So, I’ve timed this somewhat well. Travel Man has returned…. albeit with a new host but the same basic show. Joe Lycett has taken over the role of the travelling man, from the world’s most socially awkward man Richard Ayoade, whisking comedians and celebrities away for 48 hours in various countries. Now, with Joe Lycett’s next series underway, why not look back at the best Travel Man episodes? Before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
Travel Man first aired in March 2015 on Channel 4 and is currently into its 10th season. So what is the concept of Travel Man? Well, the Travel Man takes a celebrity or comedian away for 48 hours in a world location. This can be anywhere from the Basque in Spain to Krakow in Poland. The show is also famous for its consumer advice, fast paced format and light sense of humour. Travel Man has also been nominated for two BAFTAs as well as many more awards. So, who are some of the illustrious guests who have featured in the show’s history? Well, the likes of James Acaster, Aisling Bea, Chris O’Dowd (Nice IT Crowd reunion) and even Paul Rudd have been on the show. So, without further ado here are the best episodes of Travel Man.
10: 48 Hours in Helsinki (S3, E2)
Kicking off the list of best Travel Man episodes is 48 Hours in Helsinki aka the one with Paul Rudd in. Yes, the actual Paul Rudd from the Marvel films. So, what sort of stuff do Ayoade and Rudd get up to in Helsinki, the capital of Finland? Well, kayaking, eating reindeer jerky and visiting two different saunas with one of them being a burger chain…. Yes really. The scene of Paul Rudd and Richard Ayoade sitting in a sauna room just eating burgers is something that everyone needs to see at some point. Overall, a decent episode.
9: 48 Hours in Stockholm (S5, E4)
Sticking with the Scandinavian theme for now, next up on the best Travel Man episodes is 48 Hours in Stockholm. So, instead of Paul Rudd in Finland, it’s now Sally Phillips in Sweden. Now, for anyone who has seen Sally Phillips you’ll know she is quite out there. This works so well with Richard’s more stoic, sarcastic humour. Back on track, Sally and Richard’s 48 hours in Stockholm include meatballs, scaling high rooftops, singing ABBA and get this…. Staying up really late on their phones. God damn. Now that is some riveting TV.
8: 48 Hours in Budapest (S4, E2)
Yay, a Travel Man episode that’s not in Scandinavia. So, who has travelled to Hungary with Richard Ayoade. No, it’s not George Ezra before you ask. Instead, it’s Aisling Bea. Interesting fact, Aisling Bea is the only person to appear on both Richard Ayoade’s and Joe Lycett’s Travel Man. So, what sort of hilarious hijinks do Richard and Aisling get up to in Hungary’s capital? Well, a lovely tour around the city featuring a statue of Columbo actor Peter Falk, chess at the thermal baths, goulash and a chairlift in the hills. And there’s even more I haven’t mentioned including a ‘ruin pub’. And I thought those were just Wetherspoons….
7: 48 Hours in Iceland (S1, E3)
What’s this? Another Travel Man in the Scandinavian regions? Well, Iceland isn’t really Scandinavian but I needed a transition so… Anyway, this episode sees actress Jessica Hynes join Richard in Iceland for a weekend. What does this weekend entail? Amongst other things waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, whales, rotten shark (?) and elf school (?) Well that went weird very quickly. Well, it does really show Iceland’s natural beauty and it’s elf school which sounds weird but is funny if you watch the episode. Damn, what an episode.
6: 48 Hours in Istanbul (S1, E2)
To hopefully move away from Scandinavian Travel Man episodes for good, and what better way to do that than a weekend in Istanbul? Joining Richard is the host of the Last Leg Adam Hills. On their wonderful trip away, the two men take a boat trip, a massage, haggling at the Grand Bazaar and a very close shave. That last one both is and isn’t a pun due to the Turkish Barbers razors. While there are certainly better episodes later on, you really can’t go wrong with Richard Ayoade haggling for stuff in the Grand Bazaar. Truly wonderful.
5: 48 Hours in Miami (S4, E4)
At the halfway point of the best Travel Man episodes is 48 Hours in Miami. Here, Rhod Gilbert joins Richard on his customary whistlestop tour. So, what do Rhod and Richard do in Miami? Well, amongst other things art, and then art deco slobbing, alligators, yoga, speedboats and dominoes. That’s not even mentioning the airboat tour of Florida’s everglades and a trip to Little Havana. Also, Richard wears his lovely bucket hat for the duration of the episode which is always a treat.
4: 48 Hours in Vienna (S2, E1)
Narrowly missing out on the top three best Travel Man episodes is 48 Hours in Vienna aka the somewhat reunion of the IT Crowd. Damn, why can’t they just have slipped a Katherine Parkinson cameo in Vienna? Anyway, what do Moss and Roy… I mean Richard and Chris get up to in Austria? Well, they sample the local cuisine like sausages, cakes, wines and spirits. Nice start. Also, they take a hot rod tour of the city, visit Sigmund Freud’s home and the city sewers. All in all, a perfect encapsulation of what Travel Man is.
3: 48 Hours in Copenhagen (S2, E3)
What do you know? It’s another IT Crowd reunion, sort of.. This time it’s one of the best Big Fat Quiz of the Year teams: Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding. So, what sort of interesting activities do they get up to in Denmark? Cycling, sightseeing, art, sandwiches (very tiny sandwiches to be specific), beer and rollercoasters. All in all, this episode works so well because of the comedic chemistry between Fielding and Ayoade who just bounce off each other superbly. Definitely worth a watch.
2: 48 Hours in Dubai (S2, E7)
Now yes, Richard is really stretching the definition of mini break with this one but that doesn’t change the fact 48 Hours in Dubai is the second best Travel Man episode. So, who joins Richard on this minibreak to maybe the most expensive Travel Man destination? Johnny Vegas. And that alone is enough to justify this episode which is packed with the usual sightseeing, walking through shopping centres and water related activities. Not much more that I can do to sell this episode other than just telling you to watch it.
1: 48 Hours in Berlin (S2, E8)
And the best Travel Man episode is…. 48 Hours in Berlin. Joining Richard for the weekend in the German Capital is Roisin Conaty. On this whistle stop tour is the city’s famed nightlife, the infamous Checkpoint Charlie, fancy food and a replica Cold War Apartment. Arguably, this is the most balanced Travel Man episode with just enough Cold War history balanced out with Richard’s famed dry humour and voiceover. This is only enhanced by Roisin who combines really well with Richard to make a very funny Travel Man episode. Man, I really fancy travelling somewhere now…
What are your thoughts about the best Travel Man episodes? Let me know in the comments below!