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How to Plan a “Set-Jetting” Vacation Based on Your Favorite TV Show

Photo: Fabio Lovino / Courtesy of HBO

“The first time I visited Paris in 2002, I absolutely hated it,” Nathan Heinrich, a horticulturist and botanical designer based in northern Italy, tells AD. Nearly two decades went by before he, like many of us during COVID isolation, became hooked on the Netflix sensation Emily in Paris in September 2020.

“As I watched the show, I began to question my negative memories of the city. Yes, it was hot and full of people, but was Paris really as awful as I remember it? Were the show creators selecting locations to make the city look more appealing than it actually was? Should I give Paris a second chance?”

Le Flore en l'Île cafe in Paris
Le Flore en l'Île cafe in Paris
Photo: Nathan Heinrich

An opportunity arose this past January for Nathan to visit Paris with an event-designer friend during Paris fashion week, giving him the chance to see Emily’s side of the City of Light. He dined at Le Flore en l'Île near Notre Dame, the same café Emily visited with Luc in the first episode of the first season, and strolled the cobblestone streets feeling a special kinship with Emily as an American who also moved to Europe and learned to adapt to a new culture. “Never before have I had the experience of going from hating a city, to falling so head over heels for it that I consider it to be the most beautiful city on earth,” he says.

Though not everyone can plan a fabulous trip to Paris with the help of a designer BFF, the concept of traveling to a destination inspired by your favorite tv show is a trend that is taking off with no signs of stopping. In fact, it has a name: set-jetting.

According to Unpack ’24, a forecast report prepared by Expedia that predicts annual travel trends, more than half of travelers say they’ve researched or booked a trip to a destination after seeing it on a TV show or movie, and one in four admit that TV shows and films are more influential on their travel plans than they were in the past. For example, the first two seasons of HBO’s The White Lotus drove a 300% increase in travel demand to Hawaii and Sicily, and Expedia saw a 200% increase in searches to Paris after Emily in Paris debuted its previous season.

Julien Floreancig as Thomas and Lily Collins as Emily in Emily In Paris season one
Julien Floreancig as Thomas and Lily Collins as Emily in Emily In Paris season one
Photo: CAROLE BETHUEL / Courtesy of NETFLIX
Emily In Paris has inspired fans to travel to the City of Light.
Emily In Paris has inspired fans to travel to the City of Light.
Photo: STEPHANIE BRANCHU / Courtesy of NETFLIX

While set-jetting is increasing in popularity, the trend isn’t entirely new. Black Tomato, a bespoke luxury travel company that crafts private travel experiences, has planned film and television inspired trips for more than a decade. “We first launched our set-jetting portfolio of immersive itineraries were pegged to shows like Twin Peaks, with an open-road adventure through Washington State; Westworld, featuring some of the show’s most famous locations in Utah teamed with glitz and glamour in Las Vegas and Los Angeles; and The Young Pope, journeying across Italy by private jet,” Tom Marchant, Black Tomato’s cofounder, tells AD. “We receive several inquiries every week from travelers seeking to plan a trip specifically inspired by locations they’ve seen on screen, and desire to travel in this way accounts for around 8% of client inquiries.”

Adam DiMarco as Albie Di Grasso, Michael Imperioli as Dominic Di Grasso, and F. Murray Abraham as Bert Di Grasso in The White Lotus season two, which was set in Sicily.
Adam DiMarco as Albie Di Grasso, Michael Imperioli as Dominic Di Grasso, and F. Murray Abraham as Bert Di Grasso in The White Lotus season two, which was set in Sicily.
Courtesy of HBO

Other travel companies take the experience even further by placing travelers right in the plot of their favorite series. OvationNetwork travel advisor Christopher Bellot recently studied every episode of The White Lotus’s first season to plan a murder mystery group trip for a client’s milestone birthday held at the Four Seasons Wailea, where the show was filmed.

“I had newspapers printed that were delivered each day ‘covering’ the ‘murder' investigation and we named different guests and people of interest, then the ‘perpetrator’ was revealed at a special dinner on the sand complete with White Lotus Resort branding,” he tells AD. “We have so few shared experiences these days with so much going on in the world that when groups of friends or a family find something, it really adds tremendous fun and great memories to embrace it. Who doesn’t want to spend a few days living inside their favorite show or movie?”

Gaia Girace as Lila Cerullo and Margherita Mazzucco as Elena Greco in My Brilliant Friend
Gaia Girace as Lila Cerullo and Margherita Mazzucco as Elena Greco in My Brilliant Friend
Photo: Eduardo Castaldo
Bunde’s view on Ischia island
Bunde’s view on Ischia island
Photo: Lauren Bunde

While one aspect of set-jetting is visiting bucket list places that top many travelers’ lists, like Paris and Hawaii, another aspect is that the trend brings travelers to destinations they would have never otherwise considered. For Lauren Bunde, a publicist based in Brooklyn, HBO’s My Brilliant Friend inspired her to book a trip to the volcanic Italian island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples.

“I had never heard of Ischia before seeing [the characters] travel to the island on the series,” she tells AD. “In season two episode four, the main characters spend a day on the beach in Ischia, and while there’s a lot of drama going on between them, it’s difficult not to be distracted by the beauty of the place they’re filming.”

Conversely, the destinations aren’t always the most glamorous. AMC’s Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul inspired battery specialist Steve Brown to book a far-flung journey from Chichester, England, to Albuquerque to see the show’s famous (and sometimes infamous) sites including Combo’s Corner, the home of main character Walter White, Owl Café, and Twisters, the filming location of the fictional restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos. The experience was a stark contrast to his daily life in southern England. “In New Mexico, the desert seems huge and empty, and the landscape contrasts acutely with England’s lush, green, verdant, fields full of wet sheep,” he tells AD. “It’s that feeling of my own insignificance in that vast desert scape that was unfamiliar and remarkable to me.”

This Albuquerque home appears as Walter White’s house in Breaking Bad

A Look At "Breaking Bad" Locations Through Albuquerque

This Albuquerque home appears as Walter White’s house in Breaking Bad
Photo: Steve Snowden / Courtesy of Getty Images

So, which shows are inspiring this next round of set-jetters? Although it doesn’t premiere until 2025, season 3 of The White Lotus has travelers booking trips to Thailand in anticipation of the show’s new filming location, and folks are looking into trips to Romania thanks to season two of Wednesday and Korea because of Squid Game according to Expedia’s Set-Jetting Forecast within the Unpack ’24 report. Regardless of which show is your inspiration, we’ll never get enough of television that sparks a sense of wanderlust.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest


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