The 6 Absolute Best Travel Movies That Will Inspire Wanderlust

Best TravelMovies mashup photo | F*ckity Bye | By Ryan Somohano

Moving pictures make my soul soar. There's just something about looking at incredible imagery on a screen that whisks me away to a happy place, far far away from all of my first-world problems like dish duty or having to wake up early to take my adorable puppy out of my apartment complex so he can poop.

As a matter of fact, I'd venture to say that the only thing that enriches my life more than vegetating in front of a good film is traveling. That's because while movies allow me to imagine myself going on the adventures of some sexy protagonist, traveling allows me to actually experience it (minus the being sexy part).

My combined love of movies and travel is the inspiration behind this post!

Below are the absolute best travel movies I've seen in my medium lengthened existence. They combine all of the elements of great filmmaking while celebrating their settings in a way that makes your heart ache to be where the characters are.


1) Lost In Translation

This one is a given. It seems like every list of best travel movies has this in their top three and for a good reason. The movie is beautiful.

Seriously. It's quite possibly my favorite movie of all time.

In Lost in Translation, we follow a washed up actor, Bob (masterfully portrayed by Bill Murray), who's in Tokyo lending his mug to the commercial campaign of a liquor brand. While in Tokyo, he meets a younger woman, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson). Charlotte is in the midst of a quarter-life crisis being newly married, unsure of what she's doing with her life, and feeling seriously neglected by her hotshot photographer husband.

I won't spoil too much here but Bob and Charlotte fall into this weird, forsaken love that will make your heart cry tears of blood by the end of the movie.

Travel-wise, director Sophia Coppola shows us a vivacious, culturally rich Japan. She also pokes fun at some of the more over the top components of the country including Tokyo's karaoke obsession and people's subservient tendencies which border on awkward.

Bottom line, no blogger of mediocre talent can do this film justice. If you haven't watched Lost In Translation, close your browser window and watch it.

You can find Lost In Translation online now by clicking here!

2) Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris is one of the best Woody Allen movies of the last decade (matched only perhaps by his Cate Blanchet-lead tour-de-holy-shit-this-woman-can-act masterpiece, Blue Jasmine). In Midnight in Paris, a successful screenwriter called Gil (Owen Wilson) takes a trip to Paris with his pretentious fiancé.

While Gil tries to make his relationship work, it's clear that his desire for a bohemian writer's lifestyle and his soon to be wife's desire for the finer things in life (and another dude's private-parts) is going to ultimately render them incompatible. 

As these two character's relationship moseys down the road of destruction, the movie gets original really fast when Gil finds a spot in Paris where at midnight, you can hop in a car and get whisked away to the past. In doing this, Gil gets to meet all kinds of historical figures from Pablo Picasso to Ernest Hemingway.

From a travel perspective, midnight in Paris not only makes you froth at the mouth at the sight of every street lamp, kiosk, and Parisian architectural treasure you catch in the background of shots, it makes you do it across three different eras!

Talk about bang for your best travel movies buck!

You can find Midnight in Paris online now by clicking here!

3) Call Me By Your Name

Never has a movie made me want to visit the Italian countryside so much and made me want to eat peaches so little.

Call Me By Your Name lovingly showcases Crema, Italy while following a 17-year-old boy named Elio and his 24-year statutory rapist Oliver. The two meet while Oliver is interning one summer for Elio's father and they quickly fall wildly in lust. 

From gorgeous watering holes to quaint bars and historical looking town squares, Call Me By Your Name leaves you yearning to spend an evening in Crema dancing, drinking, and listening to 80's music. 

In all seriousness, the movie is masterfully shot, directed, and was my second favorite film of 2017 (Phantom Thread was my first).

You can find Call Me By Your Name online now by clicking here!

4) In Bruges

You can't have a best travel movies discussion without talking about In Bruges. This movie is a hilarious, dark comedy directed by Martin Mcdonagh (Three Billboards Over Ebbing Missouri) and has one of the best endings in cinema history.

As its title suggests, In Bruges is shot in front of the wonderful backdrop of Bruges, Belgium. The city seriously looks like something right out of some Christmas themed kid's pop-up book.

The film is about a hitman trying to avoid getting... hit... for violating a golden rule within the hitman's code that every hitman worth their salt should know.

Don't accidentally shoot a kid in the f@cking head.

Between laughing hysterically at insane irony, you'll find yourself watching this movie and wanting to be sat in Bruge's town square, surrounded by breathtaking architecture and sipping on a dark beer while snow lightly falls around you.

You can find In Bruges online now by clicking here!

5) Winter on Fire

Winter on Fire Still image

Warning: The next two picks on this best travel movies list are a bit controversial. 

Winter on Fire is the best documentary I've ever seen. It follows the country of Ukraine between the years of 2013 and 2014 when a peaceful protest against a corrupt government turned into a 93-day civil war.

Okay... My satellite dish sized ears can hear what you're saying.... "Why the f%ck would a movie about civil war be on a best travel movies list?" 

To answer your expletive-laden question, when I watched this movie and saw the resolve that the people of Ukraine had... The willingness of civilians to die to stand up against corruption... It just made you want to head to Ukraine and fight alongside them.

Courage is perhaps the most inspiring quality I've come to admire in human beings (probably because it's something I'm wholly void of). This movie showcases a people that have courage up the wahzoo and the sight of it shakes you to your core and leads you to question the durability of your character.

You can find Winter on Fire on Netflix now by clicking here!

6) First They Killed My Father

First They Called My Father Movie Poster

And now onto the second of my controversial picks. This move comes from esteemed director Angelina Jolie (that comment was actually meant to be sarcastic but I'm realizing now that I'm calling her movie one of the best travel movies I've ever seen so... I guess the joke is on me because I clearly do hold her in some sort of esteem?).

First They Killed My Father follows a family as they struggle through the oppressive, thankfully short-lived rule of the animalistic Khmer Rouge. While the film seems to be a little heavy-handed in its distaste for America (a popular hobby among Hollywood elite) without offering solid evidence in regard to the country's culpability, if you get past the politics and just take in the story and the backdrop, the movie is incredible.

Not only do some of the shots of Phnom Penh and the surrounding area make you appreciate the beauty of South East Asia, but like with Winter on Fire, you end up appreciating the beauty of the people in the film. You get a sense of Cambodia's love of family, courage and capacity for cruelty.

The dimensions of humanity on display in this film makes you want to go to Cambodia, some 40 years or so after these atrocities took place, to learn more, talk to the people and figure out how to make sure mass genocide never makes its way into our history books again.

You can find First They Killed My Father on Netflix now by clicking here!

Cambodia's Killing Fields skulls | Photo by Ryan Somohano | F*ckity Bye
I had the opportunity to see some of the mass genocide fields shown in First They Killed My Father first hand. Thousands were murdered and seeing the destruction was beyond words.

Wrapping Up The Best Travel Movies

There you have it folks! 6 of the absolute best travel movies you can watch right now.

These movies in order take you through Japan, France, Paris, Italy, Bruges, Ukraine, and Cambodia. Every single one of them will leave you salivating to learn more about each culture shown and wanting to visit each place showcased!

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Did reading about/watching these movies get you in the mood to get off your (pick one of the following: broke/scared/lazy/trapped) a$$ to start traveling?

If no, booooooo. If yes, AWESOME!

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