I don’t know about you, but where I live it’s getting mighty cold outside. That combined with dark, short days makes it hard to get motivated to get outdoors and do something. Luckily, Netflix is full of travel-related shows to pass the time. With their recent launch of being able to download offline, this list is perfect for any long trips you have coming up as well. Here are my top picks for the 10 best travel shows on Netflix.
An Idiot Abroad
I can’t stop laughing every time I watch this show. The hilarious Ricky Gervais sends his grumpy, cynical friend Karl Pilkington around the world to see places like India and Peru, but he couldn’t be less impressed. In fact, he’s so underwhelmed with Machu Picchu that he’s ready to turn around before he even goes down there. Ricky tries his hardest to make sure Karl is uncomfortable with all the activities planned, and it shows.
By now I’m sure you’ve seen at least seen one episode of this, but I could watch this over and over again. When it first came out in 2005, there was nothing like this high-definition nature documentary. It goes all around the world getting up close and personal with strange and exotic animals. I especially love the insight they give you into each region they’re covering and what life is like there.
India’s Frontier Railways
My upcoming trip to India has me watching everything I can find related to India. When I found this on Netflix, I was hooked. This isn’t a show that focuses on the glamour of a place, but interviews real people to find out the struggles they’ve had in and around India regarding the railway system. Even though it’s not a high budget documentary, I still found the footage of Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal beautiful. They talk to people who have lived in the area their entire lives and have seen enormous changes.
Rock the Park
I’m a huge outdoor junkie so was hooked on this show following two guys around every National Park in America. They’ve inspired me to accomplish this at some point in my life! If you live in the States, you’ll be amazed at how beautiful some of our parks are that you’ve probably never heard of before.
Long Way Down
An unexpected celebrity is in this show as Ewan McGregor motorcycles down from Scotland to South Africa. I love this show because it shows how often travel isn’t glamorous. Ewan and his gang get stuck at border crossings, crash the bikes, and have other accidents along the way. Not many shows include those parts of traveling, so I love the honesty of this show and the fun they have along the way. They do see some pretty amazing parts of the countries they’re crossing through in less than three months, though.
While it sounds similar to Planet Earth, this show has a different twist. It goes through every environment including the jungles and the Arctic to show how humans have adapted to living in each one. I love to travel and visit places for a short time, but this show really makes you think if you could live in these climates permanently. It’s pretty fascinating to see how these people have adjusted.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Mr. Bourdain, or “Tony” as he’s so affectionately called by the locals everywhere he goes, has long been one of my favorite people to watch. He’s brutally honest, so if he goes to Paris and hates a specialty dish, he’ll tell you right away. This isn’t your typical guide to a city either – he meets with locals to ask controversial questions about their country so you can get an insider’s perspective. In fact, I never really come away with places I should visit, but a whole new understanding of the area.
Another show by Anthony Bourdain, I love this one because it shows how you can productively spend a long layover in a city. So many people try to avoid layovers at all costs, but I think they’re an opportunity to explore a new city. Just like in his other show, he won’t be wasting any time hitting up the tourist spots. Local restaurants are visited and he’ll take you to places you’ve probably never heard of in each city. It’ll have you wishing for a longer layover.
If you loved Carmen Sandiego as a kid (and yes, I’m probably dating myself here) or just unsolved mysteries in general, you’ll love this show. The host goes around the world to try to figure out unsolved mysteries by talking to locals and getting insider knowledge. From exploring the legendary Temple of Doom in Cambodia to searching for the City of Gold in Peru, his endless curiosity is contagious.
When I first heard the title of this show, I figured it was just a guy going around the world drinking beer – not impressive. I’m glad I gave it a shot because it’s so much more than that. The host goes all around the world to learn about the different cultures in each country and how alcohol plays a part in that. Some of the drinks are so out there that I’m not exactly jealous – pine cone schnapps anyone?
What’s your favorite travel show on Netflix?
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