10 Shows and Movies about Travel You Need to Watch

Many of you, like us, simply love to travel. Whether you’re traveling halfway across the world to glimpse a culture different from yours, or simply taking a day trip to a destination in your local area to which you’ve never been, we travel to gain experience and knowledge. It’s no surprise that a universal love such as traveling or exploring has seeped into pop culture, as TV shows and movies about travel become increasingly common every year.

With so much to be inspired by on the silver screen and the small screen, the Resort Rentals team got together and made note of our top 10 movies and TV shows about travel. Watch one (or all) of these productions to help get you off the couch and out the door to see the world!



#10: The Darjeeling Limited

In Wes Anderson’s signature, quirky style, this movie about three brothers taking a train across India is about more than just traveling by rail. The film examines what happens to human relationships—in this case, the relationship of three brothers heading to their father’s funeral—when traveling across great distances. Packed with great acting and smart dialogue, the film also includes beautiful shots of the Indian landscape and culture.


#9: Midnight in Paris

This film from legendary director Woody Allen takes a destination we all know and love, but chooses to show us a different side. Midnight in Paris follows an American writer as he wanders around the City of Lights at night and stumbles through a time warp back to Paris in the 1920s. Considered one of Allen’s best in recent years, he chooses to portray the city in a warm and vibrant style that few manage to do, complementing his love letter to Paris and times gone by.


#8: The Motorcycle Diaries

Before Che Guevara was the Marxist revolutionary that made him famous, he was just a 23-year old kid traveling across South America on a motorcycle. One of the best modern-era travel movies, this 2004 film takes viewers on a ride of a lifetime as Guevara (played by Gael Garcia Bernal), explores much of Latin America. Featured locations include the Andes Mountains, down the Chilean coast, across the Atacama Desert, and the Peruvian Amazon. With gorgeous cinematography and a great scene at Machu Picchu that you’ll want to rewind and watch twice, this film is all about traveling to find out more about yourself.

planet earth

#7: Planet Earth

This incredibly popular 2006 BBC series introduced millions of humans to the planet we call home in high-definition. With absolutely breathtaking footage captured everywhere from the Arctic to the Australian Outback, the series managed to record some of Earth’s most thrilling and unique sights and sounds. Narrated by the legendary David Attenborough, Planet Earth will add dozens of new destinations to your travel list. Don’t miss Planet Earth II either, which just came out last month!

lord of the rings

#6: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

We all know the story—Frodo and his friends must accomplish an impossible mission to save the beings of Middle Earth against all odds. The legendary tales of hobbits, elves, and dwarves have proved to be timeless, as author J.R.R. Tolkien essentially launched the epic high fantasy genre in the 1930s. Not only is the story one of a great journey through lands unknown, the films are set in the breathtaking countryside of New Zealand, which flaunts the famous film sets as tourist destinations.


#5: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Famous chef, author of the best-selling Kitchen Confidential, and former host of Travel Channel’s No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain has had the fortune of seeing dozens of places many don’t get the chance to see. However, Parts Unknown has a different mission statement: to take viewers to parts of the world not often visited by American TV. Bourdain’s adventures on the show have taken him to places like the Congo, Libya, and Myanmar, among others. The show is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and forming real, solid connections with cultures and people other than your own.



#4: An Idiot Abroad

Running from 2010 to 2012, this British television program was spearheaded by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, both famous for creating the highly successful show The Office. The two comedians assign their friend Karl, known for living a rather sheltered life in the UK, to visit exotic places around the world. As he travels, Gervais and Merchant often arrange activities and experiences designed to make him feel uncomfortable, such as kung fu training in China and dining on bee larvae in Mexico. Karl’s encounters, despite being intended for comic relief, teach viewers that it’s OK to step beyond their comfort zones and try new things, however awkward or embarrassing they may seem at first.


#3: Under the Tuscan Sun

Based on the book of the same name, Under the Tuscan Sun follows a recently-divorced American writer who buys a house in Tuscany and moves there in hopes of resetting her life. Through an incredible performance by Diane Lane, the film uses the sweeping, romantic shots of old-world Tuscany to console the broken romances felt by many of the film’s characters. The film also tugs at the intrepid traveler’s desire for spontaneity—by the end credits, you’ll be googling how much houses in Italy cost!

lost in translation

#2: Lost in Translation

Arguably Sofia Coppola’s best film, and a master class in 21st century filmmaking, Lost in Translation remains one of the current generation’s best movies. Featuring a dramatic Bill Murray and a young Scarlett Johansson, it follows a washed-up actor and a neglected newlywed as they struggle to adapt to their own unique crossroads in life. Set amidst the alluring, yet chaotic city of Tokyo, the film highlights Japan’s unique culture in a quickly-changing world. It will undoubtedly strike a chord with solo travelers, as a large part of the film focuses on forging unlikely connections with total strangers.


#1: Into the Wild

Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, this 2007 movie (adapted from a book of the same name) illustrated the conflict some face when integrating into society. The story goes like this: McCandless, a recent college graduate with high grades and exceptional athletic ability, came from a wealthy family and was poised to succeed in life. However, he rejected that fate and instead opted to hike through the Alaskan wilderness and live in solitude. Seeking some form of personal enlightenment, he gained an experience that very few can claim. As for what happens in the end, you’ll have to watch to find out!

Create Your Own Travel Story

The films and TV shows above demonstrate that traveling is an essential part of human culture. There’s an uncanny desire to explore and to learn more about the world around us. While most of the items in this list are either fictional or dramatizations of real events, seeing the world doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re looking to get away, you can do so affordably and create your own perfect travel story. Browse our inventory of resort rental deals today for some further inspiration, and book online instantly!

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