March 25, 2020

9 Travel Movies and TV Shows to Watch with the Family (That You Can Stream Right Now!)

Keeping your family’s travel dreams alive can be hard when the farthest you can go is the front porch.

As a company of mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings, we understand the challenge. To keep us in the travel spirit during these difficult times, we’ve compiled our staff’s favorite family-friendly adventure movies and TV shows.

If you’re looking for even more recommendations, check out this list of our favorite family movies filmed or set in Europe. Happy watching!

Animated

Up (PG) (Disney+, Amazon Prime)

“Up” was a classic family adventure film the moment it hit theaters in 2009. The movie follows elderly widower Carl Fredricksen and a young scout named Russell. Together, they journey to the South American wilderness by, you guessed it, a balloon-powered flying house.

Their adventures are hilarious, uplifting and thrilling. Many of the film’s sweeping shots – the towering ravines, waterfalls and gorges — have an otherworldly feel. The setting is as much of an escape as the adorable characters and the pulse-pounding adventure.

The Lion King (PG) (Disney+)

Taking place in the golden Serengeti plains of Africa, the “Lion King” might better be described as a cultural phenomenon rather than a movie. The gorgeous animation, setting and cast of wacky characters hardly needs explaining – and who can forget the music? It’s a safe bet if the family can’t decide what to watch!

Rio (G) (Hulu, Amazon Prime)

This lighthearted family adventure takes to the streets of Rio de Janeiro, where the last pair of birds from a species (voiced by superstars Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway) must team up for a perilous adventure back home. Together they comb the city’s sweeping beaches, festivals and greenery, all of which are rendered with vibrant charisma and a sense of wanderlust. Kids will love the action, adventure and silly cast of characters!

Food

Gordan Ramsay Uncharted (Hulu and Disney+)

From National Geographic:

“In National Geographic’s new series, “Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted”, Chef Gordon Ramsay journeys to some of the most incredible and remote locations on Earth in search of culinary inspiration, epic adventures and cultural experiences he will never forget.”

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Hulu and Amazon Prime)

From the Travel Channel:

“In his Emmy Award winning series, Anthony Bourdain travels the globe to explore the cities, villages and countries that offer life’s truest surprises.”

Drama

The Way (PG-13) (Youtube and Amazon Prime)

In this 2011 film featuring Martin Sheen, a father travels to Spain after his estranged son died while hiking the Camino de Santiago. After learning what a personal, spiritual journey this 500-mile hike is for its participants, he decides to hike the Camino in order to better understand his son and himself. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of personal discovery and overcoming loss, with plenty of friendly characters that older kids will love.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (PG) (Amazon Prime, Hulu)

In this 2012 movie of feel-good fantasy realism, Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller) has a mundane life at, well, Life magazine. Everything changes when the company owners send him on a worldwide quest to find the perfect photo for the magazine’s last-ever print edition.

Walter Mitty’s magical journey for self-discovery, love and fulfillment is beautifully portrayed by magical cinematography and witty humor. It has the fantasy-adventure kids love, and a healthy dose of serene, outdoorsy optimism that families can appreciate.

Adventure Travel

Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa (Free on Amazon Prime)

We had to include this quick, 40-minute flick on our list – this film follows a small band of trekkers as they make their way through the rugged terrain and extreme environments to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain.

Their adventure starts in the low jungles, then rises up and up, along rocky trails and past glaciers, until the group makes a bid for the summit at the Roof of Africa. The cinematography is simply beautiful. The grainy, old-school film gives the whole experience a tinge of nostalgia, even for those of us who have never climbed Kilimanjaro.

Another thing: that little girl in the trailer? That’s our very own Nicole Wineland-Thomson, daughter of the founders of Thomson Family Adventures! She was only a little kid then, which proves this is a film even your family’s little trekkers can enjoy.

The Hidden Kingdom of China (Disney+, Amazon Prime)

This two-hour wildlife special spans China’s highest mountains to its thickest jungles in order to reveal the mysteries of the country’s wildlife. Featured in the show are the secrets – sometimes unusual and always fascinating – of snow leopards, giant pandas, Tibetan foxes, golden snub-nosed monkeys and a wide array of other jungle creatures.

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