We recently read an article about great podcasts to listen to when taking long trips, whether you are driving or flying. We thought we would share this with you. If you know of any that aren’t mentioned here, please share it with us. The original article can be found at:
An unwavering, wide open road through the middle of the country; a 12-hour flight across the Pacific with nothing to look at it but sea and sky—that’s a whole lot of time to spend with your own thoughts. If you’re flying, you can read, sure, or watch that rom-com you would never even consider were you not 30,000 feet in the air, and if you’re driving there’s always the radio. But, have you considered a podcast? Here, from fictional narratives that will make the hours feel like minutes, to deep dives into science and society, we’ve got you covered when it comes to accompaniment for your next journey.
Driving through huge sweeping landscapes on cruise control is the ideal environment for listening to this NPR podcast. Focusing on things that are intangible—think fear, blindness, and stereotypes—while you’re coasting on backcountry roads will blow the mind. Oddly, the two chatty hosts’s voices are soothingly indeterminable from each other, which you’ll come to see as a challenge once you get hooked a few episodes in.
Start with: How to Become Batman
You didn’t think we would miss a chance to plug our own podcast, did you? Less than two years ago, we started sharing all the good, the bad, and the ugly that we at Condé Nast Traveler know about travel. If you’ve ever wondered how to tackle your first trip to Asia, how to get and spend airline miles, or what your hotel concierge really thinks of you, listen up.
Start with: Where to Visit Before Your Friends Do
Hosted by the irresistibly charming Georges Collinet, this program from Public Radio International offers a treasure trove of musical discovery. It focuses on stories from the African diaspora, which means it covers everything from New York City’s 1960’s boogaloo scene and British electronica to Congolese rumba and Indian jazz. It uses music, that perennial reflection of society, as a way to talk about politics, history, and more. It’s proof that when you can’t actually get a plane ticket, music can be just as transportive.
Start with: Hip Deep in Mali—the Tuareg Predicament
This New York Times podcast explains itself: a twenty-minute, five-day-a-week digest to fill you in on everything you need to know for the day, without overwhelming your brain. Filled with the Gray Lady’s own reporting, it’s a good kick start to the day when you’re on the road and off the usual news cycle.
Start with: Whatever’s up that morning.
In the world of storytellers that will leave your jaw on the floor and your mind reeling for days (there are a surprisingly large number of them, these days), Radiolab’s Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad are the reigning monarchs. Along with their team of talented producers, they are able to distill even the most complex scientific concepts into accessible, fun, and (very often) mind-blowing stories. Genetic modification, space, autism, and war—nothing’s off-limits for the Radiolab treatment and you’ll be replaying your favorite episodes for road trip companions in no time, just to watch their reactions.
Start with: Rodney Versus Death
Welcome to Night Vale
Bear with us on this one. This fictional program (which now has its own book available on Audible) plays the radio shows of Night Vale, a fictional desert town beset by supernatural events. Because you’re only hearing the radio snippets, you’ll have to really work to put the whole story together, but the experimental format brings a refreshing break from the usual podcast timelines.
Start with: Episode 1
All Songs Considered
If you’re out of FM radio range or are trying to listen to something new, pick any episode of this classic NPR radio show. You’ll hear about new artists, new songs from your favorite artists, and learn about their stories and inspirations from NPR’s ultimate music nerds, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton.
Start with: Leave it to chance, and pick at random—you never know what earworm you’ll discover
Just four episodes long (here’s hoping for a season two), this podcastfrom Atlas Obscura tells stories of adventurers of the past for you to live vicariously through while you’re taxiing the tarmac. There’s stories of a man who tried to fly a hot air balloon across the Arctic, an upstart rodeostar, and more. It’s not quite travel inspiration, unless you’re the type who thinks “smokejumping” sounds fun, but it doesn’t hurt to daydream.
Start with: The Arctic Balloonist
While a big part of vacation should be unplugging and putting the screens away, it doesn’t mean the Internet isn’t a fascinating place to draw stories from. Gimlet’s Reply All podcast shows just how intriguing it can be and just how tied up it is with modern society by doing deep dives into the hilarious (remember covfefe?), the terrifying (turns out, hacking is pretty easy), and the heartbreaking (the wild world of online dating when you’re 60 years old). Start with: Zardulu (Why? Two words: Pizza Rat.)