I love movies.
Especially movies that inspire my travels. Hello, Wes Anderson themed RTW that will happen someday.
I have, on more than one occasion, Googled “movies that inspire travel,” and TONS of lists pop up. Nomadic Matt has a good one, here. Backpacker Guide NZ has one here. And another great one from The Planet D is here. These are all fantastic lists of the best movies for travel inspo. But some of my favorite movies that feature travel are… bad.
Awesomely bad. They’re those movies that most people would be a little embarrassed to admit they love. Which is why, I’m guessing, they tend to be absent on all those lists. Well, I’m here to say that I have seen every one of these movies. More than once. And they inspire some serious wanderlust in me. So grab some popcorn, snuggle up in your comforter and get ready for some laughably predictable and sometimes poorly written films set in awesome locations.
Inspires: Spontaneous, love-driven European road trips.
A sweet little film about a woman traveling to Ireland to ask for her boyfriend’s hand in marriage. Stuff happens and she winds up trapped in a car with a man she can’t stand. Of course they end up falling in love, blah, blah, blah. In the background of this completely predictable yet enjoyable rom-com you have beautiful Irish scenery, and Matthew Goode doesn’t hurt.
Inspires: Monumental life-changing moves to foreign countries.
Nia Vardalos, of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame, is really playing to her strengths in this one as a Greek American living in Greece and working as a tour guide. She’s lost and given up on love, but all that is remedied in this feel good flick following a tour group in Greece. The wacky cast of supporting characters includes Rachel Dratch (of SNL) and Richard Dreyfuss.
Location: Prague, Czech Republic; Venice, Italy. Berlin, Germany.
Inspires: Haphazard, passion-fueled European Rail trips.
Not to be confused with First Daughter which was released the same year, Chasing Liberty follows the goody-two-shoes First Daughter around Europe as she asserts her independence as a young woman… and falls in love. Oh, and Matthew Goode is in this one too. Seriously good if you’re jonesing for a spontaneous Eurail adventure.
Location: Florida Keys, FL, USA; the Bahamas.
Inspires: High stakes underwater adventure travel.
Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey team up again (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) as ex-spouses in search of long lost treasure on the Bahamian sea floor. Beautiful white sand beaches, crystal blue waters and some slapstick comedy. Hilarity ensues. At least for the number of times the male lead’s sexual prowess is referenced. I think McConaughey must have padded the writers’ paychecks on this one.
Inspires: European granny bachelorette road trips.
On her pre-honeymoon, Sophie finds friendship with an elderly woman searching for her long lost love. The pair, along with the woman’s grandson, drive all around Italy in search of this mystery man until they are finally reunited after decades apart. Luxury resorts in the Italian countryside and the attention paid to a lesser visited Italian city, Verona, are reason enough to watch this one.
Location: Italy; India; Indonesia.
Inspires: Very little sympathy for Elizabeth Gilbert.
This one actually pops up in many of the “best” lists, but I’m not a fan. I didn’t particularly like the book, either. In case anyone is unfamiliar with this global phenomenon – Elizabeth Gilbert, an early middle-aged woman unhappy with her life, travels the world for a year to find herself, and finds love in the end. The film showcases three very distinct parts of the world beautifully.
Inspires: Curiosity for a Trans-Atlantic fling with an escort.
Desperate not to look, well, desperate at her sister’s London wedding, a woman hires a high-end escort to pass as her boyfriend. Yada, yada, yada, they fall in love. The London and English countryside locations make you feel like dropping everything and running off to England. Plus, the clothes are chic and Debra Messing’s hair is on point.
Location: France; Monte Carlo.
Inspires: Luxury soul-searching with a side of doppelgänger antics.
Three college aged women travel to Paris in search of something greater in life and wind up hopping on a private jet to Monte Carlo. After living it up, jet-setter style, the main character learns everything she thought she was looking for was inside her all along. Live vicariously through Selena Gomez as she accidentally showcases a type of travel most of us won’t be experiencing on our European travels.
Location: Rome, Italy.
Inspires: Teenage soul-searching with a side of doppelgänger antics, the musical.
A middle school graduate and her best friend join their classmates on a trip to Rome in search of adventure. When Lizzie gets wrapped up in a scheme impersonating a famous singer, things take a turn for the worse. All is well that ends well, as she ends up learning a valuable lesson… everything she thought she was looking for was inside her all along. Sound familiar? Vespas, gelato and big wheels of cheese… this movie has Italian vacation stereotypes in spades.
Location: Paris, France; London, England; Sydney, Australia; Nassau, Bahamas; Rome, Itlay; Western US Road Trip; Mexico.
Inspires: Global twinning shenanigans with simultaneous moralistic love stories.
Basically each movie breaks down into the following key points: 1) Twins go on a trip 2) Twins meet boys 3) Boys fall in love with twins 4) Some sort of disaster happens to move the plot along 5) Twins and their new boyfriends save the day. I warned you in the title of this post, these are AWESOMELY bad movies. As a teeny-bopper, these scenarios were the dream… right? As an adult, it’s mostly just nostalgia and irony that brings me back to these. But they did travel to some pretty awesome places.
And there you have it.
What I don’t like about this list is that all of these movies center around a female protagonist (or multiple) who’s main accomplishment at the end of the film is a heterosexual relationship. C’mon Hollywood, we deserve more. #Feminism.
Ok, ok. I’m feeling kind of embarrassed about my taste in movies after ending on the Olsen Twins. To ever so slightly redeem myself, here is an absolutely fantastic movie that will definitely inspire wanderlust.
Inspires: Post-breakup bonding trips to sun-drenched Mediterranean with exorbitant chocolate consumption.
This is an Italian film, but totally worth the subtitles. After a tough break-up a woman takes her teenage niece on a trip to the Greek Isles. One is trying to heal, the other is trying to lose her virginity. It is a quirky story that ends with an excessively catchy musical number out of left field. You will immediately want to grab your best gal pal and book it to Mykonos or Santorini or, hell, any old Greek Isle will do.
What’s your favorite movie for a little travel inspo? Let me know in the comments!