Escaping your daily life in search of new destinations, cultures, and adventures can take on many forms — such as a virtual tour of New York City or London, or front row seats to live stream some of the world’s best performances. Today, we’re taking you on a cinematic getaway with a series of must-watch travel movies that will move you… abroad! So grab some popcorn and get ready to be transported to another time and place.
The Darjeeling Limited
While you’ll see one side of soul-searching in ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ try jumping into a train car with three excitable brothers for a different kind of transformative journey.
In typical Wes Anderson fashion,‘The Darjeeling Limited‘ is quirky, eclectic, and, at points, ridiculous. However, the film takes you on an intense rail journey through India’s varied landscapes, from mountains to chaotic city markets to rust-hued deserts, all from your living room. You’ll also experience religious customs, spiritual rituals, and colorful temples that, in the end, have a profound effect on the main characters — and maybe even the viewers.
Midnight in Paris
If you’ve been dreaming of getting whisked away to the most romantic city in the world, it’s time to switch on ‘Midnight in Paris.’ This Woody Allen classic boasts scenes of bustling Parisian streets, cozy French cafes, and sweeping views of that iconic skyline.
Gil, the main character, is on holiday with his fiancée’s family in Paris when he decides to go for a stroll after dinner. The clock strikes midnight, and he’s transported back in time to the 1920s, where he meets Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, and Ernest Hemingway.
Beyond its charming storyline, the film beautifully showcases all of the city’s most notable monuments, like the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Elysees, and the Arc de Triomphe, as well as the raucous nightlife of Paris in the roaring 20s.
Into the Wild
If you’re yearning for a little more nature (and maybe a bit more adventure) in your life, ‘Into the Wild‘ provides plenty of stunning landscapes to which you can mentally escape anytime, anywhere. Based on a book surrounding the true story of Christopher McCandless, the movie is about a young man named Alexander Supertramp looking to push the boundaries of societal norms. Follow Alex as he travels from Virginia to South Dakota to Northern California to Alaska, all while driving, hitchhiking, and kayaking through the unknown.
This light and heart-warming movie brings you into the life of Sophie, a young woman who has always dreamed of being given away by her father on her wedding day. The problem? She doesn’t know who he is. After discovering her mother’s old diary, she decides to invite three special men to attend her special day — any of whom could potentially be her long-lost father.
Although the story takes place in the made-up destination of “Kalokairi,” the location is indeed comprised of shots of the very real (and beautiful) Skiathos and Skopelos islands in Greece. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll jig to ABBA songs set to scenes of turquoise water, rocky cliffs, and charming white houses.
Crazy Rich Asians
Another excellent travel flick based on a novel, ‘Crazy Rich Asians‘ explores the life of an elite Singaporean family. And when Rachel Chu flies to Singapore to meet her new boyfriend’s family for the first time, she has no idea what’s in store.
Between maneuvering through familial relationships and a seemingly endless amount of designer clothing, this movie presents Singapore’s most popular attractions, including the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Merlion Statue, delicious hawker street food, and the spectacular Gardens by the Bay. Thankfully, this ticket to Singapore awaits on a variety of video streaming platforms.
The Motorcycle Diaries
If you’ve been wanting to discover the allure of South America but aren’t quite ready to book that flight, this is the film for you. Based on Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s memoirs, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries‘ showcases the people, places, and experiences that shaped the future revolutionary, as well as the undeniable beauty of his surroundings.
Although a bit more serious than some of the other movies on this list, you’ll travel on two wheels with Che and his buddy, Alberto Granado, from Argentina to Chile and Peru, among other countries, taking in some of South America’s finest — such as the Andes, Machu Picchu, and the Amazon — along the way.
It’ll be a challenge to pick from fear, admiration, or love of the Australian Outback after watching ‘Tracks‘ — though we have a feeling it’ll be all three. This inspiring story depicts Robyn Davidson’s 2,000-mile trek from Alice Springs to Australia‘s west coast, with just a few camels and a dog to keep her company. You’ll walk alongside her, under an unrelenting sun, and explore the center of a country few people dare to venture through. And not only will you learn about the Outback itself, but you’ll also get a glimpse into the lives of the indigenous Australians who live there.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Ever wish you could live in another time? With ‘Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,’ you’ll be transported back to an era of bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye everything, and go-go boots — pretty groovy, right?
The story revolves around Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, an actor-and-stuntman duo working in Hollywood in the late 60s. In typical Quentin Tarantino fashion, there are slight alterations to a few historical events, as well as a bit of violence. And, if you’re not familiar with the Manson Family murders, you’ll want to do a little research before watching this film.
Beyond a storyline that will never fail to keep you on your toes, the movie does a fabulous job of showcasing what Los Angeles, and Hollywood specifically, was like in 1969. You’ll take walks around classic movie sets, drives down Hollywood Boulevard, and strolls through charming Westwood Village, among other iconic locations.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
When travel is made challenging by restrictions or otherwise, some of us might fantasize about new adventures more than others. If this sounds like you, there’s a good chance you’ll relate to Walter Mitty. While his circumstances are slightly different — he’s been stuck in a monotonous job for years — the pull of wanderlust is strong and getting harder to ignore.
When Walter is tasked with producing a negative for a cover of the magazine he works for, he has to leave the safety of his cubicle and fly from New York City to Greenland. ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty‘ will have you on the edge of your seat through his series of travels — over icy waterfalls, shark-infested waters, and the Himalayas — both real and imaginary.
Whereas most of these films focus on destinations, ‘The Farewell‘ gives viewers an inside look into the life of a Chinese-American family. You’ll follow Billi (the actress, Awkwafina, won a Golden Globe Award for her performance) as she and her family travel from the US to China under the guise of celebrating a wedding. In reality, they’re coming together to say a last goodbye to their grandmother. The complexities of relationships, cultural norms, and expectations are prominent themes throughout the story — a story which is actually based on the director’s own life — making it a genuinely heartfelt and moving film.
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