Movies are the perfect escape when you can’t get away – or when you’re looking for a little inspiration for your next adventure. These movies, which are guaranteed to inspire you to travel, range from popular memoirs and timeless classics to political films.
The Beach. How can one go wrong with a movie starring Leo DiCaprio and a beautiful beach? This movie, perhaps one of DiCaprio’s most underrated performances, follows Richard as he searches through life for that little piece of untainted perfection, the place that just won’t be destroyed. It’s based on the popular novel, though it was significantly changed. I dare you to watch this one without wanting to jump on the next plane to Thailand.
Wild. Starring Reese Witherspoon and based off the bestselling memoir by Cheryl Strayed, Wild is arguably one of the most popular – and best – travel movies recently released. After years of partying and other destructive behavior in the wake of her mother’s death, Cheryl decides to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to figure life out. It’s heartbreaking, heartwarming, and a bit hilarious at moments. It might also leave you ready to go hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, even if you, like Cheryl, have no previous hiking experience.
The Motorcycle Diaries. Yet another movie based on a real-life story, The Motorcycle Diaries is the true story of a revolutionary in South America. The characters ride through the continent on the back of a beat up motorcycle, through rain forests and deserts, not flinching from showing true poverty. While the movie does delve into the political situation of the area, it can be enjoyed as an adventurous movie about two friends exploring a continent – and might just make you want to find a motorcycle to explore on as well.
Thelma and Louise. There’s a reason this movie was so popular and critically acclaimed – it’s really good. This classic follows two women as they road trip the American Southwest and find more trouble than what they were looking for, but also a true adventure. It’s probably one of the best road trip movies out there.
The Way. Each year, over 300,000 hike all or part of El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage stretching across Spain. For many, it’s a personal or spiritual journey. In The Way, Tom finds himself on the Camino after flying to Spain to retrieve the remains of his son, killed on his own journey on the Camino. Instead of flying home as planned, Tom decides to finish the pilgrimage his son began – and learns a few things about himself along the way.
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A Map for Saturday. This documentary follows Brook Silva Braga as he prepares for his year-long journey around the world and also includes the stories of others pursuing longterm travel across four continents, from teenagers to senior citizens. Like no other film or documentary, A Map for Saturday accurately depicts the many realities of long-term travel, from anxiety leading up to the trip to the short romances and deep friendships created on the road.
The Darjeeling Limited. If you’re searching for a movie to inspire you to jump on a train to India, The Darjeeling Limited is it. The movie follows three brothers, who haven’t spoken since their father’s funeral a year prior, on their journey across India. As expected, they find themselves in a precarious situation or two and learn how to bond again as they search for their mother.
A Good Year. When stock broker Max Skinner inherits his uncle’s vineyard, his main goal, as one would expect, is to sell it for as big a profit as possible. Of course, when he returns to the vineyard to begin the selling process, things don’t go quite as planned. Nothing brings out the child in a rich man quite like a pretty girl and the beauty of vineyard and few things inspire wanderlust like a movie set in France.
On The Road. Based on the iconic novel by Jack Kerouac, On The Road, is a must-watch for all travelers. It follows young writer Sal and his best friend Dean as they cross the country in an attempt to find freedom and discover themselves. The journey of self-discovery includes many interesting and unique individuals and experiences and is likely to leave you wishing for your own opportunity to find yourself in travel.
What are your favorite travel movies? Have you watched any on this list?
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