60 Best Travel Movies in The World That Inspire Wanderlust (2023 Must-Watch Films)

(DESTINATION: Hawaii) Though this has a primary focus on family as well (much like the film Coco), this film still serves as one of the best travel movies given how it portrays the beauty of Hawaii!
The movie’s portrayal of Maori culture, its beautiful scenery, and the powerful message of female empowerment make it an inspiring and captivating travel movie for you to check out!
So if you want to further fuel your wanderlust or if you simply want more travel movie ideas, you better bookmark this post and keep it as a list! Ranging from the classics to the newer releases, and from Hollywood or Western flicks to Eastern motion pictures, this list has it all for you!

Best Travel Movies by Destination

» Set Worldwide «

Baraka (1993)

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(DESTINATIONS: Greenland, Iceland, The Himalayas) A great portrayal of taking a ‘leap of faith’ and breaking out of monotony, the life of Walter Mitty will be an enthralling piece for you!

Bucket List (2007)

(DESTINATION: Singapore) This might center around the opulent world of Singapore’s wealthy elite and its whole drama, but beyond that is a showcase of the city’s dazzling locations, cuisine, and heritage.
(DESTINATION: Italy) This is about a writer that bought a villa in the wonderful town of Tuscany — impulsively — in order to change her life after her divorce. As it is, it’s a perfect reminder that no matter how many ‘bumps’ we encounter in life, there’s always a point in time when everything will fall back into place.

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

Along the way, they find answers to their woes and romance. (NOTE: The locations that they shot in the UK were so beautiful!)
(DESTINATION: Antarctica) A visually stunning documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog and it offers a unique and captivating perspective on life in one of the most extreme and pristine environments on Earth.

Kon-Tiki (2012)

(DESTINATION: Antarctica) This riveting documentary tells the incredible true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition and the remarkable journey of survival that followed.
(DESTINATION: Fictional) A visually stunning adventure film that follows the story of a young man named Pi and a Bengal tiger as they survive on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean.

Life of Pi (2012)

Truth be told, watching travel films helped push me to this travel lifestyle. At times, they only served as some form of escape — but for the most part, they helped me take the leap (or “leaps” for that matter) as I set off on countless trips worldwide.
(DESTINATION: Hawaii) Are you looking for a light chick flick to watch? If so, you’ll love this pick!

The Holiday (2006)

(DESTINATION: USA) This is NOT an obvious pick for a travel movie among travelers, but when I first watched Forrest Gump, I can still remember how it inspired me to go beyond my limits and to just go out ‘there’.
(DESTINATION: Jordan, Morocco) Of course, there’s the classic animation but this real-life remake with Will Smith will take you to the bustling streets of Agrabah to the mystical Cave of Wonders as it transports you to a world of vibrant colors, exotic landscapes, and captivating architecture.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

(DESTINATION: Mexico) I have always been enthralled by the artistic journey of the iconic Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, and this movie is a perfect portrayal of her resilience, creativity, and self-expression, making it a must-watch if you seek to explore the beauty of Mexico and be inspired by its rich cultural heritage!
It’s a touching tale of resilience, friendship, and the power of human connection that will inspire you to appreciate the journeys we take and the places we call home.

Up in the Air (2009)

I hope this list of the best travel movies will help motivate you to pursue your travel dreams!
(DESTINATION: USA to Patagonia) To me, this serves as a great inspiration for any traveler seeking to embark on their own epic journeys and connect with nature on a deeper level!

» Set in Africa «

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

The story focuses on Blu, a rare blue macaw, who embarks on an adventure to find his purpose and save his species from extinction — all while experiencing the beauty and culture of Rio de Janeiro.
(DESTINATION: Tibet) You will find that this film portrays the true story of Heinrich Harrer’s time in Tibet during the 1940s as he befriends the young Dalai Lama and immerses himself in Tibetan culture.

Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

I loved following Princess Merida as she went on a quest to change her fate because it makes my desire to explore the world even stronger.
(DESTINATION: Afghanistan) “The Kite Runner” is a poignant and powerful movie that takes viewers on an emotional journey through the landscapes of Afghanistan, showcasing its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

(DESTINATION: Norway, Peru) Following the legendary explorer, Thor Heyerdahl’s, daring journey as he sets out to prove that Polynesia was settled by South Americans rather than Asians, this film is a great watch that showcases the awe-inspiring beauty of the Pacific Ocean.
In fact, after watching “A Good Year,” I’m longing to pack my bags and head to Provence for my own wine-filled adventure!

The Good Lie (2014)

(DESTINATION: Germany) This film’s captivating story, unique characters, and stunning European locations make it a visual treat for wanderlust-filled souls.
So I say if you want your own adventure through Arabian Nights, give this film a try!

The Last King of Scotland (2015)

Sure, it might not inspire your wanderlust in a huge way, but it will keep your traveling dreams grounded!
It’s a heartwarming romantic comedy that’s set on the beautiful island of Hawaii, serving as a stunning backdrop for the film’s delightful love story. The film’s lighthearted humor, endearing characters, and picturesque locations also make it a perfect feel-good movie if you’re looking for a dose of wanderlust and romance.

» Set in Antarctica «

Antarctica: A Year on Ice (2014)

(DESTINATION: Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam) It helps to note that this movie has themes that some might deem offensive or inappropriate, but if you’re looking for a light-hearted travel-themed comedy film, then this is a fun watch!
It’s a heartwarming and visually stunning travel movie that sheds light on the beauty and struggles of African life while showcasing the power of human resilience and ingenuity in the face of adversity.

Eight Below (2006)

The film captures the beauty of Italy’s rich history, culture, and cuisine, making it a delightful watch for anyone seeking travel inspiration and a taste of la dolce vita.
(DESTINATION: Thailand) We all know how Hangover movies usually go, and while the movie may not be classified as an inspiring travel movie, it does offer a visually stunning portrayal of Bangkok’s vibrant nightlife, bustling markets, and scenic landscapes that will surely get you excited about exploring the country!

Encounters at the End of the World (2008)

(DESTINATION: All Over Canada) A perfect choice for a cozy movie night or a solo travel inspiration session, this film takes you on a visual journey through the wondrous landscapes of Canada.
He tries his best to survive and the whole ordeal lasted for 127 hours. Losing his hand aside in order for him to tell us his story (which, as I said for this section, wouldn’t really make you feel like going on a trip), through this film, you as a traveler can surely learn a lot most especially if you’re planning on going solo.

March of the Penguins (2005)

The movie showcases breathtaking natural landscapes and portrays Pi’s resilience and determination to survive, making it an inspiring travel movie that can encourage you to embrace the spirit of adventure, face challenges head-on, and find strength in adversity during your own journeys.
(DESTINATION: Highlands of Scotland) Scotland took a spot on my must-see list, especially after watching this animation!

The Endurance (2000)

I’ll let you find out the rest haha. But you will adore the film’s colorful and bustling portrayal of Jaipur’s streets, markets, and palaces which are all a visual feast!
(DESTINATION: Blue John Canyon, Utah) Another film that’s based on a true story, this one is about mountain climber Aron Ralston who got his arm trapped under a boulder while canyoneering.

» Set in Asia «

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

(DESTINATION: Mexico) With its dazzling visuals and soulful music, this is an amazing animation film that will entice you to explore the beauty and diversity of Mexico!
Through its captivating visuals, emotional storytelling, and stunning depiction of Japanese landscapes, is without a doubt, one of the best travel movies that will transport you to the heart of Japan’s rich culture and natural beauty!

The Hangover Part II (2011)

(DESTINATION: China) With its powerful message of courage and honor, “Mulan” is an inspiring travel movie that will captivate your imagination and transport you to the majestic beauty of China’s history and culture.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

He may have been reckless and lacked proper long-term planning, but he absolutely exemplifies what every wanderer wants: living off the grid and the ordinary, and being completely free.
Surely, it helps to have a rich friend to back you up (like how it goes in the movie — don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler!) but as I always say: you really DON’T need to be rich to travel the world. Take it from me! There are definitely a lot of ways to travel the world for FREE or for cheap.

Lost in Translation (2003)

(DESTINATION: USA) A classic Pixar movie, there is so much ‘heart’ and emotional impact in this movie even though it’s a cartoon animation.
It’s basically about Tulio and Miguel, two charismatic con artists, who go on a journey through the lush jungles of Central America in search of treasure and excitement.

Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

It’s a definite must-watch for travelers interested in delving into Uganda’s complex past while being captivated by its natural beauty and cultural richness!
(DESTINATION: France) I absolutely ADORED this French movie. Not a lot of people know this film so I typically and proactively spread the word about it!

The Beach (2000)

(DESTINATION: Uganda) An engaging and eye-opening travel movie that takes you on a journey through the beautiful landscapes of Uganda while shedding light on the darker aspects of it as well.
(DESTINATION: Japan) If you’re about to travel to Japan, this film is a must to watch! It follows the story of a young girl’s journey to becoming a geisha (female entertainer).

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

Apart from the numerous life lessons this film gave its audiences, it also taught me to just do things that I want to do because I always have the ability to do so. (Remember how he just ran across the U.S. just because he wants to? Now that was epic!)
This touches a lot on the typical aspects of travel: the tourist and expat influx, the pursuit of paradise, the commonality of the travel experience, the deviation from it, and more. A truly roller coaster ride, come follow the main three characters who are adventure-seekers as they seek the secret island called ‘The Beach’.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

(DESTINATION: USA, Egypt, Tanzania, France, China) The movie that started the hype for ‘bucket lists’, this is a good watch that inspires you to aim for your dreams before it’s too late.
With such beautiful visuals and memorable songs, this is an amazing watch that will make you yearn for the beauty of Polynesia.

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Have you seen my latest vlog?
You’ll follow through the adventures of the characters as they navigate through cultural differences and unexpected mishaps in Europe.

» Set in Australia & Oceania «

50 First Dates (2004)

After all, the protagonist’s motorcycle adventure will show you the essence of freedom, self-discovery, and the transformative power of travel.
(DESTINATION: Australia) Set in the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand, specifically in the Maori community of Whangara, the film’s story follows the journey of a young girl named Pai as she embarks on a quest to fulfill her destiny and become the leader of her tribe.

Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit Trilogies (2001 – 2014)

(DESTINATION: Hida & Tokyo Japan) This is a breathtaking Japanese “anime” film that tells the story of two teenagers who swap bodies and embark on a journey to find each other.

Tracks (2013)

However, it helps to note that the film is not an accurate portrayal of geisha. They are NOT prostitutes for one thing; though if you want some more clarity, it helps to read this article first.
The breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas, the rich cultural heritage of Tibet, and the profound teachings of Buddhism portrayed in the film make it an inspiring travel movie that will teleport you to a world of wonder and enlightenment.

Whale Rider (2002)

(DESTINATION: India) There have been mixed reviews about this comedy movie; but for the most part, I liked it! The characters, though quirky, have a story to tell and an adventure that will mark a turning point in their lives.

» Set in Europe «

A Good Year (2006)

Primarily celebrating themes of family and heritage, you will find that “Coco” inspires a sense of adventure and cultural appreciation, making it a truly inspiring travel movie that brings the magic of Mexico to life on the big screen.
(DESTINATION: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela) A true story about two friends in Argentina, Alberto Granado and Ernesto (“Che”) Guevara, this movie retells their big road trip around the western region of South America. B

Eurotrip (2004)

Songs, stories, quotes, books… these are just some of the many things that can move us to the heights and depths of various emotions. So naturally, when it comes to the best travel movies of all time, they have the power that can move us to seek our own adventures!
(DESTINATION: Paris, France) Set in the charming city of Paris, this movie will make you yearn for a trip to this ‘City of Love’ and indulge in its delectable cuisine!

Letters to Juliet (2010)

(DESTINATION: Ancient Polynesia) Follow the determined young princess Moana as she embarks on a thrilling voyage across the vast ocean to restore the heart of Te Fiti and save her people.
(DESTINATION: Africa) Of course, you’ve heard of the movie Lion King!

Midnight in Paris (2011)

This is a wonderful piece of work, especially if you are looking for a true ‘feel good’ motion picture that centers around life and relationships. The travel part is not so prevalent, but the scenes captured in Paris and all throughout France were amazing. Truth be told, it was actually because of this movie that I mustered the courage to go paragliding in Annecy!
This film follows the legendary sushi master Jiro Ono, who tirelessly pursues perfection in his craft. Through stunning visuals and heartfelt storytelling, the movie not only showcases the artistry of sushi-making but also delves into the deep cultural significance and philosophy behind this culinary tradition.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Even if this one is actually more about time travel, it still feels like a travel movie to me because of how it perfectly captured what I feel about Paris — magical yet mysterious. Anyhow, this movie is sure to inspire you on taking night walks of your own and get lost in a new place, and above all, to just enjoy life as it is.
(DESTINATION: USA) This is a true story based on Cheryl Strayed who went on a 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Trail in order to recover from her personal tragedies. At the time that she did this, it wasn’t so common for females to travel alone so it was quite a feat as well! All in all, it’s a perfect example of how travel can transform an individual, no matter how troubled they may be.

The Intouchables (2012)

After watching this film, I was truly enticed to explore the beautiful countries of Greenland and Iceland. Plus, it also made me remember how I was once on a 9-t0-5 grind but chose to make my ‘daydreams’ a reality instead!
And even if it started off on a sad note (which we all are familiar with, I bet), it quickly transitions into a fun and adventurous roller coaster of events that will make you ‘wanderlusting‘ for your own ‘adventure of a lifetime’ towards your dreams! (The musical score is great too!)

The Way (2011)

And if you’re open, things may even end up better! Watch this and you can certainly feast on the beauty of Tuscany (and the Amalfi Coast!)
(DESTINATION: Malawi) Yet another amazing film based on a true story and this time it’s about a young Malawian boy, William Kamkwamba.

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

(DESTINATION: Thailand) The movie that ushered the popularity of Thailand’s Ko Phi Phi island, this is a movie that every traveler should watch!
It basically follows the main character who retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes, Yvon Choulnard and Doug Tompkins, to Patagonia.

» Set in the Middle East «

Aladdin (2019)

Though it sounds grim, the film takes you on a journey that will make you realize how truly beautiful our world is. (I’m also a sucker for cute husky dogs, so combine it with the stunning visuals and I was sold on this movie!)
(DESTINATIONS: USA and United Kingdom) Though not entirely a happy movie, it speaks of the realities that typical long-term travelers experience and feel especially about the idea of home and relationships; so, I still consider it a must-watch.

The Kite Runner (2008)

(DESTINATION: Central America) Embark on an epic adventure to the mythical city of El Dorado with this captivating animated film that will ignite your wanderlust.
This was a fascinating find for me and I found it to be a touching and uplifting portrayal of the power of travel to heal, inspire, and connect us with ourselves and others!

» Set in North America «

127 Hours (2010)

As the characters navigate through various locations in Afghanistan, you’ll be treated to a visually stunning and emotionally resonant travel experience that leaves a lasting impact.
(DESTINATION: India, Indonesia, Italy) A popular movie in its time, this is one of those films where people would say that “The book is better!”

Forrest Gump (1994)

(DESTINATION: Antarctica) Through breathtaking cinematography and captivating narration, this documentary showcases the extraordinary resilience and determination of these cute and fascinating creatures.
Traveling can really put a damper on one’s feelings especially if they are alone or left alone; even more so if they don’t know the language. But this movie shows you that there’s always comfort to be found whenever and wherever you are on the road.

Into the Wild (2007)

Partner that with the visually stunning cinematography and you have a great travel movie! Now, given how it centers on a family voyage, it really encapsulates the idea of how travel can make or break relationships.
(DESTINATION: Central America Countries) From lush jungles to ancient ruins, the movie portrays the beauty and diversity of the region while following the main character’s personal growth.

One Week (2008)

Through breathtaking cinematography, personal stories, and a sense of wonder, this is a must-watch for anyone curious about this unique and pristine part of the world, and it’s sure to ignite your sense of adventure and wanderlust.
It’s a perfect example of how even though some things end, there are plenty of “beginnings” to explore!

The Art of Travel (2008)

(DESTINATION: USA and United Kingdom) This movie that probably made home exchanges or home swaps more known to the world is about two women who swapped houses in each other’s countries in order to take a breather from their guy-related and life problems.
(DESTINATION: France, Spain) Watch the journey of a father who embarks on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in Spain after the death of his son.

The Road Within (2014)

The movie follows the story of a young rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a renowned chef in Paris — odd, I know. But this movie has been quite a hit and for a good reason!
(DESTINATION: USA) The film follows three unlikely companions on a road trip adventure, traversing picturesque landscapes and embarking on a journey of self-discovery.

Wild (2014)

(DESTINATION: Japan) Go on a mouthwatering journey into the world of sushi!

» Set in South America «

180° South (2010)

I highly recommend watching this film for a unique and eye-opening perspective on travel and humanity!
(DESTINATION: New Zealand) “I’m going on an adventure!” You should have seen this coming. Well of course, it was because of these J.R.R. Tolkien movies that New Zealand’s tourism skyrocketed — and for good reason! It’s really majestic; add the amazing experiences and stories that each of the characters crashed head on and you might just set off on your own adventure as well (minus Sauron, Gollum, orcs, dragons, and all that jazz).

Frida (2002)

If you ask me, it’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the awe-inspiring power of the frozen wilderness, making it a must-watch for any travel enthusiast seeking tales of courage, determination, and exploration.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

At the same time, it’s sure to inspire a sense of adventure too.
(DESTINATION: Antarctica) For a captivating and inspiring exploration of the world’s southernmost continent, this visually stunning documentary movie should be on your list for your next movie night.

» Animations «

Brave (2012)

(DESTINATION: Brazil) If you want an easy watch that shows you the beauty of Brazil in animated form, then this is the movie for you!
(DESTINATION: Rwanda) Portraying the true story of primatologist Dian Fossey’s incredible journey to study and protect endangered mountain gorillas, you’ll love how this movie showcases the stunning natural beauty of the African wilderness.

Coco (2017)

It’s truly an amazing watch that will help hype you up for your travel not only to Singapore but to Asia as a whole!
Along the way, he encounters fellow travelers from different walks of life, highlighting the power of human connection and the transformative impact of travel. Truly a heart-warming tale that you must see!

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Beautiful and realistic, this movie will show you what travel can bring you. Besides, going by Che Guevara’s life in history, you will see how his travel experiences helped him greatly into becoming the man that he was.
But this in itself has its charm as it absolutely transports you visually into the journey of the author. Perfect for capturing the idea of searching for one’s self, Eat Pray Love is one of those movies that will motivate you to take a pause and reevaluate what you really want to do in life. If you haven’t watched it, you should!

Lion King (1994)

As a solo traveler or an aspiring one, this will resonate with you perfectly so make sure that you give this movie a try.
With its vivid visuals and whimsical charm, it will transport you to a world of adventure and discovery, igniting a strong desire to explore new destinations and experience the magic of travel!

Moana (2016)

(DESTINATION: Italy) With its charming story about a young woman’s quest to reunite a lost love, the movie is filled with breathtaking scenes of the Italian countryside, including the rolling hills of Tuscany and the enchanting streets of Verona.
(DESTINATION: Alaska) The true story of the then newly-graduate, Christopher McCandless, who chose to hit the road for the sake of adventure and to live in the wilderness of Alaska.

Mulan (1998)

Set in the African savanna, its depiction of wildlife and landscapes provide a sense of adventure and wonder, which will surely inspire you to embark on an adventure through the African wilderness.
(DESTINATION: Antarctica) Based on a true story, this film follows a team of sled dogs as they fight for survival against the harsh elements after being left behind during an Antarctic expedition.

Ratatouille (2007)

Watching this will surely inspire you with its messages of environmental awareness, conservation, and the power of one person’s determination to make a positive impact on the world.
As a traveler, if you want a dose of wanderlust, this is one of the best travel movies that will give you a truly immersive and enlightening travel experience from the comfort of your own home.

Rio (2011)

(DESTINATION: Australia) This is a visually captivating film that tells the true story of a young woman’s solo journey across the Australian desert.
(DESTINATION: Japan) Some people say that this movie was about two ‘lost’ people that turned into lovers; but in my opinion, it was more about two strangers that turned into close friends.

Road to El Dorado (2000)

Even without vocal context, it will take you on a breathtaking journey around the world, showcasing the diversity and beauty of our planet’s landscapes, cultures, and people. One might even say that this movie is a piece of art!
This will surely inspire you to push your boundaries of exploration as you set about planning your own travel getaway!

Up (2009)

This is one of my favorite Disney movies so get ready to be swept away by this epic tale that will leave you inspired and in awe!
(DESTINATION: Paris) “Paris in the morning is beautiful, Paris in the afternoon is charming, Paris in the evening is enchanting, but Paris after midnight is magic!”

Your Name (2017)

(DESTINATION: South Sudan) This heartwarming film follows the journey of Sudanese refugees as they escape their war-torn home country and find refuge in the United States.
It’s a compelling and visually captivating exploration, and it’s sure to leave you with a sense of wonder and admiration for the beauty of the natural world. Check out my article too that lists the different kinds of wildlife in Antarctica that you can find!

(DESTINATION: France) This is a must-watch travel movie for all the wanderlust souls out there! It takes you on a journey to the idyllic vineyards of Provence, France, with stunning visuals that will leave you dreaming of your own escape to the French countryside.

(DESTINATION: Unnamed African Country) This gripping war drama tells the story of Agu, a young boy turned child soldier. Despite the harsh realities of war, the movie showcases the breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and vibrant communities of Africa.
(DESTINATION: Various) This is a non-narrative documentary film which is arguably a visual masterpiece!
(DESTINATION: India) This is a comedy-drama film that revolves around a group of British retirees who decide to spend their retirement years in a supposedly… luxurious hotel.