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Best Travel Movies 2020: 15 Movies That Will Inspire You To Travel

If you’ve landed on this page, chances are that you’re currently sitting on the couch searching for something to watch.

You wish you were island hopping in the Philippines or skiing in the Alps, but alas, you’re at home dreaming of travelling.

There is nothing wrong with that, I’m actually here to help! If you’re looking for a movie that will fuel your wanderlust, this compilation is the answer. I’ve put together my personal favourite travel movies, and hope they’ll inspire you to travel!

I’ve divided the movies in inspirational, romantic and funny, so that you can find a travel movie to watch for whatever mood you’re in!

These are the movies that have inspired me to travel to a certain destination, to round up my friends for a road trip or just kept me dreaming about love stories in a foreign land.

You can watch most of these on either Amazon Prime, Netflix or by streaming them.

One of the viewpoints overlooking Catarata del Toro waterfall in Costa Rica

One of the viewpoints overlooking Catarata del Toro waterfall

Inspirational travel movies

Let’s start with the best inspirational travel movies. These are the ones that keep you glued to the screen, admiring the epic landscapes and the life choices of the protagonists.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

I watched this movie during a Spanish class back in high school and it’s safe to say it’s one of the elements that fuelled my wanderlust from such an early age.

It made me want to learn how to drive a motorcycle so I could travel around the world in one.

The Motorcycle Diaries movie poster

The Motorcycle Diaries movie poster

The Motorcycle Diaries is based on the true life story of Ernesto Guevara, before he became “Che” Guevara. It’s based on his travel diary and memories that are published in a book of the same name.

As a young medical student he sets off on a road trip across South America with his friend Alberto Granado, a biochemist, with a motorcycle named “La Poderosa”.

The poverty and injustice that they see on the road contributed to forming Ernesto’s revolutionary ideas.

It’s an epic travel movie but also a movie about coming of age, finding yourself and your purpose, through the experiences they have and people they meet on the road.

Exploring the colonials streets of Havana, Cuba

Exploring the colonials streets of Havana, Cuba

Into The Wild (2007)

Into The Wild is possibly one of the most iconic and epic travel movies.

Based on the true story and memoirs of Christopher McCandless it tells the story of a young man who rejects modern civilisation and society in favour of the great wilderness.

He sets off on an adventure across North America that brings him all the way to Alaska, showing us some incredible natural landscapes.

It’s a movie about losing yourself to find yourself, as well as important human values like family and friendship.

Into The Wild poster - one of the most iconic travel movies of all time 

The Beach (2000)

The Beach is one of those movies that make you want to purchase a flight for Thailand, pack your bags, go in search of a remote island and never come home.

It’s also the movie that made Maya Bay, in the Phi Phi Islands, famous, which lead to its closure due to over-tourism.

Despite its implications in the real world The Beach is an incredible movie about searching for adventure, searching for yourself and your place in the world.

Pair that with stunning Thailand beaches and landscapes, and you have a winner of a movie!

Movie poster of The Beach - one of the best travel movies

An over / under shot with fish below and a long tail boat above taken in Phi Phi Lei, one of the best snorkelling and scuba diving spots in Thailand

Snorkelling in the Phi Phi Islands

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013)

Walter Mitty is a man working a 9-5 office job who is constantly day dreaming of great adventures and love stories.

We often get caught into thinking we have to have a certain amount of money, or have reached a certain career level before we can take a break and travel.

This movie is a great reminder that the moment will never be right, you have to make it the right moment. You have to have the courage to take a leap of faith into the unknown, in search of what you truly want.

Walter Mitty’s travels take him away from New York and to adventures across Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas. Besides the inspirational and feel-good message, there are also some stunning landscapes to appreciate in this movie.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty movie poster

Wild (2014)

Wild follows the hiking adventures of Cheryl, as she sets off to hike 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, on a journey of self-discovery following her divorce.

Cheryl had some tough situations in life that lead her to pursuing her journey, but there are also some things she says that everyone can relate to.

When she said; “I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.” I felt that. For anyone who has always wanted freedom, but always felt held back by some societal constraint or another, this movie is a breath of fresh air.

The movie also has some great reminders that there is beauty in all aspects of life, if we’re just willing to go out and search for it.

Pair it all with the beautiful North American landscapes and you have a winner. The movie is based on the book of the same name (a great travel book if you like reading!)

Wild movie poster

Up In The Air (2009)

Up In The Air is a movie that inspires you to travel, but also to reflect on your relationships, to empathize with others and to keep your loved ones close. The movie follows frequent flyer Ryan, as he jet sets across the country for his job.

The most famous quote in the movie is when Ryan draws an analogy between life and a backpack, and how of all the things we carry with us our relationships are the heaviest.

The emphasis he puts on “moving is living” is something I could particularly relate to.

Up in the air movie poster

Romantic travel movies

I’m sure we’ve all fantasised about meeting the love of our life on the road, maybe in a hostel dorm or during an adventurous hike. Wherever it is you picture yourself meeting your other half, these romantic travel movies will help you fuel both your wanderlust and lovey dovey feelings.

Eat Pray Love (2010)

Eat, Pray, Love is based on the memoir of American author Elizabeth Gilbert, and follows her year-long journey of self-discovery to Italy, India and Indonesia.

It’s one of those classic movies that everyone needs to see, especially before a trip to Rome or Bali.

Elizabeth is a relatable character, going through a phase in life having emotions that every person watching will have, at one point or another, also felt.

The desire of getting away, especially after a bad breakup, seeing new places, living new experiences and searching for yourself is something all travellers can connect with.

Movie poster of Eat Pray Love

Letters To Juliet (2010)

Set in Verona, Letters to Juliet is a movie about reuniting with lost love, following your heart and finding new love, coupled with the all time classic love song “Love Story” by Taylor Swift.

American Sophie starts helping out as a “Secretary of Juliet”, responding to the letters that star crossed lovers leave in Juliet’s courtyard in Verona.

This is where she comes across a letter dated from 1957 and decides to reply, which then starts the chain reaction that leads her on a journey around Italy, in search of love.

It may sound like a cheesy movie (because let’s be real, it is a little bit) but it’s a very feel good travel story, which talks about important themes about love, relationships and freedom.

Letters to Juliet movie poster

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2018)

While the sequel isn’t as good as the first Mamma Mia (as is the case with most sequels) the second movie is definitely more travel inspiring than the first.

Following a recently graduated Donna as she travels around Europe, meets people and has life changing experiences, is something we can all relate to and dream about.

When young Donna said; “Life is short, the world is wide. I want to make some memories.” I was sat there thinking; “Me too girl!” (It might just be one of my favourite travel quotes!)

The fact that she travels around some of the most beautiful places in Europe, going from Paris to beautiful Greek islands is just the cherry on top of the pie.

I haven’t seen much of the Greek islands but every time I see this movie it makes me want to run off to Greece on a sailing boat and never come back!

Mamma Mia here we go again movie poster

Roman Holiday (1953)

When I used to date a guy from Rome and he took me scootering around Rome in a Vespa I felt like I had fulfilled all of my Roman Holiday expectations.

This black and white classic features Audrey Hepburn as a princess who is bored of her daily routine, and escapes for a day to see normal life in Rome.

Along the way she finds romance, as well as rediscovering her sense of purpose and accepting her royal responsibilities.

Roman Holiday is a feel good romantic comedy, with themes like wanting to escape daily life that we can all relate to, and which will show you what life in the Eternal City was like.

Roman Holidays movie poster

Under The Tuscan Sun (2003)

Under The Tuscan Sun is a romantic comedy that deals with major life changes, and travel as a way to deal with and facilitate them.

After a tough divorce American writer Frances goes on a holiday to Tuscany, where on an impromptu whim she decides to buy a villa.

Here her life evolves amongst new relationships and experiences. What I loved most about this movie was that despite being a romantic movie, the focus wasn’t on France finding her soulmate.

You can have beautiful love stories on the road, but travel and life are about more than only finding your other half.

Under the Tuscan sun movie poster

Funny travel movies

Now it’s time for some light-hearted comedy movies! Inspirational and romantic movies are great, but sometimes we’re just looking for a bit of a laugh, while maintaining the travel theme.

The Inbetweeneers 2 (2014)

If you’re looking for a light-hearted and funny travel movie, this is the one (if you enjoy British humour). The Inbetweeners is a popular British comedy TV show, which follows the lives of four socially awkward high school friends.

The Inbetweeners 2 movie poster

The second movie tells their as they go through the popular rite of passage of doing a gap year in Australia.

They make fun of stereotypical experiences and travellers that you meet on the road, but also touch on some more serious friendship themes.

I watched this movie just before going to Australia and I learnt from it that you should always have an extra tank of gas in the car during your road trips.

It’s one of the funniest scenes of the movie, you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

Sunrise at Uluru (or Ayers Rock), Australia

Sunrise at Uluru, Australia

Road Trip (2000)

As you might imagine, this movie is about a road trip.

College student Josh accidentally mails his long distance girlfriend a tape of him having sex with another girl, so him and his friends set off on a road trip across the country to retrieve the tape before his girlfriend sees it.

You might not laugh at all the jokes, depending on your own personal humour, but the movie as a whole is pretty funny. The young college students have lots of qualities, dreams and insecurities that most viewers will relate to.

It’s a light-hearted movie about a road trip with friends, perfect for anyone looking for a travel movie without heavy inspirational or soul-searching themes.

Road trip movie poster

Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016)

Hunt For The Wilderpeople tells the crazy adventures of a juvenile delinquent and the name he calls uncle as they attempt to run away from society and disappear in the bush.

It deals with some deep themes such as death, corruption and prison, but always keeping things fairly casual and funny.

The epic natural landscapes you see in this movie will make you want to pack your bags and go hiking in New Zealand!

Hunt for the wilderpeople movie poster

Eurotrip (2004)

From the same producers that brought you Road Trip, here is another travel comedy! Eurotrip is a funny movie about coming of age and finding love, which plays quite heavily on some European stereotypes.

After being dumped at his high school graduation Scotty decides to go on a trip to Europe to meet his German pen pal in person, accompanied by his best friend and two other classmates they meet on the road.

The movie is a bit ridiculous at times, pushing the group to have all sorts of crazy travel experiences. But it’s also pretty funny and light-hearted, exactly what you need if you want to watch a travel story but also keep the evening casual.

EuroTrip movie poster - one of the funniest travel movies

Final thoughts on movies that inspire you to travel

Do you have a favourite travel movie that isn’t featured in this list? Let me know in the comments below! These are my personal favourite travel movies, which I think are particularly inspiring or funny.

If you’re looking for more travel inspiration than what a 2-movie can provide, check out these awesome travel TV shows!

They’re the movies that make me laugh and marvel at the same time, and then make me want to pack my bags and hit the road. I hope they inspire the same feeling of wanderlust in you too!

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Uluru at sunrise with text overlay saying "The ultimate travel movie bucket list"

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