Our desire to travel often comes from images we see online, adverts on the TV, books we read and also what we listen to. While music can stimulate feelings and emotions, podcasts can speak to your inner traveller and even have the power to influence where you book your next holiday.
Created by seasoned travellers who have definitely lived through the main travel-related concerns you have, podcasts are a brilliant resource that everyone should be listening to.
Whether you’re planning a short cruise or a year out from the rat-race, travel podcasts help to inspire and also answer your questions. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a trip or if you’re in need of something to listen to during your travels, our list of the top travel podcasts will cover every detail you need to know.
Extra Pack of Peanuts
Produced by Travis Sherry, Extra Pack of Peanuts is regularly sitting pretty at the top of the iTunes podcast charts. The project began back in 2012, with Travis setting out to help people explore the world for less and even for free.
With over 130 episodes under his belt, Travis explains the confusing jargon and detail around travelling, how to save money abroad, how to travel cheaper and much more. Episodes include interviews with travellers and each is packed full of invaluable tips.
Go the Travel Podcast
Producer of Go The Travel Podcast Alex Cwalinski is a man not short of travelling experiences. Having lived in Europe, the Middle East, Norway, South America, Alaska and across the US, Alex’s podcast seeks to inspire fellow travel-hungry people. He spoke to us about his passion and inspiration for podcasts:
“I listen to podcasts all the time but one day, while in flight, I began searching for a good travel podcast to inspire future trips. Sure enough, I found a bunch and most of them were good podcasts, just not my style. I prefer the production style that NPR and BBC Radio produce; they pack in so much information with a journalistic yet story-telling approach. I love how they go onsite to conduct interviews and how they combine that with layering on the ambient sounds of what's happening around them. It almost makes you feel like you're there, hearing the stories first hand.”
“After a short gig in public radio, I left to start my own travel podcast. I knew the demand for our type of production was out there and I wanted to fill that void. So, Go The Travel Podcast was born.”
Each episode is thorough, informative and colourful. Go The Travel Podcast features on our list of the best travel podcasts thanks not only to its in-depth discussions, but Alex’s passion. He told us about the process and what you can expect when you download it:
“To gather material, we travel to a new country or city as often as possible and attempt to capture the essence of that location to share it with our audience. Each episode takes us at least two weeks to produce. We carefully write each script, as to fill the episode with facts, anecdotes, a bit of history, as well as ambient sounds and interviews. We want my listeners to feel that they are getting something valuable out of their time. We want to inspire them to get out there and explore the places on their bucket lists. Our podcast is for those curious about our planet, its diversity, and the many adventures you can have while exploring it.”
The Dirtbag Diaries
Funny, bright and honest, The Dirtbag Diaries is a well-known and well-loved podcast amongst the travel and adventure community. The journey began in 2007, when Fitz Cahall, the co-founder of Duct Tape and Beer, began narrating stories from famous athletes and amateurs.
Each of the 150 episodes is a recreational story, touching on everything from backpacking to skiing and road trips. What was once a small, individual project has become a large collaboration between a number of listeners, writers, photographers and artists to create a podcast that shares stories and experiences that you just can’t find in travel magazines.
The budget-minded Traveller
Want to travel the world but think it’s too expensive? Choosing a standard holiday over a luxurious cruise break because of the cost? Then listen to The Budget-Minded Traveller. Created by Jackie Laulainen, this podcast is the perfect wanderlust inspiration for people on a budget.
More than 70 episodes cover tips and interviews with other travellers as well as what it is like travelling with a large family and a sweeping encouragement to spur you on to book a travelling adventure.
Nominated as one of the Best Travel Podcasts at the 2015 and 2016 Podcast Awards, The Budget-Minded Traveller podcast is going to give you no excuses not to go and follow your heart and travel to your dream destination.
Indie Travel Podcast
Since 2006, Craig and Linda have been creating engaging and informative podcast episodes from their own mistakes designed to help fellow travellers. The Indie Travel Podcast covers things that no guidebook can ever tell you, whether it’s about train tickets or the right insurance.
“Although we'd both travelled extensively as children, when we started our long-term trip it became clear that we weren't actually very good at it!” said Linda. “We made mistakes, got lost, it seemed that everything that could go wrong, went wrong.”
“We decided to start a blog to teach people how not to make the same mistakes we had, but when we told a friend of our plan he said, ‘no, start a podcast instead.’ We had no idea what a podcast even was, but that didn't stop us!”
The pair are now full-time travellers and have produced over 300 episodes and was even named Lonely Planet’s “Best Podcast”.
“Early episodes were short and tip heavy, but now we aim for 20-30 minutes with a conversational feel,” said Linda. “Imagine you're having a glass of wine or a coffee with your friends who love to travel, and you'll get an idea of the feeling of the show.
“If you're planning a trip somewhere, or just want to experience some vicarious travel, the Indie Travel Podcast is a great show to listen to.”
Zero to travel
Zero to Travel, similarly to Extra Pack of Peanuts, profiles a series of lucky people living amazing, adventurous lives on the go through interviews. Each episode is fresh and gives an insight into people who have been willing to give up everything to follow their passion. Interviewees include Micheal Wigge – a man who began with partially eaten apple and ended up trading his way up to a house in Hawaii. There is also an episode with Wandering Earl, who has spent 5,000 consecutive days travelling.
Zero To Travel covers the bread and butter of travelling including helpful guides and advice, but also discusses real-life issues and examples of people who are going out into the world to make a life of travelling.
The Tropical MBA Podcast
Starting out in 2009, The Tropical MBA Podcast has grown to become a worldwide success. With millions of downloads across over 100 countries, the show’s producer Jane said that it is for “anyone seeking personal freedom".
“Our show started in 2009,” said Jane. “It was part personal expression and part cry for help. We wanted to meet others on this crazy entrepreneurial journey.”
“Back then we hardly knew anybody growing a location independent business, especially one that had real physical products. It seemed to us that most of the websites and podcasts weren’t run by people with compelling business experience or insights. We wanted to meet others who we felt were ‘legit.’
“So we started sharing our story on a more or less weekly basis. Because of that, many of the episodes were just me and Ian sharing the stuff we were learning directly from our day-to-day work. That business taught us a lot. It started with – literally – a dream and ended with a multi-seven figure exit.”
Like with all of the best travel podcasts that have featured on this list, Tropical MBA is designed to help like-minded people. It is based around personal experiences and advice learnt from it, and as Janes says, it is there to help:
“It’s part support, part ideas focused show about the range of issues location-independent entrepreneurs face, from failure and how to deal with it, to where to base yourself, to tools that might help you be more productive.”
Tips for Travellers
“I started the podcast in September 2005 to help travellers make more of their precious travel time and money by providing my first-hand tips and advice on the must see and do sights and attractions in destinations around the world.” Gary Bembridge, creator of the Tips for Travellers podcast covers all the advice you need on ensuring that you have a luxurious travel experience, whether that be with your feet firmly planted on land or at sea.
“Every podcast includes a brief history of the destination, must-know facts, my observations, general tips for visiting and then the ten things you really should do and why. In addition to destinations the podcast also has episodes about cruise lines, and the things travellers need to know to be able to decide if it is the right line for them - and how to get the most of it once on board.”
Tips for Travellers is broken up into four main types of episodes, you can expect listener Q&As where Gary answers any questions you may have. There are also destinations and cruise tips episodes helping you to understand the history of an area and what you should consider when booking a cruise holiday.
Betty in the sky with a suitcase
Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase is a series of entertaining stories packed into a thoroughly enjoyable podcast. Betty, who works for a major airline and has over 20 years of experience, spoke to us about what inspired her to make it:
“I started my podcast Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase because I always loved the crazy airline stories the senior flight attendants told. In the show flight attendants and pilots talk about all the crazy antics that happen on the airplane that the traveling public is never aware of. I am also an avid traveller so I include wacky travel stories.”
Betty’s podcast may not necessarily touch on the destinations in as much detail as others on the list, but the quality of the storytelling helps it claim a place. Betty told us who should download it: “It's perfect for people who are nervous flyers or anyone who enjoys buoyant entertainment and a good laugh.”
Desert island discs
The grandfather of podcasts and a British broadcasting institution; Desert Island Discs is a legendary Radio 4 feature and podcast.
It was one evening back in 1941 when Roy Plomley, a freelance journalist, came up with the idea to produce a programme that a well-known person would choose eight gramophone records to take with them on a desert island. In January 1942, the first instalment was recorded in the BBC’s iconic– Maida Vale studios.
Everyone from Tom Hanks, Michael Caine to David Beckham and Ed Sheeran have chosen their eight tracks to be deserted with. This powerful podcast is widely considered one of the finest available and offers the listeners an insight into the personal life and thought process of some of the biggest names on the planet. No, it may not be completely travel related, but it will get you thinking about your favourite music.
Whether you are listening on-route to your holiday, relaxing at your destination or in need of inspiration, this list of the best travel podcasts has you covered.