Written by Alyssa Abel, an experiential education writer who talks about study abroad, student opportunities and life experiences. Follow her work on her blog, Syllabusy.
At the moment, you can’t hop on a plane and travel to your dream destination – but that’s alright. You can experience beautiful, historic vacations through movies. Of course, these films can’t beat the real deal, but what’s more fun than a little imagination? From Greece to Singapore, you can live vicariously through these characters.
Take a look at these travel-based films for some inspiration when you’re stuck at home.
1. “Crazy Rich Asians”
If you want to travel from home, there’s no better movie than “Crazy Rich Asians.” This movie tells the story of Rachel Chu and Nick Young, a couple who travels to Singapore for a friend’s wedding. Soon, Chu realizes that Young comes from one of the wealthiest families in Asia. As a result, drama ensues.
Through their relationship’s ups and downs, audiences can witness Chu and Young navigate the country’s gorgeous landscapes. From cities to beaches, you’ll explore traditional markets, exotic islands and bustling streets. At the end of the film, you can observe the famous Marina Bay Sands, one of Singapore’s most well-known architectural feats – it has a rooftop infinity pool!
While you might have to put off your dream tour of Asia in real life, this fun, feel-good movie choice will help you get a taste of one of its most popular locations.
2. “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”
Released in 2005, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” details the lives of four best friends. They’re about to embark on a summer away from each other, so they agree to share a pair of jeans to stay connected. While one character stays home, the other three travel to separate locations where they intend to stay for the next few months.
Lena Kaligaris leaves for a trip to Greece, while Carmen Lowell visits South Carolina. Bridget Vreeland goes to soccer camp in Mexico. This movie offers a heartfelt, relatable tale about companionship – and it doesn’t skimp out on the wonderful visuals, either! The second film features even more destinations, like Turkey and Vermont.
Reese Witherspoon stars as Cheryl Strayed, a woman who walked around 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail as a journey to self-discovery. She leaves Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the Mojave Desert, where she begins her trek. Around 94 days later, she reaches the Bridge of Gods between Oregon and Washington.
In this powerful movie, you’ll discover sights like the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range that boasts features like Lake Tahoe and Yosemite Valley. Strayed also passes through Mount Hood National Forest, a destination enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike. If you’ve never hiked on this level, “Wild” can offer a beautiful experience – all without the blisters.
4. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Most film lovers know director Wes Anderson as a master when it comes to eye-catching colors and designs. His award-winning “The Grand Budapest Hotel” displays those talents perfectly. He doesn’t hesitate to use iconic Austrian scenery, either. This movie follows a concierge and bellboy who become wrapped up in the search for a priceless painting.
They work at the Grand Budapest Hotel, located in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. Anderson used Görlitz, Germany, as a backdrop for this film. The town’s Görlitzer Warenhaus Department Store serves as the hotel’s lobby, which displays impressive glasswork. Throughout the movie, you can experience many Eastern European-inspired sights.
5. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”
The first “Mamma Mia!” film explores some extraordinarily beautiful attractions. Its sequel, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” offers those same sights from Greece, plus more from across Europe. The movie centers around Donna Sheridan’s daughter, Sophie, and her goal to reopen her mother’s hotel. It also works through Donna’s past, which shows how she arrived in Greece in the first place.
As we watch a young Sheridan travel, we experience Oxford, England’s rustic charm. Then, she heads to places like Paris, France, where she meets one of her daughter’s fathers. Eventually, Sheridan takes a boat to Kalokari, where the movie takes place. Though this spot isn’t real, the movie lets you explore Skopelos Island instead, the original set location. Other parts of the film feature Tokyo, Japan, and Stockholm, Sweden.
Use These Ideas for Inspiration When You’re Stuck at Home
With some help from your television, it’s possible to travel from home. Try these movie ideas for a fun night at home! And if you want to take the experience a step further, why not volunteering online for an organization based in a country you dream to visit? There are organizations from 130 countries on the GivingWay platform that are looking for online volunteers right now!
Head to our blog for more stories, tips, and volunteering inspiration! You can also check out our Volunteering Online & Around the World Facebook Group to connect with other volunteers and nonprofits! 😁
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