19 of the Best Travel Movies (and a few I didn’t enjoy!)
Being stuck at home is a great chance to get out of your usual viewing habits and start watching some travel movies! These movies will be sure to inspire your future travels, or to remind you how fun travelling used to be (I know, it’s easy to forget!). I’ve chosen my top 16 travel movies and also included a few that I wasn’t a massive fan of. Do you agree with my choices? What are your favourite travel movies? Keep reading and then let me know in the comments below!
The Motorcycle Diaries
A young Che Guevara (before he became famous enough to appear on t-shirts) travels around South America on a motorcycle. It’s a fun movie and you get to see some interesting places, including Patagonia.
The Darjeeling Limited
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel through India on a luxury train, this is your movie. Unfortunately I’ve only ever travelled on the cheap trains so I can’t really relate! It’s a funny and entertaining movie starring some great comedic talent and it’s directed by Wes Anderson, so you know it’ll be slightly weird and surreal.
The Beach is one of the most famous travel movies and it inspired a whole wave of people to travel to Thailand. You’ve probably seen this (or at least know about it), so I won’t go into too much detail — it’s worth a watch though if you haven’t seen it. The beach below is the actual “Beach” from the movie — it’s been closed for a while now though due to overtourism.
Seven Years in Tibet
Brad Pitt plays an Austrian explorer who gets stuck in Tibet around the time of World War 2. It’s an entertaining movie and the landscapes, as well as the peek into Tibet during a time of massive change, makes it a good watch.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
A movie about old people chilling out in a hotel in India might not sound that exciting, but it’s worth a watch — and it might even inspire you to plan something a little different for your retirement! There’s also a sequel, which is pretty good.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
There are some interesting locations in this movie, including some scenes in Greenland and a small island in Russia. It takes an inspirational tone and it might just convince you to add some adventure to your life.
Lost in Translation
Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson star in this slow-moving drama set in Tokyo. The depiction loneliness in a foreign land is relatable to anyone who has lived in a country far different to their own.
A Map for Saturday
This is surely the lowest budget travel movie on this list and was essentially just filmed by a guy on a long trip around the world. It does a great job of showing what these kinds of “once in a lifetime around the world trip” entail, including the fast friends and sad goodbyes that inevitably follow.
The Way Back
An overland journey from Siberia to India might sound fun and exotic, but back at the end of WW2 it was anything but. The Way Back sees a group of escaped prisoners leave Siberia and face lots of challenges on the way to freedom.
Reece Witherspoon does a good job in this mostly solo movie about a woman, with issues, who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with very little preparation. The views are great and it’s an entertaining journey (it’s also a true story).
He Died With a Felafel in His Hand
This probably isn’t on any other travel movie lists floating around, but it should be! This dark comedy follows a guy as he lives in flats (shared houses) in different cities in Australia. I remember finding this movie in a video store in the early 2000s — such a different way of finding / consuming media!
If you’ve ever considered hiking the Camino de Santiago, you’ll really enjoy this movie. It gives you a good idea of what a journey like this is like (I assume, I’ve never done this hike) and it’s always nice to spend an hour or two looking at cute Spanish villages and countryside!
The Inbetweeners Movies
If you’re not familiar with the Inbetweeners I’d suggest watching the show first. It’s hilarious (and not P.C. at all) and the movies continue on nicely. The first sees the boys heading to Greece for a holiday and the second drags them down under for more adventures. Check them out if you’re not easily offended!
The Bucket list
Two old guys try to do all the things they wished they’d done before dying — it sounds like the recipe for a tearjerker, but I can’t remember a lot about it so I can’t confirm that!
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
A journalist and his lawyer pack their trunk full of drugs and head to Las Vegas in this surreal, and very popular, travel movie. OK, it’s probably more of a “drug movie”, but there is definitely some travel involved.
Before Sunrise (and sequels)
If you like eavesdropping on intimate conversations, this movie is for you. There are three movies, each taking part in different places (Vienna, Paris, Greece) and each delves into the lives of the two main characters at very different times (the first movie, Before Sunsrise, sees them meet on a train).
This 60s classic tells the story of a couple of bikers heading out into the wilds of America, meeting interesting people on the edges of society. Definitely a good watch, and it’s one of those classic movies everyone should watch.
Midnight in Paris
I recently read an article which said that Midnight in Paris was voted the best representation of Paris in English language cinema, and I’d have to agree from the films I’ve seen so far. There are two sides to Midnight in Paris — one set in present day and one where the protagonist gets to travel back in time to the 1920s. Don’t miss it if you’re planning a trip to Paris (or if that trip has recently been cancelled!).
This movie about a camel trip across the Australian desert is a decent watch, mostly for the beautiful scenery.
Other Travel Movies (that I wasn’t a huge fan of)
Changeland is about a guy who gets dumped then travels to Thailand, mopes next some nice beaches and then makes some realisations (I won’t spoil them here, although I wouldn’t really recommend you watch it).
The Art of Travel
I watched this a year or so ago and can now barely remember it. It’s about a guy who travels to South America and gets into some kind of trouble (not really selling this one, am I?).
Eat Pray Love
Eat Pray Love is one of the most popular travel movies, at least with the middle-aged woman demographic. This movie annoyed me, and not just because it stars my least favourite actress (Julia Roberts). Still though, if you want to see Bali onscreen (as well as Naples and Varanasi) it could be worth a watch.
This is one of those teen focused movies that were popular around the time American Pie came out. It’s forgettable (I watched it like 15 years ago now, so I’d be surprised if I remembered it!). It does take you to some interesting European locations though, so it could be worth a look.
Other Travel Movies I haven’t seen yet
A Good Year (about wine, stars Russel Crowe), Under the Tuscan Sun, Roman Holiday, Casablanca (I really should have watched this by now).
What are you top travel movies? Let me know in the comments!
Latest posts by Jon Algie (see all)
- NZ Summer Road Trip 2020/2021 Awards (South Island Edition) - January 15, 2021
- Tips for Staying Safe on New Zealand Roads - December 26, 2020
- Hyams Beach, Australia: Is This Really the Whitest Sand in the World? - December 15, 2020