What are Some of the Best Travel Shows?


Andre Dupuis (Cinematographer and co-creator), Justin Lukach (co-host), and Scott Wilson (co-host and co-creator) of Departures.

By now, all of us are getting pretty sick and tired of this whole self-isolation thing. The world is out there, calling to us, practically dragging us out the front door with our passports in hand. Unfortunately, it might be some time before we’ll actually be able to go anywhere except the grocery store.

So in the meantime, I’ve put together a list of my favourite binge-worthy travel shows. Grab your popcorn, take a seat on the couch, and get ready to explore the world in the comfort of your own home.

1. Departures

Available for free on YouTube or on Amazon Prime, Departures is a down-to-earth documentary travel series that follows three lifelong Canadian friends, Andre Dupuis (Cinematographer and co-creator), Justin Lukach (co-host), and Scott Wilson (co-host and co-creator) as they drop everything and take a year off from their everyday lives in search of new adventure, unique destinations, and self-discovery while travelling around the globe.

Departures, Scott Wilson, Justin Lukach, Andre Dupuis
A still from Departures‘ opening credits

Departures isn’t afraid to chronicle the reality of travel, and all of the emotional highs and lows that comes with it. It is perhaps the most relatable travel series ever created, and that is one of the many reasons why it is my personal favourite, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Some of the show’s must-see episodes include North Korea: The Other Side (S3-E12), India: Sacred Ground (S1-E3), and Ascension Island (S1-E5).

The show originally aired from 2009-2010, spanning 3 seasons and 42 episodes. Departures boasts a 9.0/10 on IMDb and has been nominated for several Gemini Awards, including two wins.


2. James May: Our Man in Japan

Available on Amazon Prime, James May: Our Man in Japan is a highly produced travel series that follows the comedic journey of television presenter James May (Top Gear and The Grand Tour) as he explores the length of Japan and discovers the quirks and hidden gems of the sometimes mysterious nation.

James May: Our Man in Japan
Presenter James May, and his robot sidekick Robohon

I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for anything Japan related, but nonetheless James May: Our Man in Japan does a fantastic job of showcasing a multitude of differing aspects of Japanese culture. From creating his own subway jingle, to controlling life-sized transformers, to simply trying his best to order a bowl of noodles, James May: Our Man in Japan does it all while keeping you laughing the entire time.

Here is the trailer for the show, and one of my personal favourite moments involving that of James’ love-hate relationship with small robot named Robohon.

James May: Our Man in Japan spans 1 season including 6 episodes and well deserves the 8.5/10 rating it has on IMDb. It is a show you won’t regret watching.


3. Around the Next Bend

Also available on Amazon Prime, Around the Next Bend is raw documentary travel series that chronicles the reckless adventure of two friends from Canada, Adrian Traquair and Dustin Corkery, as they voyage on a journey of self discovery in their attempt to paddle a mind-boggling 2,500+ km long stretch of the Ganges River in a raft.

Around the Next Bend, Adrian Traquair, Dustin Corkery
Adventurers Adrian Traquair and Dustin Corkery paddling on the Ganges River

From the moment they arrive in India it becomes clear that they are woefully unprepared for the monumental task that is ahead of them. Their time on the river is full of hardship, surprises and a whole lot of laughs.

Much like Departures, Around the Next Bend is a very down-to-earth show. If you can get past the relatively low production value, you will see parts of India, and moments of human connection rarely traversed or witnessed by your everyday traveller.

Around the Next Bend has 1 season, including 12 episodes and received a 8.6/10 rating on IMDb. It is a breath of fresh air in contrast to some of the more conventional travel shows shown on TV.


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