8+ Travel Variety Shows To Watch So You Can Travel Vicariously
If you’re living in a country that’s undergoing some sort of border lock down or even being told to plant yourselves at home and social distance yourself from everyone (which at this point is a whole chunk of countries), then you might be experiencing some signs of cabin fever.
Being stuck at home staring at the same walls, looking at the same view from the same small window can be pretty draining, so it’s only natural for us to crave some wide open spaces. And what better way to experience them (without you know, actually experiencing them) then by watching some travel variety shows. They’ll provide you with some sweet escape, showing you gorgeous expansive scenery, exciting discoveries, and loads of healing!
So here are some travel variety shows you can tee up and travel vicariously through: (and in the meantime, if you still need to beat the boredom, be sure to check out this quiz).
“Over Flowers” series
Between “Grandpas Over Flowers” and it’s two spin-offs “Nunas Over Flowers” and “Youth Over Flowers,” there are 11 seasons with nearly 80 episodes to consume. Each series has its own special appeal, whether it’s the adorable and relaxed nature of the grandpas, the beauty and grace of the nunas, or the adventurous spirit of the youths. And while the two former series have younger “porters” acting as tour guides and to help take care of the (relatively) older castmates, the “youth” series is known for “kidnapping” its cast and notifying them of their trip only hours beforehand as a way to force them to travel light and within budget. The casts go around and enjoy the culture and cuisine offered in the destination countries, and the scenic shots done by the “Over Flowers” crew are always especially breathtaking, doing justice to the beauty found in countries such as Iceland, Austria, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
Watch the cast of “Reply 1988” traipse across the deserts of Africa:
BTS’s Bon Voyage
Even casual fans will be delighted with BTS‘s very own travel-themed content, aptly titled “Bon Voyage.” There are four seasons so far, with the boys having visited Northern Europe, Hawaii, Malta, and in the most recent voyage, New Zealand. There are eight episodes in each season and each episode is around 30 minutes to an hour, so they’re perfect for a mini-binge. You’ll get to see the boys be their au naturel selves, enjoying a time of fun, adventure, and healing, all set against the beautiful backdrop of whichever city they are in.
Watch a teaser for “Bon Voyage” Season 4 here:
“Battle Trip,” as the name suggests, is a variety show that pits two sets of guests against each other as they try to win the studio audiences’ hearts with their travel itinerary (though this concept was later revamped in the final few episodes, right before its recent cancellation in March). The show has sent guests nearly everywhere, from local destinations in South Korea to popular tourist hotspots like Japan and Hawaii, and also less traveled countries such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. With 176 episodes under its belt, featuring a multitude of guests, there’s sure to be something that’ll tickle your fancy.
Watch “Battle Trip” below:
One Fine Day
If you’re someone who enjoys watching idols get a well deserved break, then be sure to check out “One Fine Day.” A whole shebang of idol groups have been on this series, including B1A4, VIXX, Girl’s Day, SHINee, Super Junior, B.A.P, GFRIEND, and so on. Out of all the groups, SEVENTEEN is the only one to star twice in the series (and being the final entry as of 2017). Much to their surprise (and to our hilarious enjoyment), their first outing with the show was very unlike their predecessors, where the groups would usually be allowed to kick back, relax, and fully enjoy themselves in various tourist destinations.
Instead, SEVENTEEN’s first edition had the hidden sub-header of “13 Castaways,” where the then newly debuted boys were stranded on an island village with only a handful of belongings, and were left to forage and feed themselves. The production team does make it up to them by sending them off to Japan the following year for an actual healing trip that is more thematically in line with the “One Fine Day” series, but the “13 Castaways” edition is one that will be sure to entertain even the non-fans.
Watch a teaser for SEVENTEEN’s 13 Castaway edition below:
2 Days & 1 Night
“2 Days & 1 Night” is the go-to travel variety show in South Korea, and boasts of being one that has been around the longest (since 2007!). It is now currently on its fourth season, with veteran Kim Jong Min still hanging around to amuse us with his silly antics. The show mostly travels around South Korea (though they do have a few overseas specials) and introduces viewers to the many beautiful locales and famous foods that might otherwise fly under the radar, while also entertaining us with their passion for missions and in-fighting.
Watch a teaser for the first episode of Season 4:
Catch the latest episode below:
“Carefree Travelers” really leans into the travel concept by having the cast members (and guests) join package tours and experience things like a regular tourist. Though each cast members are from different fields, their personalities gel wonderfully together, creating a fun chemistry and brotherhood. The other travelers on the tour also brings an extra layer of charm to the show. With “Carefree Travelers,” you get to experience the excitement of travelling and discovery while also enjoying the more quiet and intimate moments of human bonding. It’s been off the air since early 2019, but between the two seasons available, there’s over 100 episodes for you to enjoy.
Watch a teaser featuring the cast members going white water rafting:
If you’re one who really wants to just unwind and relax while watching a low-key travel variety show, then “Begin Again” is right up your alley! It not only features gorgeous scenic shots from places such as Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, and Budapest, but you’ll also get to fully immerse yourself in the beautiful voices of talents such as Lee So Ra, AKMU’s Lee Soo Hyun, Paul Kim, Lee Juck, and Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon. This is a show that brings talented singers and musicians to gorgeous locations and hold busking events for the locals. Both your eyes and ears will be rejuvenated after watching this show, and you can practically feel your stress melting away. There are three seasons so far, with each season featuring a different set of artists.
Watch Lee Soo Hyun singing “Because I Love You”:
“Traveler” is one of the newer travel variety shows on this list, having aired season one in early 2019, with actors Ryu Jun Yeol and Lee Je Hoon as the cast members, whereas season two with Ahn Jae Hong, Kang Ha Neul, and Ong Seong Wu only just started airing this February. The show focuses on the charm of backpacking, and allows the cast members to have free reign over their travel agendas. The first season traveled to Cuba and explored their history and culture, whereas season two is currently enjoying the beauties of Argentina.
Watch Season 1 below:
Watch Season 2 below:
Are you experiencing cabin fever yet? Which of these variety shows will you be teeing up to give you some sweet escape? Let us know in the comments below!
Currently watching: “Memorist” and “Eccentric! Chef Moon”
All-time favorite: “Kill Me Heal Me,” “Defendant,” “Hotel Del Luna”
Looking forward to: “The King: Eternal Monarch” starring Lee Min Ho and Kim Go Eun