One of the most frustrating things about the COVID-19 pandemic is the way it has restricted movement and travel. While going anywhere far from home can be dangerous and overseas travel is mostly unavailable, consider watching some of these travel shows and documentaries to plan future adventures.
If you’re a fan of true crime shows and other programs that explore the gritty side of humanity, consider checking out season one of “Dark Tourism” on Netflix. New Zealand journalist David Farrier travels the world to find macabre destinations like a voodoo festival in Benin and Pablo Escobar’s former hangouts in Columbia. He treats all of the cultures he visits with respect, offering a closer look without sensationalizing or mocking them. While you can replicate a few of the experiences, some of them you should only watch, like a tour of a town soaked with radiation in Japan. He spends two of the eight episodes in the United States learning more about vampires and meeting apocalypse preppers. It will definitely show you this country through a new set of eyes.
When Anthony Bourdain passed away in 2018, he left behind an extensive catalog of travel shows to watch and remember him by. From “No Reservations” to “Parts Unknown” and “The Layover,” all of his work offers Bourdain’s trademark wit and adventurous spirit. In “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain travels the United States and the rest of the world, eating local delicacies and discussing the heritage and politics of each region. While he hits a lot of popular cities for tourists, he also explores some lesser-traveled destinations and sheds light on their unique cultures.
Traveling for good food and fun attractions is great, but sometimes it’s just nice to marvel at the natural world. “Home” is photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s love letter to Earth. Narrated by Glenn Close, it uses aerial photography to show off the beauty of 54 countries. The artist did what he could to make the film fully accessible, posting it on a handful of streaming services. If you have young travelers-in-training, this is a great way to show them just what our planet has to offer.
“Rick Steves’ Europe”
You can’t talk about travel shows and documentaries without bringing up “Rick Steves’ Europe.” European travel expert Rick Steves has been traveling Europe for decades, both individually and as a tour operator. The decade of “Rick Steves’ Europe” episodes will not only help you find the perfect country to visit, but it will also show you how to experience it like the locals and find the true gems they offer. If you enjoy watching the show, you can book a tour with Steves’ company or order one of his travel guides to pack in your suitcase.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable boarding a plane just yet, there’s nothing to say that you can’t see the world from home.