The appeal of travel is that you get to, well, go somewhere. That’s why a travel podcast might sound a little counterintuitive at first. Most people would rather go to Peru (for example) than hear someone else talk about it. And if that’s not an immediate option, browsing photographs may seem superior to spoken word.
And yet podcasts have exploded in popularity precisely because the spoken word is so powerful, and because a lack of visual commitment makes them perfect for filling time stuck in traffic, walking the dog, or cleaning the kitchen. Plus, travel podcasts specifically can clue you in on new destinations, while also offering travel tips, language lessons, and much more.
If you’re in the market for some new podcasts to add to the queue, try one of these; it just might just inspire your next vacation.
For the last decade, New Zealanders Craig and Linda Martin have been “professionally homeless,” meaning they travel full-time. The couple chronicles their travels on the Indie Travel podcast. According to a recent anniversary episode, Craig and Linda describe “Indie Travel” as the desire to experience a destination as opposed to just seeing it — generally by engaging with the local environment, businesses and people.
In most episodes, the couple hones in on a specific destination and talks about their experience — whether that means navigating the United Kingdom, living in Mexico, or visiting Ukraine. The couple also sometimes shares more practical advice and interviews other travelers. With over 300 episodes already broadcast, new listeners have plenty of backlog to enjoy on top of the usual two to three new podcasts coming out each month.
A good number of top travel podcasts are created by a couple or group of friends who quit their full-time jobs to travel the world. They are (understandably) eager to share tips and best practices to that end — which is great! But many of us aren’t in a position to necessarily rearrange our lives around travel; we simply want to get away or spice up some standard trips. That’s why the “Travel with Rick Steves” podcast remains a staple.
Episodes don’t spend time on his life story or on motivational quotes about breaking away from your routine. Instead, the episodes showcase places and cultures, while also featuring renowned guests from activist and author Gloria Steinem to British actress Joanna Lumley. And while Steves’ voice may sound a bit monotone when you first tune in, it’s actually quite soothing as you get used to it, making for perfect background listening.
Another established, well-executed podcast that features a nice range of voices is the Conde Naste Traveller Travelogue. Conde Naste is one of the world’s leading media companies, while its Traveller Magazine boasts beautiful photography and seemingly endless travel suggestions. The podcast, as you might guess, is essentially the magazine a new form.
Launched last fall, the weekly episodes are conversational, yet keep things a bit more journalistic. So far, topics have included how to travel with kids, information on new TSA rules and how to survive holiday travel, in addition to destination-specific highlights from Australia to Miami. Oh, and each episode kicks off by sharing the “Cocktail of the Week.” Get a buzz on, then book a trip!
4. Survival Phrases:
Ever find yourself in a new country without the ability to even ask for basic directions? That’s where the “Survival Phrases” podcast comes in. It can help travelers prepare (or perhaps cram last minute) for travel to a country in which people speak a different language. There are podcasts series available for 27 total languages, from Spanish to Chinese to Dutch. In teaching important travel phrases, the podcast attempts to offer listeners “cultural insight you will not find in a textbook,” including frequently used modern phrases.
If you have travel coming up, pick a podcast, scroll through the archives and find an episodes that focuses on your destination. You’ll be sure to find some great suggestions and stories, while other episodes may also provide the perfect place to visit for vacations that follow.