Set Jetting – the new way to live out your travel dreams
With the explosion in popularity of the ‘White Lotus’ resorts, after the HBO series of the same name took the world by storm, a newfound way to travel is at our horizons – Set Jetting. It’s all about bringing your beloved on-screen locations to life, and you get an exhilarating holiday out of it! Immerse yourself in your favourite movie sets, locations and landmarks and live out your fantasy.
Here’s our top locations and tips on creating your dream set-jetting adventure.
Game of Thrones fans rejoice, Croatia is your spot for delving into a number of locations where your favourite scenes were shot. The ancient city of Dubrovnik served as the backdrop for Kings Landing and its majestic stone walls and picturesque coastal setting transports visitors into a mesmerizing world of fantasy and drama. Other notable landmarks include the Tresteno Arboretum (Red Keep’s garden), The Jesuit Stairs (from Cersei Lannisters walk of atonement) and Fort Lovrijineac (Blackwater Bay). To elevate your experience, why not connect with other fans from online communities? There’s no better way to share tips, experiences or even find a travel buddy – especially given the giant following of Game of Thrones!
Further north, the town of Split is also home to even more Game of Thrones sets, but also notably some key scenes in Mamma Mia – remember those crystal-clear waters and rustic jettys? Relive this feel-good musical by singing with your friends by the seaside (without disturbing other holidaymakers, of course!). Croatia’s history paired with its picturesque beauty and dazzling weather make it an ideal spot for your next set-jetting escapade.
There are many areas of Morocco that have been home to film giants and star-studded TV series. The most filmed location in Morrocco – Ait Benhaddou is where Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator was filmed, among many others. The sandy desert and mud buildings make for a picturesque and historic filming location and have held up for centuries. Take a tour from Marrakech or book a private driver – it’s a great stop if you’re on your way out to visit the Sahara Desert. Tour guides and locals of the town have often been extras in the many films that use this location, so listen out for their excitable stories of famous actors! Another great Moroccan set jetting location includes the town of Ouarzazate, touted the ‘Hollywood’ of Morocco and is home to the Atlas Film Studios and Movie Museum. A few hours will allow a decent tour of the film studios, which holds props from many Egyptian-esque movies. Morocco is well-versed in tours and is also a keen set-jetters location, so planning your trip here will be a breeze!
Think White Lotus 5 star resorts - need we say more? We must start this list with the iconic resort in Sicily where the second season of HBO’s White Lotus was shot. The Four Seasons San Domenico Palace is the place to stay to live out your dramatic resort dream, just like Jennifer Coolidge (or maybe not EXACTLY like her…). As tempting as it sounds, a stay here will set you back by at least a whopping $2,000 per night – but just imagine the quality of the people-watching at breakfast!
Italy also seems synonymous with romance – movies like Eat Pray Love, Letters to Juliet, Under the Tuscan and Roman Holiday are but a few that have been set across Italy. Perhaps an ideal set jetting trip with that special someone – hit all the romantic spots to make for an ideal honeymoon or proposal trip, if that’s up your alley.
For all you 90’s babies – Italy’s list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the iconic 2003 Lizzie McGuire movie (‘Sing to me, Paolo’?!). Follow in Hilary Duff’s footsteps and jet around Rome seeing the key sights, and even visit the main locations of filming – the Piazza Venezia and Castel Sant’Angelo. Relive her iconic end concert by belting out ‘This is what dreams are made of’ at the Colosseum (again, not disturbing other visitors, of course!).
Emily in Paris, anyone? Living vicariously through an on-screen character living their best life in a city like Paris is enough to make anyone want to visit, even if just for a week of pretending that it's YOUR life. It’s a great place to traipse back through the scenes and walk your day through just as she would. Emily lives on the Place de ‘Estrapade (located in the 5th arrondissement) which is an ideal start for your tour. The square has a picturesque fountain, mature trees and chilled benches – it’s a sweet and very Parisian spot. Be sure to try the Boulangerie Moderne (the bakery where Emily first tries a pain au chocolat)!
If you’re not an Emily fan – there are a plethora of other reasons to visit Paris for set jetting. Notably, the numerous films that feature the Eiffel Tower as a prominent feature – Funny Face, Taken, Under the Eiffel Tower and of course the animated favourite, Ratatouille. Tour de Eiffel doesn’t have to be all romance all the time – it’s also an ideal spot to relive historic movie moments!
Our breathtakingly beautiful country has earned a well-deserved reputation haven for Set Jetting, thanks to its natural beauty and unique locations. The obvious – the Lord of the Rings, was iconically filmed in many locations. Head to Matamata, where you’ll find the real life Hobbiton, before moving on to the Tongariro National Park, where Mount Doom is located. Further down the country, you’ll end up in Fiordland which hosted a range of locations from the Anduin River to the Dead Marshes. The Department of Conservation has a handy guide to help you out with planning your trip to see all the stunning locations from LOTR.
While you've committed to the New Zealand set jetting buzz, there are many other understated yet fascinating locations to sprinkle into your trip. Karekare beach in Auckland’s west is home to most of the scenes from The Piano, one of New Zealands most acclaimed films. Head to the Coromandel region and you’ll find Cathedral Cove – a key location from Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia. Or Wellington – home to some of the best scenes from King Kong.
Any film buff would be stoked on a set jetting trip around New Zealand – so keep it top of your list!
Perhaps the most obvious choice on the list, given you know, Hollywood. But all across the 50 states you’ll find a plethora of movie sets, towns and landmarks that have been home to famous movies and TV shows. You could either do it as an all-American road trip or stay in Los Angeles to immerse yourself in all things film. The iconic top deck bus tours are an ideal way to traverse LA with an experienced guide and take in the houses, sets, and key landmarks where iconic movies are set. Fingers crossed that you’ll even spot some celebrities! Studio tours are also an awesome way to see some built-sets and get a sense of what happens behind the scenes. Universal Studios and Warner Bros are the two of the most famous studios, and booking a tour will take a few hours each, with a mix of a guided tour and some time to explore on your own.
If you’re venturing out of Cali, New York is the next obvious location. ‘Friends’ anyone? The fountain shown in the title sequence to arguably one of the best shows of our generation can be found in Washington Square Park. A free and easy photo-op, right in the middle of Manhattan! Another iconic movie set in New York is the original Ghostbusters – which begins at the main branch of the New York public library. Other locations include Tribeca Firehouse which was used as their headquarters, and of course Times Square.
The list for the US could go on – so make sure to prioritise your trip so you’re not left trying to fit too much into the States. Remember, you want to be able to take it all in.
Things to remember
It can take a lot of planning to pull off a set-jetting holiday without a hitch, so here are some things to remember when planning your ultimate set-jetting experience:
- Plan and book well in advance. Remember that these locations are usually ever-popular hot spots, and accommodation, transport and activities will likely sell out. Be sure to book in advance so you don’t miss out.
- Check the timings. The locations you’re aiming to visit may still be under filming, or have restricted times for public access. Before you book anything, do your research on the times you’ll be able to access the locations you want to see.
- DIY vs a guided tour. Visiting on your own means more flexibility and you may have to purchase your own tickets. Joining a guided tour could be the best way to see the locations – you’ll likely get valuable insights, and behind the scenes information.
- Make sure to have travel insurance. Cover yourself and make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance for your trip.
- Capture the moment. Take lots of Instagram-worthy snaps, or perhaps re-enact your favourite scenes to show friends & family at home. Remember, you’re likely embarking on a once in a lifetime trip, so be sure to capture it all. Short videos can be a great way to patch together a timeline of your trip.
- Be respectful. Follow any rules and regulations that may be in place for cultural or environmental reasons. These popular locations are frequented by many, so make sure to respect the area. Don’t touch or disturb any natural structures, and keep the areas clean and tidy by disposing of rubbish correctly.
- Don’t forget to explore the wider area. If you’ve travelled far to see your dream set-jet location, remember to take some time to explore the wider area – you may be surprised at what other gems are hiding just around the corner. Make the most of your set-jet trip by immersing yourself in the wider culture of the area.
- Check the SafeTravel website. Make sure the country or region you’re visiting is safe to travel, and make note of any warnings or precautions that are listed on the SafeTravel website.
Remember, set jetting is about bringing your favorite on-screen moments to life. Stay organized, be adaptable, and cherish the opportunity to step into the world of your beloved movies or TV shows. Happy set jetting!
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