As travel remains largely put on hold and going out is mostly limited to trips to the grocery store, the one shining beacon of light in our stationary lives is the rich variety of shows available on the numerous streaming platforms out there. From true crime documentaries and bizarre shows about tiger-enthusiasts-turned-wannabe-politicians to award-winning dramas and reality shows about marrying someone you met through a wall, there is more TV content to browse through and binge watch than ever before.
The best thing about having such a variety is that you can find a show for every mood or interest, including your cravings for travel and adventures. At the same time, it’s so easy to get lost in the thousands of titles to choose from, so we scoured the most popular streaming platforms to find the best travel-themed TV shows you can watch right now and help you keep your adventurous spirit alive.
We divided our findings into three categories – documentary, reality and fiction. That way, you get to pick a format that fits your mood and interest. One thing is certain – each one of these titles will help you explore various exciting places around the world.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Credit: Travel Channel
There’s no way we are going to create a roundup of travel-themed TV shows and not start with the king of travel docu-series, Anthony Bourdain. In this iconic show that originally aired on the Travel Channel, the late celebrity chef and author visits various countries exploring the local culture and cuisine. You will discover famous culinary hotspots, as well as numerous hidden gems tucked into various corners of the world.
While local restaurants and cuisine take center stage, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations allows you to vicariously experience various exciting destinations, immerse yourself in the local culture and learn about local traditions. Seasons 7 and 8 are currently available on Hulu, and they will transport you to an eclectic roster of destinations, including Cuba, Austria, Brazil, Kurdistan, Mozambique, Cambodia, and various cities across the U.S.
A Taste of Travel
Credit: Amazon Prime
In this 13-part Australian docuseries, you will explore some of the most fascinating destinations across the globe. In every episode, the show’s hosts take you to several different places ranging from cities and nature escapes across North America to iconic landmarks across South Africa, Greece, Thailand, France, Singapore, and India, to name just a few.
Jumping from place to place, A Taste of Travel offers a front-row seat to some truly gorgeous landscapes and attractions while providing plenty of handy travel tips, and insights into the colorful local characters and culture.
Credit: Mateo Willis/Silverback/Netflix
This Netflix original series will take you outside of the urban environment and transport you to various places around the world to explore our planet’s natural beauty and examine how climate change impacts all living creatures.
Our Planet was filmed in 50 countries with a crew of 600 people, and the program’s eight parts took four years to complete. (There’s actually a whole separate behind-the-scenes special documenting the production process of the series.) The end result is a remarkable high-definition exploration of the diverse habitats around the globe.
If you are a nature lover, you are in for the ride of your life as this series takes you from the Arctic wilderness and the deep sea to the sprawling landscapes of Africa and the diverse jungles of South America.
Summer 2019 American Road Trip
Credit: Amazon Prime
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go on a cross-country road trip and explore what the various parts of America have to offer? Well, travel blogger Robert Morales actually went through with it (RV in tow) and documented his experience in a 30-episode journey across a good portion of the United States.
Starting in the Sunshine State, Morales makes his way through St. Petersburg and Cedar Key before paying a visit to some of the biggest cities in Texas, followed by trips to key locations in New Mexico, Nevada and California. Traveling by himself in his RV, Morales also documents his visits to several national parks, including Redwoods, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite.
If you ever plan a road trip of such a magnitude, this series is a good starting point to give you an idea of what it would be like driving from place to place and taking in the scenery and local attractions along the way. And if you’re not very fond of driving, you can always follow our itinerary for a loop around the contiguous United States by train.
Rick Steves’ Europe
Credit: Rick Steves
If your planned trip to Europe was thwarted by the coronavirus, this program is the next best thing we can offer until you can actually go through with that adventure across the pond. As one of the longest-running travel series, Rick Steves’ Europe does an excellent job of taking you on a virtual tour of the Old Continent and exploring some of its most interesting places.
While it’s nowhere near the same as being there in person, this program will help you navigate Europe’s greatest cities and discover some unique off-the-beaten-path gems. The four seasons that are available on Amazon Prime will transport you to England, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, among many other places. It will even take you all the way to Israel and Palestine for a look into the rich and fascinating culture of the Eastern Mediterranean region.
America's National Parks
With National Geographic’s vast library of original content available on Disney+, there are many movies and series you can choose from if you want to learn more about the natural wonders of the world. One docu-series that stands out is the eight-part America’s National Parks.
Every episode of the series focuses on a different national park in the U.S., exploring the breathtaking landscapes and unique animal habitat of each area. While it only covers eight of the 62 national parks, the series offers some stunning high-definition footage of the local wildlife, providing a rare glimpse into what happens beyond the well-known hiking trails and stunning views. For tours of the rest 54 parks, head over to our national parks virtual guides section.
House Hunters International
Have you ever visited a new city or country and wondered what it would be like to actually live there? HGTV’s House Hunters International has the answers to that question and more. With every episode, you will be transported to a different part of the world – from Mexico and Central America to Europe and Australia – and follow along as a family, a young professional or someone looking to retire is trying to find their new home in a foreign land.
While some portions of this show may seem a little contrived, the properties you get to tour are the real deal and often demonstrate some of the cultural quirks and differences you would need to get accustomed to if you want to live there. Whether it’s a shower above the toilet or a washing machine in the kitchen (and no dryer), it’s always fun to find out what people’s everyday life setup is like in different countries. What’s even better is that every episode is filmed on location, so you get a sneak peek of the best features and attractions of various cities as well as small towns across the globe that you may not have considered visiting or even heard of before.
Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father
Credit: Mark Chapman/Netflix
If you wanna know what happens when you mix family, travel and awkward situations together, then add this original Netflix series to your watch list immediately. In Travels with My Father, British comedian Jack Whitehall takes his stuffy old-school father, Michael, on a journey to different countries around the world in an attempt to strengthen their bond. However, most of the time what jovial and carefree Jack finds fun and amusing makes his prim and proper father cringe with discomfort, and that’s when hilarity ensues.
From an elephant polo match in Bangkok and a primitive train ride in Cambodia to a cemetery tour in Romania and a clown festival in Ukraine, the unique situations that Jack and his father get themselves into will not only help you learn more about various destinations and cultures but they will also most definitely put a smile on your face.
Similar to House Hunters International, every episode of Caribbean Life follows different people as they embark on a search for a home or vacation house at a new location. In this case, the search is limited to countries and territories in the Caribbean region.
With Caribbean Life, you will be able to virtually travel to numerous paradise destinations and look beyond the sun-filled beaches into some of the gems that the local real estate scene has to offer. There are four seasons of the show available to stream on Hulu and they will take you to a variety of sought-after Caribbean locations like Belize, St. John, Aruba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.
While some might argue that Stay Here is more of a home improvement show than a travel program, unlike House Hunters and Caribbean Life, it touches upon an important aspect of modern travel – short-term rentals.
Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb have completely revolutionized the way we think about accommodations when we travel. Rather than staying at a cookie-cutter hotel room, many travelers now prefer the more authentic experience of an apartment or house owned by locals. And while many world explorers will be happy with just the basic amenities, others prefer a unique experience they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. Lucky for them, many short-term rental property owners around the world are happy to oblige and often go out of their way to develop one-of-a-kind accommodations for their guests. With that in mind, Stay Here is here to showcase those unique homes.
Hosted by interior designer Genevieve Gorder and real estate broker Peter Lorimer, Stay Here offers tips and tricks on how to transform your home into a short-term rental with unique characteristics that will attract visitors from all over the globe. The eight-episode season available on Netflix showcases a variety of peculiar accommodations, including a houseboat in Seattle, a historic firehouse in D.C., a Hudson River carriage house, and a fabulous Malibu beach house.
Love Wagon: Asian Journey
This Japanese series puts a unique travel spin on the reality dating show format. Seven men and women board a pink bus (and we love buses!) in search of true love. They travel across different Asian countries getting to know each other more and more along the way, and their ultimate goal is to return to Japan coupled up.
In addition to offering a fresh take on the tired quest-for-love reality setup, Love Wagon gives you an intriguing glimpse into Asian dating culture and romance. What’s even better is that it all takes place against the backdrop of various beautiful destinations across Asia, including Vietnam, Myanmar, Taiwan and Thailand.
And if you get into Love Wagon so much that the two Asian Journey seasons are not enough to satisfy your cravings, you’ll be happy to know that there’s also one season of Love Wagon: African Journey available on Netflix. The premise is the same, pink bus and all, but, as the title suggests, the love-seeking travelers are now on a journey across Africa. As you watch them trying to get their romantic priorities in order, you get to virtually travel to countries like Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
Credit: Ken Woroner/HBO
One of the latest additions to HBO’s roster of original comedies, Run is the story of college sweethearts Ruby and Billy who follow up on a pact they made 17 years earlier: If either one of them texted the word “RUN” and the other replied with the same, they would drop everything and meet in Grand Central Terminal and travel across America together. Well, as you can guess, not long after Billy sends that text to Ruby, the two find themselves on an Amtrak train headed to Chicago.
Unlike the other shows on this list, the travel appeal of Run doesn’t stem from beautiful backdrops and cultural explorations. This one is solely for the train enthusiasts out there. As the series takes place predominantly on a train, it’s the perfect show to watch if you miss the Amtrak experience. And given the fact that it is executive produced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the mastermind behind the hilarious multi-Emmy Award winning show Fleabag, Run is the perfect show for train travel nerds with a penchant for adult comedy.
Created by the Wachowskis, the sibling duo behind The Matrix trilogy, Sense8 follows the lives of eight people located in different parts of the world who find out that they can telepathically experience each other’s lives. While its premise is science fiction at its finest, the show explores a number of very common subjects like politics, identity, sexuality, gender, and religion.
What does all that have to do with travel, you may ask. Well, unlike most TV productions that are filmed in a studio that is outfitted to look like various different places, Sense8 was actually shot on location in several countries around the globe, including Germany, England, Mexico, Kenya, Denmark, South Korea, Malta, Italy, and Brazil, to name a few. That’s a pretty unique way to travel virtually. You not only get to enjoy an engaging storyline, but you’re also treated to authentic footage from destinations across the world.
Killing Eve is one of those shows that fit many genres – black comedy, drama, thriller – and that’s what makes it so good! It’s about a British intelligence investigator, Eve (portrayed by Sandra Oh), tasked with capturing psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Like Run, Killing Eve is executive produced by the multi-talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge who is also the head writer for the show’s first season.
The reason this series is on our list is because, like Sense8, Killing Eve was shot on location in different places around Europe. As you are watching the show, you are also essentially on a tour of some of the most exciting cities and regions of the Old Continent, including Paris, Berlin, Bucharest, London, Tuscany, and Barcelona. In addition to the clever writing and award-winning performances, the on-location shoots are what make this show really stand out among other original dramas out there right now.
Game of Thrones
Yes, we know – Game of Thrones is not exactly a travel-themed TV show. But, to be fair, the show was famously shot on location, showcasing the historical and natural attractions of Northern Ireland, Croatia, Spain, Malta, Iceland, and Morocco. In fact, the show’s massive popularity has led to the emergence of special GoT-themed tours in all of these countries, taking visitors and tourists to the original places where various scenes were filmed. So, due to its impact on the travel industry, its place on this list is well deserved.
Even though most of the filming locations were heavily edited in the show, it’s still pretty cool to know that many of the places you see in the fantasy world of Game of Thrones actually do exist in real life. Before you start (re)watching the show, check out our itinerary that takes you to all GoT filming locations in Croatia for a detailed side-by-side comparison of the real places vs. their on-screen counterparts.
If your wanderlust is waning, these shows are bound to give it the adrenaline shot it needs. And if you need even more travel inspiration while you are stuck at home, check out our national parks virtual tours, or head over to Chiku’s virtual travel corner for more travel-themed entertainment options and virtual city guides.