Reel Travel: Must-See Movies That Will Inspire Travel

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

From the untamed beauty of the Pacific Crest Trail to the adventures of South America, films have the power to transport us. This article showcases movies that will inspire travel, turning viewers into voyagers. Join us as we explore inspiring travel films that will have you longing for the road less traveled!

Into the Wild

Release date: 2007
Location: Alaska
IMDB rating: 8.1
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn & Catherine Keener

Into The Wild follows the true story of Christopher McCandless, a new college graduate who turns his back on the traditional path and instead hitchhikes to Alaska. On the journey north he meets different characters and begins to learn more about himself – a key part of any travel adventure. Although the story doesn’t end as we would all hope, Into the Wild is certainly one of those movies that will inspire travel in those fed up with a mundane daily life!

The Motorcycle Diaries

Movies that will inspire travel
Image Credit: IMDb.

Release date: 2007
Location: South America
IMDB rating: 7.7
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mía Maestro

Following the memoirs of Che Guevarra, The Motorcycle Diaries covers the former iconic revolutionary before the world knew his name. Guevara and his friend, Alberto Granado, travel across South America for 8 months, covering 8,700 miles. While the movie inspired Che Guevara to dedicate his life to causes he believed in, it will have you desperate to pack up your belongs and go exploring.

The Beach

Release date: 2000
Location: Thailand
IMDB rating: 6.6
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton & Daniel York

A perfect late 90s/early 00s time capsule, The Beach follows Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Richard, as he and a handful of fellow backpackers try to find a hidden island in the Gulf of Thailand home to a beautiful beach. Expect crystal clear waters and lush forests in this adventure drama blockbuster. The actual beach used for filming is now well known to be a tourist trap but this movie will have you dreaming of Southeast Asia and its breathtaking landscapes.

The Way

Release date: 2010
Location: Spain
IMDB rating: 7.3
Starring: Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez & Deborah Kara

A heartfelt movie about a father walking Spain’s Camino de Santiago trail in honor of his recently deceased son, The Way will have you reaching for the tissues and wanting to explore the famous trail for yourself. Across the 500-mile walk, Dr Thomas Avery (played by Martin Sheen) is forced to make friends with strangers and consider his own life. This is definitely one of those movies that will inspire travel, and likely to give you that push to consider traveling by yourself.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Inspiring travel film
Image Credit: IMDb.

Release date: 2013
Location: Worldwide including the Himalayas, Greenland, and Iceland
IMDB rating: 7.3
Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig & Jon Daly

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has developed quite the cult following in the travel world, and for good reason. It follows a Life magazine photo editor who lives vicariously through his inventive imagination to escape from his mundane work and personal life. In search of a mysterious photographer, he finds himself exploring Greenland, Iceland, and the Himalayas. Transforming from a timid, overthinker to someone who isn’t afraid to embrace life’s ups and downs, this Ben Stiller classic earns its right as one of the best movies to inspire travel!


Release date: 2014
Location: Pacific Crest Trail
IMDB rating: 7.1
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern & Gaby Hoffmann

Not to be confused with the first movie on our list, Wild stars Reese Witherspoon as a writer who decides to trek 1,100 miles across the Pacific Crest Trail. After the loss of her mother and other tragedies that left Cheryl Strayed lost and confused, she decides to re-attempt the mammoth walk after failing years before. The movie is based on the non-fiction book ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’ and for those who have lost a loved one, is an incredibly inspiring travel film.

The Art of Travel


Release date: 2008
Location: South and Central America
IMDB rating: 6.3
Starring: Christopher Masterson, Brooke Burns & Johnny Messner

Following a similar theme to Into the Wild, The Art of Travel questions the ‘American Dream’ and instead searches for a new path. After finding out his fiancee cheated on him, Conner Layne decides to go on his honeymoon alone. The trip forces him to enter an adventure of self-discovery while joining a group of explorers who race across the Darien Gap. 

With a smaller budget and a relatively unknown cast, it’s likely you’ve never heard of The Art of Travel but it’s worth finding online and you’ll quickly understand why it’s considered one of the top movies to inspire travel!

Lost in Translation

Movies that will inspire travel
Image Credit: IMDb.

Release date: 2003
Location: Tokyo
IMDB rating: 7.7
Starring: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson & Giovanni Ribisi

To round off our list of movies that will inspire travel, we have Lost In Translation. It’s a film that showcases how traveling can be both lonely and liberating, It follows two unlikely friends as they get to grips with traveling in a new country and understanding the customs. In the midst of Japan’s capital, they share intimate conversations, unexpected adventures, and moments of quiet reflection, finding solace in each other’s company. It’s a film that reflects well how you can find anyone to connect with, even in the most unlikely spots. 

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