Sunday, November 26, 2017

3 Travel Shows on Netflix That Will Inspire Your Next Trip

Traveling is great, but sometimes I crave a weekend at home in my jammies, spending quality time with my sofa and the TV remote. A quiet weekend at home is good for the soul, and thanks to Netflix, I can use the time to spark ideas for upcoming travels.

Netflix has a list of binge-worthy travel shows. For the cost of a Netflix subscription, you can tour unique hotel properties across the world, tag along with a father-son duo exploring southeast Asia, and watch the epicurean travels of a semi-famous sitcom writer. You can experience all of this without ever leaving the comfort of your living room.

Here are three travel shows on Netflix that I enjoyed on a recent low key weekend. Check them out the next time you are grabbing some "me time" or stuck in the house due to nasty weather.

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby visits six remarkable hotels that offer guests one-of-a-kind experiences. The first episode focuses on Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. I gasped when the building first appeared on my screen because it is absolutely stunning. Three soaring towers of steel and glass topped by a garden in the sky called SkyPark which includes a 490-foot infinity swimming pool. By the end of the episode, I made a mental note to move Singapore up a few notches on my travel bucket list just so that I can visit the hotel.

The other five hotels are equally impressive. There is Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador, described as a glass box sitting alone in the Andean Cloud Forest. Fogo Island Inn has a futuristic design like Marina Bay Sands, but the ambiance is inspired by the quiet peace of the remote island off the coast of Newfoundland. All of the hotels promise luxurious, extraordinary and unforgettable visits. I have no doubt that these properties deliver on that pledge.

One of the things that I enjoyed about Amazing Hotels is that the show's hosts, Giles Coren and Monica Galetti, actually work alongside the staff. Unlike most travel shows that only chronicle the fantastic guest experience, viewers gain a behind the scenes look at the operations of these hotels. Every episode focuses on several hotel employees, and we get to hear from some of the hard-working people who make these exquisite stays run smoothly.

I really enjoyed this series and hope that season two is in the works.

marina bay sands
Marina Bay Sands

Mashpi Lodge - Ecuador

Fogo Island Inn

Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father

When Jack Whitehall graduated from boarding school, he skipped the traditional gap year break and went directly into comedy clubs to hone his craft as a stand-up comic. Ten years later, Jack is a successful comedian and entertainer in Britain. He decides to use a short break in his schedule to take the gap year trip that he always wanted to do.

A gap year conjures images of backpacking through remote locations, staying in hostels, figuring out what to do with the rest of your life, and meeting young adults on similar journeys. Mr. Whitehall embraces the essence of the gap year, but he also complicates it by inviting his 78-year old father, Michael to join him. Michael does not share his son's adventurous spirit and he is loath to move too far out of his comfort zone. Jack sums up his father’s views on travel at the beginning of the series. "He is very bad with foreign food," the comedian says with a chuckle. "That sentence pretty much works if you take out the word 'food' and replace it with pretty much anything."

The affectionate but somewhat uneasy relationship between Jack and Michael has enough drama to successfully drive the series through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Michael is a reluctant participant in many of the activities that his son arranges, like participating in an elephant polo match or helping rats clear minefields. However, while Michael voices his discontent often and loudly about these excursions, for the most part, he goes along for the sake of his son.

Whether you want to learn more about the history and culture of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam or want to watch the inner workings of a father-son bonding holiday, I think Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father is a binge-worthy addition to your Netflix list.

I'll Have What Phil's Having

I want to travel like Phil when I grow up. I want to eat the expertly prepared traditional dishes of the countries I visit. I want to receive invitations to dine at the private tables of the world's top chefs. I want to eat gelato in Italy so creamy and exquisite that tears well up in my eyes after each bite.

Phil is Phil Rosenthal writer, producer, and creator of one of the most successful TV sitcoms, Everybody Loves Raymond. Mr. Rosenthal is also a self-confessed foodie and food is the star of this series.

Food and travel go together like tomatoes and mozzarella because the food is a gateway to understanding the culture and history of a land. Food tells a story. Mr. Rosenthal's willingness and enthusiasm to learn the story of the places he visits through the food is the heart of the show. Even when he is well out of his comfort zone, like when he is served eel head in Japan, he tries it and finds a way to enjoy it. Isn't that why we travel? To be pushed out of our comfort zones, to connect with people by sharing something familiar to all of us, like food, and to have a travel experience that makes us cry at the pure beauty of a simple dessert.

What Phil is having is an awesome foodie travel experience, and I am so glad that he took a film crew along with him so we can watch.

There you go. Three inspiring travel shows to watch on Netflix. There are quite a few other travel shows out there. Which one is your favorite?