Now fans can re-create the iconic American road trip from their favourite movie...

Hollywood and New York: Sunset Strip and the Great White Way are the first places that come to mind when we think of America on screen.

But there's more than 5000km between the metropolises on the East and West coasts and those great, wide open spaces - and the cities between - have been the backdrop to thousands of big-screen movies and small-screen TV series.

Like Mom, apple pie and the Stars and Stripes, the road trip is a defining symbol of USA culture. So, for millions around the world, is the road trip movie:

Like Easy Rider's Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, dressed in flag-waving leathers and a buckskin suit, riding their choppers from LA across the states to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras.


Or Thelma & Louise's Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, driving a Ford Thunderbird convertible in search of excitement in Oklahoma and New Mexico and ultimately in the Grand Canyon, Utah.

With increasing numbers of New Zealanders choosing a self-driving, self-catering holiday in North America (Cruise America, the largest renter of recreational vehicles, says 2017 rentals were up 23.3 per cent on 2016), there's a chance to theme a holiday in the tyre tracks of a favourite movie or TV show (not a good idea to follow Thelma & Louise to its conclusion, though).

It's easy to think of a dozen routes: in Rain Man, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman drive from Cincinnati, Ohio, across country to Las Vegas and Los Angeles; in 2006's double Oscar-winner, Little Miss Sunshine, the delightfully dysfunctional Hoover family drag their broken-down VW microbus from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to a child beauty pageant in Redondo Beach, California.

If you're considering a really long-distance roadie, follow the trail of Borat. American scenes for British satirist Sacha Baron Cohen's 2006 mockumentary were filmed in Roanoke, Virginia; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; San Bernadino, Orange and Hollywood, California; Newton, Massachusetts; Salem, Virginia; Birmingham, Alabama; Gaithersburg, Maryland; Manhattan, New York and Washington, DC.

Don't get too deeply into character: the mankini is still not a favoured fashion item in some of the more conservative states.

Follow a favourite actor, like Jack Nicholson on the Easy Rider trail and his later-life journey in About Schmidt, when he drove an RV from Omaha, Nebraska, through Kansas, to his daughter's wedding in Denver, Colorado – a 1700km round-trip.

Just about every American city you can name will have been name-checked in a movie or TV series: Sleepless in Seattle, Leaving Las Vegas, Nashville, Miami Vice.

In other productions, the city is the star. With more National Historic Districts than any other city in America, New Orleans is the perfect backdrop for visual storytelling.

Over the years, movies set or filmed in the Louisiana gem have ranged from classics like A Streetcar Named Desire and Interview with the Vampire to the Oscar-winner 12 Years A Slave; TV series include Treme and NCIS New Orleans. The Johnny Cash biopic I Walk the Line could only have been filmed in Nashville and Tennessee.

Some cities and states have been quick to cotton on to the opportunities presented when Hollywood comes calling, and have parlayed their scenery, climate and tax incentives into screen time.

One big winner is New Mexico, where more than 600 films have been shot in the past 100 years. You're bound to have seen The Grapes of Wrath, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or Crazy Heart; how about Get Shorty, No Country for Old Men, True Grit and superhero flicks like The Avengers?

The state's capital city often stands in for other towns but Albuquerque was front and centre in the hit TV series Breaking Bad and its prequel, Better Call Saul.

Chicago is another favourite movie set. That car chase in The Blues Brothers, the desolation of Looking for Mr Goodbar, the inspired idiocy of Ferris Bueller's Day Off are worth the price of admission.

For cinema buffs, visiting a famous location allows the opportunity to re-enact that one unforgettable moment from a favourite movie.

If you feel the urge to channel your inner Meg Ryan (or Billy Crystal) the When Harry Met Sally café is a real diner - Katz's Delicatessen, also known as Katz's Deli, a Jewish kosher eatery on the Lower East Side of New York City. There's a sign above the table where Sally…well, you know the rest.

But just like that faked moment of bliss, it's good to remember that movies are an illusion; like the Civil War classic Gone With the Wind most of which was shot in a studio in Los Angeles.

So, best thing is to do your research before you hire the RV and plan your trip. It's likely to be one of a lifetime.