7 Movies That Inspire Adventure Travel

7 Movies That Inspire Adventure Travel

Written by Katie Coakley on

Katie Coakley is a Colorado-based freelance writer who writes about travel, craft beer, and outdoor adventures. The Coronavirus may have kept her state-side but she’s still traveling safely. See more of her work on her website or follow her on Instagram @katie_on_the_map.

7 Movies That Inspire Adventure Travel

7 Movies That Inspire Adventure Travel

Are you searching for your next big travel experience? These movies will have you packing your bag in no time.

I’ve been dreaming about travel for almost as long as I can remember. It started with the shows my mom allowed to me to watch, like Sesame Street, which made me desperately want to visit the namesake setting. After receiving the news that I would, in fact, never get to visit the fictional destination, I revised my plans. No Sesame Street? Fine. I would visit Bremen, where the show’s donkey, cat, dog, and rooster lived.

As I got older, my entertainment tastes evolved, but my love for travel and adventure didn’t wane. I’m still inspired by movies; and a great film (or even a mediocre one with fantastic visuals) does wonders for expanding my bucket list of places to visit and things to do. Looking for some ideas for your next trip? Here are seven films sure to get the travel bug itching.

The Way (2010)

This movie, which stars real-life father and son Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, gave me my first look at the Camino de Santiago (also known as the Way of St. James). The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a network of pilgrimage routes that snake across Europe; and the most popular stretch is almost 500 miles (805 kilometers) long, starting in France and ending in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. After watching Sheen’s journey, I put this trek on my short list of must-do adventures.

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Yes, it’s an old movie, and the vibe of Colombia is much different now—but Romancing the Stonemade me want to go on an adventure through the jungles and cities of this vibrant South American country. Though my jungle trek to Ciudad Perdida didn’t end with a giant emerald, as it did in the movie, it was still a fabulous journey.

The Beach (2000)

The Beach put Thailand on the map for many people dreaming of crystalline water, white sand, and all-night, “full moon” parties. But this movie is more than that: It also gave me a glimpse of backpacker life and, once I reached Thailand, inspired me to take many swims to any secluded islands I could find.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

What The Beach did for Thailand, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty did for Iceland. Though Ben Stiller’s character (Walter Mitty) traveled to Iceland, Greenland, and Afghanistan in the movie, filming for all three locations was done in the former. And that means many of the activities Mitty did in those “three” countries—like bike, longboard, and even karaoke—are ones you can do in beautiful Iceland.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984); Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Is there a fictional character better at adventure travel than Indiana Jones? I think not. I’ve breathlessly watched Indy get into—and out of—imminent danger around the world; from the jungles of Peru, to the mountains of Nepal, and into the canyon of the crescent moon (aka Petra, Jordan). He inspired my trips to Utah and Peru and influenced my perception of Shanghai before I ever set foot in China. Jordan is still high on my list, thanks to Dr. Jones.

These are a few of my favorite adventure travel movies, but there are so many more out there that are likely to get you moving: For example, Tracks (2013) will make you want to set out into the Australian Outback, and Wild (2014) and A Walk in the Woods (2015) might have you stuffing your backpack for a multi-day hiking trip. So stream some inspiration, pack your bag, and get out there!

What movies have inspired your love of adventure? Tell me in the comments below!

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog)

How to Pack for Southeast Asia: The 5 Step Solution

Fun Adventures in Iceland

What to Pack for Colombia: The 5-Step