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20+ of the Best Travel Movies to Cure Your Wanderlust

Okay, so this list of the best travel movies won’t necessarily cure your wanderlust. However, if you do get a chance to watch one or two, it could at least tide you over until you’re back out on the open road.

Regardless of the season, we all understand that sometimes work, family obligations, home (whether house or RV) repairs get in the way of our travel dreams. Whatever the reason, curling up on the couch and watching a great travel flick can definitely help. Even if it’s only a temporary band-aid.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite travel movies and categorize them below based on the setting’s location. So if you want to watch a film about France, we’ve got you covered. India? Done. Are you dreaming of an intense hiking trip? You got it!

Not all of these movies are specifically about travel.  We selected some because they fall into our destination bucket list. Or because they captivate the audience with amazing landscape cinematography, provide insights into the culture, or background stories about the region.

After you scour this list of best travel movies, if your favorite isn’t listed, let us know! You can share your travel related movie and the reasons why it’s on your list of favorites in the comment section below this post.

Here we go!


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List of the Best Travel Movies to Cure Your Wanderlust


#1 Travel Movie: Out of Africa – 1985, PG

Winner of the Best Picture Academy Award

“Out of Africa is the true story of a woman who runs a Kenyan plantation (Meryl Streep) and falls in love with a mysterious hunter (Robert Redford).”

This is a breathtakingly beautiful movie that shows the true beauty of Africa.

Watch a clip of Out of Africa. Rent or buy Out of Africa.


#2 Travel Movie: Gorillas in the Midst

1988, Rated PG-13

“Based on the true story of anthropologist Dian Fossey, whose travels to the African wilderness began as a study of the rare mountain gorillas.”

With this movie, you get wildlife, beautiful scenery and a story that shares the amazing bond between man and animals.

Watch a clip of Gorillas in the Midst. Rent or buy Gorillas in the Midst.


#3 Travel Movie: I Dreamed of Africa

2000, PG-13

“Directed by Hugh Hudson and based on a true story, I Dreamed of Africa stars Kim Basinger as Kuki Gallmann, a socialite who gambles on love and a risky move to a most unyielding spot on Earth: the wilds of Africa. Kuki soon discovers that life in rural Africa is no fairy-tale. Life in a strange land explodes into a powerful saga of joy and pain, promise and purpose, death and resurrection.”

This movie shares what it’s like to move to Africa and stick it out when things get tough.

Rent or buy I Dreamed of Africa.

BOOK: I DREAMED OF AFRICA

If you prefer to relax by the fire with a good book, you can enjoy reading I Dreamed of Africa. The memoir by Kuki Gallmann is “celebration, part tragedy, and part love letter to the magical spirit of Africa.


#4 Travel Movie: Into the Wild

2007, Rated-R

“This is the true story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). Freshly graduated from college with a promising future ahead, McCandless instead walked out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure.”

Rent or buy Into the Wild.

BOOK: INTO THE WILD

Our youngest son has read the book Into the Wild (by Jon Krakauer) half a dozen times and we finally watched the movie. You get to see both the beauty and brutality of Alaska and its weather, plus share in the journey of a young man’s self-discovery.


#5 Travel Movie: One Week

“A young man (Joshua Jackson) decides to embrace life and embark on an epic cross-country road trip full of adventure and romance.”

If you’re eager to view some Canadian scenery, then this movie is for you. Although a sad flick, you may be delighted to view the character’s journey from Toronto to Vancouver Island.

Rent or buy One Week.


#6 Travel Movie: Seven Years in Tibet

1997, Rated PG-13

“Heinrich Harrer is an Austrian mountaineer in search of fame and glory. His 1939 adventure takes him to Tibet where the Dalai Lama teaches him selflessness.”

It’s been many, many years since I’ve seen this movie, so I added it to our watch list because it’s definitely time to watch it again. If you’re into history, you’ll enjoy a look into China’s takeover of Tibet. Plus, you know, young Brad Pitt. 😉

Watch a clip of Seven Years in Tibet. Rent or buy Seven Years in Tibet.


#7 Travel Movie: Midnight in Paris

2011, Rated PG-13

“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.”

This is one of my favorite films that features France because we see it both in modern times and in the 1920s. The film does a great job at making you feel as if you’re walking the city with the characters.

Rent or buy Midnight in Paris.


#8 Travel Movie: A Good Year

2006, Rated PG-13

“A success-driven investment banker’s life begins to change when he travels to Provence to look after a wine estate he inherited from his late uncle, and meets a woman there who also lays claim to the property.”

This is a light, beautiful romantic comedy that goes well with a glass of your favorite wine. You’ll be whisked away to the beautiful French countryside complete with chateaus and vineyards.

Watch a clip of A Good Year. Rent or buy A Good Year.


#9 Travel Movie: Julie & Julia

2009, Rated PG-13

“A culinary legend provides a frustrated office worker with a new recipe for life in Julie & Julia, the true stories of how Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) life and cookbook inspired fledgling writer Julie Powell (Amy Adams) to whip up 524 recipes in 365 days.”

Ok, I know, it’s not really travel, but it can help put your travel wanderlust at bay for a couple hours. I was drawn to this movie (and continue to be so…don’t ask how many times I’ve seen it) because it involves blogging (what I do for a living), cooking, and France. Put those three together, add the adorable Amy Adams, the fantastic Meryl Streep and the story of Julia Child and you have one really, really great movie.

Watch a clip of Julie & Julia. Rent or buy Julie & Julia.


#10 Travel Movie: The Hundred-Foot Journey

2014, Rated PG

“The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory’s Michelin-starred eatery.”

With this movie, you get both India and France: their cultures, their food, their people. Plus it leaves you feeling oh so good.

Rent or buy The Hundred-Foot Journey.


#11 Travel Movie: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

2012, Rated PG-13

“British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.”

This is a feel-good movie based in Jaipur, India. The movie gives you some fantastic street scenes and views of what Jaipur is like. And if you’ve ever booked a place on the internet only to arrive and it’s not exactly as pictured or described, then you’ll most definitely relate to this film.

Rent or buy Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.


#12 Travel Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

2009, Rated R

“When a penniless, eighteen-year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai comes within one question of winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, a police investigation reveals his amazing story.”

Again I have stretched the definition of travel movie to bring this one into our list. It’s just so good. And you’ll see plenty of sights and sounds of India. So get ready to be immersed in the culture, albeit perhaps dramatized for the flick.

You’ll see both sides, from the slums of Mumbai to the sounds and sights of Bollywood. This movie is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

Watch a clip of Slumdog Millionaire. Rent or buy Slumdog Millionaire.


#13 Travel Movie: Under the Tuscan Sun

2003, Rated PG-13

“A writer impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in order to change her life.”

If you’re looking for a little bit of romance, self-discovery and most of all…views of beautiful Tuscany, then this film is for you. It is different from the book, so if you’re a ‘read the book before seeing the movie’ kind of person, you might be a tad bit disappointed in the changes.


#14 Travel Movie: Only You

1994, Rated PG

“Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. star as lovers destined to meet and fall in love… no matter what. Irresistible romantic comedy.”

If you’re wanting to see the highlights of Italy, which include Rome, Venice, and Tuscany, you’ll enjoy this romantic comedy. The movie includes a ride along the stunning Amalfi coast. This is definitely a ‘curl up with a glass of wine’ kind of movie.

Rent or buy Only You.


#15 Travel Movie: Everest

2015, Rated PG-13

“Everest documents the deadly journey of two mountain climbing expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind.”

We saw this film in IMAX, which really helped emphasize both the beauty and the harsh natural elements hikers face on Everest. The film does an outstanding job of taking you along the journey of what climbing a mountain of this magnitude is all about.

Watch a clip of Everest. Rent or buy Everest.


#16 Travel Movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

2001, Rated PG-13

“In the first part, The Lord of the Rings, a shy young hobbit named Frodo Baggins inherits a simple gold ring that holds the secret to the survival–or enslavement–of the entire world.”

If you’re ready to be immersed in the beauty that is New Zealand, start with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then move on to The Hobbit films. Not only do they have fantastic storylines and cinematography, but they make you want to book that plane ticket asap.

Rent or purchase below:


#17 Travel Movie: The Beach

2000, Rated R

“Not quite ready to surrender himself to responsibility or mainstream society, a young American travels to Asia and discovers he is not alone in his feelings.”

Get ready to see the stunning beaches of Thailand in this film, but be aware you won’t be able to visit the actual beach from the movie, at least for a while.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Beach” made Maya Bay so popular with tourists the local authorities shut down access. It was important to allow time for restoration due to over tourism. They closed the beach to allow the natural marine life and resources return to their normal conditions.

Watch a clip of The Beach. Rent or buy The Beach.


#18 Travel Movie: Wild

2014, Rated R

“A chronicle of one woman’s one thousand one hundred mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.”

If you love to hike and the idea of lacing up your hiking shoes and hitting the trail for days, weeks or months sounds like the thrill of a lifetime, you’ll most likely enjoy this film. It’s a movie about self-healing, self-discovery and the challenges of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail both alone and at all.

Rent or buy Wild.


From the life of a vagabond to marking off your bucket list, the following films are set in various locations.

#19 Travel Movie: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

2013, Rated PG

“Ben Stiller directs and stars in this inspiring story about an ordinary man who finds the courage to discover his destiny and leap into the extraordinary adventure that is life.”

This movie easily slipped into my top five favorite films. Ben Stiller is spectacular, the story is inspiring and encourages you to take chances.

And above all, it’ll make you want to travel to places like Greenland and Iceland…or anywhere you’ve been saying you’ll get to…someday.

Rent or buy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.


#20 Travel Movie: Up In the Air

2009, Rated R

“From Jason Reitman, the Oscar-nominated director of “Juno,” comes the new acclaimed film “Up in the Air” starring Oscar winner George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and after he’s met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams.”

Whether you travel a lot for business or lifestyle, this movie speaks to the loneliness a vagabond lifestyle creates. While watching, you’ll get to see a lot of airports, cities and some aerial shots of different landscapes.

Watch a clip of Up in the Air. Rent or buy Up In The Air.


#21 Travel Movie: Eat, Pray, Love

2010, Rated PG-13

“A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to “find herself”.”

Not everyone liked the relationship aspect of this movie and even found it a little cheesy, but if you want to see the sights of Italy, India, and Bali, this movie is for you. I personally liked it all, from the story to the cheesy romance and of course, it made me want to book a plane ticket to all of these places asap.

Rent or buy Eat, Pray, Love.


#22 Travel Movie: A Map for Saturday

2007, Rated PG

“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; teenagers and senior citizens who wondered, “What would it be like to travel the world?” Then did it.”

As former full-time travelers ourselves, we can attest to the fact that every day feels like Saturday. If you’ve ever wondered what traveling full-time and doing it solo is like, this film is a great place to start.

Rent or buy A Map for Saturday.


#23 Travel Movie: The Motorcycle Diaries

2004, Rated R

“Based on a true story, this inspiring adventure traces the youthful road trip of two revolutionary friends: “Che” Guevara (Gael García Bernal) and Alberto Granado (Rodrigo De la Serna).”

The film based on a true story takes you through South America by motorcycle. The friends wanted to see the things about their continent that they’d only read about. Their journey starts in Buenos Aires and their goal is to get to Guajira Peninsula in Venezuela by one of the character’s 30th birthday. As you might expect, not everything goes according to plan.

Rent or buy The Motorcycle Diaries.


#24 Travel Movie: The Bucket List

2007, Rated PG-13

“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.”

From things like an African safari, Everest Base Camp and the North Pole…those were just a few things on their bucket list. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are pretty outstanding in this movie. Be sure to have some tissues handy.

Watch a clip of The Bucket List. Rent or buy The Bucket List.

Which of these travel movies will you watch first?

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8 Comments

  1. It’s winter and I’m stir crazy. πŸ™‚ Perfect idea to get lost in travel inspired movies. I haven’t seen some of these in ages (and a few are new). Now I’m adding to my watch list.

  2. This is a really great list! I’m on vacation next week so I’ll definitely be watching some of these. I like that you had a mix of both older and more modern movies πŸ™‚

  3. Julie and Julia, Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat, Pray, Love are my favorites from this list. I also really like Letters to Juliet, you should check it out! Unfortunately, I do not think these movies CURE my want to travel, but make me want to travel more! Thanks for sharing!

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