Ask dealchecker: Films That Inspired Our Travels

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We love a good film as much as the next person. Or even a terrible one, as attested by our recent team outing to a screening of Sharknado. But being a fairly travel-obsessed bunch, we do often find ourselves ignoring the tender romance blossoming between the protagonists or the gritty, pun-laden dialogue between goodies and baddies because we’re too busy oohing and ahhing over the lush landscapes or pretty cities in the background. And we’d hazard a guess that we’re not alone.

With everything from tropical island paradises to magnificent mountain peaks gracing our screens, it’s been tough but we’ve narrowed it down to 10 films that’ll get the travel bug buzzing furiously in your ear. Beware: watching the following movies may well give you an uncontrollable desire to hop on the next plane. But hey, there are worse things. At least we know where you can bag yourself some cheap flights. Here’s our pick of the top 10 films that have inspired our travels.


The Beach – Thailand

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand © Jiri Foltyn

Without revealing the plot – no spoilers here! – it’s fair to say the secret island in The Beach didn’t turn out to be quite the idyllic tropical paradise you might expect. But then again, a dreamy, stress-free Thailand holiday wouldn’t make much of a film. In any case, the scenery is undeniably gorgeous and has made content writer Em yearn to pay the Ko Phi Phi islands a visit. The region is part of a marine National Park and snorkelling around Ko Bida Nok and Ko Bida Nai is a must. And while Leonardo made a grand/foolhardy entrance by swimming across to his destination, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a more conventional option in the form of daily ferries from Phuket and Krabi.


Lost in Translation – Tokyo

Tsukiji District, Tokyo, Japan
Tsukiji District, Tokyo © SeanPavonePhoto

One of the many things we love about travelling is the prospect of meeting and connecting with people, which is why search account manager Jenny opted for the hugely successful Lost in Translation as her inspiration to visit Tokyo. The starring pair played by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson form a quick, strong friendship in this iconic modern city, both feeling, well…a bit lost. But don’t let the chaotic culture discourage you from booking a Tokyo holiday, we say. Sights like the abundant cherry blossoms, the temples of Asakusa and the Imperial Palace gardens at Chiyoda are certainly overwhelming, but in a great way.


Lost – Hawaii

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii © Juancat

Our head of marketing, Caz, is a big fan of the white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters that provided the heavenly setting for Lost. True, it’s not a film, but we’ll let that slide for the sake of waxing lyrical about its stunning scenery. While the location of the fictional island was never revealed, the series was almost all filmed in the tropical paradise of Oahu in Hawaii. Here you’ll find popular spots like Waikiki Beach and Hanauma Bay as well as the buzzing city of Honolulu. And we’re almost 100% sure that your Hawaii holiday will be free from mysterious monsters as plagued the poor old shipwrecked cast of the acclaimed show.


Sherlock – London

The Sherlock Holmes pub in London
The Sherlock Holmes Pub, London © Brian Rosner

Our very own stamping ground has proved to be a source of travel inspiration, we’re proud to say. After watching Sherlock (yes, another non-film that’s slipped through the net) while back home in Poland, resident tech wizard Marek decided to explore Holmes’s London for himself. And luckily for us, London must’ve done the trick because he’s still here. The series doesn’t skimp on quintessential London landmarks, from City skyscrapers to Buckingham Palace, with plenty of red double-deckers and Hackney carriages thrown in for good measure. Yet the result isn’t…er, hackneyed by any means. To tell the truth, we’re eagerly awaiting the third season to see if our corner of Clerkenwell makes an appearance during the super-sleuth’s adventures.


In Bruges – Bruges

Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium © Kotomiti Okuma

Opinion is divided in the office over whether content writer Hannah’s choice, In Bruges, is worth watching, but we’re unanimous that Bruges is worth visiting. Encircled by a canal, the charming city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its picturesque red and white façades and plethora of chocolate shops. This historic Flemish city is particularly popular towards the end of the year for the Christmas markets, offering no end of hearty Belgian treats. The medieval Belfry tower, as featured in one of the film’s best-known scenes, offers great views of the main Market Square with its stalls and seasonal ice rink.


Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – New York

Rockefeller Center, New York
Rockefeller Center, New York City © pedrosala /

We couldn’t even begin to count the films that make us hanker after a trip to New York. But when it comes to festive city breaks, digital sales exec Dan’s choice is a shoo-in for the top spot. After all, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Home Alone on the box. The sight of a young Macaulay Culkin in his bobble hat and scarf, staring up at the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree makes us want to jump on a plane and explore the city that never sleeps for ourselves. Ice-skating in Central Park, shopping for pressies, ordering a shedload of room service – sounds like a pretty awesome Christmas to us.


Before Sunrise – Vienna

Belvedere Palace, Vienna, Austria
Belvedere Palace, Vienna © clearlens

Nominated by marketing analyst Joe, Before Sunrise is the story of a chance encounter between a man and a woman who spend a night walking the streets of Vienna exchanging stories and secrets. First Lost in Translation, now this…we seem to be rather a soppy lot who dream of connecting with a stranger in an exotic foreign land. Well, it could happen. And should we be reticent about blurting out our innermost thoughts and desires right off the bat, we’re sure sights like the Riesenrad ferris wheel, the Danube River and the Schönbrunn Palace would inspire some fruitful conversation. And there are plenty of hotels in Vienna to choose from if you’re not keen to stay up all night sightseeing. We wouldn’t recommend that, unless you’ve just met your soulmate of course.


The Darjeeling Limited – India

Train in Goa, India
Train in Goa, India © Thirteen

It’s hard to choose a favourite among Wes Anderson’s quirky comedies like Rushmore and Moonrise Kingdom. Yet when we’re talking travel inspiration, The Darjeeling Limited pips the rest to the post thanks to its spectacular views of India during a country-wide train expedition. This epic journey of spiritual self-discovery, taking in all kinds of sights from the hot, bustling city of Jodhpur to the majestic Himalayan peaks has made subscriber acquisition manager Zoé want to fly to India, board a train and do the same. Just without certain mishaps from the film like cobras escaping from containers and slithering amok, we hope. Might take away from all the spiritual self-discovery a little.


Bullitt – San Francisco

Lombard Street, San Francisco
Lombard Street, San Francisco © somchaij

A blog post about films and we haven’t mentioned a single car chase, you say? What gives? Never fear as our managing director Mark has opted for the Steve McQueen classic Bullitt as his inspiration for visiting San Francisco. Well, with all those hills, you couldn’t pick a much better city. If you’re a die-hard fan of the film and want to emulate Steve, pick up some car hire in San Francisco, head to your starting point at Fisherman’s Wharf and put the pedal to the metal. Otherwise, a more sedate way to explore the city has to be cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge for fabulous views over the San Francisco Bay.
And as for me…

Forrest Gump – USA

Monument Valley at sunset
Monument Valley at sunset © puttsk

Somehow I didn’t see this Oscar-winning family favourite until I was in my twenties but as soon as the eponymous hero opened his chocolate box, I was hooked. The stunning USA scenery shown during Forrest’s marathon running expedition, from the looming red peaks of Monument Valley to snow-capped mountains reflected in crystal-clear lakes, inspired me to explore this massive, beguiling country for myself. And just months later I found myself doing it for real, albeit from the relative comfort of a tour bus rather than pounding the soil with my trainers à la Forrest.

We’d love to know which film(s) provided the inspiration for your travels. Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Top image © cozyta
Front page image © Linda Moon

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Tips and advice on getting great value travel - from one of our dealchecker alumni.

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