Take a Virtual Vacation With These Travel-Inspiring Films

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Stir crazy at home? Travel restrictions cramping your wanderlust? For now, from the safety of your couch, you can still explore the world with these travel-inspiring films. From The Beach to Into the Wild, these movies have the power to take you away from reality for a few hours and let you dream of a post-pandemic adventure.

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1. Into the Wild (2007)
Denali, Alaska

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A cautionary tale about the dangers of being unprepared in the wilderness as well as an inspiring one about the power of nature to encourage introspection, this film is based on the book by Jon Krakauer recounting Christopher McCandless' journey across America's heartland into Alaska. It brings the wild, untamed beauty of Alaska's backcountry terrain to the screen so you can explore it from the safety of your own home.

2. Catch Me if You Can (2002)
Queens, New York

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Chronicling the true-life story of a con man who posed as a Pan Am pilot, this film is an ode to the Golden Age of Travel. Scenes for the movie were filmed in the TWA terminal of JFK airport. The newly-revamped building is now the TWA Hotel and allows modern-day travelers a chance to step back into the terminal's vintage '60s style, and even walk the iconic red carpeted walkway from the film.

3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Nuuk, Greenland

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Ben Stiller directs and stars in this film adaption of a short story about a hapless dreamer who leads a sedentary life working for Life magazine. That is, until he goes on a wild adventure tracking down a film negative for the last issue. From jumping out of a helicopter in Greenland to spotting rare snow leopards in the Himalayas, Mitty reminds us about the rewards of stepping out of our comfort zone.

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Görlitz, Germany

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This Wes Anderson film takes place—not in Budapest—but in the fictional Eastern European Republic of Zubrowka and was actually filmed in Germany. There, a rundown, abandoned department store was restored to its former glory and made over into the pink palatial grand dame hotel that's the main character in this whimsical tale.

5. Before Midnight (2013)
Kardamyli, Greece

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The third film in the cult-classic trilogy including Before Sunrise and Before Sunset follows a couple through time and around the world. This rekindled love story—filmed on the legendary Peloponnese Peninsula from which Paris eloped with Helen of Troy—will remind you to look up on your next train rid since you never know who you might meet.

6. The Beach (2000)
Maya Bay, Thailand

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If there was ever a movie that encapsulates the search to find your own private paradise, this is it. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, The Beach follows backpackers' search for a hidden mystical utopia in Thailand. Ironically, Maya Bay has become so overrun with tourists since the movie was filmed, that it was forced to close until 2021 due to environmental concerns.

7. Lost in Translation (2003)
Tokyo, Japan

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This indie classic won Sofia Coppola the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and numerous fans for its quiet brilliance portraying the loneliness of travel. Suffering from jet lag and culture shock, two adrift foreigners—Bob Murray and Scarlett Johansson—bond over drinks at the Park Hyatt in the intoxicating up-all-night world of Tokyo. Cabin fever doesn't seem so bad if it involves karaoke with this classic couple.

8. Tracks (2013)
The Outback, Australia

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Based on the true story of one woman's nearly 2,000-mile solo trek across the Western Australian desert with just her dog and camels, the film spotlights the vast Outback. You'll get lost in the untamed beauty of the country as glimpses of iconic wonders such as Uluru Peak fill the screen.

9. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001–2003)
Milford Sound, New Zealand

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Escape to Middle-earth in the cinematic version of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic trilogy. The otherworldly remote fjord on the South Island—Fiordland National Park's Milford Sound—makes a cameo, as well as Tongariro National Park, full of active volcanoes and emerald lakes, which stands in for the ominous realm of Mordor.

Take a Virtual Vacation With These Travel-Inspiring Films