They say that travel broadens the mind, and it’s definitely an experience that will forge fantastic new memories and inspire you in ways you’d never imagined.
Of course actually choosing where to go on your journeys requires a bit of inspiration in its own right, so we’ve put together a list of the best films that will give you ideas to help you book your next trip.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The brilliant Ben Stiller is usually known for his all-out comic roles, but in this world-spanning, uplifting comedy-drama he proves that he’s got real acting chops with a more nuanced, emotional performance.
The plot sees Stiller’s titular editor exchange the office for the airplane as he searches from Iceland to Afghanistan and beyond, attempting to find an elusive photographer.
It’s uplifting and enjoyable, with Stiller also handling directing duties, and doing a good job of capturing the majesty of the diverse landscapes we’re shown.
Dripping with dark comic tones and tinged with tragedy, In Bruges is a hilarious and heart-rending pseudo-gangster which received critical acclaim back in 2008.
Set in the Belgian city known as a tourist hotspot, it both makes Bruges look like an amazing place to be, while also ridiculing aspects of the travel lifestyle, which make it even more appealing.
Arriving at the turn of the millennium, The Beach set the tone for many subsequent releases, showcasing Thailand and its isolated natural beauty, while also pontificating on the concept of Western adventurers getting out of their depth in far-flung parts of the world.
Leonardo DiCaprio is at the height of his early-period powers, and even with the trajectory taken by the plot, it’s hard not to be caught up in the mystery and allure of the sun, sea and white sand.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Spain has never looked so good as it does in this excellent summertime comedy, involving a love triangle, a lot of wine, and a whole host of spiky, friction-laden interactions between its leads.
It’s also probably one of the few films that won’t leave you wondering what is travel insurance, because the gentler tone and focus of the plot tend not to leave the characters in peril too frequently. Here, the dangers are emotional instead.
This film, along with its follow-ups Before Sunset and Before Midnight, helps to sell the concept of travel and exploration better than almost any other piece of cinema.
Starting with Vienna in the first release, and then exploring Paris and finally the Greek coast, each one is a romantic getaway that you can go on from the comfort of your own home.
Romancing the Stone
Speaking of romance, a very different kind of blossoming relationship is explored in this 1980s action-adventure.
Michael Douglas is the rough and ready rogue, Kathleen Turner the fish-out-of-water novelist, and we experience the pair being flung together in Columbia as they have to handle encounters with criminal gangs, natural obstacles, dangerous wildlife and much more besides.
It’s not as if Paris needs help getting noticed, but if you’ve yet to visit the French capital and you need further convincing, check out cute and quirky classic Amelie.
The Montmartre neighborhood is painted in broad strokes here, with larger than life characters popping out of every market stall and boulangerie. There’s even a subplot involving a garden gnome that goes on a globe-trotting adventure of his own, so it’s doubly fitting to include it in this list and encourage modern audiences to give it a watch.