12 Podcasts to Take Your Ears on a Wild Journey to Anywhere but Here

Travel habits have changed in this stay–at–home moment – and so have listening habits. In fact, listening is very much on trend these days, making it the perfect time to plug into podcasts that can help you travel from where you are. Here are a few that are taking us to places we’d rather be and inspiring hope for future travels.

  1. Field Recordings With raw audio from locations around the world, Field Recordings takes listeners on a journey each episode. Listen to a gathering storm from a tent in a field in Brittany, France. Walk beside a lake in Berlin, Germany. Or explore the currently very quiet streets of Cairo. The world is waiting, listen carefully.

May 5, 2020
A red mailbox along a winding Watling Street in Britain
London, U.K.   Photo: Diego Vicente (Unsplash)
  1. Watling Street One thing a great podcast can do is transport you not only to another place, but also to another time. Case in point: Watling Street, a four–episode series that calls itself a “psychogeographical podcast.” It focuses on one of the earliest lines on England’s map, and tells stories of history and culture through on–location recordings and fascinating guests.

  2. On She Goes We’d recommend any episode of On She Goes, the podcast from the organization of the same name, which helps women of colour travel “more confidently, more adventurously and more often.” But the “Girl’s Night In” episode is extra helpful at this moment, with insightful thoughts on the value of staying in for those who are itching to get out there.

Two people hiking the British Columbia mountain range
Kootenay National Park.   Photo: Karl Lee (Unsplash)
  1. Amateur Traveler Wouldn’t it be great to hit the road right now and visit a bunch of national parks? Chris Christensen, the host of Amateur Traveler, offers the next best thing: a great conversation with Carolyn B. Heller – author of Moon Vancouver & Canadian Rockies Road Trip – in which they talk about Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho and Kootenay. You can almost smell the fresh mountain air.

  2. Strong Sense of Place Another way to explore the world from home is by reading great books, which is the idea behind Strong Sense of Place. In each episode, husband–and–wife hosts David and Melissa head off to a new destination through what they call “literary travel”: using various works of literature, poetry and nonfiction to take them on their journey.

  3. This American Life One podcast that has been transporting people through audio since well before podcasting was even a thing (it started on the radio way back in 1995) is This American Life. There are a lot of great episodes, but “We Come from Small Places” is particularly poignant. It focuses on the Labor Day Carnival and the West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn and draws in many other stories – and places – along the way.

Two surfers walking along the sandy beaches of Australia
Avalon Beach, Australia.   Photo: Lachlan Dempsey (Unsplash)
  1. Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet Most people travel for the joy of it. But there are also those who find joy in complaining about how disappointing various aspects of their trips were. That’s where Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet comes in: a podcast featuring dramatic readings of one–star reviews of restaurants, locations and anything else that didn’t live up to expectations. We can all take joy in that.

A group of penguins swimming around the icebergs of Antarctica
Antarctica.   Photo: Jason Row (Unsplash)
  1. The Rough Guide to Everywhere Since 1982, Rough Guides has been a trusted name in travel guidebooks. In 2017, they started a podcast that takes listeners on fascinating (and sometimes funny) journeys while also talking to some of the world’s most accomplished travellers. All 34 episodes are worth a listen; we’d recommend starting with “Off–Road in the Scottish Highlands.”

  2. Women Who Travel For avid explorers, this moment has meant changing the way we think about the act of travel. We particularly enjoyed the “All Our Complicated Feelings About Travel Right Now” episode of Women Who Travel because it speaks to the strange experience of those who make their living by travelling – including people who were on a trip when everything changed – and also the excitement around anticipation of future travel.

A man leading a herd of goats through the India Himalayas
Himalayas, Ladakh, India.   Photo: Steven Lasry (Unsplash)
  1. Armchair Explorer To some degree, we’re all armchair explorers now – but National Geographic & London Times travel writer Aaron Millar had a head start. He’s the host of the Armchair Explorer podcast, in which he interviews some of the world’s most intrepid explorers and takes his listeners with them on journeys to far–flung and fascinating places.

Roman pillars of Acropolis of Athens in Greece
Acropolis of Athens, Greece.   Photo: Cristina Gottardi (Unsplash)
  1. You Should Have Been There If you’re looking for a smart, thoughtful – and very British – show about travel, then you’ll be happy to spend half an hour with Simon Calder, travel correspondent of The Independent, and Mick Webb, former BBC producer, on You Should Have Been There. We recommend starting with the “Poetry in Motion” episode, in which they share poems that have the power to take you away.

Long, narrow streets in Paris
Paris, France   Photo: Paolo Bendandi (Unsplash)
  1. The Big Travel Podcast How does travel shape our lives? On The Big Travel podcast, host Lisa Francesca Nand explores that question through wide–ranging conversations with interesting people, from novelists to scientists to journalists to filmmakers. Sample episode title: “Childhood in a Beirut Warzone, Pink Floyd in Syria, Dark Tourism and in Search of the Yeti.” And that’s just one interview!