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Our Favorite Books, Podcasts, Movies & Shows About Travel

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Although we can't travel now, we can still transport ourselves to other lands through words, sounds, and views.

Now is the perfect time to pick up that travel book you've had on the shelf, dive into the travel series you've been meaning to check out, or re-watch your favorite movie about a country you miss.

To help beef up your homebound read and watch list, the Thrifty Traveler team shares their favorite books, podcasts, shows, and movies – all about travel.


Jared's Picks


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho should be on every traveler's list. It's mind-blowing that it was written in only two weeks!

Buy The Alchemist on Amazon
Shows & Movies:

Somebody Feed Phil is simple and easy to watch. Phil really knows how to enjoy life while traveling. And any Indiana Jones movie is “travel from the couch” at it's finest.

You can currently stream Somebody Feed Phil and Indiana Jones on Netflix.

Nick's Recommendations

Books & Podcasts:

The Alchemist is at the top of my list as well. It is about a shepherd who seeks to travel in search of treasure. Along the way, he finds himself instead. It's very relatable: I think that is a big part of travel for many.

Buy The Alchemist on Amazon
For podcasts, I recommend The Thought Card. It is a podcast about world travel and money management. Two of my favorite topics mixed into one show!

Listen to The Thought Card on Apple Podcasts or however you listen to podcasts
Shows & Movies:

I don't have a specific episode, but every time I watch Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown it makes me want to add the destination to my bucket list. Bourdain had an amazing way of showing the non-touristy side of cities, which I have always gravitated towards.

If you're looking for a great travel movie, watch Into the Wild. I can't think of a better movie to inspire wanderlust.

Purchase Parts Unknown and rent Into the Wild on Amazon Prime Video. 

Image Courtesy of Netflix


Mikhala's Favorites

Books & Podcasts:

I'm a firm believer that reading a book during a trip can help you remember a trip more vividly. For me, the perfect example of this was when I read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I was on a camping trip in Kauai at the time, and reading this book of a man disappearing into nature while I was doing a bit of the same was really special.

Buy Into the Wild on Amazon

Since we can't travel now, I'm opting for books instead. Right now, I'm reading The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. It's a great read for reflecting on past travels and thinking about the ways it impacts us all.

Buy the Art of Travel on Amazon

One podcast I love listening to for some wanderlust is Extra Pack of Peanuts. I especially enjoy their unique interviews of folks that rent Airbnbs to travel full-time, families that live and travel in RVs, and more quirky travel stories.

Listen to Extra Pack of Peanuts on Apple Podcasts or however you listen to podcasts.

If I'm being honest, a big part of travel for me is food. That's why my favorite travel shows are also…food shows! I especially enjoy Salt Fat Acid Heat and Ugly Delicious.

Stream Salt Fat Acid Heat and Ugly Delicious on Netflix.

Image Courtesy of Netflix


Kyle's Picks


It's a tie between Layovers and Dots, Lines & Destinations. Both of these podcasts dive into the business decisions of airlines: what's working, what's not, and why airlines do what they do.
Dots, Lines & Destinations skews much wonkier, diving deep into the weeds with a ton of knowledgable insight that explains what's really happening in this crazy industry. Layovers is a bit more high-level but no less informative, with two upbeat and fun cohosts who break down some of the biggest news shaping airlines while also sharing fun, personal stories from their travels.
Listen to Layovers and Dots, Lines & Destinations on Apple Podcasts or however you listen to podcasts.


Shows & Movies:

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – particularly the Hanoi episode. Almost everything Anthony Bourdain touched is gold, and every episode of Parts Unknown is worth watching. But I'm still amazed at how well this episode captured the cozy chaos of Hanoi.




I must have watched it a dozen times before my first visit to this northern Vietnamese city, setting impossibly high expectations for Hanoi that the city, somehow, managed to clear. The food, the friendly faces, the smells, the endless din of motorcycles … it's all here.
And for movie: Lost in Translation. Bill Murray. That's all I need to say.

Purchase Parts Unknown and rent Lost in Translation on Amazon Prime Video. 

Jon's Favs

Books & Podcasts:

I highly recommend In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. This is a nostalgic book for me. I love Bryson's style of writing in all books, especially ones set in Australia.
For podcasts, I listen to the Skift Airline Weekly Lounge. It gives great insight into the nuts and bolts of aviation.
Listen to Skift Airline Weekly Lounge on Apple Podcasts or however you get your podcasts.


Shows & Movies:
Definitely Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. I love how he seamlessly ties food and drinks into everything culture. He also weaves in politics and history.
My coworkers know this…I am obsessed with Crazy Rich Asians. Such an emotional rollercoaster. Take me back to Singapore!

Watch No Reservations and Crazy Rich Asians on Hulu.


Erica's Top 5


I've got a few favorite travel-related books.

The first is Provence, 1970: M. F. K Fisher, Julia Child, and James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr. In 1970, many icons of food found themselves in Provence cooking, eating, and discussing the future of food and will have you dreaming of a quiet getaway in southern France.

Buy Provence, 1970 on Amazon

Next is Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France by Kermit Lynch. Kermit Lynch is one of the best-known wine importers in the U.S. Travel along with him as he visits iconic wineries all through France in the 1980s. Learn all about wine, food, and the French.

Buy Adventures on the Wine Route on Amazon

And finally, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. The Historian is kind of a weird pick. It's a historical fiction thriller about Vlad the Impaler, but they travel to Istanbul, Bulgaria, and Romania in the story. It makes those places sound so mysterious and amazing – this book is what put them on my bucket list of places to travel.

Buy The Historian on Amazon
Shows & Movies:

Somebody Feed Phil is a must-watch if you haven't seen it yet. And Audrey Hepburn classics set in Europe, Roman Holidayand Funny Face.

Find Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix. Rent Roman Holiday & Funny Face on Amazon Prime Video.


Image courtesy of Netflix


Bottom Line

We can't travel now, but travel can still be a part of our lives. We hope these books, podcasts, shows, and movies help you do just that.

What's on your bookshelf, watch list, or in your podcast queue?

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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