The Best Travel Movies

by The Runaway Guide on September 8, 2011

For anyone who has an insatiable case of wanderlust, and in need of a travel fix, but isn’t fortunate enough to be on the road, the following movies are for you. From foreign romance to surviving the wild, to backpacking Thailand, these are the best travel inspiring movies out there.

9) Outsourced

a guy in an office with a cow

Released in 2006, at the height of controversial outsourcing to India, this is the story of a typical American salesman who is sent to India to train a call center. While there, he falls in love with one of his employees and in turn discovers the uniqueness that is Indian culture. It is a quirky romantic comedy travel movie enhanced by clever commentary on the comic irony of outsourcing. Trailer:

8) Before Sunrise

a scene from before sunrise, a romance film

Another travel romance film, Before Sunrise is the story of an American guy (Ethan Hawke) and a French girl (Julie Delpy) who meet by fate on a train in Europe. Having instant chemistry, they both decide to depart the train in Vienna. As they explore the city, their relationship grows and by early morning they are drunk with love. This is definitely one for you hopeless romantics out there. Trailer:

7) Lost In Translation

bill murray in lost in translation

This film stars Bill Murray as basically himself, who is having a minor mid-midlife crisis. He is in Tokyo doing a commercial when he meets a younger girl (Scarlett Johansen) in the hotel longue. Equally as lost emotionally, they make perfect companions. Together they explore Tokyo’s nightlife. If you have been to Japan, Lost In Translation will make you nostalgic for Japenglish. If you haven’t, you are definitely going to want to go. Trailer:

6) Seven Years In Tibet

brad pitt in the film seven years in tibet

This film takes place during WW2. It follows the plight of a famous German mountain climber played by Brad Pitt. Forced to flee from British Nepal after attempting to summit Mt. Everest, he eventually finds himself in Tibet and becomes a tutor for the Dali Lama. It is a story of survival, adventure, and cultural clashes, and will leave you longing to visit Tibet. Trailer:

5) The Darjeeling Limited

adrien brody and owen wilson in the darjeeling limited

This movie is in part the reason why I wanted to go to India. It is the story of three brothers, (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, & Jason Swartzman) who travel to India to reunite with their mother. Initially a “spiritual journey” they soon succumb to old sibling rivalries and over the counter pain medications. A must see for any travelers of India. Trailer:

4) The Motorcycle Diaries

che guervara on motorcycle

Based on a true story, The Motorcycle Diaries is a fantastic adventure that traces the youthful origins of the revolutionary Che Guevara and his friend, Alberto Granado. After watching, you will no doubt want to buy a motorcycle and ride the world. Trialer:

3) Indiana Jones: Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

This film as well as the entire series is what inspired me to travel as a kid. If you haven’t seen Indiana Jones and are into travel action films, you won’t be disappointed. Trailer:

2) The Beach

Leonardo Dicaprio in The Beach

“The Beach” is the story of a young American backpacker,(Leonardo Dicaprio) who goes to Thailand in search of an adventure off the beaten path. This is the movie that inspired me to go to Thailand. I highly recommend it.  Trailer:

1).  Into The Wild

Into The Wild

Into The Wild is one of the greatest beatnik/wilderness adventure movies I have ever seen. Based on a true story, it follows the path of Alexander “Supertramp.”  Disillusioned by society and capitalism, he renounces the material world and seeks enlightenment through an escape to the Wilderness. He is a traveler after my own heart. Trailer:


If you have any good travel movie recommendations, feel free to post them below.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris July 27, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Wow Im so glad I found your site. First time visitor here.
The Beach and Into the Wild are by far my favorite movies. Ive always craved to do just as you have. I think next year will mark the beginning of making it a reality.
You should have Americano on there to. Great travel movie another one of my favorites.


The Runaway Guide July 30, 2014 at 4:50 am

Hey Chris, cool! Thanks for letting me know, I’m gonna check it out. Cheers!


Ali May 14, 2013 at 7:48 am

On The Road, makes you want to drop everything and get away. Although no doubt that the novel is exponentially better! Kerouac is the ultimate King of the road


laurarose March 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

180 degrees south is incredible! Return to paradise is brilliant as well! Just came across your site, I’m in the saving stage before I jet off long term! You’re giving me the needed motivation to stay on track and remember what I’m going through now will help me serve my bigger purpose! THANKS :D Happy and safe travels


The Runaway Guide March 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Hey, I gotta check these out. Cheers! I’m really glad. When the time comes to travel, let me know! :)


Seband December 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Justin and Scott – Departures

It’s a TV series that’s about two guys travelling the world with their mate Andrew.
Andrew, who is shooting the series is fantastic! And the two other guys is really funny!


The Runaway Guide December 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Coool! I will be sure to check it out, probably tonight. Cheers-Leif


Michelle November 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I recently watched the movie “The Way” about el camino, the way of Saint James. That was a great one, it inspired me to walk the way once I finish my schooling in May. Thanks for the list and the great blog!


The Runaway Guide December 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Yea, I just saw that recently too. I liked it as well. I met a chinese guy who it did it once.


Aryn September 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I highly recommend “The Art of Travel”. It has recently become one of my favourite travel movies of all time.


The Runaway Guide October 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Thanks Aryn, I will check it out.


Ana | Mrs.O Around the World August 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

Great list! You should also consider adding “A map for Saturday” and “The Fall”. I especially like the landscapes form “The Fall”….if they won’t make you want to travel, nothing will.


The Runaway Guide September 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thanks Ana, I am definitely going to check them out. I always am in the search for new good travel movies!


Carlo August 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I loved “into the wild” what a cracking story. The fact that its real as well makes for some hair raising moments when you think about it.

For some reason, when I first stumbled about your blog and read your bio, I immediately thought of that film.

Epic stuff man :)


The Runaway Guide August 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Thanks dude. When I watched that movie for the first time, it really reminded me of myself. It was kind of freaky.


Rydall August 14, 2012 at 2:44 am

This is definately an inspired list, I have watched most on the list now, a couple of movies I would add would be; Under The Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love and The Best Exotic Marygold Hotel. Good to see some movies that actually show off the location they are set rather than just showing a cityscape and telling you your there.


The Runaway Guide August 14, 2012 at 11:48 am

Those are nice movies as well, thanks for sharing. I do remember those movies having great shots of Bali and Tuscany. Cheers, Leif


Ryan Mach l Pinoy Wandering Boy April 9, 2012 at 3:22 am

Motorcycle Diaries is my all-time favorite movie about traveling. ;p


Traveler's Muse February 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

Travel films have the greatest ability to leave me with a wonderful feeling of nostalgia. I love it, and the funny thing is I travel regularly difference is, it is for work for Dish. When I watched “The Beach”, I was inspired to go somewhere exotic and have an adventure of my own. I felt a wee bit jealous at the idea of taking of to Thailand on a whim and finding an exotic dangerous beach of paradise. When I travel, I find my escapes through dishonline where as a subscriber I love to look through tons of movies to keep me occupied during long delays and lonely hotel nights. This fills some of the hole of needing escape but one day I fill have my adventure somewhere out there.


Ian Robinson November 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm

It made me really happy to see that you had Into the Wild as the #1. This is great.


Simon September 23, 2011 at 6:32 am

Eurotrip is a class travel film. I watched into the wild again the other day and I love that, someone has recommended a soppy one for me which is Shanghai kiss so I’m going to check that out. I don’t need a movie to inspire me though, memories are enough to spur me to get some cash saved to get back out. Working in Switzerland wiped me out and I have financial commitments back home making travel cheap that little bit harder.


The Runaway Guide September 27, 2011 at 12:13 am

I thought Eurotrip was alright. Too stereotypical but fun. Yea, Into The Wild is awesome. Where you working in Switzerland? I put my student loans on forbearance, you should do so as well if you got them.


Gwen McCauley September 23, 2011 at 5:22 am

Oh my. So many good travel movies. How about:
-Everything is Illuminated – Elijah Wood stars as a guy exploring his Jewish roots with some totally whacked out Ukrainians and a mad dog named Sammy Davis Junior Junior.
-One Week – a motorcycle trip across Canada by a young guy diagnosed with one week to live
-Schultze Gets the Blues – an aging, unemployed German accordian player who can’t speak English discovers zydeco music and sets out to explore America’s rural south
-Priscilla Queen of the Desert – a swashbuckling romp through Australia’s outback and the world of transvestites
-Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner – Canada’s High Artctic becomes a central character in this movie of culture, love and loss


The Runaway Guide September 27, 2011 at 12:11 am

I love Everything Is Illuminate, how did I forget. I saw Shultze and thought it was funny but a little too slow pace for me. I saw one week too and should have listed it as well. I just watched Pricilla after reading your comment and had some good laughs, especially over the Abba turd. I’m gonna check out Atanarjuat soon! Thanks for the recommendations.


Si September 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Some great films. I haven’t seen Outsourced, so will check it out. I have to admit I really didn’t like Before Sunrise. I found it very dull. How about The Endless Summer, A Room With a View, Thelma and Louise (I do love a road movie) or Lawrence of Arabia (my all time fav!)

Love the blog, regards


The Runaway Guide September 17, 2011 at 7:40 am

Hey, thanks for the recommendations, I haven’t seen any of them yet, so I am looking forward to watching them.
Thanks for the support dude, your blog is sweet as well, I dig the layout.


Chris Walker-Bush September 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I’m ashamed to say I’ve only seen Lost in Translation and the Indy film on here. Lost in Translation really does take on a whole new meaning once you’ve lived and worked in an Asian country for any period of time.

Watching it after my two years in South Korea was like watching an entirely new movie.

I really need to see Into the Wild. Everybody raves to me about it and how I’d be inspired by it. I think it might even be my Friday night fix.


The Runaway Guide September 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Lost in translation is def more funny for people who have been to asia. Into the wild is the coolest, def pop some corn for it.


Sanders September 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

Just saw a great one called 180 Degrees South. Great story about nature and travel with a good soundtrack, reminded me a little bit of Into the Wild


The Runaway Guide September 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

cool, thanks for sharing, I’m gonna check it out


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