This post may contain affiliate links for which we would earn a small commission at no cost to you. If you want to read more about it, check out our disclaimer.
As I am sure you’re all aware, the world is going through a lot right now. I can’t speak for everyone, but in the United States, specifically California, we are under a stay-at-home order or as I like to call it a “stream-at-home order.” People are binge watching television shows (can you say Tiger King) faster than toilet paper is leaving the shelves. With planes grounded, countries, states, and cities on lockdown, traveling anywhere is basically not an option. We’ve found the best way to cure our travel blues is by watching travel shows. Take a look below at what we think are the best travel tv shows to watch “quarantine style.”
1: The Amazing Race – Amazon Prime and Hulu
It’s hard to believe that The Amazing Race has been on since 2001, spanning 31 seasons and visiting 91 countries. The Amazing Race is a reality television show where eleven teams of two receive clues that they use to travel around the globe and partake in a gigantic scavenger hunt.
During each leg of the race, participants have to work together as a team to navigate new and often chaotic cities, embrace the location’s culture and compete in challenges. Our favorite challenges include season 17’s launching of watermelons using medieval slingshots in the United Kingdom (ouch, see below) and season 27’s swimming with crocodiles in Zimbabwe. The winner of each leg of the race typically wins a prize (trip, money, a car, etc.). The loser of each leg may be eliminated from the race. The winner of the entire race wins one million dollars.
2: Our Planet – Netflix
Within the first few scenes of watching this series on Netflix, I exclaimed “woah” about a few (hundred) times. The cinematography of nature and wildlife is unbelievable. It’s so good we even looked it up to see if it was CGI– it’s not. Filming Our Planet took four years, 600 crew members, in 50 different countries, all equipped with the latest in 4K camera technology.
The eight episode series, with the exception of the first episode, spends each episode in a different ecosystem. Along with the most breathtaking wildlife shots you will ever see, narrator David Attenborough discusses how the ecosystem functions and the different roles animals play within their habitats. The episodes also discuss the effects of climate change on that specific ecosystem. *Warning: you might see some less than pleasant things happening to animals.*
Our Planet is a beautifully shot, informative docuseries that challenges you to think about (and hopefully act on) the effects of climate change on the world’s ecosystems.
3: An Idiot Abroad – Amazon Prime, Youtube, Vudu, and Google Play
An Idiot Abroad is bloody hilarious. It was created by British comedians, actors, and directors, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The show stars Gervais, Merchant and their friend and colleague, Karl Pilkington. Karl has not traveled much and isn’t particularly fond of the idea. Throughout the show, Karl gives you genuine and very honest reactions to different destinations and their traditions or customs. It’s hilarious!
For example, Karl gets frustrated at the Great Wall of China because he finds out the wall was heavily restored in the 1950’s and 1980’s. Karl also does a good job of not showing any excitement. Take for example, Petra in Jordan. Karl only wanted to visit because of its ties to Indiana Jones.
During the show, Karl receives calls from Gervais and Merchant telling him to do certain tasks. Karl banters hysterically back to Gervais and Merchant on most of the calls but ends up doing the tasks. Often, Karl has no idea what is happening, and this was evident when he was forcibly kidnapped in Israel (thankfully, all set up by Gervais).
An Idiot Abroad consists of three seasons. In the first season, Karl travels to The Seven Wonders of the world. In the second season, Karl travels to complete someone else’s bucket list. I haven’t finished the third season but it’s described as a mini-series in which Karl and Warkwick Davis travel the route taken by Marco Polo to China.
4: Departures – Youtube
Departures paved the way for the common travel vlog that we see today. The adventure television series in which cameraman Andre Dupuis follows long-time friends Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach to various locations around the world. The series consists of three seasons and 43 episodes. During that time, the trio visited 30 different countries.
Departures is so relatable because it shows the importance of friendship between the guys involved and those they visit. The show is shot in a way where it feels incredibly personal, and you feel like you’re right there visiting places like Ascension Island, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka.
Scott, Justin and Andre do some incredible things together such as drive the highest motorable road in the world in India or hang-gliding in Brazil. They do a great job at embracing the culture of the location that they’re visiting. The series shows that people, no matter where they are, just want to have a good time together. Departures is definitely a very bingeable feel good travel tv show.
5: Alone – The History Channel, Hulu, and Amazon Prime
Alone isn’t your traditional travel tv show, but it may be how a lot of us are feeling right now. It’s a reality television show in which ten contestants (or 7 teams of 2 in season 4 only) are dropped off in a remote location with only ten survival objects of their choosing and a picture of their family. They are separated from the other contestants by impassable terrain. Once they arrive, they are also tasked with documenting their day-to-day acts of survival. The contestant that survives the longest alone wins $500,000.
I know it sounds primitive and basic, but it makes for great television. Since the show is self-filmed, you feel like you’re right there with the contestant. You are with them for every high like catching a fish on Vancouver Island or shooting a moose with a bow and arrow in the Arctic. You also watch them struggle with living in such a difficult terrain and without modern amenities. Contestants have caught their shelter on fire, suffered extreme abdominal pain, and for some, been medically pulled from the competition due to extreme weight loss.
I highly recommend watching Alone. It’s emotional, educational and intense. Alone does a great job at showing how resilient human-beings are, and I think that is something we all need to remember especially now.
Well, there it is, our list of the best travel tv shows to watch while you’re stranded at home. Leave us a comment if you’ve seen one of our favorites and/or what your favorite TV travel shows are. Unfortunately, I think we’ve got a while left in this quarantine, so we are always down to binge more shows.