The 10 Best Travel Films of All Time

The 10 Best Travel Films of All Time

Nothing gets me more excited to travel than a good travel film. It gives you the inspiration and the motivation to book that flight to a new destination. Below you’ll find my top 10 best travel films of all time. Of course I’m always interested in discovering new films. Let me know what you recommend in the comments below!

10) The Endless Summer (1966)

A cult classic amongst surfers, this film has a nostalgic feel and is an easy watch. It’s about two surfers that travel the world chasing summer and hope to find the perfect wave. They discover new cultures, all while doing what they love.

9) One Week (2008)

Joshua Jackson stars in this bittersweet odyssey as Ben, a young man who’s just received news of his terminal illness. Leaving his perplexed fiancée, Samantha (Liane Balaban), Ben buys a 1973 Norton motorcycle and heads for the Pacific. His journey takes him through nature, introduces him to interesting fellow travelers, brings him unexpected romance and begins to put his impending fate in perspective. It’s a fun film that makes you want to take to the road and discover your own treasures along the way.

8) The Art of Travel (2008)

I really enjoyed this movie because it’s a story of a guy that was cheated on and decides, screw it…i’m going to travel. I enjoy the mentality the main character has as he makes a spontaneous decision to join a group of adventurers on a very dangerous journey. That’s what it’s all about. Taking risks and trying something new!

7) The Beach (2000)

There is just something about this film that I love. I love that the main character played by Leonardo DiCaprio has a intense desire to adventure off the beaten path. I think it’s also the fact that there is an interesting love story that develops. I think it’s that experience that all travelers have when they find romance abroad. Sometimes when I travel, I feel the same way. You’re in a completely new world. You know no one, you’ve been no where and everything is exciting and new. I highly recommend this film!

6) Outsourced (2006)

This is not your typical travel movie. It’s actually a film about a guy whose job is outsourced to India. What happens after is truly inspiring and makes you want to discover a new culture. It’s about a character that finds love for a new culture and its people. It’s a film about understanding and appreciating. It’s a humorous film that makes you eager to go outside your comfort zone.

5) Shanghai Kiss (2007)

shanghai kiss

I love this movie for the fact that it’s outside the norm. It’s about a young man that goes to discover his roots. I appreciate the fact that the main character is an asian male because you don’t see that too often in Hollywood movies (unless he knows kungfu of course). It’s inspiring and it certainly made me want to get in touch with my roots and better understand a culture and my heritage that I lost long ago.

4) The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The taste of travel is on my lips. The other night I decided to watch the movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, a story about Che Guevara and how he decided to travel via motorcycle and discover his life calling. Not only did this movie make me want to learn more about Che Guevara, but it also inspired me to take more chances and risks when traveling. Not only does he get sick, starves, and has numerous accounts where he could have died..he continues with high hopes and an open mind.

Through travel, he finds that he becomes more connected to humanity than he ever was.

3) The Longway Round

Long Way Round
Keeping up with my travel bug, I decided to pick up watching a tv series called ‘Long Way Round’ where Ewan McGreggor and Charley Boorman decide to take a several month trip around the world on their motorcycles. Not only did it appeal to me because…well it’s an amazing journey, but the fact it was done on a motorcycle adds another bit of excitement. Immediately after watching the show, I found myself looking up sport touring or enduro style motorcycles.

It’s also fascinating to see all the trouble they get into (which is expected) and all the people they meet along the way.

If you love travel and excitement, I’d definitely recommend watching this show!

2) The Way (2010)

I enjoyed this movie because it brought back memories of my own backpacking trip. It captures the spirit of the nomad and how you meet people along the way and end up travelling together. You’ll always meet different personalities and everyone has their reason or story for while they travel. This film captured it perfectly.

1) Into the Wild (2007)

This film is hands-down one of the most inspiring TRUE stories of a man who left it all to go on a life-changing adventure. I won’t say too much about it other then WATCH THIS FILM.

Know of Any More?

While I’ve watched many travel movies, I certainly haven’t watched them all. If you have a recommendation for a great one that isn’t on my list, feel free to let me know about it in the comments section!

Ryan is an avid bucket lister. Travel, photography, blogging and adventure are some of his hobbies. He once went on a trip to Spain and was robbed of all his stuff except his clothes. No money, no insurance, no identification and no way to contact family and friends from back home. Did he end his trip? No way! He ended up running with the bulls in Pamplona the very next day.
  • Mariza Melia

    Nice post! My most favorite probably: A Map For Saturday. But there are some others that i do like also check it out here:

    • Ryan Lum

      Cool! Great list. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Uneven Toast

      I reviewed A Map For Saturday at and I did an interview with the star and director Brook Silva-Bragga

  • Ash Duncan

    I’d also throw ‘The Way Back’ in there. A movie where the the protagonists face adversity as they attempt to escape from a WWII Soviet Gulag in Siberia. Inspirational true story told across some of the most beautiful landscapes!

    • Ryan Lum

      Awesome suggestion! I haven’t seen it before but I’m eager to check it out. Thanks for letting me know!

  • LipglossandaBackpack

    One of the best-worst little-known Brittany Murphy flicks: The Ramen Girl. Her final brutalization of the Japanese noodle dish will haunt you forever. Also, I think most women between about 25 and 30 will never forget Brokedown Palace!

  • Poppy Johnson

    Thanks for introducing a few films I haven’t seen, great list. In terms of films that sold me, itchy feet I would say Motorcycle Diaries, The Spanish Apartment & Walter Mitty

  • Carmen B

    Good list, thought missing some of my favorites… check out my blog for more inspiration:

  • Law

    Tracks is also a great film!

  • Don Nadeau

    Easy Rider, A Night to Remember, Grapes of Wrath, . . . :)

  • Allan Pulga

    I’d suggest ‘Lost In Translation.’ One of my favorite movies. It juxtaposes elements of traditional and modern Japanese culture in a hilarious yet human film. I read somewhere that Sofia Coppola wrote the screenplay based on her experience traveling to Tokyo to promote ‘The Virgin Suicides.’