10 Movies That Inspire Us to Travel

These films will have you thinking about your next trip.

Like travelling, movies are a great escape from the everyday. It’s literally the quickest way to be instantly transported to another world. As travel lovers it probably comes as no surprise that we enjoy films about, yes, travelling. But this goes beyond your standard road-trip storyline or finding yourself journey, although this doesn’t mean those don’t count, or that we don’t enjoy either because we’d be lying if we said otherwise.

A film inspires us to travel when it immerses us in another culture, or as it subtly captures the beauty of a destination or even reveals to us unexpected realities. The beauty of film is that it can tell us a story that we haven’t heard yet. Despite where we’ve been, there are still many amazing destinations we have yet to explore and others we’ve only scratched the surface.

If you’re getting the itch to travel and aren’t able to get away or maybe you just want to let a destination inspire you, whatever the case, here are 10 movies that never fail to get us thinking about our next trip.

Photo by François Duhamel.

1. Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
Destination: Italy, India & Bali

You didn’t expect us to leave this  off our list now, did you? OK, truth be told we haven’t read the book (which we are told is better than the movie, as is usually the case). The story takes Liz (Julia Roberts) on a life-changing journey to Italy, India and Bali, after a painful divorce triggers her to take her life in a new direction.

She eats her way through Italy (specifically Rome), eating plate after plate of pasta, drinking wine and gorging on pizza. Post-food binging in Italy, she heads to India to find inner peace, spending her entire four months in an ashram. While we don’t get much of a chance to see India (the author didn’t either), but it definitely inspires you to seek tranquility! Ending her journey in Bali, this is where Liz meets her love interest in the movie. We get to see some gorgeous beaches, and the beautiful landscape as she bikes around the village.

Though there are definitely beautiful shots in the movie, what’s really inspiring about this movie to us is how travelling can really change your perspective and be an amazing opportunity to meet people.

 

Photo by Rico Torres. Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

2. A Good Year (2006)
Destination: Provence

Another movie about a life-changing event that leads to travel, this movie stars Russell Crowe as Max, a British investment broker who inherits his uncle’s chateau and vineyard in Provence. To his chagrin, Max must uproot his posh life to deal with the property and decide what to do with it.

Much of the movie takes place on the property, with scenes in a nearby village where Max meets Fanny (Marion Cotillard). Max suddenly finds himself enjoying the new laid-back lifestyle, which as a viewer definitely has appeal. Between the rolling vineyards and delicious French food and wine, by the time you’re finished watching the flick you’re already dreaming of owning a vineyard and jetting off to the South of France.

 

3. Up in the Air (2009)
Destination: airports, hotels & planes

Leave it to George Clooney to make travelling for a living look sexy. Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham makes a living travelling across the country handing out pink slips to company’s that are downsizing. Spending most of his time in airports, nice hotels and airplanes, Ryan quite enjoys his travelling lifestyle despite having no regularity in his life.

Our favourite part has to be Ryan’s obsession with reaching the 10 million frequent flyer miles. He finally reaches it on a flight and receives a champagne celebration and a sit-down with the American Airlines chief pilot. While there are certain perks frequent fliers like Clooney’s character do get, we’re not actually quite sure we’d want to rack up that many miles in the air.

4. Lost in Translation (2003)
Destination: Tokyo

A perfect backdrop for a film that’s about two strangers who are both confused and alone. Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte, a wife who is neglected by her photographer husband. While he shoots, Charlotte explores the city alone, eventually meeting Bob Harris (Bill Murray), a movie star who’s not only having marriage problems of his own, but his fame is beginning to fade.

Director and writer Sofia Coppola creates jarring and beautiful moments all throughout the film. After the two actors, Tokyo is really the next character, heavily adding to the narrative. We see Charlotte explore ancient temples; we watch her and Bob eat dinner unsure of what their ordering; and we follow their night adventure that starts at a karaoke bar and continues to a nightclub and arcade. Although a decent portion of the movie takes place in the hotel (which is the Park Hyatt Tokyo), the scenes of Tokyo are enough to make you want to visit.

5. Roman Holiday (1953)
Destination: Rome

A classic Audrey Hepburn flick, which tells the story of a princess who rebels against her regimented schedule by escaping part-way through her European tour. Ending up asleep on a bench (thanks to a sedative from earlier), an American reporter (Gregory Peck) stationed in Rome, finds her and takes her back to his apartment. Eventually he learns she is Princess Ann and promises his editor he will return with an exclusive story.

The two wander around Rome exploring famous sites like The Mouth of Truth and the Spanish Steps, and we also get to see the pair take a scooter ride through the streets. A truly classic movie that shows Rome in a playful light.

6. Midnight in Paris (2011)
Destination: Paris

As the title would suggest, this Woody Allen movie takes place in the City of Lights. The film stars Owen Wilson as Gil, a writer on a trip to Paris with his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her family. We watch as the pair explore the streets of Paris, shop at the famous Les Puces de Saint-Ouven flea market, have an embrace at Monet’s Garden in Giverny, and visit multiple museums with their friends John and Carol, including The Rodin Museum and the Chateau de Versailles.

The magical part of the film is that it doesn’t take place all in the present. We see the nostalgic writer Gil get transported back to the ’20s and meet famous writers, artists and musicians of that era. Laugh out loud funny, it’s a beautiful portrait of Paris.

7. Before Sunrise (1995)
Destination: Vienna

A love story about an American backpacker, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) who meets Celine (Julie Delpy) a young French woman on a train travelling from Budapest to Paris. The pair decide to jump off the train early and end up spending a day together in Vienna and we watch as the two engage in delightful conversations as they explore the city.

Actually filmed in Vienna, there are many beautiful locations we get to see the pair wander though, such as the Maria Theresien platz, the famous “Cemetery of the Nameless,” and even share a kiss on the Riesenrad, a giant Ferris Wheel in Prater park. While the pair only get 24-hours in Austria, it definitely makes us want to go back and explore it for longer.

8. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Destination: Spain

Another Woody Allen movie we had to include on this list, Vicky Cristina Barcelona follows two girlfriends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johnansson) who head to Spain for the summer and end up falling for the same seductive painter, Juan Antonio (Javiar Bardem).

Some of the gorgeous locations that this movie takes place in include the National Museum of Art of Catalunya, the Tibidabo amusement park, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona and the Gothic Quarter — all found in Barcelona. Though New York is clearly his favourite city to film in, we have to say we love how he romanticizes Spain too.

9. Out of Africa (1985)
Destination: Kenya

While this film doesn’t take place in modern Africa, it does bring us to a 20th century colonial Kenya, where we see a strong-willed Danish baroness, Karen (Meryl Streep) trying to establish a plantation, while her husband of convenience lets her do as she pleases. The real romance of the film is the one between her and big-game hunter Denys (Robert Redford).

With sweeping vistas of the African savannah, the native villagers and wild animals, watching the movie, you truly feels like you’ve been transported to another place.

 

10. The Holiday (2006)
Destination: Surrey & Los Angeles

House swap? I feel like this movie help popularize what is now a relatively common alternative to hotels (assuming you’ve got the digs for it). The movie follows two woman, unlucky in love who swap homes for Christmas. Cameron Diaz plays Amanda, a movie-trailer maker from L.A. who trades her home with Iris (Kate Winslet) in Surrey.

While we see more of the ladies homes than the actual location (which are amazing, thanks to Nancy Meyers), it did get us thinking about the benefits of swapping homes versus staying in a hotel. Hmm…