Sir David Attenborough’s incredible travel history…

Hot on the heels of Sir David Attenborough’s last travel documentary, Wild Isles, adventure travel specialist Explore Worldwide has undertaken a study to reveal the beloved presenter’s incredible travel history. 

The study required researchers to watch hours and hours of Attenborough’s documentaries, dating back to 1955, to record all the locations he is seen presenting from. The data has been visualised in an interactive map, allowing people to see all Sir David’s visited destinations in one place, and then to enter their own list of travelled-to destinations, to see how their own travel history measures up.

With such an astonishing travel career under his belt, it’s hard to imagine that Attenborough has many places left on his wishlist, let alone any travel regrets. However, according to a new survey from Explore the majority of people aged 70 or over do have ‘travel regrets’, with 62% saying there is somewhere in the world they regret never having visited. 

Some of the countries mentioned frequently as travel regrets include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Japan, and Canada. 

When looking at specific travel experiences, one in three people over 70 say they regret never seeing the Northern Lights, making it the travel experience most people regret never doing.

Other missed experiences most regretted among this age group include seeing the Great Pyramids of Giza, visiting Machu Pichu and African safaris. 

Michael Edwards, Managing Director at Explore says “Everyone at Explore is in complete awe of Sir David Attenborough. His sense of adventure and curiosity has inspired so many, and with his final documentary airing we wanted to celebrate his travel achievements. By comparing your own travel history with Attenborough’s, our interactive map provides an original way to inspire people to keep on exploring our incredible planet. 

“With our research showing that so many people aged over 70 regret not having visited more of the world, we hope our new map encourages travellers to keep on exploring, to keep on discovering new things and to embrace their inner-David Attenborough.” 

To provide people with the chance to visit more exciting destinations and be ‘more David Attenborough’ Explore Worldwide is offering a lucky winner the chance to win an incredible adventure holiday, with the winner able to choose from once-in-a-lifetime trips to Madagascar, Costa Rica or the Orkney Islands. Simply enter the destinations you have visited into their interactive map and enter the prize draw for your chance to win. Terms and conditions apply.

Last week, Explore gave early access to the platform to its staff and customers, and the tool has since had more than 3,000 entrants. The average Explore employee is 45% David Attenborough – spanning from new starters at 10% Attenborough to Directors with 30 years’ experience in the industry who, having visited over a hundred countries, are ‘more David Attenborough than Sir David Attenborough’! Here are just a couple of examples:  

Bang on Explore-average at 45% David Attenborough, Michelle Bisang joined the Explore marketing team last October as Marketing Projects Coordinator. Born and raised in Switzerland, she’s since visited 36 countries – her favourite of which has been Indonesia. Next on her list is the two-week Botswana Wildlife Safari.
James Adkin, Programme Manager for Asia, is responsible for designing Explore’s small group cultural, walking and cycling tours in the region. He’s also the mastermind behind its UK and cycling programmes. James is 76% David Attenborough having travelled to 62 countries.  He’s recently returned from Japan but Spain continues to hold on to first place in his heart, for its food, landscapes and culture. On the bucketlist? It has to be Antarctica and South Georgia. 

Explore’s Digital Marketing Executive Amy Fiske is 17% David Attenborough. Having completed the game she jumped straight on a flight to Tokyo and joined the Simply Japan tour, already ticking off her next country.

The average Explore customer, is 37% David Attenborough, having visited 29 countries. Most visited countries? Apart from the United States, all 12 of the top-visited countries are in Europe. In direct contrast, the countries most-added to wishlists were somewhat farther flung:

  1. Madagascar
  2. Seychelles
  3. New Zealand
  4. Guinea
  5. Japan
  6. Chile
  7. Brazil
  8. Fiji
  9. Botswana 
  10. Costa Rica
  11. Georgia
  12. Argentina

For the full survey findings, competition T&Cs and to learn more about David Attenborough’s travels visit 

Survey methodology: Using Censuswide, we surveyed 502 British people aged 70 or over with questions about places and travel experiences around the world that they regret not having visited yet. Also using Censuswide, we then surveyed 530 British respondents aged between 40-55 years old to discover the places and travel experiences that they hope to achieve in the next decade or two.

Map research methodology: Using IMDB, Wikipedia, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and more, we counted the number of locations David Attenborough has visited whilst filming travel shows and documentaries throughout his career. The research looked at his extensive filmography and counted each different location, country and continent Attenborough was seen to have visited during every episode. Shows which are only narrated with a voice over were discounted from the final research numbers. Data correct as of February 2023.