You are trying to save a few bucks for your next travel adventure and decided to cut the cable TV and go with an old school TV antennae on top.
While you might miss the likes of Travel Channel, National Geographic and Discover, there are some great options for us Travelers to enjoy on Broadcast Over The Air TV.
First and foremost is the always entertaining Globe Trekker. Globe Trekker takes us around the world to a variety of countries including the nice(Australia, USA, Germany) and the not-so-easy (Pakistan, Cuba, and Iran). If you can find it on a map, Globe Trekker has probably been there. The shows hosts change every episode which adds to the uniqueness of its presentation. The down side here is when you meet the host that you relate to, they are usually not around for the long haul.
For you Globe Trekker fans, it is confirmed that Ian Wright has left the show. Fortunately, we still have reruns. Another symptom of watching Globe trekker is that it will make you want to go out and start your own TV show. When it comes to their operation, Globe Trekker does it the right way. They meet people and experience the culture. Their presentation is unique and the ideas they offer are great.
In the states you can find Globe Trekker on your local PBS station. In my area, it is on Mondays at 10pm with replays on Friday night. Also check your library and Netflix to find past regional episodes on DVD.
He was once just a travel enthusiast now he is a tour guide turned Travel writer and TV show host. Rick Steves comes across as a gentleman who is a very knowledgeable traveler and guide. He often knows the local language and history behind the destinations he visits.
Watch out for the “Rick Steve Stroll”. It goes like this. The camera is locked onto a shot of Rick as he strolls towards it while speaking about where he is. This is sometimes accompanied by a jacket over the shoulder and a piece of advice specific to the region. The "Rick Steves' Stroll" will turn up at least once in each episode. Be warned: after watching Rick Steves' Europe for too long you too may find yourself doing The Stroll as you talk to others on your next trip.
We can all relate to Rick as he likes to have a drink and apparently a toke as well. He is a vocal supporter of NORML and a very intelligent speaker on the subject. Truth be told, we support you Rick Steves'. Have fun in Amsterdam. Wink!
Rick Steves' Europe is a 30 minute program on PBS most weeknights. He is restricted to Europe and his show can be best compared to following a tour guide around a city. Very educational.
Also from the PBS family of travel programming, Nature goes to different places around the world focusing on certain animals, as the name suggests, within nature. This is more to help inform yourself of the variety of creatures around the world and is not a total cure for those itchy feet. Moreover, Nature will provide you with a slough of future Jeopardy answers when you're sitting around the community TV at your next Hostel.
Nature is on PBS at various times throughout the week in the evenings. It is usually hosted with an English accent and has the best cinematography of all travel programming on broadcast TV.
One Off Travel Shows – PBS airs various of these "One Off" Shows or mini-series which you can find at various times throughout the month. They vary in length and style and are easily discovered when you get out the old fashioned TV guide or just go to PBS online TV Guide.
Previously aired and highly recommended One Off PBS Travel Shows include – Travel with a Tangerine(3 part miniseries), Stephen Fry in America, and National Parks: America's Greatest Idea. Watch the previews and adverts for future airings of these shows. Keep an eye out for anything by Ken Burns as those are always well produced with great story telling and cinematography.
I am unfortunately a victim of this “reality TV show”, but it has got its rightful place in our list. This guilty pleasure TV series does show people at their lowest points and exploits them. It is also an hour long reminder of the USA and its public schools lack of attention to worldly education.
The bigger disappointment is how they travel in this show vs how we like to travel. They don't spend any time appreciating the sites and the local culture. More disappointing, is some of the contestants attitudes as they are often rude to the locals.
This was witnessed in the current season while Lance pushed over a Vietnamese guy on a moped to get to the next mark. Dear Lance, you are a douche-bag. Then again, what American will focus on politeness when they have $1 Million knocking at your door? $1 Million. That is more than the GDP of the countries they are ignoring.
What we do love however is looking for places and locations that we have already visited and reminiscing about them. The Amazin Race continues to bring back memories of past trips and also offer ideas for future ones. Giving credit where it's due, the Amazing Race does go to some very cool places like Thailand, India, South Africa and Brazil.
While they rush through every city and get very little experience out of it, the show can offer viewers specific points of interest which they may be unfamiliar with. Finally, The Amazing Race is one of the very few programs on a Big 3 Network that is centered around international travel, and for that, The Amazing Race has made this list.
As a message to the winners of The Amazing Race: the first thing you would do is travel back to all of those places and spend a month at each country appreciating the people and culture.
Explore – Explore is a no frills travel TV show. It will have a handful of locations which are typically tourist oriented, and offer scenic beauty shots of each one. There is an Australian narrator, Anna Blatch, who we never see, but has as lovely soothing voice. Explore hits several well known places at a destination and at the end of the segment, offers basic info that you could find after a google or two. Ie: currency, peak season, climate, and language.
What we enjoy about this non-personal and generic tourist program is the variety of places they reach out to, even if each place is only on for a minute or so. Previous segments include the Maldives, England, and Mauritius.
Explore is on Ion Life(previously known as ITV and PaxTV) Ion is not found in all US cities, or even a lot of major ones. Don't worry if you can't find it, you are not missing much.
Latitudes and Attitudes – The sometimes off-putting Bob Bitchin is sure to get a double take as you ask, how did he get his own TV show? Here he is, the host of Latitudes and Attitudes, a TV show centered around the sail boating lifestyle. Originally a magazine, Latitudes and Attitudes follows liveaboard sailboaters as they make there way to various ports around the world.
This show is very simply made and has average video work and editing. If these things bother you, don't worry, this show is only a half hour long. What Latitudes and Attitudes lacks in production quality, it makes up for in uniqueness.
We love that the show opens the door to a lifestyle that is often overlooked, the live aboard sail boating community. They take us to the sailor parties and offer tips on maintenance of your sailboat. While the second does not apply to me, it is cool to see this lifestyle and it reminds us that there is no recipe for the proper way to lead your life.
Lats and Atts is found on various TV networks so check out their official page for more specific times. Locally, Latitudes and Attitudes is on IonLife.
In case you cant find anything better to do with a half hour of your life, this show might be the trick. Get Out features three bikini clad women in their early twenties, as they go on tours meeting locals and seeing the sites.
They have been known to take on tasks like skydiving, feeding alligators and tasting local cuisines. This is not a show for travelers as much as it is for young, single, male tourists, age 15-18. This show is a little eye candy at a cool place, and is mildly entertaining.
It can be found on HDNet and on IonLife.
So there it is, the best of Over The Air travel TV Shows. This just proves you can save the extra $50 a month for you next trip while also getting a decent dose of travel programming to keep you motivated.
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