Longing for a getaway but housebound for now? Enjoy jet-setting from your couch with this epic list of travel movies.
No matter what kind of travel movie you’re in the mood for, I can guarantee that you’ll find something to fit your fancy on this list.
Action and adventure, documentaries, feel-good films and beyond, whatever travel movie you’re on the hunt for, we’ve got you covered here.
- 1 Travel Movies: Our Top Picks
- 2 Travel Movies Set in Europe
- 3 Travel Movies Set in Asia
- 4 Travel Movies About Road Trips
- 5 Travel Movies With Epic Landscapes
- 6 Travel Movies About the Great Outdoors
- 7 Adventure Travel Movies
- 8 Best Travel Documentaries
- 9 Feel-Good Travel Movies
Travel Movies: Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Travel Movie: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
- Funniest Travel Movie: Eurotrip
- Most Feel-Good Travel Movie: Hector and the Search for Happiness
- Most Exciting Travel Movie: The Beach
- Best Travel Documentary: Baraka
- Best Travel Movie for Date Night: Grand Budapest Hotel
- Best Travel Movie for Girls’ Night: Sex & The City 2
- Best Travel Movie for Family: Up
Travel Movies Set in Europe
If you’re longing to wander the streets of Paris, sunbathe on Greek islands or jet around a new city on a Vespa, these travel movies set in Europe will feed your need for cobblestone streets and handsome European men.
A true cinematic delight, Amélie has the ability to transport you to the streets of Paris as soon as it hits your screen. Shot in over 80 iconic locations in the city, this hilarious travel movie is about a woman who helps those around her in an oh-so unique way.
This whimsical movie is an absolute delight and will have you smiling from start to finish. It may also have you checking flights to Paris…
Mamma Mia! is possibly the most irresistible travel movie, full of luscious Greek island landscapes and plenty of ABBA tunes.
In case you haven’t seen this masterpiece, the basic rundown is a girl is getting married and wants her father to walk her down the aisle. The only problem is that there are three potential fathers and her mom has no clue which one is the one! So all three men make their way to the island for a summer of Greek family fun.
Midnight in Paris
Another travel movie that captures the true charm of the City of Love, Midnight in Paris is about a man (Owen Wilson) who wanders off from his new wife (Rachel McAdams) on their visit to the city.
On his lonesome nightly walks, Wilson mysteriously gets swept away into the past by a group of musicians and discovers what life was like during the Jazz Age (literally, he goes back in time, it’s that kind of movie). If you want a peek into the prime time for art and literature in one of Europe’s most famous cities, you’ll probably enjoy this travel movie, with a glass of wine of course.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
A raunchy travel movie about two Americans on vacation in Barcelona, this film is as seductive as the city that it was filmed in. The two women meet a Spanish painter and things get steamy with the three of them… and then the ex shows up.
Directed by Woody Allen and filled with names like Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz (who won an Oscar for her role), this indie-esque film is perfect for getting lost in late-night Spanish dinners and some of Barcelona’s best sights.
In Bruges is a hilarious crime comedy set in… you guess it: Bruges. As soon as you see this enchanting Belgian city through the shots in the movie, you’ll be tingling with the urge to sit on a terrace under medieval architecture, sipping a cold one.
The plot follows a pair of hitmen who lay low in Bruges after a messy job. While one of the guys hates the city, the other is in love with it. It’s hilarious how things pan out, as they experience Bruges through the eyes of the different people they meet.
When average saleswoman Georgia (played by Queen Latifah) finds out she only has a few weeks to live, she drains her bank account and sets off to Europe to live in ultimate luxury. We’re talking fancy clothes, presidential suites, gourmet dinners, and of course a side of adventure.
Throughout Europe, Georgia snowboards, BASE jumps, and befriends pretty much everyone she meets. A taste of the five-star life from home, this travel film is as entertaining as it is heartfelt.
Is walking the Camino de Santiago on your bucket list? If so, The Way is a must-see travel movie. It’s about an American man named Tom who travels to Spain after his adult son was killed during a storm on the trail. To honor him, Tom walks the route himself, his son’s ashes in tow.
Many travelers will be able to relate to elements of this movie, like Tom befriending people from all over the world along the trail. This movie is about connection, overcoming challenges, and searching for something “more”.
It’s also an amazing look at the landscape along this ancient pilgrimage trail that is walked by thousands of people every single year!
PS I Love You
You’ll definitely need tissues for PS I Love You, a tear-jerking travel movie featuring well-loved Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank. After Butler passes away from an illness, he leaves his wife a series of letters that she begins to receive on her thirtieth birthday, guiding her through her grief.
One of these letters sends her to Ireland, where Holly (Swank) discovers her late husband’s favorite places nestled into the lush green countryside. Most of the movie is set in sprawling landscapes and quaint towns, making Ireland seem like the most charming place in the world.
If you want to have a good cry while soaking in the luscious views of rural Ireland (with the predictable pub scene of course), you’ll love this travel movie.
Before Sunrise is a sappy but enthralling flick that’ll make you want to be young and in love and in Europe (instead of on your couch). Often called an “indie-classic”, this movie is about an American boy named Jesse who meets Celine, a student in Paris on a train. After a first conversation, the two decide to get off in Vienna together and explore the city, hand in hand before Jesse’s flight departs to the U.S. the next morning.
This is definitely a sweet romance film that will have you longing to be riding a train through Europe. Plus it’s a classic that’s actually pretty well-loved, if you need further convincing to watch it.
When you’re done with this, complete the trilogy with Before Sunset (set in Paris) and Before Midnight (set in Greece) for more of Jesse and Celine’s story, with a dose of beautiful European landscapes.
An absolutely ridiculous movie (potentially outdoing American Pie–level ridiculous) Eurotrip is about a group of teenagers who set out across Europe in search of the group leader’s German penpal. The backpackers traverse through big European cities like Paris, London, and Amsterdam, partying and getting into trouble everywhere they go.
There are a couple of surprisingly big names in this travel movie like Matt Damon and Michelle Trachtenberg (Georgina from Gossip Girl, anybody?) and you’ll probably get a few laughs in, especially if you’ve backpacked around Europe yourself.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
The Lizzie McGuire Movie is a timeless work of art featuring not one, but TWO Hillary Duffs. No joke, this is still one of my favorite movies ever to exist. It’s a spin-off from the TV show, where our favorite Disney Channel cast takes to Italy for the summer in between eighth grade and high school.
On one of the first days exploring this European paradise, Lizzie meets a famous Italian pop star and spends the rest of the trip riding around on his Vespa and avoiding her freaky doppelgänger (and the pop star’s ex-partner).
But is Italian fame worth it? Is there more to the story? Most importantly: what about Gordo? Time to finally watch it to find out.
Travel Movies Set in Asia
Who doesn’t love traveling around Asia? Cheap transportation, colorful cities, and the best food in the world, there’s a lot to miss about this continent if you’re sitting at home thousands of miles away.
Luckily, these movies will satisfy your craving for white sand beaches and bustling Asian cities… and a few bowls of noodles, too.
Young Leonardo Decaprio in Thailand… need I say more? Okay, well besides the devastatingly handsome lead character being the draw, The Beach is about an American backpacker named Robert who winds up in Thailand looking for the time of his life.
In his hostel on Khao San Road, he hears about a place called “The Beach” that’s meant to be paradise on earth and is left with a mysterious map of how to get there. Robert takes off with a couple he’s just met and discovers that there may be more to paradise than what meets the eye.
Set on a secluded island in Thailand, this travel movie showcases the best of its country with white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and giant rock formations jutting out of the wide-open ocean.
Lost in Translation
An amazing travel movie starring Bill Murray and featuring Scarlett Johansson and Anna Faris, this film is about a washed-up American movie star who lands in Toyko to be in Japanese advertisements. At his hotel, he meets other Americans, one of which he bonds with and the two end up exploring the bustling Japanese city together.
This movie will be relatable to other travelers who have ever felt out of place in a new country or have had a hard time adapting to local cultures. Beautifully filmed and showing off the best of Japan, this is a travel movie that’s worth a watch.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an entertaining travel movie about a group of older British friends, who make their way to India to live in what they think is a newly resorted hotel.
However, upon arriving at the hotel in Jaipur, they realize that it’s not nearly as luxurious as advertised. This movie will have you falling in love, not only with this hotel but with Jaipur too.
Crazy Rich Asians
For some serious Asian city wanderlust, pop on Crazy Rich Asians and be transported to the glimmering cities of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
According to a Singaporean friend, the only accurate parts of this movie are the hawker stalls and the giant feast that follows (YUM). But it’s hard not to get swept away by the larger-than-life mansions, parties, and meals that are showcased throughout Singapore in this film.
This movie is based on the novel by Kevin Kwan and follows one Rachel Chu navigating how to fit into the Singaporean elite after falling in love with a man from one of the wealthiest and most prominent families in the city.
Larger than life houses, tours of Singapore’s iconic sights, and a wild wedding to top things off… hang on a sec, booking my ticket back to Singapore ASAP!
Seven Years in Tibet
Based on the 1952 autobiography with the same name, Seven Years in Tibet is a remarkable film based on a true story, starring Brad Pitt. Set between 1939 and 1951 during and post-World War II, this movie depicts what Tibet was like throughout this turbulent period, as well as the Communist takeover of Tibet in 1950.
An incredibly touching story full of heartache and adventure, this travel movie follows two Australian mountaineers who are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, before befriending the young 14th Dalai Lama.
Nothing says India like a massive and lavish wedding ceremony. Fulfill your Indian travel dreams with this movie that shows off what it’s like to organize one of these chaotic affairs in one of the most colorful countries on earth.
Monsoon Wedding follows a modern Indian family who’s gathered from all corners of the globe to celebrate. But there’s more than just the wedding… a crazy family full of crazy secrets awaits, and things aren’t what they may seem.
Travel Movies About Road Trips
Ahh, there’s nothing quite like hopping in your car and seeing where the road takes you. There are so many epic road trip travel movies out there that it’s hard to narrow them down.
Below, you’ll find my top picks for travel movies about road trips covering different decades and different existential crises. Because what’s a road trip without shit hitting the fan at some point?
Easy Rider is the classic of all classics when it comes to motorcycle road trip films. Released in 1969, this wild American adventure is full of big names like Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson. It follows the story of hippie drug dealers who made a fortune and buy motorbikes to drive from Los Angeles to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras.
You see a good deal of the U.S. in this film (especially the wide, open highways), and can revel in a time past. This travel movie might even motivate you to buy your own motorbike for a cross-country trip. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
The Motorcycle Diaries
Another blood-pumping movie full of motorcycles and trouble, The Motorcycle Diaries is about a young Ernesto Guevara on a road trip to explore the roots of Latin America.
In his last semester of school, Guevara decides to set out on this four-month trip from his home in Buenos Aires that covers 8,000 kilometers of South America. Of course, like most long trips, this one doesn’t go exactly according to plan but becomes an eye-opening experience for a boy meant to enter into the “real world”.
Based on a true story, little did Guevara know that this motorcycle trip would be the catalyst for his role as a Marxist revolutionary.
Thelma & Louise
The word “iconic” probably originated with the movie Thelma & Louise, as I simply cannot think of anything that fits this definition better. This absurd travel movie is about two best friends who set off on the road trip of their dreams… until things go terribly wrong.
On the run from the police, Thelma and Louise must escape from arrest and make a run for it. Good thing they’re already on the road! If you haven’t already seen this *iconic* travel movie, now’s the perfect chance to pop it on.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Hilarious and thought-provoking, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is an Australian comedy that will have you Down Under in the land of the most fabulous.
This travel movie is about a pair of drag queens and a transgender woman who make their way through the Australian desert on their purple tour bus named Priscilla. Going from place to place and performing unique cabaret shows wherever they stop, this travel movie will have you grinning from ear to ear and on your way out the door to buy an entire new wardrobe before your next trip.
Y Tu Mamá También
Y Tu Mamá También is a scandalous travel movie about a Mexican road trip. Two Mexican teenagers are bumming around their hometown before starting college. Their girlfriends are off traveling Europe and they have nothing to do for the summer… until they meet a sexy, older, married woman at a wedding.
To impress her, the two teenagers talk all about a nonexistent road trip they’re about to set out on. When the woman decides she wants to come, the two boys throw together a trip and the three of them pile into the car.
Definitely raunchier, as far as travel movies go, but it’ll keep you entertained while highlighting what you can see along a road trip in Mexico.
World’s Fastest Indian
This movie will make your heart warm, I promise you that. The World’s Fastest Indian isn’t about Native Americans or the country India, but rather a true story about a man from New Zealand (named Burt Munro) whose lifelong dream is to race his 1920 classic Indian motorcycle at the Salt Flats in Utah.
In this travel movie, Burt makes his way from New Zealand to the States where he is hit with a massive wave of culture shock and plenty of surprises. Still, he makes it to Utah, just in time for the race.
Seriously, this movie is so sweet, it will have you laughing out loud the entire time and it shows the power travel has to make your dreams come true.
I couldn’t help but throw this travel movie into the mix, especially as a nod to the late and great Robin Williams (even if it isn’t his finest work). RV is a pretty ridiculous movie about a crazy family who rents an RV for a vacation to Colorado.
It’s generally everything you’d expect out of a comedy of this type, and won’t make you want to be trapped with your family any time soon… But the cast is awesome and there are plenty of funny moments. This is a top pick for an easy-to-watch travel movie about a road trip.
The Road Within
The Road Within is a really sweet travel movie about three teens who break out of a behavioral facility, steal a car, and embark on a legendary road trip. They decide to make their way to Santa Cruz, so that one of the characters can scatter his mother’s ashes in the ocean.
It’s a heartfelt story about what it’s like to be young and out of control, and will have you longing to hop in the car and drive far, far away.
If you’re hunting for a fun travel movie on Netflix, this documentary will do the trick. Expedition Happiness is about a couple and their dog who convert a school bus into a campervan and take off to travel across North America.
Maybe I’m biased when it comes to this movie (I live in a campervan, too) but it’s a really good look at what it’s like to live a nomadic life on the road. Van life is the best! Highly recommend this travel documentary, if this is something you’re interested in.
Travel Movies With Epic Landscapes
While traveling, if I’m not eating, I’m enjoying the marvelous world around me. It’s actually pretty amazing how filmmakers have been able to capture the essence of a specific place in their movies and have you longing to return. But like with most things in life, some filmmakers just do it better than others.
The travel movies in this section feature the most epic landscapes of all time. And on top of that, they were shot the best, too. These travel movies have excellent cinematography, allowing watchers to completely immerse themselves in the destination.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
This is actually one of my all-time favorite films, and one of the best travel movies out there. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is about a spacey guy who works for Life Magazine. He’s sent out on the adventure of a lifetime in the hunt for a missing negative which is meant to be the cover for the final in-print issue of the magazine.
The cinematography is absolutely mind-blowing, with an incredible soundtrack too, as Walter covers countries across the world. I could rave about this movie all day, but if you truly want to watch something remarkable, this should be at the top of your list.
Grand Budapest Hotel
No one does landscapes quite as well as Wes Anderson, and that’s a fact. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it’s an outrageously amazing travel movie, too.
It’s about a luxury hotel, with a luxury concierge who is accompanied by his lobby boy everywhere he goes. The story is about love, war, adventure, and recovering a stolen painting, through twists and turns. The pair travel far and wide together, with stunning landscapes racing by.
If you don’t want a stay at a luxury hotel after watching this, you will certainly want to take a nice long train trip. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean.
Out of Africa
Looking to get lost in the grasslands of Africa? Out of Africa is a travel movie based on a memoir by Karen Blixen. Starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, this 1985 Hollywood classic has views for days.
It’s about a Danish woman who moves to Kenya to start a plantation and then falls in love with a big-game hunter. Besides the turbulent love affairs, this travel movie showcases the true beauty of the country and the unique landscape.
If you’ve always been curious about what Africa looks like, this is a good glimpse of it.
Lord of the Rings
Before you ask yourself why the heck Lord of the Rings ended up on this list… have you watched it? This movie is full of some of the most epic travel landscapes you could ever imagine as it’s filmed throughout New Zealand (aka the most amazing place on earth).
You have mountains and rivers and forests and caves, alongside one of the most insane journeys in literary history. Lord of the Rings is the perfect movie to get lost in if you’re dreaming of being somewhere more beautiful than your living room!
An absolutely insane movie that shows off the true beauty of Western Australia’s landscapes, Tracks is about a woman who sets off on a 1,700-mile journey across the desert. Armed with supplies, her dog, and four camels, she sets off on the trip of a lifetime.
This movie is actually another true story, which makes it that much crazier in my opinion. Watch to immerse yourself in the Australian outback!
Travel Movies About the Great Outdoors
There’s nothing quite like the natural wonders of the world when Mother Nature really shows off in all her glory. These travel movies are about setting off into the great outdoors and conquering new heights (in some cases, literally).
Besides the beauty of traveling through natural landscapes, there’s something about trekking through the wilderness or hiking across unknown terrain that’s humbling and self-reflective.
All of these travel movies are about the great outdoors, and most of them also carry themes of finding yourself and conquering huge challenges.
Into the Wild
Based on the world-famous (and truly incredible) biography, Into the Wild follows Chris McCandless who sheds all his possessions and takes off to the Alaskan wilderness to live off the grid. Along his way, he comes across different people who make a tremendous impact on him.
A heartfelt tale with twists, turns, and plenty of travel through the great outdoors, this travel movie will make you want to pack a backpack and set off immediately (or alternatively, make you never want to go hiking again).
Clearly the majority of the best travel movies are based on books, and Reese Witherspoon starring in Wild is no different. This movie is based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir by the same name and recounts a single woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Besides epic shots of the amazing scenery out west as Witherspoon makes her way through the trail, this movie is about recovery, self-discovery, and the power of the great outdoors. Who knew that getting lost outside could lead to finding yourself?
A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson has to be one of the most hilarious writers ever (David Sedaris level), and A Walk in the Woods is one of his greatest works (in my opinion). So great, in fact, that it was turned into a travel movie!
A Walk in the Woods follows Bryson and an unlikely companion who set out to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. Things don’t exactly go to plan, and the pair aren’t as fit as most of the hikers taking to the trail, but this movie will have you doubled over with laughter and proves that plans are made to be changed.
An absolutely stunning New Zealand movie that will have you packing your bags ASAP, Whale Rider is about a young girl who discovers her dream of becoming chief of her Maori tribe.
This movie offers a look at complex family dynamics and positively stunning scenes of New Zealand and the wide-open ocean. Part of traveling is discovering other cultures and learning their ways. Whale Rider is an astounding look at Maori culture, which is little known to people outside of New Zealand.
180° South is an epic travel movie showing off how truly beautiful the world can be. It follows a man named Jeff who sets off from Ventura California to travel to Patagonia, Chile. However, he isn’t taking any old route… Jeff is determined to retrace the steps of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins who took the trip in 1968.
Surfing, hiking, climbing, and enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors, this is definitely one of the best travel movies about the great outdoors.
Encounters at the End of the World
For a glimpse of the most untraveled part of the world, this travel movie is all about the people and places of Antarctica.
Since this frozen tundra is so far off the beaten path and filled with the harshest elements in the world, it’s rare to get a look at the inner workings of the place, let alone travel there yourself. However, Encounters at the End of the Earth gives us a firsthand look at this wild, icy paradise that’s unlike any other place in the world.
Let me just say that any movie involving Kiera Knightly, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mount Everest is an automatic must-see but this travel movie is worth watching besides the star-studded cast and intense location.
Everest is based on the story of Rob Edwin Hall, who attempted a joint expedition to the top of Mount Everest in May 1996. A thrilling film, full of action and adventure, this should be on every traveler’s movie list as it shows a harsher side of the world, seldom seen while backpacking around.
Adventure Travel Movies
Looking for a travel movie that’s going to keep your heart beating fast the entire time? These adventure travel movies are full of action, and protagonists that you can’t help but root for. They’re among the most exciting movies on this list and will keep you entertained from beginning to end, guaranteed.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
An absolute classic directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark is (in my opinion) the best Indian Jones movie and definitely qualifies as a travel movie in my book.
Raiders of the Lost Ark was actually filmed all over the world, covering destinations like Hawaii, London, Tunisia, France, California, and more. Jones makes his way from destination to destination, looking for… you guessed it, the Lost Ark, before the Nazis get to it first.
A little bit of history and a whole lot of action and globetrotting, this movie has it all.
Catch Me If You Can
Another stellar Steven Spielberg travel movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, Catch Me If You Can is set in the 1960s and follows con artist Frank (DiCaprio) who’s on the run from the FBI.
I won’t give too much away about this travel movie, but it certainly gives you the taste of the good life abroad. With lavish scenes across the world, heaps of adventure, and a stunt as a Pan Am pilot, DiCaprio makes travel movie dreams come true in Catch Me If You Can.
Oh, and did I mention it’s based on a true story?
Nowhere in Africa
Nowhere in Africa is based on Stefanie Zweig’s autobiography and follows her journey as she and her family escape from Nazi Germany to a farm in Kenya. Set in the 1930s, this movie is all about adjusting to an unfamiliar environment, worlds away from home (something that most travelers can relate to quite well).
It’s a touching movie and gives an interesting look into the lives of German refugees during World War II. Plus, it’s packed full of sprawling scenes of Africa, showing off Mother Nature at her finest.
Lawrence of Arabia
A classic travel movie dating back to 1962, Lawrence of Arabia is about a British Lieutenant who is sent to Arabia to act as a liaison between the Bedouin tribes and the British while they fight the Turks during World War I.
This movie is full of twists and turns, interwoven with some epic desert travel shots (yes, there are camels). It also gives an interesting look into a side of history that is often overlooked. Worth the watch, for sure.
The Darjeeling Limited
Ah Wes Anderson, the king of cinematography and surreal shots of his character’s surroundings. The Darjeeling Limited is no exception!
This travel movie is about three brothers who take a train trip across India in hopes of forming a bond with one another after their father passes away. In typical Wes Anderson style, the movie has a retro feel to it, despite being released in 2007. It also has Owen Wilson, who can make anyone laugh.
Between family problems and absurd Indian adventures, this is one of my favorite travel movies out there.
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
There are two versions of this world-famous movie: one from 1956 and the other from 2004. I’m going to go ahead and give you the rundown on the 2004 version because it has Jackie Chan, and who doesn’t love a good Jackie Chan movie?
You’ve probably heard of Around the World in 80 Days, but if you don’t know what it’s about, it follows a Chinese adventurer and an Englishman who set out on a journey to circle the world in 80 days. In the present day, this task seems quite easy to accomplish (all you need are a few plane tickets and your passport) but this movie is set in a time before airplanes…
Give it a watch to see how this crazy adventure unfolds!
Life of Pi
This travel movie will have you laughing, crying, sitting on the edge of your seat, and biting your nails the entire time. It’s about a writer who goes to visit an Indian man named Pi to learn about his life story.
As a child, Pi was on his way to Canada with his family on a ship full of zoo animals when a massive storm hit and Pi is left alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean… with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
His story is something of a miracle and makes a fantastic travel movie (and book, too!).
The Art of Travel
Talking about blood-pumping travel movies, The Art of Travel is certainly part of this group. Conner (played by Christopher Masterson) is set to marry the love of his life and high school sweetheart. However, when the wedding plans fall apart, Conner decides to ditch his original plans and go alone on his honeymoon to Central America.
Along the way, he meets plenty of misfit travel companions and has enough adventures to last a lifetime.
Best Travel Documentaries
While there are countless movies about travel, among the most captivating are travel documentaries about real people and real places.
These travel documentaries are compelling, not the boring kind that you’ll fall asleep after putting it on. You’ll quickly become immersed in the amazing shots and unbelievable storylines… Sometimes these documentaries will show you things so beautiful, it’ll be hard to believe they really exist.
If you want to see what I mean, throw one of these travel documentaries on and find out for yourself.
The beauty of the world is endlessly layered and multifaceted. Baraka is a huge look into these dimensions of the world, through an unspoken documentary.
This travel movie is critically acclaimed and absolutely stunning as far as the film goes. It depicts human life all over the world and carries a deep message of humanity and the beauty of our differences.
Sequels almost always flop but Samsara isn’t actually a sequel to Baraka, although it was created by the same people and has the same sort of vibe to it.
Rather than a sequel, Samsara is a companion to the above-mentioned travel documentary and is a compelling look at other parts of life that Baraka doesn’t showcase. Most amazingly, Samsara was filmed over almost five years, on five continents, in 25 countries.
It has the ability to transport you around the world and back… without leaving your couch!
Buena Vista Social Club
Whenever I acted out in the car when I was a kid, my dad would switch off the radio and put on the Buena Vista Social Club as punishment. He didn’t realize that in the backseat, I was reveling in the Latin vibes, trying to keep my hips from shaking while seat-belted in.
I didn’t learn about the Buena Vista Social Club until years later, and I was amazed by a story that fueled the sounds of my childhood. It all began when Ry Cooder, an American musician, traveled to Havana to revive the lost sounds of Cuba. He rounded up a group of the most legendary Cuban musicians who were forgotten when Castro took power, and had them record an album (the very one that my dad played for me over and over again).
This travel movie follows the journey of this band and even showcases some of their concerts across the world. Music is one of those things that brings people from different cultures together, and this movie illustrates that brilliantly.
A Map for Saturday
If you’ve always dreamed about traveling the globe long-term but have no idea what it would be like, A Map for Saturday is a travel movie that gives amazing insight into this very topic.
Following different backpackers around the world, this documentary explores different global topics through the eyes of locals and trekkers. From teenagers to older folks, this movie includes everyone and is a look into the kind of life that we’re living over here at Adventure in You.
Planet Earth II
Captivating, thrilling, and absolutely mind-blowing, Planet Earth is by far one of my favorite travel documentaries ever. While it isn’t exactly a movie, this series takes viewers on a dazzling adventure through the tundra, forests, islands, and even cities.
In 6 one-hour long episodes, you can travel across the entire world and see the landscapes, flora and fauna, and wildlife that resides in the most remote corners of our planet. Using state of the art technology, the filming of this series is beyond epic.
Travel lovers buckle in because this documentary is going to blow your mind.
The Endless Summer
One final travel documentary that will have you dreaming of palm trees, The Endless Summer is the ultimate surf movie about a pair of friends who travel the globe looking for the perfect wave.
They visit dreamy places like Australia, West Africa, Tahiti, and more, while enjoying the wide-open ocean and flying around on their surfboards. Equally thrilling as it is beautiful, this is a travel documentary that should absolutely be on your radar.
Feel-Good Travel Movies
Last but not least, we’ve got our feel-good travel movies. These are the comedies and the sappy travel flicks that will have you laughing and crying the entire time. Some are animated, some are ultimate throwbacks, and some are here just to make you smile.
If you’re after the warm and fuzzies, these movies will hit the right spot.
Hector and the Search for Happiness
An entertaining travel movie about a psychiatrist looking for something more, Hector sets off on an international trip to find the formula for happiness. This light-hearted film is a great choice to throw on for a laugh and to revel in the landscapes of China, Africa, Los Angeles, and more.
The Big Year
A star-studded cast and a wacky concept, The Big Year is a travel movie that can’t be skipped if you’re looking for a comedy. With the likes of Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin, you know you’ll be howling the entire time as this trio travels across the U.S. to battle for the spot as the number one bird watcher in the world.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Nothing says feel-good like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and I’m willing to fight anyone who disagrees. This sweet story follows four friends as they split up for their first summer apart. We’re talking forbidden Greek romance, a steamy soccer camp in Mexico, and different destinations around the U.S.
Best of all? They share one perfect pair of jeans that they send back and forth to each other. If you want to get all up in your feels, this is the travel movie for you.
I’d argue that Up is one of the greatest travel movies of all time, with its ultra heartfelt story and colorful, animated escapes. When a little boy ends up on an old man’s doorstep, he would have never guessed that he’d be sailing up above the clouds in a house flying with hundreds of balloons. The unlikely pair visit enchanting locations and befriend creatures along the way.
This animated movie is sure to make you cry… and want to travel the world in your own flying house.
Up in the Air
Who can resist George Clooney? Up in the Air is a comedy-drama about a man who flies around the country and fires people for a living. The leading man (Clooney, duh), sees his jet-setting lifestyle threatened when he falls for another frequent flier.
Is he going to continue on his life of travel or settle with the seemingly perfect woman? You’ll just have to watch this travel movie to find out.
The Bucket List
The Bucket List is the ultimate warm and fuzzy movie about travel, adventure, and friendship. The plot is about two men who only have six months to live who create a bucket list and set out to accomplish everything on it.
The film follows the unlikely pair (played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) as they traverse the Great Wall of China, visit the Taj Mahal, stop over at the Pyramids, and tramp around Europe. They go skydiving, hiking, and make the most of the little time they have left.
This is a must-see travel movie… just be sure to bring the tissues!
If you’ve ever been stuck in an airport before, The Terminal may resonate with you. Except have you ever had to live in one? That’s the exact case in this Steven Spielberg movie when Tom Hanks is stranded at JFK airport and has to stay there until his identity can be confirmed.
A heartfelt film full of relatable airport woes, The Terminal is a sweet travel movie that’s worth watching.
This makes the cut just for fun or if you’re looking for a travel movie to watch with little ones. Unaccompanied Minors is a story about what happens when all the flights are canceled due to a snowstorm and the children flying on their own.
It pretty much goes exactly the way you’d expect it to, with teenagers and kids wreaking havoc on the airport during the holidays. This is definitely an entertaining travel movie, with a little peek into the inner happenings of airports.
Sex & The City 2
While the original Sex & The City movie is iconic (New York City Carrie Bradshaw forever), Sex & The City 2 takes things to the next level.
The fabulous four hop on a flight to Dubai where they live and travel in luxury while exploring the Middle East. There are some really beautiful market shots, as well as vast desert landscapes and of course, camel riding.
To watch your favorite foursome go international, it doesn’t get much better than this travel movie.
The Hangover 2
Another sequel where the gang takes to the road, this well-known cast hops on a flight and takes their shenanigans to Thailand. It’s definitely not as good as the first movie but it’s still entertaining to watch Bradley Cooper & co. navigate the wild streets of Bangkok and be pretty much the worst tourists ever known to man.
When a young boy gets lost on a train in India, he has no idea it will be the last time he will see his family or home. The train takes him thousands of miles across the country, and he’s forced to survive on his own before being adopted by an Australian couple.
Fast forward 25 years and the same boy is determined to return to India to reunite with his family. Using Google Earth, he sets out on his mission. This heartfelt travel movie is a sweet one to watch about family, loyalty, and an epic journey.
As soon as I see the word “Moana”, my mind immediately starts singing “AND NO ONE KNOOOWS HOW FAR IT GOESSS” because in classic Disney fashion, this movie is full of legendary musical numbers.
Set in the islands of ancient Polynesia, young Moana sets out to sea to save her people. She comes across the Demigod Maui (voiced by no other than The Rock) who guides her along her voyage and teaches her the ways of the sea.
Feel good and full of open landscapes and adventure, this movie will make you itch to book a one-way ticket to a remote island!
Eat, Pray, Love
Full disclaimer: I actually hate this film, but it wouldn’t be a list of travel movies if it didn’t make the cut. Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel by the same name, this gushy movie is about a woman who sets out to travel the world to find herself after a rough divorce.
She goes to Italy to learn Italian (and eat a boatload of pizza), practices meditation in India, and falls in love in Bali. Covering bucket-list destinations across the globe, I suppose if you’re looking for a feel-good travel movie, this ticks all the boxes.
So did I live up to my promise of “something for everyone” on this complete travel movie list? Which ones are your favorites?
If you’re feeling cooped up or are longing for a trip, put on one of these travel movies and transport yourself to your dream destination. It’s as simple as that.
For more travel inspiration, check out these articles
- 101 Travel Songs to Inspire You (Add to Your Playlist ASAP!)
- 20 Movies About Italy to Inspire Your Next Vacation
- 100+ Best Travel Quotes (with Pics!) to Look at When You Miss Traveling
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