We’re home. We’re dreaming of our favorite destinations. And we just can’t watch any more TV. Here are some noteworthy travel podcasts that will keep you company while you’re cooking, cleaning, and beyond.
1. Women Who Travel
This recommendation comes from Janice Lintz, a 50-something consumer education and travel writer and non-practicing attorney. “I just returned from a two-month trip that I had to truncate and repeatedly reroute while traveling,” she told us when she shared her recommendation. “I was heading to Kolkata, India, and I learned at the airport that India banned people that afternoon who visited Japan after February 1. I had a long layover in Nagoya, Japan, on February 8. So at 3 a.m., I booked the Melia Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, and spent the next morning and afternoon rerouting my trip to Singapore.”
“While in Singapore, President Trump issued the European changes,” Janice said. “So, I headed to the airport and shifted my flight home via Munich, Germany, from Saturday to Friday. Frequent flier points enabled me to pivot quickly with minimal extra costs.”
These COVID-19-related changes were all after she’d shifted her itinerary from the Philippines because of the volcano eruption and Australia because of the fires. “I zigzagged around the world, but it worked out in the end,” she said. Right now, Janice can be found listening to Women Who Travel, which she calls “smart, witty, and irreverent,” on her iPhone as she’s doing mindless chores around her apartment. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other streaming platforms and services.
2. Amateur Traveler
Charles McCool, one of the top U.S. travel bloggers on Twitter, told us he likes the Amateur Traveler podcasts, “which may be the longest-running travel podcast brand.” Charles told us Chris Christensen, the show’s creator, has produced nearly 700 podcasts and that they’re “mostly conversational from destination experts.”
Amateur Traveler started as a podcast and has grown into a full-on blog with diverse posts and imagery as well. Chris says the idea for the podcast originated during a Memorial Day barbecue. His family had friends over, and the best stories traded during the get together were all about travel. “It was then that the idea for the podcast and the website was created.”
Charles was the subject matter expert for Amateur Traveler’s podcast #688, which is on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, an area TravelAwaits’ writers love, too. You can listen to Amateur Traveler’s hundreds of episodes on Spotify, Stitcher, and other streaming platforms and services and read up on travel to Mississippi’s shores here.
3. The Carry On
Traveler Michelle McCarthy invites stuck-at-home travelers to check out The Carry On, the podcast she cohosts with Rose Dykins, a freelance travel writer and editor, and Tracey Davies, a national-newspaper travel journalist. All it takes is a moment on the podcast’s homepage to see you’ll be in for a good time when you put these good-humored women in your queue.
Michelle told us the three cohosts get together every two weeks to talk about the destinations from which they've just returned. She also said, “You won't find any referencing to Insta or TikTok here -- just good old fashioned exploration with plenty of laughs thrown in.”
In their most recent episode, Tracy regales listeners with an account of taking her elderly “Mum” (did we mention this podcast will treat you to British accents?) to Galway and Michelle explores Dublin by bus.
Michelle said, “Previous episodes include bison spotting in Poland, a European rail special, and a trip to Western Australia.” The Carry On is available on Google Podcasts, Spotify, and other streaming platforms and services.
Norm Bour, a 60-something “permanent traveling nomad” and creator of Travel Younger, is currently writing a book on other permanent travelers for which he’s interviewed about a dozen travel podcasters. Based on his research, he recommends Nomadtopia and our fifth and sixth podcast recommendations as well.
Norm told us he and his partner “left the U.S. in February 2019 and over the last 13 months hit 23 countries and over 300 cities. Ironically, I had to come to the U.S. on March 3 from Southeast Asia and planned to be here for eight weeks and then return to Europe, specifically Croatia and/or Greece, but now those plans are up in the air. We had plans to go to Mexico for two weeks [of] down time but may accelerate that and stay there since its more affordable than staying in the U.S., where we have no home anymore.”
He went on to say, “We were in Thailand when the virus hit China, and initially it was a mere curiosity -- until Thailand was the next country to get hit. We barely avoided getting stranded in Vietnam.” In early March, they breezed through the Los Angeles airport “without a second look or a thermal scan.” As he notes, “Today, that is totally different.” On March 17, he and his partner were leaving for Ohio, their next stop, and were checking their flight status hourly.
Of course, Norm’s changes in travel plans have left him more time for travel writing -- and podcast listening. He told us Amy Scott, the host of Nomadtopia, “is in Mexico city and has been doing nomad podcasts for many years. She has her own mastermind called The Collective and has done over 150 shows and is very easy to listen to.”
The podcast, which explores adventurer’s “location-independent” lifestyles, is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Folks interested in creating or sustaining a location-independent lifestyle can learn more about Amy’s Nomadtopia Collective here.
5. All The S**t I’ve Learned Abroad
“Not the most PC title,” Norm told us, “but these girls operate from two different continents” while managing to “speak as though they are in the same room with you.”
By “these girls,” Norm means Steph Page and Andrea Gillis, Canadian expats who live in Melbourne and London, respectively. He appreciates that they talk about everything from “the mundane things to think about” to “the more adventurous and exciting.”
Aside from COVID-19-related episodes, Steph, Andrea, and their guests have recently discussed topics ranging from photo etiquette and bucket-list destinations to avoiding travel burnout and safety while socializing. They even have a bonus episode on Andrea’s experience recording while a terrorist attack was taking place outside her front door on Streatham High Road in London. In it, they discuss the attack, “being under lock down, and how terrorism can impact people’s decision to travel.” Lighter topics include “the humble travel brag,” festival seasons, and why bigger really is better when it comes to Canadian roadside attractions.
6. Expat Happy Hour
Happy hour just has a certain ring to it. And even if you can’t meet up with your best pals at your favorite pub or patio right now, you can enjoy Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Bean (yes, that’s her real name), an American-by-birth, Swiss-by-marriage expat who’s in South Africa by choice according to her About page.
Norm said Sundae, a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist who’s “on a mission to help you adapt and succeed while living abroad” (and who has a most interesting accent!), is “a pro and someone I respect and try to learn from.”
While not all Sundae’s podcasts are 100 percent travel oriented, she hosts expert contributors from around the world and covers a wide range of topics that will interest globally minded listeners. Expat Happy Hour episodes that captured our attention include “Long Distance Survival Guide,” “Sad Tagalong Spouse” (a situation one of our writers explores in “When Your Partner Would Rather Stay Home”), and “Going Solo” (a topic we have a lot of advice on, too).
For more on staying entertained and inspired, even while self-isolating, see more COVID-19-specific content here.