Travel shows are meant to take viewers to places they’ve never been before, without them even needing to leave the house. Since many peoples’ travel plans were canceled due to the global health crisis, they are left staying indoors and hoping for the day they can jet off to their next destination.
Watching travel shows may not be the same as going to these unique locations in person, but they provide a virtual experience that can be quite enjoyable. Whether you’re looking for adventure, cuisine, survival skills, culture, or history, these are the best travel shows to watch during quarantine.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Will Make Your Mouth Water
The late Anthony Bourdain had some of the most-watched travel shows on television. Bourdain was known for being one of the top chefs and travel writers and his shows would take viewers all around the world to see him try tons of new dishes.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations originally aired on the Travel Channel and featured episodes that included experiences such as sampling “the greatest cannolis” in Sicily or visiting a music recording session in Cambodia. The series received many accolades, including two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Cinematography For Nonfiction Programming.
What Makes The Amazing Race Worth Watching
Not every travel show focuses on a singular host simply giving commentary on different parts of the world. The Amazing Race, on CBS, has several teams competing in difficult tasks around the globe in order to win the first-place prize of one million dollars.
It combines travel with physical tasks which sets it apart from other reality TV series. It’s a fan-favorite for featuring unique teams of two, such as circus clowns, hippies, beauty queens, or Harlem Globetrotters. The Amazing Race is gearing up to air its 32nd season in May of 2020.
Take A Trip To Flavortown On Diners, Drive-ins And Dives
Guy Fieri is one of the most memorable TV personalities of all time, with unique style, snazzy catchphrases, and his self-proclaimed title “the mayor of Flavortown.” His food and travel show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, quickly became a top series on the Food Network with Fieri traveling mainly around the United States and trying all kinds of specialty food.
Not only does every restaurant featured get to share some history about how they got started, but also shows step-by-step recipes for their most popular menu items. Fieri is a watchable host because he’s very personable and keeps a positive energy at all times.
Conan Without Borders Brings Comedy To The Typical Travel Series
Late-night host Conan O’Brien stepped away from his soundstage in Los Angeles to go on an international travel spree in Conan Without Borders. O’Brien doesn’t hold anything back as he stops in foreign countries such as Cuba, Australia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Korea, Haiti, and more.
When asked why he wanted to travel, he explained that he wanted to try “to make people laugh who didn’t even speak English.” Throughout the series he did some pretty outrageous things like going to a nude beach in Germany, starring in a K-Pop music video in Korea, and renting a fake family in Japan.
Why Our Planet Is A Visual Masterpiece
This travel show is mainly for animal and wildlife lovers. David Attenborough narrates Our Planet, a documentary series that focuses on several animal habitats throughout the world including the Arctic, jungles, and deep sea. Viewers can get an up-close and high definition view of all kinds of animals in their natural habitats.
Our Planet was able to get some of the most dynamic shots in a wildlife show such as clear, aerial drone pans and extreme close-ups of some amazing microscopic organisms. It’s now available to stream on Netflix.
The Kindness Diaries Shows The Good In Humanity
The premise of Netflix’s The Kindness Diaries is something that most likely hasn’t been done on television before. After Leon Logothetis hops aboard his vintage yellow motorcycle and Volkswagen Beetle convertible, he is off on a special mission. He must travel around the world and only rely on the kindness of strangers for essentials such as food, shelter, and gas.
Logothetis is not allowed to accept money from anyone or bring any of his own, but in return for the kindness he receives, he promises to give people money to follow their dreams. After the success of the first two seasons, he announced that a third will be released soon.
An Idiot Abroad Gets Karl Pilkington Out Of His Comfort Zone
The British documentary series An Idiot Abroad follows homebody Karl Pilkington as he sets out to visit some of the biggest landmarks in the world under the watchful eyes of Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais. When Pilkington arrives at each destination he is tasked with doing something outside his comfort zone and has no prior warning what the activity will be.
Some of the things he’s done on the show include bungee jumping in New Zealand, whale watching in Alaska, and going to dance at a samba school to be a part of the Carnival parade in Brazil.
Running Wild With Bear Grylls Brings The Star Power
Bear Grylls is known for being one of the top survivalists on television, with numerous shows showing off his adventure skills. In Running Wild with Bear Grylls he isn’t alone for the survival missions anymore because he’s taking famous celebrities with him.
Viewers may recognize stars such as Kate Hudson (pictured), Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, and Zac Efron going way beyond their comfort levels to keep up with Grylls. He takes the celebs to survive in some of the world’s most picturesque places, where they may hike through glaciers or skydive in the Catskill Mountains.
Rick Steves’ Europe Appeals To Baby Boomers
Europe has plenty of popular tourist destinations and hidden gems, which can make for a great trip. American travel writer Rick Steves created a show called Rick Steves’ Europe on PBS that shows him guiding viewers through his favorite European cities.
Over the almost 20 years that Steves spent hosting the show, he went to places such as Portugal, Edinburgh, Berlin, and Romania. Throughout each episode, Steves explains why people should visit and includes some interesting historical facts as well. He also has a travel website where he blogs about his many trips and includes helpful travel tips.
Join David Chang And His Celebrity Friends In Ugly Delicious
David Chang’s Ugly Delicious is a Netflix travel and food series that shows Chang exploring the world’s most interesting cuisines with his celebrity friends. The show proves that even though the food may appear unusual it can be surprisingly delicious. Since the first season was well-received, he recently returned with a second season.
Viewers who love Chang’s demeanor and the way he presents food and culture should also check out his other Netflix series called Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner with guests including Seth Rogen and Chrissy Teigen.
Somebody Feed Phil Is Good For The Soul
Before Phil Rosenthal started making food and travel shows, he was the creator behind the beloved sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. The successor to his first show, I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, is Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil. Each episode has Rosenthal traveling to various countries with his friends and sampling both the cuisine and culture.
Since he has a background in comedic television he is able to provide his own humorous commentary to whatever new situation he finds himself in. Reviewers find Somebody Feed Phil very upbeat and positive and it keeps viewers engaged all the way through.
Carmen Sandiego Is The Perfect Travel Show For Kids
Some of today’s top children’s shows also teach about travel. Carmen Sandiego is an animated adventure show that centers around an expert thief who travels all over the world. The character first started as a set of educational video games in the 1980s and has expanded into an entire franchise of games, shows, movies, and more.
Netflix’s Carmen Sandiego is told from the titular character’s perspective and incorporates educational elements about the famous cities she visits in each episode. It includes the voices of popular actors Gina Rodriguez, Finn Wolfhard, Liam O’Brien, and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.
An Unlikely Trio In Restaurants On The Edge
There’s a double meaning to the title of Netflix’s Restaurants on the Edge. A group of experts (a restaurateur, designer, and chef) team up to remodel restaurants on the brink of closure, but the catch is that the locations of these restaurants are in some of the most stunning parts of the globe.
While the show strives to help the failing restaurant owners, it also focuses on the scenery around the restaurant and the remodeled interiors, as opposed to the owners learning about what went wrong with their businesses.
Dark Tourist Depicts Popular Travel Sites A Lot Differently
In Dark Tourist, journalist David Farrier explores sites related to dark tourism, or areas where tragic events have occurred. This definitely isn’t a family-friendly show, with episodes about the Manson Family, Jeffrey Dahmer, voodoo, and the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapon test sites. He travels to almost every continent to get up close and personal with tons of taboo memorabilia.
While many of the places he visits have been shown on television already, they haven’t been depicted in such a dark way before. The only problem some viewers seem to have with the show is the host, because they thought he was too easily offended by almost everything.
Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father Has Quite The Dynamic Duo
This father-and-son duo couldn’t be more opposite. Jack Whitehall is a famous comedian who takes his curmudgeon father on trips around the world in Netflix’s Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father. As the two of them enter new countries Jack does everything he can to get his dad out of his comfort zone, which makes for some pretty entertaining content.
Jack and his dad go to plenty of vibrant cities such as Bangkok, Chernobyl, and Compton, where viewers can watch their hilarious banter mixed with some unforgettable high jinks.
Salt Fat Acid Heat Proves Why Traveling Is Essential For A Good Meal
The name of chef and author Samin Nosrat’s cooking show, Salt Fat Acid Heat, is based on what she thinks are the four elements of successful cooking. The Netflix series is broken up into four episodes that each focus on one of the components as Nosrat travels to Mexico, Japan, Italy, and California.
It was praised by The Washington Post for featuring a lot of female chefs, which is something rare to see in cooking shows. Before making the series, she wrote a cookbook that talks about the same four cooking components, so viewers can try out the recipes on their own.
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted Shows A Different Side Of The Passionate Host
One of Gordon Ramsay’s most recent shows is the National Geographic series Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted. While he is most commonly seen yelling at amateur chefs in the kitchen, this travel show has him going to places such as Peru (pictured), New Zealand, Morocco, Hawaii, Laos, and Alaska to learn about the local cuisines and traditions.
Ramsay reveals a kinder and gentler side to himself that isn’t usually seen on his reality shows. While some viewers complained that the series was almost always centered around him, they were glad to see him effortlessly work with the local experts in each episode.
See The Price Of Living In Foreign Countries On House Hunters International
When House Hunters became a surprise smash hit on HGTV, there were a few spin-offs created to keep the interest of viewers. House Hunters International keeps the same format of the original show, but goes to beautiful locations across the globe.
People can see what the cost of living is in other countries and what it takes to move to a foreign area. While the main focus of the series is on the three housing choices, there are still parts of the show that focus on famous attractions, local community, and scenic backdrops.
See The Country In A New Way In Aerial America
Traveling across the United States to see all the iconic landmarks takes a lot of time and not everyone has the opportunity to do so. Luckily, Aerial America on the Smithsonian Channel takes viewers to several of these iconic sites with eye-catching aerial video tours.
The episodes visit places like national parks, skyscrapers, and sites around Hollywood. Every state in America has a designated episode and there are also others that focus mainly on popular tourist attractions. People who watch the show using a virtual reality headset have the ability to feel like they’re actually there.
Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern Isn’t For Viewers With Weak Stomachs
Those with a weak stomach may have a hard time watching this show. Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern has the chef circling the globe looking for the strangest foods of all time. Some of the foods he’s tried include giant sea squirt in Santiago, Chile, tarantulas in Cambodia, and coconut tree grubs in Iquitos, Peru.
Many may quiver at the thought of even being near some of these rare delicacies, but Zimmern will take a large bite without hesitation. After trying the food, he also takes part in local activities and learns about the history and culture of the area.