Welcome to our list of the Best Travel Shows on TV. When waiting for a Backpacking trip or holiday to begin, it can feel like an eternity. Binge watch on any of these series (most are on YouTube) and the time will soon fly by.
Fast paced, funny and also wanderlust inducing, the Best Travel Shows on TV will not only keep you coming back for more, but will also drive you on to travel the world. These shows are our favourites, we watch them when we are in between trips and they help us when the boredom of normal life starts to kick in.
Pick which one suits you the most, grab some munchies and prepare to dive head first into the world of travel. In no particular order here are our top 10 Best Travel Shows that will ignite your wanderlust.
Departures is one of the best travel shows that has ever aired. The show follows three Canadian friends who quit their jobs and decided to travel the world for a year.
Like all travellers, they caught the “dreaded” travel bug and ended up traveling for three years instead of just the one. In the process they created one of the greatest travel shows to ever air.
Departures ticks all of the boxes to make this list. This is most definitely one of the best travel shows that will inspire you to see the world.
2. An Idiot Abroad
An Idiot Abroad: The biggest practical joke ever played. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the creators of the worldwide hit The Office, decide to send their best mate, Karl Pilkington around the world.
From setting out thinking that he will be creating “a proper travel programme”, Karl soon realizes that this is all for Ricky and Steve’s own amusement. What follows is some of the funniest travel related content you will ever see.
An Idiot abroad is three seasons long: Season one, sees Karl traveling the world to view the seven wonders. Season two, is called the bucket list, where Karl has to pick from a list, things to do before you die. Season three, sees Karl team up with Warwick Davis, to travel the famous Marco Polo route to China.
However, nothing is ever as it seems. In one episode Karl chooses a thing to do before you die: swim with dolphins. To Karl’s horror, this soon turns out to be, swim with great white sharks. An Idiot Abroad is most definitely one of the best travel shows to air on TV.
3. The Man Who Cycled The World
The Man Who Cycled The World, the title says it all. Mark Beaumont a Scottish bike enthusiast who set himself the impossible feet of trying to break the world record for cycling around the world.
The Man Who Cycled The World is a remarkable story of man’s neverending determination. The journey is filmed by Mark himself and starts in Paris, France. From there he heads east on an 18000 mile journey around the world.
This incredible travel show will keep you glued from start to finish. Also, if you liked The Man Who Cycled The World, Mark has also cycled the Americas and Africa which have themselves been turned into travel programmes.
4. The Moaning of Life
Next up is another of Karl Pilkington’s travel shows, The Moaning of Life. From the creators of an Idiot Abroad comes another of the best travel shows to hit our screens.
This time around Karl is turning 40 years old and sets off around the world to find the meaning of life. Far more traveled now than when An Idiot Abroad started, Karl dives head first into all of the challenges set before him.
The Moaning of Life shows how other cultures around the world cope with things like happiness, vocation and death. Informative, funny and most important of all, wanderlust inducing, The Moaning of Life is a little different from most travel shows, which is one of the things which makes it so good.
5. The Amazing Race
This year will be the 30th season of The Amazing Race. To run for an incredible 30 seasons proves just how great The Amazing Race truly is.
The premise is simple, 11 teams race around the world for 1 million Dollars. From start to finish the race is on, with many different and difficult challenges on each leg of the race. The last person to reach the “pit stop” at the end of each episode is eliminated, with the rest rushing on to their next destination, wherever in the world that will be.
The Amazing Race will keep you hooked from start to finish. You will have a favourite team and there will be a team that you hate. The race is a fast paced reality TV show which you will not be able to stop watching.
6. Long Way Round & Long Way Down
Next up is one of the best travel shows ever made which epitomises adventure. Together, Charlie Boorman and Hollywood movie star Ewan Mcgregor set themselves the challenge of riding motorbikes around the world: The Long Way Round.
In The Long Way Round the two of them, along with cameraman Claudio, ride from London, England, across Europe, Russia and Mongolia. From the east coast of Russia they catch a plane to Alaska and from there ride all the way to New York.
The Long Way Round & The Long Way Down (Scotland to South Africa) have garnered something of a cult following. After watching the series, there is no doubt that you too will soon be one of the masses.
7. Top Gear: Special episodes
Once one of the biggest TV shows in the world, Top Gear was a global phenomenon attracting over 350 million viewers. The antics of the three hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond was the main draw of the show.
These hilarious bumbling buffoons created one of the greatest shows of all time. Every so often there would also be a Top Gear Special which would place the three best mates anywhere from the Arctic Tundra to the Amazon Rainforest.
The Top Gear Specials are some of the best travel shows that you will ever see. Whether it was being the first cars to drive to the North Pole or the first to cross the Atacama Desert, Top Gear would always keep you wanting more.
8. Bruce Parry’s Tribe
Next up is something a little different but no less epic. Bruce Parry is an English Explorer/ TV presenter who created some of the most incredible shows on the indigenous peoples of our world.
Bruce Parry’s Tribe is 15 episodes split into three seasons. In each Parry stays with a different “Tribe” learning everything from Shamanism to how they hunt and live their lives. One of the more famous episodes sees Bruce stay with some Cannibal headhunters in the remote regions of West Papua.
In Tribe, you will see things, that in just a handful of years will be gone forever. Bruce Parry travelled deep into the jungles of our world to capture a small glimpse of these people. Tribe is one of the best travel shows that you should not miss.
9. Charlie Boorman’s: By Any Means
Here is another travel show from Charlie Boorman. After riding around the world in The Long Way Round & Down. Charlie, Claudio and Rus decided to create another awesome travel show.
The premise of By Any Means was to travel from Ireland to Sydney, using any transport except flying. What follows is an epic adventure across the earth which crosses countries such as Iran, India and Nepal.
By Any Means was followed by another awesome travel show called Right To the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo. Charlies never ending good humour makes the series one of the best travel shows to watch and will most definitely ignite your wanderlust.
10. Michael Palin’s World Travels
Michael Palin is an English TV star who was one of the world famous Monty Python Crew. After the show had finished, Palin made a name for himself traveling the world creating shows such as Around The World In 80 Days, Pole to Pole and Sahara.
Michael Palin’s are some of the best travel shows to ever air. What is just so great about them is that the shows stretch from the mid 70’s to just a few years ago. By watching some of the older travel programmes, you will get to see glimpses of a world that no longer exists. The 21st century has wiped away much of the old world but Palin was there to catch a snippet of it on film.
For those who are looking for a touch of comedy with an informational glimpse into how the world once was, Palin’s shows are for you.
What Are Your Best Travel shows?
No doubt we will have left out some of your favourite travel shows. With so many incredible programmes to choose from, picking only ten was a tough task.
Which are the best travel shows that you think should have made the list? Tell us in the comment section so that others can read and find those too.
Thank you for reading wherever it is that you are in the world.
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