If you’re looking to escape, there is one thing that is guaranteed to transport you around the world and back again: the movies! Sure, nothing beats actually traveling, but you are sure to discover more than a little inspiration from this list. From the obvious to the quirky, we came up with a global overview of some of the top films that will have you dreaming and planning your next exchange within a few hours.
This Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck classic is proof that even a princess deserves the chance to “live like a local.” Hepburn, in an Academy Award-winning performance, is a touring princess who decides to escape her responsibilities and explore the Eternal City. Fortunately for the princess, and the viewing audience, an American newsman rescues her without knowing her identity. Once he discovers who she is, he realizes this could be the story of his career! He escorts the unwitting princess through the sites of Rome and, as he does, their connection blossoms in a beautiful way.
What does this epic fantasy series have to do with travel? Not only is it a cinematic tourism guide to New Zealand but it is also a tale of friendship, determination and a whole lot more. You don’t have to be a die-hard Tolkien fan to be inspired by the incredible scope and scale of this award-winning series.
Unlock your imagination with this creative and feel-good romance. Amélie is a shy and reserved waitress with an active fantasy life who also enjoys a touch of mischief. When she discovers a collection of childhood memorabilia, she goes on a quest to reconnect the box with the boy who once loved it. Along the way she connects the people around her and gives viewers a grand tour of Paris.
This Oscar-winning modern classic is a beautiful exploration of two lost souls (Bill Murray & a star-in-the-making Scarlett Johansson) who get out of their hotel and unlock the marvels of Tokyo. As their friendship evolves, so does their understanding of each other and the world.
When a writer’s (Diane Lane) life takes an unexpected turn, she follows fate and ends up reinventing herself, and a house, in the gorgeous hills of Tuscany. She meets some colorful locals, builds a new life and discovers that home is, perhaps, where you make it.
Two friends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), are spending the summer in Barcelona. Reserved and practical Vicky is looking forward to exploring the city and architecture, while vibrant and spontaneous Cristina is looking to absorb as much culture as possible. The two are drawn into the chaotic and all-encompassing orbit of an artist, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), and their summer leads to unexpected (and understandable) results.
Director Richard Linklater is known for his expansive cinematic universe and the “Before Trilogy” is a stunning exploration of a relationship that tours cities and spans ages. Before Sunrise introduces us to a pair of students, young Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), as they meet on a train bound for Paris. Jesse convinces Celine to explore Vienna with him for a day before he returns to America. Before Sunset reunites Jesse and Celine almost a decade later in Paris, he has become a writer and she has tracked him down on his book tour. But, once again, he only has a few hours before he has to catch a flight. Before Midnight has viewers joining Jesse and Celine, another decade later, with their twin daughters on a family trip in the Greek Isles. The form is similar to the two previous films though instead of looking at burgeoning love it explores an establish relationship and the complexities that come along with it.
Drinking wine has never been so entertaining, or painful. Friends, Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Paul (Thomas Haden Church), go on a weeklong wine-tasting adventure through the Southern California vineyards surrounding Santa Barbara. Miles is there to enjoy the food and drink and celebrate his friend’s upcoming wedding while Paul is looking for one final fling before settling down. This dark comedy has good laughs, great acting, and notes to inspire you to savor California wines.
“Travel can change you,” they say. This is one such trip that does, indeed, change the man. Based on the journals of the revolutionary Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries follows his and his friend’s adventures during the semester before Guevara is due to complete his medical degree. Together they traverse much of Latin American and change the direction of Guevara’s life.
No HomeExchange movie list would be complete without the inclusion of the romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black. Both Amanda (Diaz) and Iris (Winslet) are recovering from relationship drama they turn to the website of choice for house swapping (yes, it was homeexchange.com that they used in the film!) to find a last-minute getaway. Who could have guessed that they would find love in their new “borrowed” lives?
After failing at a job, two hitmen (played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) are exiled to the city of Bruges, Belgium. For one, it is a vacation to a beautiful and historic city, for the other, it is a particular type of purgatory of which he sees only one escape. This dark comedy verges on absurd, but there is no denying the impressive backdrop of Bruges.
Liz Gilbert took the world of personal quests by storm with the release of her travel memoir in 2007. Then “America’s Sweetheart,” Julia Roberts, played her in a movie that followed her same path. From a crumbling marriage to finding herself, Gilbert will have you craving pizza from Naples and gelato in Rome, will guide you to yourself in India, and then fall in love with the locals of Bali. Ready to take your version of this adventure?
Two words can describe this Ben Stiller-showcase: Quirky and Expansive. Walter’s (played by Ben Stiller) career has allowed him to travel the world, through the photographs of others. But, with his job on the line, Walter breaks out of his comfort zone and imagination and goes on a remarkable journey.
This new release is already making waves as the first film from a major studio featuring an all Asian cast in 25 years. Not only does it show an exclusive and opulent side of super wealthy but it also shows the dynamic and vibrant life of the other “normal” locals. And we dare you not to drool over the scene as Rachel and Nick dive into the food they bought from street vendors after they first arrive in the city.
This is just a taste of the many stellar films that showcase the joys of travel. Do you have a favorite that we missed? Share in the comments below!