How to Plan a Movie-Themed Vacation
It’s easier than you may expect to find, visit, and enjoy the places where your favorite movies were made.
By Shivani Vora
March 8, 2018
Whether it’s the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in New Zealand or "Roman Holiday” in Rome, many noteworthy movies are filmed in appealing locales all over the world that travelers may want to visit and enjoy.
According to Angela Tillson, a film location manager in Kauai who has worked on the set of films including "Jurassic Park: The Lost World” and “The Descendants," exploring a beloved movie set destination through the eyes of the film makes for an enjoyable vacation. "Seeing a place with a focus on a movie you love will give you a perspective that the average tourist doesn’t usually get. You’ll certainly have a better impression of the place,” she said. Here are her tips to get started.
Choose Your Destination
If there’s a movie you love, you can find out where it was filmed by looking at the credits at the end of the film or by going online to The Internet Movie Database, also known as IMDB, which often lists filming locations. Once you know the locale, you can start planning your trip. Or, consider doing what Ms. Tillson often does when deciding on where to vacation: pick a spot you’re interested in visiting, and find out what movies have been filmed there. “It’s fun to sometimes let a destination determine the movie you're going to live rather than the other way around,” Ms. Tillson said.
Get in the Mood
Before you head to your destination, be sure to rewatch the movie. A rewatch not only reminds you of identifiable spots to look out for during your trip, but it also adds to the excitement of your upcoming exploration.
If the movie is based on a book, consider reading the book, too. It may have details about the locale that the movie doesn’t touch on. Also, books often have scenes that don’t make it into the movie adaptations, which gives you a deeper view of the destination. Ms. Tillson also recommended downloading the movie’s soundtrack or score, and listening to it throughout your trip.
Book a Themed Trip
Some travel companies sell set itineraries focused on popular movies. Luxury tour operator Zicasso, for example, has an eight-day trip, all inclusive, to Ireland inspired by "Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and Wild Frontiers has an eleven-day trip to India inspired by "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Ms. Tillson suggested doing a web search or checking with a travel agent to find out about such trips. Also, in some destinations, local tour operators and hotels sell movie-themed tours. For instance, The St. Regis Priceville Resort offers a tour that includes a private helicopter ride to Manawaiopuna Falls, made famous in "Jurassic Park,” and an ATV tour of filming locations of movies such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark" and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Lunch is even included. The cost is $5,674 for two adults.
A more affordable option, in Rome, is the four-hour “Roman Holiday" themed excursion from HR Tours, where travelers ride a Vespa with a driver and see ail the sites from the movie; the cost is 170 euros per person.
Hang Where the Movie Crew Did
When they’re not working, movie crews enjoy hitting local bars and casual restaurants that serve tasty local cuisine, Ms. Tillson said.
Find out where the behind-the-scenes staff of your
film spent their time by asking your destination’s tourist
board or your hotel’s concierge, and check out a few of the
spots. “It’s another way to get involved in the film and
spend time in bars and restaurants that you wouldn’t
normally think to hit,” she said.