As a change from all the slightly depressing COVID related cancellations, I thought I would do a series of articles on how to travel from your armchair. I have enlisted some help from other travel bloggers to come up with a list of books, films and TV series to binge-watch until we can travel again. If you want further inspiration, then feel free to check out my fellow bloggers’ websites! You can find my first article about binge-worthy TV travel inspiring series here.
In this article, we will look at films that inspired us to travel or remind us of our travel experiences.
In this post:
My top choices
I will start with a few of my favourites:
Up in the Air
If you regard yourself as a frequent flyer, travel for work or just love the whole airport experience. It also has George Clooney in it, if that is your thing (it’s certainly mine). In it, George plays plane Warrier Ryan Bingham, who spends his life flying across the US to fire people. Ryan also gives motivational speeches, with the tagline “What’s in Your Backpack?” about the benefits of living free of burdensome relationships and material possessions. He lives an ordered and closed-off life without any real relationships, with his primary goal to reach a certain level of flying.
It’s sometimes sad, sometimes funny and thought-provoking too. I just love the scenes of the airport routines and packing as brings back my travels to me.
If you are interested in the flying side of travel, I can also recommend these:
Denzil Washington stars as an alcoholic pilot who battles to save his plane when it malfunctions.
This film is hard to watch about 9-11 and the United flight where the passengers and crew valiantly fought back against the highjackers.
Die Hard 2
From 1990, the second ion the series is also set on Christmas Eve. Bruce Willis as John McClane is waiting for his wife to land at Washington Dulles International Airport when terrorists take over the air traffic control system. He must stop the terrorists before the flights that are circling the airport run out of fuel and crash, including his wife’s plane.
Not much to say about this as I am sure you are familiar with the story about Captain Sully landing a plane on the Hudson River. It is well worth watching if you have not got round to it yet and maybe even a second look.
This film is based on my former occupation, Air Traffic Control. When it comes to the technical side, it is pretty bad – we don’t just all walk away from our screen when something happens so we can have a look at what someone else is doing!! However, some of the characteristics of the controllers and the lifestyle are similar.
Sideways (California Wine Country)
For those of us you have ever fancied visiting the vineyards of California, or if you are a bit of a wine buff, the quirky film will be as satisfying as a large glass of your favourite wine. Miles (Paul Giamatti) is an un-recovered divorcé wine snob who takes his and friend for a stag weekend wine tasting to Santa Barbara County wine country. The two former college buddies couldn’t be more different, although both appear to be starting a mid-life crisis as they are now in their forties. Miles just wants the perfect bottle of wine and Jack just wants to get drunk and hook up with women. Sandra Oh also stars as one of their love interests. Sideways won critical claim and even received an Oscar.
There are so many films about Italy it was hard to choose which ones to feature in the list. If you want a classic you can’t go wrong with Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday, if you prefer something more modern here are a few suggestions:
Only You (Rome, Venice and Italy)
Although this is a fun Rom-Com, it is also a fantastic showcase for Italy with scenes in Rome, Venice and the coast. Starring the gorgeous Marisa Tomei, Billy Zane and Robert Downey Jr in their younger days, it’s full of beautiful people as well as scenery. The film follows the story of superstitious Faith who believes she is destined to be with a person with one particular name. She races around Italy in a Fiat 500 hot on the tail of the man who she believes to be the love of her life.
Now over to some of my fellow bloggers for their suggestions:
The Trip To Italy
One movie that inspires me to travel to Italy for a road trip is the 2014 comedy The Trip To Italy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
I love this movie mostly because it’s such a realistic scenario to be making a road trip with a good mate who you would talk to about any aspect of life, as well as just having a good laugh along the way.
The guys play a fictionalised version of themselves in the movie, but you wouldn’t know it, as they discuss all areas of life seemingly so candidly.
Rob even has a brief fling with a woman he meets along the way, despite having a wife and new-born baby back home in London who’s he’s communicating with daily via video chat.
As they drive from town to town through the beautiful Italian countryside, they stop at various restaurants to enjoy local Italian food and wine and discuss life, work, relationships and mimic famous people’s voices, facial expressions and gesticulations with uncanny accuracy.
The road trip sees them visiting famous destinations in Italy such as Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi Coast and the Island of Capri.
So not only does the movie inspire me to travel to Italy, but it also reminds me of the value of friendship and how travel can enrich your life when shared with a friend or life partner.
By Matt from It’s all in Italy
Under the Tuscan Sun
I stopped travelling with I was eight months pregnant and didn’t till my baby was three months old. Along with the hospital bag, one extra thing I did was to download a few feel-good travel movies to watch, on the hospital bed! One of it was ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’!
The movie begins in San Francisco, where the protagonist Diane Lane, goes through a divorce and visits Tuscany for a vacation and ends up in the small town of Cortana, south of Florence! The charm of the typical countryside life of Italy, the beautiful characterisation of the people, the food, the houses, everything is so so gorgeous! It’s so endearing that she buys a villa, settles down here and finally finds love too! I had already been to Florence, long back but I’m yearning to head to Italy again to bike around Cortana and the other little towns & villages of Italy!
By Bhushavali from My Travelogue by Bhushavali
Call me by your name (Italy)
Travel is a mindset, a way of life. This means that, even when we aren’t actually on the road, we come up with ways to let our minds drift to places we know and love or to unknown lands we’d like to explore. The best way to do so is by watching films that remind us of past trips or inspire future ones.
It’s no secret that we are helplessly in love with Italy. Therefore, we never miss a chance to watch a film that features the country’s gorgeous scenery. One of our favourite movies set in Italy is Luca Guadagnino’s latest masterpiece, Call Me By Your Name.
Based on a superb novel written by Andre Aciman, Call Me By Your Name is a coming-of-age drama that explores how the love story between Elio & Oliver unfolds while visiting some of the most picturesque cities and towns in the Italian region of Lombardy.
From the medieval splendour of stunning Bergamo to the sunlit quaint towns of Crema and Cremona, Call Me By Your Name is not just an ode to love but also to the jaw-dropping scenery and magnificent architecture that render Northern Italy an irresistible destination like no other.
By Katerina & Maria of It’s All Trip To Me
Other films set in Europe:
PS I Love You (Ireland)
If you’ve ever dreamed of travelling to Ireland, you can enjoy the lush Irish countryside, rugged coastline, and its lively pubs from the comfort of your living room.
The movie “PS I Love You” starring Gerard Butler (Gerry) and Hillary Swank (Holly) is one of the most romantic, yet incredibly sad movies I’ve seen!
The young couple are madly in love, but tragedy strikes when hubby dies from an illness. But, he had planned ahead, and on Holly’s 30th birthday, the widow receives her first letter from her husband.
Gerry had written and arranged for letters to be sent to help guide her through her grief, and ultimately, encouraging her to move forward with her life.
The letters end up bringing her to Ireland, where Gerry is from, and that’s when the magic of Ireland is shown on the screen.
Most of the movie’s scenes are filmed in County Wicklow, which is located just an hour outside of Dublin and is known as being the “Garden of Ireland”.
The filming takes place in Wicklow Mountains National Park, the village of Lacken, River Liffey, and more. Once you see the landscapes in the movie, you’ll want to visit immediately. Known for its rolling green hills, stunning coastal walks, beautiful beaches with sandy dunes, and pristine lakes, there are numerous places to see and things to do in Wicklow.”
By Dariece Swift Your Irish Adventure
Amelie is a quirky and fun film set in Paris about a sheltered, introverted young woman who spices up her mundane life by meddling in the lives of her neighbours in bizarre ways. The result is a comical and heartwarming expose of how small things are important, which is further highlighted by Amelie’s love of small delights, like skipping stones or breaking the crust of a creme brulee.
The film features over 80 Parisian locations and feels like a throwback to the sun-drenched, candy-coloured travel films of the fifties. Set mostly in Montmartre, viewers are also treated to trips to sites such as Sacre Coeur, Canal Saint-Martin and Gare de l’Est, and are given a unique glimpse into Parisian working life.
Amelie’s lighthearted scheming opens her up to human connection and eventually leads to love. This heartwarming film views as a modern-day fairy tale, gently confronting some darker issues (such as childhood abuse) with a dreamy Parisian backdrop and a quirky, brilliant cast of eccentric characters – all with a happy ending.
One of my favourite travel inspiration films, ‘Amelie’ portrays Paris as it was intended, as a beautiful, dreamy city where anything can happen – and most importantly, a city of love.
Watch on: Amazon Prime, DVD
By from Jenna www.iknowthepilot.com.au
In Bruges is a dark comedy/cult film from 2008 that takes place in the charming Medieval city of Bruges, Belgium. Protagonist Ray (Colin Farrell) is a beginning Irish hitmen. However, his first assignment went wrong when he accidentally killed a little boy. He and his mentor Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are sent to Bruges by their boss Harry and are to await further instructions. While Ken loves the charming city and wants to enjoy his time as a tourist, Ray loathes it.
During their time in Bruges, they meet several eccentric characters: Jimmy – a dwarf actor, Chloe – a drug dealer slash production assistant slash tourist scammer & Eirik – Chloe’s ex-boyfriend and partner in crime.
When Harry orders Ken to kill Ray a series of actions unravel, all leading up to a rather dark ending. With strong actors and great acting, the movie is quite pleasant if you’re a fan of the black humour genre. Furthermore, as it’s situated entirely in Bruges, it gives you a wonderful view of the “Venice of the North”. One of the great features of this movie is that the characters actually spend some time as tourists and visit sights such as the Groeningemuseum or take a boat trip on the canal. Many other highlights of the city are shown during action scenes. After watching this movie, you’ll feel as if you’ve visited Bruges yourself!
By Babs from nextstopbelgium.com
Now for rather more far-flung destinations. We start with two of my personal favourites:
Lost in Translation (Japan)
I’ll never forget my first night in Tokyo at the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt, the stylish hotel where most of the Hollywood movie Lost in Translation was filmed. Having arrived in Tokyo from London earlier that day on a 12-hour flight, undeterred by the 8-hour time difference, I was determined to start my trip to Japan by ticking off one of my most desired Tokyo bucket list activities. Those memories of sipping cocktails while gazing out over the Tokyo skyline listening to live jazz will stay with me forever.
Lost in Translation expertly captures that feeling of first arriving in Tokyo, where much of it seems overwhelming, and you don’t always understand what is happening around you, but the excitement of being there overrides your doubts and allows you to push your boundaries and dive into the culture.
The movie, directed by Sofia Coppola, has her trademark dreamy-like vision and lack of dialogue, preferring instead to tell the story via imagery. Through Lost in Translation, Coppola inspires us to travel to Japan by taking us to the zen gardens and temples of Kyoto, using Mount Fuji as a scenic backdrop, and inviting us to experience a lively karaoke session at the Karaoke Kan private booths in Shibuya.
By Tanja from Ryokou Girl
The Hangover Trilogy (Las Vegas and Bangkok)
One of my favourite places to visit is Las Vegas, Nevada. Vegas is a grown-up’s playground, complete with gambling, nightlife, great shopping, amazing restaurants and world-class entertainment. Before a Vegas trip, we always watch some of our favourite Vegas movies, including The Hangover.
Now The Hangover might be the cautionary tale of what NOT to do in Vegas – including losing your friend two days before his wedding and getting so inebriated you can’t find him. But this film has great only-in-Vegas scenes like the iconic drive into town, the fancy suite at Caesar’s Palace, and a hangover brunch by Caesar’s pool.
The Hangover is such a fun movie, with some great one-liners, and the franchise went on to make two other films that you might add to your travel wanderlust. Hangover 2 follows the crew as they head to Thailand for Stu’s wedding – and you know it’s not just going to be some innocent trip to SE Asia!
Hangover 3 is the final instalment in the trilogy, taking the gang down to Mexico (and oh my to a fabulous villa) and finally back to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where it all began.
The Hangover trilogy is definitely one to put on your watch-list, both for the travel locations it will inspire you to visit, but also because these movies are just so funny!
By Harmony from Momma To Go
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (New York, Greenland and more)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a quirky adventure dramedy starring Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig. Stiller as Mitty goes on a madcap adventure away from his tedious desk work, trying to hunt down an adventurous photojournalist and recover a photo negative required to save both his and his love interest (Wiig)’s jobs. In the beginning, his creative “zoning out” episodes bring to life elaborate daydreams full of adventure. As his escapades shift to real life, the travel inspiration starts! We watch Mitty skateboarding on epic Greenland highways and running from an exploding volcano in Iceland. After a brief job back to New York, we then follow him to the Himalayas where soccer is played with sherpas, and elusive cats are photographed. The movie revels in the scenic landscapes of all these locations, and you’ll be adding to your travel bucket list by the time you’re done watching!
By Stephanie from Exploremorecleanless.com
The Fall (India, Bali and more)
The Fall is a fantasy adventure about a little girl, a patient in a hospital that forms a bizarre friendship with a young man called Roy. Roy is a stunt man that ends up in hospital after jumping from a bridge for a movie he is working for. He tells Alexandria a story about six heroes that share a common enemy Governor Odious and travel the world together to seek vengeance on him.
The film has been shot over four years in 20 different countries. We can see scenes from Indian Taj Mahal and the blue city of Jodhpur, Indonesia, France, Spain, Namibia and China.
My favourite scene takes place in Bali’s famous lush rice fields where the six heroes meet a group of indigenous people that perform a mystical dance (which is Balinese traditional dance Kecak). During the dance ceremony, a tattoo appears on the mystic’s body that is a map that leads the heroes to the Governor’s Odious whereabouts.
Roy continues to meet Alexandria, but his story turns out to be only a decoy for using the girl to steal something for him…
By Mal at Raw Mal Roams
Lord of the Rings (New Zealand)
We were in our early twenties when we watched The Lord Of The Rings trilogy for the first time. Following Frodo, Sam and the Fellowship of the Ring on their adventures through Middle Earth opened our eyes for the stunning beauty of New Zealand. Over 150 locations in New Zealand were used to bring Tolkien’s world alive. Peter Jackson, the director of the trilogy, is from New Zealand and made through his movies the best possible promotion film for his country. It immediately moved New Zealand to the top of our bucket list.
Over ten years later, we finally made it to Middle Earth with our kids, and it did not disappoint. From the rolling green hills on the Northern Island to the raw, wild beauty of the mountains on the Southern Island, New Zealand’s natural beauty is breathtaking. Although it’s almost 20 years since the release of the first movie, the country still honours the epic adventures of the hobbits and their friends.
Whether you book one of the many tours, such as a Lord Of The Rings jeep safari with Nomad Safari or go out exploring yourself, there are some locations you can not miss. First of all, there is Hobbiton or The Shire on the Northern Island, home of the hobbits. The lush green hills and the world-famous small houses with round doors make you want to live here yourself. Secondly, you have to visit the impressive Mount Ngarahoe volcano at Tongariro National Park, who was used as Mount Doom in the movies. And of course Queenstown, the epic centre of the scenes on the Southern Island with the Remarkables mountains, its wild rivers and dense forests. Although the adventures of Frodo came to an end a long time ago, Middle Earth is still alive and worth your visit!
By Heleen from The Global Wizards
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (New Zealand)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a New Zealand movie that was first released on the Sundance Film Festival 2016 and tells the touching story of young delinquent Ricky Baker and his reluctant foster dad Hector. It’s based on Barry Crump’s book Wild Pork and Watercress.
When juvenile delinquent Ricky gets placed in the foster home of Bella and Hector, he’s the typical example of a mad-at-the-world abandoned kid. Although Hec doesn’t care much about him, Ricky soon bonds with foster mom Bella especially after she gives him a dog for his 13th birthday.
Unfortunately, tragedy strikes again for the youngster when Bella suddenly dies. After Hec tells him he will send him back into the system, the kid fakes his own suicide by burning down the barn and flees into the New Zealand bush. Hector easily finds them, but after breaking his ankle, they are bound to stay there and survive outdoors for a while.
In the meantime, the authorities have discovered the burned down shed and abandoned house, which leads them to believe Hector has abducted Ricky. A wild manhunt follows in which Hec and Ricky grow closer and start becoming a real family.
This movie shows some great shots of the amazing New Zealand nature, which will make your mouth start to water. Especially lovers of the outdoors will enjoy the protagonists’ adventures in the bush, but this movie is worth watching for much more than the New Zealand scenery alone. It’s an epic tale with charming characters bringing a smile upon your face while addressing heavier themes.
By Babs from mumsonflipflops.com
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Various)
If you’re looking for a unique movie that combines the beauty of the great outdoors, with travel, then I recommend Salmon Fishing in The Yemen starring Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor.
Alfred (Ewan McGregor) is in the fisheries business and receives a proposal about bringing salmon fishing to the country of Yemen — something that hasn’t been done. A wealthy Sheikh funds the project, and eventually, Alfred agrees to travel to Yemen to see if salmon fishing is possible there.
While the film itself isn’t actually set in Yemen, you’ll enjoy scenes shot in the rugged Atlas Mountains of Morocco, the Scottish Highlands, and London, England.
And, for those of you who are into fly fishing (like I am), not only will you love the travel scenes, but you’ll enjoy the sound of the rushing river, the rods as they whip back and forth, and the sound of the fly reels as they strip out. Add this movie to your “must-watch” list this week!”
By Nick from Into Fly Fishing
Seven years in Tibet
Seven years in Tibet tells the story of Heinrich Harrer, a German explorer and mountaineer, during his time in Tibet. It follows him (played by Brad Pitt), and fellow climber Peter Aufschnaiter as their mountaineering trip in British India is cut short by the outset of WWII in 1939. Due to their German passports, they become imprisoned in a British POW camp but escape in 1944 to wander the Himalayan foothills until they come across the holy city of Lhasa. Heinrich soon befriends the young Dalai Lama and becomes a sort of tutor, teaching the young spiritual leader about western culture and building a small cinema. They stayed until the Chinese military campaign in 1950, which resulted in the exile of the 14th Dalai Lama.
The film is a fascinating true story, telling an important history in this small part of the world, and a crucial time in the life of the Dalai Lama. The scenery makes you want to book a flight to the Himalayas and explore this interesting and unique area of the planet. Definitely one for the bucket list!
By Jo of Lost Wanders