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The Best Travel Movies To Binge Watch

Ready to obliterate your brain with mindless viewing? Here are our choices for barely crawling out of bed.

This list was ginormous when we first started brainstorming, but after lots of internal voting, these are the movies we think best capture the spirit of adventure. There are notable exceptions: two Wes Anderson movies appear on this list twice, as well as two movies starring Saoirse Ronan.

The point is, I also now have full permission to judge each staff member by their cinematic tastes. (Kyle, I’m looking at you for EPL.)

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes-Anderson five! Ralph Fiennes, Saoirse Ronan and Tony Revolori star in this silly, silly movie about a hotel concierge and lobby boy that get caught in a criminal plot. In typical Wes Anderson style, expect zany and silly in this lighthearted tale of pure fun. Besides, it’s neat to consider that there is actually a real Society of Crossed Keys! — Erica Ho

Up In the Air

Lounge cards, hotel loyalty cards, airline cards, it’s all a familiar sight to most frequent flyers. There’s, however, this one stark scene where George Clooney and Vera Farmiga are excitedly comparing the traveling accolades they’ve accumulated, and it’s a scene that speaks to the inner travel geek inside. Though it isn’t the happiest of movies—it is about the recession, after all—but it does manage to cover the brisk realities of traveling and the human affect ever so brilliantly. At the end of the day, it is all about the journey. — Erica Ho

Lost in Translation

Sophia Coppola’s feature film is a personal touchstone for a travel film done right. It’s a bittersweet exploration of alienation, crisis and understanding in the realm of cultural difference—both for those traveling abroad, and between generations for co-stars Murray and Johansson. The mood may be weighty for some but the portrayal of a short-term relationship of strangers in a strange place is spot-on. Not to mention it’s got a killer soundtrack. —Sam Wright Fairbanks


There is perhaps no more beloved movie on staff than Up. If you don’t cry at least once, there’s something wrong. Far and away, this movie is for the ages. There is nothing more perfect than the first ten minutes of the film; it is pure cinematic magic. — Erica Ho

Planes, Trains, Automobiles

Could anything possibly go wrong when Steve Martin and John Candy star in a classic John Hughes film? Everything, and that’s putting it lightly for Neal Page as he attempts to make his way from New York to Chicago to be with his family in time for Thanksgiving. Somehow this 1980s film still rings true with apathetic airline customer service, car rental agencies and coin-operated motel beds. There are more payphone scenes than you could shake a stick at—where have those gone?—but making it home for holidays is hardly ever done without the rental car going up in flames. — Carly Stewart

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I once hushed a date when he tried to interrupt a viewing of this movie. Ben Stiller portrays a timid photo researcher, who finds himself, due to a series of circumstances, skateboarding toward an Icelandic volcano and jumping into shark-infested waters. This genius movie seems to touch the very ridiculous, whimsical and surreal nature of traveling the best, all in pursuit of a passion rarely encountered in the waking world. Read the full review here. — Erica Ho

Darjeeling Limited

It doesn’t get more privileged than the opening scene where Adrian Brody outruns Bill Murray in a top hat to catch a train heaving his custom, monogrammed, Louis Vuitton luggage onto the caboose, except for the fact its directed by Wes Anderson. Three men pursue their mother, Angelica Huston, by train, the name of which is the Darjeerling Limited. Sharing a sleeper car, they explore their brotherly relationship while making their way through the Indian countryside. If you don’t want to buy a trunk and a one-way train ticket through India after watching, start again from the beginning. — Kyle Stewart

Eat, Pray, Love

Even if you are less connected to the plot (like I am) the movie is still worth watching for the scene in Napoli where she (overly) enjoys pizza. One shot and you’re there sitting beside her tasting the basil in the sauce, the satisfying cling of al dente pasta. I know, the whole scene in Bali where she heads to the Medicine Man is what everyone thinks about doing, winding up on some spiritual journey. Instead, they end up just eating at the hotel restaurant and feeling really authentic by drinking Bintao instead of Budweiser. Watch for the expansive shots of pasta and cerulean beaches, ignore Julia Roberts. — Kyle Stewart

The Motorcycle Diaries

Circling South America by motorcycle from Colombia to Chile, two young riders discover much more about the plight of their fellow Latinos than they anticipated and less of the hedonism they expected to find. One of the two riders is a young Che Guevara, long before he donned the revolutionary beret. It was this trip that formed the foundation of his desire for greater equality among all ‘Americans.’ Plenty of films romanticize Route 66, but from northern South America to the Caribbean Sea, through the Amazon to historic, borderline European Buenos Aires, it’s hard to resist not making the same trek. — Kyle Stewart


Few movies capture the essence of moving abroad like Brooklyn. Here is a lovely, soul-warming film currently in theaters that captures the very real struggles of being an ocean apart, adjusting and then realizing home has a changeable meaning. For every current and former emigrant and expat out there, there are two loyalties that coexist simultaneously together, at opposite ends of the spectrum. And true to life, there’s no right decision. This film captures it ever so eloquently: “Homesickness is like most sicknesses. It will pass.” — Erica Ho

The Best Travel Movies To Binge Watch via @maphappy
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