Discover the Ultimate List of 20 Must-Watch Travel TV Shows of the Year!

Do you have an insatiable craving for adventure but can't travel right now? Indulge in the next best thing: captivating travel TV shows. Not only are they entertaining, but they also assist with trip planning and broaden your horizons by introducing new locales.

These shows are the perfect opportunity to unveil underrated destinations that you would have never considered. Moreover, it's a fantastic way to celebrate different cultures. You never know what kind of fascinating facts, foods, or history you'll uncover.

Are you curious about the best shows to watch? Look no further. Here are a few fantastic travel TV shows that are sure to inspire your wanderlust.

Best Travel TV Shows to watchBest Travel TV Shows to watch

Let's start with Netflix's finest travel TV shows. Jack Whitehall, a well-known British comedian, plays the "posh lad" in Fresh Meat (which, by the way, was filmed in Manchester). In reality, Jack is precisely that: a privileged Londoner. He never had the chance to embrace backpacking like many of his peers.

However, in 2017, Jack decided to backpack Asia with his dad, Michael, for a Netflix original series. It was a genuine backpacking trip, the kind that entails sleeping in hostels, using cheap transportation and carrying a backpack. And guess what? His dad - who is 79 - agreed to come, even though he was not overly thrilled about it.

The show is a perfect mix between comedy and travel. If you need a reason to cheer up and tap into your imagination, it's a fantastic choice! The first season follows them as they journey through Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The dad, who is quite a character, is hilarious to watch, especially since he's quite posh and not a fan of discomfort. If you appreciate British humour, Jack and Michael Whitehall will have you in stitches.

The show was so successful that it was renewed for a second season in Europe; a continent that Michael, famously, had voted to leave. The third season takes them to America, and it's on a whole new level.

If you fancy a delightful blend of storytelling, food, and travel, look no further than Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown. You might recognize Bourdain as a skilled culinary expert, but did you know that he also had a few travel shows under his belt? The show takes viewers on an adrenaline-fueled ride across worldwide locations, within and beyond typical tourist destinations. It's insightful and ultimately a testament to the beauty of the world.

Out of all the travel shows out there, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is my top pick. This remarkable show, steeped in American food and travel, was produced by the esteemed CNN from 2013 to 2018. Sadly, the loss of Bourdain himself, while working on an episode about Strasbourg, France, left a great void in the world of travel television.

Throughout the show, Bourdain escorts viewers across the globe, shining a spotlight on underappreciated and undiscovered destinations. He immerses himself in the local culture and cuisine and befriends fellow locals to experience their unique perspectives. In one memorable episode, he dines with chef Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, illustrating his penchant for engaging titans of the food world.

What sets Bourdain apart is his ability to fall in love with the world, even in its nuance, and to share that vision with his audience. His episodes radiate a sense of awe towards the world’s cultures and encourage viewers to learn about them in a deeply personal way. While not comedic, the show is undeniably captivating and, in my opinion, the most passionate travel show out there.

In stark contrast to Parts Unknown, Dark Tourist shines a light on an often overlooked aspect of travel: Dark Tourism. Hosted by New Zealand journalist David Farrier, the show explores travel that centers around places linked to death or tragedy.

The series invites viewers to experience this brand of tourism vicariously through Farrier as he immerses himself in unfamiliar cultures that most people would try to avoid. While he does employ a light, sometimes darkly humorous tone, there is no denying the intensity of the show’s content. Regardless, it remains incredibly fascinating to learn about these hidden aspects of the world.

As for a show that neatly blends travel and education, I recommend Down to Earth with Zac Efron. Working with wellness expert Darin Olien, Efron travels to various corners of the world in search of a more sustainable way of living. No destination is exempt from their wanderlust, as they explore Iceland, Sardinia, and South America, among others.

Each episode features a different unique facet of sustainable living, from the blue zone of Sardinia to the superfoods of South America. The show is an excellent way to learn and be entertained at the same time.

Finally, for a series that takes its viewers on a culinary journey, look no further than Somebody Feed Phil. Created by the titular Phil Rosenthal, this travel show is all about exploring unique and delectable local cuisines while immersing oneself in the local cultures that create them. From Thai floating markets to Mexican cantinas, Rosenthal shows that there is no limit to what you can discover when you eat like the locals. So, whether you crave comedy or education, Somebody Feed Phil offers something for everyone.

If you're looking for a travel show that goes beyond just food and drinks, look no further. This series delves into local cultures and tries to understand the traditions and history behind them. Plus, the host's fun and lively personality makes for an enjoyable watch.

Following multiple teams of homeowners who own holiday rentals in various parts of Australia, this reality show offers a glimpse into the country's diverse states, including some well-known hotspots and some hidden gems. With two seasons available on Netflix, it's perfect for those who love or plan to visit Australia.

Similar to the late Anthony Bourdain, this show follows chef David Chang as he explores countries and cultures through their cuisine. Joined by various guests, including chefs, artists, and activists, Chang showcases the power of food to bridge cultural gaps and shatter stereotypes. From the USA to Asia and Europe, viewers will get to experience a broad range of regions and their culinary offerings.

If you're in the mood for a feel-good show that's as whimsical as it is unrealistic, Emily in Paris is the perfect escape. Created by Darren Star of "Sex and the City" fame, this Netflix original follows a young American woman as she moves to the city of love to work in a French marketing agency. Sure, it may be full of clichés, but it's still entertaining and highlights the enchanting aspects of Paris.

For those planning a trip to Australia, this docuseries is a must-watch. Welsh comedian Griff Rhys Jones takes viewers on an awe-inspiring train journey from Perth to Sydney and Darwin to Adelaide, where they will get a taste of the country's vast outback and rich culture.

If you're a fan of Top Gear, you might know James May as one of the presenters. In this series, however, he takes viewers on a journey through Japan, showcasing its unique customs, traditions, and innovations.

Witness James May's adventures as he immerses himself in Japanese culture in this Amazon Prime original series. From Tokyo to Kyoto to the rural parts of Japan, James May's comical take on exploring a foreign country will leave you entertained and educated. Get ready for a fascinating blend of fun and culture that will pique your interest even if you aren't particularly drawn to Japan. Catch all six episodes of Season 1 on Amazon Prime and sign up for a free trial now.

Join adventurer Charley Boorman on a journey of a lifetime as he travels from Ireland to Australia without taking a single flight. Accompanied by his team, Charley shares on this immersive travel TV show the ups and downs of their trip, including the challenging planning process from 2008. Get an inside look at a variety of hidden gems and underrated travel destinations in this authentic and uncommercialized series. Check it out on Amazon Prime today.

The Grand Tour, originally featuring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, is a British motoring show that also highlights travel experiences. After the trio's contract with Top Gear for BBC was not renewed in 2015, they signed with Amazon Prime to bring their unique style to the world on The Grand Tour. Get in on the action with Amazon Prime's free trial and experience the best motoring and travel show around.

Join Clarkson, Hammond, and May on their unforgettable journey across the globe as they travel in the most extraordinary vehicles and explore some of the most breathtaking countries on Earth! This intrepid trio visits both renowned landmarks and hidden gems in remote, off-the-beaten-path locations, including the likes of Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, and the charming country of Italy, amongst others.

The Grand Tour series, with multiple seasons and specials, is now streaming on Amazon Prime, so you won't want to miss out! Click on the link below to watch The Grand Tour now.

For those of you looking for something different, The Amazing Race is an exciting American reality TV show you won't want to miss. The winning duo is determined by several teams of two as they race across the world, making their way to different destinations without any money. Hitchhiking becomes their only option, and they must rely on kind locals to help them out for free. Along the way, they face various missions such as hikes and rides, offering plenty of thrills and challenges.

The show is not only entertaining but also a great way to discover various countries and cultures in a unique way. With over 30 seasons, there's plenty to keep you entertained!

If you are looking for a hilarious travel show, then Travel Man is the perfect pick for you. This British series follows the host Richard Ayoade as he explores some of the biggest cities worldwide, attempting to visit all the main tourist attractions in the shortest time possible. You don't want to miss this one! Follow the link below to watch Travel Man.

Let me clarify something first - although he enjoys guided tours, he's not disorganized by any means. As a matter of fact, he makes it a point to immerse himself in the local culture wherever he travels to.

Many travel shows tend to focus on uncovering hidden gems and finding off-the-beaten-path destinations, but that's not the case for Travel Man. Rather, the host, Richard Ayoade, visits the most iconic landmarks, which happen to be touristy spots. Nevertheless, they are iconic for a good reason. Additionally, Ayoade's humor is eccentric and infectious, as he always makes an effort to not have too much fun, leading to some hilarious moments.

If you love city breaks and architecture, then this show is perfect for you. However, if you're adventurous and prefer outdoor activities and exploring natural surroundings, this might not be the show for you. Watch Travel Man by clicking here.

Joanna Lumley, a renowned British actress known for her roles in The New Avengers and The Wolf of Wall Street, is also an avid traveler who has done many shows over the years. Her latest release, Joanna Lumley's Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti, is a fantastic travel documentary that explores the vibrant culture and intriguing situations of Cuba and Haiti. The show offers insight into the local culture and is quite humorous and entertaining.

For those who are interested in watching her previous shows, many can be found on Amazon Prime and ITV Hub and BBC Select.

In a similar vein to Jack Whitehall Travels with my father, Bradley Walsh and Son: Breaking Dad sees the father, a well-known British comedian and presenter, join his son for a cross-country RV road trip in America. The show, which has two seasons and a total of 10 episodes, premiered in 2019 and can be streamed on Amazon.

This travel series is not your typical budget vacation. The Walsh's seek comfort, but they trade routine tourist activities for unexpected adventures in various states throughout the U.S. Throughout their journey, they focus on engaging with the local population, making for an entertaining experience that is sure to make you laugh.

Their adventure spans from the Florida Keys up to Georgia, making this show a great resource for anyone interested in exploring the East Coast of the United States and the wonders of Florida. You can watch this show on ITV, and don't forget that you are eligible for a free trial.

If you're in the mood for more laughs, An Idiot Abroad might be the perfect fit for you. The premise is simple, they force a man who hates to travel, Karl Pilkington, to begin a travel adventure by sending him abroad and challenging him to complete a bucket list of activities. The show is hilarious, and Karl's unwillingness to travel makes for uproarious situations.

In contrast to An Idiot Abroad, The Americas with Simon Reeve is a little more focused on sustainability. Simon Reeve takes you on a journey to discover the ancient Maya heritage and the beautiful national parks in the United States. From trekking through the Rocky Mountains to planting trees in Costa Rica, this show will inspire you to think about how we can all travel in more sustainable ways. Produced by the BBC, you can watch this show on BBC iPlayer.

Lastly, if you're interested in an exciting race across the world, you should check out the BBC's Race Across the World. The show features five pairs of travelers on an epic journey across the globe without taking a single flight. The first season sees the contestants embarking on a trip from London to Singapore, making this show a must-watch for those seeking some serious travel inspiration.

Each participant is receiving an amount of money equivalent to a London-Singapore flight ticket, which is approximately £1000. The catch is that they must use this sum to travel to Singapore without taking a flight. This means finding transportation, lodging, and food for a month within a budget of £500 per person. Each pair has their own unique strategy, utilizing various modes of transportation such as hitchhiking or taking the bus. It's an entertaining spectacle to observe, and even more exciting to plan the journey yourself!

If you're looking to learn more about Scotland, Men in Kilts is an ideal travel show for you. Follow Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish as they explore Scottish culture, including whisky, bagpipes, and stunning landscapes. The hosts are both informative and humorous, making for an engaging viewing experience. There are many options for travel TV shows, but these are some of the best, and they complement each other nicely.

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are both excellent choices for travel show streaming. Amazon Prime offers great value and comes with a free trial, while Netflix provides a variety of options. ITV Channel is another option worth exploring, with shows like Bradley Walsh and Gordon, Gino and Fred Road Trip. If you're not in the mood for a TV show, Disney movies like Aristocats and Mulan are also excellent for discovering new cultures.

Channel 4 is a free-to-air television channel in the UK, with everything available to watch for free on their website. While there may be some ads, they are brief and easy to overlook. Enjoy these fantastic travel shows, and don't hesitate to share any recommendations in the comments below.

Best Travel TV Series to watchBest Travel TV Series to watch

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