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7 of the Best Vacation Movies Ever

Retro sequels are making the ultimate comeback. The latest and greatest: a sequel to the classic National Lampoon’s Vacation, which is said to star Leslie Mann, Ed Helms, and Christina Applegate. That’s not all: word on the street is the a Vacation sitcom is in the works, featuring none other than Chevy Chase.

All this vacation movie talk got us thinking about our favorite vacation-themed films of all-time. Here’s a list of some of our favorites—let us know if we missed any.

Little Miss SunshineAh, the dysfunctional family road trip. So maybe Redondo Beach, California (the location of the Little Miss Sunshine pageant) isn’t the most glamorous vacation destination, but as Little Miss Sunshine proves, it’s not about the destination—it’s about the journey. This movie will have you crying from laughter, even after you watch it for the 12th time.

Home Alone 2Vacations don’t always go according to plan—for instance, when your son inadvertently ends up spending the Christmas season alone in New York City. Besides the whole fighting bad guys bit, Home Alone 2 gives us a peek into every kid’s dream: navigating the Big Apple with your dad’s credit card in hand, and no grown ups around to tell you no. Luxury hotel rooms and FAO Schwartz, anyone?

The HangoverIf The Hangover taught us anything, it’s that traveling with the right group of people can turn anything into an adventure. Despite (or perhaps because of) the over-the-top debauchery, The Hangover proves that a little spontaneity on a vacation is never a bad thing. At least, it makes for good stories.

The BeachThe Beach got a mixed reception: viewers either hated it, or wanted to immediately book a one-way ticket to Thailand to embark on the backpacking trip of a lifetime. If you’ve never spent a few months wandering as a nomadic traveler, this movie will give you the backpacking bug. Turning strangers into friends, discovering unreal places, and dealing with more than a little adventure—that’s what traveling is all about.

Thelma and LouiseSometimes, you just have to drop everything and hit the road. Thelma and Louise shows just how liberating it can be to take off on a whim to travel. Taking off on a trip with your best friend can lead you to all sorts of adventures—just try not to let it get out of hand, or else you’ll end up just like Thelma and Louise.

Wet Hot American SummerWho could forget the magical days of summer camp, that two-month long vacation that made the other 10 months of the year bearable. Our summer camps didn’t look quite like Camp Firewood in Wet Hot American Summer, but we appreciate the odd characters in this cult classic.

National Lampoon’s VacationWe saved the best for last: the classic National Lampoon’s Vacation, the epitome of the American vacation. This disastrous road trip film will make your own worst travel mishaps seem positively tame and will have you rolling on the floor laughing from beginning to end. If you haven’t seen this classic—or if you haven’t watched it in a few years—do yourself a favor and secure yourself a copy ASAP.


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