How much it costs to follow the footsteps of famous TV travel stars

From Bear Grylls to Michael Palin, TV travel stars’ head to some pretty incredible places, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. But which star has racked up the most miles over their careers, and how much would it cost to visit the same destinations?

To find out, Shearings crunched the numbers on nine stars, revealing who’s made the most trips, visited the most countries, and the most expensive series overall.

David Attenborough 

The UK’s national treasure, Sir David Attenborough, has travelled 1.9 million miles over a lifetime. This is the equivalent of flying around the earth a whopping 763 times. To follow him to every location featured on his Life of Earth series it would cost £52,874.

Number of countries travelled to: 94

Number of TV titles: 45 including

Number of trips in total: 396

Cost of flights over a lifetime: £176,772.00

Most expensive series: Life on Earth

Number of miles travelled overall: 1,918,950

 

Jack Whitehall

Dipping into the travel space, Whitehall’s programme – Travels With My Father – sees him go on adventures and share some rather intimate experiences with his dad, Micheal. The pair’s off-beat approach and vast generational gap have seen them travelling to a variety of locations including Cambodia, Vietnam and America. To follow them on their first series it would cost £6,641, which is the equivalent to three luxury holidays in the Maldives.

Number of countries travelled to: 9

Number of TV titles: 1

Number of trips in total: 64

Cost of flights over a lifetime: £6,641

Most expensive series: Travels with my Father (Series 1)

Number of miles travelled overall: 26.368

 

Joanna Lumley

Shooting to fame in the 1970’s with appearances on The New Avenger’s, Joanna Lumley began her career as a documentarian in the early 1990’s with a trip to Madagascar. When she’s not exploring new places, she’s also an activist for Groups like Survive International. Over her career, she’s taken 40 trips, each one costing an average of £348.

Number of countries travelled to:  30

Number of TV titles:  14

Number of trips in total: 40

Cost of flights over a lifetime: £13,926.

Most expensive series: Joanna Lumley’s Postcards

Number of miles travelled overall: 144,339

 

Bear Grylls 

The second most travelled star on the list, Bear Grylls has been to 46 countries and taken 187 trips over his career. To visit every country on his list would cost the same as the new Jaguar I-Pace launched in March 2019.

Number of countries travelled to: 46

Number of TV titles: 12

Number of trips in total: 187

Cost of flights over a lifetime: £58, 238

Most expensive series: Man vs Wild

Cheapest series: Hostile Planet

Number of miles travelled overall: 673,884

 

Richard Ayoade 

Popularising European weekend trips, Ayoade spends 48 hours in cities around the world, creating short, sharp guide to the best sights and experiences on offer. He’s visited 22 countries so far, and taken 33 trips. To follow him would cost just £5,779 – which is affordable for many.

Number of countries travelled to: 22

Number of TV titles: 1

Number of trips in total: 33

Cost of flights over a lifetime: £5,779

Most expensive series: Travelman (Series 5)

Number of miles travelled overall: 72,091

Simon Reeve

At 47 years old, Simon Reeve has visited 81 countries in 18 series. He’s the third most travelled star on the list, racking up 307,519 miles in total. His 237 trips would set you back £45,207, visiting destinations including Africa, Australia and Asia.

Number of countries travelled to: 81

Number of TV titles: 18

Number of trips in total: 237

Cost of flights over a lifetime: £45,207

Most expensive series: Tropic of Cancer

Number of miles travelled overall: 307,519

 

Michael Palin 

Making his fame from Monty Python, Palin has travelled a long way since then. Taking a shine to travel, in his career he’s visited 99 countries across 8 TV titles, which equates to £23,172, 153,764, and 15p per mile.

Number of countries travelled to: 99

Number of TV titles:  8

Number of trips in total: 101

Cost of flights over a lifetime:  £23,172

Most expensive series: Full Circle

Number of miles travelled overall: 153,764

Levison Wood

As he spends a lot of his time on foot, Levison Wood’s travel bill is amongst the lowest of the lot. Travelling through 22 countries, over 38,317 miles would cost just £3,664. Countries include Mexico, Egypt, and Russia.

Number of countries travelled to: 22

Number of TV titles:  4

Number of trips in total: 26

Cost of flights over a lifetime: £3,664

Most expensive series: Walking the Americas

Number of miles travelled overall: 38,317

 

Jane McDonald 

Iconic presenter, singer and all-round entertainer Jane McDonald famously co-captained The Cruise back in the late 1990’s. Since then, her BAFTA winning Channel 5 show, Cruising with Jane McDonald has seen her travel across the world, from the islands of Scotland through to parts of America and even India. The singer / songwriter is about to embark on new tour across the UK next summer.

Number of countries travelled to: 28

Number of TV titles:  2

Number of trips in total: 31

Cost of flights over a lifetime: £14,057

Most expensive series: Cruising with Jane McDonald

Number of miles travelled overall: 26,368

You can see the full study, here.