Last Updated: February 11th
Finding a good reason to travel isn’t hard. Actually getting out on the open road and committing your time (and hard-earned money to travel) is where it gets a little more difficult. Where to go? What to do? Can I really sleep in a hostel with 20 other people? Is street food safe?
These are all legitimate questions to ask. For the answers, there are scores of travel podcasts out there to help you plan a trip, large or small. The best among these answer the hardest questions honestly. They’re where practical guides meet enchanting storytelling.
We’ve been compiling the list of our favorite travel podcasts for a couple of years now. As pods come and go we’ll keep updating this list to keep it fresh and practical. And, please, tell us your favorite travel podcast in the comments!
WOMEN ON THE ROAD
Women On The Road (part of the She Explores network) takes a deep look at what it’s like living the #vanlife for solo female travelers. The show manages to cut to the bone on real issues of travel that transcends the experience. You’ll learn valuable lessons about life as a vanlifer that are easily translated to all travels for all travelers.
BETTY IN THE SKY WITH A SUITCASE
Betty In The Sky With A Suitcase is one of the easiest listens on this list. The show filters a lifetime spent flying the friendly skies through a very accessible storytelling podcast. Betty touches on working on airplanes, far-flung travel, and general travel observations that are always enlightening and very funny.
Betty tells several stories in each episode. It’s best to listen to the most recent installment to get the feel of the show and then bounce around from there.
We’ve already talked about the brilliance of She Explores in our Best Adventure Podcasts round-up and it deserves mentioning again here. She Explores has a knack for telling amazing stories of adventure and travels through guests who take a unique and refreshing view on the travel experience with a focus on spending time outdoors.
There are nearly 100 episodes and every single one is a worthy starting point. For our money, jump in on episode 89, Lost & Found. The episode welcomes guest Lydia Sturgis who recounts when she got lost in Montana’s backcountry. Then helicopter nurse Krista Elkins gives tips for preventing getting lost in the woods and what to do if you do. It’s essential listening for any adventure traveler.
THE LONELY HOUR
Host Julia Bainbridge’s The Lonely Hour isn’t your classic travel podcast but it’s an essential one. Bainbridge welcomes guests to positively talk about loneliness in all its forms and how it can manifest most while traveling solo around the world. This is a must-listen for those thinking about moving abroad, traveling around the world, or just taking a solo vacation for a week or two.
Start with episode 17, The Expat: Reid Whitten. This installment takes an honest look at how moving abroad can start off enthralling and then take a turn when the distance between you and your friends and family set in.
ONE MORE ROAD FOR THE BEER
Travel is about the destination. Beer guide author Joe Stange joins forces with travel, food, and drink writer Zach Johnston (me!) to talk about the great beer cities of Europe. One More Road For The Beer looks at an iconic European city through the travel and beer lens. They talk beer styles and then take you on a walk around the city to the best beer bars, hidden food spots, and beer-centric hotels to spend the night sleeping all of that beer off.
TRAVEL WITH RICK STEVES
Travel with Rick Steves is the gold-standard of travel advice in podcast form. The vagabond’s easygoing demeanor and diverse knowledge of travel will get you excited about hitting the road. Known mostly for his guidebooks on Europe, Steves’ podcast covers the entire world via interviews with experts and locals. The podcast has a high production quality and Rick Steves’ notoriety allows him the opportunity to get big names on the show to talk about their travel adventures.
Any episode is going to be enlightening. We like “Curry Nation; Young China” wherein Steves welcomes on guests to talk about the immigrant food movement in Britain and, then, about how China is changing and the tourism industry along with it. It’s a fascinating place to get a taste of Rick Steves’ engaging style.
ANDY STEVES TRAVEL PODCAST
Andy Steves stepped out of the travel shadow of his famous father (see above) and started WSA Europe (Weekend Student Adventure). His company helps students studying abroad in Europe make the most of their time in every way on every weekend. Andy Steves Travel Podcast doesn’t just focus on weekend adventures, it’s a comprehensive look at the world of travel and each episode features at least one wanderluster ready to share their experience.
Jump in with Cagefighting in Peru with Rollie Peterkin. It’s a rollicking chat about living in Peru and finding a crew in a new place. You can also check out our very own travel editor Steve Bramucci on Unlocking Adventure Travel with Steve Bramucci from season one!
ZERO TO TRAVEL
Jason Moore wants to give you the tools to not only travel more but to live on the road. Zero To Travel covers topics that are bread and butter for the young traveler. Where Moore lands a cut above the rest are his deep dives into the realities and practicalities of actually moving abroad, finding a job, and starting a new life. His pod is about far more than just taking a trip here and there. While the podcast certainly does have plenty of travel guides, Moore takes focuses on bringing in guests who are making a living out of travel.
Chris Christensen is the Amateur Traveler (though that title is a definite misnomer these days — he’s got over 600 episodes to choose from). Each pod is formatted as a simple location guide, with Christensen bringing in an expert on each location to give an in-depth interview about getting to a place and how best to experience it. It’s like an entire Lonely Planet guidebook in 20-40 minutes.
With well over 600 episodes to choose from, picking a single one is a bit up to you. A favorite of ours is about getting to and around Greenland. If that’s not of interest right now, scroll through and find your dream destination then start there.
THE SEASON PASS
Theme parks are serious tourist destinations. They combine travel and entertainment. What could be better than that? The Season Pass is hosted by three guys who love theme parks. In fact, they love them so much that they obsess over all aspects — from the rides to the temporary installations to the tricks of the trade.
Hosts Doug, Brent, and Robert geek out on rides and attractions for an hour or two on every podcast with a big list of recurring guest hosts. There is a very deep archive here for nearly 400 episodes. A great place to start is with the hosts’ personal experience as kids going to Disneyland, paired with a history of the park.
INDIE TRAVEL PODCAST
Craig and Linda Martin left New Zealand ten years ago and they haven’t looked back. Over 300 podcast episodes later, they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down… or going home. The couple left New Zealand with little cash and student loans and they made it work by working around the world. Part of that was building a podcast. Episodes of How To Eat Healthily On The Road vary from themed episodes that take a look at the history and art of a place to straight up location guides with extremely important tips for making a life on the road work.
Mike Siegel is a comedian by day and a travel junkie by night. There are a lot of comedy podcasts out there. So Siegel decided to focus his in on more than just cracking wise when he created Travel Tales. Siegel hits the road and talks to locals while experiencing a place. The show becomes a travel companion piece where you feel like you’re on the road with your best pal.
A great place to dive into the show is comedian Tom Rhodes episode about being an L.A. stand up and working comedy clubs in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. It’s the comedy grind meets intense international travel and the perfect example of Siege’s engaging style.
EXTRA PACK OF PEANUTS
Extra Pack of Peanuts is hosted by travel experts Travis and Heather Sherry. The couple focuses heavily on using credit card rewards and frequent flyer miles to optimize major discounts for travel. That is, get you on the road without breaking the bank. There’s an enthusiasm here that’s enrapturing and will inspire you to take that leap into travel.
Dive right in and listen to Travis’ interview with Bo Cordle — who went all in on his dream to sail around the world. From there, you’ll find hundreds of episodes that’ll both inspire and give you practical information in their archives.
TRAVEL TODAY WITH PETER GREENBERG
Travel Today with Peter Greenberg has been a standard bearer for all things travel for as long as we can remember. Greenberg is able to take a bit of pre-internet radio talent and infuse it with amazingly pertinent travel information for any kind of traveler. Given the radio show aspects, Greenberg also covers travel news and insider tips that many of us are simply too green to have experienced. The man is a professional with a lifetime of travel behind him. You’ll come away from his show smarter with every listen.
Greenberg< has been talking about travel for so long that finding an enticing episode is simply a matter of scrolling through his massive archives and starting with the travel experience that jumps out at you.
Our Americana is the meeting of two great podcast genres: Travel and storytelling. The podcast travels to small-town America (and sometimes Canada) to tell the story of an oft-forgotten locale. Each episode is intimate, enlightening, and intriguing. As you listen, you’ll be enticed to visit corners America that you may have never even heard of before and that is the ultimate test of a great travel show.
There’s really no bad place to start here amongst the show’s 50-plus free episodes. Our recommendation is to pick an episode that’s in your state that’s new to you and then actually go to that place.
TRAVEL STORIES PODCAST
Travel Stories Podcast and host Hayden Lee delivers exactly what the title sells, travel stories that are engaging and wanderlust-inducing. The podcast is well-produced and often comes to you from the open road. So there’s a rawness and newness to each episode that draws you into a life of a vagabond.
With well over 100 episodes to choose from, you can really jump in anywhere. That being said, practical travel episodes like “Why I Only Use a 15L Backpack – Choosing a Backpack for Ultralight Travel” are a great entry point that introduces you to Hayden Lee’s style and the show’s utility.
THE BUDGET-MINDED TRAVELER
The Budget Minded Traveler, hosted by Jackie Nourse, is an epic travel podcast. The series is wrapping up a massive Pan-American Highway multi-episode arc right now with all the practical and real information about that trip you could ever need. Overall, the show is just that: Practical and real. That makes it a must listen for itchy travelers waiting to strike out on the open road.
There are 100 free episodes available right now. You can choose from in-depth interviews with travel experts, experiential tales, and travel tips and guides. We like How to Plan a Trip to Patagonia as a starting point to get the vibe of the show.
Erik Paquet’s Abroaders Podcast is an outlier here. Paquet looks at travel and squares that with business, capitalism, and corporate overlords. The podcast devotes entire episodes to the inner-workings of the travel industry — inner-workings we all often like to sweep under the rug in order to focus on sirens lounging on beaches on Instagram. Overall, the pod is fascinating and very illuminating at the same time.
There are 221 episodes to choose from here. Each episode is stand-alone and pinned to current happenings in the industry, so start with the most recent episode to get a taste.
THIS WEEK IN TRAVEL
This Week in Travel brings together longtime traveler writers and travelers Gary Arndt, Chris Christensen, and Jen Leo to talk all things new in travel in the last week with a good dose of travel tips and stories. The hosts often bring in heavy-hitters from the travel industry to discuss specific topics from around the world with a deep authority. It’s a great show that’ll have you scratching your head as to why you aren’t out there having adventures already.
Currently, there are well over 200 free episodes to choose from. That’s a lot. Our recommendation is to scroll through and find a place that jumps out at you and start there.
Location Indie is a unique travel podcast that focuses on living abroad as a digital nomad. Jason Moore and Travis Sherry live and work abroad and have created a platform to help all of us who dream of living that dream. Their show is a step by step guide to making your vagabond fantasies into realities.
This is probably the only one of the list that we’d recommend starting with episode one and just working your way through. Think of it like getting a full-on degree about living and working abroad in the 21st century.