If you can’t actually travel, the next best thing is watching films about travelling! So, when you’re between trips, sit back, relax and “Netflix and chill” with these 15 movies that will inspire you to travel, including some great travel movie classics and some that might surprise you!
1. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
This coming-of-age love story based on the book by André Aciman is also a love letter to northern Italy. Filmed in locations including Cremona, Bergamo and the gorgeous Lake Garda, you’ll be yearning to spend your next summer in Italy and pick up some Italian!
2. The Lost City of Z (2016)
Based on the story of real-life explorer Percy Fawcett, this film will take you on a journey into the depths of the Amazon rainforest, which Fawcett believed was hiding a mythical lost city. Full of mystery, this film may inspire you to go looking for some answers yourself.
3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Hilarity and heart make this portrait of New Zealand one of the best indie films of recent years. After a sudden turn of events forces foster child Ricky Baker and his caretaker to flee into the New Zealand bush, the film follows the pair (and their dogs) as they navigate a part of the country little-known to outsiders.
4. Lion (2016)
Another true story, Lion tells the tale of a little boy who was separated from his family in India and his incredible journey to reconnect with them. Sharing screen time between India and Australia, the movie is an excellent peek into Indian culture and highlights the language differences within the country.
5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
For anyone who’s ever dreamed of travelling but has yet to take the plunge, this is your film. Mild-mannered Walter fantasises about great adventures, but it isn’t until a mysterious missing photo inspires him to track down the photographer that he starts his own journey. Taking him from Greenland, to Iceland to the Himalayas, it’s impossible not to want to travel after seeing this film.
6. Tracks (2013)
When most people think of Australia, they probably think of the Sydney Opera House or of the beach. This film, on the other hand, takes viewers on a journey across the desert of western Australia, which protagonist Robyn Davidson crossed with her two camels and dog in 1977. The raw beauty of the Australian Outback will hit your wanderlust hard!
7. Midnight in Paris (2011)
Arguably the best of Woody Allen’s films set in Europe, Midnight in Paris opens with a 3-minute montage of scenes from around the City of Light. Not only does it capture the charm of the city for today’s travellers, but it also hearkens back to the Paris of the Lost Generation and indulges in nostalgia without being cheesy.
8. The Way (2010)
El Camino de Santiago, otherwise known simply as El Camino, is the subject matter of this poignant film. This pilgrim trail from France all the way to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, attracts travellers from all over the world in search of a meaningful experience. If you’ve never heard of El Camino, this movie is a great place to start and might inspire you to start learning some Spanish!
9. Into the Wild (2007)
To some, one of the appealing things about travelling is shedding the more materialistic trappings of society in favour of a simpler, purer life on the road. This story follows Christopher McCandless as he burns all of his money and identification to travel across the United States up to Alaska and live off of the land in harmony with nature. This haunting film also happens to be a true story and is a beautiful portrait of the natural landscapes of the United States.
10. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Avant-garde director Wes Anderson is a kindred spirit for all the travellers out there. His 2007 film encapsulates one of travel’s more romantic notions, train travel, as three depressed brothers mourning the loss of their father travel together throughout India. You’ll fall in love with the colours, music and just the general vibe of the film!
11. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Che Guevara only became a revolutionary because of the eye-opening journey on the back of a motorcycle through South America that he took in his early twenties. Travelling from Buenos Aires all the way to Venezuela, the social injustice he witnessed along the way inspired his political views. Are you ready for a South American road trip?
12. Lost in Translation (2003)
Sofia Coppola’s low-key love story inspired many a millennial to take the trip to Japan, and with good reason. From Tokyo’s glittering nightlife and karaoke bars to its frenetic streets and shabu-shabu restaurants, the film is awesome inspiration for heading to Japan.
13. L’Auberge Espagnole (2002)
For anyone who’s ever studied abroad, this film is bound to stir up feelings of nostalgia, or if you haven’t, it’ll make you want to go! Following French Erasmus student Xavier on his year abroad in Barcelona, you get all the drama of being a university student abroad, from sharing a flat with 6 other flatmates to dating a foreigner and going out till the sun comes up. Out of all the movies that will inspire you to travel, this is one of the most iconic!
14. The Beach (2000)
This movie is pretty much your parents’ worst nightmare. What starts out as an adventure backpacking through Thailand turns into a quest for a secret beach that’s not the paradise it was painted as. One of Leonardo DiCaprio’s earlier films, it’s worth seeing for Thailand’s gorgeous beaches alone.
15. Before Sunrise (1995)
A film for the hopeless romantics, Before Sunrise takes place over the course of a day and a night in Vienna, when two strangers meet on a train and decide to spend the day together. It will appeal to any solo travellers who are hoping to make a love connection while travelling!