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8 Streaming Shows That Will Get You in the Mood for Travel

by Matt Hershberger Oct 31, 2017

If you’re looking for inspiration to get out and travel the world but don’t really want to get off your couch, we’ve got you covered. There are plenty of streaming shows you can binge to get that wanderlust pumping.

Note: These shows are, as of this publication, streaming only on these channels in the US. They may or may not be available elsewhere.

1. Planet Earth

When Planet Earth came out in 2006, it ruined all previous nature documentaries. The show was shot in high-def, and its videographers went to absurd lengths to get amazing shots. They were the first to ever capture live footage of snow leopards (it took them three years), they were hunted by polar bears, and they caught an absolutely crazy scene of a pride of lions attacking an elephant.

Most iconic, however, is probably the footage of sharks hunting seals. The resulting footage has led to countless lower quality shows (Air Jaws, for example) on Shark Week and Animal Planet. No show will make you want to get further out into the wild than this one.

Streaming on: At the moment, you have to pay for it on Amazon, iTunes, or Vudu. But give it time — it pops on and off of Netflix regularly.

2. F*ck, That’s Delicious

Before he was a famous rapper, Action Bronson was a respected New York City chef. F*ck, That’s Delicious follows him and his friends as they travel around the world, occasionally get high, and eat delicious food. It’s a strangely addictive show, and it includes among its fans Harrison Ford.

Streaming on: Viceland

3. Human Planet

Human Planet is like Planet Earth if Planet Earth featured exclusively humans instead of animals. But it’s not humans living a humdrum existence — it’s the most badass, resourceful, impressive humans on the planet. I don’t need to give a huge pitch on this — just watch the first episode. It features the Bajau, a nomadic Philippine people who live off the sea, it features Papua New Guinean shark callers, it features the Brazilians who work with dolphins to catch their fish, it features Indonesians who hunt whales for subsistence.

The show is a portrait of lives lived on the fringes of human existence, and it is harrowing and inspiring.

Streaming on: Netflix

4. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives

Okay, let’s get this out of the way: Guy Fieri annoys the bejesus out of me, too. The terrible, Sugar Ray hair, the bleached goatee, the fact that he talks like a voiceover artist for a 90’s Kool-Aid commercial, the constant references to “flavortown” — I get it. But I’ve been converted to a grudging fan since listening to stand-up comedian Shane Torres’ rant in defense of Fieri. “Can someone please explain to me what the fuck Guy Fieri ever did to anyone?” Torres says, “Because people shit on that dude all the time, and as far as I can tell, all he ever did was follow his dreams.”

Fieri is the anti-hipster — he’s goofy and cartoonishly lame but he actually does a lot of good stuff. As Torres points out, this show is really just him giving free advertising to small business owners. And here’s the thing: I can’t stop watching it. All of the food looks delicious. I want to go to all the places he visits. And in the slow moments, when I would usually change the channel, I power through purely on my hatred for Fieri’s over-the-top nonsense. He might be terrible. But he also might be a genius.

Streaming on: Hulu

5. Departures

Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach are high school buddies who decided to take a year off to travel the world. The resulting show, Departures, is a beautifully shot ode to travel. The show was big in Canada, won several awards, and went on to run for three seasons. If you like this website, you’re going to love Departures.

Streaming on: Netflix

6. Chef’s Table

This list is food-show heavy, but that’s because food and travel go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Chef’s Table is the brainchild of David Gelb, director of the fantastic documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. In each episode, he follows a different chef from a different part of the world and learns how they approach their craft. No show shoots food in a more beautiful way, and the show will make you look at global food in a different way.

Streaming on: Netflix

7. Tales by Light

You ever sit on Instagram and see a photo that someone took and think, “how on earth did they capture that shot?” Tales by Light is the show for you — it’s actually a piece of Australian branded content, thought up by National Geographic and camera manufacturer Canon, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fascinating — the lengths to which photographers have to go to get their shot is truly incredible.

Streaming on: Netflix

8. Travels with My Father

British comedian Jack Whitehall went into comedy before he had the chance to take a classic “gap year.” So now, in his late 20’s, he’s decided to take his gap year with his extremely posh father, Michael. The resulting show is funny, touching, and extremely British. It’ll make you remember that what matters when you travel, almost more than the places you’re going, are the people you’re traveling with.

Streaming on: Netflix

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