5 Destinations From Netflix Hits to Inspire Your Future Travels

These filming locations from Netflix stay-at-home hits are next on my list to visit.
Meghan Coyle
By Meghan Coyle 
Published
Edited by Mary M. Flory
5 Destinations From Netflix Hits to Inspire Your Future Travels

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For the past few months during this coronavirus pandemic, my only mode of travel has been through my television. Once stay-at-home orders pulled the curtain on my real-life travel plans, I ended up spending more time on my couch than ever before — and it shows if you scroll through my Netflix queue. I rewatched "Breaking Bad." I went through a reality competition phase and tried them all: "The Circle," "Next in Fashion" ... even "The Big Flower Fight."

I almost feel like I’ve been watching period pieces from a different era, when people could go outside, hug and, yes, travel. While watching TV is the closest thing I can get to a vacation right now, I’ve started to take more notice of the filming locations, hoping that one day I can take epic trips to some of the same locales I visited virtually during this time.

Here are some destinations that are inspiring my future travel, brought to you by some of Netflix’s stay-at-home hits this year.

1. Outer Banks, North Carolina ('Outer Banks')

This teen soap opera took Netflix by summer storm. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the incessant plot turns, I couldn’t stop the autoplay either. The show takes place in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and it made me want to jump on the next boat to the barrier islands and climb to the top of a lighthouse with a box of Duck Donuts to eat at the top.

As if there weren’t enough plot twists in the show, it turns out “Outer Banks” was actually filmed in Charleston, South Carolina, but from what I can tell, they got the look of the place quite right.

2. Beach resorts in Mexico ('Love Is Blind' and 'Too Hot to Handle')

It’s actually a little creepy how the premise of a reality TV competition has come to mirror real-life dating. Remember how “Love Is Blind” came out right before COVID-19 really became serious in the U.S.? And it was a novel idea to get to know someone without seeing them in real life? Now that’s just everyone on a dating app.

With or without a quarantine-bae, I can’t wait to jet-set to Mexico, where love is apparently all around. Both Netflix dating shows “Love Is Blind” and “Too Hot to Handle” filmed in gorgeous beach towns: Playa del Carmen and Punta Mita, respectively. The contestants stayed in luxury resorts with palm trees and pools everywhere you look — I’m going to have to save up some hotel points to re-create this one.

3. Madrid ('Money Heist')

This Spanish-language crime series is a worldwide phenomenon on Netflix. Set in Spain, the show is a thrilling journey between Madrid and the countryside, where planning for the heist takes place. The Royal Mint of Spain is so grand it makes the "Ocean's Eleven" heist in Vegas look like stealing candy from a baby. I’m adding Madrid to my list of must-visit places as soon as Americans are able.

4. A tiger sanctuary ('Tiger King')

"Tiger King" has all the makings of a shelter-in-place hit series: over-the-top main characters, a murder plot and (of course) adorable furry animals. The big takeaway was just how rampant animal abuse can be at some privately owned wildlife sanctuaries.

While you may be disappointed to visit the Tiger King’s mostly defunct kingdom (current owners are planning to move into their new facility in August), and Carole Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue is closed to public tours for the foreseeable future, there are still plenty of ways to see these magnificent creatures. The historic Cincinnati Zoo, for example, has an impressive Cat Canyon exhibit including Malayan tigers and is committed to tiger conservation by partnering with international conservation groups.

5. Iceland ('Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga')

This Will Ferrell film is a parody of the real-life Eurovision singing competition, and the setting plays a huge part. Ferrell’s character and the other half of his musical duo live in a small, picturesque Icelandic town. There’s hilarious CGI of whales, and the mythical elves of Iceland make an off-screen appearance. Sadly, Americans can’t travel to Europe any time soon — but when we can, I’ll take any excuse to wear a cozy Nordic sweater and sing my heart out in Iceland.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Points
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5%-6.5%

Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Cashback

Intro offer

$300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
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