Excellent news for those of us who love television: the US networks are about a week away from premiering many of our favourite shows for another season. I’m personally looking forward to Masters of Sex Season 4 and I’m still waiting for M.’s return from Europe so we can start Stranger Things.
In honour of the most wonderful time of the year, I’ve rounded up 11 (couldn’t stop at just 10!) of the best travel-related episodes of my favourite TV shows, as well as their real-life locations that are officially on my travel bucket list.
Friends – Season 4, Episode 23: The One With Ross’s Wedding
The gang head to London to see Ross get married, leaving a pregnant Phoebe and heartbroken Rachel behind. While Chandler and Joey explore London and get on each others’ nerves, Rachel decides to fly to the wedding to tell Ross she loves him. A classic!
Monica: “You guys, hurry up! The flight leaves in four hours! It could take time to get a taxi! There could be traffic! The plane could leave early! When we get to London there could be a line at customs! COME ON!”
Chandler: “Six hour trip to London– that’s a lot of Monica.”
Real-Life Location: London, baby!
Bonus Episode: Season 5, Episode 23: The One In Vegas, where they take advantage of all the casinos have to offer: gambling, breakfast buffet and mini-bars included.
Mad Men – Season 3, Episode 8: Souvenir
Don takes Betty on a last-minute business trip to Rome to test out Conrad Hilton’s international hotel. See the stunning 1960s fashion and the amazing view of the city from the Drapers’ room. I love that Betty turns out to speak fluent Italian!
Real-Life Location: M.’s hometown of Rome
Betty: “I know you’ll be working the whole time, but… I just want to get on a plane.”
Bonus Episode: Season 2, Episode 11: The Jet Set, where Don abandons a sweaty, pasty Pete Campbell at their hotel in sunny California.
Gilmore Girls – Season 2, Episode 4: Road Trip to Harvard
Needing some distraction after her breakup from Max, Lorelai embarks on a spontaneous road trip with Rory. Neither know where they are or where they’re going until Lorelai decides to take Rory to see Harvard. This episode is best known for showcasing the Gilmore girls in their worst nightmare scenario, a night at the Cheshire Cat bed and breakfast.
Rory: “We have to figure out where we’re going.”
Lorelai: “No we don’t.”
Lorelai: “The point of this is to be spontaneous. To drive and land someplace we’ve never been and never expected to be.”
Rory: “Sounds risky.”
Lorelai: “Sounds exciting!”
Real-Life Location: New England Road Trip
Bonus Episode: Season 4, Episode 14: Girls in Bikinis, Boys Doin’ the Twist, with innocent Rory’s first (and only) foray into the typical American college experience of Spring Break in Florida.
The Office – Season 6, Episodes 4 & 5: Niagara
The Dunder Mifflin employees drive to Niagara Falls for the long-awaited wedding of Jim and Pam. Things don’t go completely smoothly, of course, between antics at the hotel and the wedding not running as planned.
Andy: [in Andy’s car, Andy driving] “Hey, do one of you guys want to sit up front with me so I have someone to talk to? It’s like a five hour drive-ish, you know.”
Kelly: “This is so much cooler. We feel like we’re in a limo and you’re our driver.”
Andy: “Mmm-hmm. Erin?”
Erin: “Oh no. That wouldn’t be fair to leave Kelly alone in back.”
Real-Life Location: Niagara Falls
Bonus Episode: Season 2, Episode 16: Michael provides a guided tour to the cheesiest tourist spots in New York.
30 Rock – Season 1, Episode 20: Cleveland
Liz’s boyfriend Floyd gets fed up with New York and decides to move to Cleveland. Liz gets seduced by the relaxed Ohio lifestyle and considers moving with him.
Real-Life Location: Cleveland
Best Quote (though there are too many to count in a 30 Rock ep)
Jack: “Where have you been?”
Liz, sighing contentedly: “Cleveland.”
Jack: “For God’s sakes, Lemon, we’d all like to flee to the Cleve and club up down at the Flats and have lunch with Little Richard, but we fight those urges because we have responsibilities.”
Bonus Episode: Season 4, Episode 3: Stone Mountain where Liz and Jack take a road trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia to find new comedians for the show.
Downton Abbey – Season 3, Episode 9 (Christmas Special 2012):
A Journey to the Highlands
The Crawleys travel to their cousins’ castle in the Scottish Highlands for a Christmas spent hunting and fishing, topped off by (of course) a ball. Just don’t watch the last 5 minutes of the episode (*sob*).
Real-Life Location: Inveraray Castle, Scotland
Anna: “Feels like a holiday, doesn’t it?”
O’Brien: “Oh, don’t worry, it won’t feel like a holiday once we get there.”
And because I couldn’t choose just one…
Isabel, at the train station: “Have you got everything?”
Violet: “Well if I haven’t, it’s too late now.”
Bonus Episode: Any other episode from the series’ 5 seasons to see the incomparable Highclere Castle, which stands in as the fictional Downton Abbey.
Parks and Recreation – Season 5, Episode 1: Ms Knope Goes to Washington
Leslie and Andy visit Ben and April in Washington, DC. Leslie is thrilled to be in the nation’s capital and takes a clueless Andy around the district, meeting several high-profile political celebrities in the process.
Real-Life Location: Washington, DC
Leslie: “Now take out your guide book.”
Andy: “Oh, I didn’t bring a guide book.”
Leslie: “Oh! I brought you one.” [hands him a book]
Andy: “You did? Thank you!”
Leslie: “Now throw it away! ‘Cause Leslie Knope is your guide book.”
Andy: [throws the book down the steps]
Leslie: “I didn’t…I didn’t mean literally, there’s some notes in it. Okay, grab the book, and let’s hit the National Mall.”
Andy: “There’s a mall? Awesome, I need to get some flip-flops.”
Bonus Episode: Leslie and Ben have an awkward road trip from Pawnee to Indianapolis as they try to keep their feelings for each other at bay in Season 3, Episode 14: Road Trip.
Sex and the City – Season 6, Episode 19 & 20:
An American Girl in Paris, Part Une & Deux
In the series’ final two-part episode, Carrie moves to Paris to be with Aleks, but not before she meets Big outside her apartment, who has come to beg her to take him back. Once in Paris, Carrie finds that she misses New York.
Real-Life Location: Paris, France
Carrie: “I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love. And I don’t think that love is here in this expensive suite in this lovely hotel in Paris.”
Bonus Episode: Season 5, Episode 7: The Big Journey. Carrie and Samantha take what they think will be a fun, adventurous train journey to San Francisco but find that they’re not cut out to ride the rails.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Season 2, Episode 3: Dead Man’s Chest
Miss Fisher, Dot, Jane, and Aunt Prudence visit friends in the seaside town of Queenscliff. Murder, naturally, ensues, but there’s lots of exploration of Queenscliff in between. The real-life town still looks remarkably like what it would have been in the 1930s.
Real-Life Location: Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia
Aunt Prudence: “Queenscliff used to be such a select summering spot… until all the day-trippers and the riffraff moved in.”
Bonus Episode: Season 2, Episode 10: Death on the Vine, where they investigate (of course) a murder at a Victoria winery.
Seinfeld – Season 5, Episode 20: The Hamptons
Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer head to the Hamptons because they’ve “gotta see the baby” of one of their friends. Elaine and Jerry are preoccupied by their friend’s ugly baby while George is unsuccessful with the woman he’s brought along. Meanwhile, Kramer finds a stash of lobsters “right outta the ocean.”
Real-Life Location: The Hamptons, NY
Jerry: “Are you sure we’re making the right move?”
Elaine: “We’ve gotta see the baby anyway; at least we’ll get a weekend in the Hamptons out of it.”
Bonus Episode: Season 4, Episode 12: The Airport; though they don’t show any details of their trips, the struggle to get to the airport to pick up friends and deal with seating on the plane is universal and hilarious.
Master of None – Season 1, Episode 6: Nashville
Dev takes Rachel on a ballsy first date – a weekend trip to Nashville. It’s a great move, and while it doesn’t end well for them, it does make me want to visit Nashville asap.
Real-Life Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Dev: “I don’t know… a vacation for a first date? Isn’t that kinda nuts?”
Denise: “That’s what’s so great about it– it’s a bold move. Plus, think about it like this: if you do the normal date dinner, then it’s like, the next day you’ll be stressin’ out about, ‘when should I text her?’ ‘what’s the next date gonna be?’ This way, it’s like 10 dates in a row. Y’all are just there, straight kickin’ it in Cashville.”
Bonus Episode: Season 1, Episode 10: Finale, which I won’t share the details about lest you haven’t gotten around to checking this excellent series out yet. Spoiler alert – only click this link if you’ve watched.