With a library as vast as Netflix, it’s hard to choose the best Netflix travel shows, but we’re here to help.
Of course, it’s ironic that just as the world opens up again after the pandemic, the cost of living has skyrocketed. We guess that means rescheduling this Barcelona beach week again. Sigh.
Yet there are always wheelchair trips… no, stick with us! netflix (opens in a new tab) has a stellar lineup of shows to watch for those with a bad case of wanderlust; food-focused odysseys and challenge-based journeys with lighthearted looks at other global cultures with incredible landscapes as backdrops.
From mini-holidays in Europe to vacations in Southeast Asia that have you dreaming of faraway places, here are 10 of the best to inspire your next travels. Just think of them as another search for that trip on the to-do list…
A fast-paced travel diary that merges food and travel – well, why spoil a classic combination? – sees David Chang, boss of noodle giant Momofuku, weigh in on all the most important food products and how different cultures around the world make them.
Obviously, that means pizza from Italy, but a slice of pie raised in Tokyo; tacos from a famous food truck in Los Angeles, but a twist on the traditional Mexican from the Noma restaurant. Good travel series fire up the imagination and our worldviews and that certainly gives us our fix.
Waffles + Mochi
On the face of it, it’s a cute kids show, which is produced by and stars Michelle Obama, no less, but it’s actually one of the best examples of a series that doubles as being both entertaining for children and adults.
A show based on a creature wearing moonboots made from frozen waffles and a mochi ball made sentient might not make sense, but who cares when it’s so joyful? The two puppet buddies – who work in a supermarket, alongside Mrs. Obama – learn about different foods and travel the world doing so; from spinning high in the Andes to try potatoes in search of the best herbs and spices at a market in Venice, Italy.
The bromance of South Korean singer-actor Lee Seung-gi and Taiwanese favorite Jasper Liu is at the heart of this 2020 series; as the pair are challenged by fans on missions across Asia, despite speaking different languages. Challenge accepted!
Visiting stunning locations across Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal, the duo prove they’re more than just pretty faces as they triumph in treasure hunts and games like rock, paper, scissors to end up in the final destination of Seoul. Kind of like Squid Game, on the go, but without the death.
The World’s Most Incredible Vacation Rentals
If your thumbs end up scrolling through the Airbnb app in your spare time; then this is the show for you. Three intrepid explorers – okay, hosts with seemingly limitless spending accounts – travel the world to find the best places to rest while on vacation. It’s not all luxury overwater cabins in the Maldives, as the series prides itself on catering to all budgets and tastes.
High on our wish list is the prefab Futuro glamping pod Area 55 ($225 a night), or the glass-domed eco-lodge — complete with sauna — in the heart of a Finnish winter wonderland ($500 a night). $ per night). It’s time to save.
Down to earth with Zac Efron
Zac Efron, you say? Tween High School Musical idol Zac Efron? Yes, but he’s now the poster child for sustainable travel, embarking on an unexpected career choice in 2020 Down To Earth With Zac Efron.
With great brotherly energy during a gap year, Zac travels to places like Iceland, Sardinia, Peru and the Amazon to learn about eco-living and renewable energy, which is a lot more interesting than it first appears, and is probably the way we should all think of traveling now.
Big Jamaica by Big Narstie
“The man has gone on a mission to the homeland: Jamaica,” rapper Big Narstie informs us at the start of this 2020 travel doc, and we are honored to be able to join him. Both the rapper’s parents are from Jamaica, and he returns home with a candid and witty look at dancehall culture and the food scene.
Cut to incredible cravings: a mix of Jamaican and Chinese dishes from the Jamaican equivalent of a “highway caff”. “My belly comes first!” said Narstie. Naturally.
Travels with my father
Love him or hate him, there’s something quite enjoyable about Jack Whitehall traveling the world with his cantankerous old father who “hates to be away from home”.
The father-son duo take on places like Thailand, Romania and Australia over five rounds, and even if you fall on the “hate” side, it’s still fun to watch Jack get whittled down by his dad without frills, sorry , “Dad”. Very faithful to the stereotype of “chic Brits on tour”, this sometimes definitely scripted series will not do much for our nation’s reputation in the world, but it does make for a fun watch.
There are light fun trips like the Whitehall family adventures above: then there are death-defying expeditions that can only be described as extreme vacations. 14 Peaks is definitely the latter, as it follows British-Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja as he attempts to climb every 14 8,000 foot high mountain in the world in seven months.
Climbing incredibly dangerous peaks – which require oxygen masks after 7,500 feet – across China, Pakistan and Nepal, this documentary also traces the dizzying heights of human endurance. Does it manage what it sets out to achieve? Well, we leave it to you to find out.
A German hipster couple decide to kick Berlin out and take on #vanlife instead in this self-filmed documentary. Mogli – aka Selima – and her boyfriend Felix (who previously filmed themselves cycling around the world for the Netflix documentary Pedal The World) buy an old American school bus for $9,500, turn it into the nicest apartment on wheels and as they plan to travel from Alaska to Argentina.
After a hairy moment when it looks like US immigration won’t give them visas, they’re soon on the road, traveling through beautiful mountain vistas and turquoise lakes and the pretty, colorful little towns of Mexico. There are mishaps along the way – and they have to divert their trip at the last moment – but it’s nice to be part of it.
Still bummed out that you can’t jump on a plane to heaven right now? Honestly, watching this show, you might just be glad your butt left a permanent mark on your couch.
Host, Kiwi journalist David Farrier, explores the dark underbelly of tourism; from re-enactments of border crossings in Mexico and tours of the Manson family murders to a visit to the still highly radioactive Fukushima nuclear power plant and – worryingly – the presentation of the latest military weapons in Phnom Penh. Maybe another one the staycation is not so bad after all…
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