I’ve always been a superfan of the travel docuseries. Come 2020, with all travel on hold, I went on a major binge of every travel series I could find. Here’s a few of my old favorites and recent discoveries:
Rick Steves is the original travel influencer and his long running show on public television is the granddaddy of the travel TV series. Rick Steves’ Europe follows the host all over the continent, as he encourages travelers to visit the less-touristy spots, and immerse themselves in the local’s way of life. Rick has an empire of books, radio shows, syndicated columns and a tour guide business. His earnest personality, goofy catch phrases and dad jokes are affectionally poked at on social media fan pages. (My personal favorite Rick Steves IG fan account: @rickstevesohbaby).
Big City, Little Budget is a Travel Channel original hosted by award-winning blogger and journalist Oneika Raymond. This is a fun and vibrant go-to when you are in the mood to discover quirky, inexpensive attractions and cafes that may not be too far from your own home, in cities like Miami, Dallas and San Francisco. A language teacher turned travel-junkie, Oneika has been to over 100 countries, and got her start posting dozens of videos on globe-trotting through Asia, Africa and Europe. Her motto (and now, mine too) is “The only question is: where to next?”
Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby is a British BBC production you can find on Netflix and it’s serious eye-candy for hotel lovers. Hosts Monica Galetti, a chef from New Zealand, and Giles Coren, a British journalist, tour some of the most unusual and luxurious hotels on the planet, like Morocco’s Royal Mansour, where guests have their own spacious riad and butler. The team also gives us a behind-the-scenes look at hotel operations. In one episode, they go underground, literally, to view the massive basement kitchens and laundry rooms of Singapore’s architectural marvel (and location from Crazy Rich Asians’ final party scene), the Marina Bay Sands.
Basic Vs. Baller is travel series you can find on YouTube, Hulu and Tastemaste that was created by Alex and Marko Ayling. The laid-back duo, who call themselves the Vagabrothers, travel both the U.S. and the world together stopping in places like Austin or L.A., or Okinawa or Genoa. One brother travels on a modest ‘basic’ budget, the other is blessed with a ‘baller’ budget, which is determined by a trivia contest at the beginning of each episode. The show gives the viewers practical ideas about the variety of attractions, lodging and restaurants, for both for the budget minded-traveler or those who are in the mood to splurge. Their website is full of travel tips for almost any destination that you can think of.
If you love the scenic beauty of the Italian landscape, the medieval charm of its cities and gratuitous shots of gooey cheeses and heaping plates of pasta, CNN’s Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy is for you. The American actor lives his best life here, jaunting about the country in cashmere and linen, speaking fluent Italian, and sampling the wines and cocktails and cuisine, including all 4 of Rome’s best-loved pastas.