Like many of you, my dreams of travelling overseas this year have been put on ice.
While I fully support the travel bans put in place, a small part of me is weeping at the thought of a year without exploring overseas. To help ease the pain, I’ve been binge-watching a multitude of travel-related content on everybody’s favourite streaming service, Netflix. To help cure your insatiable wanderlust, here are six of the best travel shows you can watch while trapped at home.
Conan Without Borders – Comedian and late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien takes his hilarious reoccurring travel segment Without Borders and collects six of the best episodes for this Netflix exclusive. Throughout the show, the ginger funny man dives headfirst into different cultures with his usual self-deprecating wit, becoming a K-pop star in Korea and a lucha libre in Mexico. At times Conan’s jokes border on insensitive, but he makes up for this by discussing important issues affecting the places he visits, such as the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and the conflict in Israel. Conan Without Borders is a fascinating look at the world with plenty of laughs to keep you chipper in these shitty times. Must-watch episode: Italy
Street Food – This series is as much about travel as it is about delicious foreign cuisine, in particular—street food. Created by the folks behind Chef’s Table, the hosts of Street Food travel to far-flung destinations and explore the origin of each country’s food scene. There’s a heavy influence on Asian flavours, with each episode focusing on a certain country and featuring interviews with local chefs who discuss the influence and authenticity of street food and how important it is to their country’s culture. Must-watch episode: Seoul, Taiwan
Dark Tourist – Those fascinated by the macabre will be all over Dark Tourist. Journo David Farrier (a more boisterous Kiwi version of Louis Theroux) traverses the globe and visits some of the weirdest and most morbid tourist spots you can imagine. Farrier is extremely likable and is never afraid to put himself in danger for a good story. Throughout the eight episodes, he dines with vampires in New Orleans, witnesses an exorcism in Mexico and attends a voodoo festival in Benin, Africa. Farrier does well to offer a glimpse into these strange events and customs without being condescending or offending. Must-watch episode: Japan
Our Planet – David Attenborough is the king of nature docos so it makes sense Netflix roped him in for the exceptional Our Planet series. While not a travel show per se, this series examines the impact of climate change while providing a gorgeous look at the natural world. From frozen wastelands to lush jungles, Our Planet is an exceptional doco series in the vein of Planet Earth and will have you packing your backpack in readiness to explore the world once the travel ban is dropped. Must-watch episode: The High Seas
Ugly Delicious – If you’re sick of Gordon Ramsey screaming and find Jamie Oliver to be a doughy snooze, David Chang is the celebrity chef for you. The no-bullshit foodie is the owner of the Momofuku restaurant group (which includes the two Michelin stars rated Momofuku Ko) and a man fascinated with food and its cultural significance. Ugly Delicious finds the Domino’s-loving Chang zipping across America, chatting with other cooks and celebrity friends, and learning the history of food (Tacos, pizza, fried chicken, BBQ) and how each cuisine ties into American culture and its respective community. Must-watch episode: Pizza
Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father – UK comedian Jack Whitehall decided to take a gap year to Asia and invited his father along for the ride. While Jack is all for new experiences, his dad, Michael, would rather relax in a 5-star hotel than an eight-bed dorm. While the duo often finds themselves at odds, it’s the playful banter that makes this show work. The three seasons see the pair travel through Asia, Europe and America, taking in the sites and indulging in some unique experiences, including parkour in Bangkok, military training in Kyiv and naked yoga in LA. Travels With My Father is a light-hearted look at travel and the bond that exists between father and son. Must-watch episode: Ukraine