10 Travel/Adventure Podcasts that Deserve a Listen

First of all, if you don’t listen to podcasts, consider starting. They’re great for commutes, workouts, mindless office jobs, and housework. You can find podcasts on just about any topic you enjoy; there’s one for everyone. I listen to about 25-30 different shows on a regular basis including most of the following. Looking for some travel inspiration and tips or just something to pass the time? Check these out!

1) Zero to Travel Podcast

The Zero to Travel Podcast is a wonderful place to start for aspiring travelers looking for ideas and inspiration. In it, Jason Moore interviews a ton of travelers to explore budget travel and different methods of becoming location independent. You can also glean information and ideas for trips. Just be careful to not get burnt out by listening to too many episodes.

2) The Amateur Travel Podcast

This podcast published by Chris Christensen is perfect if you’re looking to take one or two trips a year and want to get the most out of your destinations. The Amateur Travel Podcast probably won’t become a podcast you listen to regularly for entertainment, but it’s great for researching a location or gauging interest in a trip you’re considering that Chris has discussed.

3-4) Lore and Haunted Places podcasts.

Both of these shows are technically separate from travel, but I always find myself hoping to visit all the locations involved. Anyone interested in mysteries, ghosts, hauntings, dark tourism, monsters, etc. should try these podcasts. They may give you some insight on superstitions and history of places you would like to visit or inspire you to travel to see these haunted or mysterious destinations. Plus, they deliver enthralling narratives, especially Lore which is produced by professional novelist Aaron Mahnke.

5) Indie Travel Podcast

This one is entertaining, inspirational, and helpful for planning any future trips to the same places. Craig and Linda Martin are a dynamic husband and wife team who share their adventures and pragmatic travel tips to get you exploring too.

6) Outside Podcast

Outside Podcast by Outside Magazine has a couple of different series that podcast lovers should capitalize on. They began with the Science of Survival series where tales of harrowing escapes from impending death will keep you on the edge of your seat. Then they released the Outside Interview which is, well, obviously an interview format show featuring insane adventurers. Dispatches cover just about anything in the world of Outside. These shows consolidated onto one feed will bring a little excitement into your morning commute or your rainy day in the office.

7) Extra Pack of Peanuts Travel Podcast

Ever wanted to know how to travel for cheap and get more trips for less money? This podcast by Travis Sherry will tell you how and captivate your attention at the same time. Travis learned all the intricate ins and outs of traveling via airline miles and reward points, nearly eliminating the biggest travel expense of all: plane tickets. By flying virtually for free, he opened the world up for his family and him.

8) The Dirtbag Diaries

Produced by a company called Duct Tape Then Beer, this incredible show has been in my library since I first got hooked on podcasts. Feature episodes focus on some overarching theme within an adventure story or experience. “The Shorts” episodes offer great, inspiring stories in about 10 to 20 minutes. The Dirtbag Diaries is growing—not surprisingly—and every new team member brings another dimension to the gripping stories they tell. My recommendation: Start at the first episode and work your way to the present. It’s that good.

9) Find Dining Podcast

This podcast by Taste Trekkers is ideal for foodies’ whose primary travel goal is exquisite (or cultural) cuisine. It’s also great for regular travelers just looking for good eats. I don’t listen to episodes one after another for the entertainment, but I think it’s perfect for trip research. Just search for your next travel destination in the show archives and get ready to plan a tasty adventure.

10) Travel with Rick Steves

This is your basic travel and culture podcast. Rick Steves mostly interviews authors on various topics and places they’ve recently written about. This isn’t necessarily a low budget or off the beaten path podcast, but it can be a solid source for ideas, especially as a start. It focuses on food and culture but also hits on the outdoors, community, history, and more. I prefer selectively listening to this show based on where I’m hoping to go much like the Find Dining Podcast. Rick Steves can be a little cheesy, but it’s well worth a listen.

Denali, a Park Like No Other

I can’t fully describe the excitement I felt when the plane began descending, and through the clouds I could make out the distant mountains surrounding Anchorage. I’m getting chills and a sudden craving to return—a powerful magnet drawing me back—just from writing this. We landed sometime around midnight, but the sun was still out, settled just on the horizon line like a tiny, far-off ball crossing a tight rope, refusing to fall and allow darkness to take over.

Five-ish restless hours of attempted airport-bench sleep later we crammed into a taxi headed to the Anchorage Walmart which opened at 6:00 am. 40 lb packs in tow, we located bear spray, a backpacking stove, and fuel—the only things not allowed on the plane or checked baggage. After an initial fear of missing our bus to Denali, we arrived 15 minutes early. Failing to find an open coffee shop, store, or restaurant in the area, we boarded the bus eagerly but sleepily. Another five hours, featuring endless mountain views and broken up only by one stop at a lodge, separated us from Denali National Park and Preserve.

The boys and I stepped off the bus, caught our bearings, and found our way to the park’s backcountry station. We watched the required video on bear safety and environmental stewardship (essentially “Leave no trace”) and then repacked all our food in the park-provided beer cans. Wait. Bear cans. Beers and bears are a bad idea. Packs ready, we almost missed the last shuttle into the backcountry. We hastily bought our tickets and scrambled onto the bus, feeling exhilaration replace our rushed anxiety.

An hour or so and a little park history later, we stepped off our second bus of the day and watched it drive away. Then, turning toward Cathedral Mountain and our backcountry unit, we walked into the sparse brush. Denali has very few developed trails, so most backpacking in the park is through “untouched” wilderness. We hiked for several hours through spongy moss and scattered trees with questionable visibility, yelling “HEY BEAR” most of the way to avoid any grizzly surprises. The trek was tough, especially with 40-50 lbs on our backs, but we eventually came to the Teklanika River and found a way down the small bluffs to its banks. This river would provide a point of reference for the rest of our Alaska adventure.

Crossing a braided stream like the Teklanika can be a challenge, and a frustration. While some braids were shallow and slow, at least three or four were close to knee deep and flowing swiftly. These rapid-filled braids required some teamwork, the three of us crossing in line parallel to the stream. Daniel bore the brunt force upstream to break the current while Peyton and I provided support. There were some sketchy moments when the river threatened to drag us down and pull us into its rush. We didn’t fear serious injury or drowning, but any fall meant we would have to deal with soaked clothes and packs which would make backpacking unbearable. Wet socks and boots that never dried out were bad enough.

We picked a flat and relatively rock-less spot to pitch the tents; then we stepped off a hundred yards downwind to mark our cooking spot. Another hundred yards away we marked a place for food storage. This is all a system taught by the park and by Stephen Herrero’s Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance to keep bears away from the tents. We cooked, ate, put away our food, and hung up wet clothes on scraggly little bushes in a futile attempt to dry them. By the time we went to sleep, it was nearing 1:00 am, and the sky was still bright in early twilight.

Day two in Denali started at about 9:00 am after the best 8 hours of sleep I had on the trip. Freeze-dried breakfast would do for fuel. Thoroughly awoken from the unpleasantness of wet boots, we set out on a day hike up the Teklanika to a distant foothill we planned to climb. I have no words that can truly communicate the sheer majesty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, mystic alpine forests, and winding glacial streams of the Denali backcountry. No trails, no sign of human presence mar the landscape. As I said in an article for Travel Channel about Denali, “No amount of day hikes or manmade hiking trails can compare in wonder to the vast wilderness and profound solitude of the Denali backcountry.”

We experienced this solitude and wonderment along our trek to the distant hill with many river crossings, forest game trails, and abundant signs of wildlife. Boot-sized wolf tracks and bear prints could be found every few hundred yards. The day waxed late when we finally arrived at our destination, so we climbed half the hill, about 600 ft. up, and rested. After the two mile hike back to our campsite, we watched some passing caribou lumber alongside the far stream-bank while eating our supper.

Due to unexpected bus scheduling complications we had to leave the backcountry a day early, so we played tourist on our last full day. We packed up and hiked out to the Teklanika River Bridge where an inbound bus picked us up. We rode to the Eielson Visitor Center to check out some park history and watch a short film about climbing Denali. Sadly, cloud cover obscured the mountain the whole time we were there, but that’s just another reason to go back. From the bus we spotted Dall sheep, moose, caribou, and a huge brown bear who hijacked the road from us for a short stretch.

When, exhausted, we finally arrived back at the park entrance we paid for hot showers and bought a campsite at the nearby developed campground. Then we settled into our tents for a rainy night. I was sad to leave the next day and dreaded the last remaining bus ride back to Anchorage. This was the beginning of the end of the road trip. We were officially homeward bound.