Best travel movies

Nothing gets your feet itchin’ like a great travel movie. Here are our picks – just don’t blame us when you max out your credit card on flights…

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

As reviewed by Baby Zoomers last week, this film is not only a charming romp with an excellent cast (Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Judy Dench… need we say more?), but it’s also one of the rare travel films that is aimed at the baby boomer demographic (who are, ironically, some of the biggest contributors to global travel). The film follows the adventures of a collective of English folk who move to India to escape the steep price of retiring in their motherland. What ensues is a lot of cultural clashes, upset stomachs from spicy Indian curries, self-discovery and laughs. India, a rich tapestry of gorgeous colours and beautiful scenery, has never looked more appealing.

On The Road

Jack Kerouac’s iconic novel inspired a whole generation to drop everything and hit the road, and after many years of development, Walter Salles’ adaption finally hit our screens this year. Perfectly encapsulating the ‘beat generation’ that only just preceded the baby boomers, this beautifully shot film brings together the jazz, the drugs, and the adventurous spirit of the 1950s, while simultaneously showcasing the breathtaking diversity of the American continent. Sal Paradise and his loose cannon buddy Dean Moriarty traverse the country numerous times in search of the elusive “it”, visiting destinations including New York, Denver and San Francisco. After watching it, you’ll want to hire a car and do the same.

Eat, Pray, Love

This film’s audience tends to fall into one of two camps: the “I feel so inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert, I want to drop everything and find myself too!” enthusiasts; or the, “This woman is the most pretentious, self-absorbed creature to ever walk the planet” critics. Regardless of your feelings towards Ms Gilbert, who penned the autobiographical book that spawned the film, you’ll definitely catch the travel bug watching it. Gilbert’s desire to rediscover herself takes her first to Italy, where she gorges herself on supple stacks of pasta and decadently cheesy pizza in scenes that will have your mouth watering. Then she journeys to an Indian ashram for some meditation and spirituality. Finally, she gets a dose of love (in the form of Javier Bardem – need further convincing to watch?) in the lusciously evergreen Indonesia. It’s practically travel porn.

The Beach

It’s been overrun by Australians. It’s not what it used to be. The locals are all out to scam you. Say what you will about Thailand – hey, it’s all been said before –  but there’s a good reason why it remains such a beloved tourist attraction. This film, set primarily on Phi Phi Island, provides the evidence. The crystal-clear, turquoise water. The rocky, jagged islands. The jungles. The sunsets. And the best thing? Unlike many destinations, this one is actually not far from Australia; you could be swimming in those waters in a matter of hours. Oh, and the plot is alright too.

Into The Wild

Based on the true story of American Christopher McCandless, who sold his material possessions and gave away his money and headed off into the Alaskan wilderness under the alias of Alexander Supertramp, this is a aesthetically pleasing and emotionally moving film. If you’ve ever dreamed of solo adventure travel, this might be the film that inspires you to do it (although we here at Baby Zoomers do not advocate the ‘sell everything and head off with little supplies’ approach adopted by McCandless). Watch this and we guarantee Alaska will find pride of place on your travel bucket list.

The Motorcycle Diaries

Fancy yourself an Easy Rider? If so, this is the travel film for you. The Motorcycle Diaries is a biopic that follows the adventures of a young, pre-revolutionary Ernesto, better known as Che, Guevara.  A medical student, Guevara and his biochemist friend Alberto Granado plan to work in a leper colony in Peru, and thus set off on an epic journey through Latin America via motorbike (yes – that’s two men, one motorbike). In addition to the incredible scenery of destinations like Machu Picchu, Chile and Venezuela, to name a few, the men also witness the poverty of the continent’s indigenous peasants and come to appreciate the enormous chasm that exists between the haves and have-nots. It’s a truly inspiring, engrossing film with excellent performances and stunning cinematography – you’ll be hooked from the first minute. We should probably mention that the film is in Spanish, so, yes, there are subtitles. However, we promise it’s worth the effort, so be sure to have your reading glasses handy.

Midnight In Paris

Being the world’s most-visited city, Paris obviously needs no help in convincing travellers to stop by. But Woody Allen’s critically acclaimed Midnight In Paris certainly didn’t hurt. With sweeping views of the city skyline, its romantic streets, world-class art galleries and flowerpot-adorned balconies, this film plays like an ode to the magnificent French capital. Although you could watch the film purely for the delicious images of Paris, the plot is excellent – and a little whimsical too. You’ll be smiling all the way through.

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8 responses to “Best travel movies

  1. I really, really adore The Motorcycle Diaries. Made me want to jump on a motorbike and just travel the country instead of hop on a plane as per the usual. Oh and it didn’t hurt that Gael Garcia Bernal was in it 😉

  2. You guys have chosen really great ones! Motorcycle Diaries, The Beach and Into the Wild are some of my favourites of all time. A few others that I could think of include: Little Miss Sunshine, Up in the Air, The Darjeeling Limited, Lord of the Rings (if fantasy can be included!) and Thelma & Louise.
    Thanks for this.

  3. LOVE The Darjeeling Limited! Brilliant casting in that too. Owen Wilson has (surprisingly) done some great films in his time.

    • Mmmm, time travel movies are the best! So many failed ones too though i.e. The Time Machine. It definitely makes my ‘I want that two hours of my life back’ list. What’s your favourite one in the time travel category? Surprisingly, I really enjoyed Looper!

      • I think it would be easier to list the ones I have seen: Eat, Pray, Love and Into the Wild. I’ll have to think about suggestions. It’s still early for me and my brain isn’t fully functioning.

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