12 Holiday Movies For Families Who Travel

For better or for worse, your holiday plans are made. The bags are mostly packed, the presents mostly bought and wrapped (unless you’re my husband, who probably hasn’t started his shopping yet), the itinerary for driving, flying or just staying home is set.  After the holiday travel is over, it’s time to enjoy some holiday movies about holiday travel. Whether you’re home or on the road, declare a pajama day over the next week and throw on a DVD (or 2 or 3) for the family to watch together.

In case you need some suggestions, here is the FamiliesGo! list of 12 Days of Holiday Travel Movies.  If we missed your favorite, feel free to suggest it below.

12 Travel -Theme Holiday Movies For Families

the road to Utopia, great holiday movies1. The Road to Utopia

Technically it’s not a holiday movie, but it takes place in Alaska where there’s a lot of snow. You’ll appreciate that you don’t have go home via dog sled. Plus, Bob Hope utters one of my favorite movie lines ever when he asks for lemonade in a dirty glass at a Yukon rest stop (above).

2. Holiday Inn

Most of the travel is between New York and “Connect-Ticut.”  But who wouldn’t want to spend time at a New England inn where the snow is always ankle deep, Fred Astaire is hoofing it and Bing Crosby croons “White Christmas?”

3. Polar Express

Tom Hanks, a wide-eyed boy and a magical train journey that’s infinitely better than Amtrak.

4. Elf

The movie, which starts with a journey from the North Pole to midtown Manhattan, is one of few modern holiday movies I find entertaining. Plus, Zooey Deschanel sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” in a way that makes you wish you had a Manhattan in you hand while you watch your holiday movies (maybe make one before you get comfy on the couch).

5. Home Alone (or Home Alone 2)

If you had the bad luck to wind up on a flight that’s been rerouted or cancelled, spend time with the family that can’t get through the holidays without a major detour. The moral of Kevin’s adventures: No matter where you are, the holidays are what you make of them.

6. Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Planes, trains & automobiles; classic holiday moviesJohn candy, Steve Martin, the tirade on the hapless rental counter guy that we’ve all done in our head. If you had a rough trip back home this holiday season, pour the family some eggnog (add a good shot of rum to yours), pop this into the DVD player and you’ll soon appreciate that it could have been worse. Oh, how we miss John Candy.

7. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

I wish I could travel by wardrobe this season.  I’d much rather face down the White Witch than the traffic on I95. Plus there’s tea with fauns, dinner with beavers and Christmas with a kingly giant lion. I love this trip to the English countryside and Narnia.

8. Remember the Night

This lesser known black & white movie features Fred MacMurray as a district attorney  and Barbara Stanwyck as the petty thief he brings home for the holidays. It has two great stars, a road trip and an opposites-attract romance. It’s worth seeking out, but probably for tweens and teens.

9. Tokyo Godfathers

Three unlikely heroes promise to deliver an orphaned baby to its family. Holiday heartwarming ensues in this charming Japanese flick.

10. Catch Me If You Can

Take a voyeuristic trip to the days when flying was exotic and posh.  Plus, the movie culminates in a snowy French hamlet on Christmas Eve.

11. Love Actually

Open the good wine and send the men folk out of the house while the ladies enjoy this star-studded comedy that makes the airport seem romantic again.

the holiday, modern holiday movies12. The Holiday

Yes, it’s another chick flick, but it’s romantic. My ideal holiday would be to spend Christmas in Kate Winslet’s little English cottage and New Years Eve at Cameron Diaz’s sprawling L.A. pad.

Bonus: The Wizard of Oz

The only thing that makes it a holiday movie is that when I was a kid they always ran it on television Thanksgiving weekend. But the big production numbers have a festive quality and it features several innovative ways to travel.


Pin these holiday movies for later!

12 classic travel-themed holiday films for kids and families. #movies #kids #vacation #classicfilms

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  1. December 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm — Reply

    I’d definitely be up for “Elf” or “Home Alone.” Great movie ideas for travelers at the holidays!

  2. December 4, 2015 at 9:25 pm — Reply

    I also like “The Santa Clause” the first movie – sadly the sequels get a little too silly.

  3. Cathy Sweeney
    January 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm — Reply

    Love Actually has become our must-watch (multiple times) holiday movie every year. Still like some of the old-timers, too like Holiday Inn. Nice list!

  4. Mary {The World Is A Book}
    December 30, 2012 at 3:53 am — Reply

    What a fantastic list to keep for a rainy or snowy day. I have a few of these movies and now need to go searching for some I haven’t heard. Love Actually is one of my favorites. Thanks for this!

  5. Sonja
    December 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm — Reply

    Nice ideas! We’ve still got another week and a half of vacation and will need things to do. We’ve already watched Elf twice. 🙂

  6. Liz
    December 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm — Reply

    Great list! I almost hope it snows next week so we can stay in and watch movies:)

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