BEMIDJI, Minn. -- By now, it’s pretty clear that the pandemic has put a damper on all things travel-related this holiday season.

Christmas get-togethers and vacations have been canceled or postponed, and, for many, the holidays are looking a little dull as we dream of normalcy again and wanderlust is at an all-time high.

Luckily, in the age of technology, folks can still manage a fun and festive getaway from the safety of their own couch. They just need a little imagination and these five travel-inspired Christmas movies that’ll jet them off to various locations around the globe.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York features the precocious Kevin McCallister once again outsmarting bumbling burglars Harry and Marv throughout New York City. Photo by Pixabay.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York features the precocious Kevin McCallister once again outsmarting bumbling burglars Harry and Marv throughout New York City. Photo by Pixabay.

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If you loved "Home Alone" and the precocious Kevin McCallister outsmarting bumbling burglars Harry and Marv in the suburbs of Chicago, then its sequel will delight as the 10-year-old finds himself in yet another sticky Christmas situation but, this time, in merry New York City.

The beloved 1992 classic picks up a year after Kevin's first mishap, when his family flew to Paris for the holidays and ultimately forgot him at home. But this time around, Kevin mistakenly hops on a plane to New York City, rather than his family’s one to Miami.

What follows is an exploration of the Big Apple, taking folks on a visual tour of the city’s many attractions. From exploring Central Park to booking a room in the luxurious Plaza Hotel, it’s a wild New York experience both adults and children can get behind from the safety and comfort of home.

The Holiday

Throughout the film The Holiday, viewers are transported between sunny Los Angeles’ glamorous mansions and palm trees and the English countryside’s quaint cozy cottages and pubs. Photo by Pixabay.
Throughout the film The Holiday, viewers are transported between sunny Los Angeles’ glamorous mansions and palm trees and the English countryside’s quaint cozy cottages and pubs. Photo by Pixabay.

If you’ve ever watched a Hallmark movie, then you know the themes of romance and Christmas tend to go hand in hand. In 2006, Hollywood released the rom-com hit "The Holiday," which, with an all-star cast and picturesque locales, sparked wanderlust in hopeless romantics everywhere.

The film follows Amanda and Iris, two lovelorn women -- one from southern California, the other from England -- who arrange a home exchange during the holiday season.

Throughout the story, viewers are transported between sunny Los Angeles’ glamorous mansions and palm trees and the English countryside’s quaint cozy cottages and pubs.

"The Holiday" is a lovely contrast between two charming locations (one could even argue they’re characters in their own right) each with their own enchanting qualities.

I’ll be Home For Christmas

The 1998 holiday comedy I’ll be Home For Christmas follows Jake Wilkinson across the country -- through Colorado, Nebraska and others -- as he schemes his way home in time for Christmas. Photo by Pixabay.
The 1998 holiday comedy I’ll be Home For Christmas follows Jake Wilkinson across the country -- through Colorado, Nebraska and others -- as he schemes his way home in time for Christmas. Photo by Pixabay.

There’s no doubt that traveling during the holidays is chaotic. And the 1998 holiday comedy "I’ll be Home For Christmas" spares no expense when it comes to documenting the lengths its protagonist Jake Wilkinson will go to in order to be home in time for Christmas Eve to receive his father’s vintage Porsche.

Jake must travel from California to New York in three days’ time, which is doable under any normal circumstance. But for Jake, his trip takes a turn for the worst after awaking in the middle of the desert wearing only a Santa costume -- sans car or money.

The movie follows him across the country -- through Colorado, Nebraska and others -- as he schemes his way home in time for Christmas. If you get anything out of watching "I’ll be Home For Christmas," it’ll be appreciation for not having to deal with the hassle of travel this year.

Love Actually

In the film Love Actually, viewers are exposed to bits and pieces of London during Christmastime. Photo by Pixabay.
In the film Love Actually, viewers are exposed to bits and pieces of London during Christmastime. Photo by Pixabay.

Mostly filmed in London, "Love Actually" explores the complexities of love and relationships through ten separate, although interconnected, stories during the holiday season.

While not a lot of actual travel occurs in the film itself, viewers are exposed to bits and pieces of London during Christmastime.

But perhaps some of the more endearing parts of the film are travel-related: it begins and ends with montages of real people hugging their loved ones as they’re reunited at the airport. The narrator describes these moments as pure, and if one looks for it, they will find “love actually is all around.”

Elf

Elf centers on Buddy, a human who was adopted and raised by Santa's elves. Upon learning of his parentage, Buddy embarks on a journey from the North Pole to New York City in order to track down his biological father. Photo by Pixabay.
Elf centers on Buddy, a human who was adopted and raised by Santa's elves. Upon learning of his parentage, Buddy embarks on a journey from the North Pole to New York City in order to track down his biological father. Photo by Pixabay.

A modern Christmas classic, "Elf" centers on Buddy, a human who was adopted and raised by Santa's elves. Upon learning of his parentage, Buddy embarks on a journey from the North Pole to New York City in order to track down his biological father.

With a perpetually happy demeanor that’s intent on spreading Christmas cheer, Buddy takes viewers on an exploration of the city with a childlike innocence -- right down to playing with rotating doors and getting a taste of strangers’ discarded subway gum.

Because the city scenes were filmed on actual city streets -- amidst all the chaos and goings-on of day-to-day life -- it’s easy to watch the film and reminisce of pre-pandemic city visiting and living.

Bria Barton is the Travel and Tourism Reporter for The Bemidji Pioneer and Forum Communication Co. She can be reached at bbarton@bemidjipioneer.com.