The Ultimate List of Travel Movies

ultimate list of travel movies

Suffering from post-traveling depression there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch on a rainy day watching travel movies. These are some of my favourites. I’m aiming to extend this list as much as possible so it will turn out to become the Ultimate List of Travel Movies.

ultimate list of travel movies1. The Art of Flight (2011)

The Art of Flight is without a doubt the most badass snowboard and skiing film ever made. Taking sportsdocumentaries and -movies to a whole new level, the Art of Flight brings you from Alaska to Patagonia and Austria, with absolutely astounding mountain shots from several helicopters and snowboarders doing the most crazy tricks and downhills from. In 2016 a long awaited sequel comes out, named The Fourth Phase.


ultimate list of travel movies2. Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Three estranged brothers embark on a train journey through India to find their lost mother. It has been a year since they have talked to each other – on their fathers funeral. I haven’t yet been able to make it to India, but I am guessing that you will come across many of these unexpected events as these brothers do. Their adventures are quite hilarious, the movie is very well made and with good actors and the storyline is amazing. It’s the perfect travel movie for a Sunday afternoon.


ultimate list of travel movies3. Wild (2014)

 Cheryl, surprisingly well played by Reese Witherspoon, decides to go on an 1100 mile walk through the wild and try to find herself. Completely untrained she starts the journey which you follow. The movie is truly inspirational, it makes you want to strap on your backpack, leave everything behind, be alone in the middle of nowhere and come to discoveries you would never have had if you would have stayed at home.

ultimate list of travel movies4. Tracks (2013)

 Tracks is based on the true story of Robyn Davidson who crossed the Australian dessert back in 1977. What makes this story even more interesting is that Davidson was accompanied by four camels and her dog during her journey. National Geographic covered the story, and later Davidson wrote a memoir about it. Tracks is based on Davidson’s memoir. It’s not a romanticised story of such a trek – no, all the pain and sorrows that were included are shown as well. That in combination with good actors and stunning scenery makes this movie a gem.

ultimate list of travel movies5. A Map for Saturday (2007)

A Map for Saturday is, as far as I know, the only true backpackers documentary that exists. You follow Brook on his 11-month backpacking trip back in 2005. He quit his fancy HBO job to travel around Australia and Asia and produce this documentary about the true backpacker lifestyle. The name is based upon the well-known feeling with many travellers, that every day feels like Saturday. It’s a nice way to get back into the backpackers vibe even though you’re at home on the couch. Or to form a good idea of how backpacking is, if you haven’t done it yourself yet.

ultimate list of travel movies6. Craigslist Joe (2012)

Joe is curious how far you can get depending on other peoples generosity. He decides to travel around the United States for one month, completely depending on the website Craigslist. He even found the cameraman that filmed the movie on Craigslist. In exchange for help people offer him food, rides and accommodation. He only goes hungry and cold a couple of times. The documentary proves you don’t need much to travel, and the ancient old trading system still exists.

ultimate list of travel movies7. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Before Che Guevara became the revolutionaire he is now so famous for, he traveled around South-America on a motorbike, accompanied by his friend Alberto Granado. The things he encountered there all added up to him becoming the man he was. As for many, traveling is a life changing experience, and that’s what it was for Che as well.


ultimate list of travel movies8. Magic Trip (2011)

Back in the 60’s, Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters bought an old school bus. The goal was to drive to New York World’s Fair, crossing a big part of the States. There was no shortage of LSD along the way and slowly but surely the bus transformed in a typical 60’s hippie van with parties going on. Magic Trip shows original footage shot during the trip, sometimes by Kesey or Timothy Leary themselves. Although it made me homesick for times that I have never known myself, it gives an interesting look in the road tripping culture of this bygone era.

ultimate list of travel movies9. Home (2009)

Home, made by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is an impressive documentary on our planet. Using the latest technology, the film shows aerial shots from all over the world. The emphasis lies on the diversity and beauty of our planet – and how we are destroying it. The documentary is available on Youtube for free. You can watch the movie with commentaries in several different languages, or just music.

ultimate list of travel movies10. The Way (2010)

The heartbreaking story of a father who finishes the trip his son started, but was never able to finish himself. A son sets out to start the famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela trek, but finds death along the way. His father flies to Spain to collect his sons remains, and decides to finish what his son started. Along the way he finds himself closer to his son, the people he meets along the way, and to himself.

ultimate list of travel movies11. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

We’ve all heard stories of the corporate, hardworking rich guy who drops everything and leaves. Admittedly, Walter Mitty was kind of forced into this situation, but it is who he was. Starting the journey chasing a photographer he needs for his work, he sets off to Greenland. Something that started out as a job quickly transformed into a true traveling adventure. Mitty’s life changes during the corse of his travels, and so will yours if you follow in his footsteps!

ultimate list of travel movies12. Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008)

Definitely not one of my personal favourites: I think there’s too much emphasis on sex and love, which I personally think is fun in real life, but little inspiring to watch. However, Vicky Christina Barcelona is a movie that can’t be missed in a list of travel movies. Also I know there are many people who wouldn’t agree with me and find the movie very enjoyable. I’ll leave it up to you to judge.


ultimate list of travel movies13. The Way Back (2010)

Not your typical feel good movie, but a damn good one for sure. It was based on the book The Long Walk, a memoire by the Polish Slawomir Rawicz, a prisoner of war during the Soviet Union. A couple of men escape from the Soviets Gulag and try to make their way home, on foot. Along the way they meet a woman who joins them. They battle nature, hunger and loss of friends while finding their way through the Siberian landscape. A walk of 4000 miles takes them through Mongolia and crossing the Himalaya’s and into freedom.

ultimate list of travel movies14. 7 Years in Tibet (1997)

The first movie I bought of my own money, back when I was about twelve years old and movies still came on VHS. I’m not sure what got me into buying this movie, but the pull was strong and I’m glad I did. I barely knew anything about Tibet back then, but I loved this different culture that seemed so far away from what I was used to. I loved it how the movie showed the exchange of culture, people learning from each other and loving each other. I knew I had to leave the country at some point as well.

ultimate list of travel movies15. Into the Wild (2007)

Probably the most popular movie amongst travellers, of course Into the Wilde cannot miss from this list. Alexander Supertramp has been an inspiration for many – burning his money and passport, setting off on foot, “Into the Wild”, and survive from the planet we live on. Alex’ story has touched many – some might think he was stupid for not bringing a map, others applaud him for it as it being the ultimate nomads life.

ultimate list of travel movies16. Up (2009)

Definitely my favourite animation movie. And it is quite inspiring to start traveling now, before it is too late. Maybe the beginning of the movie is the most emotional one ever: it shows the life of a man, starting from a little boy, finding the love of his life, their dream to travel to a beautiful waterfall (actually based on world’s highest waterfall in Venezuela), but not finding the money for several reasons. When his wife passes away and his house is on the list to be demolished, Carl decides to finally embark on the journey he and his wife had been dreaming of for so long.

the ultimate list of travel movies 17. Everest (2015)

The newest movie featuring the top of the world is a strong one. It’s about the biggest disaster that ever happened on the world famous mountain – up until the 2015 earthquake, which happened while they were shooting this movie. Back in the day there wasn’t much organisation on Everest. There weren’t much people crazy enough to try and summit the highest peak of the Himalaya’s. Never before had so many people attempted to summit in one day then on the 10th of May, 1996. This, a lack of organisation and a smaller weather window than anticipated made everything go different than expected.

the ultimate list of travel movies 18. Eat Pray Love (2010)

Of course Eat Pray Love can’t miss from a list of travel movies. It’s an enormously romanticised movie and I don’t think it’s a good one because of that. However, it is the perfect movie for anyone who wants to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine on a rainy day. And the storyline is very recognisable for many of us travellers. When Liz’ relationship finds an end and she finds herself homeless, she decides to change her life around. She books a one way ticket to Rome, to indulge herself in Italian food and culture. She’s not done after Rome, and moves on to Bali and India, trying to find herself back – and love.

19. The Art of Travel (2007)the ultimate list of travel movies

Right before Conner is about to marry his high school sweetheart, he finds out she has been cheating on him – with his best friend. He decides to still go on the honeymoon, although he changes location and takes the first flight he can get. Conner ends up in Central America, slightly overwhelmed and in a culture shock. He recovers quite quickly though, until he meets a couple with the extreme plan to cross the jungle in a jeep. They could use an extra pair of hands. Conner had planned on going home, but changes his mind on the very last minute. An adventure awaits him, and he’s not about to let it go. The movie shows how everyone gets addicted and bitten by the travel bug.

the ultimate list of travel movies20. The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

Tarzan. I don’t know about you, but I was totally in love with him and his story when I was a kid. Live in the jungle in a treehouse, I mean, come on, who doesn’t want that? Naturally I was one of the first people on the planet to go and watch this new Tarzan movie. The movie didn’t disappoint me. On the contrary. It was a childhood dream come true to see this remake of the old animation movie I knew. The Legend of Tarzan made me, yet again, want to move to a treehouse (of course accompanied by some extremely sexy guy), hike through another jungle and most of all, go to Africa.

the ultimate list of travel movies21. The Hundred Foot Journey (2014)

An Indian family tries to find a new life in France. Their new home is located across from a high-end French restaurant, and they start up their own Indian restaurant, to dissatisfaction of the French owner. A war breaks out between the two restaurants.
The movie is perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It’s humorous, relaxing and feel-good, with good actors and a beautiful setting. It makes you want to eat Indian food and pack your bags to hit the romantic French villages.

 22. The Very Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)the ultimate list of travel movies

Sonny inherited an old hotel from his father. He wants to keep his fathers legacy alive and converts the hotel into a hotel for the elderly. Pulled in by Sonny’s lovely way of commercialising the place a group of seven Brits head to India for a stay in The Very Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Sonny isn’t even half done with the hotel when the guests arrive, nevertheless a true bond arises between Sonny and his guests.
Dev Patel by now is world-famous and not without reason. His sparkly, happy character comes out, especially in this movie. Definitely a must-watch, just like the follow-up that was released in 2015.

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