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9 of the best movies and travel shows on Netflix that will fire your wanderlust

We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

At the moment we’re all spinning our wheels, waiting for things to open up again so we can go back to exploring our wide and wonderful world. However, things are looking up, and this is the perfect time to start gathering some serious travel inspiration.

Since it’s also the time of year to watch a lot of TV and eat all the food, we figured the most realistic approach to researching future holiday destinations is from your couch.

So behold! The best films and travel shows on Netflix, Stan, Prime and Disney Plus that will inspire your next trip abroad…

Feel nostalgic

‘Tis the season for nostalgic films, and streaming services are rolling out their best feel-good flicks. These are our most comfy travel favourites that you can find on Netflix, Stan and Prime right now.

The Fellowship of the Ring

You know where we’re going with this—how could you not? The movie is so long it might as well be a travel show on Netflix. For the past 10 years, The Lord of the Rings has served as one of the world’s best tourism adverts for New Zealand.

The film follows Frodo Baggins as he sets out on a gruelling quest to destroy the ring of Sauron and save Middle Earth. But perhaps the real star is New Zealand’s incredible beauty; from the rolling dells and hills of Matatmata which doubled as Hobbiton, to the sweeping landscapes of the Dart River Valley, where we find Isengard, you’ll be filling a notebook with the places you’ll be dancing to see once you pop on this film.  

Where can I watch this?

This epic movie (and its sequels) are all on Netflix. Subscribe for $10.99 a month.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Don’t mistake us, we know the original Home Alone is a stone cold classic, but for pure holiday dream material, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is where it’s at. We join Kevin McCallister a second time around, as he navigates the Big Apple solo after being left (again!) by his parents and having to outwit (the same!) bungling burglers for another set of hilarious capers.

We know there are scores of movies that have been filmed in New York, but few dig into the reality of how good the room service is there. Or how amazing the toy stores can be, or the views! For holiday inspiration and lots of laughs, you can’t go wrong with Home Alone 2—especially at Christmas!

Where can I watch this?

On Disney Plus for $8.99 a month (though you can trial the service for a month for free).

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

From the Arches National Park in Utah, to the glittering canals of Venice, right to the ancient stone city of Petra, if you need inspiration for an adventure, there are few movies better. We follow Indy and his cantankerous father (played by Sean Connery) as they go in search of the legendary Holy Grail.

If you’re the kind of person that plans to embark on a far flung trip as soon as the world opens up, then you can find the filming locations here, and help booking your flights to them here.

Where can I watch this?

You can actually find all four of the Indiana Jones movies streaming on Stan ($10 per month and a 30 day trial) and Prime Video ($6.99 per month and 30 day trial).

Bingeworthy shows

We got into the whole streaming thing thanks to how moreish the shows they produce are. Binging travel shows on Netflix is practically a pastime, and our most bingeworthy selections happen to be on Netflix this year. Check out our top picks.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

If you love food and travel, there are few documentary series that will have you hankering to hit the open road more than Anthony Bourdain’s: Parts Unknown. Originally produced by CNN, as of this year, you can find all 12 seasons of this series online, and believe us when we say you will never feel so hungry or so inspired.

This is perfect binging material, and brilliant for helping you decide where to travel next. Watch out for the Season 8 opener, which takes place in Hanoi, where Bourdain sits down for a delicious dish of Bun Cha with Barack Obama.

Where can I watch this?

This is probably the best travel show on Netflix, and well worth the $10.99 per month subscription if you don’t already have one.

Queen’s Gambit

We love a mini-series—it’s like Christmas dinner, perfect in every way with a limited run. This series, starring Anya Taylor-Joy (more on her later) charts the stratospheric rise of an orphaned chess prodigy as she navigates the male-dominated world of this classic game.

It debuted on Netflix at the end of October and has been the talk of the streaming service ever since. It’s a lavish, lovingly-made series, that will have you rooting for the heroine Beth Harmon, whilst also coveting her trips out to Mexico City, Paris, and Moscow. A must-binge.

Where can I watch this?

The one, the only, Netflix. Subscribe for $10.99 a month.

For romantic nights in

Romantic nights in watching romantic movies on Apple and travel shows on Netflix are bound to lead to romantic holidays, right? We think so.

Your Name

If you’ve never heard of Makoto Shinkai, you might just have been living under a rock (haven’t we all this past year?). Shinkai is one of the biggest writer-directors in Japan and sealed his place in film history when Your Name became the highest grossing anime film of all time.

The film follows two teenagers, Mitsuha and Taki, who have never met but are switching bodies every second day, to hilarious, and very moving results. The animation is astounding, especially the intricate details of Tokyo, and Mitsuha’s hometown of Itomori. While Itomori is fictional, it’s based on the city of Hida, and believe us when we say you’ll be making plans to visit both Hida and Tokyo when you’re done telling everyone you know they need to watch this film.

Where can I watch this?

You can watch Your Name on Netflix. To subscribe it is $10.99 per month.

Emma

Craving a holiday filled with stately homes, good manners, and lavish tea services? You can get a quick fix from the delightfully funny Emma, a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic book of the same name. The screenplay is written by the award-winning Kiwi novelist, Eleanor Catton, and stars Anya Taylor-Joy, who you may recognise from Netflix’s massive hit, Queen’s Gambit (*cough* just scroll up…).

Filming took place in some of the UK’s prettiest counties, such as Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. If you’re thinking of a holiday in Europe next year, this movie might just cinch the deal.

Where can I watch this?

This little gem of a movie is on Apple TV, which you can subscribe to for $7.99 a month.

Everyone is going to be talking about…

We all know the feeling of hopping onto our socials and being left to catch up on the latest Netflix show or movie. This time, you’ll be ahead of the curve with these stellar offerings.

Bridgerton

Okay, we know this probably should’ve been firmly in the romantic section, but we also know literally everyone is going to be talking about Shonda Rhimes’ latest series, Bridgerton, based on Julia Quinn’s beloved book series about the feisty Bridgeton siblings.

Filmed primarily in London and Bath, like Emma, you’ll be craving a trip out to the UK. But unlike Emma, you can gorge on 8 hour-long episodes to get a truly binge-worthy fix. Best of all, this drops on Christmas day – we knew Santa wouldn’t forget us this year!

Where can I watch this?

Find travel shows on Netflix. Subscription costs $10.99 a month.

Mulan

How could we leave out one of the most anticipated movies of this year? The live action version of Disney’s animated classic, has finally hit our small screens! And there is a lot of travel inspo to be found here, especially in Mulan’s own hometown, filmed at the Hekeng Tulou Cluster of Xiamen. This is a World Heritage Site comprised of unusual earthen buildings that are hundreds of years old.

Get swept up in the magic of China’s ancient folklore by watching Mulan, which is based on a heroine who, to save her elderly father having to fight in the emperor’s army, dons his armour and fights in his place.

Where can I watch it?

Disney Plus of course! You can go for a month free trial to see if you like the service, and from there on out it’s $8.99 per month or $89.99 for the year.

Discover where you can go

Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

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