9 Movies on Netflix to Inspire Wanderlust



In the same spirit as I wrote our most popular blog post, 10 Uncommon Travel Quotes to Inspire Wanderlust, I decided to write another. This time: movies. Movies can be such a great source for travel inspiration, you may discover a destination you had never heard of before, or a place that hadn’t appealed to you before can be seen in a new light.

Netflix has a great variety of travel-inspired movies. This list combines some more obvious choices, as well as movies that don’t directly relate to travel but will surprise you with a case of wanderlust nevertheless. 

Here are 9 movies I discovered on Netflix this summer that gave me a dose of travel inspiration.


1. Barefoot (2014)

The “black sheep” son of a wealthy family meets a young psychiatric patient who’s been raised in isolation her entire life. He then takes the naive young woman home for his brother’s wedding

The movie description on IMDB doesn’t necessarily scream “travel inspiration,” but the road trip scenes gave me a serious urge to go buy an RV and explore more of my country on an epic USA road trip.


netflix travel

2. Elizabethtown (2005)

After causing a loss of almost one billion dollars in his company, the shoe designer Drew Baylor decides to commit suicide. However, in the exact moment of his act of despair, he receives a phone call from his sister telling him that his beloved father had just died in Elizabethtown, and he should bring him back since his mother had problem with the relatives of his father. He travels in an empty red eye flight and meets the attendant Claire Colburn, who changes his view and perspective of life.

I had watched this movie once before, on a family road trip from Washington state to Disneyland. I battled some serious car-sickness then entire time, so I always kind of related the movie to a bad experience and didn’t like it. This was a new addition to Netflix this month (August 2015) and I’m glad I gave it another shot! I can’t turn down a good roadtrip movie I guess.

netflix movie wanderlust

3. Not Another Happy Ending (2013) 

When a struggling publisher discovers his only successful author is blocked he knows he has to unblock her or he’s finished. With her newfound success, she’s become too damn happy and she can’t write when she’s happy.The only trouble is, the worse he makes her feel, the more he realises he’s in love with her.

I loved the lead actress, Karen Gillan on this years pilot show Selfie, despite it getting cancelled after one season. I loved her even more in this movie! Not to mention the gorgeous French actor playing the male lead or the even more beautiful Glasgow, Scotland scenery were it was filmed. This movie was captivating and beautifully made.


ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE, poster, 2013. ©Music Box Films

ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE, poster, 2013. ©Music Box Films

4. Antarctica: A Year on Ice (2013)

A visually stunning chronicle of what it is like to live in Antarctica for a full year, including winters isolated from the rest of the world, and enduring months of darkness in the coldest place on Earth.

Antarctica has never been a destination that was at the top of my list. It’s definitely on the list, but it was always something that I could wait to see. This beautifully shot documentary made me start to second guess myself though! At times I felt claustrophobic, winter in Antarctica sounds so isolated. However, I spent most of the movie in awe.The people who live at the end of the earth have created a unique community and how it shows how different the seasons can be for those who live there.


netflix movie wanderlust

5. Chef (2014)

A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

Living near Portland, Oregon, Jake and I are both suckers for food trucks. This movie was not only about the culinary world and a rough father/son relationship, but it had some awesome road trip scenes as well as a little taste of Miami. I love movies that are so real and captivating that you get lost in them. I had intended to put this on as background noise while I was on my computer, but I forgot about my computer screen until the movie was over!

travel netflix


6. A Long Way Down (2014)

On New Year’s Eve in London, four strangers find themselves on the roof of a building known for suicides. Martin is a famous talk show host just out of jail, Maureen is a lonely single mother, Jess is young, reckless and heartbroken, and JJ is an American realizing the failures in his life. Through mutual pain and humour, this unlikely group take the long way down and figure out what will keep them alive until Valentine’s Day, one step at a time.

The synopsis sounds rather depressing, but this movie is funny, heartwarming and heartbreaking at times. Most of the movie is filmed in London, but the scenes from Mallorca, Spain will leave you dreaming about a trip to the Mediterranean! The movie was not what I expected and I’ve already watched it multiple times because I enjoyed it so much.

netflix wanderlust

7. Samsara (2011) 

Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.

If I’m being honest, I considered turning this movie off after the first few minutes. One of my favorite parts of movies is the dialogue, which is why I always have subtitles on. There is no voice-over on this movie, so the music and filming has to be really strong to keep the viewers attention. And oh, was it ever! About 5 minutes into the movie I was hooked. It’s not the kind of movie you can put on for background noise. It’s one that demands for the lights to be turned down, all distractions put away as it will absorb all  your thoughts and attention for the next 102 minutes. It bothered me that it didn’t say where these scenes were filmed, as generally I like to immediately look up places that capture my attention and read more about it. I guess that is part of the experience though, just allow yourself to be swept away by watching it.


netflix travel

8. The Way (2010) 

A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

This movie will make you laugh, cry and leave you thinking about it long after it’s over. The main character, played by Martin Sheen is relatable and likeable in a crotchety old man way. This movie was a collaboration between Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez, who directed and actually played is son in the film as well. The movie feels authentic, captivating, the scenery is gorgeous. The relationships in this movie are the best part about it though. 


netflix travel

9. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

You don’t have to be a child or have children to enjoy this movie! I had tears in my eyes at times because, even though it’s an animated movie, the combination of the scenery and music were so beautiful! The soundtrack still gives me goosebumps when I hear it. The film apparently isn’t set in a specific country, but because it’s based on Vikings I think we can assume it’s Scandinavia or elsewhere in northern Europe. The scenery and music made me think of Iceland, Scotland and Scandinavia and left me with a need to visit there soon!

What are some movies that inspire you to travel? Let us know in the comments below! 

17 thoughts on “9 Movies on Netflix to Inspire Wanderlust

  1. I love the movie “Outsourced” which I think is based on a TV show, an American goes to Indian to train his replacement. While not a movie, I also enjoy Anthony Bourdain’s series, Parts Unknown, where he travels the world and focuses and food, culture and history.

  2. You can’t forget Into the Wild! That’s like the best movie and makes me want to just backpack across the country.

  3. Tracks….Under the Tuscan Sun….Best Exotic Marigold Hotel….the list goes on!! If you are able, bypass Samsara and rent Baraka. AMAZING film..better soundtrack, footage and variety.

    1. I haven’t heard of Baraka before, I will absolutely check it out! Thanks! And I agree, Tracks was fantastic! It wasn’t on Netflix when I wrote this post, I think I may have to write a Part II because of all the great movies that have come out since.

  4. Enchanted April! Just as the name suggests, you will be enchanted at the glorious views of the coast of Portofino on the Italian Riviera. Just watching this sweet movie is like a mini vacation!

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