I love travel videos, they are inspiring, beautiful and always put me in a good mood. Travel videos have the effect of igniting the wanderlust inside all of us, inspiring us, and encouraging us to start doing something new with our lives. That is why I decided to write this article. I want to share with you, the 10 most inspiring travel videos that had the most impact on me when I was stuck in a cubicle, working in an office. These videos have inspired me throughout my travel life and I hope it will inspire you too to go out there and start exploring.
What makes a travel video great?
For me personally, a travel video has to have the ability to bring out a range of emotions from viewers, may it be happiness, wanderlust or curiosity, through unique storytelling structures, immersive visual and heart-pounding sound. A great travel video with a perfect balance of these attributes will be able to keep us viewers engaged throughout the entire length of the video and leave us wanting more.
With these criteria in mind, these are my pick of the 10 most inspiring travel videos of all time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey.
1. Watchtower of Turkey
by Leonardo Dalessandri
This one is a no-brainer. The Watchtower of Turkey is one of the best travel video of all time. If there is an Oscar category for travel videos, this one will surely be nominated. Leonardo's careful attention to detail can be seen throughout the cinematic piece of editing mastery. From the carefully calculated transition to the smart time-ramping technique there is no other travel videos that has done transition better than this one.
I read an article about him a while back and he mentioned that the video is consisted of over 280 individual clips, every single one of them has its time manipulated one way or another. Yes, every single one of them. To put this on a scale, my videos usually take around 5 days to complete and on average consisted of only 60 clips per video. Imagine how many days it required for him to complete this video. Unimaginable!
If you are into filming, I would highly recommend you read his interview with FCP.co. I learned a lot from that article.
2. In Japan 2015
by Vincent Urban
"In Japan" is a travel video that takes you to the land of the Rising Sun with fast cut, heart-pounding music, a fitted representation for the forever fast-moving Japanese cities. The video touches several sides of Japan that makes the country so popular among travelers. It captures the energy of the people, the rich and colorful culture, and the attractions perfectly while balancing them throughout the film with slow-motion, hyper-lapse, time-lapse, and drone shots, enough to keep us engaged to the end.
3. The Road Story Vietnam
by Georgy Tarasov
Georgy Tarasov is the master of travel storytelling. "The Road Story Vietnam" is a travel video with a well thought-out story about a guy (his brother) traveling through Vietnam through one of the most beautiful roads in the world. The guy progresses from running to a bike and then to a motorbike, which is what Vietnam is known for and obviously the best way to explore the country. He then proceeds to interact with the locals in various ways that keep you engaged and curious about the country.
Coming up with such a well-thought-out story is no easy task when traveling since traveling is spontaneous and random. Kudos to him and his brother for being able to plan such a great story while traveling in such a random country as Vietnam, and creating one of the greatest travel films of all time.
4. 3 Words For Paris
by Cokau Lab
"Explain a city in 3 words" is such a cool concept for a travel video, I wish I had thought of it first. "3 Words For Paris" goes around the city of Paris, asking people, both the locals and tourists to explain Paris in 3 words, while the video fast-cut to the footage of the city that reflected those words. The music by French 79 is well chosen and works perfectly well with the video, so much so that it almost felt like they made the music just for this video. If you want an example of a creative travel video, this is it.
5. The Curves of Iran
by Stanislas Giroux
The Curves of Iran is a great travel video for many reasons. For one, the video shows a misunderstood country in a much needed inspiring light that really captures how nice the Iranians are, and how rich and beautiful the Persian culture is. The filmmaker was able to also show a glimpse of the hidden lives of the people in Iran with a video of people smiling, enjoying their times in parties, a nod to the world that Iranians are the same as everyone else regardless of politic differences. The visual, the editing and my god, that calming music are also the reasons why this is one of the best travel videos out there.
6. Loving Lanka
by Sebastian Linda
"Loving Lanka" is a travel video that experimented with the concept of time which is already difficult in itself but Sebastian was able to execute it so well that the video deserves to be on the list. The video started off at a normal pace with a narration about time, and then the music peaked, time stood still and everything unfolds in reverse. The viewers are bombarded with fast edit reverse footages of Sri Lanka that are woven into one that somehow feels right.
Clearly, he put a lot of thought into the concept, stuck to it, and consistently connect the dot one by one until the end, and it shows. The video is an excellent example of a great use of time manipulation in travel videos that doesn't feel like it's overdone and forced.
He also published the Making of video for Loving Lanka and if you are interested in the process, I would recommend you watch it and learn from his thought process.
7. The Galapagos - Calling Home
by Andrew Norton
This is one of the most creative and cutest travel videos of all time and the concept is so simple and elegantly executed that you would think someone would have come up with it before this but no. The travel video uses a simple Skype call between Andrew and his wife to dictate and progress the story of Andrew's adventure on the Galapagos Islands. The exchange between the two was casual and funny throughout the film and that would have been enough to keep us engaged to the end but Andrew took it to another level by adding cute illustrations in between the footages of the wildlife, the locals and the scenery he encountered. It was a breath of fresh air to see this type of travel videos that will leave you a big smile on your face.
8. Hong Kong Strong
by Brandon Li
Brandon Li is one of my favorite filmmaker out of all. He takes travel videos to a professional level like no one does. In his famous Hong Kong Strong video, he was able to capture the lives of the people in Hong Kong in the most intimate way possible and then explored the city and its people in a deeper way that most other Hong Kong travel videos can't compete. He takes it inside people's home, to look at the lives of the people from different walks of life. Followed them and created 3 different stories, and perfectly woven them together into one Hong Kong video. He created his own genre of travel filmmaking and that is the type of filmmaker I aspire to be.
His more recent video, Saigon Rising is also a great example of the genre he mastered but I chose Hong Kong Strong to be on the list as it was his most famous work. He also talks about independent filmmaking onYoutube and I would encourage you to follow him if you want to learn from the master.
9. Where the Hell is Matt? 2008
by Matt Harding
This is a classic one, and I could say, the first video on Youtube that inspired me to become a traveler and shaped who I am today. The video follows Matt as he danced around the world while the locals joined in and danced with him. It is a simple concept and yet effective at putting a smile on your face everytime you watch it. There is something about watching strangers having fun together that makes you smile and restore faith in humanity.
The video shows that we are no different from one another, no matter where we are from, the religion we believe in or the language we speak. When it comes to dancing, we all do it and enjoy watching other people doing it. It is a universal language that transcends any barriers and can invoke happiness from people of all ages. That is what travel videos are all about.
10. Make it Count
by Casey Neistat
Casey Neistat needs no introduction from me. He is a popular Youtube vlogger now with over 9 million subscribers but before his fame, he used to put up a few inspiration travel videos that inspired me to this day. The "Make it Count" video is a collaboration between him and Nike where he spent all the marketing money he got from Nike on a 10 days trip around the world with his friend and made an inspiring video about it.
Traveling 10 days around the world is a feat in itself but his fast-cut editing, the upbeat music and the small inspiring quotes scattered throughout the video are what got me hooked. It was at that moment that I realize that I wanted to go to Egypt and South Africa and Zambia which I ended up doing a few years after. That is the kind of positive effect a travel video should have. A travel video should inspire people to do something awesome and that is what this video does to me.
What do you think of the list? Do you have any more recommendation of your own you want to share? If so, please let me know in the comments below. I hope this list will inspire you to go out there and explore the world. It did for me and I'm sure it will do the same to you too.
P.S. If you are curious to see what my travel videos are like compared to these masterpieces, drop by the Watch page, go through the list and let me know what you think about them in the comments below.
Looking for more inspirational articles? Check out The Solo Traveler’s Inspiration section where we will discuss topics related to the nomadic and traveling lifestyle and shower-thoughts that will invoke wanderlust in all of us.
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