A Travelogue Show is a show, almost always nonfiction, about traveling to various places (almost always a vacation destination). In a lot of ways, it's the nonfiction, documentary version of Walking the Earth
. The most basic travelogue shows will be a bare, basic description
of the locale being visited, or it may just be a listing of activities for vacationers. The more involved (and incidentally, more popular) shows will go into as much depth as they can about the local culture and "color" as allowed in 22 or 44 minutes, and may heavily showcase the local cuisine. They may also sometimes heavily showcase methods used to get there, almost coming off as a thinly disguised commercial for an airline or cruise line
. Or they may even simply be about the journey, not the destination, if the host is particularly fond of road trips across America, for example.
The one thing all Travelogue Shows have in common is that the destination literally
is the journey... ok, maybe not literally but you get my point. Regardless of the detail actually involved in the show, there isn't a plot, but rather a focus on whatever subject is at hand.
- There is an entire network dedicated to this called, naturally, the Travel Channel, though they seem to want to turn themselves into a Food Network clone. Specific examples include:
- Celeb Chef Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations - naturally, being a chef, local cuisine tends to be a focus
- Celeb Chef Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods - you can probably guess what the focus is from the title, though the focus is shared with the cultures that produce them.
- Samantha Brown (those stuck with broadcast will know her as the Champion Windows lady) is a common host of vacation travelogues on the Travel Channel, probably for a few good reasons .
- Adam Richman with Man v. Food and his spin-off Man v. Food Nation. Though this is less about the travel and more about the food the city's known for and the food challenges at the end of the episode.
- Speaking of Food Network, and not to be outdone by Travel Channel's food shows or Network Decay, they also have a parade of Travelogue Shows. They sometimes want to be the Travel Channel more than the Travel Channel wants to be the Food Network:
- Perhaps the most memorable is Alton Brown's Feasting on Asphalt series, a slickly-produced road trip with tons of footage of Alton Brown cooking and eating stuff while giving history lessons along the way. The third installment Feasting on Waves, has Alton island-hopping by boat in the Caribbean Islands.
- Anthony Bourdain had A Cook's Tour on FN before No Reservations.
- Food Network also has the Road Tasted series, formerly Road Tasted with the Dean Boys hosted by the sons of celeb chef Paula Deen, now Road Tasted with the Neeleys hosted by the Neeley family who also have their own cooking show. As you probably have guessed, it's little more than the hosts traveling around and eating stuff.
- Then there is of course Rachael Ray. What started with 40 Dollars a Day now fills up half the Food Network schedule with memorable trips to world-renowned cultural centers.
- And of course, Food Network responds to Samantha Brown with Giada De Laurentiis (yes, the granddaughter of that De Laurentiis for those astute Tropers) who has an occasional travelogue show every now and then, though sometimes it's not clear that travel really is the main focus.
- And let's not forget Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
- Expired travelogue shows include Al Roker on the Road, Food Finds, The Best Of and Bobby Flay's Food Nation.
- One of the few and most notable fiction examples is Jules Verne, who wrote several fictional accounts of global travel, often using fantastic means.
- BBC gave Terry Wogan, a renowned Big Eater, his dream TV series in 2015. Terry and Mason's Great Food Trip saw Wogan travel the length and breadth of Great Britain for two months, in the company of cheerful Cockney taxi driver Mason McQueen, stopping in at least thirty locations, presenting a show from each, and allowed to sample the local delicacies, drinks and provender.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide To Europe , which in turn inspired...
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, another rare fictional (Sci-Fi no less) example.
- After Monty Python, Michael Palin is now perhaps best known for his series of travelogues, starting with a real life re-enactment of the classic Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days.
- Stephen Fry recently completed one of these where he visited every state of the US. Worth watching just to see how the locals respond to the extreme Englishness of Fry.
- Britain's favourite black American, Reginald D Hunter, was sent back to his homeland by the BBC to present a series making sense of the Deep South states for British viewers. Reginald, from Georgia, accomplished this with style and insight in Reginald D. Hunter's Songs of the South.
- Globe Trekker, originally the TV version of Lonely Planet.
- MTV's Trippin' is what happens when a Hollywood celebrity with enough money to reserve an entire cruise ship for himself goes to Ruritania, Qurac or RepÃºblica del PlÃ¡tano to make a travelogue, with the sole purpose of pretending to look less concerned about material possessions, after spending Los Angeles's entire GDP on diamonds and cigars.
- The well-respected Fan Fic Travels Through Azeroth and Outland is a comprehensive travelogue of the World of Warcraft world.
- During the 1970s, Telly Savalas narrated a series of unintentionally hilarious travelogues about various British cities, extolling the virtues of places not normally considered as tourist destinations. Savalas had never visited any of them, and it shows. The best known of these is Telly Savalas Looks At Birmingham, a triumph of cheesy puns and ugly architecture. It also features what could well be the finest footage of concrete multi-storey car parks in British cinematic history.
- Oz And James' Big Wine Adventure and Drink to Britain journeyed through France, California, and the UK for three seasons of drinking holidays thinly disguised as an educational travelogue.
- Insomniac With Dave Attell where the host would hang out at various all-night spots in cities where he was performing. He ended every episode with the Catch-Phrase "Now get some sleep!"
- Departures, where the hosts embrace the oft-expressed idea of just dropping everything and travel for a year.
- An Idiot Abroad records the travels of Karl Pilkington, formerly known as the addle-minded butt of jokes by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The hook for this one is that Pilkington is "the stereotypical Little Englander" who hates going anywhere else and hardly ever enjoys the adventures that Gervais and Merchant arrange for him. Gervais and Merchant help this by making them as unpleasant as possible (Pilkington has stayed in some seriously run-down hotels).
- The Three Stooges (the current lineup at the time: Larry, Moe and Curly Joe) semi-retired from films in the late 1960's and created what would have been a travelogue show called "Kook's Tour", featuring the Stooges as they visit locations all over the world. Only one episode was made before Larry suffered a severe stroke, eliminating any hope for more episodes. The footage was shelved for several years until the director (Moe's brother-in-law Norman Maurer) decided to re-edit the footage and release it on home video in the mid-70's.
- The Wonderful Adventure Now Korea WANK episodes of Eat Your Kimchi explore different areas in South Korea.
- Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman have made a pair of long-distance motorbike travel series: Long Way Round, in which they travel from London to New York by riding their motorbikes east (that is, all the way across Europe, Asia, and North America) and Long Way Down, in which they motorbike from John O'Groats at the northern tip of Britain all the way down to Cape Town, South Africa.
- Thats Entertainment Part II has a Fully Automatic Clip Show section devoted to the travelogues MGM put out as short subjects as the "FitzPatrick TravelTalks. "We bid farewell to..."
- Played for Laughs in the mock-memoir Alan Partridge: Nomad, a parody of gimmicky celebrity travelogues. In this case, failed chat-show host/low-market radio DJ/all-round gormless twerp and loser Alan Partridge undertakes a (rather contrived) walk from Norfolk to Kent in order to recreate the journey that his father once took for a job interview, with the thinly-veiled hope that he can somehow spin it into a lucrative TV series. As is common for Partridge, Hilarity Ensues.
- In The Golden Age of Hollywood live-action travelogue short films commonly ran before the feature, along with a cartoon. 1950 Oscar winner Grandad of Races, a one-reel short about a horse race in Siena, Italy, is a common example of the format.
- Broadcast Static, a video game Analysis Channel by Noah Caldwell-Gervais, has branched out into the travelogue format in 2017, after Noah's success at crowdfunding allowed him to give up his daily job and start touring the continental US (or, as he calls it, "playtesting adventure"). He is particularly inspired by William Least Heat-Moon's books, and draws intentional parallels between Least Heat-Moon's concept of quoz (basically, any unexpected interesting things one discovers off the beaten path while traveling) and the way Wide Open Sandbox games like The Elder Scrolls structure their content. In "The Desert Bus", he brings up many quoz from his own travels that were functionally identical to encounters in Skyrim and concludes that the infamous joke game Desert Bus had been fundamentally wrong in its conception of Real Life travel as a boring chore and that realistic travel is much more akin to a densely-packed open world game instead.