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So, we can’t travel at the moment. And I’m not going to lie, it sucks.
However, I’m counting my blessings, and I know that I’m in a very fortunate position. The thing is, the lockdown seems to be making people’s wanderlust stronger than ever. You never know how much you love something until it’s gone, right?
Well, I know a lot of people (myself included) are taking this time to try to be as productive as possible, whether that’s writing that novel they’d always dreamed of, getting into shape or totally transforming their apartment. So, to maximise productivity, how about you do those things whilst getting your travel fix at the same time?
I’ve been a huge fan of podcasts for almost five years now, and I listen to them almost all the time – whilst I’m cleaning, running, at work, in the bath; you name it. What has always surprised me is just how difficult it is to find great travel podcasts. Most of my favourites I stumbled upon completely by coincidence, and for some reason, searching “travel” on Apple Podcasts won’t pull up what are, in my opinion, some of the best travel podcasts.
So, after listening to a tonne of travel podcasts over the years, I’m here to recommend my absolute favourites:
1 – Amateur Traveler
Probably the longest established and most prolific travel podcast out there, Chris Christensen has been broadcasting the Amateur Traveler since 2005. Yeah, you heard me right. Who even knew podcasts existed in 2005?!
Safe to say, Chris knows his stuff. Unlike most travel podcasts, this podcast focuses almost exclusively on destinations. In a typical episode, Chris will speak with a guest about a certain destination – and this could be a whole country, a region or state, a certain city, or even an individual attraction such as Universal Studios. Episodes usually last 30-50 minutes, and they’re released each Saturday.
I love learning about destinations that I had never even considered visiting (the Mississippi Gulf Coast, anybody?) and I also love that the show is targeted at a typical North American with 1-2 weeks of leave per year. This means the itinerary discussed in each episode is something actually achievable for me with a full time job. Sure, I’m not North American and I sure as hell have more than 2 weeks of leave per year (my American friends, how do you manage?!) but I really appreciate the fact that this target audience means each itinerary is accessible to travellers with full time jobs.
Just wait – after a few episodes you will be jamming out to the theme tune like the rest of us.
2 – What the Pho
Nick and Amy never fail to put a smile on my face. What the Pho podcast, using a radio show format, documents the different countries they have visited and the experiences they have had during their travels. Look out for features such as “game show facts” and “language lessons with Amy”.
Their unique humour and honest discussions about how they manage their money on the road are what give them the edge. Whether you’re planning a quick trip to one of the many destinations they discuss, or are planning embarking on long term travel, this podcast has you covered. As someone who is considering long term travel in the future, their episodes dedicated specifically to their experiences doing this are invaluable.
3 – Extra Pack of Peanuts
Travis Sherry’s life makes me green with envy. Travis and his wife Heather have cultivated a “location independent” lifestyle, meaning the amount of travel they do in a year is more than a typical person would manage in ten!
Episodes typically include interviews with other travellers and their experiences on the road, advice to make your own life location independent, and Throwdown Showdown episodes, where Travis and Heather tackle two destinations which are normally viewed by travellers as similar, and try to agree on a winning destination. For me, the Austin v Nashville episode was super helpful as I have been debating both of these destinations.
Where Extra Pack of Peanuts, or “EPOP”, really shines is at the end of each year, where Travis and Heather run through their end of year episodes, such as best beer, best meals, travel statistics and their travel goals for the upcoming year. The amount of wanderlust these episodes stir in me is insane!
4 – Flight of Fancy
This Australian podcast from the popular traveller.com.au gives me exactly what I’m looking for from a travel podcast. Episodes are chattier and less structured than most podcasts, making it feel like you’re sat around with a group of friends.
Instead of focusing on a single destination per episode, most discussions on Flight of Fancy revolve around trends in travel, and coming up with solutions to common traveller dilemmas, such as how to survive a long haul flight and how to travel without ruining the environment.
Plus, hearing all those Australian accents make a Brit like myself feel like I’m on holiday already!
5 – Join Us In France
A more niche podcast all about, you guessed it, France, host Annie’s passion and knowledge of her country is second to none. Often joined by listeners who talk her through their trip to a certain region of France and their experiences there, Join Us In France shows you there is way more to France than just Paris. To mix it up, Annie often releases shorter episodes without any guests where she advises on topics such as ‘Common Mistakes Tourists Make in Paris’.
Even if you’re not planning a trip to France, I can guarantee you will be after a few episodes. In fact, it was this podcast that made visiting France one of my travel goals for 2020.
6 – GalPal Travel Podcast
This podcast takes it right back to basics and is (obviously) aimed at females. Host Jo’s mission through GalPal is to get more women solo travelling, and she talks through every step of the process, right from how to keep your luggage safe to how to know if you’re making the right decision to travel, which I know plagues a lot of potential travellers. I especially love her episodes about choosing where to travel to next, as it’s a conundrum I come across often because, hey, there’s a whole world out there!
Episodes are short (typically 10-20 minutes) and released every Thursday.
7 – Zero to Travel
Zero to Travel is hosted by Jason Moore, good friend of Travis Sherry from EPOP, and is all about how you can make travel your reality. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees people on the internet living amazing lives travelling around the world, and I have no idea how they managed to get a life like that.
Jason does a great job of debunking this. In the podcast, he speaks to these people and shares their secrets so that us mere mortals can get a slice of the action. Whether it’s teaching English as a foreign language or sailing around the world, Jason’s goal is to let us in on how we can make our travel goals a reality.
So, there you have it. My top 7 travel podcasts to hopefully help you get through this insane period of our lives without falling into travel withdrawal. I do listen to a few more travel podcasts, but these ones by far stand out from the crowd.
Let me know in the comments what your favourite travel podcast is! I’m always on the lookout for more.
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