These days, there’s not much “adventure” going on unless you count binging Adventure Time on your sofa for 8 hours straight, and no couch surfing either, beyond surfing the web...on your own couch.
Yep. For us travel-enthusiasts, it’s hard to find ways to scratch that travel itch when you’re not supposed to leave your house. And let’s face it: bbq’s in the backyard are no replacement for the Michelin star restaurant in Paris you had reservations for a year in advance; hiking your local trails may give you an hour of solace, but it’s hard to feel totally at peace when the moment you pass a stranger on the narrow path, you have to decide which one of you has to sidestep into the bushes to maintain a distance of 6 ft.
Luckily for us, we have the internet! For all the distractions and downsides there may be to living a life in front of a screen, during this time it may be helpful to think of these blue-lit displays as windows to the outside world instead of barriers; portals to wherever it is we wish we were.
For me, films have always been a huge source of travel inspiration and in moments like these, when “cabin fever” is more literal than figurative, movies haven’t just been inspiring, but cathartic. Read on to discover how to virtually “travel” some of my favorite classics, and maybe one day see them in real life (or, irl for those of you who only communicate via internet-speak now).
Craving the winding streets of medieval cities or long train rides through the European countryside? How about a classic meet-cute with a mysterious, but alluring stranger and a whirlwind romance in a foreign country? Sit down and switch on Before Sunrise to get your fix of the one and only Vienna.
The movie will take you through some of the most beloved and unknown parts of the city, most notedly Kleines Café (literally, “little café”) which is an iconic late night hole-in-the-wall serving wine, beer and bites inside or under the stars.
Follow the characters via Google Maps Street View through the streets to other places like Maria Am Gestade (one of the oldest churches in the city) and Teuchtler Schallplattenhandlung (cosy vinyl store with unique listening booths), and bookmark this page for a more complete Before travel guide.
If you’re looking for more rock n’ roll, Americana vibes, Southern California’s probably already on your travel bucket list and if you’re not a West Coast local, the closest you’re gonna get right about now is streaming one of my all time favorites, Almost Famous.
AF showcases mid 70’s SoCal, but most of the locations are still alive and well today. The Hollywood Palladium is among the most well known, and still a great place to catch a concert, but more niche spots like the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the oldest operating hotel in LA and the scene of Marilyn Monroe’s death, are great to know for future travels.
Another famous hotel featured in the flick is the Andaz West Hollywood, a historic lodging for rockers in the 60’s and 70’s and nicknamed “The Riot House” after several legendary bands including Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones infamously trashed it during their stays.
Almost Famous also features some NYC landmarks worth checking out, and the NYC TV & Movie Bus Tour will guide you to them, if you’re so inclined.
If you’re seeking a trip full of giant extinct creatures and glory-days era Jeff Goldblum...I don’t think I can help you beyond a movie rec. However, if cascading waterfalls, majestic jungles, and wild volcanic hikes are more your speed, Jurassic Park is a great jumping off point for your next itinerary. Filmed on the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Oahu, the Jurrassic filming locations are green and lush sites that you can explore sans the threat of dinosaur related injury.
Two of the most iconic locations are Allerton Garden in Kauai, a botanical garden overlooking the ocean that leads guided tours and Kualoa Ranch in Oahu, the site of the famous stampede where Grant and the children use a log (which is still on the ranch) to hide. The ranch boasts ATV excursions, private beaches, and tours of all the filming locations on the property.
The Jurassic journey wouldn’t be complete, however, without a trip to Kauai’s Manawaiopuna Waterfall, that famous backdrop to the helipad scenes and real life site for helicopter tours!
I know that traveling is more than just seeing someplace new, it’s the way your destination sounds, how the local food market smells and the vibe of a new culture feels, what the traditional cuisine tastes like; it’s using all your senses to discover and explore. Movies will never replace that, not really, but that little twinge of excitement you get at seeing a wild landscape or hearing an accent you don’t recognize? Movies can help with that.
Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in activities that make you feel good right now. We all need a little joy, and for me, films that let me live through other’s adventures give me that. If you have any other recommendations for travel-related movies, hit me up at email@example.com and remember to Travel Safe and Travel Covered (even if it’s only from your living room).
Alexa Lieberthal is a professional actress, singer, and writer from Boston, MA. Though her passions are many, and range from fitness to Star Trek, the biggest of all is travel. Alexa is based in NYC, but has spent the past 4 years exploring and performing in places all over the world, including Western Europe, the Caribbean Islands, and the U.K. Most recently, she spent two years seeing the world by working aboard AIDA Cruises, singing and sailing and savoring the earth. The next place on her travel bucket-list is Berlin, Germany! You can follow Alexa's adventures on Instagram @ny.see and her website areneeact.com.