10 Modern Travel Movies to Inspire Wanderlust

Guys, I’m pooped.

Since last July, I’ve tackled an international move, knocked two new countries off my bucket list and visited two other old favorites. I need some down time.

But even in my down time, I can’t help but dream of where I’ll go next. Everything inspires me, from the photos around our new apartment to the music on the radio that stirs up feelings of wanderlust and exploration. One of the best things I do at home in-between trips though is get a big bowl of ice cream, maybe a flute of something bubbly and curl up with a great movie. Of course, this is only made better by a giant, vibrant screen, like the Panasonic Viera 4K TV.

Here’s a few flicks I love to watch and get jump start inspiration for my upcoming adventures. They might not be on your normal travel movie lists, but they are all special to me and hopefully something you’ll enjoy too.

Heima with Sigur Ros title cover

Heima, Sigur Ros: 2007

This is technically a documentary. But it certainly is the prettiest documentary I’ve ever seen. It follows the Icelandic band Sigur Ros as they play concerts for people in villages, big and small, all over Iceland. It’s a tribute to where they come from and how far they’ve roamed. The landscapes are unforgettable and the music was made to coincide with the visuals perfectly. In college we’d watch this late at night and be transported to somewhere magical. X and I are planning an Iceland trip this winter, partly due to this film that I completely fell in love with.

Little Miss Sunshine: 2006

I can almost never turn down a good road trip. In fact, last year I agreed to drive from Boston, MA to Miami, Florida with my Brother-in-law just because I had a bit of time off. So when I saw this film, it evoked a lot of fun (and anxiety-ridden) road trip memories. Now many might run for hills and never get in a car after seeing this family’s disastrous experience, but I adored the message underneath it all. This is about perseverance, loyalty and love. And an amazing soundtrack by Devotchka to boot.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: 1994

Yas girl, yas. This was my first foray into both the gay community and Oz, two things I had no clue about before this movie. And while this shows only a small fraction of what it means to be a queen and a bit of Australia, it’s still a wonderful film. It has all the elements of an adventure I love – a wacky road trip, 90s club music and glitter. I can’t believe I haven’t seen the musical yet!

Monsoon Wedding, 2001

It’s total Bollywood kitsch and I’m obsessed with every minute of it. The movie is half in English to offer a good introduction to people who’ve never seen something like this. After enjoying this singing and dancing extravaganza, I really, really wanted to be invited to a wedding in India someday. There’s so much color and so much celebration, it’s completely infectious.

Secret Life of Walter Mitty: 2013

I wanted to include one movie I haven’t seen yet to add to the list. When I asked others about their favorite travel movies, this came up often. I re-watched the trailer after the suggestions and had no idea Kristin Wiig was in it as well. But the sweeping landscapes and sense of adventure is breathtaking. I think it shows anyone if life can try new things, take risks and make time for exploration.

Cool runnings cast

Cool Runnings: 1993

Now hear me out on this one. We all tend to have favorites solely because of nostalgia. Some of our flicks that we can watch over and over again are from our childhood. Emotions fill us of remembrance and happiness, so even if the movie is silly or sucked, we still will always come back. This is the love I have for this campy Disney movie from the early 90s. I was shocked with the huge ‘twist’ at the end which blew my mind when I was eight-years-old. I mean, (SPOILER ALERT!) the Jamaican bobsled team, they LOSE?! What is this nonsense? But even more so, I remember the opening sequence of Derice running through Jamaica. The sun was setting and he greeted everyone in town, gliding past fruit stands, palm trees and up to his house on the beach. I remember wanting so badly to visit this beautiful island full of cheery people. It might be the first time I ever wanted to see somewhere else in the world beyond my back door.

Pretty much every Disney Movie Ever

I might have been a big tomboy growing up, but I loved me some princess stories. I could never get enough of all of them, cycling through classic after classic on those lazy weekends through childhood. The most memorable took place in incredible locales that I wanted to see for myself someday. This included Mulan hanging out in China, Belle in France and even Marry Poppins in England (I know, but she should be a princess). Later on, I fell in love with Tiana from Princess and the Frog, finally fulfilling my dream of visiting New Oreland last year.

This post was in partnership with Share It Quick All. All opinions are my own.

Author: EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA expat living in London, UK. She is a freelance writer and owner of group travel site PureWander.com. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for about a decade. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Twitter @Crooked_Flight.

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7 Comments

  1. I’ve finally got a little bit of time and its been months since that has happened. Great to get this list – with many I haven’t seen. Love the sound of the Icelandic movie – especially when I’m considering a trip there in 2016.

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    • That movie really is absolutely beautiful and I hope a good representation of the country. Have fun!

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  2. Loved these films!!! I’ve seen and enjoyed (laughed out loud) most of them. Now, I have to get the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the only one I’ve not seen on this list!

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  3. I haven’t seen all the movies, but Walter Mitty is my favorite on your list. The photography is just stunning…and yes, we did go to Iceland afterwards!

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    • Thanks Corinne! I can’t wait to check out Iceland very soon.

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  4. Excellent post, Eileen!

    I’ve never heard of Heima before but I certainly will be going hunting for it because I’m keen to see the beauty of Iceland again

    And thanks for including Cool Running, who doesn’t LOVE that movie!

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