The best podcasts you should listen in your travel or trips or long drive or plane ride..
Summer trips are good for a lot of things: watching scenic landscapes as you wander between states, belting along to epic playlists, and (finally) hopping back on a plane. They’re also good for binge-listening to some of the imaginative and thought-provoking podcasts that are being produced across the country.
A big plus of podcasts is that they represent true democratization of the storytelling space—anyone with a smartphone or voice recorder (and an internet connection) can make one. But that freedom is a double-edged sword: There is a lot to sift through to get to the quality shows, and no semblance of a rating system exists, so it can be difficult to determine what is audience appropriate if you’re listening in a group.
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Never fear—we’ve done the work for you. Now that you’ve planned your adventure, here are some of the best podcasts out there (including some family-friendly podcasts!), all perfect for your next long road trip or plane ride, whether you love a good murder mystery or want to laugh for miles.
So now you’re looking for a recommendation, a bit of local knowledge to tell you which of the countless travel podcasts are worth your time. A good travel show must do one essential thing: transport its listener to a new destination. Each podcast on this list captures, in its own way, the thrill of an adventure. By effectively adapting their formats during the pandemic, they prove there is longevity to the travel podcast format, no matter what turbulence comes their way.
Best Top Travel Podcasts You Should Save for Your Next Trip
I love podcasts. As someone who travels often, they’re a great way to stay informed and entertained while you’re on the go. So in this article, I'll highlight some of the best podcasts for your travel and trip, and with share with you my favorites podcasts that I like to listen them in my travel or my road trips.
1. The Travel Diaries
A British podcast with international appeal, The Travel Diaries is a globe-trotting weekly interview series. As one of the most popular travel podcasts the in the UK, host Holly Rubenstein has access to the country’s best-loved actors, writers and personalities, including Sir Michael Palin and that chap from Downton Abbey. Her format is simple but effective. From their earliest childhood memory to their most formative experience abroad, the show’s guests recount their best travel stories through a seven-chapter narrative. Through the unfolding lives of some of Britain’s great storytellers, the show transports you to new places by way of moments of reflection and insight.
2. The Atlas Obscura Podcast
Did you know you can visit Hitler’s toilet in a New Jersey car repair shop? Or that there’s a library in Edinburgh, Scotland, devoted to the world’s greatest financial mistakes? These are the strange facts you’ll glean from the short (as in roughly 10 minutes) episodes of the new Atlas Obscura podcast. Each delves into a curious place in the world. You’ll be edified—and ready for trivia night—in no time.
3. The Travel Podcast
The Travel Podcast: The UK's best travel podcast—Bringing you the very best destination experts, the must-visit places from around the world, and moments of fun, joy, and wanderlust.
Created by people who love travel, FOR people who love travel
Whether you prefer a package holiday in the sun, an adventure trip, a luxury family holiday, or even an around-the-world trip, this podcast is designed for everyone who loves to travel. Join our team of experts each week, as they give you new insight, knowledge, and frontline ‘access’ to amazing destinations around the world. The travel podcast team will also cover travel news, run useful Q&As, introduce guest speakers, and give away travel tips.
4. Ear Hustle
Ear Hustle, now in its seventh season, is a nonfiction podcast from Radiotopia about life inside the prison system and what happens once people leave it. Each 30-minute episode of Ear Hustle tells stories that are intimate and funny, as well as heartrending and difficult. Above all, their stories are human. Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams (both formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison) cofounded the podcast with Bay Area visual artist Nigel Poor. In 2020, Ear Hustle was a finalist for the inaugural Pulitzer Prize in Audio Reporting.
5. Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase
The premise of Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase would be apt for a movie, not just a travel podcast. Through her anonymous broadcasts, a glamorous international flight attendant describes her encounters with characters 30,000 feet above earth. Under the pseudonym Betty Thesky, the show’s host is a veteran of the sky with old-school style. You might come to Betty for her practical advice, like how to beat jet lag, but you’ll stay for her tales from the sky. With the current trend for deep analysis, her stories are endearingly unstudied, but the last thing you should do is underestimate her. Following in a long tradition of travel writers like Joseph Roth, Betty takes travel vignettes off the page and into the airwaves. Her show is patchwork of anecdotes, readings from her old diaries, and interviews with fellow flyers — but somehow, mixed with her charming personality, the mélange seems to work.
6. Baggage Claim
While it might seem an act of bravery, even foolishness, to launch a travel podcast during a pandemic, Baggage Claim proves that to tell the best travel stories, you need a bit of both. Host Will Conway isn’t shy about telling you all of his worldly misadventures, including the less glamorous — dare I say, unsanitary — details of his backpacking experiences. Baggage Claim is about those “travel stories no one tells,” packaged as non-chronological narratives of Conway’s anecdotes. Some are merely comical, while others bring him close to death. Structured as vignettes set to music, Conway’s stories soothe as much as they transport, and Baggage Claim is an ambitious reinterpretation of the travel podcast format.
You don’t have to like flying to enjoy the Layovers podcast, however it most certainly makes a difference. Revolved around air travel, the show takes what may be a specialty subject and transforms it into an engaging focal point through which to break down international relations and current undertakings. Where many digital broadcasts zoom in while investigating a subject, has Paul Papadimitriou and Alex Hunter zoom out, giving a more extensive perspective on the worldwide guide. For instance, in a new episode, Paul and Alex inquire as to whether we could have been in a brilliant period of global travel and didn't have any acquaintance with it. How would we push ahead in a time of contamination and more tight lines? What will political pressures mean with the expectation of complimentary development? These are such inquiries we are in general posing, yet Layovers won't hesitate reply.
8. Travel Tales by AFAR
Yes, AFAR has a podcast—and season two launches June 10. Join us each week as we dig into stories from people who took a trip—and came home transformed. Travel Tales by AFAR brings some of our favorite journeys to life. Head to the Philippines with a Hawai‘i-born Filipino chef in search of his grandmother’s adobo recipe. Travel with a photographer documenting a daring giraffe rescue in Kenya. And discover how one traveler used nature to heal his PTSD. Our podcast is your ticket to the world—no passport required.
9. Armchair Explorer
Armchair Explorer is an established travel podcast with a simple philosophy: the best travel stories are told from the road. Hardly a secret, this show comes highly recommended, but you need only delve into a few episodes to figure out why. As an award-winning travel writer and journalist, host Aaron Miller delivers tales of adventure together with his signature commentary, embracing a documentary-style format. Armchair Explorer isn’t interested in rambling interviews — only travel-hardened explorers make it onto the show. Immersing you in far-fetched tales from the earth’s distant lands, Miller’s guests recount their best travel stories through clever editing that cuts straight to the action. Try the episode with Alice Morrison, a nomad who walked the entire length of Morocco. Her story is captivating, a tale about the harshest deserts in that part of the world, but her spirit is admirable and genuinely inspiring.
10. Outside Podcast
Adventurers yearning to learn about epic rescues, endurance athletes, and what it’s really like to be on Naked and Afraid should tune into this weekly podcast from the team at Outside magazine. In the most recent season, listeners will hear an Appalachian Trail horror story, true tales of treasure hunting, and lessons from a storm chaser who finally met her match.
11. TED Radio Hour
Here, “unexpected” translates to the realm of ideas. For an hour every week, host Manoush Zomorodi narrates some of the big ideas TED speakers explore, with snippets from thought-leaders who are tackling digital manipulation, creativity, altruism, or humane city planning. With well over 150 episodes to spark conversation among car passengers, TED Radio Hour is a surefire way to pass the time.
12. Abroad in Japan
Chris Broad and Pete Donaldson’s cult podcast grew from a mutual fascination with their new home. Abroad in Japan isn’t what you might expect from a travel podcast, but who said adventure only comes from fleeting visits? Living abroad is an immersive way to understand and appreciate the delights of another culture, and these British guys are ready to dive deep into all the nerdy parts of Japanese life. But Chris and Pete aren’t just any old expatriates. Chris is an award-winning filmmaker. Pete’s an accomplished broadcaster. Together, they spend their free time bringing their podcast listeners a taste of a dynamic and complex country through travel tips, current events, and topical reports. Why are $75 Tamagotchi's making a comeback? What is it like in the country’s worst Love Hotel? And, most importantly, how much do you tip? No, they’re not locals, but Abroad in Japan brings an outsider’s eye to a fascinating country many of us have always wanted to discover.
13. Music Planet: Road Trip
The sound of a place is an essential part of the travel experience, so what better way to experience it than through a music podcast? Rather than using words to transport you to another place, Music Planet: Road Trip does it through music. As a BBC Radio 3 production, you know you’re only getting the best quality recordings and audio. From Panama to Finland to Zimbabwe, join a local guide on this novel dive into global musical culture. The archive is vast, so whether you have a destination in mind, or want a taste of somewhere unexpected, there are countless corners of the world waiting to enchant.
14. JUMP with Traveling Jackie
Since 2014, Jackie Nourse has been a mainstay of travel podcasting. First, she was the host of the Budget Minded Traveler, a show dedicated to the noble pursuit of cheap travel. Now, Jackie has expanded her podcast to include an online community and travel programs with one clear message: if you want adventure, you have to take the jump. With her new vision comes a new name, though Jackie’s focus remains to make travel affordable for those willing to plan ahead and make sacrifices.
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Of course, there are more barriers to adventure than just the show’s call to action might suggest, but Jackie isn’t naive. Despite her sometimes-rambling delivery, she addresses her listeners’ concerns on topics like financial viability and safe solo travel with confident pragmatism. If you are embarking on a budget trip around the United States, JUMP will have particular appeal. With dozens of episodes on destinations including Utah, Oregon, and Southern California, the show is just the ticket for aspiring adventurers.
5 reasons to start listening podcasts today
- Get inspired, find out the best places to go and the hidden secrets of your next holiday destination, all without leaving home.
- These Podcasts will give the most up-to-date news on coronavirus as countries start to ease lockdown restrictions.
- Gain access to inside knowledge - Each week there will be interviews with tourism boards, airlines, bloggers, destination experts.
- Get a much-needed dose of travel wanderlust – even if you can’t go on holiday right now, this is a guaranteed ‘feel good’.
- No more time spent searching online for inspiration on where to book your next trip, what to consider etc. – Listen ON THE GO.