Not every travel film is about exotic locations, international intrigue, or grand romances. Sometimes, the most intriguing travel movies are the ones that are a bit quirky. More often than not, these movies take place throughout the highways and byways of the continental US.
Everyone loves road movies. They are often off-beat, gritty, and more honest than some other styles of travel films. The movies on this list feature non-traditional destinations, realistic depictions of road travel, and wacky characters. If you love road trips and the interesting sorts of people you can only meet while on the road, these quirky road movies are just the ticket.
1. Little Miss Sunshine
A family road trip to a beauty pageant gets derailed by a series of increasingly hilarious and awkward complications. A good portion of the film takes place along desert-like roads, and some shots are surprisingly impressive. Anyone who’s ever attempted a road trip in an older car will laugh as they watch the characters try and start the aging family van, and you’ll love the cast of characters. This movie shows that sometimes, the best travel companions are the people you are linked to by blood. Be warned: you may laugh and cry in equal measure.
A road trip through wine country gets complicated when two best friends get acquainted with two beautiful women. Everyone drinks a little too much in this film, leading to some very funny moments (and some very serious ones as well). Even if you don’t care about wine, you’ll care about the characters, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Just make sure that if you’re inspired to go on your own road trip through wine country that you never drink and drive!
3. Into the Wild
Directed by Sean Penn, this movie follows the life of a recent college graduate who donates all of his money to charity and lives a minimalist life on the road. His travels take him across the country, with his ultimate goal being to make it all the way up to Alaska. He finally makes it, but the movie ends on a definitively sad note. The movie’s ultimate message is that even if you go on a road trip to find yourself, what you’ll really find is that you’ll be happiest with other people around you. It’s a good lesson for any traveler: there is a fine line between being self-sufficient and stupid.