AAA Travel Tips / Our Picks for Best Travel Films

Our Picks for Best Travel Films

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By AAA Travel Editors
June 23, 2020
A scene of awe-inspiring natural wonder, a road trip movie or travel documentary reflecting a culture or tradition—these fascinating flicks generate ideas on where to go or even bring back memories of a favorite vacation destination. While you await your next excursion, why not get inspired by our AAA editors’ and inspectors’ picks for best travel movies?
Small houses in Greenland landscape
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Top 5 AAA Inspector and Editor Recommendations for Travel Movies

As frequent travelers, AAA professionals know how a setting and overall aesthetic can leave an impression. Check out the top five film choices, ranging from road trip comedies to films based on travel books. The following movies received multiple recommendations and are listed in alphanumeric order:
• “The Bucket List,” directed and produced by Rob Reiner, is one part buddy comedy and one part drama written by Justin Zackham. Starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, the 2007 movie follows two terminally ill men who are on a quest to fulfill their bucket list of things to do.
• “National Lampoon's Vacation,” directed by Harold Ramis and written by John Hughes, is based on a short story Hughes did for National Lampoon magazine movie about a cross-country road trip gone awry. Starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and Imogene Coca, the 1983 film follows the Griswold family traveling from Chicago to Walley World theme park in California.
• “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” inspired by the 1939 short story by James Thurber, tells the story of a man daydreaming of adventure. The 1947 movie is directed by Norman Z. McLeod and stars Danny Kaye. Ben Stiller directed, co-produced and starred in the most recent version, which was written by Steve Conrad and released in 2013.
• “Under the Tuscan Sun” brings Frances Mayes memoir—wherein she buys and then restores a villa in the Tuscany region of Italy—to life in the 2003 film of the same name. The romantic travel comedy was directed, produced and written by Audrey Wells and stars Diane Lane and Sandra Oh.
• “Wild,” is based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” which details Strayed's 1995 hike and inner journey on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which runs from the Mojave Desert near the U.S.-Mexico border toward Washington and the U.S.-Canada border. The 2014 film is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, written by Nick Hornsby, and stars Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern.
Tuscany, Italy
AAA/Thuyvi Gates

Searching for more of the best travel movies? Check out our full list of recommendations, including travel-related adventure movies, cautionary tales, and even more book adaptations.
• “50 First Dates”
• “Are We There Yet?”
• “Beaches”
• “The Beach”
• “Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset,” and “Before Midnight”
• “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
• “Brokedown Palace”
• “The Bucket List”
• “Eat Pray Love” (Don’t miss its inclusion as one of our favorite travel books!)
• “Girls Trip”
• “Grand Budapest Hotel”
• “The Holiday”
• Indiana Jones series (Four films: “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in 1984, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” in 1989 and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in 2008)
• “Into the Wild”
• “Jaws”
• “Life of Pi”
• “Lost in Translation”
• “Midnight in Paris”
• “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”
• “National Lampoon’s Vacation”
• “Out of Africa”
• “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”
• “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
• “Thelma & Louise”
• “Togo”
• “Under the Tuscan Sun”
“• Up in the Air”
• “Vegas Vacation”
• “A Walk in the Clouds”
• “Wild”
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