In a perfect world, I’d be jet-setting 24/7 to gorgeous locales, eating, drinking, and exploring to my heart's content.
Reality has other plans, however, and all that easy-breezy globetrotting ends up sandwiched between work and errands and a million other little day-to-day items that require my attention. (RUDE 😤)
So where’s a travel-loving girl turn to get her wanderlust fix in between trips? TV, of course! (I love a good book as much as anyone, but sometimes when you’re missing the open road you need those bright, beautiful pixels, ya know?)
And boy are we modern travelers spoiled for options—with streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Crave pumping out new content nonstop, it’s easier than ever to discover incredible travel shows anytime, anywhere. Honestly, the hardest part is usually deciding which one to watch!
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of some of the most binge-worthy travel series around to help you find your next travel show soulmate ❤️
Hopefully these will help tide you over till your next trip!
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Let’s start with a true goliath: chef Anthony Bourdain’s iconic, award-winning series about food, culture, and humanity.
It’s a show about tasty eats, sure, and about travel too, but ultimately what Parts Unknown aims to capture is the essence of a place—the sights, sounds, and smells that surround it, the history and culture that informs it, and the soul of the people who call it home.
Bourdain is exactly the sort of host you want in a travel show: curious, adventurous, and empathetic, embracing each new destination with an open mind and earnestness that smooths out his sometimes rough-around-the-edges personality.
With the 1-year anniversary of Bourdain’s tragic death just past, now seems like a great time to dive into one of his best-loved series.
Departures follows high school buddies Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach as they leave everything—work, home, friends—behind to take off on a year-long backpacking trip around the world. The entire adventure is filmed by their friend and cameraman Andre Dupuis, who works his cinematic magic to capture some truly stunning shots of their destinations.
The thing that really sets Departures apart from many of the other travel shows out there is just how down-to-earth it feels. From homesickness and missed flights to new friends and celebrations, it captures the realities of travel in a way that most other series gloss over. Watching Departures makes you feel like you’re along for the ride in the best way possible.
One Strange Rock
This one’s a bit of an oddball, but hear me out: astronauts and scientists and thought leaders of all varieties wax poetic about our weird and wonderful planet while mesmerizing visuals flash across the screen and Will Smith—yes, the Fresh Prince himself—narrates the whole thing.
I mean, it’s kind of irresistibly zany, right?
While not a travel show in the traditional sense, One Strange Rock takes viewers on a kinetic, high-def journey around the globe to explore the mysterious natural forces behind life on Earth as we know it. It’s a refreshing (and cosmically humbling) take on the traditional nature documentary, and will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the amazing unlikelihood of our planet’s existence and just how connected to it—and every other living creature—we really are.
If you’re up for a gorgeous, fast-paced docuseries with a dash of humor, a healthy dose of science, and the ability to make you feel insignificant and irreplaceable all at once, One Strange Rock fits the bill.
The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes
Okay, so maybe nature docs aren’t your thing and you’re thinking, “Girl, I just wanna kick back and look at some nice-ass houses in Spain.”
Done and done!
The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes is exactly what it sounds like: a show about beautiful, expensive (and sometimes strange) houses built in scenic places around the world. Architect Piers Taylor and “actress and property enthusiast” Caroline Quentin host the show, occasionally offering some insight into the building process or the owner’s vision, but let’s be honest—the architecture is the real star of the show here.
Fans of home reno shows and luxury travel alike will love this this one.
There are lots of great food-and-travel shows on Netflix, but none of them delve into the lives behind the dish in quite the same way that Street Food does.
You still get the hallmark shots of the genre—steam curling from a pot in slow-mo, the cook deftly slicing and stirring and flipping, flames roaring up from the grill, a closeup of battle-worn hands putting the final garnish on the plate—but the story doesn’t end there. Instead, we get to hear from these food stall veterans directly about the hard work and the sacrifice, the desperate times and triumphant moments.
The people featured on Street Food are talented chefs in their own right, but this isn’t Chef’s Table—more often than not, poverty looms over the heads of these men and women and it isn’t a Michelin star that’s at stake but survival.
There are enough shots of mouthwatering dishes and lively market life to have you updating your bucket list as you watch, but it’s the human element that makes Street Food a true travel show gem.