Sometimes circumstances arise which prevent us from leaving home. Inclement weather, bed rest during pregnancy, and recovery from surgery are all prime examples. Self-isolation during a global viral pandemic is another. But I digress. The point is that those of us who love to Travel may, sadly, find ourselves unable to do just that. In those cases, the next best thing to do is to watch some entertaining streaming travel shows. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Travel Man: 48 Hours In…
I just discovered this show, and it’s a delight. It stars Richard Ayoade, who in each episode, takes a celebrity guest on a weekend trip. He starts out saying, “We’re here, but should we have come?” Then over the course of two days, he and his guest will experience tourist attractions, unconventional methods of transportation, and local food & drink.
Sometimes the attractions that Ayoade and his guest visit are offbeat, like New York City’s Mmuseumm, a museum housed in a freight elevator that specializes in the “overlooked, dismissed, or ignored.” Other times they will go the more traditional route and visit must-see attractions like St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum.
Here’s a clip from the Travel Man YouTube channel where Richard and British comedic legend Dawn French sample ouzo in Greece.
Watch Travel Man: 48 Hours In… on Hulu or YouTube.
2. The Amazing Race
There are at least 29 seasons of The Amazing Race available to watch on streaming services. If you aren’t familiar with this show, where have you been? To sum up, it’s a competition reality show where teams of two compete in a race that takes them all over the world. In each country they visit, they need to complete tasks that (usually) relate to the local culture and customs. As with other reality shows, there’s drama and tears and in-fighting and alliances… but the bottom line is that you get to see a lot of the world while you’re watching it.
Every time I watch this show I think about how much I would love to compete. Then they show contestants doing something like this and I realize that I couldn’t possibly.
Watch The Amazing Race on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and CBS All Access.
3. Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father
jack Whitehall is a 30-ish comedian from the UK. His father, Michael Whitehall, is nearly 80 and a very Proper English Gentleman. Perhaps I find their relationship so funny (and endearing) because there was a similar age gap between Hubs and his dad. Or maybe it’s because Michael is so stereotypically old school British.
Don’t let the title fool you — Michael is the real star of this streaming travel show. Watch him refuse to dress in anything less formal than a three piece suit, openly insult his son’s manhood, and grumble and complain with style (and the occasional F bomb). Then, just when you think he is the grumpiest of old men, he will surprise you by purchasing a baby doll (whom he lovingly names Winston, in honor of Churchill).
Here’s some unseen footage of their visit to an American diner, posted on Jack Whitehall’s YouTube channel.
Watch Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father on Netflix.
4. Kindness Diaries
The Kindness Diaries chronicle Leon Logothetis‘ journeys around the world. The catch is that he travels without any money at all. Not a cent in his pocket, and not willing to take money from strangers, he relies solely on the kindness of strangers. People all over the world feed him, shelter him, and spend time with him. Often, the people who share all that they have with him are people who have very little to begin with.
In each episode, Leon provides one of the people he meets with a substantial financial gift that helps them achieve their goals (go to college, buy a car, etc.). He repays their kindness tenfold.
Here’s a clip of an interview with Leon, in which he explains why he embarked on this journey.
This show will restore your faith in humanity. Watch Kindness Diaries on Netflix.
5. Extreme Engagement
PJ Madam is an Australian news anchor. Tim Noonan is a film maker with a penchant for exploring remote areas of the world. They are in love and engaged to be married. This series follows them as they visit far flung corners of the world, exploring the engagement and marriage rituals of other cultures, and testing their relationship as they do. Here’s the trailer:
Watch Extreme Engagement on Netflix.
Other Streaming Travel Shows
Traditional travel shows:
- Rick Steves’ Europe (Hulu, Prime)
- Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa (Prime)
- Travels and Traditions with Burt Wolf (web site, Prime)
- Places to Go: Your Passport to the World (Prime)
- A Taste of Travel (Prime)
- Globe Trekker (Prime)
Travel & Photography
- Tales by Light (Netflix)
Travels & Food
- Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Hulu)
- Ugly Delicious (Netflix)
- Street Food (Netflix)
- Restaurants on the Edge (Netflix)
- Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern (Hulu)
- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Netflix)
- Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix)
- World Class: Seriously Expensive Travel (Prime)
- Travel in Style (Prime)
- Great Drives (Prime)
- Summer 2019 American Road Trip (Prime)
- America’s Great Road Trips (Prime)
- Expedition Happiness (Netflix)
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