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Must Watch Travel Documentaries Genre: Globetrotting

Binge-watch, live streaming, watchlist- these words have now become a part of everyday conversations. (Thanks to OTT!) What’s amazing about these streaming platforms is that all kinds of genres are available for the viewer to watch- including TRAVEL. And since it is difficult to travel around the world due to the pandemic, here are the must-watch travel documentaries that you can binge-watch and take a virtual tour!



1. Around the World in 80 Days (1989)

Filming Locations:

17 countries across North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia


Synopsis:

This beautiful BBC travel series is based on a fantastic novel with the same name by Jules Verne. Similar to the novel, but with Pierce Brosnan in the role of the famous protagonist, Phileas Fogg accepts the challenge to prove that it is possible to circumnavigate the world in 80 days, after 89being mocked by his fellow conservative scholars. The movie follows his exciting route as he traverses air, land, and sea with his trusted valet, Jean Passepartout (Eric Idle), and the comrades they pick up along the way.


Carefully crafted into a 7 part mini-series, the 80-day long adventure is perfect for the nomads at heart. Filmed in the most exotic locations possible, the series highlights 17 countries around the globe through numerous gridlocks, following Michael Palin’s exploration of the world. He takes you on a journey through Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America, leading to the series being aptly hailed as one of the best travel documentaries ever made!


Why watch?

While the novel itself has caught the attention of travellers, writers, and dreamers since it was first published in 1873, an era before the invention of air travel, the series introduces the same wonder and enchantment to a whole new generation. Intelligent, funny, and historically accurate, the series is a must-watch for all the sightseers, backpackers, adventurers, and wanderers. For adults and children alike, this series offers the chance to travel through the English Channel to the arid regions of the Middle East, entering Bombay and voyaging through the South China Sea, and loop back to the United States. This is the perfect opportunity to travel around the world in seven episodes!


Available on-

Amazon Prime Video



2. Baraka (1992)

Filming Locations:

150 locations in 23 countries


Synopsis:

Baraka is a non-narrative documentary (that is, without a voiceover) and is counted amongst some of the best travel documentaries in the world. The film is a kaleidoscopic exploration of the different hymns of nature and the physical world and their impact on a variety of cultures. This phenomenal documentary talks about the effect of our environment on the formation of spiritualism as we analyze the cacophonic chants of hundreds of monks during cosmic yajna as well as the frenzy of entire villages.

Why watch?

Baraka invites its viewers to peruse through the realms of nature and experience its spiritual layers in detail while focusing on the advancements of humanity and the way we have managed to neglect and ruin our countless blessings. It is a completely satirical take on human nature, laced with spectacular cinematography and brilliant photography of over a score of countries. The viewing of this masterpiece is ideal for anyone with a love of nature and its patterns along with theories about the perils that have haunted us since the industrial revolution. This beautiful movie, filmed in over 150 locations will enrich your understanding of the world and move you deeply.


Available on-

Amazon Prime Video



3. A Map for Saturday (2007)

Filming Locations: Australia, Thailand, India, London, Brazil, and Nepal


Synopsis: This movie is amongst the most popular travel documentaries ever made. The movie follows a young filmmaker, Brook Silva Braga on an 11-month long backpacking adventure after he quits his job. Every day is like a Saturday when you are adventuring across the globe. The beautifully filmed script explores the ups and downs of solo travelling, as it delves into the meaning of the cosmos and makes the viewer reflect on one’s own existence. The story chronicles a journey across four different continents. The film also interviews other backpackers and tells real-life stories on how the road forms unbreakable bonds.


Why watch?

A Map for Saturday is a classic travel documentary following the paths of a variety of solo travellers through 26 countries. A must-watch film for everyone, from teens to seniors, is a testament to how much there is to live in the confined walls of their offices. If you are looking for online travel documentaries, A Map for Saturday is a great watch, any day of the week!


Available on-

Amazon Prime Video



4. Antarctica: A Year on Ice (2013)

Filming Locations:

Antarctica


Synopsis:

How do you survive a year in the coldest place on this planet? Facing the harshest climates around the year, the south pole is an enigma to the world, and perhaps the most inhabitable place to be found. Antarctica: A Year On Ice is not your average nature documentary, however. This masterpiece brings to light the dangers and torments of surviving the Frigid Zone, highlighting the experiences of scientists and the lives of technicians as they brave the never-ending winter in isolation. The documentary has sublime visuals and heart-touching stories, making it unforgettable in its perfect conveyance to the viewer.


What makes it an interesting read for travel lovers: Diving deeper than ever before, past the beaches and valleys, this documentary takes you to a place of wonderment, hidden away from the sun for half the year, and in a direct glare for the remaining year. This film offers a pristine analysis of the Survival of the Fittest, and brings impossible realities to your screen!


Available on-

Amazon Prime Video



5.The Maidentrip (2013)

Filming Locations:

Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Ecuador, Panama, French Polynesia

Synopsis: The Maiden trip is a heart-rending story of a 14-year-old sailing around the world. The movie is a must-watch for all ages, as we follow Laura Dekker’s voyage that takes her from St. Martins, Panama, to the Galapagos Islands, Australia, and the Cape of Good Hope before getting back to St. Martins in just a year and a half. Becoming the youngest person ever to sail around the world, Dekker’s journey is both motivational and awe-inspiring for all, especially the aspiring travellers, looking to satisfy their wanderlust.


Why watch? Watch as Laura Dekker captures the planet through a lens, presenting her point of view on some of the most beautiful places on earth, adding in her experiences that are the crux of this incredible story.


Available on

Amazon Prime Video, Vimeo



6.Hit the Road: India (2013)

Filming Locations:

India, Armenia


Synopsis:

This beautiful story of two friends in a Rickshaw rally gained momentum and recognition after it was featured by Lonely Planet as one of the best travel documentaries of 2012. All the same, like most good things in life, it remains an underrated work of genius. The movie follows two friends and their circumstances as they participate in a rickshaw rally across state lines from Chennai to Mumbai within 12 days, and covering over 2000 km.


The movie brings a special experience to the screen, not just because of the setting in adverse climatic conditions, but also because of the understated human emotion attached to a vehicle battling impossible terrains. Rickshaws are one of the lightest motor-driven vehicles in India, known for their cost-effectiveness and tendency to splutter and break down. Highlighting this specific three-wheeler, which is the source of livelihood of many, and the commute of countless more brings a taste of reality that is often missing in other films.


Why watch?

A solid recommendation for young adults and above, who can appreciate two men racing through the Western Ghats of India as they aim for the coast while driving one of the lightest vehicles. This really is worth the watch.


Available on

iTunes, Amazon Prime Video



7.The Kindness Diaries

Synopsis:

The Kindness Diaries is a touching docuseries, about an Englishman, Leon Logothetis riding a vintage Volkswagen Beetle convertible, from Alaska to Argentina and testing the limits of the kindness of strangers. Leon sets out to drive around the Americas, connecting with people as he moves from city to town, with no credit cards or cell phone, relying on the same connections to cover all his basic essentials, in the form of food, shelter, and gas, leaving behind life-altering presents for these good Samaritans.


Why watch?

This series brings out the warmth we see and take for granted in our daily lives, as we see small gestures coming together to create a large impact. A must-watch for all travel enthusiasts and backpackers!


Available on

Amazon Prime Video (S1) Netflix (S2)



8. Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father

Synopsis:

In the very first episode, comedian Jack Whitehall says, “I’ve got this window in my diary where I can have a gap year, and I thought it would be funny to take my father with me. Why not? I think we are going to find out exactly why not.” This travel documentary series is a testament to what happens next, as Jack pesters his unwilling, ex-TV producer of a father into taking an unlikely trip full of adventures that force them both out of their comfort zones. Follow their story around the world as they bicker and banter about hotels, hostels, and everything in between.


Why watch? ‘Travels with My Father’ comes with a sharp bite of comedy, and is ideal for a light-hearted audience heavily invested in reality television. Watch Jack and Michael Whitehall discover the world, as they explore their unique family dynamics, which becomes the heart of the soul.


Available on

Netflix