Podcasts to help make your travel plans easier
The worst part of traveling anywhere is the necessity of planning the trip. The drudgery of searching for flights, finding the best hotels, and figuring out an itinerary are all stress-inducing, and then when you see the price tag it’s almost enough to make you give up.
In the interest of saving you money and making the planning stages as painless as possible, we have rounded up some of the best travel-related podcasts. Some offer tips on making the most of your money, some are more for inspiring you to go off the beaten (ahem, touristy) path, but all of them will have you packing your bags with confidence. And, as a worst-case scenario, many of them are a way to do a little armchair travel.
This podcast focuses on travel advice from economic tips to restaurant recommendations while hoping to encourage hesitant travelers to take the leap—or, pardon us, the JUMP—into exploring the world. Formerly “The Budget-Minded Traveler,” which is still available to listen to, and triples the number of episodes you can binge, it’s one of the most popular travel podcasts. Jackie, the host, breaks down the important steps to take when planning a vacation, includes tips on how to make things more budget-friendly, and exposes opportunities that stray a bit from the beaten path to encourage travel novices to get out there and thrive. She features guests in every episode that share hilarious anecdotes as well as advice, and we can safely say that if you listen to even just one, you’ll come down with the travel itch.
Travis Sherry is an expert at packing light, snagging deals, and getting experiences of a lifetime on his budget-friendly trips. His goal is to share insider info to help more people travel the world in an accessible way, and he accomplishes this with aplomb. He addresses topics like how to make the most out of frequent flier miles, grab the best hotel rates, and ways to survive long-haul flights. He also highlights specific destinations with recommendations about the best places to see, where to eat, and even the kinds of souvenirs people should try to bring home. His guests are often well-recognized world travelers, but he throws in a few quirky travelers to share their experiences as well, so you get a balanced perspective as well as a sudden desire to travel France on a little red scooter.
This podcast is excellent for those who want to travel more but just don’t see how they can financially swing it. The host Danielle Desir is a financial advisor who specializes in helping people build wealth with travel as a goal, as well as how to plan frugally and take advantage of “travel hacks.” Her age group tends to skew a little bit younger than most of our recommendations, but she has a wealth of information on what to do to save money and also what not to do when trying to get the best deals.
Simon Calder, considered the UK’s best-known authority on travel and the host of Escape, is a travel journalist and broadcaster who has found a medium in which he really shines. Every episode is absolutely packed with cool places to explore, advice on travel books and references to use, and helpful tips that allow a canny traveler to make the most of any trip. If you listen, you will learn about things like Travel Euphemisms and how to navigate the pros and cons of drinking in the streets of Barcelona. The podcast is utterly fascinating regardless of whether you’re planning a trip, but it is sure to incite a raging case of wanderlust.
Maybe you’re looking for reassurance that you can (and should!) travel alone. This podcast is all about taking those very valid concerns and turning them into strengths. In addition to covering the usual topics such as finding deals and new experiences, the host, Jet Set Lisette, has guests that come from demographics often disadvantaged when it comes to traveling alone: women, POC, the physically handicapped, and other unique perspectives. Check out this podcast for the vacation tips and come away with a new appreciation for other people’s shoes and what they feel like to walk in.
“Abroaders is on a mission to democratize global travel,” says host Erik Paquet. “Learn how to earn and use frequent flier points to save 90% or more on international flights. Our tools help you make better decisions about when and how to use your points for maximum savings and incredible travel experiences.” So, yes, it sounds like a lot of the other podcasts we’ve mentioned. But instead of highlighting travelers’ experiences and whimsical stories, Paquet is more down to business. His guests include entrepreneurs, “travel hackers,” ex-pats, and business execs who want to share their secrets to maximize the number of people who can find those fantastic deals.
Finally, a guide to dodging the tourist traps. Instead of outsiders trying to cheat the system, this podcast features insiders sharing their secrets for budget-friendly travel and how to find those experiences that very few people know about. Each episode features a specific place and guest hosts who actually live there and are eager to share the back-alley theaters and hole-in-the-wall restaurants that the locals know and love. Many of the featured places are in the US, which makes this podcast less “Oh, I’ve always dreamed of going there!” and more “Oh. That’s only a train ride away! Who knew something like that was so close to me?!” Some global destinations are included, but the most fascinating ones—because they seem very doable—are closer to home.
If you read the phrase “travel hacks” and cringe, this podcast is for you. It can be really difficult to distinguish between deals that can save you money and deals that could end up costing you one way or another. This podcast helps take the guesswork out of that process because it is produced by the huge travel company, Expedia. Guests include travel experts and industry insiders hoping to bring more transparency to the “travel-for-less” movement, as well as some celebrities to add a little flavor to an otherwise fairly dry presentation. This podcast is amazing because the deals you hear about are super easy to find online and take advantage of immediately.
Amateur Traveler is the perfect podcast for people who would love to finally see all those places that people are always talking about visiting. They cover the most popular travel destinations and share all the hot tips about what to see, where to go, and why it’s a place people love so much. This may not sound as exciting as some of the other podcasts we’ve included, but Chris Christensen has won several awards for his travel journalism and for this particular podcast, which is easily accessible and relatable.
Launched in 2020 by the same team that puts out the DK Eyewitness travel guides, this podcast was created specifically for people who have had travel plans thwarted by COVID and are wondering where they can (or should) go next. Each episode features a specific destination and a guest who either lives there or had a transformational experience there, and covers why that place is worth visiting. A common thread of conversation addresses the impact COVID has had on the location, so if you’re utterly sick of that kind of coverage you might want to avoid this one, but many people find it helpful to gauge whether it’s the time to travel there or not.
You Should Have Been There
Ok, Ok. We know we said we were including our top 10, but this one just had to be included. Hosted by Simon Calder, one of the most respected voices in travel journalism, and author/former BBC producer Mick Webb, this podcast isn’t about tips and tricks for better travel. It’s more like listening to your two geeky friends having a few drinks and then sharing their travel-related battle stories, and it’s endlessly entertaining. Sure, they share some of their insider secrets, but you’ll largely forget that that is why they are there once they launch into one of their hilarious sidetracks.