Last Updated: March 12th, 2020
Movies are a big part of our daily lives. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and — for many of us — they make us want to travel. That’s why we put together a list of our favorite travel-themed movies on Netflix right now.
It should go without saying, this list will constantly be evolving as Netflix rotates its library and new movies arrive. In the streaming wars, as in travel, there’s no time like the present. So grab some popcorn and get cozy, then let these travel movies inspire your next grand adventure.
Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 5.2/10
What Is It: Getting to travel for work feels like a luxury. Getting to hang in Ibiza with a star DJ and have a spontaneous time-of-your-life moment while traveling feels like something that only happens in movies. Maybe. But you’ll never know if it’s real unless you go out and look for these adventures yourself and that’s where Ibiza gets you.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: Sometimes you just have to go out there and live that life and see what happens. You’re never going to know what’s out there unless you go see for yourself.
Wine Country (2019)
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 5.4/10
What Is It: Amy Poehler rounds up some of her funniest pals from Saturday Night Live for this boozy comedy about a girls’ trip to Napa Valley. The film is packed with comedy legends like Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Paula Pell, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, and Emily Spivey, and it marks Poehler’s directing debut.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: It’s an ode to female friendships and how they change as we age — think Bridesmaids but with more wine and some scenic views of idyllic Napa wine country. If these amazing vistas of vineyards don’t stoke a desire to get to California ASAP, nothing will.
Murder Mystery (2019)
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 6/10
What Is It: Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler reunite for this whodunnit with a slapstick comedy twist. The film follows Audrey and Nick Spitz, a married couple from Brooklyn celebrating their honeymoon 15 years late. They meet a dashing stranger on their plane to Europe (played by Luke Evans) who invites them to vacation aboard his yacht where a shocking murder puts them in the spotlight. As they use Nick’s detective skills and Audrey’s love of true crime to solve the case and clear their own names, more suspects pop up, and more laughs are had.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: We don’t want to say that movie posits you should never accept invitations to party on a yacht in the South of France. But keep your wits about you if you do find yourself in that situation.
Like Father (2018)
Run Time: 109 min | IMDb: 6.1/10
What Is It: Kristen Bell in anything is guaranteed to be funny, but this father-daughter comedy looks especially rife with humor. Bell plays a workaholic jilted at the altar who decides to salvage something from her relationship when she heads out on her honeymoon cruise … with her estranged father. Kelsey Grammer stars as her deadbeat dad and the two try to reconnect over tropical expeditions, ziplining, and plenty of seafaring.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: There are a lot of lessons to be drawn from a light comedy about people reconnecting while living in a confined space. Travel companionship is never a black-or-white prospect and sometimes the best travel buddy is the person you’d least expect.
David Brent: Life on the Road (2016)
Run Time: 96 min | IMDb: 6.3/10
What Is It: The Brentmaster General is back and as awkward as ever. This time, David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is on a music tour — funding the trip out of his own pocket, renting a bus completely unnecessarily, and making college kids cringe like crazy.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: This one of the best examples of people traveling together that really, truly don’t understand or even like each other. And, whether we like it or not, that’ll eventually happen to all of us at some point. At least with Ricky Gervais steering the action, there’ll be more laughs than tears. Just barely.
Mississippi Grind (2015)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
What Is It: Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn star in this road trip drama about a pair of down-on-their-luck gamblers making their way to New Orleans. Reynolds plays Curtis, the younger of the two who’s developed a system to manage his gambling habits. The key, Curtis says, is to not care about winning. Gerry (Mendelsohn) on the other hand is deep into his addiction, out of money, and unable to quit. The two team up, traveling down the Mississippi river, betting all they have on horse races and roulette tables before their wild ways catch up with them.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: It’s a film steeped in the American South’s blue-collar world. There’s plenty to admire about the scenery, but it’s also a film that does a decent job of tackling addiction without making it feel trite or heavy-handed. In the end, this is about two people on a mission and knowing when to let each other go.
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
What Is It: Jason Sudeikis, Ed Harris, and Elizabeth Olsen star in this Midwestern road-trip drama about an estranged father-son duo trying to reconnect. Harris plays a famous travel photographer intent on developing the rest of his unused film and the only Kodachrome photo lab in Kansas before it closes. Sudeikis and Olsen are dragged along, and along with some stunning vignettes of small-town America, we’re treated to a beautiful portrait of a father-son relationship.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: This movie treats the idea of someone being the proverbial “third-wheel” to a traveling duo aptly. Each character feels like that third-wheel at some point along the journey, which perfectly mirrors reality when you’re traveling with two or more people.
Slow West (2015)
Run Time: 84 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
What Is It: Kodi Smit-McPhee plays a young Scottish man who travels from his home country to the dry, bleeding heart of the American West to find the woman he loves. Along the way, he meets a band of outlaws looking to collect the bounty on his intended’s head and a thuggish, slow-drawling Michael Fassbender who acts as his reluctant chaperone. It’s a fun, inventive take on the classic Western adventure, and it doesn’t hurt that the cinematography is gorgeous.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: How far will you go for love is a question as old as story-telling itself. In this case, our hero leaves the wind-whipped coasts of Scotland and trudges to America. Have you ever given up everything and hit the great unknown for your love? This movie may well inspire you to.
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
What Is It: Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-tiki Expedition is the travel-history of legends. Back in 1947, the intrepid Norwegian set out to prove that pre-Columbian American cultures had the means and wherewithal to cross the oceans. Heyerdahl’s work was instrumental in moving European anthropology away from the inept “savage” view of Indigenous people and recentering the idea of human migration.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: At its heart, this film is about the mad ones. The film follows the trials and tribulations of six crew members as they sail the Pacific on a small, reed craft with a single sail. Kon-Tiki offers a glimpse into how hard travel used to be and what we can overcome out there.
The Fundamentals Of Caring (2016)
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
What Is It: Paul Rudd is at his most charming and charismatic here. He plays a newly trained caregiver to a distant teenager with muscular dystrophy named Trevor. After some icebreaking, the two set out on a trip to see some of the most boring roadside attractions middle America has to offer. If you’re feeling down, this one will pick you up.
Plus… it’s Paul Rudd. That dude is always a ray of sunshine.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: There’s a classic appeal to a mismatched pair of people traveling along the American road. It helps when the trip isn’t grandiose or the soul purpose of the trip. Sometimes, the trip is the time you spend getting to know who you’re moving with. Everything else is just the icing on the cake.
Run Time: 143 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
What Is It: Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt star in this drama about a vacationing couple whose romantic trip to Morocco is cut short by tragedy. Blanchett plays Susan, Pitt her husband, Richard. When Susan becomes the victim of an accidental shooting while touring the country, their plans go awry and their story collides with three other families, all impacted by the event in one way or another.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: Alejandro González Iñárritu weaves these tales together, skipping from the deserts of Morocco to the bustling nightlife of Tokyo to the vibrant, colorful backdrop of the Mexican desert in a non-linear fashion that gives the film an added sense of urgency. Each place draws you in and asks you, ‘why aren’t you having this experience?’
Y Tu Mama También (2002)
Run Time: 106 min, IMDb: 7.6/10
What Is It: After a stint in Hollywood, Alfonso Cuarón returned to Mexico for this story of two privileged high school boys (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal) who road trip with an older woman (Maribel Verdú) in search of an unspoiled stretch of beach. In the process, they discover freedom as they’d never imagined — and maybe more freedom than they can handle.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: Cuarón’s stylish film plays out against the backdrop of Mexican political upheaval and plays with notions of upturning the established order on scales both large and small, all the while suggesting that no paradise lasts forever. Those are universal travel themes if ever we’ve heard them.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Run Time: 153 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
What Is It: Tarantino often goes deep on a single location. Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, and Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood are all odes to a single place, Los Angeles. But when QT does hit the road, it’s often a treat for the sense. In his 2009 a-historical WWII B-movie, Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino takes us on a trip around Europe with titular Basterds. We maraud with them as they make their way from England, to the Belgian lowlands, through France, and into Paris.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: Travel isn’t always about self-fulfillment and relaxation. A lot of folks’ first travel experience before 1950 was via war. Still, there’s a sense of wonder to this movie that transcends any reason to travel and speaks to a universal truth of a group of people finding their way through places they don’t quite understand.
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Run Time: 115 min | IMDb: 8.4/10
What Is It: As far as travel and adventure go, Raiders of the Lost Ark, has everything you could possibly want. A hero with a love for archeology and whips? Check. An adventure to recover a stolen artifact with destructive powers? Check, check. Harrison Ford beating up Nazis with sarcastic one-liners and a knowing twinkle in his eye? Did movies even exist before this?
Why It’s Great For Travelers: It could be argued that this movie inspired a generation of Gen X travelers to hit the road. The movie bleeds the sense of adventure and zest for life that we all wish we could have had on the open road. Raider’s promises glory and thrilling exploits exist out there and we want that to be true deep in our bones.
Run Time: 126 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
What Is It: Bong Joon Ho was on film lover’s minds for years before he became a household name with his Oscar-winning masterpiece Parasite. Bong’s 2013 sci-fi turn with Captain America Chris Evans is a dystopian train journey in a post-climate-change afflicted world. The world is iced over, people are surviving by speeding around the globe on a train, and the working class has had enough. Though you may have to suspend your disbelief that survivors who lived by cannibalizing infants would revolt over being fed insect protein, this movie still holds up as a spell-binding, action-packed whirlwind.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: The sense of non-stop movement in this film draws you in. You’ll be longing to hit the Trans-Siberian, jump on the Empire Builder across America, or buy that Rail Pass for Europe next summer. Hopefully, battling 1984-esque guards and Tilda Swinton will not be a part of those train journies though.
Batman Begins (2005)
Run Time: 140 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
What Is It: The fourth reboot of the Batman franchise was helmed by Christopher Nolan when we still had something to prove to the world. The film follows a young Bruce Wayne as he spends the first half of the film wandering around the world looking for a purpose in life. He finally ends up in a Himalayan prison camp where he’s rescued by a mysterious group of psychonaut militant ninjas who help birth The Batman.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: The desire to find yourself on the open road is a universal one, especially when you’re in your late teens and twenties. Bruce Wayne’s down-and-dirty vagabond journies where he’s barely scraping by are the stuff of backpacking legend and inspiration enough to go out there and find a little truth. You may not come home Batman, but you may come home a more complete you.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Run Time: 111 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
What Is It: Tarantino has a knack for globetrotting. The first half of Kill Bill finds the vengeful Bride bouncing from Texas’ high deserts to Southern California suburbia to the mean streets of Tokyo. Each of these locations has a unique and highly stylized nature that begs you to step into the location.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: When the Bride walks into an Okinawa sushi house, you want to be sitting there too. For a brief moment, you think you too can wear a leather jumpsuit and ride a motorcycle around Tokyo at night. And, you know what? Why not? Go! Do exactly that. Maybe leave the katana at home though. They’re not really going to let you carry it on the plane (no matter how cool it makes you look).
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Run Time: 139 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
What Is It: Patricia Highsmith’s ability to weave noirish tales around mid-20th century travelers is legendary. The atmosphere of 1950s Italy is so intact and somehow universal in this film that you can almost feel the heat of the sun and the taste of the bitters in the cocktails. The intrigue of a young Matt Damon going full psychopath on an unsuspecting Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow is a masterclass in creepiness (why doesn’t Damon play more villains?). Plus, there are wonderful Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Cate Blanchett performances here too. Taking a step back, this cast is phenomenal and worth the two hours alone.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: Do you become someone else when you’re no longer home? Maybe you do become someone else when you’re on the road? Maybe you don’t. Philosophical questions of self-identity aside, if this movie doesn’t make you book a trip to Italy, nothing will.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
Run Time: 88 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
What Is It: There are few things better than a buddy stoner movie. This quest to quell a wicked case of the munchies by stoner pals Harold and Kumar to White Castle for a pile of sliders is a cult classic that still holds up. Plus, the under 90-minute runtime makes this an easy, fun watch — whether you’re stoned or not.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: If you’ve been on the road and you’re inclined to find an epic meal, you know Harold and Kumar’s drive and pain. Granted this is just about traveling across town for a fast-food snack, but there’s something universal about that trek. We travel far and wide for the best taco trucks, burger joints, craft brews, and simple pleasures that, simply, makes us happy, and that’s what this movie captures so perfectly.
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989)
Run Time: 127 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
What Is It: Yes, we’re putting two Indiana Jones movies on this list. The Last Crusade is the actual sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark (Temple of Doom is an underrated prequel). Indy is a little older, he’s traveling with his cantankerous father, and he’s punching Nazis all the way around the world. Hell, even the opening scene with River Phoenix playing a teen-aged Indy has a sense of wanderlust whimsy in Utah’s Arches National Park. And all of that’s before you get to Il Duce’s Venice, Austrian castles, Hitler’s Berlin, and the Middle East’s deserts.
Why It’s Great For Travelers: Nearly one-million people visit Petra in Jordan yearly (where the movie’s climax takes place) many thanks to this movie. And, in true Indiana Jones fashion, traveling is the core of the film. You can go to all of these places right now and relieve your favorite Indiana Jone’s fantasies. Plus, the movie touches on how two distant people can find common ground again while sharing experience on the road.