Afternoon Chat: Movies that Inspire Travel

By Kate Riley February 20, 2020

Hello my friends! I’m very very very excited to share with you that something special I’ve been working on for several months behind the scenes. That revelation is coming Monday!

Meanwhile, I was talking with my daughter about where she wants to travel. She’s been to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji on that three week trip we took as a family four years ago. But she’s never been to a country where the people don’t speak English. So I asked her, where among them would you like to go? She named Italy first, and told me it was because of the movie Eat Pray Love. The conversation inspired today’s topic since I’ve been motivated to travel to new cities and countries based on scenes from different films! Here are a few of my favorites:

Midnight in Paris

I’m not a huge fan of most Woody Allen movies, but I absolutely love Midnight in Paris. I’ve watched it probably 10 times because I love the story and the setting. The appearances by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein are a few of the great characters in the story, and Marion Cotillard is always perfection. The opening scenes alone would inspire anyone to book a trip to the City of Light! And that last scene in the rain is the best. I’ve been to Paris three times, but the film always reminds me of its magic.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I’ve watched several films filmed shot in India, but this is one of the main ones that made me want to spend time exploring this country, seeing the sights, tasting the food, and meeting the people.


Letters to Juliet

This romantic film is so sweet. It’s the story of an older woman played by Vanessa Redgrave who seeks her true love from youth, assisted by the curiosity of Amanda Seyfried. What I really enjoy in this film are the scenes in Verona and the Italian countryside shown later in the film. I’ve been to Italy several times so this film is a nostalgic reminder of the beauty of that country.

Leap Year

This rom com is a charming story featuring Matthew Goode, the sarcastic Irish cutie, hired by Amy Adams to drive her to Dublin so she can propose to her fiancé on Leap Day. With the Irish countryside as the setting, it puts Ireland high on my list of countries I want to tour. I’ll admit I’ve yet to visit the “homeland” but I promised my son I’d take him for his 18th birthday, so it’s only a few years from now when I’ll get to see it.

Eat Pray Love

The book was amazing, the film so so, and this movie made my daughter want to explore Italy, for me it was the scenes shot in Bali that made me want to visit Indonesia. I’ve never been to that part of the world, so it’s another one on my list of places to explore someday.

I’ve always wanted to be a traveler since I was a kid. There were a few movies that inspired me to explore the world and I still haven’t seen these places yet!  Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much made me want to visit Marrakesh. The Karate Kid II made me want to visit the island of Okinawa, and Raiders of the Lost Ark made me want to see Cairo.

What about you? What movies inspire you to travel to a new city or country?

You might also like this post from the archives where I list my ten favorite black and white films


  1. This post made me sad. No South America, Asian or African options. What does that say of the movies Americans make/watch?

    • The post is not intended to exclude any country or region, there are simply too many to list! I don’t think the post suggests any notions of Americans not watching films from certain countries at all. The world is a beautiful place and we are fortunate to live in a time when filmmakers can choose just about anywhere to tell stories. I mentioned Marrakesh, Cairo, and Okinawa. What movies filmed in South America, Asia, or Africa would you suggest that would inspire readers to explore those countries?

  2. I read this post eagerly hoping my home country/Continent was represented. But even though parts of Central/South America are closer to the US than many other parts of the US itself, these areas are so underrepresented in our films and thus in our daily experiences
    So many beautiful places To explore just a but south without having to change time zones (or 1-2 hrs)!

    • South America is a vibrant part of the world that has so much people can enjoy from its cultures, scenery, food, and people. I too would love to see more of these countries highlighted in modern films!

  3. Fools Rush In made me wish to visit Mexico — her grandmother was just so perfect– don’t know if that was a Hollywood made place or really Mexico. Roman Holiday inspired me to go to Rome. If you do go to Italy with your daughter, take her Milano and go on the rooftop of Duomo di Milano– all that wonderful architecture to walk around. Also in Milano is the Leonardo Da Vinci museum and another church has a painting of the Last Supper– it’s only open certain days when I went.Of course do Teatro alla Scala. I went to Rome 7 days and 1 day took the train and did a self guided tour of Pompei’s ruins. It was so surreal.

  4. Books more than films inspire me to travel to certain places. And my suggestion for you is, take your daughter to Japan. I would say it is too much to visit mainland and Okinawa In the same trip so you will definitely want to make multiple trips. One other tip, unfortunately Karate Kid was filmed in Hawaii but good news is Okinawa is pretty than the movie “shows” and the culture is even more vibrant. It is so hot & humid in the summer but nothing beats a natsu matsuri (summer festival) Okinawan style.

  5. Out of Africa, of course. But I’ll also say that growing up near a famous surf spot in Southern California, many of my peers were influenced by the 1966 documentary Endless Summer, about California surfers that go looking for great surf and “endless summer” and find it in Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa.

    Myself, I spent a year living in Quito, Ecuador, and if you can handle a foreign language movie, the film “Que Tan Lejos” is a road trip movie about two women taking a bus trip from Quito to Cuenca. The scenes of the beautiful Andean highlands bring up so many memories and make me want to go back and visit again!

  6. The Hundred-Foot Journey made me want to visit Mumbai (or the southwest of France where the movie was actually filmed). But it did inspire a fascination with Indian food and culture for me.

  7. Bali is a wonderful country to visit! The 70ś film Murder on the Orient Express made me visit Istambul, and A good year (not as charming as the book) make me nostalgic of the years I expend in southern France

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