You can’t be on the road every day of the year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel.
The globe is at your fingertips, with episodes that take you from marketplaces in Mexico to hawker stalls in Singapore to the furthest regions of the Arctic and back home to BBQ restaurants in Charleston, thanks to some of the finest travel series available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.
It’s up to you whether you want to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain, Sir David Attenborough, David Chang, SaminNosrat, Samantha Brown, Ewan McGregor, or the Fab Five.
Below are the best travel shows (fictional and non-fictional) that are now available to watch, including travels by land, air, and sea, as well as a lot of food.
Table of Contents
- 1. Long Way Up
- 2. Travel Man
- 3. Tales by Light
- 4. Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
- 5. Restaurants On The Edge
- 6. Parts unknown
- 7. Departures
- 8. The Kindness Diaries
- 9. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
- 10. Street Food
- 11. Gaycation
- 12. Travels with My Father
- 13. Places to Love
- 14. Dark Tourist
1. Long Way Up
Actor Ewan McGregor has been in the travel show industry for 16 years, believe it or not. Long Way Round is one of the best travel shows.
It is a 2004 series, following McGregor and his buddy Charley Boorman on a motorcycle journey from London to New York City via Europe, Asia, and then, after a flight to Alaska, Canada, and the United States.
Long Way Down, released in 2007, carried the team from Scotland to South Africa on motorbikes for the second time.
They’ve now turned their bikes (electric this time) to South and Central America, with the most recent edition tracking the couple for 13,000 miles from Ushuaia, Argentina, on the continent’s southernmost tip, to Los Angeles.
Hijinks, dangers, and breathtaking landscapes are all on display, as is customary.
Although neither of the previous series is presently accessible to watch in the United States (though they are available on Apple TV+ in the United Kingdom), Long Way Up is an Apple TV+ original that is available to everybody.
2. Travel Man
If you’ve seen Anthony Bourdain’s film The Layover, you’ll recognize the idea of British comic Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man.
The show follows the comedian and his English celebrity pals around Helsinki, Miami, and Hong Kong for 48 hours.
Begin with Ayoade’s trip to Paris with original GBBO host Mel Giedroyc or season two’s trip to Copenhagen with current host Noel Fielding.
Paul Rudd from Bridesmaids is in Helsinki, while Chris O’Dowd from Bridesmaids is in Vienna.
3. Tales by Light
Tales by Light has you covered if you’re searching for some truly stunning visuals to feast on in the coming weeks.
From the Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia to India’s Bandhavgarh National Park in the Himalayas, this Australian documentary series follows professional photographers and filmmakers as they travel across the world to convey dramatic tales of people and places.
It’s a compelling narrative with equally gorgeous scenery.
4. Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted is a new show by famous chef Gordon Ramsay that takes viewers out of the kitchen and into the globe.
It’s still all Ramsey all day, but now we can take in the sights from all around the world, from the Mighty Mekong to Morocco’s Middle Atlas area.
While the food is at the center of the show, the first season’s six episodes are bolstered by stunning locations and a fascinating cast of local personalities in between.
5. Restaurants On The Edge
On the surface, Restaurants On The Edge appears to be one of the best travel shows and another run-of-the-mill restaurant recovery program in which the presenter comes in Bar Rescue style and saves a restaurant on the verge of closing.
Yes, that is a part of it, but it is also so much more.
The fundamental idea of ROTE is to renovate beautiful restaurants all around the world, but the program does a fantastic job of delving into the local culinary culture, from Hong Kong’s curry fish balls and snake wine to Malta’s freshly caught salt cod.
The show’s excellent production value and stunning locations will satisfy everyone’s desire to travel.
6. Parts unknown
Given that its host is a former chef, it may appear to be a cooking program at first glance.
On the other hand, food is a means for Bourdain to connect with people from all over the world.
It’s wonderfully filmed and produced, and it showcases Anthony Bourdain and his team at their best.
Before his untimely death in 2018, Bourdain created 12 seasons of the show. The show’s breadth and willingness to modify the structure between episodes are both appealing to me.
Some take place in the relative comfort of the United States or Western Europe, while others take place in locations like Libya or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Some episodes are shot more traditionally, while others are shot in the style of films or art forms associated with the location.
Start here if you’re searching for something genuinely amazing to binge on.
Departures have become one of the best travel shows and people’s favorite. It’s the polar antithesis of the slickly produced Parts Unknown in many respects.
It feels more like a vlogging series because it’s simply two men (plus a cameraman) backpacking across the world.
It demonstrates how much fun, adventurous and low-budget travel can be at every step.
The show has a humorous dynamic, with one presenter is more academic and interested in culture, and the other is more stupid and loves to drink and play games.
This helps to keep things light and entertaining.
Departures do not only present the highlights of travel, but it also depicts the journey there, and the chance encounters that might lead to unforeseen experiences.
It feels completely unplanned and spontaneous, like a rough edit of what you could encounter if you set out to tour the world on your own.
8. The Kindness Diaries
Former trader Leon Logothetis rides a vintage motorbike across the world in the Kindness Diaries.
That in itself is a struggle, but there’s another twist: he has to rely entirely on the goodwill of strangers for food, lodging, and gasoline for the duration of his journey.
Although cynics may portray him as a freeloader, the performance is very much in good faith. Its idea compels Leon to haggle and make genuine connections with everyone he encounters.
Along the journey, he demonstrates that the world is full of love and kindness.
9. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
You’ll be pausing to bake focaccia or prepare tahdig with charming presenter and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook author SaminNosrat if you watch this show on an empty stomach.
Nosrat traverses the world in this four-part series, stopping in Mexico, Japan, Italy, and her home state of California to learn about the characteristics of each of the show’s title ingredients.
There’s cheese involved. Olive oil is also present. Miso is present. Tortillas are available.
There’s salsa to be had, and with that, it makes you more hungry.
10. Street Food
This show, which the same people produce as Chef’s Table, takes viewers away from traditional restaurant kitchens and into the streets for a tour of some of the world’s greatest street food.
The first season of the show focuses on Asia, with hosts Jay Fai of Bangkok’s Raan Jay Fai, a Michelin-starred street stall serving tom yum soup, and Truoc (pictured left), who serves a variety of snail dishes in Ho Chi Minh City, traveling to nine different countries to meet the people behind the food.
The second season, which debuted on Netflix in July, focuses on Latin America, with trips at Doa Vale’s in Oaxaca for memelas and chef Pato Rodriguez’s Las Chicas de lasTres food stand in Buenos Aires.
This show, which Vice produces, is about the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
In it, actor Elliot Page and his film director pal Ian Daniel go throughout the world to learn about what it’s like to be LGBTQ+.
To learn more about the lively gay and queer culture, they meet with two-spirit Native Americans, attend ballroom scenes in New York City, and visit homosexual clubs in Tokyo.
However, the duo also spends time in Rio de Janeiro, Jamaica, and Ukraine, interacting with LGBTQ+ residents to learn about the prejudice and threats they face simply for being who they are.
Expect both happy and sad tears.
12. Travels with My Father
The first season of this Netflix original, which debuted in 2017, follows British stand-up comedian Jack Whitehall and his father, Michael, as they travel around Southeast Asia, completing the gap year Jack never got to take (eight to be exact).
This show is one of the best travel shows and has everything you’d anticipate, including a Thai full moon party and, of course, a journey to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, but it’s the moments in between that make it truly worthwhile to watch.
The father-son duo has now traveled across Transylvania, seen Chernobyl, and gone into drag with Sydney queens in the three seasons that have followed.
It’s a romp, to say the least.
13. Places to Love
Samantha Brown was the only female travel host on television for a long time. While there has been some, albeit minor, progress in this area (Nosrat and Kellee Edwards are among the newcomers), Brown remains one of the few women on the move on our screens.
While she got her start on the Travel Channel with shows like Passport to Europe, Latin America, and China, you should watch her new program, Places to Love.
Brown is now on his third season, and the show follows him as he discovers off-the-beaten-path sites in some of the world’s most popular destinations, like Seoul and Auckland, as well as places closer to homes, such as Phoenix and Dallas.
14. Dark Tourist
Dark Tourism is one of the best travel shows and a documentary series by New Zealand-based journalist David Farrier that takes a deep dive into lesser-known cultures and customs found across the world if you’re searching for something a little less conventional.
Each episode delves into topics ranging from nuclear disasters in Japan to a voodoo festival in Benin, Nigeria.
In addition, it’s clever storytelling and a unique perspective on travel that everyone who has already been or wishes to take an off-the-beaten-path journey will appreciate.