10 best TV commercials to inspire travel

The usual commercial drudgery on TV makes you put your head in your hands and weep; toilet cleaner, kitchen anti-bac spray, garage doors and stair lifts all fail miserably at capturing the imagination. But nothing beats beautifully shot 1-3 minutes of screentime that leaves you lusting for the sun on your face, the seasalty breeze whipping your hair or the thrill of a glamorous metropolis.

Take a look at the best TV commercials that inspire us to travel and (almost) make HostelBookers’ staff give up their day job…

Stella Artois


The launch of their new 4% ‘smooth lager’ back in 2008 called for a new ‘smooth’ marketing strategy. And so to the French Riviera of the 1960s we set our scene…Well, actually this one was in fact filmed in Cuba. The advert was shot in January and therefore required a sunny destination that could double as Europe. Beirut and Puerto Rico were also considered but Cuba, a few casually hung French flags e voila!


Boasting around 43 hills, San Francisco seemed the perfect place to launch 250,000 coloured rubber balls. What makes this ad wonderful is that it was not computer generated. They actually used 12 air mortars to shoot 50,000 balls a pop as well as the giant skips to catapult these babies down the hillsides. About 50 interns were on hand to collect the lose balls four days after filming finished!


Ohh the sweet life. Leave it to the Italians to make everything look so darn chic. The Peroni brand pays homage to Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini and his timeless classic set in Rome. Not since the original scene in 1959 have a film crew been granted permission to shoot in Rome’s Trevi Fountain.


Ok, so this perhaps verges more on ‘inspirational trips to work’ rather than holiday destinations but what if, what if…we could all travel to and from work like this! The advert uses the same CGI technology as was used in superman, it’s up to you whether this leading man carries off the same level of cool. It seems opinions are split on whether this is Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo though.



Dripping in luxury, the smell of Chanel No5 wraps you up in a hazy hug as it wafts out of the telly screen. Filmed on its famed route between Paris and Istanbul the glorious Orient Express is bathed in a golden sunset and we have no doubt that this is ‘the only way to travel’. But oh, Orient Express. Is Billie Holiday right? Am I ‘a fool to want you’ and the most expensive railway journey in the world? The picturesque train stations can be found in Limoges and Nice.

Estrella Damm

It takes every ounce of strength to not drop what your doing and make a dash for the Balearics. And you are of course seething with jealousy at all the beautiful people on their beautiful holiday doing beautiful things. But this is 3-minute advertising at its best. And you have to agree, there is nothing like a summer soundtrack and a cold beer on holiday. If you feel like escaping to paradise for  a further 3 minutes, check out this other Estrella Damm ad set in Menorca San Juan.

Best of the rest…


He he! Although that pasty body clad in barely there swimwear is a harsh reminder to all Brits on holiday: We make for quite an eyesore on the beach.


Everyone is sooooo happy in the Caribbean. Ok, so it is a total stereotype: the stocking of Lilt at my local off license has definitely not had the same tropical effect on my neighbourhood.



A bit annoying, a bit funny, this ad has inspired a huge number of spoofs as travellers to Iceland re-enact their best moves in front of volcanoes, waterfalls and in the geothermal pools. But you’ve got to admit, the scenery is spectacular and you can do some pretty cool stuff in Iceland!


The sights, the sounds, the smells and the traffic, this is definitely Bangkok. But throw James Bond into the equation and the chaos turns into a battle of adopting slick efficiency. And of course, we can all relate to tossing a Bangkok tuk tuk driver our bank card and saying spend on it as you will.

Have we forgotten any? Tell us what TV adverts have inspired you to travel below.

Thanks to Franco Folini and Simon Aughton for the images off Flickr! Please note, that at the time of publication all images were free to use according to their Creative Commons license.

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