Returning: Travel Guides

Travel Guides returns to Nine on Monday, January 29, with new cast members added into the mix, alongside returning favourites.

Returning are The Fren Family, Kevin & Janetta, Stack & Mel, joined by friends Kev, Dorian & Teng (pictured) plus lifelong friends Taash & Mads.

First up this season is Bologna, Italy.

Fasten your seatbelt and prepare for takeoff as very different groups of ordinary Aussies become travel critics. In each episode they will experience the same week-long holiday – sampling the food, accommodation and taking in the local sights. Their adventures will entertain and surprise you as they deliver no-holds-barred reviews and rate their stay out of five stars.

This series features trips to Europe, South Africa and Asia, as well as some of Australia’s favourite holiday spots. But one person’s idea of paradise can be another’s idea of hell.

Your Travel Guides are:

The Fren Family: Mark (56), Cathy (54), Jonathon (26) and Victoria (24). These endearing bargain hunters run a German café in Newcastle. The Frens will stop at nothing to bag an upgrade and always find the funny side of any holiday disaster. They are willing to try anything at least once, and never afraid to speak their mind.

Kevin (60) and Janetta (66) are discerning, self-professed holiday snobs. These married, jet-setting retirees seek out the finest accommodation, food and wine, and hate settling for anything second-rate.

Stack (28) and Mel (28), are identical twin cowgirls from country NSW. Although a little wary when it comes to venturing anywhere beyond the outback, they are prepared to give anything a crack. These competitive rodeo ropers are used to roughing it and are not easily impressed by fancy holidays.

Kev (25), Dorian (21) and Teng (21) are mates who work together at Target. Their combined Chinese, Greek and Vietnamese heritage gives them a unique take on the world. These budget travelers are smart slackers who are ready to leave the comforts of life at home with their parents to explore the world.

Besties since childhood, psychologist Taash (27) and nurse Mads (27) are single travelers who are always on the hunt for a man. They have a sisterly bond, sharing a love of soy lattes, green drinks and active wear, and cannot travel anywhere without wi-fi.

In the premiere episode, our Travel Guides jet off on a week-long holiday in Bologna, the foodie capital of Italy. Often referred to as La Grassa (the fat one), it has a population of 400,000 and is rich in history, art, music and culture.

After a 25-hour flight from Australia, our Travel Guides check into their “four-star” boutique hotel before venturing into the cobblestone streets to sample the best culinary delights that Bologna has to offer. Cold cuts, cheeses, cakes and pizza will tantalise their tastebuds, but partaking in a tortellini-making class will try the patience of the local pasta masters.

Our Travel Guides will have the opportunity to say hello to His Holiness as Pope Francis makes a highly-anticipated visit to Bologna. It will be a patient wait as they vow to get a glimpse of the pontiff, but as the Popemobile approaches, what happens next will leave everybody speechless.

Then, they will experience the ride of their lives as they get behind the wheel of a $500,000 Ferrari on a racetrack. So who will be the biggest speed demon?

Also, our Travel Guides will head for the hills south of Bologna in search of truffles, sniffing out a small fortune in fungus. Meanwhile, a visit to the annual eel festival in the village of Comacchio will be a gastronomic experience to delight some and revolt others.

After experiencing the best that Bologna has to offer, will this Italian city disappoint our Travel Guides? Or will they recommend it as your next “must see” travel destination?

Narrated by Aussie comedian Denise Scott, Travel Guides is a format developed by Studio Lambert in the UK and produced in Australia by the Nine Network.

9:10pm Monday January 29 on Nine.

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