The Best Travel Podcasts to Listen to on Your Next Flight

Fred Perrotta
Long, international flights can be brutal. I’ve endured 15 hour flights to Dubai, Sydney, and (as of last night) Hong Kong. Even for an avid movie, music, and book fan like me, that’s a lot of time to fill. I’ve never found using a laptop to be very practical or productive. Plus, most international flights still don’t have WiFi. My recipe for passing the time is a combination of sleeping, eating, reading, listening to music, watching movies that I wouldn’t watch under any other conditions, and listening to podcasts. Podcasts are like a cross between radio and blogs. Most podcasts are episodic shows that you can subscribe to via iTunes. A few months ago, I started to look for travel podcasts. The options were disappointing. The iTunes Store’s search results were dominated by Rick Steves and filler from AOL. The few other shows I found centered each episode on a different destination. I didn’t subscribe to them because most episodes were be totally irrelevant to me. Right content, wrong time. Then I dug deeper. And I found the good stuff. Now I’m sharing it with you. Let’s start with the best travel podcasts, then I’ll recommend other, non-travel shows for your listening pleasure.

The Extra Pack of Peanuts Travel Podcast

The Extra Pack of Peanuts Travel Podcast logoThe first travel podcast that clicked for me was Extra Pack of Peanuts (websiteiTunes). I was so excited to find EPoP that I contacted Travis, the host, after listening to a single episode. The podcast is an offshoot of the Extra Pack of Peanuts blog where Travis writes about how to travel for free with frequent flyer miles and credit card points. On the podcast, he interviews travelers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. Travis’s enthusiasm for travel and for his guests is infectious. I’ve started episodes without much interest in the subject only to find myself enthralled with the topic thirty minutes later. For example, check out the interview with Jessica Lawrence on her solo, cross-country cycling trip. Travis was even generous enough to interview me. Listen to Episode 22 for more about Tortuga Backpacks and starting a company in the travel industry.

Power Trip

Power Trip travel podcast artworkIn the interest of not being too self-promotional, I listed our podcast second instead of first 🙂 Each week Jeremy and I (the co-founders of Tortuga Backpacks), discuss the latest travel news and talk about travel products with the creators. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at our business. The show is targeted to travel nerds, gear junkies, entrepreneurs, and the Team Tortuga faithful. You can subscribe in iTunes. If you leave a review about the show, you can enter to win a $100 Tortuga Backpacks gift card.

Zero to Travel

Zero to Travel podcast logoTravis, the host of Extra Pack of Peanuts, told me about Jason and the Zero to Travel podcast (websiteiTunes). Zero to Travel is also an interview show that profiles people living amazing lives. You can hear from Wandering Earl who has been traveling for 5,000 days straight or from Micheal Wigge who traded his way up from a partially-eaten apple to a house in Hawaii. Every interviewee on Zero to Travel has a great story to tell. Listen to the podcast for inspiration and for a reminder that you can do anything.

The Tropical MBA Podcast

The Tropical MBA Podcast logoIf you want to be a digital nomad, subscribe to the Tropical MBA podcast (website, iTunes). Through 236 episodes (at the time of writing), Dan and Ian have documented their journey and shown listeners how to start a location-independent business. They’ve discussed how to run distributed teams, the value of college for entrepreneurs, why Ho Chi Minh City is so popular for digital nomads, and how to manufacture in China. I could have used that last episode five years ago. The Tropical MBA podcast has been more useful to my career as an entrepreneur than any class I took in college, including ‘Introduction to Entrepreneurship.’ You know this is a strong endorsement because I’m recommending Tropical MBA despite Dan’s allegiance to another backpack company. 🙂 As the tagline says, Tropical MBA is “the cheapest way to fly business class on your next international flight.”

More Travel Podcasts

Still hungry for more? Jason from Zero to Travel compiled an extensive (and growing) list in his Travel Podcast Directory.

More Digital Nomad Podcasts

Tropical MBA isn’t the only podcast covering the intersection of travel and business. Many others cover location-independent entrepreneurship. If you’re interested in getting started as a digital nomad, listen to the Travel Like a Boss Podcast. The host, Johnny FD, discusses running his dropshipping business while living in Chiang Mai, Thailand and traveling frequently. He also interviews other travelers and entrepreneurs starting their own businesses. If you want to do business in China (like us) listen to the China Business Cast and Global from Asia.

Non-Travel Podcasts

Don’t want to hear more about travel? No problem. You can find a podcast for any interest. Just search the iTunes Store. For sports, check out ESPN. They publish podcast versions of their radio shows as well as other, podcast-only content. Comedy is one of the biggest categories for podcasts. At this point, every comedian has a show. Just search for your favorite comic’s name. If you can’t find anything, start with Marc Maron’s beloved podcast WTF. He’s probably already done an in-depth interview with your favorite comedian. For interesting pop culture interviews, listen to Bullseye, one of the shows that first hooked me on podcasting. Imagine a talk show where the host was both a good interviewer and interested in the subject. Then picture a subject who does interesting, creative work. That’s Bullseye! Bullseye host Jesse Thorn is also the king of the Maximum Fun podcast empire which includes other great shows like Jordan Jesse Go and Song Exploder. Lastly, NPR listeners can find most of the network’s shows in podcast form too.

The Outro

Catching up on the above shows should give you plenty to listen to on your next flight or train ride. Subscribe in iTunes then sync up your phone before you leave. Listen offline so that you don’t use up your entire data plan.  

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