5 Travel Documentaries You’ll Love

travel documentaries

You’ve probably watched more television in the last six months than you care to admit. Don’t worry, we won’t judge you. We’re right there with you!

One thing that has definitely been missing for the last eight months is our ability to explore the world. But since most of us can’t take a vacation safely, travel documentaries are the second-best alternative for now. But how do you know which docs are worth watching?

Documentary Suggestion #1: Kedi

This first one goes out to all you cat fans out there. But whether you like cats or not, Kedi offers a unique glimpse into street culture in the city of Istanbul, Turkey.

Throughout the documentary, seven stray cats (Sari, Duman, Bengu, Aslan, Gamsiz, Psikopat and Deniz) are followed through the streets of Istanbul. Their daily trials, triumphs and terrors are beautifully recorded. Their grace and mystery ooze like honey, making even the most hesitant fan of felines fall in love.

Available on: AppleTV, YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime

Documentary Suggestion #2: Maiden

Maiden is somewhat of a play on words as this film follows the first all-female yachting crew competing in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race. The crew, led by the fearless Tracey Edwards, embarked on the world’s longest yacht race, which begins (and ends) in Southampton, England.

The race usually lasts about nine months and takes competitors to the far corners of the world. Ports of call include Punta del Este, Uruguay, Fremantle, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Watch Maiden, and you’ll be ready to conquer the high seas on your next vacation—even if that isn’t for a while.

Available on: Starz, Hulu, Amazon Prime

Documentary Suggestion #3: Endless Summer

The surf craze of the sixties lives on in this epic documentary of two friends, Mike Hynson and Robert August, who embarked on a surfing trip around the world in the summer of 1966.

Throughout Endless Summer, the duo travel to exotic lands including Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii and California. They spend their journey seeking out local surf culture and the “perfect wave.” They found just that in South Africa’s Cape St. Francis—which is now regarded as one of the top surfing destinations in the world.

Available on: tubi, YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime

Documentary Suggestion #4: Woodstock

Whether or not you were lucky enough to attend the Woodstock music festival, this fascinating look at one of the most epic musical pilgrimages to the New York countryside will make you feel like you did!

Woodstock is an Oscar-winning documentary that revisits the festival through never-before-seen footage and first-hand accounts from the people who were there. The movie poignantly documents the social intricacies of the now infamous weekend as well as the unforgettable musical performances.

Woodstock is well-worth a watch to relive your glory days and remember a time when all you needed was love.

Available on: AppleTV, Amazon Prime, PBS

Documentary Suggestion #5: Life in a Day

If you’re longing to remember simpler times, like before you even heard the term “social distancing” and “COVID-19,” look no further than Life in a Day. This documentary follows a group of completely random individuals from all across the world and records how they each lived on a single day: July 24, 2010.

July 24, 2010 wasn’t a significant day. There was no great human achievement. Or infamous holiday. That day was just a day like every other. But when you walk through a day in the shoes of another, small moments become big. This documentary does a great job of connecting us all by reminding viewers of the humanity we all share.

Life in a Day offers a striking account of the many ways life is lived. And, if you love this doc, you can look forward to the ten-year anniversary follow-up that will explore the very different life we all lead on July 24, 2020.

Available on: YouTube

Each of these travel documentaries offers glimpses into how people and places all around the world. You learn about what these people value, who they love, why they are who they are. About what makes a landscape unique, how it’s stood the test of time and the outlook for the future. Understanding is an important step in cultivating value for other cultures, ideas and beliefs. Open your mind to a few of these films, and watch as they open your heart.


image credit: shutterstock/think4photop