Travel is transformative, inspiring, and exciting. It broadens your horizons and creates memories that last a lifetime. And what better way to inspire travel than through a great movie?
Whether you’re looking for a movie about road tripping, crisscrossing the globe, or even about the much-dreaded experience of air travel, there’s a movie out there just for you. Here are the 10 best travel movies of all time.
10 Wild (2014)
Based on the hit memoir by Cheryl Strayed, Wild stars Reese Witherspoon playing Strayed as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail from Southern California to the Oregon/Washington border. In the film, Strayed loses her mother at a young age, which throws her into a spiral of sex addiction and drugs. In a desperate attempt to find redemption, Strayed makes a solo hike across the Pacific Crest Trail.
Throughout her journey, she encounters bears, is harassed by hunters, and even loses her boots in the High Sierras. The movie is visually stunning, and the flashbacks to her life before the trail are heartbreaking. Witherspoon went on to earn a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars, and her co-star, Laura Dern, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
9 Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Holiday travel can be rough, especially when your flight is diverted, car explodes, and train breaks down – That’s exactly what happens to Steve Martin in the film when he tries to make his way home to Chicago for Thanksgiving.
The movie turns into a deranged buddy film as Steve Martin and John Candy team up and try to make their way home. The movie is filled with bonkers 80’s stunts and excellent wit that can only be delivered by comedic geniuses like Martin and Candy. The next time your flight is delayed an hour, remember…it could be worse.
8 The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003)
When Lizzie McGuire takes a class trip to Rome, she’s mistakenly identified as Italian pop star Isabella by Paolo, the hunky Italian superstar (and Isabella’s singing partner.) Throughout the movie, Lizzie travels through Rome, eats Italian food, and even performs at the Coliseum. The concert scene has gone down in meme history and is quite possibly some of the most cringe-worthy lip-synching ever…but it’s also a total guilty pleasure that everyone still listens to.
The unexpected star of the film is Ms. Ungermeyer, played by Alex Borstein, who is tasked as being the kid’s chaperone. Her angry, no-nonsense personality makes her steal every scene she’s in. In fact, there are lots of fans of hoping that she’ll appear in the much-anticipated Disney+ reboot.
7 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
When a group of retirees are invited to live their sunset years in a beautifully restored hotel in the heart of Jaipur, India, at an extremely discounted price, they’re overjoyed. When they arrive, however, they discover the hotel isn’t quite what was advertised.
The movie stars a plethora of British cinematic royalty, including two Dames, and is all about living, not dying. In the film, the group learns that they’re never too old to learn new things or have adventures. It’s an uplifting movie, loaded with breathtaking shots of Jaipur, and a soundtrack that tempts you to book your ticket to India.
6 Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny it – Eat, Pray, Love is an epic story. While in her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had it all. A husband, a nice house, a high-paying writing job… But she was also miserable and unfulfilled. She decides to get a divorce and run away, spending four months eating in Italy, three months living in an ashram in India, and planned three more for Bali, where she’d work for a medicine man. She ended up finding love in Bali and extended her stay, and later wrote her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, which spent 187 weeks on the best-sellers list.
In the film adaption, Julia Roberts plays Gilbert and every single scene makes you want to go on your own journey of self-discovery. And for anyone out there thinking Eat, Pray, Love is just a chick flick, consider this: Eddie Vedder wrote and performed the movie’s headline song, “Better Days.“
5 Airplane! (1980)
Do you hate flying? Being stuck in a tiny metal tube, cramped in with hundred of strangers, 35,000 feet above the ground can be stressful and tiring, and yet also boring and dull. But one movie makes flying one of the funniest endeavors ever.
Airplane! is based on the cheesy, over-the-top action thriller Airport, as well as its sequels, Airport 1975 and Airport ’77, all of which center around airplanes that experience a catastrophic disaster. Airplane! is a spoof on disaster movies, but also on the flying experience too, mocking things like obnoxious passengers, horrible airplane food, and even those annoying “personal” air vents. If you’ve never seen the movie, be prepared to laugh harder than you have in a looooong time.
4 Last Holiday (2006)
This remake of the 1950 British classic stars Queen Latifah as a modest shopgirl who is too afraid to live out her dreams of opening her own restaurant. But after a freak accident in her department store, she becomes convinced she’s about to die.
So, she empties her bank account and travels to the world-famous Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. What follows is a movie filled food, adventure, and an absolute love of life.
3 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
A group of drag queens take a road trip across the Australian Outback in this comedy from 1994. The trio travel in an old bus, and throughout their journey, they visit tiny little bush towns, encounter homophobic bullies, and even climb Kings Canyon…in full drag.
The movie is hilarious, while also tackling important issues, such as the rampant abuse against women and the LGBTQ community in rural Australia. Priscilla started off as a cult hit, but grew in popularity over the years, and even became the basis for a musical of the same name set to classic pop hits.
2 The Way (2010)
Thomas Avery (played by Martin Sheen) loses his son (played by his real-life son, Emilio Estevez) who was hiking the famed Camino de Santiago (also known as “The Way of St. James), a 500-mile long pilgrimage that crosses through Spain and France.
To honor his son, Avery decides to hike “The Way,” despite his older age. During his journey, he meets new friends that end up accompanying him on his adventure. Though the movie is based around a father honoring his son’s death, it’s much more a film about living life to the fullest. Since the release of The Way, the pilgrimage has seen an influx of hikers who have been inspired by the film to make the journey.
1 The Endless Summer (1966)
You’ve seen the poster, but do you know what the movie is about? The Endless Summer is a 1966 documentary that follows a group of surfers as they travel from the northern to southern hemispheres in order to have an endless summer, where they can surf nonstop. Destinations in the movie include New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti, South Africa, and more.
Despite how annoying people who have the poster are, the movie is actually really good. Every scene is beautiful, and it makes you want to run away and have your own endless summer. The Endless Summer is important for another reason too, it launched the entire genre of surf movies.
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