What To Do If Your Big Grad Trip Is Cancelled

Ease Your Wanderlust With These Travel Films & Shows

Your summer trip may be on hold, but these titles will transport you from your couch in minutes

Travel might be a far-off plan at this point, but there’s no way we’re not still dreaming about cracking open a juicy book on a beach, or no-shame stuffing our faces with pastries in Paris. While we’re landlocked, the next best thing you can do is get into your comfiest airplane pants, pop on a face mask, grab some snacks and queue up a movie or TV series that will make you feel transported—from the comfort of your couch. It might just be the coziest first-class seat ever (mainly because you won’t have someone loudly snoring a few rows back).

Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

In his too-short life, the late Bourdain managed to earn the title of not just Foodie King, but also a Travel King. His brash, no-holds style of documenting his journeys was unlike any travel show we had ever been graced with before he crashed onto the scene—an ode to how open-minded travellers should be when they visit a new place. Bourdain was also one of the best interviewers on the planet, because there was nothing pretentious about him. He was truly inquisitive and curious in the best way, which ultimately unearthed unique untold stories. There are 12 seasons (which is, frankly, never going to be enough Bourdain), touching down in Detroit, the Congo, Beirut and many more destinations you’ll be quickly adding to your post-lockdown travel list.

Where to watch: Google Play

Chef’s Table

Anyone else travel just for the food? For me, it’s one of the major reasons to get on a plane. So when Netflix announced they were launching a series based on both food and travel, with an in-depth look at how specific chefs got their humble starts, I was all over that like truffle fries on a bar menu. (I miss truffle fries!) The first episode, for example, whips between Savannah, Georgia—home of The Grey restaurant—and NYC, where The Grey’s head chef Mashama Bailey spent much of her childhood. It weaves the flavours and spice of a location together with history, the local people and their stories—and it’s a moreish binge if ever I’ve seen one!

Where to watch: Netflix

Eat, Pray, Love

Sure it may be a bit cheesy, but this flick is kinda the ultimate movie for the solo traveller. It inspired countless women to say eff it, pack their bags and hit the road in search of inspiration—and perfect pizza. The film also ticks off a lot of bucket list destinations: Italy, India and Bali. And the director of photography, Robert Richardson, clearly had a love for each spot, showcasing marvellous architecture and dreamy vistas.

Where to watch: Crave

Read this next: What’s New on Netflix Canada—Plus, What’s Leaving—in June

Lost in Translation

I was obsessed with this movie (and Bill Murray) when it came out. In hindsight, the on-screen relationship with a then teenage ScarJo and 50-something Murray is unsettling to watch, but if you can get past that the film holds up as a gorgeous love letter to Tokyo. You get to see this Japanese city up close: its lights, its karaoke nights, the steady stream of people, the lush gardens and, of course, the food. It transports you straight to the buzz and heart of the city.

Where to watch: Google Play 

National Lampoon’s Vacation and National Lampoon’s European Vacation

There are no better knee-slapper, cheesy, feel-good movies about family vacations than these classics with the Griswold clan. When nothing seems to go right on road trips, both on American soil and in Europe, hilarity ensues. If you need a few good belly laughs (and who doesn’t these days?) and a chance to delight in the peak of ’80s fashion, these are your flicks.

Where to watch: Crave

Only You

A Norman Jewison-directed film starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downie Jr. (not going to lie, big crushes on these two), Only You is a romantic comedy that does a full sweep of Italy’s most-loved destinations: Rome’s breathtaking history, Venice’s canals, Tuscany’s rolling hills, the Amalfi’s azure coast…the list goes on. For this viewing, I’d suggest doing a little drink pairing for each location change, because why not? A robust red from Tuscany, a little grappa from Piedmont, and a smooth limoncello from Amalfi to finish it off.

Where to watch: Google Play

Read this next: These Were Netflix Canada’s Most-Watched TV Shows and Movies of 2019

Tales by Light

Each episode of Tales by Light follows a different National Geographic photographer through a new destination: From Australia’s inland to Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, the result is a stunning close-up of a place’s people, wildlife and culture, all through the eye of a world-class photog. True to Nat Geo’s mission, each episode tells a profound story of humanity’s place in the world, in addition to treating your senses to some pretty splendorous views.

Where to watch: Netflix 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

It’s quirky, kitschy and so much damn fun. In this epic film, we get to follow Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty, who leaves his desk job as a photo editor on his quest to find a particular photographer. That journey takes him through Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas, all in search of a photo that captures “the quintessence of life”—whatever the heck that means. There are a whole lot of life lessons woven into the dialogue, but what we can all take away is that the world is pretty mysterious, dramatic and breathtaking.

Where to watch: Crave 

Under The Tuscan Sun

Let’s be honest: Probably a good 65% of us have spent lockdown dreaming of a new life, buying a dilapidated villa in Tuscany and basically turning into pastoral postcard personified. But a reality check on my finances and just how difficult it is to buy property in Italy as a foreign national had me quickly searching for a stream of Under The Tuscan Sun instead. I will be in Tuscany…just vicariously through Diane Lane for now. Shot in perfect, golden Italian sunset light, with Tuscan hills in the background, it’s the perfect film to lift your spirits and inspire your vision board for 2021.

Where to watch:  Apple TV

Read this next: The 10 Best TV Shows of the Decade—That You Can Still Stream

Wild

This flick offers a double whammy of inspiration—especially if you’re at all feeling lost about where you are in your life during this pandemic (which is totally normal, BTW), Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal of author Cheryl Strayed will guide you through the dark times. Another reason to watch: to discover the underrated beauty of North America, in particular the Pacific Coast Trail. Sometimes we tend to think of travel as always being far-flung, but close to home there are some of the most beautiful spots in the world.

Where to watch: Crave