Are you looking for some amazing travel TV shows to feed your wanderlust?
There is nothing better than watching inspiring travel TV shows when you don’t get to travel. They are entertaining, helpful to plan your travels and open your mind (and heart) to new places.
Sometimes you will discover underrated places that you would have never thought of going. And that’s the great thing about it, you don’t only get to learn about the places you want to go. You discover new places!
It’s also a very good way to learn more about the culture of these places.
As you may know, I love discovering new cultures. I find all of them so incredibly interesting. Foreign languages, food, history… there is just so much to discover. It’s so interesting and exciting!
Here are some of my favourite travel TV shows!
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Best Travel TV Shows on Netflix
Jack Whitehall: Travels with my father
Jack Whitehall is a famous British comedian. He is mainly known to be the posh lad in Fresh Meat (filmed in Manchester by the way 😉 ).
In real life, Jack Whitehall actually is a very posh Londoner. He comes from a wealthy family and never got the chance to go backpacking as many young people do.
On top of that, he always had quite a difficult relationship with his dad, who is 79.
This is why, in 2017, Jack Whitehall invites his dad, Michael, to go backpacking with him in Asia for a Netflix original series.
By that, I mean proper backpacking. Sleeping in hostels, taking cheap transportation, carrying a backpack… and guess what, his dad said yes!
This show is absolutely hilarious and a perfect mix between comedy and travel. If you need something to cheer you up and make you dream of foreign lands, it’s the perfect choice!
In the first season, they travel through countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
It’s so funny to watch as the dad is quite a character. He is a very posh person and obviously not quite happy about the lack of comfort.
If you like British humour, Jack and Michael Whitehall will crack you up!
The show had so much success that it was renewed for a second season in Europe. A continent that Michael famously voted to leave! In the third season, they go to America and here again, it takes a whole new dimension.
Give it a try, you will be hooked straight from the first episode!
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
You may know Anthony Bourdain as a chef but did you know that he had a few travel shows as well?
My favourite is Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. This American food and travel show was produced by CNN and ran from 2013 to 2018. Sadly, Anthony died while working on a show about Strasbourg, France on the 8th of June 2018.
In this show, he travels the world and focuses on the lesser-known and underrated places. He goes to pretty much any country you can think of and explores the culture and cuisine with locals. Very often he goes around with local guides, sometimes he also gets to meet famous personalities.
In his episode about Lyon in France, he goes for dinner with Paul Bocuse, the famous French chef.
Bourdain has this very unique way to explore the world. He sees the beauty in everything and always makes sure to be in perfect sync with local cultures.
He had this unique ability to see the world as the absolute beauty it really is and through Parts Unknown, shares his vision of the world’s cultures.
It’s not a show that I would categorise as funny, although there are some quirks. But it’s definitely the most interesting and passionate one of this list!
In Dark Tourist, the journalist David Farrier focuses on something rarely talked about: Dark Tourism. Dark tourism is the fact of travelling to places associated with death or tragedy.
This type of travel is getting more and more popular and that’s why David Farrier goes to experience it and share with us his journey.
Dark Tourist is a very interesting show to watch as clearly, he is immersing himself into some culture and believes that you probably never even heard of before that.
Secondly, it can get quite funny and that Kiwi accent is always so cute!
Lastly, let’s be honest, it’s bloody weird! And clearly extremely interesting. I had no idea most of these things existed and although it can be creepy at times, it is quite interesting to know more about them.
Emily in Paris
Emily in Paris is a Netflix Original TV Show that was released in 2020. It was created by Darren Star (best known for “Sex and the City”).
It’s the story of Emily Cooper, an American girl, who moves to Paris to work in a French marketing agency.
Although it was argued that the show was full of clichés, it is still a very cool thing to watch. As a French person, I loved it! It may not quite be representative of what a normal french life is but it highlights the most magical aspects of Paris! It will make you dream!
Emily Cooper is played by Lilly Collins (British-American actress) but most of the other main characters are French which makes the show even better! They all speak English (some with a better accent than others).
It’s a feel-good travel show that will make you want to visit Paris straight away!
And if you do, you will be able to visit Emily in Paris filming locations!
Best Travel TV Shows on Amazon Prime
James May: Our man in Japan
You may know James May as one of the presenters of Top Gear. But he’s got way more in store than you’d think.
In this Amazon Prime original, James May goes to Japan and experiences many aspects of Japanese Culture.
He goes to all the main cities including Tokyo and Kyoto but also some more remote places in the Japanese countryside.
James May is a typical British guy and definitely knows how to come up with the best comments!
Just picture him, in Japan, not speaking a single word of Japanese, clueless about the culture… and yet going for it!
It’s a very interesting mix of fun and culture.
If you love Japan, you will definitely like it but even if you don’t have any specific interest in this country, you will still enjoy it, I promise!
You can watch this amazing show on Amazon Prime. Click here to check it out and get a free trial!
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour is British motoring show featuring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Although it is known for cars, it’s also an excellent travel TV show to watch.
The famous trio used to present Top Gear for BBC. In 2015, BBC didn’t renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract. At this point, his friends decided to follow him and they signed a contract with Amazon Prime. The Grand Tour was born!
On the Grand Tour, Clarkson, Hammond and May embark the most incredible vehicles and set off to explore some of the most beautiful countries in the world!
They visit some famous places but also adventure themselves in very remote, off-the-beaten-path, locations. This includes Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Italy and many more!
The Grand Tour is available on Amazon Prime. There are several seasons and some specials!
The Amazing Race is an American reality TV show. I’ve watched every season of the French equivalent, Pekin Express. As much as I would love to talk about this show, I appreciate that watching a show in french might not be of your liking!
But it’s ok because the Amazing Race is pretty much the same thing. There is an American and Canadian version.
The concept is simple. There are several teams of two racing around the world. In each episode, they have to go to a certain destination with no money. Therefore their only option is to hitchhike and get locals to accommodate them for free.
Along the way, other missions are given to them. These can be hikes, riding… all sorts of things.
It’s the perfect show to discover many countries in a different way. The Amazing Race has it all: competition, culture, landscapes, fun… A must see!
And there are over 30 seasons available so plenty to binge-watch!
If you are looking for another funny British travel show, Travel Man is for you! In this channel 4 show, the host Richard Ayoade explores all major cities around the world. The goal? Visiting as many tourist spots in the minimum amount of time.
When I say that, don’t get me wrong. He is very well organised and makes sure to go on a guided tour most of the time. This means he actually embeds himself very well in the culture of the place he is visiting.
But where loads of travel shows focus on hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations, Travel Man does the opposite. He goes for the most famous landmarks! And it’s a good thing because even though these places are touristy, they are famous for a reason!
Richard Ayoade is a very funny man and will make you laugh out loud quite a few times! Somehow, he always does his best not to enjoy himself which makes the whole show absolutely hilarious!
This show is perfect if you are planning city breaks or are into architecture. If you are an adventure and after nature discovery, it won’t be what you are looking for.
Other Travel TV Shows worth watching!
Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad
This one is very similar to Jack Whitehall Travels with my father. On paper at least.
In this case, the dad is the celebrity. Bradley Walsh is a famous British comedian and presenter. If he never particularly wanted to travel, his 21-year old son, Barney, decided otherwise!
Together they go on a road trip in America in an RV. The series started in 2019 and can be watched on Amazon. There are 2 seasons, 10 episodes in total.
In this case, they don’t go for a budget-travel version. They keep their comfort but try very unexpected activities in the States.
It’s more about the contact with the locals which is quite interesting.
As you would expect from the Walsh’s, it’s also very funny!
They go from the Florida Keys up to Georgia. So if you are interested in knowing more about Florida and the east coast states, this one’s for you!
You can watch this amazing show on ITV (eligible for a free trial as well!).
An Idiot Abroad
An Idiot Abroad is one the quirkiest travel show that you can find.
Here is the plot: the main person, Karl Pilkington has never wanted to travel and will be forced to.
Basically, at the beginning of the episode, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (who created the show) send Karl abroad with instructions. They put together a bucket list and he has to do everything.
It’s so funny! I promise, this British show will crack you up!
The thing that makes it so entertaining is the fact that Karl Pilkington has no interest in travelling and ends up doing all these things while the other two stay in the UK!
If you want to have a good laugh, An Idiot Abroad is the way to go!
BBC Race Across the World
Even though the Amazing Race is a concept available in almost all countries, it doesn’t exist in the UK. But don’t you worry, the BBC thought that through and created its own program!
The concept of the Race across the world is a bit different though. In this show, you will follow 5 pairs of travellers on an epic race across the world. In the first season, their mission is to go from London to Singapore without taking a single flight. They are being given a bit of money, the equivalent of a flight ticket from London to Singapore ie about £1000. With this money, they have to go to Singapore without flying.
This means they have to find transport, accommodation and food for a month within that £500 budget per head. Each pair adopts a different strategy. They take all sorts of transportation. Some hitchhike, some take the bus…
It’s a very entertaining thing to watch. You will surprise you trying to plan that trip as well!
One of my favourite things to watch during the Coronavirus lockdown!
How to watch travel TV shows?
There are many places where you can find travel TV shows, but these would be the best places to start! I use all of them and love them! They are very complementary!
You can create an account and start watching Netflix here.
Amazon Prime Video
Although these are no TV shows, I’d recommend you to watch some Disney movies. Loads of them are perfect to discover new places.
We don’t always realise it but they are very good to embed yourself into a foreign culture.
- France: Aristocats
- UK: Mary Poppins
- China: Mulan
- USA: Togo
I thought I’d put it in there as clearly, Disney is always a good idea!
Channel 4 is a free-to-air television channel in the UK. You can go to their websites and watch everything for free.
There are some ads but they are pretty short.
I hope you will enjoy these amazing travel shows! If you have any recommendations, please share them in the comments as I would love to discover more myself!
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