25 Best Travel Movies Of All Time (You Need To Watch These!)

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Best Travel Movies of All Time

What are the Best Travel Movies?

Travel Inspiration

These are some of the best travel movies ever (in my opinion). You can watch these films over & over again, and never get sick of them. Do you have any favorite travel movies?

I started to realize I had a travel obsession when all my favorite movies were based on crazy travel adventures. Now I’ve been traveling for over 7 years, with no plans to stop anytime soon.

Here is my personal list of the best travel movies of all time.

Once I’ve finished watching any of these films, I feel the instant urge to pack up everything and head out to explore the world. Great travel movies like these have helped inspire my own personal travel goals over the years.

So if you’re looking for some motivation to push you into a backpacking adventure of your own, sit down and watch a couple of these fantastic flicks with a bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine, and a friend.

It’s the next best thing to actually traveling!

Just make sure to get off that couch and experience the real thing once in a while, because no matter how good these movies are, they can never replicate the incredible experiences of actual world travel…

My Favorite Travel Movies (2018)

The Motorcycle Diaries Movie

The Motorcycle Diaries

2004 | Walter Salles | Spanish

The Motorcycle Diaries is one of my favorite movies of all time. The true story of two medical students embarking on a five month motorcycle trip across South America in order to use their medical training to volunteer for a remote leper colony along the Amazon river.

Based on the personal journals of latin American revolutionary Che Guevara, it highlights the freedom, adventure, and personal discovery that is part of the travel experience. A beautiful movie about one of the most influential people to have ever lived, no matter whether you think his influence was positive or negative.

Secret Life of Walter Mitty Movie

Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

2013 | Ben Stiller | English

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty tells the story of Walter (played by Ben Stiller), an introverted, awkward, and anonymous photo editor at LIFE Magazine who’s real life is pretty boring. However Walter has a very active imagination. When his job is threatened, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

Traveling the world from Iceland to Afghanistan in search of his hero while taking risks and conquering new challenges along the way. A mix of incredible visual landscapes, a beautiful soundtrack, and some humor is just icing on the cake. The perfect movie to inspire those yearning for something more out of life.

A Map For Saturday

A Map For Saturday

2007 | Brook Silva-Braga | English

A Map For Saturday is a travel documentary that follows one man as he quits his cushy job with HBO to travel around the world for a year and live out of his backpack. It shows the different ways people travel, and gives an accurate picture of what it is like to vagabond around the world long term.

You get to experience both the ups and downs of his trip at a very personal level. If you ever thought of doing something like this, the movie will show you what the experience is really like. It also shows you that anyone can travel cheaply if they really want to. The only thing stopping you is, well, you.

180 Degrees South

180 Degrees South

2010 | Chris Malloy | English

180 Degrees South is a documentary that follows the adventure of a group of friends as they travel to Patagonia in the spirt of their heroes. They pack their surfboards and climbing gear as they sail and drive along the South American coast, learning about the losing battle against industrialization and the destruction of the natural world.

Modern commercial interests fed by the growing human consumption of disposable goods is ruining our planet, and the film shows what some brave people are doing to try and stop it. The movie’s beautiful scenery and fantastic soundtrack mix together with a strong message and travel adventure to create a true work of art.

Que Tan Lejos<

Que Tan Lejos

2009 | Tania Hermida | Spanish

Que Tan Lejos (How Much Further) is set in Ecuador, as Esperanza and Tristeza try to get from the capital city of Quito to the town of Cuenca. It is normally a 5 hour bus ride. The two women decide to hitchhike when local strikes force their bus to stop. One girl is a local trying to stop the love of her life from getting married, while the other is a tourist from Spain.

Along the way, they learn from each other while meeting interesting people who help them re-evaluate the purpose of their journeys. The film is filled with beautiful scenery from Ecuador, and gives an authentic portrayal of life in that country.

The Way<

The Way

2012 | Emilio Estevez | English

The Way is a beautiful and inspiring tale about a father walking Spain’s Camino de Santiago trail to honor his recently dead son. The experience is an eye-opening an emotional one for him, as he’s forced to make friends with complete strangers and examine his life during the 800km journey.

It features a very eclectic mix of characters, all walking the path for their own personal reasons. The movie certainly made me more interested in traveling along the Camino at some point in my life.

In July<

In July

2004 | Fatih Akim | German

In July (Im Juli) is a movie about a road trip through eastern Europe and all the adventure that goes along with it. Daniel is a shy & boring young school teacher who never really does anything fun & exciting. He decides to break out of his shell while chasing a girl from Germany to Turkey on a crazy road trip that will change his life forever.

His travel partner shows him what he’s been missing as they drive, hitchhike, walk, swim, get robbed, steal a car, get in fights, escape from jail, and bribe border guards to get to their ultimate destination. By the end of the adventure, he’s a changed person.

L’auberge Espagnole<

L’auberge Espagnole

2012 | Cedric Klapish | French

L’auberge Espangnole (The Spanish Apartment) is about a young, slightly uptight Economics student who goes on an exchange program in Barcelona to learn Spanish before he lands a big job. Xavier is not that experienced with the world, and is in for a surprise when he moves into an apartment filled with international students.

He has to learn to live with 6 other roommates from different corners of the globe, putting up with their cultural and personal differences. The adventures they have will open his eyes to what life can be. It’s a funny and realistic movie, based on the real life experiences of the director.

The Darjeeling Limited<

The Darjeeling Limited

2008 | Wes Anderson| English

The Darjeeling Limited is a wacky film about three wealthy, spoiled brothers taking an overland train trip through India. They haven’t spoken in a year, and the trip is supposed to heal and bond them again. Initially it all goes wrong as they bicker and fight with each other. They are all suffering from depression, and pop pain killers like candy.

When it seems like nothing is going right, their crazy experiences along the way finally put things into perspective. The ultimate goal of healing and rejuvenation starts to happen. They finally start to grow up and turn into men. The movie is hilarious, and beautifully shot too. It will make you want to visit India.

A Good Year Movie<

A Good Year Movie

2007 | Ridley Scott| English

A Good Year is about a high powered London stock broker who’s favorite uncle passes away, leaving him a chateau and vineyard in France. When he visits to quickly prepare the property to be sold for millions, he gets addicted to the laid back, stress-free lifestyle of the French countryside.

He falls in love with a local beauty, and has fond flashbacks of his childhood under the care of his womanizing uncle. The whole thing is very funny, and it’s a great date movie! The underlying theme is that there is much more to life than money, plus it will make you long to visit the South of France.

Lost In Translation<

Lost In Translation

2010 | Sofia Coppola | English

Lost In Translation is based on two separate travelers, Bob & Charlotte, visiting Tokyo at the same time. They meet each other and form a friendship as they experience confusion and hilarity in a strange and curious city. Bob is an aging actor starring in commercials, while Charlotte is the bored wife of a photographer there on business.

They are an unlikely pair, experiencing a degree of loneliness in a foreign city filled with millions of people. This is another beautifully shot film that also shows how funny and interesting traveling in a new country can be. The many little random experiences that present themselves while traveling are often the most memorable.

Lawrence Of Arabia<

Lawrence Of Arabia

1962 | David Lean | English

Lawrence Of Arabia is the classic story of a young, eccentric British army officer who heads into the Arabian desert to gather intelligence about the Arab revolt against Turkey during World War 1. He ends up leading a guerrilla force of them to attack the Turks.

The setting of the film is fantastic, and it follows Lawrence as he learns about the people and starts adopting some of their customs. I think this is one of the benefits of travel. You learn from other cultures, and adapt your lifestyle around what you’ve learned. Although the “white man leads a bunch of natives” theme is kind of cheesy, overall the film is great.

Into The Wild<

Into The Wild

2008 | Various | English

Into The Wild is the true story of Christopher McCandless, a recent college graduate who gives away his live savings and hitchhikes to Alaska. He meets all kinds of people along the way, each with their own stories. In Alaska, he heads out into the wilderness to live on his own.

His life is filled with random adventures and experiences while he makes his way up to “The Last Frontier”. This is what travel is all about to me. Experiences, good and bad, make you who you are. And long term travel is FULL of new experiences. The key is to not completely get in over your head (like Christopher did).

Seven Years In Tibet<

Seven Years In Tibet

2004 | Jean-Jaques Annaud | English

Seven Years In Tibet is about an Austrian mountaineer who heads out to conquer a Himalayan mountain in 1939. After getting captured and sent to a prison camp, he ends up breaking out with another man and sneaking into the holy Tibetan city of Lhasa. He befriends the young Dalai Lama just as the Chinese attempt to invade Tibet by force.

Both men are from totally different worlds, yet become great friends and learn from each other. The character starts off as a selfish prick, but slowly changes his outlook on life when confronted with new experiences in a very foreign land. It’s a good movie that shows you how travel adventures can transform your life.

Y Tu Mama Tambien<

Y Tu Mama Tambien

2002 | Alfonso Cuaron | English

Y Tu Mama Tambien is about two best friends who meet an older woman at a family wedding in Mexico City. They convince her to come with them on a road trip to a magical hidden beach that doesn’t exist. She agrees when she finds out her husband has been cheating on her. They head out to find a beach that matches their made-up story.

Along the way there is passion, conflict, and jealousy. The film is unrated and has some pretty risqué scenes in it, and may not be for everyone. Their trip reveals the harsh realities of poverty that exist outside their privileged life of the city. It’s an eye opener that all travelers experience at some time in their wandering.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona<

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

2009 | Woody Allen | English

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is the tale of two friends who take a vacation to Barcelona, where they meet a mysterious painter, Juan Antonio, who asks them to spend the summer with him. Vicky is the more reserved of the two, engaged to be married, while Cristina is more of a free spirit. The relationship between the three is sexually charged, and drama ensues.

Things only get more complicated when Juan’s mentally disturbed ex-wife shows up. The movie is quite entertaining, and is set in the beautiful landscapes & cityscapes of Spain. I especially enjoy it because it shows how travel can open you up to new experiences. You learn what you’re really made of on the road.

Encounters At The End Of The World<

Encounters At The End Of The World

2008 | Werner Herzog | English

Encounters At The End Of The World is an incredibly beautiful and funny movie about the people and animals who live in Antarctica. The film is done by Werner Herzog, one of my favorite directors. The individuals that work at the National Science Foundation research station are full of character, and most are permanent world travelers.

Even if you’ve seen Discovery channel shows about Antarctica, this is totally different and fresh. I liked it much more than I thought I would, and it has earned a spot on my best travel movies list because as soon as it was over I wanted to pack up and head down there for a bit!

UP<

UP

2009 | Animated | English

UP is about an old man who spent his life dreaming of world travel and adventure with his wife, only for the both of them to grow old without ever taking any action. Then he finally decides to do something about it, and ends up having the adventure of a lifetime! This animated movie had it all, and was definitely not just for kids.

Most people spend their whole life pushing travel goals off to the future, when they should be living those dreams right now. Life is short, and you have to fill it with interesting experiences as often as you can. This movie does a good job of emphasizing that theme.

Indiana Jones<

Indiana Jones Series

1962 | Steven Spielberg | English

The Indiana Jones Series are not particularly accurate travel movies, but they sure are fun! These movies helped plant the seed of adventure in my head many years ago. Who wouldn’t want to go searching for lost artifacts in remote jungles and deserts all over the world?

Indy’s wild adventures have inspired many travelers over the years. Sometimes group tours won’t cut it. Heading out by yourself into the unknown is a whole different kind of travel experience, and very rewarding. But the last one, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, sucks monkey balls.

Get Out There!

Ok, so the thing about travel, is that movies will never do the real experience justice. So while I highly recommend you watch as many travel movies as you can, my hope is that these films will inspire you to get out there on your own to explore a bit of the world occasionally.

An investment in travel is an investment in yourself. ★

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What are some of your favorite travel movies? Did I miss any good ones? Drop me a message in the comments below!

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278 Comments

  1. Enjoyed a few of them noted above.
    But also guys think of the darien a film late 90s
    And also a more recent one Pirates of somalia. Them two films are just brilliant both true stories as well.

  2. Thanks for that list, Matt! :)
    + 3from me

    Milarepa (2006) – cause just watching a Bhutan movie is exciting enough
    Le dernier trappeur (2004) – Yukon, Yukon, Yukon <3
    Never Cry Wolf (1983) – dances with wolves…but just the real deal

  3. I wanted to share one more film that I think it’s not only beautiful but touching and what got me to want to do just that! Travel. It’s called Last “Stop for Paul” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-qGe3Vx6Sc the movie is shot with what looks like no budget but I think it’s because they really didn’t have any budget. Anyway check it out if you can. It was a great little film but to me very inspiring

  4. Hello Matt!
    I have watched some of the movies, they were really great indeed.
    I would add another movie- “Seventy seven days”. Its a Chinese movie about a traveler, who crossed Chang Tang plateau in Tibet from west to east. Chang Tang is one of the most difficult to access areas in the world, and its crossing is harder than climbing Everest or every other 8000+ m peak.

  5. Hey Matt! I think you’re pretty amazing, have been following your blog for 3 weeks now and I think I’m almost done reading all your posts..
    Also done watching Motorcycle diaries and Into the Wild, so obsessed with how emotional and inspiring the movies can be. Fallen completely in love with Eddie Vedder and all his soundtracks for the movie.
    Continue inspiring, and have a great trip :)

  6. Great List. Another one that I enjoyed thoroughly was The Way Back. It was more a survival movie, but covered landscapes of Russia, Mongolia and a little bit of China

  7. You are realy amazing Matt . I am a big fan of you. I love u travel and my dream is to become a traveller like you. The movie into the wild is awsome and very inspirational. Thankz for your posts in the blog.

  8. Hey Matt! I think you’re pretty amazing, have been following your blog for 3 weeks now and I think I’m almost done reading all your posts..
    Also done watching Motorcycle diaries and Into the Wild, so obsessed with how emotional and inspiring the movies can be. Fallen completely in love with Eddie Vedder and all his soundtracks for the movie.
    Continue inspiring, and have a great trip :)
    Shaina

  9. I have the Secret Life of Walter Mitty at home and I have watched it more then once let me tell you. My parents say ” Are you watching that again?” LOL
    I’ll make sure to watch some of these movies :)

  10. The top 7 travel movies on/in Africa that you must watch before you go include:
    1. Out of Africa****
    2. The Ghost and the Darkness***
    3. Mandela, The Long Walk to Freedom*****
    4. Constant Gardener****
    5. Kitchen Toto
    6. Cry Freedom
    7. Zulu
    8. The Last King of Scotland
    9. Lion King*****
    10. Hotel Rwanda
    11. Blood Diamonds
    12. District 9
    I must a good number of these is about African dictators, genocide and resource wars. But the first 4 are a great watch and full of love, struggle and sheer will of the people.

  11. Top 5 Indian (Bollywood) Travel movies

    1. Dil chahta hai – Travelling with friends
    2. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – Travelling with friends
    3. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani – It is a love story. Two friends bond during a trekking trip and the guy leaves India to pursue his dream to travel the world. The message you get from this movie is – when you are travelling the world on your own you do miss your family and friends
    4. Queen – The actress decided to go alone on her honeymoon alone, after being dumped by her fiance just a day before the wedding. She meets strangers, explores new places, stays in a coed hostel for the first time and and receives her first kiss.
    5. Jab We Met – It is a Love Story. It captures the beauty of road trip from Manali to Leh

  12. Great list…some movies I love, and some I am putting on my “to watch” list. Can’t wait to see A Map For Saturday.

    If I may interject a few “chick flick” style travel movies in here – I am always inspired by watching Enchanted April or Shirley Valentine. They both show the transformative power of travel.

    And one film that hardly anyone ever puts on their list, but has the most amazing scenery – The Sheltering Sky.

  13. Oh come on, how could you talk about movies for vacation without talking about national lampoons vacation. Sure it is a goofy comedy and may only appeal to a certain group but it is still a funny movie worth watching while traveling.