Is there anything more satisfying than a good travel show to sink your teeth (and wanderlust) in when you’re a restless roamer on a tight dime? These top travel shows are a favorite amongst travel enthusiasts alike, and they don’t disappoint. Whether it’s big or lesser known cities you’re dying to explore, different cultures you seek to understand, exotic foods you dare to try, or sweeping views of uncharted land on this big, beautiful planet you want to see, look no further. Here are six favorite travel shows amongst travel bugs everywhere.
In this Emmy Award winning travel and food series from 2005, Anthony Bourdain, world-renowned chef and television personality, travels off the beaten path to discover unique surprises that await in lesser-known locations of big cities around the globe. Introducing viewers to people and players far beyond the realm of just food, he seeks to find the local hot spots, places unbeknownst to the mere tourist. Bourdain carries the show with his charm, wit, and fearless attitude that makes his conversations with the locals the real star of the show. What’s refreshing about this travel series, is that It authentically captures cultures and places like you’ve never seen before. Viewers can gain an appreciation for unsuspecting places with the insight of Bourdain’s time spent with locals.
An Idiot Abroad
In the hilarious brainchild of The Office creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this travel series features their cynical best friend, Karl Pilkington, who is lovingly sent around the world to have his boundaries tested in often ridiculous and uncomfortable cultural and travel situations. The result? Pure comedy and an itch to explore and go big. What’s more, the viewer is able to relate to the kind of traveler we can all be sometimes, and how overcoming your fear of the unknown can leave you better than you came. You can enjoy three laughter-filled seasons of this gem.
In this refreshingly honest travel documentary, two unlikely high school friends from Canada embark on a year-long journey to explore the world. What makes this three-season series different from other travel shows is that it highlights the realities of traveling –the good, the bad, the ugly– while also featuring an endearing struggle between two travelers with very different personalities and approaches.
It defines the difference between a cookie cutter vacation with the bells and whistles included, and traveling, but in an authentic and relatable way. These two twenty-something guys don’t let up on the fun though, and you can follow them along on their physical adventures, as they soak up the nightlife, and goof off across the globe.
Five years in the making. Over 200 locations. Shot entirely in high definition by 40 different camera men. This is just part of the magic that makes this stunning BBC television experience stand in a nature-based cinematography league of its own. It touches on each geographic corner of the planet–think vast mountain ranges, the shallow seas, and frozen wastelands–presenting impossible locations and intimate moments of Earth’s most beloved wildlife and elusive creatures.
The rare action shots captured in these remote areas don’t exactly make for the common traveler’s budget-friendly trip, but you could argue that that’s all the more reason to catch this breathtaking travel series on the screen where you have the chance to see the true natural, undisturbed soul of this planet for yourself.
Cuisine and travel, they go hand-in-hand, right? For Andrew Zimmern, he takes the notion of trying new foods when you travel to a-whole-nother level with Bizarre Foods. Not for the faint of heart, this travel and food series follows Zimmern as he wanders the globe in search of the strangest, most unusual native delicacies each destination has to offer. No, these aren’t your normal tourist foods that you’ve been told you ought to try. And just so you’re not missing out, Zimmern makes sure to describe the taste, texture, and history of the food he unflinchingly takes down. For Zimmern, a culture’s food speaks to what’s unique and magical about it, and his raw enthusiasm, curiosity, not to mention impressive digestive system, make him a fun host to watch. Don’t sign us up to be his eating buddy, though.
House Hunters International
In the same way that food says a lot about a culture, so does their real estate. You can learn a lot about a culture simply in the way they live, and what they can live without. Whether you fell in love in your travels abroad and plan on making a permanent move, or simply daydream of retiring across the pond, this travel show is the one to watch. It explores the various architectural styles common to the region, and just what your buck is worth for a home halfway around the world with the help of local real estate agents. It proves that home buying is no less of an emotional experience whether it’s done on your home turf or a brand-new country, and what you’re willing to sacrifice for a change of scenery, pace, and culture.
Sometimes, you don’t have to venture far to experience new sights and cultures, when you can experience the world from the comfort of your own living room. Here’s to easy couch-surfing country-searchin’!