Escape with these binge-worthy travel podcasts

Learn more about the cultures and designs of our world from the comfort of home.

Learn new things about the world by listening to a podcast. Image credit: GaudiLab/iStock
Learn new things about the world by listening to a podcast. Image credit: GaudiLab/iStock

Despite our plans being halted for the time being, the magic of technology allows us to stay connected, up-to-date, and even explore the world without having to set foot outside.

For most of us, any upcoming travel plans we may have had are now in limbo. That said, there are still plenty of ways to discover the unique corners of the world from the comfort of home. 

These days there is a podcast for everything, and travel is no exception. We’ve put together our favorite travel (or travel adjacent) radio shows to help you plan your post-isolation adventure.

Rough Translation

From NPR, Rough Translation uncovers the ways in which familiar topics and conversations are discussed from different cultural perspectives. Hosted by journalist Gregory Warner, Rough Translation’s episodes cover everything from the unique story of a McDonald’s restaurant in Marseille that became a refuge to the area’s immigrant community, to a Syrian refugee who is learning the ins and outs of German dating etiquette

The podcast’s tagline is “taking you to far off places, with stories that hit close to home,” which feels particularly poignant at this moment in time.

99% Invisible

99% Invisible focuses on the history, design, and architecture we often overlook and the infrastructure that supports our communities. Hosted by Roman Mars, the Radiotopia podcast covers stories such as Thailand’s strange Railway Market, the phenomenon of informal urbanism and the history of the Green Book in America’s Bible Belt.

Excess Baggage

Excess Baggage explores the lesser-known corners of the world, from the people who have spent the most time there. If you’ve ever been curious to discover the secrets of Ukraine or what it’s like to spend a little time in Rwanda, then this is the podcast for you. While this BBC podcast hasn’t been updated since 2012, that shouldn’t put off intrepid travelers looking for something a little off the beaten path. 

Dolly Parton’s America

Discover the U.S. through the eyes of country music’s biggest and brightest star. Dolly Parton has been part of the American (and international) fabric for decades, and WNYC studios decided to take its listeners on a journey to discover what that truly looks like. Hosts Jack Abumrad and Shima Oliaee enter the Dollyverse, exploring her music and influence on the American zeitgeist.

Eat Drink Asia

Food is one of the defining reasons to explore the world. To taste authentic food and drink in the places they originated is one of the joys of travel. Dim Sum? Bubble Tea? Sriracha? Ever wondered where your favorite Asian food and drink comes from? Then get into Eat Drink Asia from the South China Morning Post.

Episodes cover the origins of some of Asia’s most iconic dishes, so when you take a bite of your banh mi at a street market in Ho Chi Minh city, you’ll know all the history that went into that single bite.

Banh mi is a staple street food in Vietnam. Image credit: hxyume/iStock
Banh mi is a staple street food in Vietnam. Image credit: hxyume/iStock

Nice Try!

Nice Try’s first season uncovers the stories behind the world’s most fascinating attempts at utopian communities. From the idyll of Disney World to the two-year, eight-man experiment of Biosphere 2 in Arizona, the podcast explores the surprising creations and ideologies that were born out of the hunt for utopia.

The Urbanist

Monocle’s The Urbanist transports you to the world’s most vibrant cities, delving into the technology, infrastructure, and architecture that puts these metropolises on the map. Get lost in the 16th-century piazzas of Florence and the alleyways of Tokyo’s famous Shibuya district. A venture into The Urbanist’s archives might just inspire your next great escapade.


Emily Browne

Born and raised in London, Emily is a content creator and copywriter based in Berlin.