Check out the must-see images that inspired us in this10-film journey around the world.
The Budget Travel Oscars
The 10 Most Travel-Inspiring Films of the Year
We love the Oscars as much as the next guy, but there’s no adventure in watching movies from your couch. That’s why we’ve rounded up ten films that will make you want to get out of the house, hop a flight, and see the world.
Price check: Traveling nonstop coast-to-coast from New York to Los Angeles will set you back $299 round-trip (Virgin America), while traveling from Chicago is only $265 (Spirit Airlines).
Where to stay: If you're looking for that organic atmosphere, you can't beat the two-star Venice Beach House: Nearly the entire façade is covered in thick, leafy ivy. Better yet, the bed-and-breakfast is a two-story Craftsman—like the house in the film—and it is only a handful of steps from Venice Beach. Venicebeachhouse.com, doubles from $150
Bali, Indonesia: Eat Pray Love
The flick: Based on the best-selling memoir-slash-travelogue that sent millions of readers around the world in 352 pages, this globe-trotting film casts Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert, who, after a brutal divorce, makes the pilgrimage to Italy, India, and Indonesia to nourish her stomach, soul, and heart, respectively. Key scene: Gilbert returns to Bali after a few years and meets with a spiritual healer who had once predicted that she would come back. As it happens, that real-life healer, whose name is Ketut Liyer (pronounced Kee-tut Lee-yer), still lives in the area and is available for consultations (organize a visit through Spirit Quest Tours).
Why it's an inspiration: This film's inclusion in the Budget Travel Oscars comes as no surprise. It may not be an original choice, but it just wouldn't be right to leave Eat Pray Love off of our list: It's basically a movie adaptation of a travel catalogue! Since not everyone has the time, money, or lucrative book contract necessary to put together a three-nation vacation, however, we'll stick with Bali here. While you might not end up running into the love of your life like Gilbert did, you will at least find lush tropics, astonishing beaches, white-water rafting, and a fascinating local culture.
Price check: There are no nonstop flights to Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport from the U.S., but there are round-trip two-stops from New York for $1,372 and from San Francisco for $1,272 (both Singapore Air).
Where to stay: Eleven separate villas made of bamboo and Javanese teak comprise the boutique hotel of Bambu Indah (request one of the units overlooking the dazzling Ayung River). The entire complex is only 15 minutes from the town of Ubud, where Gilbert found her "Love." Bambuindah.com, villas from $75
- Related: Secret Hotels of the World
Moab, Utah: 127 Hours
The flick: Oscar-nominee James Franco plays real-life hiker Aron Ralston who was trapped alone in a canyon when a half-ton boulder fell and crushed his hand. After five days with only the minimal food and water he brought with him, he is forced to—urghh—amputate. Key scene: Way before that excruciating scene, there's a far more inspiring one in which Franco mountain bikes his way across Canyonlands National Park's red rock landscape, the music from his Discman on full-blast.
Why it's an inspiration: Sure, we may not be as accomplished an outdoorsman as Ralston, who flies over the landscape like he was born to, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the same views. Rock formations with multicolored strata, lapis lazuli skies, and enough unspoiled natural beauty that you could walk (or bike) for days and you'd still have seen only a mere fraction of what the region has to offer. In honor of the film, the Utah Office of Tourism has concocted a suggested "127-hour" do-it-yourself itinerary. The five-day/five-night journey begins and ends in Salt Lake City and includes hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Costs will vary depending on what outfitters you use; call Moab Tourism for help planning: 435/259-1370.
Price check: Nonstop flights in June to Salt Lake City will run you about $430 round-trip from Houston (Continental), $365 from Chicago (Delta), and $339 from Philadelphia (Delta).