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5 Travel Movies to Watch Before Taking Off

This blog post was updated on October 3, 2018.

5 Travel Movies to Watch Before Taking Off, Flickr: Nicholas Mitchell

Whether you’re planning a trip or just experiencing a bit of wanderlust, here are five travel movies, each set in a different area of the globe, that are sure to entertain and inspire the traveler in all of us.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Whether you’re a fan of Che Guevara’s politics or not, The Motorcycle Diaries is a must see. It’s the story of two friends who leave for a five-month motorcycle trip across South America and eventually end up volunteering as medical workers in a leper colony. Based primarily on Che’s own journals, this film is as inspiring as it is visually stunning.

The Way (2010)
Emilio Estevez’s The Way, starring his real-life father Martin Sheen, is set along Spain’s Camino de Santiago trail. Along his unlikely pilgrimage, Sheen’s character encounters a host of characters, all with their own burdens, joys, and reasons for taking this spiritual trip. Emotional, raw, and incredibly beautiful, The Way made me want to hop on a plane to France (where the Camino begins) and embark on my own pilgrimage.

L’Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) (2002)
When describing this film to others, I always call it the “quintessential study abroad film,” but it’s so much more than that. L’Auberge Espagnole is the story of a group of students from all over the European Union who find themselves living in tight quarters in Barcelona as they complete their studies and learn an incredible amount about themselves and their place in the world. Humorous and thought provoking, if L’Auberge Espagnole doesn’t make you plan a trip to Barcelona (and I bet it will), it will at least make you want to watch the sequel, Les Poupées Russes.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Directed by the incomparable Wes Anderson, The Darjeeling Limited is the story of three wealthy, estranged brothers (played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman) who take a multi-day train trip through India. Their off-beat experiences along the way serve not only to bond them, but also to give them a different perspective on their lives.

Le Grand Voyage (2004)
Reda, a modern French-Moroccan man finds himself in the position of driving his elderly father from the south of France to Mecca so that the father can complete his pilgrimage. Although there are many emotional roadblocks between them, their multi-day car ride brings them closer together. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous, and will definitely make you want to pack up your Peugeot and hit the road.


Photo: Nicholas Mitchell

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