Unable to travel but got the travel bug? Love learning about new cultures and exploring new things to do?
Travel shows let you uncover hidden lands and unfamiliar cultures from the comfort of your couch. From exploring local food to demystifying local politics, these 12 travel shows are sure to entertain, educate and inspire your future trips!
1. Parts Unknown
Any list of travel shows is incomplete without mentioning Anthony Bourdain’s amazing adventures. In Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef and best-selling author, explores music, food and culture from all over the world. The show is equally entertaining and humorous as it is informative and eye-opening.
What makes this travel show especially worth watching is that it goes beyond just showcasing the world’s food. This travel show also takes on the special responsibility of educating viewers about the local heritage, traditions, issues, and even current politics affecting whichever country each episode focuses on.
Watch it on: Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon
2. The Kindness Diaries
In this heartwarming travel show, former broker, Leon Logothetis, travels around the world on a motorbike relying only on the kindness of strangers for his shelter, food, gas, etc. The show truly does a great job of capturing the local spirit of people in different places. Plus, we could all use a reminder of how a simple act of kindness can go a long way!
Watch it on: Netflix
3. Planet Earth I & II
If you haven’t seen Planet Earth yet, what are you doing? Whether you are out and about or stuck at home, you need to watch this four time Emmy winning series. Planet Earth takes viewers on a journey that explores nature’s most beautiful habitats and amazing creatures. From the Arctic to the depths of the Indian Ocean, the most notable part of this BBC show is its incredible cinematography and picturization.
Watch it on: YouTube, Amazon, Google Play, BBC Shop
4. Dark Tourist
Dark Tourist is certainly a more unconventional travel documentary in that it explores unusual and mysterious tourist spots. From investigating African Voodoo to the scariest haunted house in the world, Dark Tourist is sure to shock and surprise you at every turn. This is Pilot’s pick for adventurers who may be a bit bored with the typical tourist destinations and who like to venture off the beaten track.
Watch in on: Netflix
5. Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
In this travel show, Gordon Ramsay, chef and insult extraordinaire, ventures to different parts of the world to discover local produce, cuisines and ways of life. Whether in Peru or in Norway, Ramsay does not shy away from leaping out of his comfort zone and wading through muddy swamps or bending over a steep hill; all for the world’s freshest ingredients. What makes this travel show a Pilot favorite is the high stakes cook-off between Ramsay and a local chef at the end of each episode.
Watch it on: Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling, Disney+
6. The Moaning of Life
The Moaning of Life is a British documentary comedy that follows Karl Pilkington as he travels to other countries and learns about the ways different people deal with life’s biggest questions. From how we define our identity to how different cultures approach marriage, this travel show dives deep into the customs and traditions we take for granted. What makes this show special is its realness and comedic take on thoughts we all have and questions that we often ask ourselves.
Watch it on: YouTube, Amazon
7. Rick Steves’ Europe
Perhaps a more traditional travel show, in this series Rick Steves explores Europe’s greatest cities and educates viewers on their history. Watching this show is a great way to brush up on your political and historic knowledge while getting recommendations on the lesser known activities you can do if you ever visit Europe. Whether you’re a European yourself, or don’t know anything about the region, we promise you that this travel show will teach you something new about the incredible continent.
Watch it on: Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Rick Steves website
8. Extreme Engagement
This is one of the best travel shows for those of you who love a little reality TV. Extreme Engagement combines the drama of reality TV with the adventure of travel as it explores one couple’s quest to find out how different tribes around the world make their relationships and marriages work. In order to test whether the main couple is truly ready for marriage, they embark on a year-long trip to discover if they have what it takes to get along even in the toughest parts of the world. Watch to find out if this adrenaline-filled journey brings them closer together or tears them apart!
Watch it on: Netflix
9. The Layover
Another Anthony Bourdain classic, The Layover is the perfect show for travelers who love making the most of limited time while on a trip! This travel show follows Anthony Bourdain as he tries to do as much as he can to explore a new city in just 24 or 48 hours. There is also a palpable time pressure factor as a clock starts the countdown as soon as Bourdain arrives at the airport. We love this show because it highlights the perfect combination of typical tourist activities and local experiences that you can do to get a taste of a new place. Some cool featured cities include Rome, Taipei and Singapore.
Watch it on: Hulu, YouTube, Sling, Amazon, Travel Channel
10. Expedition Unknown
Host Josh Gates’s passion for archeology and unsolved mysteries truly makes this show shine. Gates explores lost cities, buried treasure and historical remains - this show is the perfect Indian Jones-esque adventure series. To give you a better idea, episodes include searching for evidence of yetis, finding the remains of Amelia Earhart and taking a deep dive into the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.
11. The Amazing Race
How could we leave this classic out? The Amazing Race follows eleven teams of two that race around the world for a grand cash prize of US $1 million. The race is split into legs that include puzzles, riddles as well as mental and physical challenges. This travel show is the epitome of entertainment, pressure and risk as the teams do whatever it takes and push themselves to their limits in order to finish first. As if the race itself isn’t gruelling enough, the added stress of competition definitely strains most pairs’ relationships as they navigate their twisting path to the prize money. This show is surely one to watch and the ratings prove it; the show has won ten out of the fifteen Emmy Awards for Outstanding Reality-Competition Programs since 2003.
Watch in on: Hulu, YouTube, Sling, Amazon, CBS
12. Basic Versus Baller: Travel at Any Cost
We’ll end our list off with this awesome show that follows both the frugal and lavish adventures of two brothers set on exploring the world. Whether we are struggling to save for that next vacation or have plenty of cash in the bag, we all know that there are many ways to explore and experience new places. This show proves exactly that by assigning each of the ‘Vagabrothers’ either a ‘basic’ or ‘baller’ status for every holiday. See how much you truly get for your money’s worth as you watch the Vagabrothers experience the same popular travel destinations on vastly different budgets.
Watch it on: Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon, TasteMade
We Want To Hear From You!
Even though you may not be able to hop on a plane right this moment, there are still many ways to explore during the quarantine. Whether you feel safe taking a trip right now or not, let us know which of these shows lit up the travel bug in you!
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While travel shows may be a temporary cure to the travel bug, going on a trip and exploring new places and experiences is definitely way more recommended!
Speaking of trip planning, if you need a handy app to plan your nature-bound adventures or trips to anywhere on earth, we recommend you try Pilot. It’s a social travel planner that lets you plan trips together with friends, family, and even work colleagues.
If you're feeling uninspired or you're overwhelmed as to where you should travel, why not try out our travel-based newsletter, FlightDeck? It's a place where we share crazy new places to travel, cool travel news to know, and even our own crazy travel stories. If you're stuck as to where to go, FlightDeck will definitely inspire you to crazy and amazing places to travel!