You may not be able to travel physically right now, due to ongoing global lockdown measures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a mental vacation. Movies have always been about experiencing things vicariously, whether piloting the Millennium Falcon through the known universe or running from a boulder in a booby-trapped Peruvian temple.
What people want more than anything right now is to see the world. Luckily, you can see the world from the comfort of your couch. Put on your best Unbound Merino travel clothing, adjust your neck pillow, grab a cold drink from the steward (read: your significant other), and check out these five amazing travel movies!
The Trip Series
The closest you’ll come to actual travel is probably the Michael Winterbottom-helmed The Trip series. The Trip, The Trip to Italy, The Trip to Spain, and most recently, The Trip to Greece leads viewers on a wanderlust-satisfying, culinary road trip through various European terrains with funnymen Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden.
In between gorgeous shots of the countryside, Coogan and Bryden trade quips, compare impressions and get under each other’s skin. The films (and their accompanying BBC series) are funny, sumptuous and satisfying – the perfect entertainment for time indoors!
This classic example of 1950’s “Hollywood on the Tiber” filmmaking sees Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck gallivanting around the Italian capital. Aside from being a fantastic film, Roman Holiday is a double-whammy when it comes to vicarious travel: you get to journey to another place and another time.
Romantic, charming, and chock-full of fantastic Roman scenery, it’s the go-to choice for Italophiles or lovers of old Hollywood cinema.
This 2004 biopic follows a young Che Guevera, the South American revolutionary, as he travels the continent. Starring the always-fantastic Gael García Bernal, Motorcycle Diaries is the rare road trip movie with something to say.
A part coming-of-age story, part political drama, part travelogue, the movie received rave reviews upon release but didn’t reach a wide audience in North America. You can change that by giving this excellent film a try for your next at-home vacation.
Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece defies easy categorization. It’s not your average travel movie. It’s not your average kids’ movie. It’s not your average animated movie. Plain and simple: it’s not your average movie.
It is, however, an absolute joy to watch. The detail, care, and talent that went into Spirited Away are evident from the first to the last frame. Adults who are open to new experiences will get as much out of this Japanese animated film as the kids for whom it was intended.
This beautiful tale of a Māori girl in New Zealand who wants to become chief of her tribe captured hearts when it came out back in 2002, and it holds up today. Young actress Keisha Castle-Hughes brings tenacity, vulnerability, and vigor to her young character. In the beginning, you’ll be rooting for her; by the end, you’ll be up out of your seat and cheering her on!
As a human story, it’s captivating. As a look into indigenous New Zealand culture, it’s fascinating. Whale Rider is well worth finding if you’re in the mood for an uplifting travel film.
They may not be quite the same as a real trip, but these transporting movies will do in a pinch. Plus, they’re far cheaper than a flight!