Bored at home but unable to travel? While you can certainly fill the void with new travel books or staying busy with projects like cooking up pandemic gourmet, another option is the tried-and-true cinematic voyage, courtesy of your favorite streaming services.

There are plenty of movies and television shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Go, The Criterion Channel, and others that will whisk you away to foreign locals, show you beloved cities in a new light, and drop you headlong into particular places in time. Even better if you use the new Netflix Party feature on to simulcast a feature and travel the world with your besties, one movie at a time.

Legs of a person laying on a bed, wearing gray pants and stripe socks has a bowl of popcorn between their legs and a remote control by their foot. There is a TV on a wooden stand.
Escape to another world via any of the many tv platforms © Rokas Tenys / Shutterstock

While it’s not quite the same as getting a fresh stamp on your passport, there’s definitely something to be said for the immersive experience of traveling with Audrey Hepburn on a Roman Holiday, following The Blues Brothers on a mad-cap musical road trip through Chicagoland, or careening with documentary film crews through Senegal and Mali on the route of the Dakar Rally. 

Here are our top picks for travel buffs to stream or rent during the holiday season:

Cultural gems

The Dark Tourist (Netflix)
Atlantics (Netflix)
Udaan (Netflix)
Chandni Bar Tabu (Amazon Prime)
Life… In A Metro (Netflix)
The Land of Many Palaces (Vudu)
Columbus (Hulu)
Russian Ark (Fandor)
Vaya  (Netflix)
Daughters of the Dust (rent via Amazon Prime)
Eight Miles High (rent via Amazon Prime)
In the Last Days of the City (rent via Vudu)
Of Time and the City (rent via Amazon Prime)
Wings of Desire (rent via Amazon Prime or Vudu)
The Harder They Come (rent via Amazon Prime or Vudu)
Tracks (rent via Amazon Prime or Vudu)

Movie poster of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn for the movie Roman Holiday.
Roman Holiday is an iconic movie © LMPC via Getty Images


Roman Holiday (Tubi)
Vertigo (Starz)
Amelie (Hulu)
To Catch a Thief (Amazon Prime)
Strictly Ballroom (Netflix)
The Sound of Music (Disney+)
Lost In Translation (Hulu)
Metropolitan (Hulu)
Y tu Mamá Tambien (Netflix)
The English Patient (Hulu)
Room with a View (Hulu)
Paris, Texas (The Criterion Channel)
Two for the Road (rent via Amazon Prime)
Before Sunrise (rent via Amazon Prime)
Before Sunset (rent via Amazon Prime)
Before Midnight (rent via Amazon Prime)
It Happened One Night (rent via Amazon Prime or Vudu)
Lawrence of Arabia (rent via Amazon Prime or Vudu)
Black Narcissus (The Criterion Channel)


National Lampoon’s Vacation series (Hulu)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Neflix)
The Beast (The Criterion Channel)
L'Auberge Espagnole (Netflix)
The Blues Brothers (Hulu)
When Harry Met Sally (Hulu)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Hulu)
A Good Year (Hulu)
The Commitments (rent via Amazon Prime)
Good Bye, Lenin! (rent via Amazon Prime or Vudu)

Interior shot of a living room
Have you seen Killing Eve yet? © Airbnb


Queen Sono (Netflix)
Elite (Netflix)
Derry Girls (Netflix)
My Brilliant Friend (Hulu)
Killing Eve (Hulu)
Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father (Netflix)
The Kettering Incident (Amazon Prime)
Lillyhammer (Netflix)
Moone Boy (Hulu)
Larry Charles’ Dangerous World Of Comedy (Hulu)
The Trip (rent via Amazon Prime)

For foodies

Ugly Delicious (Neflix)
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Hulu)
Like Water for Chocolate (Netflix)
Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers (The Criterion Channel)
Street Food (Netflix)
Tampopo (The Criterion Channel)
Chef's Table (Netflix)
Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking (The Criterion Channel)
Restaurants on the Edge (Netflix)
Salt Fat Acid Heat (Netflix)
Babette's Feast (The Criterion Channel)
The Mind of a Chef (Netflix)
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Netflix)
The Hundred-Foot Journey (Netflix)
Eat Drink Man Woman (rent via Vudu)
My Dinner With Andre (rent via Amazon Prime)


Ken Burns Presents: The West (Netflix)
...And the Pursuit of Happiness (Criterion Channel)
Calcutta (Criterion Channel)
Hotel Monterey (Criterion Channel)
The Inland Sea (Criterion Channel)
Man of Aran (Criterion Channel)
Marseille (Criterion Channel)
My Winnipeg (Criterion Channel)
Sunday in Peking (Criterion Channel)
Vernon, Florida (Criterion Channel)
Once Were Warriors (rent via Amazon Prime or Vudu)
A Map for Saturday (rent via Amazon Prime)

Cheetah on a small hill in the savannah with two giraffes in the background
Get up-close-and-personal with these nature shows © Gudkov Andrey / Shutterstock

For nature lovers

Ken Burns: The National Parks - America's Best Idea (Amazon Prime)
National Parks Adventure (Netflix)
The African Lion (Disney+)
Night On Earth (Netflix)
The Vanishing Prairie (Disney+)
Our Planet (Netflix)
Fishing with John (The Criterion Channel)
The Living Desert (Disney+)
Sweetgrass (The Criterion Channel)
African Cats (Disney+)
Bears (Disney+)
Born in China (Disney+)
Wild Yellowstone (Disney+)
Wild Alaska (Netflix)
Mile, Mile & a Half (Amazon Prime)
Mountain (Netflix)
Unbranded (Amazon Prime)

For sports fans

Numerous past Olympic games are beautifully documented on The Criterion Channel.
The Endless Summer (Amazon Prime, Tubi)
Free Solo (Hulu, Disney+)
13 Days in France (The Criterion Channel)
A Land Shaped by Women (Tubi)
The Traveler (The Criterion Channel)
7915km (Fandor)
BeAlive (YouTube)
The Dawn Wall (Netflix)
Iron Cowboy (Netflix)
The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats Its Young (Tubi)
Meru (rent via Amazon Prime)
Safety to Nome (rent via Amazon Prime)
Keepers of the Game (rent via Vudu)

You might also like:

London watchlist: films to see before your trip 
Take a cinematic trip through Tunisia's blockbuster filming locations
Rome watchlist: films to see before your trip 

This article was originally published in March 2020 and updated in December 2020.

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This article was first published Mar 18, 2020 and updated Dec 10, 2020.

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