I don’t know about you but I’ve come to dread putting the TV on. Every news item is Covid19 related and my national BBC channel is now advertising a show called ‘Wales in Lockdown’.
While I’m sure it’s a great insight into the struggle for families up and down the country, my tolerance is waning. There’s no such thing as normal anymore but I still need a break from the scary stories and constant reminder of the crisis. As travel is your passion, here’s 5 travel shows to feed your wanderlust during lockdown…
An Idiot Abroad
Karl Pilkington, Manchester’s favourite moaner (Noel Gallacher aside…) is on his very worst form in this brilliantly funny series. Sent to some of the world’s most amazing sites and cities by his mates (ahem) Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, Karl complains his way around the globe in a way only he can. His wry observations are funny enough in themselves but, given his two mates are watching him suffer from the comfort of their homes, it makes the show twice as funny. There are three seasons in total, with 19 episodes to snicker through.
Watch on: Amazon Prime
Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father
English comedian and all-round posh boy, Jack Whitehall, takes to travelling the world with his equally posh Dad, Michael. Whilst Jack is young and hip, his Dad is much older (very much older) and pretty, well…outdated in some of his views (in my opinion). He’s also a rich, Tory voting Royalist, which made my eyes roll more than a few times. However, because the two are quite so different in their outlook on life (and as Jack’s relentless in his teasing) the shows are extremely funny.
Basically, Jack spends his time getting his Dad to do stuff he hates, and vice versa. If you can cope with a grown man referring to his father as ‘Daddy’, you might just enjoy it. Also, if you like creepy dolls called Winston, you’re in for a treat. There are currently three seasons available to binge-watch.
Watch on: Netflix UK
Race Across the World
This UK copy of the US original, The Amazing Race, has recently started its second series on BBC One. The travel show takes five UK couples (nine English, a sole Scot, and zero representation from the other two UK nations) and challenges them to a race from one fixed point to another. Each team has the same budget and is forbidden to fly. They must each make specific checkpoints along the way
For season 2, the couples, who comprise mother and son, two sets of husband and wife, brother and sister, and uncle and nephew, put their planning and team working skills to the ultimate test. Most have entered the travel show in a bid to rekindle something in their relationship. To be honest, watching them triumph and fail in equal measure is almost as interesting as the locations they visit. This season, they’re on a trek across Central and South America and the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking.
Les and I tend to dislike the same people and always, always root for the underdog. This year, we’re all about Rob and Lizzie getting their confidence back, and the lovely Emon and Jamiul making up for the time they’ve lost.
Watch on: BBC
I love this show as I adore anything dark tourism-related. I’m the woman who forced her long-suffering husband to visit an underground mass grave site in Naples, hit up downtown Dallas to check out the grassy knoll, and take a day trip to Chernobyl. This show gave me nothing but more inspiration, much to Les’s delight. As gruesome as it sounds, I’m fascinated by the more, well….obscure visitor attractions. I’m not even remotely sorry.
Dark Tourist features journalist, David Farrier, visiting a host of creepy and bizarre global sites. Season One features a trip to Medellin, the home of Pablo Escobar, and Dallas to visit the Book Depository. He also ventures to Phnom Pehn to shoot live animals, and sneaks to the secret closed Soviet city of Baikonur. I’m not saying the show will cheer you up at ALL in the current crisis, but it’ll definitely take your mind off it.
Watch on: Netflix (UK and US)
Anyone who loved The IT Crowd will be familiar with Richard Ayoade. Now in its 10th Season, each episode of Travel Man features the lovely Richard, plus a celebrity guest. The duo has 48 hours to do as much as possible within their chosen city. The vast majority of the cities featured are spread throughout Europe (Naples, Lisbon, Barca, etc) but there are also outliers, such as Jordan, Dubai, Miami, and Moscow. Not only is it a giggle, but it provides great info for anyone looking to travel to the cities in question. Ayoade left the show in 2020 and Joe Lycett (or Hugo Boss…) has taken over the reins. I can’t wait to see how that’s going to shape up.
Watch on: Channel 4 app
Have you been feeding your wanderlust with any good travel shows?