It looks like holidaying abroad is off the cards for this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spend some time dreaming about getaways as well as starting to plan ahead.
There are some great travel TV series that you can check out right now to draw inspiration from for future trips abroad.
After all, there will be a time when we can travel to exotic paradises again.
Here's what shows to watch and where you can stream them.
WATCH ON NETFLIX
Travels with My Father
Most will probably be familiar with the series 'Travels with My Father' from comedian Jack Whitehall, but for anyone who hasn’t heard of the show, it essentially does what it says on the tin. Jack travels around the world with his fussy and grumpy father, Michael Whitehall, to such places as Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
Season 2 sees them explore Eastern Europe while season 3 was set in the American west and season 4 is set in Australia. If you’re looking for lots of laughs, silliness and awkward situations, aside from getting some travel inspiration, this show is well worth a watch.
Down to Earth with Zac Efron
Whether or not you’re a fan of Zac Efron, this series Down to Earth demonstrates the actor’s charm and good nature. He travels to such places as Iceland, Costa Rica, and Sardinia in search of life experiences as well as green energy and sustainable living practices.
Now some of the science elements of it have come under some criticism, but look. It’s light and a quick watch with eight episodes in total.
Paul Hollywood's Big Continental Road Trip
Fans of car shows or of Paul Hollywood from 'The Great British Bake Off' will want to check this out.
The three-part series sees the chef and auto enthusiast take in cars and culture across France, Italy and Germany.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
This dozen-time Emmy award-winning series sees the late, great Anthony Bourdain explore the culture and cuisines of lesser-known places around the world. Bourdain was working on an episode of the show centered in Strasbourg, France at the time of his death in 2018.
All twelve seasons of the series are streaming on Netflix now.
WATCH ON RTÉ PLAYER
For anyone who doesn’t have a Netflix subscription, there’s plenty to watch on the RTÉ player. The station has made a point of commissioning and broadcasting numerous travel shows over the years – probably because the Irish just love their getaways!
High Road, Low Road
This aired on RTÉ last year and sees two celebs get sent on holidays to the same destination, but with a catch. One gets the five star treatment and the other is sent straight to economy. It’s up in the air as to who will have the better experience.
The likes of George McMahon, Cliona Hagan, Francis Brennan, Des Bishop, Joanne McNally, Mick Foster, Tony Allen, Katherine Lynch, Maia Dunphy and Jake Carter have been flown to such destinations as Athens, Helsinki, Tenerife, Malta, Tunisia and Turkey. The show’s about putting things in perspective and appreciating new and simple pleasures, as well as the indulgent, finer things in life.
Francis Brennan shows
As a number of the previous examples have shown, often one of the keys to making travel shows work is having a host you want to go on their journey with. Well Francis Brennan has just that kind of personality.
Search for him on the RTÉ player and you’ll find his Vietnamese Tour, Indian Tour, and Grand Tour South Africa. Comprising of six parts each, they’re all delightful excursions.
Travel TV show ‘Getaways’ is no longer running, but season 7 is on the player now.
It includes trips to Seattle, Bulgaria, Turkey, Lanzarote and Hong Kong, guided by the likes of Sinéad Kennedy, Vogue Williams, Tommy Bowe, Mairéad Ronan, and Joe Lindsay. The review series is a good dip in and out sort of show if you’re looking for some quick travel inspiration.
Neven's Food Trails
Neven Maguire is another personality who gets a lot of love in Ireland. The chef hosts a number of series on RTÉ player set in such locations as Spain, the Basque country, and Italy.
If you search "Neven" on the player, his more local shows revolving around Irish food and Irish seafood are also up there. Perfect for travel enthusiasts who are also big foodies.
Dr Eva's Great Escape
This is another more recent travel TV series that aired on the national broadcaster.
The documentary follows Eva and Wyatt Orsmond as they sell their Wicklow home to start a new adventure in Portugal. There, they plan to build a luxury hotel.
WATCH ON ALL 4
Another streaming service you can watch content on for free (once you make an account) is the Channel 4 player All 4. They’ve some terrific travel TV shows worth a look into.
A New Life in the Sun
All six seasons of A New Life in the Sun are on All 4 now so there’s plenty to get stuck into if you’re looking for a travel series you can binge and binge.
The show follows various British expats as they go about setting up a new life and career abroad in a sunnier climate. Those the series follows have their struggles establishing a whole new way of life, but the show is typically full of feel good factor and features some amazing stories and people. You might just warm up to the idea of making your own new life in the sun! Check out 'A New Life in the Sun: Where Are They Now' on All 4 also, to catch up on what the subjects that the documentary series follows have been up to since.
Travel Man: 48 hours in...
This show is hosted by the quirky and wonderful Richard Ayoade, who is best known for playing Moss on sitcom ‘The IT Crowd’. In each episode, he is accompanied by a celebrity guest, typically a comedian, to spend 2 days (48 hours) in a city full of must see attractions.
Hamburg, Krakow, Jordan, Slovenia, Ibiza, Zurich, Miami, St Petersburg and tonnes of other locations get a look in, and there are close to 50 episodes available.
Travels of a Gringo
This three part travel TV series, filmed by journalist Sean Langan, looks into the effects of globalisation on the people of Latin America.
Kicking off his journey in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Langan voyages to the other side of Latin America, ending up in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, which is the highest city in the world.
If you're looking to do some budget travelling, this series is sure to inspire loads of ideas.
Lucy Hedges and Morland Sanders road test up and coming travel destinations to find the best bang for your buck. Activities include zip lining in Costa Rica, swimming with wild dolphins in the Azores, climbing ancient pyramids in Mexico, and discovering the tropical beaches of Cambodia.