On rainy staycation days, I binge grab-your-passport tv shows.
These shows make me want to travel on a whim – just go. Go somewhere. Anywhere. No plans. No itinerary.
They always put me in a spontaneous travel mood. They make me want to rush to my car, pull back the sunroof, and drive. But then, I look out the window and see the pat-pat of the rain against the glass and sigh.
Maybe tomorrow. As of today, I’m still binging a few of my favorite grab-your-passport tv shows (*wink*).
The Travel Man
When I watched The IT Crowd a couple of years ago, Richard Ayoade (Maurice Moss) became one of my all-time favorite comedians. Ayoade is now the host of The Travel Man, a quirky and comic breaks-the-fourth-wall travel show.
The humor is sharp and witty and light-hearted. It’s smooth and well-placed. Each episode, Ayoade co-stars with a celebrity guest, usually another popular comedian who adds an extra drop of charm to an already lively series.
The Travel Man is my favorite travel show of the year. Ayoade’s vacation-inspired romps make for easy-to-binge escapist entertainment (the kind perfect for a Saturday tv marathon).
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown is the Holy Grail of travel television. It’s a fast-paced, dynamic docuseries built on good storytelling, good conversations, and good editing.
The show is vivid and nuanced. It’s, at times, heartwarming and at times, unsparing.
Bourdain’s personality is colorful. He’s a character with staunch travel morals.
If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move. – Anthony Bourdain
The show is raw, visually appealing, and unafraid of being politically charged.
Parts Unkown goes into places that are off the tourist trail. I’ve watched every available episode already, but this is one I’ll binge on repeat. It’s that good.
Available On: Netflix
The Travel Muse
Nathalie Basha is a YouTuber and Webby award-nominated journalist.
She’s a content creator with a knack for storytelling. Each of her vlogs is a mini travel show of sorts.
Her evocative descriptions – a mix of well-placed music, vignettes, and voiceovers – move at a fairytale pace that makes each destination’s heartbeat hum and buzz across the screen.
I’ve been watching her videos for over four years now and she’s (hands-down) my favorite YouTuber. If you like off-the-beaten-path adventures with inspiring takeaways, you’ll love Basha’s channel.
Update: I think Nathalie privated/deleted all her videos. But she’s still on Vimeo.
Long Way Around
If there’s an award for a cult classic travel show, The Long Way Around wins in the fan-favorite category. It’s intriguing, entertaining, and so much fun to watch.
The trip is inspired by Ted Simon’s memoir, Jupiter’s Travels (a title that’s been on my bucket list for ages – *fingers crossed I get to read it soon*). And it’s a unique one.
Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman journey from London to New York City on a motorcycle. There’s lots of planning, lots of hiccups, and lots of feel-good quotes.
I loved the rapport between McGregor and Boorman. Their easy-going interactions added an extra wave of fluidity to the show.
The series also does a great job of highlighting the highs and lows of a rough trip without coming off as bratty and whiny.
And despite the heavy (and obvious) camera crew, the Long Way Around feels like a down-to-earth travel show.
Available On: YouTube
No Passport Required
No Passport Required is a wholesome family-friendly travel show. Chef Marcus Samuelsson visits various immigrant enclaves in the United States to see first-hand how they shape (and have shaped) the fabric of American cuisine.
The show is about my two greatest loves: food and travel. But it’s also about finding a sense of identity in between tradition and change.
A few of the conversations are hard-hitting, but for the most part, it’s a mild and sweet travel series (in other words, totally PBS). And I’m all for it.
Did you enjoy this post of my favorite grab-your-passport tv shows? What are your favorite travel shows? Do you have any recommendations (my to-watch list is forever growing)? Let me know in the comments below! As always, I love hearing from you.