What do you do when you can’t jump on a plane and go somewhere new? You put on your favourite travel TV shows and movies, of course!
The next best thing to actually going on a trip is living out a trip vicariously through characters on the best travel TV shows and movies. Spending a night (or an entire weekend) virtually walking through the streets and canals of Amsterdam or admiring the landscape of Iceland is a great way to cure that travel bug.
Looking for some new travel TV shows and movies to add to your must-watch list? Same here. So I reached out to some of my fellow travel bloggers to get their recommendations for awesome wanderlust-filled shows and movies.
Check out their top 28 travel TV show and movie picks below!
Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. That means, if you click on a link and purchase a product from Amazon, I might make a few cents at absolutely no additional cost to you.
Eat Pray Love
Recommended by Yulia of That’s What She Had
“Like many, I have discovered Eat. Pray. Love. as a movie first and as a book second. Loved both. But I guess I should thank the talented Julia Roberts for introducing me to the beautiful writing of Liz Gilbert, the author of the bestselling memoir. In the movie, Roberts portrays Gilbert, an American writer who launches a one year journey through Italy, India, and Indonesia in search of herself and her happiness. While traveling to remote countries to find oneself seems like an overused topic today, in 2010 it was still somewhat new and captivating. Eat. Pray. Love. never received much praise from critics, nevertheless it is to this day one of my favorite movies about traveling, simply because watching Julia Roberts enjoy pasta all by herself is a joy!”
Check out Eat Pray Love on DVD, the original book by Liz Gilbert, and the travel memoir that was inspired by the book and movie! (That’s right, this went from a book to a movie to another book!)
Recommended by Leyla Giray Alyanak of Women on the Road
“Some films catch you at a time in life when you’re open, receptive and inquisitive. My first ever view of Moscow in its fairytale winter robes was that of a troika sliding through the snow, with fur-capped passengers and lights strung across the streets. It was an early scene in Doctor Zhivago, a love story set during the Russian Revolution. Later in the film, the location switches to the countryside, distant, silent and white, with classing Russian buildings wrapped in ice as delicate a filigree. My disappointment came from eventually finding out that the film hadn’t been filmed in Russia after all, but in central Spain, which can indeed get frigid in winter. But no matter. Those first childhood visions made Moscow in winter one of the most romantic places on earth for me, etching images in my memory that nothing could dislodge.”
The Man Who Would be King
Recommended by Talek Nantes of Travels with Talek
“The Man Who Would be King is a movie adapted form a Rudyard Kipling novel staring Sean Connery and Michael Cane. It is an adventure tale about two former British soldiers who go on a journey to a Himalayan kingdom in search of fortune, fame and adventure. Although the two protagonists end the adventure tragically, the journey itself is fascinating. The visuals and cinematography tempt you to live vicariously through the actors. The quest for adventure is appealing. You want to be with Peachy and Danny as they see the Kingdom for the first time, strategize their coup and dare beyond the reasonable and prudent. Their fall is bitter sweet. A cautionary tale for those who risk it all for the thrill of travel and adventure, and always will.”
Recommended by Jason Lee of Mint Habits
“I would say my favourite travel movie ever is Euro Trip. Before my first trip to Europe, I prepped myself for it by watching this movie! I just think it’s a silly movie that’s fun and good for some laughs, and that’s how travel should be approached. Have fun with it, and enjoy whatever your travels throws at you. You can’t control everything and things will go bad, but make the most out of everything, just like how they did in Euro trip!”
Recommended by Amanda Emmerling of Toddling Traveler
“Ever since I had my son, I’ve enjoyed finding TV shows for him that inspire travel. Super Wings is an animated series about a plane named Jett that delivers packages to children all over the world, making new friends, learning about different cultures and solving problems along the way. It’s also a fun way to teach my son about places his father and I have been to, including the windmills in the Netherlands or the gondolas in Venice. And it’s a fun way to remind him about places he’s been to like Bermuda or New York City.”
Get all the Super Wings gear you and your little ones need here!
Somebody Feed Phil
Also recommended by Amanda Emmerling of Toddling Traveler
“My best friend, another lover of travel and food, introduced me to Somebody Feed Phil, a Netflix series from the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond. Phil essentially eats his way through the world, which is exactly the way I like to travel, and he has a quirky sense of humor that makes him a super likeable guy. While I haven’t been traveling outside of the US quite as much since I had my son, it’s a great way for me to reminisce about cities I’ve visited and also add new cities (and new foods to try!) from the comfort of my own home.”
Catch Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix and catch up with Phil’s Everybody Loves Raymond on DVD.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Recommended by Megan Johnson of Red Around the World
“When I plan a trip, I devour every episode of every travel show that features that destination. But the first show that I always check is Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. When I was planning my trip to Taiwan, I watched the episode there probably ten times. It got me excited about my trip and excited about all the night markets and food. I love the show to open myself up to new places as well as new things that may not be easily found online. It feels like a very laid back and casual experience and it’s guaranteed to make me want to go wherever they are. Every time.”
Watch Parts Unknown on Netflix and check out Bourdain’s cookbook or his novel about his adventures in the culinary underbelly of the world.
Recommended by Josie of Josie Wanders
“I really enjoyed the travel series “Dark Tourist” on Netflix. The series shows New Zealander David Farrier investigating the recent dark tourism boom. He travels all over the world, from the USA to Kazakhstan to Indonesia and Japan. It was interesting to be a voyeuristic lounge-room traveller and see some of the places that I will likely never get to. From areas of recent civil unrest, radioactive events or downright weird customs, there are lots of places I had never considered travelling to that are becoming popular.”
Thelma and Louise
Recommended by Helen of Helen on Her Holidays
“I’ve loved Thelma and Louise since the first time I saw it in the mid 90s. The film starts in suburban Arkansas, but the action soon switches to the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, ending at the rim of the Grand Canyon. I loved the dusty landscape, the magnificent rock formations (the film was actually mostly shot in Utah) and most of all the huge skies – all so different to where I live in the north of England! Thelma and Louise was a big reason why I wanted to go to Las Vegas a few years later. I wanted to see the Strip, of course, but most of all I wanted to go to the Grand Canyon and experience the desert. I even took a bus from Vegas all the way there – 5 hours each way – just to have that feeling of driving through that landscape.”
Check out Thelma and Louise on Blu-ray!
The Amazing Race
Recommended by Renee Hyde of Renee the Wanderess
“The Amazing Race is the best travel show in my opinion. I love that they managed to combine lots of cool destinations around the world with all of the excitement and drama of a reality show. For those of you who have never seen the show, teams of two people race around the world, solving clues to try and figure out where they’re supposed to go next. It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt, but kicked up a few notches. People get lost, relationships are broken and made, and you see lots of interesting countries along the way. The show started when I was a teenager, and I always dreamed of being on the show. Instead, I ended up traveling the world on my own, so it worked out!”
The Amazing Race is one of my favourites too! Check out past seasons of The Amazing Race on DVD.
Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father
Recommended by Marie of Temples and Treehouses
“Travels with My Father follows British comedian Jack Whitehall and his father, Michael, travelling around Southeast Asia together on an unconventional gap year. They’re a hilarious duo and it’s funny watching Jack partying at a full moon party in Thailand, whilst his dad wants to soak up history and stay in luxury hotels. But Travels with My Father is also a legitimate travel program that I watched whilst planning my first solo trip to Asia, and I even visited a couple of off-the-beaten track experiences solely on the basis of this show. One of them was the Ba Na Hills theme park in Vietnam, which features a life-sized fake French village on a hilltop. It ended up being a really fun and unusual experience that I’d never have had without Travels with My Father!”
Recommended by Carlos of A Brother Abroad
“For travelers that appreciate adrenaline, the Point Break remake is perfect for you. In the new Point Break, a band of criminals and eco-warriors go on a mysterious string of crimes around the world incorporating the “Ozaki 8″, 8 extreme sports challenges into the crimes they commit. The feats captured in the movie, from wingsuit flights to big wave surfing, are entertaining and epic in their own rights but made even better by the real-life records set during the filming of the movie. For adrenaline junkies trapped between travels, this movie is perfect for staving off your adventure appetite.”
Check out Point Break on Blu-ray!
Jamie Cooks Italy
Recommended by Or of My Path in The World
“Any Italy travel TV show is enough to ignite my wanderlust, but when you add Jamie Oliver and Italian food into the mix, you get pure wanderlust magic. Accompanied by the Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo, Jamie travels to different parts of Italy and cooks with local Italian nonnas in their homes, discovering traditional recipes that you probably wouldn’t find in restaurants. Not only does the show make me want to drop everything and hop on a plane, but it also makes me want to explore Italy way off the beaten path. I’m all about hidden gems, and this is exactly what this TV show represents.”
Check out the Jamie Cooks Italy cookbook once you’ve been inspired by the show!
Recommended by Alya & Campbell of Stingy Nomads
“The movie is about walking The French Way of the Camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage route through northern Spain. It shows different parts of pilgrims’ life on the Camino, challenges on the way, relationship between people that met on the way, different reasons why people walk it etc. The starring actor is Martin Sheen, his son Emilio Estevez wrote the script, produced and directed the movie. The movie was released in 2010. We’d recomment to watch the movie if you’re going to walk the Camino or if you’ve already walked it. We watched this movie while walking the Camino, one of our fellow pilgrims told us about it, it’s always interesting to watch a movie or TV series about a place that you’re busy traveling at that moment. Some people might get some inspiration from the movie for walking the Camino.”
Life of Pi
Recommended by Susie and Stephen of Dreamers Who Wander
“Life of Pi is truly one of the best movies you will ever watch. The film was inspired by an international fantasy best seller written by Yann Martel and published in 2001. It’s the story of an Indian boy that after surviving a shipwreck finds himself on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. 227 days drifting across the Pacific Ocean. Pi is resourceful and determined. Richard Parker is wild and resolute on ruling the lifeboat. There are many lessons to be learned and difficult situations to overcome. Great storytelling and extraordinary visual effects will keep your eyes glued to the screen. Life of Pi will inspire you to live fully and to believe that everything is possible: “You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.”
Feasting on Asphalt
Recommended by Kristal of Adventure Dawgs
“My favourite travel-related show is Feasting on Asphalt which is hosted by Alton Brown and documented two separate road trips across the United States. The first season showed Mr. Brown and his crew riding from South Carolina to Los Angeles and the second travelling up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to the river’s headwaters in Minnesota. They captured the true spirit of the road, authentic road food, and special parts of the country that get missed if you only stick to interstates. It is a foodie’s road trip dream.”
Recommended by Amber Hoffman of With Husband in Tow
“One of my favorite food travel shows is a Chef’s Table, which features restaurants and chefs around the world. Of course, the food alone makes it worthwhile to watch. But, the best part of the series is the beautiful cinematography and music. It’s like watching art, the art of the cuisine, the story of the chef, with each episode telling this story in front of the landscape of where the restaurant is located. The series has featured some of the best chefs in the world including Massimo Bottura from Italy, Enrique Olvera from Mexico, and Jeong Kwong from South Korea. One season focused exclusively on dessert and pastry chefs, including Jordi Roca from El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. Because I live in Girona, I felt a surge of hometown pride with how they showed how beautiful Girona is. In the last 3 years, through 5 seasons, they’ve taken me around the world and back home again.”
Check out Jordi Roca’s dessert cookbook for even more inspiration. Yum!
An Idiot Abroad
Recommended by Daniel James of Layer Culture
“My favourite travel show has always been An Idiot abroad. After watching An Idiot Abroad it opened my eyes to how xenophobic we are when it comes to learning about new and different cultures. It made me question the last time I stepped out of my comfort zone. Karl Pilkington’s attitude to trying new things made me question my own lifestyle and ask myself what can I do to learn from other cultures. It was the answers I got that inspired my first trip backpacking in South America and I have not stopped since.”
Check out An Idiot Abroad on DVD!
Cuba and the Cameraman
Recommended by Ayngelina Brogan of Bacon is Magic
“Cuba and the Cameraman does a great job of sharing an unbiased view of the situation in Cuba over the years. He doesn’t say if things are good or bad, he just shares his experiences. Cuba is a complicated country and I really appreciated how he didn’t offer his opinion on what was happening but he allows you to form your own thoughts. A lot of people think Cuba is frozen in time, but that’s not true at all. I’ve been living there for the last year and while it’s not changing as rapidly as the rest of the world, things are indeed changing. I watched this Netflix documentary while in Havana but downloaded it to my phone because internet in Cuba isn’t great for streaming. But just a few years ago downloading something would have taken all day but it was quite fast for me.”
Recommended by Emma Walmsley of Small footprints, big adventures
“My whole family loves the children’s show Mouk, which highlights little Mouk and his best friend Chavapa as they travel around the world on their bicycles. They meet local people along the way and attend cultural celebrations or family-based events, and they keep in touch with friends back home on their laptops too. It’s a lovely show based on kindness, respect and friendship, and as it highlights different countries and cultures so beautifully, I think it’s a very worthwhile resource for young kids. (I also love that they travel so sustainably, as that is a passion of mine!)”
Check out the Mouk companion story and sticker book!
Under the Tuscan Sun
Recommended by Katy Clarke of Untold Morsels
“In Under the Tuscan Sun, sweeping views of Tuscany’s rolling hills and hopelessly romantic hilltop villages will have you packing your bags for Italy in a flash. Based on the book of the same name, the movie starring Diane Lane captures the visual beauty of Tuscany with every gorgeous frame. The book is more of a travelogue, and one I devoured entirely, but the movie is filled with the emotions, sights and sounds of the Italian countryside. You can’t help plotting a trip to this beautiful part of the world as you enjoy the story of Frances who falls so in love with Tuscany that she buys an old farm in need of much attention.”
Lord of The Rings
Recommended by Laura Hartley of What’s Hot Blog
“Whilst Lord of the Rings is an entirely fictional story, the scenic mountains, large expanses of green and beautiful lakes are all real. This beloved fantasy trilogy was filmed entirely in New Zealand and you can’t help but be filled with wanderlust as you watch the characters walk, run or ride across these beautiful landscapes. There’s untouched country and rivers as far as the eye can see and it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Lord of the Rings is my favourite book to film adaptation for many reasons but the jaw-dropping film locations are definitely a huge part of that. I challenge you to watch this film series and not want to hop on a plane straight to NZ to see the beauty of this country with your own eyes.”
Indiana Jones Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Recommended by Sharon of What The Saints Did Next
“When my 10-year-old self was introduced to Dr Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark it was love at first sight and I was swept away by the fast-paced action. It’s one of those films I can watch over and over – so much so I have the box set! It made me interested in history, appreciate the stories behind museum exhibits and most of all it inspired me to travel and look for adventure. What’s not to love? From the iconic boulder scene in the Peruvian jungle to the bar fight in snowy Nepal, to discovering ancient relics in Cairo, Egypt. This is a movie that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.”
Get the full Indiana Jones set on DVD!
Recommended by Lora Pope of Explore with Lora
“Planet Earth is a BBC TV series that explores the wild and beautiful parts of our planet. As a nature lover, the show never fails to evoke my wanderlust, transporting viewers from the Himalayan Mountains to the depths of the ocean and everywhere in between. Watching Planet Earth when I was younger heavily influenced my interest in nature and wildlife, which is now one of my biggest motivations to travel, to discover the most beautiful parts on our planet. If I ever need a little inspiration, an episode of Planet Earth always gives me the push to go out and explore our beautiful world.”
Check out the Planet Earth series on DVD or Blu-ray!
Recommended by Audrey Chalmers of Gumnuts Abroad
“We’ve watched many TV travel shows over the years, but our favourite by far is the Globe Trekker series (aka Pilot Guides). Inspired by the Lonely Planet travel books the program promotes independent travel and cultural appreciation. The presenters mix it up with locals on trains and buses, at weddings, festivals and other cultural events. The biggest inspiration for us are the interviews with “real life” backpackers, who share tips and make it seem possible for anyone to do. We’ve spent hours watching Globe Trekker and we’re sad it’s no longer being made. It’s the next best thing to travel itself!”
Check out the Globe Trekker DVDs!
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Recommended by Andy Couch of Travel Made Simple
“One of my favorite travel movies is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It starts in his serviceable square New York apartment on his way to work at Life Magazine. His only travel was to Phoenix and he doesn’t remember why. A mysterious lost photo negative leads him on a traveler’s goose chase through Greenland and the Himalayas, with stops along the way to skateboard down an active volcano in Iceland. Travel is the catalyst and measurement of Walter’s growth, and we get to go along for the ride. I think travel gives us great perspective on the ability to change your life, and this movie is a great reminder of that.”
Dom Joly’s Happy Hour
Recommended by Allan Wilson of Live Less Ordinary
“Dom Joly and his partner Peter Wilkins travel the world and try the unique alcoholic beverages of each country.” From the creator of “Trigger Happy TV” this dry British travel/comedy show mocks the cliches of travel, with ridiculous montages, and it takes a sideswipe at the pretention that many people expect from global travel shows. “taste’s a bit like cherryade with a punch in the face”. But aside from the shenanigans in bars and alcohol, there are lots of random antics, like running rings around their “KGB” nanny in Russia, and feasting on road kill over a campfire in the Australian outback. But it ultimately sums up the realities of my own travels, where, away from the pretty pictures, most travels just end up with me drunk on local liquors in some sketchy back alley or field.”
Check out Dom Joly’s travel book, The Dark Tourist!
Recommended by me!
Last but not least, I want to introduce you to my favourite travel TV show: Departures. Departures follows two Canadian guys, Justin and Scott, as they travel around the world. I love this show because it’s so sincere and down to earth. These guys aren’t flashy. It’s not luxury travel and they’re not trying to launch their Instagram modelling careers off this show. Scott and Justin are genuine. They have real experiences in the most unreal places. I love their approach to wanting to see it all and how their polar personalities often conflict. And, of course, they get bonus points because they’re Canadian! Be sure to check out Departures on Netflix or order all three seasons of Departures on Amazon.
What’s your favourite travel TV show or movie? Let me know in the comments!
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