Travel is off the cards for the moment, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t invest some time in learning about new places, dreaming about future trips or even planning those bucket list adventures. With that in mind, Lonely Planet has rounded up some of the most informative and inspiring podcasts on all things travel that will be sure to help.
Listening to a podcast can be great entertaining or educational distraction while at home. Here are some of the best travel-themed ones we've found.
The Trip That Changed Me
Featuring conversations and interviews with people whose lives were quite literally changed by travel, The Trip That Changed Me covers everything from the beginnings of long-term romances to the foundation of businesses, and includes authors, entrepreneurs, creatives and activists.
“For many of us, travel provides more than just respite from the daily grind: it gives us the headspace to problem-solve, leaves us open to connection and serendipity, and reinvigorates us creatively – spawning new ideas and businesses,” host Esme Benjamin told Lonely Planet. “Our guests will draw you in with captivating personal stories while painting a sensorial picture of the place that changed their world. During these monotonous indoor days, I hope the podcast will allow listeners to travel vicariously and dream about the amazing experiences they’ll have when we emerge from this thing.”
A stand out episode features New York Times bestselling author and anonymous poet Atticus, who discusses how a chance meeting with actor Michael Madsen and a trip to Paris led to him writing his first ever poem.
Focusing on the shared history between Americans and Canadians, North Americana features an array of fascinating storytellers and expert guests. Joined by award-winning writers and journalists, host Liz Beatty dives into the connections between the US and Canada through intriguing stories and characters.
Episodes run the gamut from the surprising origin of Rosie the Riveter (hint: she was Canadian) to the story of the American dissidents of "Resisterville" in British Columbia. Our favorite episode, "How Did Siberian Reindeer Get to Canada's Arctic?," features Lonely Planet editor Alexander Howard recounting the epic tale of how a herd of reindeer were driven 1500 miles from Alaska to Canada's Northwest Territories in the 1930s.
Out Travel The System
Online travel agency Expedia entered the podcasting game in 2019 with "Out Travel The System." Host Nisreene Atassi chats with industry experts and insiders, as well as regular travelers to reveal smart insights about travel, like how to avoid crowds and score the best deals.
An episode from November called "A Trip Down Food Travel Memory Lane" is a delectable examination of how the food we eat while traveling has a powerful impact on how we remember our trips. Nisreene is joined by Top Chef-alum and Food & Wine Magazine Editor-in-Chief Nilou Motamed to talk about re-living big travel memories by cooking destination-inspired food at home.
Women Who Travel
Condé Nast Traveler editors Lale Arikoglu and Meredith Carey focus on the realities of traveling as a female today in a thoughtful, compelling and engaging way. Within the podcast is the How I Became series, which includes episodes like “How I Became a Photojournalist with Lynsey Addario”, while other episodes tackle interesting subject matter like how travel can teach us to love our bodies, and how to make the most of family vacations.
An episode from October 2019 called "Why We Need to Slow Down When We Travel" is a timely reminder about appreciating the simple joys of the French art of flaneuring; wandering without intention or destination.
The Travel Diaries
This weekly interview series sees entertainment and travel journalist Holly Rubenstein chatting to a special guest about their adventures around the world and the travel experiences and destinations that shaped their lives. Previous guests have included Poppy Delevingne, Jo Malone, Dan Snow, Dev Patel and Sir Richard Branson.
The perfect place to start is the episode featuring an interview with Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler about how the company got started back in the 1970s.
Zero to Travel
While traveling and living nomadically for over a decade, Zero to Travel’s Jason Moore was continually amazed and inspired by people from all walks of life who found a way to see the world despite personal obstacles. He felt that sharing their stories and advice would be a good way to help others achieve their travel dreams, so in 2013 his podcast was born.
“Zero To Travel is a community-powered show that exists to help people travel the world on their own terms. Listeners tell me that the show makes their ‘crazy’ ideas seem normal,” Jason said. With over 6 million downloads in 195 countries, the podcast has proven a hit, and Jason’s guests include a mix of bestselling authors, adventurers, creators and everyday explorers with inspiring tales to tell.
Episodes range from "How to Surround Yourself With What You Love" to "How to Overcome Travel Anxiety and Fear of Flying".
JUMP with Traveling Jackie
Host Traveling Jackie explores lifestyle, adventure and travel in a way that aims to inspire listeners to get out and explore the world.
The episode "Don’t forget to pack these five things" is broken up into five categories (so 25 items in total) and has suggestions for adventure travelers (batting gloves for horseback riding, kayaking and paddle boarding, for instance), digital nomads (privacy screen and a portable charger), health-conscience people on the move (nutritional supplements) and the every-day traveler (reusable water bottles and earplugs).
As a frequent traveler, Jackie draws on her own experiences and knowledge to inform in a conversational way. Other episode themes include "How to Become Fluent in Any Language with Polyglot Benny Lewis", "Walking the Camino de Santiago" and "How to Plan a Trip to Patagonia".
America’s National Parks Podcast
This podcast does exactly what it says on the tin; sheds light on the history and uniqueness of the US National Park system. Each destination is celebrated in an absorbing way, whether it’s the spooky ghost stories and lore of Yellowstone, the story of contributions made by Chinese Americans to Yosemite National Park, or the journal kept by Narcissa Whitman while on the Oregon Trail in the 1800s.
Flight of Fancy
Hosted by Ben Groundwater, Flight of Fancy prides itself on being fun, funny and wise, and looks at and discusses travel under a diverse range of topics. Episodes include "Things That Surprise First-Time Visitors to Antarctica", "How to Travel Without Ruining the Planet", "Australia’s Amazing, Undisturbed, Outback" and "The Best Destinations for Solo Travelers".
“Flight of Fancy was inspired by the desire to share the sort of experiences and knowledge that can’t always be included in traditional newspaper feature stories. The podcast is like a pub chat with travel experts – a mix of tips and anecdotes delivered in a relaxed setting,” Ben told Lonely Planet.
The Thought Card: A Travel Finance Podcast
A podcast with the budget traveler in mind, The Thought Card offers helpful advice on how to have a great time while spending less money in diverse destinations all over the world.
Each episode, Danielle Desir tackles a different topic, whether it’s giving “Practical Tips for Saving Money in Iceland” or “Exploring the Racial Wealth Gap”. Guests provide further insight on specialist subjects and destinations.
You might also like:
The best Lonely Planet Spotify playlists for travellers pining for the road
The joys of planning a trip a (very) long way in advance
Travel the US without leaving home with these top 50 books for each state
Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.
This article was originally published on March 2020. It was updated December 2020.