Sometimes, all it takes is a good film to make you want to book a ticket, pack up a suitcase and explore some of the wonderful places around the world. In this guide, we reveal some of the best travel films that will inspire you to leave your comfort zone and explore new places, from the streets of France to the Alaskan wilderness.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Iceland
A film perfect for those of you who daydream about travelling whilst sitting at work. The story is based on James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name and follows the life of Walter, an employee at Life Magazine who spends much of his time disappearing into a daydream filled with heroism, romance and action.
Despite having only dreamt about the world outside of his anonymous life, Walter is faced with an unexpected opportunity to embark on a real-life adventure across the borders. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will be sure to motivate you to visit the stunning landscapes of Iceland, with cascading waterfalls and mountainous views, its dream-worthy beauty is the perfect fit for this film.
We spoke to Lori from Travlin Mad, a travel blog with great destination and food guides, to find out whether a film has ever inspired her to travel: “Absolutely. There have been many films but one of my favourites is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I love this film because I think it recognizes the power travel has to transform someone. It presents travelling as a way to get out of your comfortable, everyday life, take a little risk, and become a new — maybe even better — version of yourself, something I believe more people should do now and then!”
Nothing will make you want to visit France quite like Amélie, a film showcasing the quaint cafés, sweet desserts and traditional cobbled streets that are found across this beautiful country. Amélie is a French romantic comedy that follows the life of a shy woman with a great imagination, who changes the lives of those that she meets.
Crystal from Wandering Crystal, a spooky travel blog, tells us how Amélie inspired her to travel: “I wanted to explore the filming locations and stand in the same place Amelie stood in the film. To sit in a café in Montmartre and watch the locals converse as I crack open the sugary top of my crème brûlée.
“The cinematography of Amelie was phenomenal and magical. It pulled me in with its beauty as the film captured the true essence of a charming area in Paris. It showed cobbled streets, stunning French architecture and was filled with dream-like scenes that would attract anyone to wander French streets. The film showed how charming the people of Montmartre are and made me want to immediately fly to France to meet them all.”
The film is famous for its cinematography as well as its story, with its contrasting colours and shots of a romantic Paris, it can almost convince anyone to book a French adventure, such as one on a cruise from Southampton. Follow in Amélie’s footsteps and walk along picturesque streets and indulge in tasty desserts.
Be inspired to start your own journey of self-discovery when watching Wild, a film following a woman who travels the Pacific Crest Trail in America. The biographical drama is based on the journey of Cheryl Strayed, who thought she lost everything when dealing with loss and depression but decides to go on a life-changing adventure. The trail leads from Southern California to Canada, showcasing snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes and stunning shots of nature, all of which you can visit without having to trek for 94 days!
Laure from the travel blog Laure Wanders tells us: “The film that’s inspired me the most is probably Wild. The main character in the movie is a woman who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on her own without any previous experience. It inspired me to push my boundaries and travel through different continents on my own. Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I didn’t think I had the courage.”
Lost in Translation, Japan
Lost in Translation becomes a window into the bright lights and busy streets of Tokyo. The film follows the tale of a movie star a young woman who become unlikely friends as they explore the hustle and bustle of Japan’s capital together. With themes of escapism running throughout, this film will encourage you to explore somewhere entirely new.
We spoke to Gemma from the travel and lifestyle blog Little Miss Gem Travels who says: “After watching Lost in Translation I definitely wanted to visit Tokyo. It's so culturally and visually different from where I live that it seems almost too fantastical to be real. That's why I'm so excited to be travelling there later in the year.”
Into the wild, Alaska
You can experience the beauty of Alaska on-screen by watching Into the Wild. Based on a true story, the film follows the story of Chris McCandless who leaves his conventional life on a mission to hitchhike and live in Alaska. Set in the early 1990s, Chris donates all his belongings, throws away his credit cards and starts his journey. Despite the sombre moments in this film, his commitment to achieving his dreams makes Into the Wild perhaps one of the most inspiring travel films.
The film steers away from romanticising travelling by foot, however, the shots of ice-glaciers and spectacular fjords make visiting the beautiful views from the safety of a cruise very appealing. This film is favourite amongst travel bloggers, one being Christine from Don’t Forget to Move, a blog featuring tips for responsible tourism: “There are a few films that have inspired us to travel, including Into the Wild and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
“Both movies are about people who are a bit dissatisfied with their regular lives and want to embark on an adventure. Those films have two different vibes and very different endings, but both main characters buck the norm of conventional life and push their boundaries to see more of the world. It's definitely inspiring!”
Darjeeling Limited, India
A film bound to inspire you to go on an Indian adventure is Darjeeling Limited. One year after the death of their father, three estranged brothers reunite and travel across India on a train, during which the film showcases India’s stunning countryside. This comedy-drama show the brothers fall into old patterns of behaviour as they fight and reminisce about their time growing up together. Whilst experiencing the beautiful culture of India, the brothers start to form a new friendship, creating a film full of travel and charm.
Christine from Don’t Forget to Move continues: “We have watched the Darjeeling Limited about half a dozen times and every time we see it, we want to travel around India by train. We have never been to Indian, but that movie has definitely put it on our bucket list.”
Why should you watch travel films?
Flicking through a travel catalogue isn’t always the best way to choose your next travel destination, as films can be a much better medium for inspiration. We continued to ask the travel bloggers why they think travel films are well worth a watch:
Lori from Travlin Mad answers: “The epic video and photography has the power to tell stories of a place like nothing else through the scenery, people, culture, and food! For me, seeing what people are eating and drinking can really seal the deal.”
Travel films are also a top choice for Gemma from Little Miss Gem Travel: “Films are escapism and travel are the ultimate way of escaping. I am often inspired to travel by the books I read but through the film, you can visually see stunning locations which are identifiable and therefore easy to find should you want to. There's also something rather magical about being able to trace the footsteps of your favourite characters.”
Christine from Don’t Forget to Move adds: “Films can transport us to different places around the world in an instant. Through the visuals, sound and music we can really feel like we're in a different country. If we really connect with the character, then we can imagine seeing new places through their eyes. We have fallen in love with places we've never even been through movies. Watching movies set in a location we are planning on visiting is a great way to get inspiration before a big trip.”
Despite the amazing cinematography, all-star casts and storylines, it’s still impossible for these films to capture the true beauty of each destination. Browse our cruise destinations and start seeing the most stunning parts of the world for yourself.