By: Sarah Stone
If you have wanderlust in your heart, TV shows that inspire travel are small getaways that allow us to see our vast and beautiful world. Whether you want to explore your own country, or go on an adventure overseas, there are so many inspirational documentaries and bite-sized shows to help you plan your escape. Here are a few of our favorites!
Anthony Bourdain has been widely recognized as one of the most impactful and inspirational world travelers for decades. Before his passing, he hosted several premier travel programs on food and culture. In his series Parts Unknown, Anthony travels to some of the world’s more remote areas to introduce you to cultures and foods you may not have known existed. The show was nominated for an astounding 31 Emmy awards, and won five of them.
In this nine-season TV series, Anthony Bourdain travels the globe, showcasing foods, cultures, and amazing destinations. With his signature wit and intellect, No Reservations inspires you to explore the world, meet incredible people, and share your experiences.
This three-year travel series started in 2008, featuring narrators Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach, plus cameraman Andre Dupuis. Departures was developed and produced in Canada, and still airs across various networks and streaming services as a top travel show. The hosts, who met in college, spend 42 episodes traveling the world with only their backpacks and immersing themselves in local cultures.
If you’re a history buff, or if you have an interest in archaeology and exploring our past, America Unearthed is the right series for you! This show on the Travel Channel is hosted by traveler and forensic geologist Scott Wolter, who travels the United States in search of the country’s great archaeological secrets, predating the European migration.
These two 19-episode programs were filmed over a four-year period from 2006 to 2010. Passport to Europe follows host Samantha Brown as she travels to many of Europe’s greatest cities and immerses herself in the culture with locals. Passport to Latin America is Samantha’s second of the two-part series, where she travels to 19 cities in 11 different Latin American countries.
Also airing on the Travel Channel, Expedition Unknown features traveler Josh Gates as he explores some of the world’s greatest mysteries, such as Stonehenge, the Vikings, Yeti sightings, and the lost queens of Egypt, just to name a few. If you can’t get enough of unresolved mysteries, this show will be right up your alley!
Another excellent TV series for our foodie travel friends: Bizarre Foods follows host Andrew Zimmern as he treks the globe in search of exotic and unusual foods. Focusing on the cultures of the people he visits, and walking you through preparation and flavors of these foods, this 13-season (so far) show is definitely bingeworthy!
This adventure tourism series was developed and produced in Britain, and has run for 17 seasons and aired in more than 40 countries. Join Globe Trekker’s hosts as they travel all over the world, introducing you to different cultures and amazing destinations, such as Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Phuket, the Sinai Desert, and so much more.
This 1o-episode BBC series originally aired in 1997, following comedian-turned-travel-host Michael Palin as he travels 50,000 miles over 10 months around the famous Ring of Fire. Starting in Russia, Palin travels on to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, United States, and finally ending in Canada.
Airing a few years before Full Circle, BBC’s Around the World in 80 Days follows Michael Palin as he recreats Phileas Fogg’s journey (of course from the book Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne) to circumnavigate the globe. Bringing his trademark humor to the series, Palin and his crew are challenged to complete their journey without the use of air travel, following the same deadline made famous in the novel.
Probably inspiring an entire generation of travelers, The Amazing Race follows 11 teams of two competing in a race around the world to win $1 million. With 11 allowed pit stops along the way, each group must gather clues and complete challenges on a very limited budget on the way to their final destination.
What else would you recommend for TV shows that inspire travel? Share your favorites with the Frayed Passport community!