Last Updated: March 17th
We all need a good travel show to binge right now. With so many travel restrictions in place for an undetermined amount of time, it’s how we live vicariously these days. A great travel TV show takes us somewhere, teaches us something new, and hopefully stokes our wanderlust fires to hit the road … one day.
Somewhat oddly, Hulu has a shortage of travel shows (hit us up, Hulu, we’ve got pitches for you!). There are a few gems from Travel Channel and a couple of Hulu-made shows. Otherwise, most of the shows that come up under “travel” are very food-focused. And, yes, travel and food are invariably married by the format. But, food TV isn’t always travel-focused and vice versa.
With the ten travel shows below we tried to lean into shows that are purely travel programing. There are, of course, a couple of shows that delve into food on the road, that’s unavoidable. But overall these are shows where the experience of travel is front-and-center.
Up To Speed
1 Season, 6 Episodes | IMDb: 6.6/10
Up To Speed was Hulu’s first foray into travel TV. The show combined the cinematic genius of Richard Linklater — you know, the guy who made Dazed and Confused, Bernie, and the Before trilogy — and New York City’s eccentric tour guide Timothy “Speed” Levitch. The six-episode single season is one of the most unique travel shows ever filmed. Speed goes around the lesser-known landmarks of six locations in San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas & Missouri, Virginia, New York City, and The Tour Guides Convention. It’s a little wild, very informational, and quirky with a capital “Q.”
The Amazing Race
29 Seasons, 348 Episodes | IMDb: 7.6/10
We feel like The Amazing Race needs little introduction in 2020. The race-around-the-world gameshow is a cornerstone of reality television that’s been around since 2001. There are 29 entire seasons available right now on Hulu to binge-watch. You’ll see diverse locales, drama-laden journeys, and plenty of stunts to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Basic Versus Baller: Travel at Any Cost
1 Season, 10 Episodes
Instagram travel influencers and YouTubers the Vagabrothers launched their first show on Tastemade that has a very useful and unique look at the travel show. The brothers roll into new locations and split up. One takes on the city on a budget and the other goes all out as only a baller only can. It’s a fascinating way to see the same place from two very different POVs. And with only ten episodes to choose from, you can easily binge this show in an evening.
2 Seasons, 8 Episodes | IMDb: 7.7/10
This short series from Viceland starring Ellen Page and her long-time friend Ian Daniel is one of the most illuminating shows on this list. Page and Daniel travel the world examining LGBTQI communities. This is part travel, part culture, and part educational. Episodes focus on the trials and outright hardships that LGBTQI communities still live under in places like Brazil, the U.S., India, Ukraine, and more.
It’s a fascinating and wholly unique travel TV experience that’s a must-watch.
2 Seasons, 18 Episodes | IMDb: 7.9/10
Chef Eddie Huang’s travel show is a modern and meaningful bit of television. While there’s a very food-centric focus to a lot of the show, Huang’s real purpose while traveling is to delve into varied cultures and learn as much as he can whether food is involved or not. There’s a definite sense of the show being a knock-off of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and No Reservations. But with Huang’s affability and curiosity always present, that’s okay by our count.
Man vs. Wild
2 Seasons, 12 Episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10
Surviving in the wilds is no easy task. While this feels a little more like survival reality television, travel and adventure are 100 percent at the core of Man Vs. Wild. Bear Grylls goes through the hardships of surviving seemingly impossible situations in the wilderness to help you understand survival techniques while also being very entertaining.
Travel Man: 48 Hours in…
7 Seasons, 28 Episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
In this useful and entertaining British travel show, director-writer-actor Richard Ayoade travels the world with a celebrity pal and jokes ensue. The show does lean into being entertaining upfront but Ayoade and guests always find time to lay down some serious tips for every location they visit. The overall concept is a look at a city within a 48-hour window, the costs of enjoying oneself, and where to do so. It’s fun, fast, and an easy AF binge-watch.
Rick Steves’ Europe
9 Seasons, 103 Episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
Rick Steves’ Europe is the gold-standard of travelogue shows. Steves has been making travel shows since the 1980s and leading tours to Europe since the 1970s. The guy knows where the good stuff is in Europe is what we’re saying.
What makes Steves’ take on travel stand out is his no-judgment nature. Steves doesn’t have a problem with you seeing the main tourist attractions but always implores you to stay at local hotels or B&Bs and eat where the locals eat, shunning chains and corporate properties. It’s a hard ethos to argue with.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
2 Seasons, 32 Episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
It’s kind of a shame there are only two seasons of No Reservations left on Hulu. These days, Anthony Bourdain and No Reservations feels like comfort food. Bourdain’s empathetic and no-nonsense approach to travel is still a breath of fresh air, making a binge of these old episodes an easy rewatch for any fan or a great jumping-off place for any newbie.
1 Season, 10 Episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
This is another wonderfully unique travel show hidden away in Hulu’s travel archives. Legendary skateboarder Rick McCrank travels around the U.S. and Canada’s emptied towns, industrial centers, and neighborhoods with his skateboard underfoot. It’s part eery, part travel, and part skater dreamscape. The show goes beyond the obvious at every turn with McCrank talking to the locals who live in places emptied by nuclear waste spills, economic downturns, and political abandonment. It’s as culturally fascinating as it’s travel-inspiring.