We watch movies to laugh, to learn, and to feel something new. In large part, we watch them to escape reality. We experience something through the screen that we might not experience otherwise. It’s a glimpse into someone else’s life—a chance to put your own mind on mute while you live in another world for a few hours. And while nothing beats packing your bags and leaving on an adventure, an inspiring travel film comes in second. Maybe your schedule doesn’t allow a getaway; or perhaps you haven’t found something budget-friendly. Maybe you simply want to cure your case of wanderlust without having to get up off the couch. Whatever your reasons may be, if you’re looking for some of the most beautiful movies about travel, you’ve come to the right place.
1. Eat Pray Love
Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) seemingly has it all: the career, the husband, the home. But after going through a rather painful divorce, she’s left feeling lost and isolated. She embarks on a journey around the world to rediscover herself, indulging in delicious food in Italy, learning the power of prayer in India, and finding peace and love in Bali. Eat Pray Love is not just visually stunning; it grabs a hold of your heart and doesn’t let go.
2. Into the Wild
Here’s something many of us considered doing at one point in our lives: After graduating from college, Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) leaves behind all his belongings, gives his savings to charity, and hitchhikes to Alaska to experience and live in the wilderness. What makes this even cooler is that it’s based on a true story.
You’ll never forget Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal of Cheryl Strayed after the end of her marriage and her mother’s passing. Hopeless and self-destructive, Strayed embarks on a thousand-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail—alone. This movie makes you feel unlike any other film will, as you share in her journey of fear, finding hope, and ultimately, healing.
4. The Beach
This is certainly a movie of unpredictable adventures. While traveling in Bangkok, American backpacker Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) comes across a map that reportedly leads to an isolated island paradise kept a hidden secret from most. He’s able to make his way to this beach utopia but soon learns that everything is not as it seems. DiCaprio’s performance is, as always, unforgettable.
5. Under the Tuscan Sun
Similar to Eat Pray Love, this movie follows a woman named Frances (Diane Lane)—a professor and author—who has just found out that her husband is leaving her for the woman he’s been having an affair with. She escapes her home in San Francisco for a trip to Tuscany with the help of a friend, and in a series of somewhat odd events, ends of purchasing a run-down villa. It’s a beautiful story of heartache, healing, and remembering how to love yourself.
6. Lost in Translation
An unlikely friendship forms between aging movie star Bob (Bill Murray) and recent college graduate Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson)—both of whom are a little lost in life—when they cross paths in Tokyo. The movie portrays not just the isolation they feel being in a strange country, but also the obstacles they face in their own personal lives.
7. The Bucket List
Full disclosure: This one is a real tearjerker. But it’s hard to resist the touching story of Edward (Jack Nicholson) and Carter (Morgan Freeman)—two men from very different walks of life with one thing in common: their terminal illnesses. Together, they decide to ditch the hospital to scratch off the items on their bucket lists. While their adventures certainly brighten their days, it’s ultimately the friendship they form that gets them through their troubles.
8. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Gal pals Vicky and Cristina are enjoying their summer in Spain when they meet and are immediately fascinated by an artist named Juan Antonio. While he finds himself attracted to the both of them, he’s still hooked on his ex-wife, who is quite the emotional (and also unstable) character. The film won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy.
9. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Based on the book by Anne Brashares, this flick follows four best friends who spend the summer apart. While they can’t be together, a pair of jeans that magically fits all of them is passed between them, keeping them together in another way, and sharing in their adventures.