Despite frequent flyers having their wings somewhat clipped by the pandemic, nothing can stop travel lovers putting feelers out for the next big bucket list destination. Television is a legitimate research tool in our books, so if there’s somewhere on the map you’ve always wondered about, why not use this time at home to pay a visit vicariously? Forget about the hassle of packing your bags – for this trip, you’ll just need yourself and a Netflix account. From bare-all travelogues to foodie frolics, we’ve been screen surfing to find the most inspiring travel TV for your very own armchair adventures.
Travel Shows for a Food Lover:
Somebody Feed Phil
Our first suggestion follows producer and creator of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, Phil Rosenthal, around the world, testing out culinary specialities in far-flung destinations, meeting the locals, and taking in the views along the way. Banh mi in Saigon, crawfish in New Orleans, mezcal in Mexico City, ostrich in Cape Town, pizza in New York – hone in or zone out on two cinematically beautiful series of calming culinary discoveries peppered with “I have got to try that” moments for viewers. If that hasn’t piqued your curiosity yet, you have got to experience Phil’s food faces for yourself. Bordering on cartoonish, this guy knows how to say “wow”, “thank you” and, “this tastes incredible” with his eyes alone. IMDB rating: 8.1/10.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
This four-part foodie travelogue follows David Chang, Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur, as he navigates the cuisine of cities across the world with a few famous faces. Sink your teeth into Vancouver with Seth Rogen, Marrakesh with Chrissy Teigen, Phnom Penh with Katie McKinnon, and Los Angeles with Lena Waithe. Come for the celebrity guests and wanderlust-inducing scenery – stay for the food. The motif of (you guessed it) breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this continent-hopping series really allows you to get under the skin of a destination. Discover culture, religion, history and politics that make each region so different, plus the mealtimes that unite them. IMDB rating: 6.7/10.
Street Food: Asia
This vibrant series certainly does what it says on the tin, offering insight into the lives and culinary creations of local street food heroes in Thailand, Japan, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines. If you love Asian eats, but haven’t yet decided on your next holiday hotspot, this travel-centric docuseries will leave you both better informed and hungry for real-life experiences. Impactful storytelling combined with drool-worthy street food really sets this programme apart. From the Bangkok streetside crab omelette with international acclaim, to flamethrower tuna in Osaka, delicious surprises await at every turn. IMDB rating: 8.0/10.
Travel Shows for a Nature Lover:
Planet Earth & Planet Earth II
This kind of show is what nature-obsessed jet-setters live for. Intricate and intimate filming of the most amazing wildlife – check. Extreme environments in exciting destinations – check. National treasure, David Attenborough, narrating his heart out in his distinct, grandfatherly tones – double check. First gracing our screens in 2006, with the sequel following no less than a decade later, Planet Earth covers habitats from the highest mountains to the deepest oceans all over the world. After watching this, you’ll want to visit the jungles of Costa Rica, the redwood forests of California, and the desert plains of the African Sahara…all at once. IMDB rating: 9.4/10, 9.5/10.
Blue Planet & Blue Planet II
If you haven’t heard of Blue Planet, you must have been hiding under a rock (possibly a rock under the ocean). We couldn’t get away with skimping on Sir David Attenborough in our nature documentary recommendations, so here we have our next suggestion for your watchlist. There really is no better television coverage of marine life than this, so if you are missing out on a swim, snorkel, or scuba trip this summer, Blue Planet is essential viewing. Get your fill of colourful coral and coast-clinging creatures, minute animalia and prehistoric predators of our seas: sit back and dive in. On your next underwater adventure, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at. IMDB rating: 9.0/10, 9.4/10.
Maybe you’re an alpine addict with a penchant for lofty peaks. Maybe you look at mountain scenery and wonder how many billions someone would have to pay you to get you that high up. Either way, this is a seriously spellbinding watch. Compiled from thousands of hours of high-altitude footage shot across 22 different countries, the film not only explores mountains across the world, but the individuals that make the ascent. Mountain is a skyward symphony of white-knuckled, daredevil cliff-wranglers, lasting 73 minutes but leaving a far longer impression. Even if you’re not quite Everest-ready, a hiking excursion on your next holiday will seem miles more appealing after seeing this. IMDB rating: 7.2/10.
Something a Little Different:
Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father
It’s a classic trope re-dressed for the modern viewer as father and son have fun bonding over shared experiences whilst travelling. Except with high-spirited comedian Jack Whitehall and his octogenarian father, their idea of having fun couldn’t be more different. We see the world through the lens of these two chalk-and-cheese characters, hitting destinations in South East Asia, Europe, and America, across the three seasons. It’s like watching a hyperactive puppy drag its reluctant owner around the park. Hilarious activities ensue (naked yoga in California, gender-flipping belly dancing in Turkey, and doll shopping in Bangkok included). IMDB rating: 7.7/10.