When we can, we prefer to head off exploring the globe on our own. Unfortunately, we don’t always have that option. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best travel shows for you to live vicariously through. Who knows, you might even get the next great trip idea!
1. Globe Trekker
This British show (inspired by the famed travel company Lonely Planet) has already had quite the lifespan. Since it started airing in 1994, Globe Trekker has featured a laundry list of different presenters (including four-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper) doing exactly what you’d expect – trekking the globe. Small islands in the Pacific, London, Route 66, the Great Barrier Reef – over the years there’s been almost no stone left unturned. What sets Globe Trekker apart from other travel programs is the unbridled enthusiasm of some of its presenters – particularly the exuberant Zay Harding who can make the most mundane activity seem like the adventure of a lifetime.
2. Rick Steves Europe
A staple of Public Television in the United States, this European focused program is the brainchild of travel aficionado Rick Steves. Known for his wide range of guides, he has long been an advocate of independent travel around the European continent. Largely catering to Americans, his advice and destinations can be a boon to everyone. To really get the full Rick Steves experience, you can’t just visit tourist hotspots; you have to really get invested in the lifestyle. Follow his advice and you won’t just be traveling, you’ll be living abroad for a time.
3. An Idiot Abroad
(warning: some profanity)
Probably one of the most unique travel shows out there, this British creation may not be the best advertisement for globe trotting – but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s bloody hilarious. Created by comedians Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the premise is based around them sending their colleague Karl Pilkington on various adventures around the world. The catch is that Karl despises traveling and would rather stay in the comfort of his English home. Whether it’s stuck in the cramped confines of the Trans-Siberian Railway or being ‘kidnapped’ in Israel, Karl’s adventures show another side of travel that is no less exciting – even if he doesn’t care for it.
4. House Hunters International
HGTV and its litany of home and garden programs may not scream excitement and adventure at first glance. However, House Hunters International may be one of the more useful programs out there – especially if you ever plan on starting a new life abroad. Featuring singles, couples, and families searching for a home in a foreign country, it offers insights into what life in any given locale is like. From massive luxury homes to small apartments in the centre of a major city, House Hunters shows a glimpse into life abroad for locals and expats – beyond simply catering to tourists.
5. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Of course we couldn’t make a list without mentioning one of the biggest names in international travel and cuisine. Former chef Anthony Bourdain may not be everyone’s cup of tea (that’ll depend on your tolerance for swearing, innuendo, and a larger than life ego), but there’s no denying his ability to unlock the secrets of local food and culture wherever he goes. Whether you’re a foodie or you just caught the travel bug, you’ll likely lose yourself in Bourdain’s adventures before you realize it.
Of course we’ve only scratched the surface. If there’s something you’re interested in, there’s likely a travel program based on it – and that’s without even touching on the movies!
Stay informed. Stay Current.