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5 New Movies to Kick-Start Your Wanderlust

Published 30 March 2016

Alexandra Gregg

Movies are the perfect medium for a bit of travel inspiration. From weird, stunning landscapes to bustling city destinations; from tales of epic journeys to stories about people and cultures – the 2015 cinematic offering (and the almighty Netflix on-demand service) serves up wanderlust in spades.


Taking on a 1,100-mile hike along the USA’s Pacific Coast isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you’ll definitely feel the call of the ‘Wild’ when watching this Cheryl Strayed biopic. Based on the best-selling memoir of the same name, Wild follows Reese Witherspoon (aka Strayed) as she begins a walk of self-discovery, trekking through California’s Mojave Desert, Ashland in Oregon and finishing up at the Bridge of the Gods, an iconic steel structure crossing the Columbia River. You don’t have to walk the whole route to embark on your own journey – you can do bits of it or even follow the trail on bicycle or on horseback.




This Christopher Nolan masterpiece is literally out of the world, but in reality it was very much shot on earth. And while the film’s dusty Californian landscapes may not be enough to tempt you to the Sunshine State, I guarantee the incomprehensible space scenes will have you pining for a trip to the Land of Fire and Ice. In the movie, Svinafellsjokull – a glacier in Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park that makes up eight percent of the island nation – acted as a deep-space double for an alien world. Its appearance was fairly brief, but more than enough to propel us into an adventurous daydream of crampons, ice climbs and stunning white lands.

Mad Max: Fury Road



Humanity is broken and all that’s left to do is fight. Well, that, and admire the incredible crimson curves of the Namib Desert anyway. The new Mad Max movie may be as far away from the travel genre as it gets, but that doesn’t mean its scenery isn’t absolutely breathtaking. Look past the grim costumes and roaring machines and you’ll be rewarded with an ever-changing landscape of shifting sand dunes, gravel plains and craggy mountains. If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.

Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel



From the chaos of Jaipur to the eclectic streets of Spain, the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a visual feast for your wanderlust. The movie may not be as good as its predecessor (the original Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), but it certainly keeps up the pace with some fantastic cinematography – a hodgepodge of technicolour saris, bright white fairy lights and opulent hotel architecture. In particular a traditional Indian wedding, complete with Bollywood dancing and décor, will make you want to immediately book a flight to India. Don’t worry, I’ll probably be in the seat next to you.

The Grand Budapest Hotel



Released in 2014 (but Oscar-nominated in 2015 – see what we did there?), this haphazard comedy was filmed on location in Germany. It may not be as exotic as some of the other film locations we’ve mentioned, but as one of the most lauded movies of the noughties we felt it rude not to give it a nod. And why not? The confection of grand German castles, dense cityscapes and splendid hotel will give your wanderlust a swift kick into gear.

Got Netflix? Here are five more travel movies to add to your on-demand queue:

Manhattan – This Woody Allen classic is great for catching a glimpse of the Big Apple as it was in the seventies.

The Hobbit – Okay, not strictly travel-related, but you can marvel at the undulating New Zealand landscapes and plan your trip to the real-life Shire.

Lost in Translation – Not this writer’s favourite flick by any stretch, but there’s no denying how enticing the neon shots of Tokyo look.

Into the Wild – Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless’s travels across Mexico, California and the Alaskan wilderness, this movie is bursting with wildlife encounters and diverse sceneries. Maybe skip the ending though if you want to stay inspired, it’s a bit of a depressing one.

Tracks – One woman, her dog and four camels. Tracks focuses on the vastness of the Australian deserts and the open Indian Ocean. 

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