Now that we are spending more time at home, we’ve been watching a lot more shows on TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services. If you are missing travel like we are, we have put together a list of the best travel shows to watch right now (with the help of some of our fellow travel bloggers).
And if you are looking for more travel related things to watch, here is a list of the best travel movies of all time.
Best Travel Shows and Series
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Best Travel Shows on Netflix
The following travel shows and series are available on Netflix only.
Recommended by Stephanie from Explore More Clean Less
Ugly Delicious is a relatively new food focused travel show that follows celebrity chef David Chang, founder of Momofuku, as he explores both across the United States and internationally. The episodes are loose and casual, showing Chang investigating the history of different regional cuisines and food rivalries. His guests range widely including other chefs, writers, actors, and artists, but they tend to share similar air time to the restaurant owners and people off the street. The focus blurs between culture and personal, feeling like you’re the fly on a wall while interesting people who love food hang out and chat about it. There’s no way to watch it and not be itching to travel to a new region and try some of the foods they highlight!
Travels With My Father
Recommended by Lee from The Travel Scribes
From the moment they touchdown in Bangkok, Thailand and make their way to the famous Khao San Road, the Netflix series Travels with my Father will capture your heart, and tickle your funny bone.
Chronicling the experiences of British father and son duo, Jack and Michael Whitehall, this laugh a minute series not only showcases some of the globe’s most famous destinations but features the offbeat, slightly sarcastic relationship between Jack, a 30-something comedian still longing for his backpacker days and Michael, his elderly ever-suffering dad. The drama (and the giggles) are mostly driven by the vastly different travel styles of the two: Jack, the singlet and loud shorts-wearing millennial who is most comfortable in questionable hostels and eating street food and Michael, a slightly uptight luxury traveller who insists on wearing his ‘Sunday best’ on the streets of Southeast Asia and checking into five star hotels.
The show, now in its third season, sees the unlikely pair traverse the globe with jaunts in South East Asia, Europe and, more recently, a tour of the USA. This is must-watch viewing for anyone who loves British comedy and travel, in each measure.
Somebody Feed Phil
Recommended by Amber from Food And Drink Destinations
From the creator of the hit comedy series, Everyone Loves Raymond, comes the Netflix food travel series, Somebody Feed Phil. Following the culinary journeys of Phil Rosenthal, Somebody Feed Phil presents food travel from the “average” travelers perspective. Phil is by no means a food professional like Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern. Phil is an easy going family man who just happens to LOVE food. Over 2 seasons and 12 episodes, Phil with his mall crew, including his brother, travel to some of the best food destinations around the world. Phil’s childlike enthusiasm for each new destination, cuisine and culinary experience is priceless. His inquisitive nature and ability to connect with people makes Somebody Feed Phil a one of a kind culinary travel show. For those interested in traveling for food, Somebody Feed Phil attempts to alleviate the fear of trying the local food. It’s certainly worth watching. Netflix has also previously announced a season 3 with episodes scheduled to air sometime in 2020.
Recommended by Martha from Quirky Globetrotter
Nowadays, travel is often painted as an Instagrammable pastime. Yet, there is a surge of tourists who are looking for quite the opposite and want to see the not-so-glamorous parts of the world. We’re not talking off the beaten path. We’re talking more about what happens behind closed doors and what rumors try to speculate. The trend of traveling and diving into the taboo and unknown comes to life in the Netflix show, “Dark Tourist.”
Whether it’s visiting radioactive nuclear sites or learning about gruesome assassinations, it’s the sense of forbiddenness or coveted secrets that these tourists ache for. Have you ever wondered why people are so enthralled by serial killer documentaries? The same thrill takes place in these destinations. (Don’t worry, there’s a Jeffrey Dahmer tour for you true crime aficionados.) Dark tourism profits off exposing the occult or veiled history of these locales.
Recommended by Laura from What’s Hot?
Our Planet is one of David Attenborough’s latest documentary series and was made directly for Netflix. Like all his other series, this one is beautifully shot, highly informative and well-loved by all the family. What sets One Planet apart from some of the others however is the focus upon how human life and global warming are destroying these natural havens. Attenborough takes us to some of the most beautiful and peaceful places on Earth before showing us the tragic consequences that have left other, similar areas barren wastelands.
Alternating between land and sea, you’ll go to the desert, the depths of the ocean, the jungles and the coast. This is an important one for avid travellers because it will jointly inspires us to travel more of the world’s secluded locations but also to do so in a way which doesn’t disturb our planet.
Emily in Paris
Recommended by Matilda
Emily in Paris is about a young American woman who lands a job in a Parisian marketing firm. The show was created by the same person as Sex and The City and has a similar vibe only instead of New York heavily features Paris. It is fun, somewhat campy and an easy watch. While I wouldn’t recommend it as an entirely accurate portrayal of French culture, the scenery is absolutely beautiful and reminds me why Paris is one of my all-time favorite cities.
Best Travel Shows on TV, Amazon Prime Video and Other Streaming Services
The following travel shows and series are available on TV, Amazon Prime Video and/or various streaming services (such as Hulu).
An Idiot Abroad
Recommended by Haley Plotkin, Ready Set Jet Set
An Idiot Abroad is a hysterical British travel docu-series following Karl Pilkington, a man that one could call an “idiot savant”. What everyone has to know about Karl is, he really does not like to travel. Knowing this, his friends Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who one may know as famous British comedic actors, send Karl on epic adventures all across the world, with some twists and pranks along the way. These are the kind of trips that most people would kill for, but to Karl, he’d rather be home with a cup of tea. One of the highlights of the show is the Karl-isms along the way, such as: “The Great Pyramid is overrated. It’s a bad design. The lounge is going to be huge, but the bedroom is going to be tiny.” This is really not your typical travel show, and that’s what makes it a must-watch!
Where to Watch: This show is a few years old, so it is not currently airing anywhere in the US (it was created for Sky TV in the UK). In the US, you can buy it digitally on platforms such as Amazon Prime, Vudu, and iTunes.
Recommended by Paula Morgan from Expert Abroad
The Layover was just one of the many travel shows that featured everyone’s favourite food traveller Anthony Bourdain. It aired for three seasons between 2011-2013 and after watching the very first episode on a 48-hour visit to New York it will likely change the way you travel forever.
No longer will you book the fastest trip to your destination. A stopover is not viewed as a hardship it is now something to embrace. The series covered 20 cities and racing against the clock Bourdain showed the audience the best things to eat, see and do, usually with a knowledgeable local as his sidekick.
The pace at times seems a little exhausting and you may not manage to cover as much in your 24 hours as the pro’s do but they make it easy for you to pick a few things for your next visit.
The team covered almost all of the main transit hubs across Asia, Europe and the USA including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and NYC. Next time you find a cheap flight because of a long stopover check the series list and start making some plans.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Recommended by Arrianne Guzman from Travel Habeat
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is a travel and food show featuring an amazing chef exploring destinations less traveled by. As it inspires you to explore off-the-beaten paths, you’ll delve into intricate cultures, rich history, and beautiful people. You’d realize that a dish is more than what goes in a plate, it’s about tradition, heritage, and way of living. Catch Anthony tries a delectable Filipino dish called sisig and a scrumptious dessert fondly named “halo-halo” while grasping how the Philippines spend an extended Christmas season. Unravel with him the complicated past of Koreatown in Los Angeles and see what it was like to grow up Korean American. Or maybe you’d agree with him how a salad of fermented tea leaves can taste good in Myanmar.
Recommended by Albi from Ginger Around the Globe
Expedition Unknown is a TV show that will sparkle the heart of every traveler, who loves history. Josh Gates will take you around the globe and at the same time, you will see him and other archeologists, solving ancient mysteries. You will get to know about Kruger treasure, where is the tomb of last Inka king and more Indiana Jones mysteries like this. So you will see all kinds of places and at the same time, know their history and local culture. It is very informative, fun and wanderlusty.
Rick Steves Travel Series
Recommended by Noel Morata from Travel Photo Discovery
One of my favorite travel shows that turned me onto traveling was watching the PBS travel programs with Rick Steve’s. Primarily focused on travels in Europe, Rick Steve’s showcased an amazing series of places to visit around Europe and each lovely country. He initially visits a destination and hops around with a local expert to show the highlights, enjoy some local food and drink and see some cultural treasures along with connecting with locals, merchants and everyday people. It makes it so fascinating to watch his programs and really shows audiences the connection with people, place, culture and food makes traveling to Europe so wonderful and fun. Rick Steve’s has created a lot of guide books about individual countries that you can purchase or just watch his TV series on PBS for inspiration for planning a trip to a specific country in Europe that has always been on your bucklist of places to visit. So if you are looking for inspiration about a particular country with all the bells and whistles of what makes each area so unique and special, check out any of his programs on TV. You’ll be hooked and wanting to binge watch all of his programs in a row.
Recommended by Megan Starr
One of the best shows to watch for those that love combining travel with beverages and food is Booze Traveler, a show by The Travel Channel that showcases a host traveling around the world in search for special alcoholic drinks in countries that he visits. I actually helped with a couple of the episodes back in the day (Lithuania and Armenia) and it really brought to light how many unique drinks exist in every place that you travel! They travel across the globe from Hawaii to Armenia to Nepal and beyond. It is a really refreshing show!
Recommended by Coni from Experiencing the Globe
Three Canadian friends decide to leave the Great White North behind and explore the world. They pack a bag, say goodbye to friends and family, and off they go. The initial plan is to spend a year traveling, but it quickly transforms into three whole years.
They spend a month in India, another in Japan, another in New Zealand. As they start feeling more comfortable on the road, the push their own boundaries and head to tougher destinations, like Libya and North Korea. They explore Greenland during winter, meet ancient tribes in Papua New Guinea and travel across the different scientific bases of Antarctica.
It’s impossible not to get inspired with the tons of wanderlust Departure sends our way.
Where to Watch: Available on Apple iTunes and Hoopla.
James May: Our Man in Japan
Recommended by Emma from Emma Jane Explores
Top Gear’s James May might seem like a strange choice for a travel show host, but the bumbling Englishman is an endearing host as he takes viewers on a comprehensive trip around Japan from North to South. Always happy to throw himself into any bizarre situation, Our Man in Japan sees May participate in all sorts of activities from dog sledding in Hokkaido to painting Mount Fuji with a renowned Japanese artist. Streaming on Amazon Prime, Our Man in Japan covers a whole lot of unique quirks that make the country a must-travel destination for all kinds of traveller types. Whether you’re a first timer to Japan or a serial visitor, Our Man in Japan will make you all kinds of eager to get back over to the land of the rising sun soon.
Where to Watch: You can watch on Amazon Prime Video only.
Recommended by Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
The award-winning, BBC documentary series, Planet Earth was first shown in 2006. It took four years to film, using 71 cameramen in 64 different countries. The series was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC and the first to be filmed in high definition. The 11 episode series is narrated by David Attenborough and celebrates the natural world in a way you’ve never seen it before. Each episode features a different biome or habitat on Earth and lasts 50 minutes plus an extra 10 minutes of behind the scenes footage showing the challenges of filming the episode.
Ten years after the first series, Planet Earth II was released showing how animals meet the challenges of surviving in the most iconic habitats on earth. A third sequel is planned to air in 2022.
Samantha Brown: Places to Love
Recommended by Francesca Makana of Homeroomtravel
Samantha Brown has been an icon in the travel world for my entire life. Back in the day, she was best known for her Passport series. Present-day she hosts Samantha Brown: Places to Love. In this show, Brown showcases some lesser-known destinations, like the Texas Hill Country, and covers things to do in that area. Although she does still cover larger, well-known cities, such as Shanghai, she will not just list the main tourist sites. Instead, she interacts with the locals and finds unique things to do in that location.
Where to Watch: Viewers can catch Places to Love on PBS and select episodes on the PBS website.
Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure
Recommended by Emily from Wander-Lush
There are few parts of the world that inspire wanderlust more than Central Asia. In this 2018 miniseries, British actress and supermodel, Joanna Lumley (you may recognize her from the 1990s comedy sitcom Absolutely Fabulous) retraces parts of the fabled Silk Road trading route from the perspective of a tourist.
Over four episodes, she travels from Venice to Uzbekistan via Iran, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, visiting caravanserais, fire temples and bazaars along the way. This series brings to life the cross-pollination of ideas and influences that characterizes this part of the world where East intersects with West.
Lumley’s dry British humor and insatiable curiosity make her a terrific host. Even if you’re never considered visiting Central Asia and the Caucasus before, this series will inspire you to follow the footsteps of Marco Polo on one of the most epic overland journeys of all time.
Recommended by Ruby from A Journey We Love
Travel Man is a 30 minute British TV show hosted by Richard Ayoade shown on Channel 4 (UK). Each week, he travels with someone for a quick getaway (48-72 hours) and breaks down tourist sites, what to eat, facts about the city and banters around with his co-presenter for the week. For people living abroad, you can watch some of the shows on Channel 4’s website, and there are also full episodes available on Travel Man’s official YouTube channel. What makes the show interesting is that the host, Richard Ayoade, is not a big traveler nor is he a big fan of trying new things. It makes for a great perspective on how to plan quick weekend getaways for those who are planning trips with people who don’t like to travel and how to make it interesting for them. It also makes the series very funny because watching the host’s reactions and monologues is absolutely priceless.
Where to Watch: For people living abroad, you can watch some of the shows on Channel 4’s website, and there are also full episodes available on Travel Man’s official YouTube channel. You can also find episodes on Amazon Prime Video.
The Amazing Race
Recommended by us
The Amazing Race is our favorite travel show and we have been watching it from the beginning. The American reality competition show has aired 32 seasons on CBS since its premiere in 2001. If you enjoy the drama of reality competition shows and are also a travel lover then you will love The Amazing Race. Each season takes place in a few different countries and in total The Amazing Race has visited over 90 different countries and six continents. Teams of two people (usually couples, friends, or family members) race around the world, solving clues and completing tasks and challenges along the way. Relationships are tested and there are sometimes arguments between teammates and with other teams. The last team to finish each leg is eliminated until three teams race to the finish line in order to win $1 million. Fun fact: We actually applied to be on the show as a sisters team (more than ten years ago and long before we started this blog) but alas we were not chosen!
Did your favorite travel show or series make the list?