10 Movies Every World Traveler Needs to See


by Michael Catford February 21, 2017



Travel is many people’s reason for living – the reward for the long hours, days, weeks and years spent slaving away at their profession. It opens up opportunities for adventure, exploration, education and friendship. It’s little wonder then that Hollywood has had such a love affair with travel-related stories.

Whether they serve as inspiration, motivation or as reminder of your own experiences, the following 10 films should be on the to-watch list of anyone who considers themselves a world traveler.

1)      The Motorcycle Diaries

Based on the true story of the formative experiences of South American revolutionary Che Guevara, the motorcycle diaries follows a young Che and his friend as they travel through rural South America post-schooling. On their journey they discover the injustices that will eventually lead them to change the continent forever.

2)      The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

As relatable a travel story as they come, Walter Mitty is a white-collar worker who dreams of adventure. And once he takes the opportunity with both hands, he becomes an entirely new person. The cinematography, particularly in Iceland, is absolutely stunning.

3)      The Beach

The ultimate backpacker’s adventure, The Beach sees Leonardo DiCaprio strapping on a rucksack and touring the stunning islands of Thailand. If there’s one movie that will have you longing to explore the delights of South East Asia, it’s this one.

4)      Eat, Pray, Love

The bestselling novel is nigh-on the bible for solo female travellers, and in 2010 was turned into a screenplay starring Julia Roberts. Eating in Italy, praying in India and finding unexpected love in Indonesia, the route that the story takes has now almost taken on its own mythical status for women who are looking to find themselves through travel.

5)      Into The Wild

A tale of rebellion, spontaneity and ultimately anguish, Into The Wild is based on the life of Christopher McCandless, a college graduate from a well-to-do family who yearns for a life quite contrary to the one that his family has mapped out for him. It serves as a fantastic learning experience for anyone who is considering solo, bare-bones travel.

6)      Out Of Africa

The 1985 winner of both the Best Picture and Best Cinematography Oscars is less a movie about the journey as it is the destination. Out Of Africa paints an absolutely stunning picture of the continent, as seen through the eyes of a baroness (Meryl Streep) and a big game hunter (Robert Redford).

7)      A Good Year

The romanticised view that many of us have about the French countryside can probably be put down, in part, to A Good Year starring Russell Crowe. Set on a sprawling vineyard in Provence, it paints a stunningly beautiful picture of what a leisurely life in rural France could be.

8)      The Bucket List

For those who are enjoying the holiday-heavy years of early retirement, The Bucket List shows exactly how travel can allow you to live life to the fullest, no matter what your age. A film that manages to visit almost every corner of the earth, it follows Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as they tick off item after life-changing item on their bucket lists.

9)      127 Hours

A foreboding tale for hikers who like to tackle challenging terrain solo, 127 Hours is another travel adventure film that is based on a true story. After getting caught behind a rock while canyoning in a national park, Aron Ralston (James Franco) needs to use all of his knowledge, strength and bravery to get out alive. The message: Always pack a freshly sharpened blade.

10)   The Terminal

A travel movie with no travel at all. It’s an interesting concept, but the happenings and eccentricities that occur in The Terminal will be all too familiar to seasoned travelers. Viktor Navorski is in a pickle – civil war broke out in his home country while he was en route to the US, and now his passport is no longer valid. That means he’s in for a longer wait than even the most unlucky of airport visitors. The film was inspired by the incredible story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri who spent 18 years in Terminal One of Charles de Gaulle Airport.


Michael Catford
Michael Catford

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