Watching a travel video used to mean zoning out in the living room while being forced to watch your aunt and uncle's painstaking tour of their hotel room. But today's travel vloggers are going above and beyond. From soaring in hot air balloons in Africa to sampling bizarre delicacies in Taiwan, these adventurers are getting up close and personal with all that the world has to offer -- and bringing it straight to your iPad or computer screen. Tune in on YouTube, whether you're searching for some quick entertainment or extensive travel inspiration.
1. Sailing SV Delos
From sea to shining sea, the Sailing SV Delos crew is getting around by wind power. Seven years ago, three sailors set out from Seattle to cross the Pacific on their 53-foot Amel Super Maramu, and they’ve been documenting their dramas and successes ever since. From sailing on the cheap in Madagascar to crossing the equator for the first time, they invite you aboard their yacht for a glimpse into their day-to-day life. Expect a rotating cast of characters, and even a sweepstakes that invites lucky viewers on board.
2. Eight Miles From Home
When British couple Sacha & Jmayel El-Haj got stranded in their car eight miles from home, they knew it was time for a change. They packed up their video camera and headed to Thailand, where they decided to make a new life and document their expat journey. Now, they’ve migrated again — this time to Portugal with a baby in tow. Be sure to check out their dazzling stop-motion videos, assemblage of thousands of photos showcasing Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, and their account of their voyage across the Andaman Sea to the Mergui Archipelago, where they encountered Moken sea gypsies.
3. Expert Vagabond
For the first 29 years of his life, photographer Matthew Karsten hardly traveled. But four years ago, he bought a one-way ticket to Guatemala City. The airline might have lost his luggage, but he found his sense of adventure. Now he’s a junkie for the most adrenaline-packed adventures (think soaring over South Africa on a hot air balloon to learning to lead a team of huskies through the snow in Whistler, British Columbia).
4. Hopscotch the Globe
As an actress, Kristen Sarah is a natural in front of the camera. She’s also a self-described adventure travel junkie who has posted nearly 400 videos with the help of her husband, Siya Zarrabi. They’ve even used drones to help them get the most stunning shots. Her video on the top things to do in Curacao also won the Marriott Hotels’ Viewers’ Choice Award. Live vicariously through her experiences, which include a girls-only trip to Fiji, cooking up her signature Indian curry recipe, and chowing down on a gooey piece of schmachtlappen (medieval pizza) at a German Christmas market.
5. Where's My Office Now?
Corey and Emily of Where’s My Office Now? once had conventional jobs and homes, but since 2013, they’ve been camping in their 1987 VW Vanagon (dubbed Boscha). And they’ve captured every experience, from surfing in central California to mountain biking in Sedona, Arizona. They also stop along the way to interview other nomads about the places they’ve seen and the challenges (and joys) of living a rootless lifestyle. Although you may not want to chuck it all in like they did, a glimpse into their fascinating, unconventional life is well worth a look.
JacksGap, a YouTube channel run by twins Jackson Frayn (or Jack) and Finnegan Frayn (or Finn) Harries, has racked up quite a following — four million subscribers, to be exact. It started back in 2012 as an account of Jack’s gap year before college (with the help of his brother, Finn). Since then, the two British blokes have used the vlog’s popularity to raise money for worthy causes. Click on their cheeky videos, which showcase their 24-hour experience in cities like Istanbul and Tokyo. And don’t miss The Rickshaw Run, a four-part series about their trip across India in three tuk-tuks while raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
7. Samuel and Audrey
Samuel Jeffery of Nomadic Samuel describes himself as a “lifelong nomad.” He’s had a variety of careers, from a pharmacist assistant to a Canadian reserve soldier. For this channel, he teamed up with Audrey of travel blog That Backpacker. The two venture to places neither have been to before. Experience their mouthwatering series on South Korean and Taiwanese street delicacies as well as top things to do in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, including learning to roller skate and drink fermented mare’s milk.
8. A Brit and a Broad
This collaboration between Macca Sherifi (the Brit) and Canadian Brianna Wiens (the Broad) began when the two met randomly in Laos in 2010 and continued on to Bangkok to enjoy a meal of deep-fried cockroaches. It was a perfect match between Sherifi, a writer and blogger, and Wiens, an actress. They’ve also teamed up with a professional photographer to capture wanderlust-worthy shots of the mountains of Nuuk, Greenland (and cooking fish outdoors), a glamorous sail around the Cote d’Azur, and more.
9. Backpacker Steve
Backpacker Steve Haenisch started as a social media maven in Hamburg, Germany until he decided to start videotaping his year-long travel adventure. Now he has acquired more than one million views and 15,000 subscribers, thanks to his complete video travel guides in destinations like Europe and South America as well as his crash courses on learning the local language before you jet off. Be sure to geek out with his “Game of Thrones”-inspired road trip through northern Ireland.
Check out Oyster.com’s YouTube channel for even more travel inspiration.