15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

In this article, we want to share with you some movies that have inspired us with our travels. We hope these can give you some hours of fun and escapism while planning your next trips or remind you of some great moments you have had on the road. We hope you enjoy them and get some inspiration out of it!
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In this article, we want to share with you 15 travel movies that will inspire your wanderlust. We hope these can give you some hours of fun and escapism while planning your next trips or remind you of some great moments you have had on the road.

1. Gabriel and the Mountain (2017) 

15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

This is a documentary-style narrative inspired by a true story of Gabriel Buchman, a Brazilian traveler that went to explore Africa for 1 year, before starting his graduate program in the US. The movie captures the last months of Gabriel’s life, whilst he travels on his own for most of the time, meeting his girlfriend during his stay in Tanzania. He traveled in a budget style way, caring more about getting to know the places he was going to and the people he was meeting with.

The movie reveals a very positive, open-minded, and free-spirited guy, who takes things a bit too far when he decides to climb Mount Mulanje’s highest peak called Sapitwa at any cost. We loved this movie for its travelogue style of narrating the interactions with locals (that show up in the movie and were the real people he interacted with when he was there) and also the incredible landscapes you get to see. Throughout the movie you feel like you are there with him, experiencing the back and forth of his journey. It is definitely worth a watch, the quality of photography and videography is very high as well.

2. RUTZ | Global Generation Travel (2011)

15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

Another backpacker’s documentary style, RUTZ describes a Portuguese living in Buenos Aires for 1 year, that goes and explores South America for 2 to 3 months. From 2011, this movie is still very “recent” and we found it to be very inspiring as a way to see what South America has to offer. The way the movie is narrated is not intrusive at all, quite the contrary it gives you the space to absorb the images and sounds that each place has to offer.

When we watched it, we felt mesmerized by the raw beauty and distinct differences between the countries. The movie also shows the downside of mass tourism there, and what negative implications this has for local people. It’s a mix of travel and discovery that inspires you to see first hand the greatness of the continent.

3. Tracks (2013)

15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

This movie, based on a true story, brings with it a great sense of adventure self-reliance. In 1977, the Australian Robyn Davidson went on an odyssey, crossing the Australian outback with four camels and a dog. She did all by herself and was followed by a National Geographic team that documented her journey. The sense of freedom that Robyn sought is key to the movie and the journey she did.

One thing we liked about the movie is that it explores a part of Australia that many don’t go to. Going beyond the roads, the camels are the best way to traverse this part of the continent. The movie showcases the pre-journey preparation, along with the journey itself. Between meeting tourists and Aborigines and learning about other ways of living, the movie follows Robyn’s search for freedom in the open desert. We haven’t been to Australia, and this has given us a different, more raw side of the country.

4. The Way (2010)

15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

A great fictional story about a character Tom, whose son died while hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, that flies there to identify his son’s body. The traveling part of the movie makes you want to go and try the pilgrimage yourself. It is set over the beautiful Spanish mountain territory and takes you all the way to the Cathedral of Santiago.

Tom ends up walking there himself, following his son’s footsteps and meeting funny and interesting characters along the way. The camera illustrates the natural beauty without any excessive touristic postcard type colors. It’s not a revolutionary movie, but it sure gives you the urge to get there and see what happens.

5. Paris Can Wait (2006)

15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

This movie is simply a foodie’s paradise of French cuisine mixed with a road trip through the French countryside. Another true based story, the director’s this time, the movie tells the story of a woman that is unable to fly with her husband to Paris, and is offered a “lift” instead from one of his business associates, to drive her there.

What should have been a 7h trip, took about 2 and a half days of meandering around different places according to the driver’s wishes. The movie is a great inspiration for photography lovers as the character takes detailed pictures throughout it. While watching, we were on a trip and hungry. Seeing so much cheese and wine together was painful and delicious at the same time. Light and feel-good movie, definitely worth watching.

6. The Spanish apartment (2002)

15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

You can relate to this one if you have ever been an exchange student in Europe. The movie explores the stories and encounters that exchange students have whilst studying in Spain. It is a funny, silly at times, but a realistic tale of traveling students on a budget. It showcases not only the passage through a place, but also what it means to live abroad. We saw real resemblances to our own experiences as exchange students ourselves and living on a budget. Like in the movie, we had to at times share an apartment with several other students and fight for the kitchen. We also shared great experiences together with others and were constantly challenged to get out of our comfort zone. It’s a fun and relatable movie. 

7. Captain Fantastic (2016)

15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

The story happens in the backdrop of the forests of the Pacific Northwest in the US with lushes of green and mountainous landscapes. It tells the story of a family that is living off the grid, led by a single father that tries to teach his kids how to fend for themselves out in the wild. We liked this movie because it gave us a strong sense of grounding, which is shown via the pristine nature and surroundings, something we seem to forget in the crowded urban spaces we live in. We enjoyed the visuals a lot and the road trip that happens during the movie. Great movie to watch on a big screen if you have one at home.

8. A Map for Saturday (2007)

15 Travel Movies to Inspire your Wanderlust!

This is a travel documentary that offers some insights on long term travel. Brook Silva Braga, decided to quit his job in the US to travel for almost 1 year, backpacking around the world. The documentary focuses on the travel experience of Braga as a backpacker staying in hostels all over 4 continents. He covers at least 26 countries within that period and encounters different backpackers and traveling folks along the way.

The documentary captures the ups and downs of traveling this way, from brief encounters with people he will never see again, to meeting others that he’s still in touch with today. Even if you’re not a backpacker it is a great insight into this world and shows what is possible to see with so little. We liked  this movie, because of the focus being more on the travel experience itself than on the destinations that he traveled to. We found the way it was filmed and the content to be refreshing and real.

9. Into the Wild (2007)

The classic Into the Wild, based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young American that after graduation embarks on a long journey through the US to reach the Alaskan wilderness. The movie goes deep into questions of why travel or why go to such far-flung places, it goes into the core of the journey itself, more than the destination. We liked this movie as it resonated with a deeper sense of why we travel, more than just going on vacation. Even if we don’t relate to everything he was looking to find or the way he went about doing things, the quest for meaning and happiness he was looking for was very relatable. It is dramatic, inspiring and the landscapes and soundtrack make it an epic movie to watch. 

10. Wild (2014)

Based on a true story by Cheryl Strayed, the movie follows the story of a young woman that goes through some rough personal challenges and embarks on a solo 1770 km hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, in the US. The story is inspiring, the landscapes are phenomenal, and knowing some people that have done this, makes it even more exciting to watch. We personally found that the actress Reese Whitherspoon was not very convincing, but overall the movie was satisfying and made us thirsty for new experiences. 

11. Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Fun and engaging, the Motorcycle Diaries is a historical movie that shows a young Che Guevara traveling through South America on his motorcycle with his close friend Alberto Granado. The movie focuses on a younger Che Guevara who was just a simple medical student on a road trip with his friend, crossing Argentina all the way to Peru. We liked this movie because it had some light, funny humor and showcases astonishing South American landscapes: deserts, lakes, forests, rivers, mountain ranges.

12. Before Sunrise (1995)

More on the romantic side, Before Sunrise is a smart and captivating comedy. Two young people meet on a train in Austria. They are in their early 20s, an American on a Euro trip, and a French student on her way back to Paris. The movie is set in Vienna and it’s more of a portrait of real life, where two strangers talk and engage into an evolving conversation. The topics are random and that is what is great about it, the non predictable element of it. This is something that can happen to you when you travel, meeting people randomly and starting a conversation with, letting it flow and see where it leads you to. 

13. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

A drama-comedy and road trip movie, Little Miss Sunshine tells the story of a chaotic family that goes on a road trip to bring the younger member of the family, Abigail (7 years old) to enter a beauty pageant. The family sets off on an old school van from New Mexico to California and follows the family dramas that happen on the road, whilst having beautiful scenery as a backdrop. This movie shows travel from a perspective of self-discovery and self-reflection. It is great fun, with some dark humour in the middle.  

14. Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Another movie based on a true story, Seven Years in Tibet tells the story of the meeting between an Austrian mountain climber that stumbles into a young Dalai Lama, in Tibet. The 1st half of the movie is not the most interesting part, but it leads to the encounter between the two characters and everything unfolds from there. Although the movie was shot in the Andes and British Columbia and not in Tibet, it nonetheless transports you there. There’s a great mysticism that comes from the mountain scenery but also from the cultural background that the movie explores.

15. Encounter at the End of the World (2008)

To finish off our list we share this fascinating documentary by Werner Herzog, set in Antarctica. It explores the life of the people living in this extreme environment, far from everywhere, where some days of the year there’s only daylight, and others only night. There is a lot of great underwater photography and the narration is priceless. 

We hope these 15 travel movies will inspire you to get out there. If you want more, check our other article on our 3 favorite Travel books to feed your travel bug even more!

Which travel movies have inspired you to travel more? Do you have any favorites? Let us know by sharing in comments below.