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Travel Montage

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Indiana Jones kicks off another adventure.

A form of Time-Compression Montage depicting a long journey, usually consisting of various shots of places along the route, the main character(s) on the journey, and frequent shots of a map, often with a line appearing on it to mark the route (or sometimes just a camera pan across the map). Alternately it can show the travelling character looking about in wonder as Stock Footage of various famous sites fades in and out around him, or as flags of various nations flow by. There may also be a Landing Gear Shot or two. Watch for Fridge Logic where, after traveling together for hours to days, the characters resume talking about their plans as if they didn't speak a word during the trip.

If the show is a comedy, or even a serious drama with humorous moments, and especially if the travel is a road trip, there may be hijinks, the taking of gag photos, glimpses of trouble, like running from an offended local or sleeping in a jail cell, and other character-driven scenes. Bonus points if it's the red-line-on-map scene. Even more points if the red line zig-zags and spiral chaotically.


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  • An Isuzu commercial parodied this with a line moving on a map representing the traveler in the SUV being advertised, which stops when it reaches the edge and continues on outside of the map. Not even the coffee table the map is resting on can stop it from its journey.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In the second story-arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) to show how far Spike was thrown from the evil tower, he is shown singing to himself while walking across the landscape, but his song and pacing get more weary with each panel.
  • Parodied in The Sensational She-Hulk #12. A panel shows a map of America with the protagonist's plane flying across it, trailing a red line marking out its route. The next panel shows that her plane literally has an enormous red line hanging off the back, with an airport worker in the background muttering that Indiana Jones has a lot to answer for.

    Eastern Animation 

    Fan Works 
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series uses this in "The Insane Road Trip Part 1", set to "Life is a Highway".
  • The heroes travel this way in Cinderjuice while on the run from characters chasing them. They deliberately invoke the montage as being the most convenient way to travel.

    Films — Animated 
  • Parodied in The Emperor's New Groove with a map showing Pacha and Kuzco (represented by a dashed red line) racing to get back to the "Secret Lab" before Yzma and Kronk (represented by purple arrows). At one point, we cut to Yzma, who notices that there is an actual dashed line on the path ahead of them, and that they themselves are leaving a trail of purple arrows on the ground. They look at each other, shrug, and move on. Pacha and Kuzco easily win the race after the bad guys get knocked into a chasm, but Yzma and Kronk are there waiting for them anyway. Even they don't know how they did it, with Kronk pulling out the same map the audience was just looking at and commenting that it just doesn't make sense. They look at each other, shrug, and move on.
  • Parodied in the Arby 'n' the Chief movie, when Chief is escaping from LA it zooms out to the lines, except that since Chief has no idea where he is going, the lines are a tangled mess.
  • Bolt has a montage set to the song "Barking at the Moon", with the map being a Waffle World placemat. The montage shows the main characters passing from Ohio to Las Vegas on their way to Los Angeles as the titular character learns how to live and act like a normal dog.
  • The "Life is a Highway" sequence from Cars.
  • The closing credits of Cars 2 show Lightning McQueen and Mater travelling across the world and visiting car versions of various world landmarks before returning to Radiator Springs.
  • Happens twice in Dinosaur. The first travel montage involves Aladar's egg being taken away from his mother's nest by an Oviraptor, then rolling off a ledge into a river where it is then carried downstream, and finally being flown to Lemur Island via pterosaur; while the second involves Aladar, the lemurs, Eema, Baylene, Url, and the rest of the Herd being forced to march across a desert while searching for the Nesting Grounds, only to stop at a lake that is completely devoid of water.
  • Happens toward the end of The Pebble and the Penguin, just right before both Hubie and Rocko are attacked by orcas.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: The scene where the explorers travel on a subterranean highway through several Underwater Ruins via a large convoy of trucks.
  • Appears in both of The Rescuers films showing the journey of messages rather than characters:
    • The Rescuers during the opening credits with a Message in a Bottle asking for help sent by Penny as it floats out to sea and washes up New York, shown by a series of oil painting like panels featuring the message.
    • The Rescuers Down Under does it with a telegraph relay between the Australian Outback and New York portrayed via the "map with arrows" method.
  • Near the beginning of Dumbo, when we see the Delivery Stork carrying the titular elephant for the very first time, when said stork starts to figure out where Dumbo's eventual mother will be, for a few seconds, we see a brief overhead view of the Southeastern United States, which apparently traced the path of the circus train Mrs. Jumbo is riding in as said train is leaving the winter headquarters in Florida.
  • Lilo & Stitch has Stitch's journey to Earth and Hawaii, as shown on the Grand Councilwoman's computer monitor.
  • In The LEGO Movie, 80s astronaut minifig Benny finally gets to build a spaceship. The scene then gets an rapid-fire montage of the heroes flying through all the sets, with Benny screaming "SPACESHIP!" with each passover.
  • A Goofy Movie on the open road with Goofy's map as a guide.
  • BIONICLE 3: Web of Shadows, as Norik and the five Toa travel across the island to find the legendary beast Keetongu.
  • "Frozen Fever": A brief one following the trajectory of the snowball Elsa sneezed out as it flies towards the Southern Isles.
  • Frozen II has one as Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven are traveling to Northuldra.
  • The Secret of the Magic Potion: When Getafix is (unsuccessfully) looking for a worthy successor, part of the ensuing Terrible Interviewees Montage is presented that way, showing the protagonists crossing all over Gaul (including Corsica) during their travels. It even includes the Gauls taking a detour to sink the pirates.
  • The sequel to Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants has three of these, each in the fairly conventional red line on the map mold, except for the last one (because the shark was swimming in loops, It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Brother Bear, by way of the song, "On My Way."
  • The first Ice Age movie has one that's accompanied by Rusted Root's "Send Me on My Way" as the This was originally going to be made into a tradition for the franchise to have a montage scene starting with Meltdown, but the filmmakers thought it would be too boring and dropped it.
  • Rio 2. The Spix's Macaw family as well as their friends Rafael, Pedro and Nico (sans Luis the bulldog) are on their way to Amazon. Footage scenes include bathing in the fountain, buying a can drink from the vending machine, riding the emus, visiting butterflies and sleeping while flying.
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Mario, Peach, and Toad travel across different locations on their way to the Jungle Kingdom, coming across multiple environments with setpieces meant to evoke different games. They pass a field with a cannon like the one in Bom-Omb Battlefield in Super Mario 64; they go through a desert with the inverted pyramid from Super Mario Odyssey; they pass by a bunch of Yoshis on Yoshi's Island, with the fruits from Super Mario World growing there; and they come to a halt admiring the scenery in Rock-Candy Mines from New Super Mario Bros. U.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Barbie (2023): Parodied. Anyone going to and from Barbieland has to rollerblade/ride a boat/ride a tandem bike through a Land of Tulips and Windmills ("nice countryside"), use a camper van/ride a rocket/drive a sports car, and this is always shown as characters switching between the different modes of transportation as the camera pans sideways.
  • The Covenant (2023): One is used to hammer home the difficulty of the three weeks Ahmed dragged and pushed Kinley through the wilderness and over the mountains. And to skip over what is ultimately one guy and a practically unconscious dude in the middle of nowhere so we can see more important stuff.
  • Appears in all five Indiana Jones films, mainly as a homage to its use in the 1930s serials which inspired the movies.
  • The beginning of Robin Hood: Men in Tights, as Robin swims his way from Jerusalem to England to an orchestral arrangement of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
  • Subverted cleverly in 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: In a Flashback, young Willy runs away from home to become a chocolatier, and the next moment we see him striding forward as flags of many nations flutter past him. It all comes to an end, though, when a guard tells him the Hall of Flags is closing for the night.
  • Tooki Tooki Bird in the George of the Jungle movie.
  • In the spoof film Top Secret!, they show this as a set of dots working along a streetmap: then have them eaten by Pac-Man.
  • The live How the Grinch Stole Christmas! movie shows the red line on a map version of this; showing the Grinch traveling through the "dump-it to Krumpit" garbage chute out of Whoville to the top of Mount Krumpit.
  • The Warriors opens with the leaders of titular gang traveling to The Bronx. The rest of the movie is them leaving it.
  • Used in Tooth to show the kids travelling across the country.
  • The movie Im Juli depicts a journey through half of Europe, where Romania is portrayed entirely through still shots - not by choice, but because the Romanian government denied their shooting permit.
  • Happens in the Van Helsing movie.
  • Used briefly in the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie.
  • The epic sense of Worldbuilding encountered in The Lord of the Rings owes its self in part to this trope. Whenever heroes from The Fellowship travel vast distances, a series of scenes in geographically unique regions - typically of the Epic Tracking Shot variety - are used to convey the scale of their journey.
  • Road to Zanzibar uses the comedy version where the line starts meandering chaotically.
  • James Bond
  • The Guns of Navarone. In true Indiana Jones style! The travel around the Aegean as they start their mission is represented by reduced-opacity shots of planes in flight and a map background.
  • Used in The Rules of Attraction when Victor travels around in Europe.
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey subverts this. When the pets initially set off to find their owners, the screen dissolves into a physical map of California as if this trope was being invoked. Then suddenly a teacher's pointer whaps onto the map - we soon see it's actually a pull-down classroom map of California with the teacher talking about the Sierra Nevadas, while the kids are staring out the window wondering about them.
  • Played straight in The Rebound as a way of showing one of the main characters gaining maturity and life experience.
  • Parodied in The Muppets (2011) with the car's "Travel by Map" button. Its even a plot point- unlike conventional travel, no time elapses when you travel this way.
  • Done in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, with map grid lines and place names overlaid on the scenery they fly over. As with Indiana Jones, this is an aspect of the film's nature as an homage to 1930s pulp fiction.
  • A possible parody in Hook: As Peter Pan takes flight for the first time, he flies over Neverland and you see map grid lines and a large map compass beneath the Neverland sea.
  • A comedy one in Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, possibly because of the guide (played by Bill Maher).
  • Played straight in the opening scene of Casablanca, where it is used to show the refugee trail from Paris to Casablanca. Bonus points because it starts with a shot a of the globe and zooms in to Europe/Northern Africa.
  • In the form of animations in Youth in Revolt.
  • One shows up in Kill Bill when The Bride flies to Japan.
  • Played with in Babylon A.D., when Toorop plots their journey on a high-tec map that includes pop-up information. They haven't taken the journey yet, so it serves as exposition, but it's clearly influenced by the map version of this trope.
  • Big Bird's plane trip to Ocean View, Illinois in Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird is shown as a red line on a map, with several other fictional cities (and no real ones) highlighted.
  • Shandra: The Jungle Girl uses the 'red-line-on-the-map' version to depict the expedition's journey to Santiago.
  • Santoalla uses photos taken by Martin and Margo taken while they were traveling as this.
  • In Apache, the progress of the train taking Geronimo and the braves to Florida is depicted by shots of the train superimposed over a map with a dotted line showing the train's route.
  • Cannonball Run II follows the fight at the Pinto Ranch with a cartoon arrow on a cartoon map depicting the rest of the race. At a few key points, we see shots of what the racers are doing around that time.
  • Bicentennial Man: Andrew's "search for another" shows him visiting baseball fields, deserts, and snow-covered mountains before leading to essentially his own backyard with Rupert's shop in San Francisco.
  • Sleepless in Seattle uses a variant of this: the dotted line of a plane flying over a relief map of the United States as a transition between scenes.
  • Transylvania 6-5000: A montage of planes, trains and buses shows Jack and Gil's journey from the US to Transylvania.
  • Operation Finale. A montage shows the creation of the fake passports for the Mossad team sent to kidnap Adolf Eichmann, intercut with map arrows commencing from their point of origin according to their supposed nationality, with all the arrows converging on Buenos Aires.
  • In The Island at the Top of the World, the journey of the Cool Airship Hyperion into the Arctic is shown by a mix of Stock Footage and Captain Brieux ruling lines on the navigation charts to show their progress.

    Live Action TV 
  • Novoland: Eagle Flag: Asule's journey to Xiatang is shown with both the "line on a map" and "short glimpses of places along the way" varieties.
  • The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., almost every single episode, along with dramatic music.
  • The Amazing Race, given that traveling is the main premise of the game after all.
  • Parodied in The Colbert Report, where we get an Indiana Jones-style montage for a trip to a museum less than a dozen blocks from the studio then another for a walk to the basement of the same museum.
  • Chuck once parodied the Indiana Jones style montage with an Overly-Long Gag version.
  • Hilariously parodied in the Lines episode of Important Things with Demetri Martin.
  • Dawson's Creek has this in Episode 13 of Season 6: Joey, Eddie, Audrey, and Bob (played by Seth Rogen) set out on a road trip from Boston to California, in order to accompany Audrey to rehab, as well as bring Eddie to his new state of residence. Montage of the group goofing off in the car as well as shots of various roadways plays intermittently throughout the episode.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: every time a new location must be shown, the transition from the map is done with Epic Tracking Shots of Middle-earth that are used to convey the epic scale of the characters' journey in a similar fashion to the PJ's trilogy.
  • Occasionally Parodied on World's Dumbest..., including one instance where several commentators are on a road trip across the United States and somehow end up in Russia.
  • MythBusters: Part of their Jaws special was filmed in San Francisco and part in the Bahamas. The episode switched between locations with a map graphic showing an airliner zipping between those places, dragging a red line behind it.
  • The third episode of Doom Patrol (2019) features the team being forced to go on a two week road trip from Ohio to Peru to try and find their missing leader (they don't make it). The various members take turns driving leading to hilarity, including Jane threatening to jump out the window if Rita doesn't speed up.
  • The map version is used lightheartedly in the pilot for Lois & Clark. The two title characters are working late at the Daily Planet, and Clark offers to go out for Chinese. According to the map, he does exactly that... by flying to Shanghai and back. It's been established that Clark has traveled in Asia before coming to Metropolis, so presumably he had a specific restaurant in mind. (Imagining him flying across the Pacific carrying take-out bags is an unintended bonus.) The brief scene also seems to think that this universe's Metropolis is located somewhere just north of State College, Pennsylvania.
  • Doctor Who: Played straight in "Marco Polo", in which Marco narrates portions of the journey across China via voiceover while a map of the route is shown onscreen.

  • In "Cup of Brown Joy", Professor Elemental's head on a teacup travels to places famous for tea across the globe.

  • Seen in some of the display animations for Stern Pinball's Indiana Jones, and also invoked by the map background used in the backglass and playfield.

  • Gypsy has the Seattle to L.A. sequence during which Rose spots and abducts the future Newsboys.

    Video Games 
  • Both Bayonetta games start with a travel montage that takes place after the prologue, and Enzo introduces the games' plots during them.
  • Parodied in the Monkey Island games. In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, when sailing between islands, the map is shown, but the red line that indicates the route zigzags chaotically before reaching the destination, presumably on account of the lack of navigational skill on the part of Captain Dread. Escape from Monkey Island also features a Travel Montage represented by Guybrush's ship sailing a chaotic line through the Caribbean, and includes voice-overs as Guybrush and his crew react to the string of near-disasters they sail through... mainly by screaming and panicking.
  • Happens in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain after Mission 1 and before Mission 2.
  • Fallout uses Indiana Jones inspired map travel, with random encounters as cutaways.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 uses this when they use the aerodome from Moorabella to Fluorgis and back.
  • Appears any time you switch field maps in Final Fantasy X.
  • Appears when you go to another country in Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, Indy style.
  • In The Crystal Key 2, an Indy-style montage plays out whenever Call Lifeson uses his jetpack to travel to various areas of Meribah. More of these can be seen after Call discovers new locations.
  • The intro to an obscure shareware Platform Game Drake Snake and the Secret Crypt shows the main hero's travel to Africa with a red line on the map, which somehow goes below the map at times and returns on top through holes.
  • Used in World of Warcraft when traveling between continents on Azeroth using a transit service (such as by boat or by flying machine), though not when teleporting or using portals (which is the only way to access places like Outland or Draenor). The drawn line essentially acts as a loading bar.
  • A player-controlled version of this trope appears in Jazzpunk when the player is told to take a vacation.

  • Webcomic example: 8-Bit Theater uses a travel montage to travel — and while the other characters take the sudden transitions in stride, Black Mage is confused.
  • Regularly spoofed in Irregular Webcomic!.
  • Lampshaded in But I'm a Cat Person. "I wish we were in an anime or something, so that this whole trip could go by in a montage."
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: There is one in Chapter 11, covering a couple of weeks during which the crew is travelling to a far-away location but runs into noting particularly eventful on the way, aside from their vehicle breaking down a couple of times. A few shots show that a horde of trolls and ghosts is following them as well, setting up the events of Chapter 13.
  • Tales from Somewhere: Chapter 2 of The Legend begins with a collection of panels where the three main characters are going through a field, forest, river, etc. It ends when the characters are attacked during the night.

    Web Videos 
  • Crossed Lines: In episode 6, The Mail Bag Snag, as Atlas is pulling a train, we're shown an animation of him and his coaches travelling along the Waterdown Railway map, interspersed with videos of him travelling along the line.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in episode "The Origins Part 2" of The Amazing World of Gumball: Darwin is determined to crawl back home to Elmore and he finally makes it thanks to the power of love, brotherhood and family! Or maybe he is just crawling on an actual map of Elmore dropped in the middle of nowhere.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Parodied in "Pasadena Jones and the Meaning of Life". The red Indiana Jones travel montage line moves across the map. Cut to Buster Bunny sitting on top of the red line, muttering, "Someday I'm gonna buy me a plane."
  • Happens in The Simpsons when Santa's Little Helper runs away in "Dog of Death". A map of the locations he travels to is shown while Peter and the Wolf plays.
    • Also when Homer commands a nuclear submarine and ends leading it to Dirty Communist waters by error. After crashing the submarine into the compass on the map!
    • In "Simpsons Tall Tales", Connie Appleseed's travels are done in this format, planting apple trees (as trees pop up on the map), and the Buffalkills' journey (with buffalo skulls denoting their kills along the way.)
    • "Boyz N the Highlands" contains a few of these, all accompanied with the episode's Recurring Riff. We see small figures of Bart, Dolph, Nelson, and Martin moving across a pop-up style map, with red dots behind them. More characters are added throughout, but when it's just Bart, we get a clip of him accidentally going in a circle three times (complete with a "?" mark appearing above his head).
  • Parodied by Family Guy - Brian and Stewie are on a hot air balloon (long story), the travel montage shown as a map of the world, and Stewie is surprised that countries really do look like that from high altitude. "Such lovely printing, too."
  • Done briefly in South Park when the class are heading to Costa Rica by bus. Despite the trip being by bus, part of the journey portrayed by the map goes directly over the ocean.
  • The Futurama episode "Bendin' In The Wind" has a brief line-on-map shot, which is mostly notable for revealing how state names have changed in the future (Pennsyvania is split into Sylvania and the Penn Republicnote , Virginia is now Eastern West Virginia, and so on).
  • Appears in the House of Mouse version of Around the World in Eighty Days.
  • This shows up in nearly every single episode of Code Lyoko, namely whenever anyone is traveling to the factory. It shows at least five scenes of travel in the sewers, with the skateboards, ladders, the bridge, the ropes, the elevator ,and the overly long anyway door opening. This could also be considered Leave the Camera Running, or perhaps a non-funny Overly-Long Gag, or maybe even Padding.
  • Done in the Danger Mouse episode set on the Orient Express. At one point the map is not labeled, so the narrator has to explain that the train is entering "from the brown bit to the pink bit", with DM then commenting on the lovely shade of pink as he looks out the window.
  • Spoofed on the Animaniacs episode "Hearts of Twilight". As the Warners drive around the lot, Yakko in voice over explains that Wakko is driving, as the line moves erratically on the map. Then Yakko says that he's driving now, and the line stabilizes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic spoofs this in the episode "Daring Don't". One scene features a red line on a map a la Indiana Jones as the Mane Six track down A.K. Yearling. It's then revealed Pinkie Pie was painting an actual red line on the ground.
  • The Legend of Korra features one of these in the Book 3 episode "Rebirth." As the main characters are flying around the Earth Kingdom attempting to recruit new airbenders, their travels are shown on a map. After they are turned away at each location, their chibi faces on the map indicate their disappointment.
  • Parodied on one episode of Pucca, where the characters really are flying around on giant dotted lines.

    Real Life 
  • A very similar principle is often used to show the growth of a railroad or other networks on homepages, television programs, exhibitions, etc. As time go on, more and more parts will be added on the map and sometimes disappear again.
  • Flight trackers are a good Real Life example that can be used whether you're in the airplane itself via on-board entertainment and want to know where you are at the moment or you're on the ground and want to track your friend's flight (the latter is usually delayed by a few minutes for both data traffic and security reasons).


Mickey around the world

Mickey, alongside Goofy, begin their 80-day trip around the world.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

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