After filming the movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” in Cambodia, actress Angelina Jolie was deeply moved by the country’s beauty and culture, inspiring her to travel more extensively and become involved in humanitarian work around the world.

Chris Hemsworth, the actor portraying superhero Thor, was inspired to visit India after hearing the song “Chaiyya Chaiyya” from the Bollywood movie “Dil Se.” The infectious energy of the song and its depiction of a vibrant train journey through India sparked Hemsworth’s curiosity and desire to explore the country.

Sophia Danenberg, the first African-American woman to summit Mount Everest, acknowledges that her high-altitude passion was triggered by Ernest Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” She heard the glaciers were disappearing. “I thought I should see them up close while I still can. I wanted to say I saw them in case they disappeared,” she said.

The travel rebound continues as travel volumes break records. More than 80% of the world’s most experienced travelers took as many or more trips in 2023 than at any time before the pandemic, according to Global Rescue’s Traveler Sentiment and Safety Survey. The enduring travel recovery is welcome news for the industry, and travel continues to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

“Adventure travel, luxury travel and other activity-focused segments continue to see strong growth. Many places are at capacity or are over-subscribed and have waiting lists,” said Dan Richards, CEO of The Global Rescue Companies, the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services, and a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Hot air balloons take off into the purple and pink sky at dusk with hundreds of people silhouetted by the dwindling light.


The forces driving the rebound include catching up on missed opportunities due to the pandemic shutdown, anxiety that future travel may not be available, and entertainment media. The possibility of travel restrictions in the future and the YOLO maxim – you only live once – drives millions of travelers to get as many trips in as possible before they no longer can.

But travelers also highlight the movies, books and music that inspire them to travel.

According to the survey, the movie “Out of Africa” starring Meryl Streep, the book “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne, and the song “Beautiful Day” by U2 were the leading art forms inspiring trips among the world’s most experienced travelers.


Five zebras graze on an African prairie with sunbeams illuminating the background.


Close behind “Out of Africa” in the category of travel-inspiring movies were the Indiana Jones series led by Harrison Ford, Under the Tuscan Sun starring Diane Lane, “Seven Years in Tibet” featuring Brad Pitt, “Into the Wild” directed by Sean Penn, and “Lawrence of Arabia” led by Peter O’Toole.

The five books survey respondents noted for inspiring travel after Verne’s classic were “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, “On the Road by Jack Kerouac, “Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and “The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.


A man wearing sunglasses, lounges in the salt water of the Dead Sea, reading a book on a sunny day.


The Annual List of Top Songs Inspiring Travel includes perennial favorites like “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson, “Take It Easy” by the Eagles, “Vacation” by The Go-Gos, and “Margaritaville” by (the late) Jimmy Buffett. There are a dozen new entries for 2023 (below) and you can find the complete list of the top travel inspiring songs from the past several years here:

“Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse

“Beautiful Day” by U2

“Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

“Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles

“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac

“Moondance” by Van Morrison

“Piano Man” by Billy Joel

“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

“Son of a Son of a Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett

“Sweet Caroline” by Neal Diamond

“Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith

“Truckin’” by the Grateful Dead


Travel confidence is exploding in a positive direction and travelers are finding inspiration for their trips between the pages of books, inside movie theaters, and listening to music. Call it revenge travel or make-up travel, the comeback to international travel is surging.