10 Travel Movies that Inspire Wanderlust
Photo by Arlinda

10 Travel Movies that Inspire Wanderlust

Films are a window to the human experience. We watch movies to be swept away, to feel something, to connect with people and places. Below is a list of travel movies that will captivate you. They’ll transport you to a different time and place that will inspire your next trip into the unknown. Also, Lotus Compass especially supports films with female directors and female lead actors, so be sure to check those out! 

1. Amélie

Amelie filmDirector: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Filmed in: Paris, France

Summary: If you adore the Parisian French vibe, Amélie will charm you throughout. In particular, the bright colors and quirky Frenchness makes this film really fun to watch. While it’s labeled as a romantic comedy, Amélie goes deeper. It’s one of those that keeps you pondering on the meaning of life. Not to mention, the film makes you fall in love with the lead, Amélie, played by Audrey Tautou.  

Female lead!


2. Into the Wild

Travel movies: Into the WildDirector: Sean Penn

Filmed in: Oregon, South Dakota, Arizona, and Alaska

Summary: What is the meaning of life, and how can one find true happiness? You will go on a journey with main character Chris McCandless as he traverses through the United States on the solo adventure of a lifetime. It’s highly reviewed and was widely discussed when it was released in 2007. For example, Rolling Stones described Into the Wild as, “one of the best movies of a bustling fall out of Jon Krakauer’s best-selling Into the Wild. Krakauer told the true story of Chris McCandless, an honors grad from Emory University who walked into the Alaskan wilderness in 1992 to find himself outside the confines of estranged family, well-meaning friends and any governing impulse besides his own questing heart.”


3. Our Planet series

Our PlanetDirectors: David Attenborough, Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey, Sophie Lanfear

Filmed in: Worldwide

Summary: While it’s not a travel movie, this series will make you fall in love with our planet. OurPlanet.com  describes the series as “a Netflix original documentary series and collaboration between WWF, Netflix and Silverback Films. Our Planet shows the world’s natural wonders, iconic species and wildlife spectacles that still remain… Discover the story of the one place we all call home.”

Female director!


5 Favorites and 5 Must-See Travel Destinations: read here.

4. Wild

Travel movies WildDirector: Jean-Marc Vallée

Filmed in: Along the Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S.

Summary: A deeply inspiring book turned film about a woman reaching rock bottom and finding the strength within to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone. To summarize, ‘Wild’ calls to the inner wisdom and strength within each of us that keeps us going when the going gets tough. A must watch! Plus, Rees Witherspoon does an incredible job and plays the part extremely well. 

Female lead!


5. Honeyland

Honeyland film beekeeperDirector: Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov

Filmed in: Northern Macedonia

Summary: Honeyland is an award-winning travel documentary filmed in Macedonia in 2019. The film shows the life of a beekeeper in a remote village in the mountains. Moreover, the filming lasted over three years and resulted in 400 hours of footage. In short, Honeyland is real, gripping, and shows a glimpse into a different world. This, to me, is exactly what great travel movies are all about. 

Female co-director! 

Female lead!



6. The Motorcycle Diaries

Travel moviesDirector: Walter Salles

Filmed in: All throughout South America – Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela

Summary: This film tells the story of an 8,000 mile road trip through South America in 1952 by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and his travel buddy Alberto Granado. In particular, the cultural aspects make this travel movie a fascinating coming of age. Also, it’s great to watch if you’re learning Spanish, too, as the film is entirely in Spanish with English subtitles. 



Want to learn how to travel more sustainably? Read here .

7. Roma

Travel movies: RomaDirector: Alfonso Cuarón

Filmed in: Mexico City, Mexico

Summary: Netflix’s Roma follows the story of Cleo, an indigenous woman working as a maid in 1970s Mexico City. Roma tells the story of motherhood, of social and class dynamics, and of life in the Colonia Roma neighborhood in Mexico City in the 1970s.

Indigenous female lead!



8. Eat, Pray, Love

Travel movies: Eat Pray LoveDirector: Ryan Murphy

Filmed in: New York City, Italy, India, and Indonesia

Summary: The quintessential ‘travel to find yourself’ film. To start, this true story will bring you in and have you relating to the main character (and writer), Elizabeth Gilbert. Have you ever felt like you had everything yet were dissatisfied with life? Have you ever entertained the idea of taking off to a faraway land on a quest for self discovery? If so, this is one of those travel movies that will take you away… to Italy, to India, to Indonesia. In short, Eat, Pray, Love follows one woman’s quest for knowledge and understanding. Enjoy! 

Female lead!


What is slow travel? And why try it? Learn more here.



9. Coco

Travel film to Watch: Coco

Director: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina

Takes place in: Mexico

Summary: Coco is an animated film that portrays Mexican culture very well. Because of this, we had to include it on the top travel movies list! It’s a feel good kind of movie, and it takes place in Mexico during the Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Common Sense Media describes Coco as “colorful, beautifully animated, and culturally sensitive.” 




10. Tracks

Travel films to Inspire WanderlustDirector: John Curran

Filmed in: Australia 

Summary: Four camels, a faithful dog, 2,000 miles of desert, and one determined woman. ‘Tracks’ will have you on the edge of your seat. As a matter of fact, it may even leave you wanting to take an epic solo trip! Because why not? 

Female lead!




There you have it, friends! Have you seen any of these films? Which ones are on your “to-watch” list? Let us know in the comments below. By the way, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram! Also, share this page with friends if you enjoyed!

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