Many people would love to travel the world, but they just don't have the time and/or money. Luckily for everyone, Netflix is brimming with travel documentaries that allow viewers to see the sights and satisfy their wanderlust without ever leaving the house. Watch as people row across the Pacific, journey across the United States in a school bus, experience different foods and cultures, and follow their DNA results across the globe. There's no shame in saving a ton of money and living vicariously through others via Netflix! Here are 10 of the best travel documentaries on Netflix, as of February 2019.
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10 Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father
Jack Whitehall is an English comedian and actor who's most notably known in Britain for his standup comedy, but a lot of Americans might recognize him from Netflix's comedy/travel documentary, Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father. In the show, the free-spirited Jack is accompanied by his very posh, stodgy father as they travel to South East Asia on a popular "gap year route." Fans of Ricky Gervais' An Idiot Abroad are sure to love this. This hilarious father/son duo makes stops in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and their reactions are as wildly different as their wardrobes.
9 National Parks Adventure
Who wouldn't love to go on a tour of all the National Parks in America? That's a lot of ground to cover, but the documentary National Parks Adventure allows viewers to see them all without ever leaving the couch. Narrated by Robert Redford, this series features IMAX 3D cinematography and unbelievably beautiful views of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National Park, Redwood National Park, the Everglades, and the Arches.
Viewers can live vicariously through world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe, and artist Rachel Pohl as they hike and explore some of the most scenic places on Earth.
For those who aren't familiar with the Puerto Rican music scene, René Juan Pérez Joglar (known professionally as Residente) is a Grammy-award-winning Puerto Rican rapper, writer, filmmaker, producer and founder of the alternative rap group Calle 13. Residente the documentary follows the artist as he visits 10 countries around the world in an effort to follow in his ancestors' footsteps after receiving the results of his DNA test. It's an unexpectedly touching journey that reminds us all of how interconnected we really are.
7 Dark Tourist
Looking for a unique travel documentary with an edge? Join New Zealand filmmaker David Farrier as he explores the phenomenon known as "dark tourism," or traveling to places historically associated with death and tragedy.
The series has eight episodes, each with its own unique, macabre destination. Farrier visits suicide forests, walled off "ghost cities," dangerous townships, nuclear disaster sites, and even traces the steps of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. It's disturbing and fascinating all at the same time.
6 Pedal The World
Ready to Pedal the World without breaking a sweat? Join German-born Felix Starck on his 20,000 km mission to cycle across 22 countries over the course of one adventure-filled year. How will he survive, particularly if his bicycle breaks down in a remote location? Fortunately, Starck is fully equipped and ready for any potential setbacks (not to mention being constantly connected via social media). His journey is scenic, exhausting, and absolutely inspirational.
5 Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Unlike all of the other shows on this list, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is a travel documentary featuring delicious and exotic food from all over the world. Hosted by the late Anthony Bourdain, this Emmy-award-winning show takes viewers on a culinary journey to the lesser-known places of the world and explores their cultures and cuisine.
Bourdain is willing to go anywhere and try anything, and his open-mindedness and appreciation for culture, food, and travel is truly inspirational.
4 Conan Without Borders
For those who are fans of late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien, it might be time to check out his humorous travel documentary, Conan Without Borders. Fans can join Conan as he becomes a K-pop star in Korea, learns to dance the rumba in Cuba, stars in a telenovela in Mexico, films a movie in Rome, gets bar mitvahed in Israel and more. There aren't many travel documentaries that will make viewers laugh out loud, but this is one of them.
3 Expedition Happiness
Created by the same man who pedaled all over Europe in Pedal the World, German filmmakers Felix Starck and Selima Taibi set out on the Pan-American highway in a tricked-out old school bus in Expedition Happiness.
The duo is joined by their dog as they travel from Alaska to Mexico, but despite the documentary's name, their journey isn't always full of fun, love, and happiness. Starck and Selima's trip is an honest depiction of life on the road, but their hardships are offset by the stunning scenery surrounding them.
Told through the memories of 6-year-old child, Given is one of the most creative and intriguing travel documentaries out there. In the show, surfers and "van lifers" Jess Bianchi and Aamion Goodwin take their preschool-aged children all over the world in the hopes of giving them the "ultimate education in reality, humanity, and humility." The family of five visits 15 different countries before their children hit kindergarten, and their son, Given, narrates his travels and love of nature the whole way through. Truly fascinating.
1 Losing Sight Of Shore
There aren't many travel shows out there featuring four tough women with a serious case of wanderlust (and moxie), but Losing Sight Of Shore isn't another run-of-the-mill travel documentary. After extensive training and planning, the film follows four female friends as travel from California to Australia in nothing but a rowboat, which ends up being just as crazy and arduous as it sounds. Their journey is harrowing, emotional, beautifully shot, and well worth the watch.