, as fans have since trashed the filming location , Maya Beach, forcing its closure. – Megan Spurrell

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Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Y Tu Mamá También follows two best friends and a sexy older woman as they road trip through Mexico, searching for a magical (and fictional) beach called Heaven’s Mouth. Director Alfonso Cuarón shows the beautiful nature of Oaxaca , but also gives a no-holds-bar glimpse into the poverty that exists in Mexico—an aspect that most films set there simply gloss over. – C.M.

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Amélie (2001)

Paris is one big shiny confection in this sun-drenched modern fairy tale. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's camera looks at the city through candy-colored lenses, primarily following his quirky-loner heroine (Audrey Tautou) through the winding streets of Montmartre. Everything seems to be lit from within, from the green water of the Canal Saint-Martin to the lurid red lights of a Pigalle sex shop. The city has never looked so dreamy. – J.S.

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L’Auberge Espagnole (2002)

For anyone who’s ever studied or lived abroad, discovering L’Auberge Espagnole (i.e. “the Spanish Inn”) is like finding the Rosetta Stone. The film follows a French student, Xavier, who travels to Barcelona in search of himself. Cooped up in a giant apartment with six other contemporaries—all from different countries—Xavier wades through the muddy waters of cohabitation with men and women who don’t share his customs or language. Look out for a fantastic post- Amélie cameo by Audrey Tautou. – W.L.

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Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Steven Spielberg's stylish caper tells the real-life story of Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio), a teenage con artist who manages to avoid the feds while pulling off elaborate schemes. Abagnale famously impersonated a Pan Am pilot, and the film plays this up with plenty of vintage air travel eye candy. – A.P.

Catch a glimpse of Eero Saarinen's space-age TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, in a conversation between Abagnale and Carl Hanratty, played by Tom Hanks. The terminal has been turned into a hotel , which just officially opened in May 2019. – M.C.

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Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation chronicles the budding friendship of two Americans in Tokyo (played with the perfect amount of resignation by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson), shot in typically beautiful Sofia Coppola fashion. From the upmarket Park Hyatt hotel to the neon-filled karaoke bars and streets, the movie is like a tourism ad for Tokyo. But more importantly, it’s a melancholy portrayal of loneliness—even in a city filled with millions of people. – C.M.

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Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Before there was Eat, Pray, Love , there was Under the Tuscan Sun —the story of a woman who buys a villa in Italy after her marriage falls apart. As we watch Frances (Diane Lane) renovate her gorgeous new house and take day trips to the Amalfi Coast, the thought of dropping everything to move to Tuscany suddenly doesn’t seem so ridiculous. – C.M.

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Sideways (2004)

The allure of California’s fantastic vineyards is well known (and documented), but wine culture still has a sniff of exclusivity. That’s what makes Sideways, whose wine-touring protagonist is actually a middle-aged slob, so relatable—and hilarious. Aside from telling a great story with great characters, the movie also happens to showcase some of the most beautiful vineyards and tasting rooms in Santa Barbara. Have a glass while you watch—just not merlot. – C.M.

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The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

This is where it all began for Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Gael García Bernal), whose road trip across Latin America with his pal Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) opened Che's eyes to political injustice. Director Walter Salles filmed their travels through major landmarks in South America, as per Che's memoir, from the Andes mountain range to Machu Picchu and even a leper colony in San Pablo. – J.M.

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Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

And you thought your family road trips were dysfunctional. How about cramming your elderly father-in-law, voluntarily mute son, suicidal brother, overworked husband, and quirky daughter with beauty queen aspirations into a lemon of a VW bus? Toni Collette manages just fine (sort of). I'm stressed just thinking about it, but somehow Little Miss Sunshine manages to find that perfect intersection of humor and nostalgia that makes you feel warm and fuzzy by the time the movie ends. – M.C.

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The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Wes Anderson reimagines the all-American family road trip as a rail journey across India. Set on a cramped train rattling across the subcontinent, Darjeeling juxtaposes the claustrophobia of travel against the backdrop of Rajasthan's vast open spaces . Anderson's love of strange and beautiful objects is very much at home in the colorful, busy aesthetic of India; but the movie's most arresting visuals come in the form of barren desert and mountain landscapes. – J.S.

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Into the Wild (2007)

The true story of Christopher "Alexander Supertramp" McCandless's disappearance and demise in the Alaskan wilderness can be viewed as poetic or moronic, depending who you talk to. But there's no denying the essential sense of beauty and desolation in Sean Penn's filmic take on the story. As McCandless, Emile Hirsch rides the rails, kayaks the Colorado River, summits snowy peaks, races into the Pacific, and embodies a classically American vision of unchecked wanderlust—exuberant, unstoppable, and foolish. – J.S.

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In Bruges (2008)

"Maybe that's what hell is: The entire rest of eternity spent in effin' Bruges ." Cinema has given us few vacationers as reluctant as Ray (Colin Farrell), an Irish hit man lying low in Belgium's most picturesque city. With its gentle, touristy beauty, the medieval town makes an unlikely setting for Martin McDonagh's darkly comic tale of mob justice—which, of course, only makes it funnier. – J.S.

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Woody Allen movies usually pay homage to New York City, but he switched geographical gears for 2008’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona . The film shows the adventures and subsequent love affairs of two young women visiting Barcelona , and the city ends up becoming a character itself. As you see all of the gorgeous architecture and landscapes through these tourists’ eyes, you’ll want to hop on a plane and listen to acoustic Spanish guitar immediately. – C.M.

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Up might have been rendered as a digital “cartoon” in the vein of Toy Story , but it’s anything but a kid's film. A heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, the film follows septuagenarian Carl (voiced to crotchety perfection by Ed Asner) and his young friend, Russell, as they travel to South America together in Carl’s house-turned-dirigible (we’ll leave it up to your imagination). Up is one of those rare travel films that makes you realize that you’re just floating on like everybody else is on this giant, blue orb called Earth, with nothing holding you down except maybe a little gravity. Have a box of tissues handy. – W.L.

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Up in the Air (2009)

George Clooney stars as Ryan, a “downsizing expert” (i.e., companies hire him to fly all across the country to inform strangers they’ve lost their job) who loves life on the road. An obsessive frequent flyer, he’s also about to reach his goal of getting a million miles. The arrival of a young upstart Natalie (Anna Kendrick) who wants to downsize via video conferencing—possibly eliminating their need to travel—sets the two on the road, for him to mentor her. He also meets Alex (Vera Farmiga), a woman equally in love with her transient life, and the two begin meeting up when their schedules overlap. Natalie’s growing disillusionment with the business they’re in, along with Ryan’s deepening relationship with Alex, begin to challenge his cherished way of life, and make him question what that collection of miles is really worth. – C.Q.

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Away We Go (2009)

A few months before their baby is due, Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Burt (John Krasinski) decide to take a road trip to find the perfect location to raise their family. Their journey takes them from Phoenix and Tucson to Madison and Montreal , a city that has never seemed more friendly or inviting. The movie is a wonderful tour of North America’s cities, as well as a touching tribute to love and family. – C.M.

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The Trip (2010)

Not quite a buddy comedy—you get the sense that the characters played by British comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan may not even like each other very much—this meandering 2010 film is hilarious nevertheless. Brydon and Coogan road-trip through England to dine in fancy restaurants, all the while one-upping each other’s jokes and pondering the meaning of life, death, and relationships. Come for the beautiful shots of the English countryside , but stay for the goofy jokes—particularly the brilliant bit riffing on Michael Caine and Sean Connery impressions. – A.P.

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Midnight in Paris (2011)

Gil Pender, played by Owen Wilson, is a wide-eyed screenwriter and aspiring novelist on a trip to Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams). Like many tourists in the City of Light, he retraces the steps of Parisian creatives past, drinking coffee (and absinthe) in the same places they once did—until, late one night, a car of these very icons appears, sweeping him back in time to an evening of revelry among the literati of the 1920s. Sure it's time travel, but past or present, Paris always enchants. – M.S.

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

Facing widowhood, and the realities of aging, a handful of Brits decide to flip retirement on its head. Rather than succumb to creaking stairlifts and hospital-grade linens that come with retirement at home, they follow advertisements for the Marigold Hotel in Jaipur, India , which promises grandiose accommodations at a bargain—and an exhilarating second act. Cue tangled love stories, easy laughs, and endearing fish-out-of-water moments delivered by a crowd-pleasing ensemble cast (including Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, and Bill Nighy), who prove how deeply travel can stir us, at any age. – M.S.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Walter Mitty is the visual embodiment of "wanderlust," following a daydreaming, work-laden Life magazine employee (played by Ben Stiller) as he embarks on a journey his own imagination couldn't have conjured. Looking for one lost, cover-worthy photo slide from renowned photojournalist Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn), Mitty heads from the streets of Manhattan to Greenland to Iceland and even to the Himalayas. It's a stunning, fantastical movie that'll get even an armchair traveler up to the passport office. – M.C.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Of all the fictional hotels in the cinematic world, none come close to rivaling the top-notch service of the Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson's hyper-stylized confection. Complete with a world-class dining room and pink façade, the hotel owes much of its success to Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the most dedicated concierge of all time. Whether he’s fighting off murderous armies or providing, er, "company" to the older female guests, it becomes immediately clear that Gustave would truly do anything for his beloved GBH. – C.M.

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Tracks (2014)

Standing in for real-life writer Robyn Davidson, Mia Wasikowska travels across the breathtaking landscape of Western Australia with only four camels and a beloved dog for company. Her occasional human visitors include a photographer for National Geographic (Adam Driver), an indigenous Australian elder named Mr. Eddy who guides her through sacred lands, and various tourists who come to gawk at the so-called Camel Lady. Davidson’s solo trip was beyond the pale for a woman in the '70s, but it's still incredibly inspiring today. We'll just leave the camel-training to someone else. – J.M.

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Wild (2014)

Reese Witherspoon donned a pair of ill-fitting hiking boots and a giant backpack for her role as Cheryl Strayed , a writer who trekked 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail after the devastating loss of her mother. (The film is based on Strayed’s best-selling 2012 book of the same name.) Strayed crosses the dusty Mojave, crazy forests, snowy fields, and muddy trails, losing toenails but gaining mental clarity—or at least self-acceptance—along the way. – J.M.

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Spectre (2015)

Art imitates life, but this time it was the other way around. The 26th James Bond movie's intro scene follows Daniel Craig through a Mexico City Dia de los Muertos parade that didn't actually exist until enough tourists showed up that the city decided to create one in the movie's image . As in most Bond movies, the plot crosses a multitude of borders, from Austria to Italy to Morocco, as the MI6 agent fights the global criminal organization Spectre and a perfectly villainous Christoph Waltz. – M.C.

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Carol (2015)

A forbidden 1950s love affair between shop girl and photographer Therese (Rooney Mara) and soon-to-be divorcee Carol (Cate Blanchett) grows stronger on a winding road trip, that takes the couple from New York City through Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa, before reality catches up. The Oscar and Golden Globe nominee is a great period piece as well as a love letter to road trips. – M.C.

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Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Consider Luca Guadagnino's Call Be By Your Name a starter guide to the Italian countryside life (specifically in Bergamo, and greater Lombardy) you've always wanted: Riding bikes through hundred-year-old piazzas, fossil-diving in Lake Garda, and waking up to a breakfast of soft-boiled eggs and freshly picked peaches. – Rachel Coleman

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Roma (2018)

Another Mexico-based film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Netflix’s Roma follows the story of Cleo, an indigenous woman working as a maid in 1970s Mexico City (Cuarón hometown). The sweeping black-and-white masterpiece provides glimpses of CMDX's Colonia Roma neighborhood, complete with shuttered house-fronts and laundry fluttering on clothes lines across the rooftops. While Colonia Roma is a tad more gentrified today (think lots of coffee shops and Airbnb properties ), Cuarón's film perfectly captures the neighborhood he grew up in some 50 years ago. – C.M.

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American professor who travels to Singapore to meet her fiancé's wealthy family. The world of Singapore's old-money elite is filled with yacht parties and royal weddings, but between all that extravagance, Rachel—and viewers—get glimpses of the city's greatest hits: Gardens by the Bay , the infinity pool of Marina Bay Sands , Chinatown's pastel-colored shophouses, and allll the hawker center street food . If you saw the movie and immediately started researching your next trip to Singapore, you're not alone: Orbitz reportedly saw a 20% spike in inquiries to the city in the week following the movie's premiere. Now if only we could figure out how to spend the night in the Young family mansion... – C.M.

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Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar was easily one of the most discomforting movies of 2019. But two things shone beautifully through all the creepy cult rituals: Florence Pugh’s performance, and the sunny countryside of Sweden. (Most scenes of the Hårga village were actually filmed just outside of Budapest, but the filmmakers definitely tricked us into wanting to visit Sweden in June.) Scandinavia’s famous midnight sun was used as a tool to warp time and unsettle viewers, but it sure did shed some serious light on northern Sweden’s decorated farmhouses, verdant meadows, and coniferous forests. Just stay away from the mushroom tea, and you’ll be fine. – C.M.

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The Farewell (2019)

Golden Globe award–winning Awkwafina stars in this movie about the Chinese-American experience, the power of family, and the importance of levity in the face of grief. The movie follows Billi (played by Awkwafina) as she heads from her home in New York City to visit her grandmother and extended family in Changchun, in northeast China. Visiting under the guise of a wedding—and the reality of a secret cancer diagnosis for her grandmother, Nai Nai—Billi struggles to adjust to mainland Chinese life, and the reality that her grandmother may not always be around. It's absolutely a tear jerker. But it's also funny, sweet, and ultimately heart-warming, with the lives of first-generation Americans and daily life in China taking center stage. –M.C.  

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Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood (2019)

Quentin Tarantino’s films tend to focus more on plot and character development than setting, but the director still knows how to incorporate location into his complex storylines. (I’d lie if I said the Kill Bill movies didn’t make me want to visit Japan even more than I already did.) The best example of this technique can be seen in his latest movie, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood . Rather than relying on mood and language alone, Tarantino uses slow pans across Hollywood Boulevard and backdrops of recognizable sites like Westwood Village to give us a (slightly fantastical) sense of Los Angeles in the late 1960s. Many scenes were filmed in still-standing bars in restaurants , in case you want to recreate some of the less murder-y storylines for yourself. – C.M.

Digital Trends

Digital Trends

10 best time travel movies of all time, ranked

Posted: January 31, 2024 | Last updated: January 31, 2024

Time travel movies may all share a core premise, but there’s a surprising variety of films that explore different ideas within the genre. Characters being transported through time can be caught in action-packed adventures, romantic entanglements, and even philosophical loops that can change the trajectories of their lives.

From the underrated sci-fi romance flick About Time , to the beloved ’80s classic Back to the Future , the best time travel movies explore the countless possibilities that arise when characters are flung through the past, present, and future. The greatest entries in the genre range from silly mindless comedies to hard-hitting emotional movies, ensuring that there’s a perfect time travel film for every type of viewer.

10. About Time (2013)

About Time follows Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson), who, on his 21st birthday, learns a family secret from his father, James Lake ( Love Actually ‘s Bill Nighy). The men in the Lake family inherit the ability to time travel, which Tim immediately uses to improve his life in tiny, but crucial ways, particularly his romantic involvement with Mary (Rachel McAdams). He soon learns that time travel doesn’t make him immune to heartache and troubles, though.

Director Richard Curtis’ romantic sci-fi drama weaves a beautiful and surprisingly tearjerking tale that underscores the importance of the small details that make life worth living. The time travel element is used to highlight Tim’s evolving relationships with his partner, friends, and family, as well as what those connections teach him. About Time reminds viewers to embrace the fleeting and imperfect moments that often end up becoming the most cherished memories.

9. Idiocracy (2006)

Director Mike Judge’s comedic sci-fi satire revolves around an average Joe serving as a U.S. Army librarian, who’s selected to participate in a top secret military experiment that goes wrong. Chosen for being the “most average individual” in the military, Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson) is put in hibernation alongside a woman, Rita (Maya Rudolph). They’re forgotten about and eventually wake up in the year 2505, where the intellectual bar has plummeted, making Joe the smartest person on earth.

Idiocracy is a hilarious, yet unsettling satire that shows the extreme consequences of consumerism and capitalism. The future it portrays is dominated by ads and low-brow pop culture consumed by an anti-intellectual population. Joe’s basic suggestions like not watering crops with a popular sports drink end up transforming the nation, making his unintentional trip through time a positive one. Although this film wasn’t received well when it first premiered, the box office bomb has become a cult classic with a dedicated fan base today.

8. Looper (2012)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a hired gun in director Rian Johnson’s Looper , which is set in a future world where time travel technology exists. Only the wealthy criminal organizations from the future have access to it, though, and they use it to eliminate their targets by sending them to the past, where “loopers” like Joe kill them. When Joe’s boss “closes the loop” by sending the protagonist’s future self (played by Bruce Willis) back in time, his present version can’t bring himself to shoot him.

Although its logic is shaky at times, Looper mostly achieves what it set out to do, which is be an engrossing action-thriller that also touches on the cyclical nature of time. The film is bolstered by fantastic performances and the obvious chemistry between its leads, Gordon-Levitt and Willis, who masterfully play the roles of two different versions of the same man.

7. Your Name (2016)

In director Makoto Shinkai’s visually stunning anime Your Name , two high school students form a mysterious cosmic connection despite having never met. Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mone Kamishiraishi) and Taki Tachibana (Ryunosuke Kamiki) wake up one day to find themselves in each other’s rooms, with the sudden body swap initially leading to chaos and then unexpected joyful moments in their lives. They eventually learn the true reason for their unique situation.

A gorgeous and moving combination of fantasy and romance, Your Name chronicles the unlikely relationship that forms between the two main characters as they fall in love with each other with every new day of body swapping. It would be impossible to discuss the movie’s time-bending twist without spoiling its well-written plot, but audiences who are fans of anime films should definitely consider the modern classic essential viewing.

6. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow sees a future version of Earth that’s overrun by seemingly invincible aliens. Tom Cruise stars as Major William Cage, an inexperienced soldier who’s assigned to a suicide mission that almost immediately kills him. Instead of actually dying, Cage ends up in a time loop where he uses what he learns about the aliens to plot against them, even if that means dying over and over again.

Alongside Emily Blunt, who plays the role of the equally determined Sergeant Rita Vrataski, Cage embarks on a relentless quest to find the aliens’ weakness. It becomes impossible not to root for the determined Cage, who endures one brutal death after another alongside his team of brave soldiers, especially as the action sequences and accompanying special effects escalate and build toward an explosive conclusion.

5. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Before Keanu Reeves was an action star , he starred in the movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure , a wacky time travel comedy and adventure flick. The film follows the two titular high school friends, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Reeves), whose desperation to pass their history class leads to their encounter with a time traveler, Rufus (George Carlin). The duo uses Rufus’s time machine to travel to different points in history and meet significant figures who can help them with their crucial presentation for the class.

Director Stephen Herek’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is silly in the best way, with the film never taking itself too seriously and piling on one absurd plot point after another. Its protagonists’ meetings with historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Billy the Kid, and even Joan of Arc are often gut-busting, as Bill and Ted end up involved in those individuals’ most important actions.

4. 12 Monkeys (1995)

Director Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys portrays a postapocalyptic future where a plague has wiped out most of the population. The surviving humans are confined in bunkers and scientists decide to send the criminal James Cole (Bruce Willis) back to the 1990s to learn more about how the disease started. After an excruciating trip, James lands in a mental health facility for claiming to be from the future. There, he meets the paranoid Jeffrey (Brad Pitt), who’s about to play an important role in releasing the virus.

12 Monkeys is a gritty and chaotic film in the best way possible, with James and Jeffrey’s frenetic interactions effectively building dread as they slowly reveal more about humanity’s fate. Bruce Willis gives an amazing performance as the confused, tortured, and terrified protagonist, whose limited perspective defines what audiences know and don’t know about the origin of the man-made virus.

3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is often used as an example of a sequel that’s better than the original , and for good reason. The stakes are higher than ever before in director James Cameron’s legendary sci-fi action classic, which has the original Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) returning from the future, this time to protect Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), as well as her son, John (Edward Furlong). The trio are pursued by another Skynet Terminator, whose task to kill the future leader of the human resistance endangers humanity’s fate.

The incredible sequel is considered not just the best from the franchise, but one of the greatest sci-fi and action movies ever made. Its groundbreaking use of special effects has helped it age well, not to mention its flawlessly choreographed action sequences and endlessly quotable lines like “Come with me if you want to live!” and “Hasta la vista, baby.”

2. Groundhog Day (1993)

Director Harold Ramis’s Groundhog Day is the quintessential time loop movie that everyone should see at least once. The comedy-fantasy film stars Bill Murray as the cynical and self-centered weatherman Phil Connors, who’s assigned to cover the Groundhog Day events in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. While there, Phil finds himself suddenly and inexplicably trapped in a time loop, forced to relive the same day over and over again.

Groundhog Day may be a comedy, but it won over audiences with its philosophical message, which reveals itself as Phil goes through various emotions in the process of repeating the same day. The ordinary is transformed into the extraordinary as the protagonist finally stops to notice the small things that make life beautiful. Murray is perfectly cast as the weatherman whose predicament soon teaches him more than a few valuable lessons, and his excellent performance also proved that the comedy star could take on more serious roles, too.

1. Back to the Future (1985)

One of the best sci-fi movies of the ’80s , Back to the Future is a nostalgic classic that needs no introduction. Director Robert Zemeckis’ enduring time travel adventure is centered on California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), who accidentally ends up in 1955 after testing out Doc Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) time-traveling DeLorean. While there, he runs into young versions of his parents and mistakenly prevents them from falling for each other, which threatens Marty’s existence.

The influential flick is likely the first film many think of when considering the greatest time travel movies ever. It’s just an entertaining film with a well-executed story that relies heavily on the performances and chemistry of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, whose characters would become pop culture icons. The original Back to the Future would also go on to spawn a successful franchise that continues Marty and Doc Brown’s story in exciting ways.

10 best time travel movies of all time, ranked

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Meet Cute (2022)

Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson co-star in Peacock's Meet Cute , a delightful and often dark rom-com based around time travel. Feeling suicidal, Sheila (Cuoco) finds a time machine in a nail salon and decides to go back in time 24 hours. While re-living her first date with Gary (Davidson) again and again, Sheila loses touch with reality and might have destroyed any chance she had with him.

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

High schooler Meg Murry travels through time and space in search of her missing astrophysicist father (Chris Pine). On her journey, Meg meets Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), as well as a whole host of dangerous beings.

The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

Based on Audrey Niffenegger's 2003 novel of the same name, The Time Traveler's Wife tells the story of Henry (Eric Bana), a librarian who is able to randomly travel through time. After meeting Clare (Rachel McAdams) as a child, Henry later develops a romantic relationship with her. HBO's recent adaptation starring Theo James and Rose Leslie has reignited the debate regarding whether or not the story promotes grooming , or if it's a timeless romance.

Back to the Future (1985)

'80s classic Back to the Future has stood the test of time, and spawned two equally entertaining sequels. In the first film, Marty McFly is sent to the 1950s in his friend Doc Brown's time machine, a super cool DeLorean. Marty meets his parents as teenagers, and his presence risks changing history forever.

See You Yesterday (2019)

Netflix's See You Yesterday follows science prodigy C.J. (Eden Duncan-Smith), who invents time traveling backpacks. Along with her best friend Sebastian, C.J. uses her invention to go back in time to stop her brother from being murdered by a racist police officer. However, she's also forced to face up to the limitations and consequences of time travel.

About Time (2013)

Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) inherits the ability to time travel from his father, and decides to use the gift to find love. After a failed attempt at romance, Tim meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), but due to several time travel-related mishaps, romance isn't instantaneous for the pair. Written and directed by rom-com aficionado Richard Curtis.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

James Cameron's follow-up to 1984's The Terminator was a smash-hit that cemented the franchise's popularity. In the sequel, a killer T-1000 Terminator is sent back in time by Skynet to kill the future leader of the resistance, the son of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), John (Edward Furlong). At the same time, the resistance sends a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to protect Connor.

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Four miserable friends reunite after one of them nearly dies. To cheer themselves up, they decide to spend some time together at a ski resort. Unfortunately, the resort's hot tub isn't what it seems, and they accidentally end up traveling back to 1986. The four friends scramble to find a way back to present day. Starring John Cusack and Craig Robinson.

12 Monkeys (1995)

After a deadly virus destroys humanity in 1996, survivors are forced underground. Decades later, prisoner James (Bruce Willis) agrees to go back in time to find the original virus, so that scientists can work on a cure. However, he arrives too early in 1990, and is promptly institutionalized, where he meets Jeffrey (Brad Pitt), an anti-corporate environmentalist. From there, the mystery only gets more intriguing.

Looper (2012)

In the future, time travel is used by the mob to assassinate people, who are sent back in time and killed by assassins known as "loopers." Joe's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) older self (Bruce Willis) is sent back to be eliminated, but manages to escape before he is killed. Thus begins a twisty time travel epic, that also stars Emily Blunt.

Tenet (2020)

The Protagonist ( John David Washington ), a former CIA agent, is tasked with stopping World War III. Learning to bend time, he attempts to prevent the destruction of the world. Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki co-star.

Last Night in Soho (2021)

Aspiring fashion designer Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) manages to travel back to the 1960s, where she meets singer "Sandie" ( Anya Taylor-Joy ). What starts as a glamorous encounter with the past soon becomings a horrifying nightmare. Co-starring Matt Smith.

Déjà Vu (2006)

A top secret organization has developed the ability to see four days into the past, in order to catch criminals. While hunting a terrorist, ATF agent Doug (Denzel Washington) realizes that this new technology might allow him to stop crimes from happening altogether.

Source Code (2011)

An unusual riff on the time travel movie, Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Army Captain Colter, who is trying to identify the person responsible for bombing a commuter train. Re-living an eight minute re-creation of the moments leading up to the explosion, Colter is stuck in a terrifying loop, until he can solve the mystery.

Mirai (2018)

A young boy called Kun runs away from home, as he feels neglected by his family after the arrival of his little sister, Mirai. Kun accidentally discovers a time travel portal in a magic garden, and is transported into the past, where he meets his mother as a child. Later, he travels to the future, where he finds his sister as an adult, and completely changes his outlook in the process.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Aubrey Plaza stars as an aspiring journalist whose latest assignment involves a mysterious classified ad about time travel. "You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED," the ad reads. Mark Duplass co-stars.

Groundhog Day (1993)

Although Groundhog Day is technically a "time loop" movie, it wouldn't feel right to leave it off the list. Phil (Bill Murray) is a disgruntled weatherman sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. When he wakes up the next day, he realizes that he's re-living February 2, which happens again and again, until he figures out how to stop it.

Needle in a Timestack (2021)

The wonderful Cynthia Erivo stars alongside Orlando Bloom, Leslie Odom Jr., and Freida Pinto in this romantic sci-fi flick. In the future, the wealthy are able to partake in "time jaunting," but the ripples from these changes often cause timelines to warp and change. Needle in a Timestack focuses on a happily married couple whose relationship is jeopardized by an ex intent on changing history.

The Lake House (2006)

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves star in this completely cheesy but endlessly loveable rom-com that defies time. Architect Alex (Reeves) and doctor Kate (Bullock) write letters to one another via a mailbox at a lake house where they both live at separate times. Despite the time difference, they're able to communicate with one another and forge a relationship via this magical postal system that transcends time.

Predestination (2015)

Ethan Hawke stars as an agent tasked with stopping a deadly attack before it happens, via time travel. Traveling back to 1975, he attempts to find and stop a bomber in New York, but his mission is far from simple. When he returns to the future, his life only gets more complicated.

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The 15 Best Time Travel Movies of All...Time

Terminators, teens, and every time-hopper in-between..

Matt Fowler Avatar

Science fiction offers up so many realms to explore. So many ideas. And one of the most probing and prevalent themes, usually always rich with creativity and concern, is time travel. It's a topic we can only theorize about but it's one that has ushered in some of the best sci-fi movies of all time. Ones that expand the boundaries of imagination and, often, chase us down some very cool rabbit holes.

Whether it's the story of a killer cyborg sent back in time to wipe out the future leader of a rebellion, the tale of some poor soul forced to relive the same day over and over in a time loop, or the fable of an investigator playing with time in order to solve a mystery, this particular sci-fi terrain is always fruitful. Here are the top 15 time travel and time loop movies of all time!

The Top 15 Time Travel Movies of All...Time

Whether it's the story of a killer cyborg sent back in time to wipe out the future leader of a rebellion, the tale of some poor soul forced to relive the same day over and over in a time loop, or the fable of an investigator playing with time in order to solve a mystery, this particular sci-fi terrain is always fruitful. Here are the top 15 time travel films ever!

15. Palm Springs (2020)

best travel movies

We kick things off with a joyous, playful "time loop" flick from 2020 starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. Palm Springs features the headlining duo as strangers who attend a wedding out in the California desert and get stuck in a day they can't escape. It's a funky and fresh spin on the format featuring two characters who run the gamut of emotions and experiences involved with being able to live forever, but never being able to move forward in time. J. K. Simmons co-stars.

Check out IGN's review of Palm Springs .

14. Predestination (2014)

best travel movies

Ethan Hawke joins Succession’s Sarah Snook and Preacher's Noah Taylor in this mind-bending thriller movie from The Spierig Brothers (Daybreakers, Jigsaw. It's about a temporal agent (Hawke) who embarks on a final time-traveling assignment to prevent an elusive criminal from launching an attack that kills thousands of people. Predestination is a twisty, turny timecop treat that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Check out IGN's review of Predestination .

13. Looper (2012)

best travel movies

Rian Johnson's Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the same character from different times. As the young Joe, Gordon-Levitt is a mob assassin who kills victims that get sent back in time for him to dispose of while Willis' Joe is old Joe, who, fulfilling a "Looper" contract, is supposed to be sent back and killed by his younger self. But old Joe, upon his arrival in the past, has other things in mind - namely stopping the future from being destroyed by an entity known only as The Rainmaker. Looper is a thrilling, fascinating ride. Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, and Paul Dano also star.

Check out IGN's review of Looper .

12. Happy Death Day (2017)

best travel movies

Happy Death Day takes the "time loop" concept and wickedly infuses into slasher horror movie as Jessica Rothe's Tree finds herself being killed over and over again by the same masked maniac. Once realizing she only has a few "deaths" left in her, she takes matters into her own hands and tries to figure out who's behind the mask. Happy Death Day is bleak and hilarious...and also happens to have a sequel, Happy Death Day 2U , that plunges wildly into sci-fi!

Check out IGN's review of Happy Death Day .

11. The Time Machine (1960)

best travel movies

The classic 1960 film adaptation of H. G. Wells' landmark 1865 novella tells the time-honored tale of a Victorian-era inventor, here actually named H. George Wells (and played by Rod Taylor), who uses a machine of his own design to travel to the far-off future, discovering that humanity is now become two new species - the enlightened Eloi and the monstrous, underground-dwelling Morlocks. The Time Machine is a dazzling, family-friendly slice of pioneering imagination.

10. Source Code (2011)

best travel movies

Sleeper hit Source Code, from Moon's Duncan Jones, unspools a unique spin on "time loop," following a U.S. Army Captain, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who's sent, over and over, into the digital recreation of a real-life train explosion, his mission being to find out who the terrorist culprit is. It's a clever, devious mystery that also stars Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright.

Check out IGN's review of Source Code .

9. Time After Time (1979)

best travel movies

Time After Time 's bonkers hook -- that being Malcolm McDowell's H.G. Wells using his time machine to track a fleeing Jack the Ripper (the late David Warner) to 1979 San Fransisco -- actually makes for an entertaining, oft emotional film. This playfulness with both sci-fi and real history forms a fun, irresistible yarn that has to be seen to be believed. Wrath of Khan's Nicholas Meyer directs while Mary Steenburgen co-stars.

8. The Terminator (1984)

best travel movies

This entry is a bit of a cheat since we're also lumping T2: Judgment Day into the mix. Hey, same continuing story, same director! That being said, James Cameron's gritty, great sci-fi bloodbath, The Terminator largely popularized the idea of going back in time and killing someone to change the present (along with larger, dystopian concepts of a world-ending A.I. uprising). Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 and Michael Biehn's frazzled future freedom fighter use our present era (okay, 1984) like a battleground in this sci-fi firestorm.

Check out our guide on how to watch the Terminator movies in order .

7. About Time (2013)

best travel movies

Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams star in this delightful time-tinkering rom-com from Love, Actually's Richard Curtis, as Gleeson plays a young man with the ability to time travel who tries to change his past over and over in order to improve his life, and also win the girl of his dreams. Bill Nighy co-stars in this beautifully sincere film featuring phenomenal chemistry and an intriguing take on hereditary time-hopping abilities that make About Time worth watching.

6. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

best travel movies

The "time loop" concept went big with alien apocalypse flick Edge of Tomorrow (confused so much with the film's tagline "Live, Die Repeat" that Blu-ray box art waaaay emphasized the latter). Mr. & Mrs. Smith's Doug Liman directs this terrific Tom Cruise vehicle, about humanity losing war against an invading alien army that always seems to be several steps ahead. Once Cruise's over-his-head army public affairs officer gets a taste of their cosmic precognitive power, he finds himself dying over and over in battle, unable to escape the day. Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton co-star in this keenly-crafted, funny alien actioner.

Check out IGN's review of Edge of Tomorrrow .

5. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

best travel movies

Two teenage metalheads from San Dimas, California recklessly, and hilariously, mosh through time, collecting (okay, mostly kidnapping) famous historical figures from in order to ace a crucial test in one of the most entertaining movies from the '80s, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure . Smart and dumb collide in fabulous ways in this roller-coaster of sublime idiocy. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter embodied these dense-but-sweet wannabe rockers to a "T," fast forming an iconic comedy duo.

Check out our guide to the best Keanu Reeves movies of all time for more.

4. Primer (2004)

best travel movies

Shoestring budget indie film, Primer, which acts as a no-frills psychological thought experiment about the accidental discovery of time travel, is one of the most cerebral takes on temporal tampering ever. It's a stimulating, challenging chronicle of two engineers who dabble in time travel, testing its limits, only to discover the awful ramifications and consequences of fourth-dimensional meddling. It's twisty, math-y, and full tilt fascinating.

Check out IGN's review of Primer .

3. Groundhog Day (1993)

best travel movies

There were certainly "time loop" stories -- in film, TV, and literature -- before Harold Ramis' Groundhog Day , but this early '90s hit popularized the concept to the degree of being considered the "Grandaddy" of the subgenre. Mercilessly funny and surprisingly endearing, Groundghog Day pushed the format in new directions. All of this is accentuated by Bill Murray's exceptional performance as a shallow TV weatherman, Phil Connors, who gets stuck in a repeating February 2nd nightmare with no true explanation (other than perhaps the universe forcing him to become a better human). Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, and Scooter the Groundhog co-star.

2. 12 Monkeys (1995)

best travel movies

Director Terry Gilliam's insane, lavish visuals stuck mainstream pay dirt with the inventive, star-studded 12 Monkeys (which also became a pretty great TV series 20 years later, by the way). Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt (who received an Oscar nomination) headlined this warped, serpentine tale of a future prisoner, from a wasteland world all but wiped out by a virus, sent back in time to track the plague's origins. "Science ain't an exact science" Willis' Cole is told as he clumsily, and harshly, arrives in both the right and wrong times, piecing together the puzzle, thinking the disease may have begun as the brainchild of a mental patient (Pitt) from a wealthy family. 12 Monkeys is freaky, funky, and full of surprises.

1. Back to the Future

best travel movies

Robert Zemeckis' Back to the Future is not only considered one of the best front-to-back movies of all time but it laid the groundwork for time travel in a way that's influenced just about every sci-fi property since. And yes, we're cheating here again, like we did with Terminator, and also including the film's two sequels in this entry too (same story, same director!).

All the ingredients came together in all the right ways for this pivotal pop-culture milestone, tracking young Marty McFly's adventures through time as he tries to set things right for himself and his family (lest he and his siblings wind up erased or his own future kids wind up delinquents). Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd create a time-hopping team for the ages (inspiring the gruesome guffaws of Rick & Morty) as Marty and local disgraced inventor (every town's got one, right?) Doc Brown. Back to the Future is the apex of witty, exciting sci-fi.

Upcoming Time Travel Movies

Time keeps slipping into the future, just like time travel movies will always be a thing. There are a few upcoming time travel movies of note, and we went ahead and listed some of the most exciting ones below, along with their release dates.

  • The Flash (June 16, 2023)
  • Kung Fury 2 (November 17, 2023)

Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN, a member of the Television Critics Association, and co-host of We Enjoy Wrestling . Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler .

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The 23 best time travel movies of all time

From Back to the Future to Looper to Palm Springs, the time travel narrative traverses the film spectrum. Here are EW’s picks for 23 of the best. 

Despite time travel being considered more of a science fiction trope, there is something positively enchanting about the idea of being able to go back to another time or forward into the future, even if just for a moment. While this list deals with a mix of films, some of which consider the hazards of time travel (mostly through time loops), for the most part, these films see time travel as a net positive. Time travel is also a sphere that is mostly occupied by television, thanks to shows like Doctor Who , Quantum Leap , and Lost , even though the number of time travel movies has shot up over the past two decades or so.

Unfortunately, the earliest this list goes is 1962; while there are some time travel movies from the Old Hollywood days, they lack a lot of the imagination and thoughtfulness about the nature of time that the movies on this list bring. This list is a mix of straight dramas, killer action, rollicking comedies, and heartfelt romance — and sometimes, all of those elements exist in a single movie. This list is unranked, and mostly grouped together according to each movie's particular "genre" of time travel: conventional time machines, time loops, magical circumstances, and missions to save the past and the future at the same time. These are 23 of the best time travel movies of all time.

La Jetée (1962)

Kicking off an unranked list of time-travel movies chronologically seems like a good place to start, actually. La Jetée is also probably the most experimental of the films on this list. A French Left Bank short film set in a post-nuclear apocalypse future told through narration and photographs, this is not the first time-travel film by any means, but its impact on the time-travel movies that came after, like 1995's 12 Monkeys , cannot be understated.

A young prisoner (Davos Hanich) is forced to undergo torturous experiments to induce time travel by using impactful memories — and unlike those who came before him, he succeeds, but he ends up discovering a time loop in the process. This is an incredibly stylish telling of what is now a familiar type of story, but in 1962, it was absolutely revolutionary. Honestly, because of its unique technical and visual elements, it still is.

Watch La Jetée on Criterion Channel

Time After Time (1979)

Nicholas Meyer is behind not one, but two brilliant time-travel movies that made this list. For this particular film, he not only wrote the screenplay but also made his directorial debut. The tale of two 19th-century former friends, H.G. Wells ( Malcolm McDowell , unusually wide-eyed and adorable) and John Leslie Stevenson a.k.a. Jack the Ripper ( David Warner , never more menacing yet charming), as they chase each other through 1979 San Francisco thanks to Wells' time machine, Time After Time doesn't spend too much time on the science of time travel, and it's better for it.

This is, in essence, a romantic thriller, as Wells falls for quirky bank clerk Amy ( Mary Steenburgen , delightfully independent) while in search of his old friend turned enemy. It has chase scenes, interrogation sequences, gory murder (courtesy of Jack), and a delightful sense of humor as Wells learns to navigate the future. He thought it would be a utopia; instead, he finds a world in sore need of his idealism, kindness, and dedication to justice.

Where to rent or buy Time After Time

The Back to the Future trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990)

While it's true that the first Back to the Future movie is probably one of the greatest time-travel movies of all time, with its two sequels living in its shadows, all three are essential to understanding the character of Marty McFly ( Michael J. Fox ). The Back to the Future trilogy is an '80s version of a bildungsroman about a teenager who has to learn that there's much more to life than being, well, a teenager. The first film, confidently directed by Robert Zemeckis , is imbued with so much humor and heart, it's all too easy to get sucked into a plot that should be convoluted, but that works so awfully well.

Back to the Future Part II evokes a bit less feeling than the original, and it's significantly grittier, but it's still " another fantastic voyage " as EW's Ira Robbins wrote, flinging Marty and Doc Brown ( Christopher Lloyd ) into a slightly prescient future version of 2015. Back to the Future Part III , meanwhile, restores the heart, but its story is slighter as it wraps up Marty's saga, sending Doc off on a brand new adventure all his own. While the first Back to the Future movie is required viewing for any time travel enthusiast, stick around for the rest of the trilogy, too: Even if this franchise's view of time travel is riddled with potential paradoxes, they are entertaining paradoxes nonetheless.

Watch the Back to the Future trilogy on Tubi

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

"Be excellent to each other" is the reigning philosophy of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure , the adventurous, fun-loving, stoner time-travel comedy that spawned a franchise, including a third installment released in 2020. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves absolutely triumph in the roles of lackadaisical teenagers Bill and Ted, respectively, as they journey through time to bring back legends in order to pass their history class.

If the film seems silly, that's because it is meant to be. Whereas the Back to the Future franchise intended to craft a legend, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure kicks off the journey with George Carlin as the duo's time travel guide and mentor, Rufus, who intends to enlighten the pair on their mission and destiny. In any other film, the two budding legends, with their free-wheeling ideals and misadventures, would bring down the fabric of time and space itself. However, Excellent Adventure is not a time-travel film that forces you to think too hard about its premise; instead, it invites you to just kick back and have a good time.

Watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Amazon Prime Video

Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Meet the Robinsons received mixed reviews when it first debuted, but of the 3-D animated movies that came out of Disney Animation in the 2000s, it's probably the most imaginative and outstanding of the bunch. Following a young orphan as he goes on a fantastic voyage into the future with another young boy who is a time traveler (kind of), Robinsons is stylish to a point and is filled with heart. It's probably also the most kid-friendly entry on this list, but its good-natured humor and complicated emotional palette will appeal to adults, too.

It also fits neatly into a more classic genre of time travel, with time machines, eccentric inventors, and kids looking to make an impact — not just on their time, but on the time they find themselves in, be it the near future or the distant past.

Watch Meet the Robinsons on Disney+

Run Lola Run (1998)

This is, in many ways, the time loop movie; debuting in 1998 to rave reviews, Run Lola Run , a German experimental thriller, is one you will not be able to shake, long after you've finished a viewing (or even a second, to catch what you missed the first time). The protagonist, Lola (Franka Potente, in a punishingly physical performance), is forced to relive a scenario, again and again, involving saving her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) from certain death.

Potente's performance alone is worth the watch, and of the films on this list, Run Lola Run is actually one of the shorter ones, using its 80-minute runtime to its full advantage. The other time loop movies on this list are also worthy viewing experiences in a lot of ways, but for a pure shot of adrenaline, you can't miss the film EW deemed "a masterful pop piece, humming with raw romance, youth, and energy." If you're interested in more of director Tom Tykwer 's work, he also codirected 2012's Cloud Atlas with the Wachowskis , which, while not a pure time-travel movie, certainly plays with the intertwined nature of time and memory.

Where to rent or buy Run Lola Run

Source Code (2011)

Duncan Jones made a splash with his 2009 feature directorial debut Moon , a moody, philosophical insight into possible lunar labor practices in the future. He followed that thoughtful film up with Source Code , which, while not a movie that could always be described as "thoughtful," could certainly be described as moody. Hitchcockian in a sense, Source Code follows the misadventures of a U.S. Army pilot ( Jake Gyllenhaal ), as he attempts to stop a terrorist attack on a Chicago commuter train — repeatedly.

Source Code does have something to say about the commodification of bodies and minds in the service of the so-called "greater good"; while Gyllenhaal's Captain Stevens' services are no doubt helpful, are they necessary, the film asks. Is it really a good idea to force someone to relive an incredibly stressful idea, over and over again? The movie has its funny moments, even in the thick of all the intense chase scenes through the train; EW noted back in 2012, "The director finds moments of humor in unlikely corners of that train of fools." Indeed. If you enjoyed a film like The Commuter (2018), but thought it could use a time loop and the potential of alternate realities, Source Code is your next mandatory viewing.

Watch Source Code on Showtime

Looper (2012)

Before Rian Johnson introduced us to Benoit Blanc or journeyed to a galaxy far, far, away , he made the tangled time-travel film fittingly called Looper . Starring Bruce Willis , Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a younger Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt , Looper tells the tale of a contract killer sent after his next target: himself. This is a complicated film, and it is imperfect in a lot of ways, but its brutal appraisal of a possible dystopian future, and the efforts one man takes to prevent that future, are worth the amount of head-scratching you might find yourself doing throughout.

That Johnson likes his narratives to be impenetrable Gordian knots that only his designated protagonist can solve can perhaps be frustrating to the audience. However, if there's one thing that the Knives Out franchise seems to have reinforced, it's that not trying to unpack the mysteries of his work might work to your advantage as a viewer, because Johnson will probably have someone explain what just happened by the end, anyway. Like most of his films, Looper has a social conscience lurking within it as well. As EW's Lisa Schwarzbaum noted , "It's time to wipe the drops from our eyes or else get stuck in a loop, an endless cycle, a rut" about Looper 's core tenet back in 2012. It's a worthy takeaway from a film obsessed with self-fulfilling prophecies people find themselves within.

Watch Looper on Freevee

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Time loop movies need some incredible editing in order to really succeed, and Doug Liman 's enthralling Edge of Tomorrow certainly does so on that point. While Tom Cruise is the lead as a cowardly lion–turned–near-super soldier, all eyes are on Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski, who rules this movie as one of the few heroes this dystopian, post-alien invasion world actually has left. While the quest Cruise and Blunt go on may be a bit convoluted, the film is so incredibly entertaining because it's so sharply cut, keeping up the pace even as we see similar things over and over and over again.

A tip of the hat must, of course, go to the action, which is as compelling as you would expect from a mega-star who seems determined these days to do all of his own stunts. In an era of often depressing science fiction, Edge of Tomorrow , as EW's Chris Nashawaty mentioned , is a fun, "deliciously subversive kind of blockbuster" to immerse your senses in for two hours, if nothing else.

Watch Edge of Tomorrow on Max

Interstellar (2014)

While this film might technically be considered more of a space opera than a time-travel movie, there's no reason it can't be both. Christopher Nolan 's Interstellar is a dazzling portrait not just of space travel, but of the love between a father and daughter that stretches over the thin fabric of both time and space. Matthew McConaughey as the astronaut father has never been so serious, but acclaim needs to go to Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway as Nolan's strongest women characters to date.

Interstellar varies between being almost too tense to stand, and, at other points, utterly relaxed. As a cinematic experience, it feels all-encompassing, using every possible outstanding special effect to draw its viewers in before the script hits them with emotional truth. While Nolan can certainly be considered " cold and clinical " as EW noted, his space-journeying meditation on the intersection between love and time is anything but.

Watch Interstellar on Paramount+

Palm Springs (2020)

Releasing a time loop movie during a global pandemic where life felt increasingly repetitive and bizarre was certainly a strategy for Hulu and Neon with Palm Springs , but it paid off. While the film was certainly developed long before COVID-19, the scenario of two wedding guests trying to escape the situational loop they've found themselves definitely resonated at the time, and it still does. Palm Springs may seem serious from the above description, but it is actually a fun sci-fi-tinged tale that is largely driven by the comedic skills of leads Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti .

EW noted that the movie avoids " true discomfort comedy ," and honestly, it's all the better for it. If Palm Springs had been angrier, it wouldn't hit home so hard, and it also wouldn't be nearly as entertaining. Instead, it's an often sweet rom-com that doesn't take itself or its completely made-up time loop physics too seriously. It was a Sundance darling for a reason, never quite letting up on the wild ride it takes its characters or its viewers on over the course of its 90 minutes.

Watch Palm Springs on Hulu

Somewhere in Time (1980)

Somewhere in Time might employ one of the strangest methods of time travel of all the movies on this list: time travel by hypnosis, of all things. (And self-induced hypnosis, for that matter.) Time travel on such shaky ground can't possibly hold up, and it somewhat doesn't, in the end. Science fiction great Richard Matheson adapted his own novel into a lackadaisical screenplay for this film, starring Christopher Reeve in a perfectly tragic role as the young man who gives his all for a woman (Jane Seymour) he can never really have.

In many ways, Somewhere in Time feels like a curio of the era from which it came, serving as a time capsule of how stories were told in the late-'70s and early-'80s. That is actually not a mark against it; this is a film that is just a peak tragic romance in a lot of ways; special nods must also go to Christopher Plummer as the young woman's cynical mentor, who seems to possess a certain foresight about the impossibility of Reeve's character. If you want a time-travel movie that is beautifully romantic, from its iconic score to its grand cinematography, you shouldn't stray from Somewhere in Time .

Watch Somewhere in Time on Tubi

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

The tale of a grown, about-to-be-divorced woman forced to relive her high school days and her courtship with a dorky-cool musician, Peggy Sue Got Married might be one of Francis Ford Coppola 's most small-scale movies, but it decidedly has the most soul of his catalog of mostly epics. Peggy Sue ( Kathleen Turner , in an Oscar-nominated performance) just wants to leave Charlie (Nicolas Cage) behind, but her time-traveling coma dream conspires against her to force her to reconsider. (It forces Charlie to become a better person, too.)

The film combines the cynicism of a rightfully embittered '80s housewife with the unbridled idealism of a '60s teenager to make one heck of a sincere cinematic concoction. That the film starts at a high school reunion could mean it becomes awkward very quickly, but instead, it's completely joyful. Whether Peggy Sue Got Married started a tradition of "person has some sort of crisis and subsequently ends up in another time" movies is unclear, but it does have a rather clear descendant in one of our next entries.

Where to rent or buy Peggy Sue Got Married

Kate & Leopold (2001)

Doesn't everyone want a young Hugh Jackman from the 19th century to fall out of the sky and into their lives? Leopold (Jackman) is a foppish and geeky, if not perfect, gentleman who quickly has Kate ( Meg Ryan ) falling for him despite her modern understanding of the world. That so many time-travel movies somehow end up in romantic territory is an interesting phenomenon, but one that does make sense. There is something appealing about falling for someone whose time is not your own.

Kate & Leopold is decidedly not a perfect film, although it is the first of director James Mangold 's and Jackman's collaborations (see 2017's Logan for the much grittier future fruits of their labor). It's fluffy, it's light, and it creates a paradox without even really acknowledging it. Someone looked at the Meg Ryan comedies of the '80s and '90s and asked, "But what if we made them science fiction?" It works in spite of itself, with Jackman's physical comedy as he plays " a doll of a boyfriend " and Ryan's sardonic tone carrying the day.

Watch Kate & Leopold on Paramount+

13 Going on 30 (2004)

When a 13-year-old girl is crushed after being tricked at her own birthday party, she makes a wish to be "30, flirty, and thriving," quickly waking up the next day to find herself just that, in the body of Jennifer Garner . Instead of traveling back to the past à la the protagonist of Peggy Sue Got Married , Jenna (Garner, Christa B. Allen) ends up in a potential future, where she is all the things she wished for, but definitely not as happy as she thought she would be.

The 2004 rom-com is a magical time travel tale — there's literally "magic wishing dust" — but that doesn't take away from the hilarity that comes with a 13-year-old trying to navigate an adult woman's life. Of course, in the end, Jenna learns her lesson — it's okay to just be young, for a little bit longer — but the journey she goes on as she discovers not just herself but also her true love ( Mark Ruffalo ) is worth all the silliness in the end.

Watch 13 Going on 30 on Max

Mirai (2018)

This lovely little gem directed by Japanese animation visionary Mamoru Hosoda tells the story of a little boy who unhappily gets a baby sister and ends up learning a lot of lessons about the past and the future. Kun (Moka Kamishiraishi) gets a chance to meet not only the grown, future version of his sister Mirai (Haru Kuroki) but also members of his family at different points in their lives. Mirai is a delightfully imaginative film with some gorgeous animation that contains some " mind-boggling visuals " as EW's Christian Holub pointed out.

It is also a genuinely heartwarming tearjerker; while all ends well for little Kun, the meditations this film offers on the nature of family bonds over the course of multiple generations might just leave you in a state of reflection on your own ties that bind. While many time-travel movies tell their stories from the perspective of youth, few unveil them through the eyes of a rambunctious preschooler, and gaining that perspective, in this case, allows for a truly precious journey.

Where to rent or buy Mirai

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

If you know anything about Star Trek , you know the fourth film is "the one with the whales," but if you don't know anything about the franchise, you probably also know that this one is "the one with the whales." Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home often gets acclaim as the funny Star Trek movie, but it brings a lot more than just comedy. The original crew of the Enterprise fling themselves back in time to save humpback whales in the past in order to save the future from a strange probe that threatens Earth...and will stop, but only if it hears some natural whalesong.

The crew finds themselves in 1986 San Francisco, so it's great that Time After Time's Nicholas Meyer returned to the franchise not as director (he helmed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ), but as a screenwriter. Watching these characters from a literal utopia navigate a world not designed for them creates not only dynamic humor but great tension as well. As they almost always do, the Enterprise team breaks all the rules in order to save the future as well as the whales. Or, as EW noted in a tribute to the film: "It has heart, and passion — Save the Whales! — and a tremendous sense of fun."

Watch Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home on Max

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Star Trek: First Contact doesn't particularly feel as much like a Star Trek movie as Voyage Home does, and EW, in fact, says it harnessed "a sleek, confident style fully independent of its predecessors." As a Trekkie, this may not be the most complimentary way of looking at it, but as a film fan, however, it might be the highest honor someone could bestow upon a movie within this franchise. Captain Jean-Luc Picard ( Patrick Stewart ) turns from a peace-loving diplomat to a Borg-slaying action star while the rest of his crew tries to get the inventor of the Warp Drive (the technology upon which the future relies) to stop drinking so much and actually invent the thing. James Cromwell, as the inventor, Zefram Cochrane, serves as the comedic relief for a remarkably serious and often scary film.

The Borg, '90s Star Trek 's biggest villain, are the main antagonists here, and they do provide some chilling action, even if the introduction that they can easily time travel would really wreck things for some future Trek series. Stewart manages the transition from his mild-mannered diplomat to traumatized warrior well, turning in one of his most ferocious performances. Star Trek: First Contact also gives us a look at a post-apocalyptic world in the midst of a recovery, and in that respect, it makes it both a thoughtful entry in the Trek canon and a time travel action-thriller with a brain.

Watch Star Trek: First Contact on Max

The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

What would a best time-travel films list be without including at least one of the Terminator movies? While an often brutal franchise with diminishing returns after James Cameron 's first two installments, the misadventures of an evil cyborg-turned-good (played to physical perfection by Arnold Schwarzenegger ) in a consistently dangerous world are always thrilling and entertaining.

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, mother of the future's savior (and much, much more), is also due an acknowledgment; while the films are remembered for Schwarzenegger's portrayal of the T-800, Hamilton is the heart of this franchise a great deal of the time, as she refuses to die or let her son face the same fate, either. The first two Terminator films are so much more than "scary robots take over the world, everybody dies" – they're action-packed, bloody thrillers with startling narratives, pioneering visual effects, and, of course, time travel as the catalyst.

Watch The Terminator on Max

Where to rent or buy Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

"Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke...I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED": This is part of the joke classified ad from which this movie was inspired. You might inspire a more risky movie from the tone of the ad, but what you get is a light comedy that served as the first leading film role for Aubrey Plaza . This Colin Trevorrow -directed film isn't so much about time travel as it is about the cultural assumptions that surround the concept, and those who think it might be possible.

In that sense, it's a meta-narrative on nearly every time travel story which has come before it, and quite possibly, that will come after it. EW called it " a fable of 'redemption' "; redemption, and the acts of salvaging something, anything, for the benefit of the future, is a regular time travel theme, from all those time machines to all those time loops. Safety Not Guaranteed manages to explore these themes with a lot of irony and a splash of heart.

Where to rent or buy Safety Not Guaranteed

Related content:

  • The Terminator movies, ranked
  • Back to the Future cast: Where are they now?
  • Let's talk about the plot of Interstellar

Divergent Travelers

30 Best Travel Movies that Inspire Travel

No one can be traveling all the time so why not live vicariously through a great film and maybe even get inspired for your next trip? We love travel movies and are excited to share some of our favorites with you!

Watching a good travel movie gives you that buzz of excitement; the urge to pack your suitcase and head for the open road.

So from the classics to recent blockbusters, here are 30 travel movies to help motivate you to finally take that extra time off and live a full travel life.

30 Best Travel Movies

Table of Contents

Best Travel Movies that Inspire Travel

Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Lina’s Favorite Travel Movie!

As his company, Life Magazine closes down, Walter Mitty realizes he hasn’t been anywhere or done anything in his own life and decides to turn his “zoned out” heroic daydreams into reality as he disappears into a life of the unknown.

A tale filled with adventure and romance as he takes a global trip to several exotic places. No matter your age, this movie will make you feel a childlike thirst for adventure!

Check out the links below. Watch the movie for inspiration and listen to the soundtrack while you pack!

Buy Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

best travel movies

Into the Wild – David’s Favorite Travel Movie!

That wilderness is alluring, isn’t it? This film follows a man’s journey after he feels he’s hit rock bottom and travels a rough road to and through the Alaskan wilderness.

Based on a true story, Chris McCandless leaves it all behind and takes the difficult path towards his goal; hitch-hiking, camping, and rafting his way along a journey that will make you feel that it is time to diverge and discover.

Buy Into the Wild

best travel movies

Slumdog Millionaire

If you’ve ever been to India than you’ll understand why this movie is on our list. When it comes to depicting what life is like in the slums, this movie is right on. It follows Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) as he answers questions on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” while flashbacks show how he got there.

Part of a stable of young thieves after their mother dies, Jamal and his brother, Salim, survive on the streets of Mumbai. Salim finds the life of crim e agreeable, but Jamal scrapes by with small jobs until landing a spot on the game show.

Buy Slumdog Millionaire

best travel movies

If you’ve ever dreamed of grabbing a backpack and heading for Southeast Asia to live the beach life, this movie is for you.

It was the movie that inspired us to take our honeymoon to Thailand so we could visit the famous Maya Bay that is featured in the movie.

The desire to find something real — to connect with something or someone — is what drives Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young American backpacker who arrives in Thailand with adventure on his mind.

This is one of the most famous travel movies around.

Buy The Beach

best travel movies

Couples Retreat

It’s all about the South Pacific is this hilarious romantic comedy, another one of Lina’s favorite travel movies.

Four couples, all friends, descend on a tropical island resort. Though one husband and wife are there to work on their marriage, the others just want to enjoy some fun in the sun.

They soon find, however, that paradise comes at a price: Participation in couples therapy sessions is mandatory. What st arted out as a cut-rate vacation turns into an examination of the common problems many face.

Buy Couples Retreat

best travel movies

If you like musicals that are set in dreamy locations, this is one that will have you wanting to head straight for Greece.

Featuring the hits of ABBA, Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter’s wedding with the help of two old friends.

Meanwhile, Sophie, the spirited bride, has a plan. She secretly invites three men from her mother’s past in the hope of meeting her real father and having him esco rt her down the aisle on her big day.

This is one of the classic travel movies.

Buy Mamma Mia

best travel movies

A fun one to watch with the kids, Moana gives a beautiful look into like in the South Pacific, through the eyes of the princess Moana. An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people.

During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and i mpossible odds.

Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.

This is one of those travel movies that evokes emotion.

best travel movies

Reese Witherspoon takes a daring 1000 mile trek along the Pacific Coast Trail in California to re-discover herself and heal from a recent personal tragedy.

It’s a journey of hardship, adventure, and challenges along with incredible Californian scenery. It will inspire you to strap on that heavy pack and find your nearest hiking trail.

best travel movies

A classic romantic comedy from the 40s starring Humphrey Bogart who plays an American expatriate who runs a nightclub in Morocco . “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!”

Buy Casablanca

best travel movies

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Set in the fictional land of Middle-Earth (AKA New Zealand!), we follow Frodo as he steps out of his comfortable life in the Shire and into an adventure that can only be described as, epic.

If you haven’t seen this classic tale, make sure to cast it on the biggest screen available and watch the beautiful landscapes and adventures unfold!

This is one of those epic travel movies.

Buy The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Buy  Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Buy The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

best travel movies

Roman Holiday

Another 50’s favorite! Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) is sick of her tightly scheduled life and escapes the embassy to discover Rome on her own.

Joining up with an American reporter who she convinces to take a holiday, they explore all the sights as they spend a perfect day of freedom and adventure. Just remember to watch out for that fountain!

Buy  Roman Holiday

best travel movies

Martin Sheen is an American doctor who goes to France following the death of his son to retrieve his ashes and grieve. He ends up swept up along the traditional pilgrimage his son was taking along the Camino de Santiago.

While there, he meets others from around the world who are also searching for answers and ways to make their lives better as he journeys to scatter his son’s ashes.

Buy The Way

best travel movies

Encounters at the End of the World

A Discovery channel film, this movie definitely takes you to an unknown land! In a visually stunning adventure, Herzog and his cinematographer travel to a small community in Antarctica made up of zoologists, divers, biologists, and other adventurers as he starts to experience their rather absurd and breathtaking lives!

Buy  Encounters at the End of the World

best travel movies

The Bucket List

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s characters find out they have terminal cancer and escape the ward to go on a final adventure around the world to check off all the things on their bucket list.

They go skydiving, fly over the North Pole, visit the Taj Mahal in India, ride motorcycles atop the Great Wall of China, visit a Tanzanian Safari, stand at the base of Mt. Everest, and look out at the world from the top of the Great Pyramids.

It is a story of putting everything behind you and truly living while you can.

This is another one of Lina’s favorite travel movies.

Buy The Bucket List

best travel movies

Out of Africa

Ever wonder what Meryl Streep was like as a young Hollywood starlet? Set in early 20th century Colonial Kenya, Out of Africa follows Karen (Meryl Streep) who originally moves to Africa to start a dairy farm.

She then ends up going through various love trials as she explores the wonders of the African wildlife and decides to open a school to teach basic education to local African tribal children.

Buy Out of Africa

best travel movies

The Art of Travel

Leaving his fiancée at the altar, Connor turns his back on the traditional life and embarks on his honeymoon alone, traveling through central and South America , trying to find out how to make his mark.

Buy The Art of Travel

best travel movies

Eat Pray Love

Sick of always either breaking up or getting together with men, Elizabeth (Julia Roberts) decides to take a year off from life to be with herself.

Taking a journey through Italy, India, and Bali, she rediscovers herself on a road of introspection. Gain back your “appetite for life” with this captivating film.

Check out this film  to motivate you to plan your own inner discovery adventure:

Buy Eat Pray Love

best travel movies

Before Sunrise

A romantic comedy about a man and woman who meet on a train from Budapest. He convinces her to skip her flight home to the US and instead explore the romantic city of Vienna.

Buy Before Sunrise

best travel movies

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Hector (Simon Pegg) takes a journey across the world to figure out what makes people happy.

A fantastic British comedy, this film will have you searching for those childhood moments of happiness we all used to feel so free and make you yearn to go out and explore for yourself.

Buy Hector and the Search for Happiness

best travel movies

The Sound of Music

Who isn’t inspired by the hills that are alive with the sound of music? Join Julie Andrews as she escapes the abbey to follow her heart to the stunning hills of Austria during the trying times of WWII.

She falls in love with the Von Trapp family as she becomes governess to the 7 adorable and musically gifted Von Trapp children. She softens the hearts of the entire household with her youthful enthusiasm and imagination.

Buy The Sound of Music

best travel movies

Under the Tuscan Sun

A woman gets divorced and her friends send her on a gay tour in Tuscany to gain back her freedom.

She impulsively buys a rundown Tuscan villa and starts life over. Funny and charming this movie will definitely make you want to go to Italy!

Check out Under the Tuscan Sun  for some Italian travel inspiration:

Buy Under the Tuscan Sun

best travel movies

Maybe more terrifying than inspiring, this epic film follows a group of adventurers to the top of Mount Everest and outlines the perils and challenges of this fantastical feat.

Buy Everest

best travel movies

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star in this light-hearted family film about a couple who go on a disastrous blind date and then unknowingly buy one half of the same family vacation package to Africa , which forces them to participate in everything together.

Buy  Blended

best travel movies

A young woman goes on a journey that seems impossible. A 1700 mile trek across the deserts of West Australia with only four camels and her faithful dog.

Buy  Tracks

best travel movies

The Bourne Series

Adventure packed for sure, Jason Bourne travels to a number of beautiful destinations over this multi-movie series, some such as Venice, Budapest, Berlin, Madrid. Just try not to jump on the locals’ roofs when you go there yourself.

Check out this ultimate collection to see all the major sites to inspire your next adventure:

Buy  The Bourne Ultimate Collection

best travel movies

Romancing the Stone

A classic 80s film starring Katherine Turner, Michael Douglas, and Danny Devito about a sheltered and proper woman’s sister getting kidnapped, forcing her to travel to Colombia to rescue her.

She’s helped by a mercenary as they try to find a priceless gem before giving up her sister’s treasure map ransom.

Buy Romancing the Stone

best travel movies

A 60’s British film, this story is about a family who takes in three orphaned lion cubs and attempts to raise and free them into the wilderness of Kenya.

Buy Born Free

best travel movies

Mix it up with an animated movie! This heart-warming kids movie will inspire you for adventure as you watch Carl overcome his grief and take a journey to South America he always dreamed of. You may want to have some tissues close by though.

Buy  Up

best travel movies

The Motorcycle Diaries

This movie follows the journey of two men who leave their home in Buenos Aires and travel for eight months on a rickety motorcycle across Latin America, giving them new perspectives and experiences that change their view of the world.

Buy The Motorcycle Diaries

best travel movies

The Darjeeling Limited

Following the death of their father, three estranged brothers travel across India by train to try to reconnect as a family. An underrated comedy adventure, this movie has made our list!

Buy  The Darjeeling Limited

best travel movies

More on Travel Inspiration:

  • 25 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Africa
  • 54 Travel Quotes to Inspire Your Wanderlust
  • 6 Exotic Places You Can Visit Without a US Passport
  • 2015 Travel Review- 26 Countries on 4 Continents
  • 36 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit the Philippines
  • The World’s Top 100 Travel Adventures
  • Best Travel Gifts for Travelers

What movie has inspired you the most to travel?

Travel planning resources, about lina stock.

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

3 thoughts on “30 Best Travel Movies that Inspire Travel”

Just loving this post.

Watching a travel movie sure gives an urge to travel. And this post is reminding me of all those travel-urges I got from watching most of the movies you mentioned here. So collectively, it’s a hell lot of travel-urge.

In fact, I’ve already started feeling ‘Fernweh’.

Thanks for the list, Lina.

Eat, pray, love was my favourite!!!

It’s a good one!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Divergent Travelers- Adventure Travel Blog

Of All the “Rachel McAdams Loves a Time-Traveler” Movies, This Is the Best One

This romantic sci-fi uses time travel to tell a profound story of self-improvement and serves as McAdams’ best entry into the genre.

The Big Picture

  • About Time uses time travel to tell a profound story of self-improvement.
  • The film examines the challenge of making the right decisions, even with the ability to reverse consequences.
  • Rachel McAdams shines in her role, showcasing her evolution as a performer in a heartwarming and funny love story.

Time travel is an inherently challenging concept to convey in any medium, as it's hard for a story to establish a firm set of rules that are logically satisfying. While time travel itself is an interesting concept , it can often be used as a crutch to tie together unrelated plot points or make a radical shift in setting. Rachel McAdams oddly has more experience with time travel than most performers of her generation, as she appeared in time-bending projects like The Time Traveler’s Wife, Midnight in Paris, and Doctor Strange . However, the 2013 science fiction romance About Time uses time travel to tell a profound story of self-improvement and serves as McAdams’ best entry into the genre.

At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.

What Is 'About Time' About?

About Time follows the young bachelor Tim Lake ( Domhnall Gleeson ), who lives in Cornwall, England with his sister Katherine ( Lydia Wilson ), his mother Mary ( Lindsay Duncan ), and his father James ( Bill Nighy ). As Tim prepares to move forward on a path of independence, his father takes him aside to reveal to him a secret: he has the power to travel back in time and relive key memories. The context of time travel as a family secret makes About Time a more interesting spin on the concept , as the stakes are entirely personal. Rather than using time travel as the inciting incident of a conflict , About Time examines the idea of different lived experiences. The tension of the story revolves entirely around whether Tim will be able to find his “perfect” life somewhere within the multitude of possibilities that he has at his disposal.

Tim is a great protagonist because he immediately takes his father’s words to heart ; instead of using time travel to amass fame or fortune, he decides to use his unique gift to become the best version of himself possible. About Time examines how challenging it can be to make the right decisions , even if the consequences can be reversed. Tim approaches happiness like a puzzle that he needs to solve instead of simply enjoying the moments he has at his disposal. While Gleeson’s performance is quite captivating , the film shows that Tim has not yet given himself the freedom to live out each of his potential paths to their fullest potential. He’s been so hyper-focused on “getting it right” that he’s ignored the possibilities that mistakes may lead him to.

The Best, Most Realistic Movie About Time Travel Cost $7,000

While filmmaker Richard Curtis has been criticized for the schmaltzy tone he brought to films like Love Actually and Notting Hill, About Time is as genuinely funny as it is sincere . The film’s portrayal of relationships, family disagreements, and the existentialism of youth feel so authentic that it’s easy to forget that the story is grounded in science fiction. In this sense, About Time examines how an “ordinary” person like Tim can lead an extraordinary life. While he doesn’t use his gift to make great travels or make significant breakthroughs, the gift of time allows him to celebrate the things that are in front of him. It’s quite profound to see how even the most seemingly inessential moments in his life become cherished memories that he can relive.

Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams Have Great Chemistry in 'About Time'

While Tim uses his abilities to test out different possibilities within his future, he finds what he was searching for when he meets the American immigrant Mary (Rachel McAdams). McAdams inserts a burst of charismatic energy that transforms About Time from a quirky comedy into an endearing love story . It immediately becomes clear to Tim that he doesn’t need time travel to know that Mary is “the one.” This makes for an effective change in his motivation for the rest of the film; instead of searching for the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with, Tim wants to protect the precious moments that he has with Mary. Unlike other romantic comedies , About Time shows that happiness isn’t directly tied to memory; even though Mary won’t remember the alternative routes that their relationship could have gone, Tim thinks that making her happy is fulfilling in its own right.

McAdams is given one of her most challenging roles , as Mary lacks any knowledge of Tim’s powers for much of the story. While Tim can go into each interaction with preordained foresight into how she may react, Mary essentially returns to the status quo every time that their relationship is reset. McAdams’ performance is perfect because she retains the same sensitive, empathetic nature within each divergent timeline. While Tim may say the wrong thing or screw up a big moment at some points, she gives him the same love and forgiveness. Seeing the consistency of integrity Mary has within different versions of reality enforces why Tim is so desperate to give her the life that she deserves.

Why 'About Time' Is the Best of Rachel McAdams' Time Travel Movies

About Time is the perfect use of Rachel McAdams , as it allows her to showcase an earnest, realistic character who just so happens to be thrust in a science fiction scenario. Comparatively, McAdams’ other time-travel roles failed to live up to these expectations. The Time Traveler’s Wife grounded her in a dull melodrama, Doctor Strange did not involve her directly in the story’s climax, and Midnight in Paris saw her cast against type as an aggressive, nasty character. The brilliance of About Time is that it's a story about human relationships first, and a time travel adventure second.

About Time highlights McAdams’ evolution as a performer , as she has certainly appeared in many different subgenres of comedy. While she earned her breakout role as Regina George in Mean Girls , McAdams has gone on to play more mature comedic leads in films like Game Night and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga that put a greater emphasis on their romantic elements. About Time embodies this shift in her career, as it's the type of heartwarming story that can evoke both laughter and tears from its audience.

About Time is available to rent on Prime Video in the U.S.

Rent on Prime Video

A Reading List for the 2024 Oscar Best Picture Nominees

If you're a read-the-book-before-you-see-the-movie type of person, add these books to your reading list ASAP.

oscar 2024 books

Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Some of the Best Picture nominees are also nominated in Best Adapted Screenplay ( American Fiction, Oppenheimer, Poor Things, the Zone of Interest ), meaning the work was adapted from previously established material. For all of those films but Barbie , that means a book. Other Best Picture nominees are up in the Best Original Screenplay category ( Anatomy of a Fall, The Holdovers, Maestro, and Past Lives ), meaning the films are not based on previously established materials.

Here, seven books to read tied to Best Picture nominees—some are the work the film was adapted from (like American Prometheus for Oppenheimer , or Killers of the Flower Moon for, you guessed it, Killers of the Flower Moon ) while others are books that the directors have said inspired them while working on the film.

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer is adapted from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin's biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, so it's a must read for any fan of the film. There was one scene, Nolan says , that hooked him: "Los Alamos, this place that will always live in history or infamy, was first a place where Oppenheimer and his brother loved to go camping. Suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, I’m looking at the most personal possible connection between a character and a massive change to the world that couldn’t be undone."

Read more: 12 Best Books to Read After Watching Oppenheimer

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon is adapted from David Grann's book of the same name. "I spent about half a decade working on the book with members of the Osage Nation, recording stories from the Osage elders," Grann said . "What has been really important and gratifying to see was the level of involvement of the Osage Nation in shaping the movie. They've been involved at every level, from the production to the costume designs to making sure that the Osage language was spoken to the Osage actors who have speaking roles. That's been remarkable to see."

Read more: 23 Books to Read After Watching Killers of the Flower Moon

The Zone of Interest (Vintage International)

The Zone of Interest (Vintage International)

British author Martin Amis's novel The Zone of Interest serves as the basis for Jonathan Glazer's feature film, set in "the zone of interest," which was what the Nazis called Auschwitz. The publisher explains, "the narrative rotates among three main characters: Paul Doll, the crass, drunken camp commandant; Thomsen, nephew of Hitler's private secretary, in love with Doll's wife; and Szmul, one of the Jewish prisoners charged with disposing of the bodies." Glazer's adaptation shifts the central characters to be the real-life Höss family, including Rudolf Höss, a commandant at Auschwitz.

Famous Father Girl: The Intimate Memoir of Leonard Bernstein and His Family That Helped Inspire the New Movie Maestro

Famous Father Girl: The Intimate Memoir of Leonard Bernstein and His Family That Helped Inspire the New Movie Maestro

This memoir of Leonard Bernstein, written by his daughter Jamie , partly inspired Bradley Cooper's Maestro . "There was simply no moment when Leonard Bernstein wasn't being a teacher," she writes. "It was words, above all, that he shared with us in all their glorious incarnations." (Here, read an essay Jamie wrote in T&C about her father. )

Read more: The Best Books to Read After Watching Maestro

Erasure: A Novel

Erasure: A Novel

American Fiction , directed by Cord Jefferson and starring Jeffrey Wright, was adapted from Erasure by Percival Everett, a novel that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. "Percival has really rabid fans, and reasonably so," Jefferson said . "That, to me, was the most frightening screening I did of the movie.... Percival came to my house and watched a cut with his wife." He added that it went well, though, "I was just drenched in sweat by the time it was over. The nicest thing he said was, 'The thing that I like about it is that it feels like you made it your own, it feels like a different piece of art.' That was the highest praise you could get."

Poor Things: A Novel

Poor Things: A Novel

Scottish novelist Alasdair Gray's book Poor Things (full title is Poor Things: Episodes from the Early Life of Archibald McCandless M.D., Scottish Public Health Officer ) serves as the basis for Yorgos Lanthimos's film starring Emma Stone. "The essence of [the film] is very much in the novel," Lanthimos said . "The novel has a very different structure, a very different narrative. Her story is mainly being told by all these other men, so it has various literary devices that sometimes refute—is that the right word?—that sometimes announce what they say as false. We made a shift from the novel because the film is solely about her journey, her perspective. And I felt that if we were going to do this, this world needs to be seen her eyes."

Reviving Ophelia 25th Anniversary Edition: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

Reviving Ophelia 25th Anniversary Edition: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

Writer and director Greta Gerwig explained Barbie is inspired by Reviving Ophelia, focuses on the time in which girls become teenager . "My mom would check out books from the library about parenting, and then I would read them,” Gerwig told Vogue .

Mary Pipher and her daughter, Sara Pipher Gilliam, wrote the updated edition, which focuses on that end of girlhood. "They’re funny and brash and confident, and then they just—stop," Gerwig says. "How is this journey the same thing that a teenage girl feels? All of a sudden, she thinks, Oh, I’m not good enough ."

Read more: 18 Books to Read After You Watch Barbie

Headshot of Emily Burack

Emily Burack (she/her) is the Senior News Editor for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royals, and a range of other subjects. Before joining T&C, she was the deputy managing editor at Hey Alma , a Jewish culture site. Follow her @emburack on Twitter and Instagram .

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  • Best of the World

20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024

From a horseback safari in Kenya to river rafting in West Virginia, here’s our ranked list of the top travel experiences right now.

This page is a portal.  No, really, it is: Our annual Best of the World feature is a gateway to the streets of Paris , the snowy Caucasus Mountains of Georgia , the ancient rock art of Algeria . To help us engage with places more deeply and meaningfully, we drew on National Geographic’s global community of experts to create the following ranked list of 20 great adventures for 2024. Read on and you’ll discover that this page is also a celebration—of travel’s power to transform us and our connections with one another.

#1: Go on horseback safari in Kenya

A safari in Africa usually conjures an image of mud-spattered 4x4 vehicles bouncing through the bush. But there’s another way to travel: on horseback. 

Although horse safaris originated in Kenya in the 1970s, they’re a perfect fit for today’s growing number of travelers looking for more engaging, sustainable wildlife encounters. At the 32,000-acre Borana Conservancy , two stables house thoroughbreds and ex-polo ponies for riders of all skill levels. Visitors can book half-day, full-day, or overnight rides. July through September is the prime time to go.

Since wildlife perceive equines as just another animal, exploring the landscape atop a horse makes for an intimate experience. “To journey on horseback is to break down the walls—meant to protect but also to separate—between oneself and the natural world,” says Nichole Sobecki , a photographer and equestrian who’s ridden in Borana. “Your horse is a translator, responding to the low growl of the lion, the soft scent of a herd of elephants.” A horse’s ears are an advance warning system, she says, helping knowledgeable guides navigate routes.

#2: Run an Olympic marathon in Paris

For the first time, members of the public will be able to run their own marathon during the 2024 Summer Olympics , in Paris, France , just one initiative aimed at creating a more inclusive Games. 

Slated to be held the evening of August 10, between the men’s and women’s official races, the Marathon for All will allow 20,024 qualifying lottery winners on the 26.2-mile route that links Paris and Versailles , a loop beginning at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and passing through nine arrondissements before finishing at Les Invalides on the banks of the Seine. Before or after the big event, learn the route to follow in their tracks. 

#3: Ski tour UNESCO sites in Georgia

Long a means of transportation, exploration, and hunting, skiing is still a way of life in the mountainous republic of Georgia. Now visitors can enjoy some of the nation’s best backcountry skiing in the Caucasus with the help of outfitters such as Svaneti Ski and Georgia Ski Touring . In Svaneti, excursions may lead skiers through panoramic Gvibari Pass or to medieval Ushguli villages, among the highest continuously inhabited in Europe. The best times to experience this are December to April.

#4: Bear watch in Katmai National Park

Alaska ’s Katmai National Park is home to one of the highest concentrations of brown bears in the world. Far from the crowded viewing platforms of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center, a guided trip along the Katmai coast with outfitters like AK Adventures reveals a different side of the park.

Here, the bears feast on a diversity of foods: sedges, grasses, razor clams, salmon. “For me, seeing a single brown bear in the wild is meaningful because it is a sign that the landscape is healthy enough to support it,” says Alaska photographer Acacia Johnson , a frequent National Geographic contributor.

#5: Hear legendary live music in Kyoto

Guidebooks speak of Kyoto as frozen in time, with hushed temples and meditative gardens. But after hours, Japan ’s former imperial capital reveals a live music scene that can be loud and irreverent. At venues like Jittoku and Field , rock, swing, and even Irish music echo into the night. Whatever you’re into, from jazz to punk, there’s a community to share your jam. “This is what happens in Japan when the mask comes off,” says Kyoto guide Van Milton.

#6: Cruise an epic river in Colombia

About 80 percent of Colombia ’s population lives in the river basin of the Magdalena, which flows for nearly a thousand miles from the Andes to the Caribbean. AmaWaterways’ new cruises on the river—said to be the first by a major cruise operator—take seven-night trips from Cartagena via Mompós to Barranquilla. Stops at colonial towns, performances of vallenato  and cumbia music, and visits to a stilt-house village highlight the region’s culture along this mighty waterway.

#7:  Road trip Route 66 in New Mexico

For nearly a century, Route 66 has beckoned to travelers. A trip along the Mother Road through New Mexico hits timeless landmarks , such as quirky motels and curio shops in and around Tucumcari and symbolic etchings in Petroglyph National Monument . In Gallup—mentioned as one of the places to “get your kicks” in Nat King Cole’s 1946 hit song “Route 66”—you can take in performances featuring Zuni, Lakota, and Diné (Navajo) dancers. 

Some 18 miles of the highway traverse Albuquerque , the longest urban interlude of the route in the United States. And it’s getting a half-million-dollar glow-up with the ongoing restoration of vintage neon signs along Central Avenue. 

While cruising down the brightened strip, stop at the new West Central Route 66 Visitor Center , with its museum and outdoor amphitheater. The center will host events like lowrider car shows, drive-in movies, and artisan markets.

#8: Explore ancient art in Algeria

Algeria is home to Africa’s largest national park, which holds one of the world’s greatest concentrations of ancient rock art. Tassili n’Ajjer National Park is a geologic wonderland of sandstone towers, arches, and sculpted outcrops. But these rock forests are only half the story. 

Neolithic herders and hunter-gatherers carved 15,000 petroglyphs here, including images of elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. These animals are more commonly associated with sub-Saharan Africa—a hint that this arid wilderness was once a grassland crisscrossed by waterways. Five- to seven-day guided tours with Fancy Yellow take in the most spectacular works of Tassili’s art, like the “Crying Cows,” engraved at the base of a stone pinnacle 7,000 years ago. 

Travelers with more time might want to combine a trip to Tassili with a visit to the Algerian Sahara’s other great geologic marvel: the extraordinary mountain range of Ahaggar National Park .

#9: Dive with sharks in Western Australia

Stretching almost 700 miles along the Indian Ocean north of Perth, Western Australia’ s Coral Coast is studded with natural wonders. But Ningaloo Reef is the star. Here, you can dive with giants: Some 300 to 500 whale sharks ,  one of the largest congregations on Earth, gather along the reef each year between March and July. Ethical outfitters ensure divers give the sharks space and avoid feeding them or using flash photography. 

Even more megafauna abound from July to October, when about 40,000 humpback whales migrate along the Coral Coast. You can also commune with more than 10,000 dugongs in Shark Bay or swim with manta rays at Coral Bay. 

#10: Hike a volcano in Panama

A sustainability leader, Panama recently launched its “1,000 Kilometers of Trails” project , which seeks to bring outdoor recreation and green tourism to rural communities and protected areas.

First out of the gate is the Ruta de la Caldera , a system of five trails around the extinct Valle de Antón volcano . The treks take in waterfall-speckled landscapes, according to photographer Rose Marie Cromwell , who hiked sections of the Ruta de la Caldera over five days.

“There were some spectacular views on top of the volcanic crater—interesting land formations covered in so much green,” she says.

#11: Catch the eclipse at Niagara Falls

Directly in the path of totality, Niagara Falls will offer views of a total solar eclipse, which won’t occur again in the contiguous U.S. until 2044. For about three and a half minutes, beginning at approximately 3:18 p.m. on April 8, the sky will darken over the thunderous cataract as the moon crosses between Earth and the sun. 

On the U.S. side of the falls , Terrapin Point, Prospect Point, and the Observation Tower will be prime viewing areas (if clouds stay away). From the Canadian side, an excellent vantage point is Table Rock. A side bonus: The sunny-day rainbow that hovers above the falls will become pink. 

#12: Trek a glacier in Chile

In Patagonian Chile ’s Laguna San Rafael National Park , visitors can trek atop the Exploradores Glacier, taking in a panorama of pale blue ice massifs and glacial waterways. Some 17,300 glaciers still cover Patagonia’s ice fields, but rising temperatures are rapidly melting them. Climate scientists say sustainable tourism , such as hikes with outfitters like Turismo Valle Leones , supports local communities and inspires travelers to learn more about how to protect glaciers.

#13: Step back in time on Menorca

Spain ’s Balearic Islands are best known for the jet-set beach destinations of Ibiza and Mallorca . But quiet, less developed Menorca has a unique mother lode: The archipelago’s greatest repository of ancient architecture.

In an area of just 270 square miles, Menorca has a total of 1,574 inventoried archaeological sites , ranging from the foundation blocks of small dwellings to well-preserved village centers that existed long before the Roman Empire. Most striking are the navetas,  megalithic tombs dating back to 1600 B.C.; talayots, watchtowers built from mortarless blocks of limestone; and   taulas,   shrines exclusive to Menorca that evoke Stonehenge pillars. These remnants of the Talayotic Menorcan culture, the first civilization to inhabit the island, have now been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List . 

The open-air monuments are easy to visit; the island’s Me-1 road passes by some of the best-preserved sites, including the settlements of Talatí de Dalt, Naveta des Tudons, and Taula de Torretrencada.

Reenter the 21st century at the new Hauser & Wirth gallery in the picturesque town of Mahón. Housed in repurposed 18th-century hospital buildings, the cultural venue presents contemporary art exhibits and has an outdoor sculpture trail with works by Louise Bourgeois and Joan Miró.

#14: Ride classic rails in Scotland

Exploring Scotland ’s wild, scenic Highlands doesn’t have to mean roughing it. The Royal Scotsman train glides among the moody lochs and dramatic peaks in style. New suites debuting in May 2024 sport interiors that reflect the compelling landscapes through dark woods, wool tweeds , and richly patterned bespoke tartans crafted by Scottish brand Araminta Campbell . After a day spent hiking to waterfalls or playing rounds of golf (a sport inextricably tied to the nation), guests can wind down with a massage at the onboard spa.

Departing Edinburgh ’s Waverley Station, the two- to seven-night rail journeys cross the heart of the Highlands, from Perthshire to Inverness to the rugged west coast. During stops guests can tour castles, stargaze in Cairngorms National Park , sample whisky at revered distilleries, and even take a dip in a loch.

#15: Find authentic flavor in Thailand 

The Isaan region in northeastern Thailand is known for its distinctive cuisine that reflects influences from bordering Laos and Cambodia. “Isaan is a hidden gem of Thailand,” says Weerawat “Num” Triyasenawat, the chef at Samuay & Sons , a Michelin Guide -recommended restaurant in the Isaan city of Udon Thani.

One key ingredient of the region’s delicious food is pla ra, a fermented-fish seasoning that boosts umami flavor. Local dishes include laab  (minced meat salad), traditionally served during celebrations.

#16: Wander tea trails in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is virtually synonymous with tea. The island nation is one of the world’s top producers of tea leaves. British colonists introduced the first bushes about 200 years ago. Now visitors can trace the footsteps of historic planters on the new, nearly 200-mile Pekoe Trail , the country’s first long-distance walking route. 

Starting just outside Kandy, the trail follows the 19th-century tracks upon which workers and horse-drawn carts transported freshly plucked leaves. Hikers pass through hill towns and tea estates and can stop to take a cooking class or savor a cup of aromatic Ceylon tea.

#17: Gallery hop in São Paulo

São Paulo, Brazil ’s largest city, is an art lover’s paradise, home to numerous galleries, exhibitions, and street murals. The crowning jewel is the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), which is expanding to showcase more of its 11,000-plus artworks, from pre-Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculptures. Departing from the usual model of exhibiting works on walls, MASP hangs some pieces against clear panels, allowing visitors to view the art from all angles.

#18: Raft the rapids in West Virginia 

Despite its name, West Virginia ’s New River is actually one of the oldest on Earth, perhaps as old as 360 million years. The river falls 750 feet in only 50 miles between sandstone cliffs. It eventually merges with the Gauley River.   Outfitters such as ACE Adventure Resort can arrange whitewater rafting trips here on Class III to V rapids through the longest and deepest river gorge in the Appalachians. 

#19: Go antiquing in Hudson Valley

The bucolic Hudson Valley is booming, thanks to an influx of New York City residents during the pandemic. But it’s long been a mecca for creatives: Its landscapes inspired America’s first artistic fraternity, the Hudson River School. Antique collectors will be drawn to the hundreds of stores, boutiques, craft shops, and flea markets that sell everything from colonial furniture and rare books to mid-century modern decor. For vintage finds, head to the Antique Warehouse in Hudson, Sister Salvage in Catskill, and Opera House Co. in Athens.

“There’s a common denominator here—the charming historic villages,” says Sarah Gray Miller, owner of Coxsackie antique store UnQuiet . From Stuyvesant to Saugerties, these towns “share a strong commitment to preservation.”

#20: Sleep on the water in British Columbia

The newly reopened Tofino Wilderness Resort , owned by the Ahousaht First Nation, is an idyllic base from which to explore the western coast of British Columbia ’s Vancouver Island. In the heart of Clayoquot Sound, the luxury floating lodge was renovated with lumber cut from timber which fell on-site. Through guided whale-watching trips or visits to the Freedom Cove artists’ sanctuary, the Ahousaht share with guests their philosophy, hishuk ish tsawalk (“everything is one”), celebrating the interconnectedness of people and nature in a land they’ve occupied for thousands of years.

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Cupcake A.T.M.s and Fire Pits: What You Love at the Airport

We asked readers to share their favorite airport amenities. The answers: everything from a library to a swimming pool. Here’s a selection of delights, open to all, from airports around the globe.

Moving walkways stretch down a long corridor under a ceiling of glass panels lit in various colors and colorful glass walls.

By Christine Chung

For many travelers, airports are places to pass through as swiftly as possible, not places to savor. The incessant drone of announcements, the frustration of being shut out of increasingly exclusive lounges, the overpriced food, the serpentine lines and the fruitless search for an electrical outlet all can make for a hellish experience.

But every now and then an airport can offer unexpected and delightful amenities that ease travel’s pain points.

For Bill Tsutsui, 60, it was the vending machine at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport in eastern Washington that sells canned cheese.

“You get really jaded going through airports. Oh, yawn, another yoga room,” said Mr. Tsutsui, of Ottawa, Kan. “There was something so beautiful and uncorporate and local about it.”

Mr. Tsutsui was one of more than 1,300 people who responded when we asked readers to tell us about their favorite airport amenities . Their suggestions included, yes, yoga rooms (at San Francisco International Airport, Chicago Midway International Airport, and Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, among others) but also short-story dispensers, tranquil gardens, even a swimming pool.

Here’s a list that might make your next layover actually enjoyable.

Read a book, catch a movie

Some airports offer a dose of art, music and literature. Linda Norris, of Treadwell, N.Y., singled out Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for its library and branch of the acclaimed national museum , both located after security on Holland Boulevard, the airport’s cultural zone. These spaces are “oases of calm” that highlight Dutch culture, she said.

“The library is never busy; it’s beautifully designed and has a variety of comfy seating,” added Ms. Norris, 68. “Sometimes I look at their books, sometimes not, but it’s a part of the airport that never feels rushed.”

Travelers can browse the library ’s collection of Dutch literature translated into some 40 languages (sorry, no borrowing).

At Portland International Airport, in Oregon, there’s a movie theater screening short films by creators from the Pacific Northwest ( located after security in Concourse C).

At Chicago O’Hare International Airport, a tunnel of neon lights and mirrors by the artist Michael Hayden and the architect Helmut Jahn enlivens a subterranean passageway ( located after security in Terminal 1 between Concourses B and C).

At Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, there’s a branch of Renaissance Books , a beloved local used-book store ( located in the main terminal before security).

At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, professional musicians perform at two baby grand pianos in the McNamara Terminal gate area ( located after security near Gates A40 and A72).

Hit the vending machines

Vending machines at airports typically peddle anemic-looking snacks and pricey electronics.

Mr. Tsutsui, the canned-cheese fan, said that as a frequent traveler to Japan, he’s rarely surprised by what he finds in vending machines. But he found the cheese to be “pretty remarkable,” he said.

Washington State University began experimenting with canning cheese in the 1930s, in search of packaging that would prolong the product’s shelf life. (The university says its cheese will last indefinitely if refrigerated.) The most popular variety is a white Cheddar named Cougar Gold for the university’s mascot and one of the original cheesemakers.

The machine (which had been out of order recently) is before security, right next to the Hertz rental counter, and the cheese can be checked or carried onto the plane.

Not a cheese fan? At various airports in Texas (Austin, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth), there are cupcake vending machines offering a bevy of flavors from popular brand Sprinkles . The cupcake A.T.M.s, as Sprinkles calls them, are restocked with fresh baked goods twice daily, a company spokeswoman said.

At Edmonton International Airport in Alberta, a kiosk dispenses free short stories of different reading lengths (one, three or five minutes) by local authors, printed on what look like long receipts and available in French or English. The dispenser was created by a French company, Short Édition, that specializes in brief works and is trying to encourage reading for fun ( located after security on the departures level by Gate 60).

Get outside without leaving the airport

Increasingly, airport designers are incorporating outdoor spaces that let travelers breathe a little fresh air while waiting to take off.

Brent Kelley, a principal at the architecture firm Corgan, said that green spaces, such as terraces and gardens, were becoming a priority at airports.

“People are looking for that connection to the outdoors prior to spending however long they’re going to be on an aircraft,” he said. “It started primarily with the airline clubs and is becoming a favorite with airport authorities themselves.”

Greenville-Spartanburg Airport in South Carolina boasts that what it calls its airside garden was one of the first in the country when it opened in 1962. It has sculptures, lawns and many seats, and is “an incredibly welcoming place to relax while waiting for a flight with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background,” said Nancy deJong, 69, of Greer, S.C.

At San Francisco International Airport, there’s an outdoor terrace in International Terminal G and also an outdoor observation deck located before security in Terminal 2 that’s open to the public at select times.

At Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, there are lush cultural gardens inspired by the islands’ Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese heritage — think lagoons with koi and sprawling banana trees — surrounding the Terminal 2 ticketing lobby and the airport’s E gates.

At Denver International Airport, there are three outdoor roof decks — one in each of the airport’s three concourses, past security — complete with fire pits and pet relief areas.

Don’t just kill layover time

To accommodate travelers with long waits between flights, Singapore Changi Airport has three different free bus tours of the city and a walking tour of the Jewel entertainment and retail complex that take just two and a half hours; all tours are available daily.

Incheon International Airport, which serves Seoul, in South Korea, also has city tours that visit ancient palaces and even local golf courses, but these require at least a daylong layover. One tour features two of the most famed destinations in the center of Seoul: a sprawling centuries-old palace and Insa-dong , a neighborhood filled with charming craft shops and traditional homes. Another takes travelers to an observatory with views of the Demilitarized Zone.

Incheon also has dedicated areas for napping with full recliners and partitions. There are free shower facilities by various gates in Terminals 1 and 2, and travelers can do some crafting or practice taekwondo at one of the airport’s multiple cultural centers .

The new features are part of a trend in airport design to provide more of a sense of place. “We think the airport is an extension of the city,” said Terence Young, a principal at the architecture firm Gensler, who worked on Incheon’s Terminal 2. “I think for a long time airports thought they wanted to be shopping malls. We have really turned away from that.”

At Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, there is an indoor, heated swimming pool in the Oryx Airport Hotel open to all airport passengers during select hours for about $48. The hotel, after security in the duty free plaza by Concourses C, D and E, also has a spa, showers, a gym, a golf simulator and even squash courts.

At Helsinki Airport in Finland, travelers can stock up on gravlax and salty licorice at a 24-hour supermarket near arrivals.

Let the children play

Children’s play areas, ideal for burning off some energy before or after a flight, can make a family trip survivable. Favorites included the new indoor play spaces at La Guardia Airport’s Terminal B — miniature foam planes, control towers and even baggage claims children can climb on — and Copenhagen Airport in Denmark, which has both indoor and outdoor playgrounds with slides and a large wooden airplane.

At Zurich Airport, there is an area by the A gates, past security, for families to unwind, offering toys, sinks, changing tables and a quiet space to nurse children. One reader raved about the “delightful” play areas with climbing structures, rocking horses, high-quality wooden toys, puzzles, books, dolls and video games. Even better: the staff on hand to help with family needs.

Find sanctuary

Sensory rooms tailored for neurodivergent travelers can be a sanctuary. Pittsburgh International Airport’s version, with its soundproof rooms, comfortable seating and airplane cabin simulation, is “fantastic for kids with special needs,” said Blaire Malkin, 44, of Charleston, W.Va. It is by the A gates , past security.

“It made a world of difference when flying with our daughter who has autism and an intellectual disability,” Ms. Malkin said. “I wish more airports had spaces like these that keep the needs of all travelers in mind.”

In New Jersey, Newark Liberty International Airport’s new Terminal A recently unveiled a 1,000-square-foot sensory room , before security, at the south end of the departures level. The room, designed to look as if it has a river flowing through it, has soft and colorful carpeting, light fixtures shaped like clouds and a mural of a mountain range. There are also bubble tubes, a sensory feature with glowing beads and bubbles constantly in motion. Travelers in need of extra assistance can request a security screening in the room, as part of the Transportation Security Administration’s TSA Cares program .

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Christine Chung is a Times reporter covering airlines and consumer travel. More about Christine Chung

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

Italy :  Spend 36 hours in Florence , seeking out its lesser-known pockets.

Southern California :  Skip the freeways to explore the back roads between Los Angeles and Los Olivos , a 100-mile route that meanders through mountains, canyons and star-studded enclaves.

Mongolia : Some young people, searching for less curated travel experiences, are flocking to the open spaces of this East Asian nation .

Romania :  Timisoara  may be the most noteworthy city you’ve probably never heard of , offering just enough for visitors to fill two or three days.

India: A writer fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Darjeeling, in the Himalayan foothills , taking in the tea gardens and riding a train through the hills.

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .


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