Real Life

Movies to Inspire your Travels

We love to watch movies together as a family. As we prepared for our trips to Europe and then our cross-country US summer trip, we started pulling together a list of movies that were regional. They inspired us to be excited about the locations we would visit, and in some cases even motivate us to find specific landmarks. I asked Cole to put this list together for all of you, including his thoughts on the family favorites. Here’s his take!

Get Ready for Travel by Watching These Movies!

Before you go on family trip we recommend getting yourself amped up even more by watching movies about the places you are thinking of visiting. We prepared for both our Europe and U.S. trips with movies about those locations. We made a list based on what my parents could remember, or what the internet recommended. For months we’ve been working through as much as we could. These are our recommendations; we’d love to hear from you about what you recommend!

This is the list that guided us through our adventure through Europe

  • Griswold’s European Vacation
    The Griswolds are at it again and are destroying everything along the way. Parental note: this is more racy than we remembered!
  • Monte Carlo
  • Pompeii
    Wesley especially loved this one, we had to repeatedly explain we wouldn’t see the exact statue shown at the end – that it was fiction based on a real event!
  • The DaVinci Code
  • Clash of the Titans (original)
  • Italian Job
    As someone who loves crime mysteries, this is one of my favorites on the list!
  • Ever After
  • Elizabeth
  • Bend it like Beckham
  • James Bond
  • Harry Potter
    Harry potter is an orphan that goes to school for wizards and discovers the truth about his real parents. (Side note) my parents are crazy about the series because they listened to the audio books while dating. It was good to revisit (even though Deathly Hollows Part 2 is the only movie I genuinely like) because we went to the Warner Brothers’ Studio Tour in London.
  • Hugo
  • Wonder Woman
  • Almost Royal
  • Great British Bake-Off
    While neither Almost Royal or GBBO are movies, they are fun shows you can watch single episodes to get a feel for the culture, accents, and weird English phrases.

All of those movies are either filmed in or reference European countries and cities. They will allow you to see and talk about a a lot of the landmarks together.

We also watched movies to get ready for our US cross-country road trip as well.

US Movies by Regions

  • General
    • RV
      RV is a movie about a family doing a road trip to reconnect with each other, but nothing seems to go to plan. We relate!
    • Griswolds
    • Little Miss Sunshine
    • Back to the Future
      A family favorite, Marty McFly goes through time because of the experiment from Doc Brown’s DeLorean time machine. He travels through the US in the series, and meets his younger versions of his parents.
    • Rat Race
      Our family has watched this movie so many times, and it never gets less funny. In fact, every time we pass a funny looking road-side stand we make jokes about squirrels for sale. You’ll have to watch to see what we mean!
  • Texas

    • Boyhood
      This is a movies that started filming in 2001 and stopped filming in 2013 using all the same actors and actresses for the entirety of the movie. It takes place throughout Texas including Dallas and Austin.
  • Vegas
    • Oceans 11, 12, and 13
    • Pay it Forward
      Pay it forward is about a kid that wants to make good in the world by starting a movement of doing big favors for strangers.
  • Seattle

    • 10 Things I Hate About You
      This movie is a modern take of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” where you can see things like Gas Works park and Fremont troll. I was surprised how good this movie was, considering it seemed like a romance in the previews. It was cool to see the Joker in his younger days.
  • New York
    • Night at the Museum
      This is especially necessary to watch if you’re going to go to the NYC Natural History museum, you’ll see everything!
    • Ghostbusters
      We immediately recognized the NYC library walking by because of this movie.
    • Ocean’s 8
  • Portland
    • Goonies
      Goonies is a movie about a couple of kids stumbling upon a Pirate Ship stuck in a cave in Oregon but there are other people there already trying to collect the riches of the ship.
    • Homeward Bound
  •  Chicago

    • Home Alone
      This is such a family classic must-see!
    • While you Were Sleeping
    • The Fugitive
    • Uncle Buck
    • Save the Last Dance
      This movie is about a girl that loved doing ballet until her mother got into a car accident rushing to see her. She moves to Chicago and explores a new style of dance that’s pretty cool. This is another one my mom wanted to watch we weren’t all too sure about, but ended up actually liking it.
  • New England
  • Mid-West
  • Los Angeles

  • Arizona
  • Southeast

  • New Orleans
  • Florida

    • Baywatch
    • Dolphin’s Tale
    • Ace Ventura
      Ace Ventura is detective but not any kind of a detective…. a Pet Detective! And when the mascot of the local football team is stolen there is only one man to call!
  • Tennessee

Local Movies

If you’re planning a trip, we hope you’ll report back on what movies you enjoyed or helped you prepare!

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