Are you a travel junkie? Does the thought of a summer trip around the world excite you? Are you annoyed because your plans got canceled because of the lockdown? Whether you are a city-travel enthusiast, fascinated by global historical sites, or simply an adventurous soul of the wild, we've got you covered. There exists an entire genre of shows that could quench your thirst for exploration. We've compiled a list of shows you can binge-watch and travel the world from the comforts of your living room couch.
What can you expect?
We understand that traveling means so much more than just sightseeing different historical buildings. If that were it, you would open up google earth and zoom in on the Eiffel tower! Travelling allows you to explore other cultures and experience the beauty of different lifestyles. And while the experience isn't the same through a TV show, you can explore various places through someone else's lens in some very exciting ways.
The travel show genre is filled with high production documentaries and shows that do justice to the places. These shows often have interesting storylines through which they explore specific parts of cultures –from food to traditions to even horror stories!
Our top picks
We've selected shows from a wide range of storylines to give you a variety of exciting choices for our list.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
With an 8.8 IMDB rating, 12 seasons, and a total of 104 episodes, Anthony Bourdain's adventures across the world are guaranteed to keep you entertained. The show follows Anthony's journey traveling to relatively unknown places and exploring their food cultures.
The show has a remarkable production and beautiful visuals. To keep the show from stagnating across 12 seasons, the format is varied to suit the locations. From hidden gems of western cuisine to Iran and Thailand's more eastern culture, Parts unknown is the perfect food and travel crossover. Although Anthony sadly passed away in 2018, his stories remain.
While Parts Unknown has a furnished documentation style, Departures is shot in a rough, vlogging format. But don't let that stop you from giving this a try because this style complements the boyish, casual charm of high-school friends Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach traveling the world.
Departures is a tried and tested pick with a 9.0 IMDb rating across 2050 votes and a Gemini Award for Best Photography in an Information Program.
Long way round
If you're a fan of road-trips, "it's about the journey" type of person, this show is for you. If you're into motorbikes, that's a cherry on top.
The long way around is a British television series that follows Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in their 31,000 km journey from London to New York City. The show features some crazy events like mafia encounters and wild mosquito bite injuries, making for very entertaining tv moments. The riders also worked with UNICEF on humanitarian causes by visiting projects like orphanages housing children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
An idiot abroad
An idiot abroad is one of the most exciting travel show concepts out there: forcing someone who hates traveling to travel across the world.
With an 8.3 IMDB rating, this show highlights the comedic elements of reluctant Karl Pilkington's journey to the Seven Wonders of the World. Although there are only three seasons (and 19 episodes), the show has been developed into a Christmas special mini-series, a spin-off series called The moaning of Life, and a podcast. If you find yourself captivated by Karl and his adventures, there's even a book titled "The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington," which explores Karl's thoughts while traveling.
Dark tourist is not for everyone as it merges the world of horror and travel documentaries. The series is about the fearless New Zealander David Farrier and his travel across the most unsettling places worldwide.
Besides an episode exploring voodoo magic, David usually goes to places that have been sites of historical tragedy. From investigating Pablo Escobar's legacy in Medellin to learning about Jeffery Dahmer at the locations of his murders in Milwaukee, this show is not the conventional travel show.
The amazing race
While not primarily known for its travel aspect, The Amazing Race is a must-watch. It is an all-time favorite with 32 seasons and still running (33rd delayed due to COVID). The show's premise is teams of two competing in a race around the world fighting for a grand prize of 1 Million dollars.
The show is divided into different legs involving different hurdles the teams must cross quickly as the last team to make it eliminated. While the show's race format keeps you on the edge of your seat, rooting for your favorite team (and switching to new favorites if your team loses), it is great for travel enthusiasts. The challenges are designed to complement the country where they are happening to explore the area's traditions. With other elements like having to take public transportation and communicating with the locals, the amazing race can be an immersive show.
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
A name almost synonymous to Food TV, Gordon Ramsay, is known for his practically comedic temper that we love seeing safely from our screens. In Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, however, as Gordon travels the world, exploring different cuisines, we see a much calmer side of him. This show makes its way to the many shows about Gordon Ramsay, giving him the status of a celebrity chef.
This Disney+ show is one of the best food-travel shows you'll find. Gordon knows his way around food, and you'll learn something while experiencing the food-culture across places like India, Hawaii, Norway, and Peru.
Whether you are bound by quarantine, a busy schedule, or a tight financial strain, you can feed your inner explorer with these shows. From the creepy adventures of David farrier in "Dark tourist" to the comedic tales of Karl Pilkington, there's a world of travel entertainment for you to explore.