The Best Films Featuring Summer Adventures That'll Give You Serious Travel Inspiration

Summer is fast approaching and I don't even know if I'm ready. I know I'll need a summer vacation ASAP, but where to go? All I seem to envision is hot days on a beach, cool nights at some swanky cocktail bar and a whole lotta romancin'. In reality, I'll probably spend the summer at home, in my sweats, drinking cheap red wine and binging on Parks & Recreation — a not entirely awful way to while away the hours. If you're anything like me, the fatigue of work is so real that it's hard to find the energy to even get off the couch. 

In the meantime, while the daydreams work their magic, I've started looking to films for inspiration. Why not? Films are the perfect way to drop into unfamiliar territory while still in the comfort of your own home. Even better, films can provide some inspiration for your own yet-to-be-taken adventures. There's so many films that feature swoon-worthy vacation destinations. Do you fancy taking a long, luxurious retreat to Europe? Or are you more a fan of camping? Is the open road your style or would you rather recreate an exotic locale in the comfort of your backyard? Listen, there's a film to inspire all those adventures and more. Whether it's at home or abroad, there's nothing as good as escaping into a film that provides some seriously good vacation ideas. 

1. The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants

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While the respective summer vacations of Tibby, Carmen and Bridget were pretty cool, it was Lena's trip to Greece that was so swoon-worthy. The Greek isle of Santorini, with its famous blue-roofed houses, was host to Lena and her forbidden summer romance. Now that's a vacation to get behind.

2. The Parent Trap

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Hallie and Annie Parker got to have not one but three very cool summer vacations. After meeting at summer camp, they switched places. Annie got to travel to Northern California (those vineyards!) while Hallie visited her mother in London. Every destination serves as the perfect place to escape — although, I'll take that trip to London anytime.

3. The Lizzie McGuire Movie

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Raise your hand if you were dying to replicate Lizzie McGuire's incredible holiday in Rome. Not only did that madcap Vespa ride through the city look like the perfect way to spend the day, there were so many iconic sights (like the Parthenon) that figured into the scenery. Admit it, you were a bit jealous of Lizzie's good luck.

4. Lost In Translation

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Getting lost in Tokyo was the way to go for expats Bob and Charlotte. While their friendship grew, we got to experience Tokyo through a traveller's eyes. It's Charlotte's wanderings through the city that are particularly ideal: whether hustling through the city at rush hour or finding peace at a temple, Charlotte was the perfect tour guide.

5. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights 

I dare you not to fall in love with Havana instead of Diego Luna while watching Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. You can practically feel the sweltering heat while you watch the romance blossom. Perhaps it's time to create a walking tour inspired by this film?

6. Before Sunrise

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Director Richard Linklater thought he was giving us a slow-paced, philosophical romance in Before Sunrise. In reality, what's delivered to us is a beautiful visual love letter to Vienna. The camera lingers on the plentiful scenery, somehow creating another entire character to fall in love with. It's not just Jesse and Céline that you find yourself sighing over, it's Vienna too.  

7. Wet Hot American Summer

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Sometimes, you just need to get your friends together and have some weird times together. The counselors of Camp Firewood know how to maximize their time by lazing around and getting up to no good. If there's a right way to spend the summer, it's replicating the mischievous exploits of this crew. Arts & crafts? Taking a canoe trip on the lake? Performing in the end-of-summer play? Sign me up because I want to do it all. 

8. Eat, Pray, Love

The triptych of trips as experienced by Liz Gilbert provides more vacation inspiration that I know what to do with. In every location, it's a delight to watch Liz really sink into her new home. While Italy and India look oh-so-inviting, it's Liz's full-circle discovery of self in Bali that looks especially perfect. There's something about those beaches, bustling markets and the meditation pavilion that has me itching to buy a plane ticket ASAP.

9. Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris is two-pronged adventure that incurs serious envy. Not only does the film capture seriously lush views of modern Paris, there's a particularly kitsch time travel element that lets us bask in Jazz Age Paris, too. There's so much of Paris to be soaked up that it's tough to know where to start. Seen through the eyes of a true American expat, it's best to take notes while watching Midnight in Paris if only so you can recreate your own time-traveling Paris adventure for yourself.

10. Almost Famous

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Almost Famous is the ultimate adventure. While we ride along with William Miller and Stillwater across America, we get the perfect snapshot of '70s Americana in film form. It's a charmed kind of road trip but it manages to get you itching to hop in the car and start driving. Whether it's crashing a party in a small town or visiting New York while David Bowie croons on the breeze, there's something nearing perfect about the travels of these bohemian rock stars. Or is that just me?

Just thinking about all of the destinations has me ready to pack my suitcase and head out the door. But where to go? Maybe I just need to re-watch these films, do some more research and I'll see you out there on the open road.

Images: Sony Pictures Classics; Giphy (9); jetepromets32-blog/Tumblr (1); lifechangesallofus/Tumblr (1); a-movie-dream/Tumblr (1)

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