The best travel shows to satisfy your wanderlust

The best travel shows to satisfy your wanderlust

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Monday, 16th November 2020
Amazing Hotels (Credit: BBC) and Jack Whitehall Travels With my Father (Credit: Netflix)
Amazing Hotels (Credit: BBC) and Jack Whitehall Travels With my Father (Credit: Netflix)

With restrictions on travel making 2020 a year of staycations, here are some of the best TV shows that will transport you to another world.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown


World-renowned chef Anthony Bourdain combines great food, diverse cultures and adventure in travel series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. The series follows Bourdain as he travels all over the globe, immersing himself in different ways of life.

Bourdain introduces viewers to different cuisines and customs of places across the world, talking to chefs and locals about their food and the place where they live.

Some of his best episodes include diving into Vietnamese meatballs, known as Bun Cha, with former President Barack Obama in Hanoi, as they share their personal travel memories, and teaming up with Darren Aronofsky to explore Bhutan, an ancient Buddhist kingdom on the edge of Himalayas.

Bourdain and filming crews spend over 200 days a year travelling the world and exploring new places, with each series seeing Bourdain travel to eight countries.

James May Our Man in Japan

Amazon Prime

James May has spent plenty of time exploring the world during his time on Top Gear, however this time he is going solo, travelling from the North to the South of Japan, finding a local guide to show him the tourist hot spots and hidden gems.

May starts at the Northern-most tip of Japan on the island of Hokkaido, where he learns how to make samurai swords and dog sledding. 

He then travels on to Tohoku and bathes in a natural onsen hot pool, before visiting Namie a deserted town on the edge of the Fukushima exclusion zone.

Next, he makes his way down towards Tokyo and experiences their karaoke bars and cherry blossom, before going on to the temples and shrines of Kyoto.

In the town of Osaka, May tries out British comedy on a Japanese audience and goes to the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

May ends his journey travelling further south to the deserted village of Nagoro, which is filled with scarecrows instead of humans.

Travel Man: 48 Hours In…

All Four

Mini breaks are the perfect way to see a new place and Travel Man both entertains and gives viewers the perfect itinerary for 48 hours in plenty of places both near and far.

Hosted and narrated by Richard Ayoade, each episode sees Ayoade and a famous guest explore a city, taking part in various fun activities and visiting crucial landmarks, with on screen prices allowing viewers to build a trip that suits their budget.

Previous series have seen Ayoade team up with names like Joe Wilkinson, Dawn French, David Baddiel, Rebel Wilson, Paul Rudd Jon Hamm and Lena Dunham.

The fast-paced nature of the series gives viewers an informative yet whistle-stop tour of the highlights of each city.

From the 11th series onwards, comedian Joe Lycett will take over from Ayoade as the presenter.

Jack Whitehall Travels With My Father


Comedian Jack Whitehall teams up with his father, retired talent agent Michael Whitehall, to travel around the world learning about new cultures and getting into mishaps along the way.

The first series sees the duo take on a typical “gap year route” across South East Asia, travelling through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

While Jack wants to stay in hostels and relive his youth, Michael insists on five star hotels and hiring a regional guide for an authentic experience.

In the second series, Michael tries to take charge and take Jack on a historical and cultural tour through Western Europe, visiting Germany, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Turkey, but with Jack involved things don’t exactly go to plan. 

Jack and Michael team up once again for a third series, this time across California and Arizona, as Jack tries to persuade Michael to move there with him, while the fourth series sees them tackle the wonders of Australia.

Dark Tourist


Journalist David Farrier goes on a trip with a difference, travelling around the world to explore some of the darkest and macabre tourist spots in the world.

Farrier discovers what the draw of these places, often haunted by past horrors, has for people, from uncovering the legacy of Pablo Escobar in Medellin, to learning about exorcisms in Mexico City.

In the town of Tomika, which was evacuated due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Farrier finds dangerously high radiation levels still remain, he takes a tour of the locations of the murders committed by Jeffrey Dahmer in Milwaukee, and discovers the voodoo practices that take place in Benin.

Race Across The World

BBC iPlayer

Contestants get the chance to backpack across multiple countries in a race to get to a final destination and a life-changing amount of money.

Ten travellers work in pairs to navigate thousands of miles without taking any flights or using a smartphone and with a limited set amount of money. 

Series one saw contestants travel via horse, foot, train, boat and bus to get from London to Singapore in six weeks, with checkpoints across Europe and Asia.

Whereas in series two, contestants had eight weeks to travel from Mexico City to Ushuaia in Argentina, the most southerly city in the world.

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby

BBC iPlayer

Giles Coren and Monica Galetti travel around the world visiting some of the most breathtaking and extraordinary hotels, going behind the scenes with staff to places hidden from guests to learn what makes these places tick.  

Over the three series, the pair have visited places such as Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, one of the world’s biggest hotels, which welcomes one million guests every year and boasts the world’s biggest infinity pool at the size of three Olympic swimming pools.

The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Switzerland taps into the popularity of health and wellness tourism, with 80 medical staff ready to provide guests with everything from dietary advice to sleep therapy and surgery.

The hotel also has a water sommelier offering 30 varieties of mineral water.

In the French Polynesia, they visit The Brando hotel, which was created by Hollywood star Marlon Brando, who was on a mission to protect Polynesian culture and marine life, resulting in a luxury eco resort that is a favourite for the rich and famous.

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With restrictions on travel making 2020 a year of staycations, here are some of the best TV shows that will transport you to another world.