Best Travel Movies (and TV Shows)

Sometimes it just takes the perfect movie or TV show to inspire you and make you want to rush to the airport with your passport!

I contacted a whole bunch of travel bloggers that I have bookmarked in my browser, to ask them a simple question:

"What movie* inspires you to go travelling?"

(* or TV show/documentary)

I received many responses, and while there are a few films mentioned several times (such as The Beach or Lost in Translation) there is quite a variety of films or TV series mentioned, so it should give you lots of ideas of what films to watch!

Long way round

My Answer: For me, it is definitely The Long Way Round that gives me the urge to go and travel. It is a documentary series that follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip around the world. The two friends will travel through such places as Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Alaska, before finally ending the journey in New York. There are also a couple of sequels to this show, but I recommend you order the box set of The Long Way Round and watch this first! Charley Boorman also has several other DVD box sets of similar shows. It is probably the reason I suddenly got the idea (many years ago) to start planning bigger trips. Although, never on a motorbike...

(Links: IMDB, Trailer.)


Here is what the travel bloggers who I contacted said, along with some short details about the mentioned films.

Lillie from Around The World L
Around The World L
Around The World L
For me it's the James Bond movie, Casino Royale -- especially that opening chase scene! The views!
Casino Royale
Casino Royale

Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007, and must defeat a private banker to terrorists in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro, but things are not what they seem.

Howard from Backroad Planet
Backroad Planet
Backroad Planet
I love epic historical motion pictures that feature a cast of thousands, sweeping panoramic cinematography, and moving musical scores. But even more, I enjoy feature films with a strong sense of place. When I think about movies that make me want to book a ticket, the first title that comes to mind is On Golden Pond. I still recall watching the movie for the first time in 1981 and longing to spend a summer swimming, boating, hiking trails, and listening to the loons at a New Hampshire lakeside cabin.
On Golden Pond
On Golden Pond

Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.

BonVoyageurs
BonVoyageurs
BonVoyageurs
Any of the James Bond movies makes me want to rush out the door and travel overseas !
Annette White from Bucket List Journey
Bucket List Journey
Bucket List Journey
It could be my love for Japan, but the movie that always makes me want to jump on a plane is Lost in Translation. The two characters, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, are an unlikely pair who meet in Tokyo and form a meaningful bond while exploring the energy of the city.
Lost in Translation
Lost in Translation (2003)

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

CC Food Travel
CC Food Travel
CC Food Travel
Breakfast at Tiffany's. New York City!
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Breakfast at Tiffany's

A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way.

Chasing The Donkey
Chasing The Donkey
Chasing The Donkey
Rick Stein's French Odyssey

I'm a huge fan of all of Rick Stein's series but the French Odyssey really hit the mark for me. Cruising the canals of South West France eating their way through picturesque villages, meeting charming locals and lets not forget exploring the region was inspiring to say the least. Book me a ticket France!
Rich Stein's French Odyssey
Rich Stein's French Odyssey

Celebrity chef Rick Stein takes as meandering journey through the waterways of France, sampling the very best of the country's cuisine, as he takes the long route to a favourite Marsailles eatery.

Alex from Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler
Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler
Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler
One of my favorite travel movies is The Way from 2010. It's a bit of a sad story in the beginning as a father finds out that his son died in a storm when doing the Camino de Santiago.

Martin Sheen in the role of the father called Tom then decides to walk Camino de Santiago in France and Northern Spain too and spread his son's ashes along the way. The movie is about life in general, and shows that sometimes we do take a wrong turn but then we just need to change the direction again and keep moving.

Tom meets many other pilgrims on the way and tries to lears something from them. This film is a bit more spiritual than just a travel documentary, but always makes me realize why I travel, too. It's all about learning new things and moving forward.
The Way
The Way

A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the "El camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

Dave from Dave's Travel Corner
Dave's Travel Corner
Dave's Travel Corner
“Last Stop for Paul” is the ultimate movie for independent International travelers. This movie really resonates with my own travels. I love the humor – the jail scene in Vietnam is classic!"
Last Stop for Paul
Last Stop for Paul

Charlie and Cliff decide they want to go to the Full Moon party in Thailand. Along the way they travel around the world sprinkling the ashes of their dead friend Paul. As they go from country to country they meet a wide variety of crazy people and have insane adventures.

Jonny Blair from Don't Stop Living
Don't Stop Living
Don't Stop Living
Michael Palin's "Around the World in 80 Days" series is the only film worth watching for anyone wanting to travel the world. I get inspired everytime I see it.
Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days
Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days

Michael Palin attempts to copy the exploits of fictional character Phileas Fogg, by trying to travel around the world (without flying) in 80 days.

Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere
Everything Everywhere
Everything Everywhere
My favorite travel film is Lawrence of Arabia. Not a travel film per se, but it was the reason I went out of my way to visit Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Globe Totting
My favourite travel film is definitely The Beach.
The Beach
The Beach (2000)

Vicenarian Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss. Excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.

Goats On The Road
Goats On The Road
Goats On The Road
My favourite inspiring travel film is probably The Way. There’s not a lot of dialogue in the film, but it is a beautiful portrayal of the Spanish countryside along the Camino de Santiago. Every time I see the film it makes me want to do the pilgrimage for sure!
The Way
The Way

A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the "El camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

Leon from Leon Logothetis
Leon Logothetis
Leon Logothetis
My favorite travel film is The Motorcycle Diaries. It’s a romanticized version of Che Guevaras trip across South America relying on kindness and epitomizes the connection between travel and community. You feel like you are on the adventure yourself and one gets to meet the human world in all its complicated magnificence. After watching the film, I literally purchased a round the world ticket!
Motorcycle Diaries
Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling.

Charles McCool from McCool Travel
McCool Travel
McCool Travel
There really is no one single film I can think of fitting that description. However, there is a genre. Whenever I see surfing footage, whether on YouTube or Twitter or part of a film, I immediately want to go there.
Dave and Deb from The Planet D
The Planet D
The Planet D
One of our favourite movies that inspires us to travel is One Week starring Joshua Jackson of Dawson's Creek. It's a love letter to Canada about a man that is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides to buy a motorcycle and drive across the country.

He stops at some famous Canadian landmarks, meets some interesting characters along the way including a cameo by Canadian icon Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip and does some soul searching along the way.

It makes you realize that life can change at any moment and it is important to seize the moment and live each day to the fullest.
One Week
One Week

Chronicles the motorcycle trip of Ben Tyler as he rides from Toronto to Tofino, British Columbia. Ben stops at landmarks that are both iconic and idiosyncratic on his quest to find meaning in his life.

The Travel Tart
The Travel Tart
The Travel Tart
My favourite travel film that inspires me is 'The Motorcycle Diaries'.

I had a big smile on my face when I watched this great movie about the travels of Che Guevara and Alberto Granado throughout South America because I had been to many of the places they had been.

I want to book a flight to South America for the next day every time I watch this great movie!
Motorcycle Diaries
Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling.

This Life in Trips
This Life in Trips
This Life in Trips
Oddly enough, a favourite film that makes me want to travel has nothing to do with travel at all.

When I first backpacked Europe and Eastern Canada I had an iPod video knock off that could hold a limited collection of songs and movies.

One of which was Anchorman. Over the 9 months I travelled I must have watched it 100 times so to me I can match up scenes and lines to where I was in the world that year and instantly triggers a good memory about a person or place. If I stumble upon it on TV I can’t help but think about these places and wanting to return.
Anchorman
Anchorman

Ron Burgundy is San Diego's top-rated newsman in the male-dominated broadcasting of the 1970s, but that's all about to change for Ron and his cronies when an ambitious woman is hired as a new anchor.

Turtle from Time Travel Turtle
Time Travel Turtle
Time Travel Turtle
One of my favourite travel films is ‘Wild’ with Reese Witherspoon. I’ve never walked the Pacific Crest Trail (although I would like to) so I can’t relate to her exact experience.

But I love the universal themes in the story – about challenging yourself, finding rewards in your journey, and how travel can change your whole perspective on life.
Wild
Wild

A chronicle of one woman's 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.

Travel Dudes
Travel Dudes
Travel Dudes
I've seen the documentary "Long Way Round" & "Long Way Down" with Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman. That was fun to watch, but hey... I would do that without a back-up team behind me! ;-) And this would not really make me buy a flight ticket, but a dirt bike. ;-)

Otherwise I love to watch documentaries like Planet Earth and Our Planet. The pictures of landscapes and wildlife are simply stunning. They make me wanna travel around the world and to experience similar things.
Planet Earth
Planet Earth

Emmy Award-winning, 11 episodes, five years in the making, the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and the first to be filmed in high definition.

Traveling Bytes
Traveling Bytes
Traveling Bytes
Thank you very much for reaching out. Actually, I had a lot of fun with the answer to your question. There are tons of travel movies that came to mind. Which one inspired me most?

The Beach, Bucket List, In BrugesLost In Translation is a good one.

Hard to pick THE one. Perhaps, because I like older movies,

I finally chose Casablanca. It has this unbeatable mix of the love story, the history and the exotic location that keeps you glued to the screen. The entire picture was shot in the studio. Still, it sparked my interest in visiting Casablanca. To my surprise, Rick's Cafe, the mythical saloon from the film, had been transformed from celluloid to real life thanks to the enthusiasm of some American expat.
Casablanca
Casablanca

In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Show more mentioned films
Travel Past 50
Out of Africa comes to mind first, not that it is a travel movie per se.

It just evokes such a sense of awe at huge landscapes (great photography), images of cultural misunderstandings, and a sense of longing that always accompanies the best travels. 


Out of Africa
Out of Africa

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Two Scots Abroad
Two Scots Abroad
Two Scots Abroad
I wouldn't say there is one film which gets me moving (I'm more sucked in by Instagram images and Pinterest pins) but there are definitely certain films which have made me visit specific places. For example, Amelie and Paris (the cafe was underwhelming which was disappointing)!
Uncornered Market
Uncornered Market
Uncornered Market
Thanks for inviting us to take part. A movie that makes me want to book a ticket or more like, get my hiking boots and backpack ready is "The Way" about the Camino de Santiago. We watched it many years ago and afterwards put walking the Camino on our bucket list.

Which we did a few years ago by walking 960km along the Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo, but after walking it once and watching the movie again after we completed it we've decided we want to walk a different Camino route in the next few years.
The Way
The Way

A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the "El camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

Untapped Cities
Untapped Cities
Untapped Cities
British period dramas like Pride and Prejudice, Downton Abbey, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Crown, Victoria and more inspire us to see the historical houses of England and the gorgeous countryside!
Vagabondish
Vagabondish
Vagabondish
It's almost cliche for my generation, but ... Lost in Translation. Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and getting lost in Japan. It's a damn-near perfect travel film!
Lost in Translation
Lost in Translation (2003)

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Wandering Earl
Wandering Earl
Wandering Earl
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - I've watched this a few times while on an airplane and each time it gets me fully pumped up for the new adventures awaiting me when I land.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

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.

Wandering On
Wandering On
Wandering On
Over the years many different movies and documentaries have inspired our wanderlust and garnered our interest in different destinations and experiences around the world. It happens too often that before the movie even ends, we have Google Maps open and are researching the location, trying to figure out how we can get there!

One documentary in the last few years that really sparked our interest was 180° South, a documentary film that retraces the steps of Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia in 1968. The sense of real adventure, isolation, the challenges, the waves, the mountains and the sheer natural beauty they encounter along the way, are so inspiring. They capture the essence of travel, of getting away from it all and stepping outside your comfort zone to challenge yourself so well. It's definitely one of those shows that will have you searching for flights in no time!
180° South
180° South

The film follows adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia.

Wanderlusters
Wanderlusters
Wanderlusters
The travel film that most inspires me is the 2007 biological drama 'Into the Wild'.

Although the main character Christopher ultimately perishes as a result of his desire to travel frequently and live an unconventional life, his free spirited approach to adventure inspires me to always live my dreams.
Into The Wild
Into The Wild (2007)

Into the Wild is based on a real and very tragic story of a guy who wanted to go backpacking into the wildness.

Nellie Huang from Wild Junket
Wild Junket
Wild Junket
My favorite travel film used to be The White Masai, a true story about a Swiss woman who falls in love with a Masai man in Kenya and moves to the savannas to live with him.

The movie gives a peek into life in rural Kenya and the struggle of a foreigner living there. It made me book a plane ticket to Kenya back in 2008!

I also love The Secret Life of Walter Mitty -- the movie was shot beautifully and it really put Iceland on many people's travel radar. The story behind the movie really resonated with me - it sends the message that everyone can have an adventure, it's a matter of changing your mentality and opening yourself up to opportunities.
The White Masai
The White Masai

A girl, Carola, whose vacation in Kenya takes an interesting turn when she becomes infatuated with a Masai. Carola decides to leave her boyfriend to stay with her lover. There, she has to adapt to the Masai's way of life and get used to their food which includes milk mixed with blood. She also has to face her husband's attitude towards women and what he expects from a wife. Nonetheless, Carola is welcomed warmly into the tribe she has chosen to join.

Show more mentioned films

Get some inspiration for travel ideas, with these top movies about travelling and/or backpacking. Tell us in the comments below what your favourite travel movies are!

A big thanks to everyone who responded. Go and check out their blogs and follow them on social media!


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Posted:
Tue 6th February, 2018
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Top Travel Movies - 29 Movie Recommendations from the top travel bloggers!

By: Patrick

Patrick loves travelling, and has been travelling most of the year for over 10 years now. Now he shares his trips, tricks and advice here on CompleteCityGuides.com.

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