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The 15 Best Films to Inspire a Road Trip

This article originally appeared on www.hotelclub.com/blog. which is now part of hotels.com

Like Willie Nelson and the donkey from Shrek once proclaimed, ‘Just can’t wait to get on the road again’. And there’s no better way to ignite the flame of adventure than through the magic of moving pictures. Specifically, by binge-watching some of the best ever road trip movies, followed by packing the car and hitting the road – or, more sensibly, setting out a concrete itinerary before you jump in the driver’s seat and proceed to burn rubber.

Seek motivation from these flicks.

1. Easy Rider

Watch if… you’re thinking of cruising across America

In a bygone era where half the U.S. was proclaiming “free love” and the other half yelling back at them to get a dang haircut, Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider was a journey in search of the American dream via the bitumen veins of the country. If the iconic soundtrack coupled with Hopper and Peter Fonda trippin’ across long, expansive highways doesn’t get you in the mood for a road trip, nothing will.

Watch a clip here.


2. Dumb and Dumber

Watch if… you don’t mind taking the wrong turn on your next road trip

The hilarious tale of two air-headed housemates (played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels) – who brave a cross-country road trip in a dog-shaped van to drop a briefcase off to a woman they barely know – is all about laughing through the bad (and potential life-threatening) situations that arise when you’re travelling into the great unknown. But let’s never speak of that god-awful sequel.

Watch a clip here.


3. Badlands

Watch if… you’d, ahem, kill, for a desert drive

While the storyline isn’t what you’d expect of an average road trip (read: killing spree), the scenes of Martin Sheen flooring it through the American Badlands will probably make you want to take a long drive into the sunset through South Dakota.

Watch a clip here.


4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Watch if… you want to “trip” to Vegas

Part-great American adventure story, part-drug-addled nightmare, this offbeat flick based on a “trip” by notorious gonzo writer, Hunter S. Thompson, highlights the true wonder of the infamous drive from L.A. to Las Vegas – and how you should definitely not do it under the influence, lest you want a one-way ticket to “bat country”.

Watch a clip here.


5. Little Miss Sunshine

Watch if… you want to relive the unforgettable family road trips from your childhood

A slightly dysfunctional family – played by Steve Carrell, Toni Collette and Paul Dano amongst others – pack into a bright yellow Kombi van and journey across America to get their daughter to a beauty pageant in time. They push-start their way through brilliant landscapes, dusty motels and inter-family issues – and it’s absolutely brilliant.

Watch a clip here.


6. Thelma & Louise

Watch if… you feel like grabbing a friend and fanging it through the desert in a convertible

Cruising down desert roads with the top down. A shirtless Brad Pitt wearing a white ten-gallon hat. A murder-induced cop car chase. This movie has all the makings of a killer road trip.

Watch a clip here.


7. Two-Lane Blacktop

Watch if… your last drag race at the lights turned into a lengthy road trip

With barely any dialogue and no actual character names (they’re simply known as ‘The Mechanic’ and ‘Driver’), Two-Lane Blacktop is a stripped-back, high-speed story of a drag race across America. It’s scary, ballsy and will amp you to jump in the car and take to the highway… sensibly.

Watch a clip here.


8. Smokey and the Bandit

Watch if… you love watching ridiculous car chases/stunts (you do) 

Essentially, it’s Burt Reynolds in a cowboy hat (what else?) burning rubber from Georgia to Texas, smashing hay carts, avoiding cops and stunt-leaping across treacherous ditches. Pro-tip: never ask Burt Reynolds for a lift.

Watch a clip here.


9. On the Road

Watch if… your idea of a road trip isn’t about the destination, but the journey

Based on the cult novel by acclaimed beat writer, Jack Kerouac, the 2012 movie starring Garret Hedlund, Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart is a rampant story about living in the moment and going where the journey takes you. And lots of pensive staring.

Watch a clip here.


10. Paris, Texas

Watch if… your hunger for a decent road trip is only trumped by your love of art house cinema

It’s strange – think David Lynch in the Texan desert – but the gripping tale literally charts the American plains like no other can.

Watch a clip here.


11. The Motorcycle Diaries

Watch if… you want to see South America on two wheels

An origin story of Argentinian icon, Che Guevara, and a motorcycle journey he took in his youth that lead to his infamous and prolific life. Fan of bopics or not, the jaw-dropping cinematography alone is enough to make you want to buy a beat up motorbike and rip down the dirt roads of South America.

Watch a clip here.


12. The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

Watch if… the Australian outback is your next road trip conquest

To this day, the cinema classic starring Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce is both a shining, sequined beacon of the drag and the LGBTQI community, and a spectacular display of Australia’s iconic outback region. It’s about being true to yourself… while getting some red dirt between your tyres.

Watch a clip here.


13. Sideways

Watch if… a road trip to wine country is on the cards

Starring Paul Giamatti alongside Thomas Haden Church, who play a pair of middle-aged, booze-swilling mates that take a (somewhat rocky) road trip through California’s wine country before one of them ties the knot. It’s raw, hilarious and is the perfect flick to pay catalyst to an impromptu trip to the nearest vino region with a band of mates.

Watch a clip here.


14. My Own Private Idaho

Watch if… you want to rebel, via a road trip

A fairly intense journey of self discovery, starring the late River Phoenix and a very young Keanu Reeves – the pair cruise America’s infamous highways on two wheels, clad in leather jackets and never conforming to the man, man.

Watch a clip here.


15. Almost Famous

Watch if… you want to learn road trip cues from ‘70s rock stars

The early noughties flick with an absolutely massive ensemble cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel and Jimmy Fallon to name a few) followed the rise and fall of fictional ‘70s rock band, Stillwater – but based on director Cameron Crowe’s real-life experience writing for Rolling Stone as a teenager and following around bands like Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Expect wild cross-country tour bus antics, even wilder private jet rides and a look into the decadent and slightly insane journeys of the rock star set.

Watch a clip here.