Maverick Life


Travel podcasts to reignite the travel bug: Our weekly selection

Travel podcasts to reignite the travel bug: Our weekly selection

As the world starts to open up again, ‘Escape Routes’, ‘The Travel Diaries’ and ‘The First Mile’ are podcasts that invite you to dust off your passport and start thinking about where to go next.

What places are on your travel bucket list? These three shows are all about travel, escape and new experiences, as they invite the listener along for the ride.

Escape Routes

  • Format: Podcast series
  • Year: Since 2020
  • Listen on: Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Escape Routes by Condé Nast Traveller is a triumph of print and digital media venturing into the podcast space and breathing new life into old stories for a new audience.

With borders closed and people locked down in their homes, what is a travel publication to do? Make a podcast, of course.

The show, like many good ideas from the past two years, was born from the Covid-19 pandemic, and more specifically, the restrictions that were put on travel.

The episodes are all stories that have featured in Condé Nast Traveller, read aloud by the journalists who wrote them, and each featuring a new destination. This also makes each episode completely different from the one before it, each expressing the unique voice, personality and style of the writers.

Listening to the writers relive their experiences is intimate and inviting, making the audience feel as though they too are whizzing over snow in Finland or examining ruins in Greece’s hot sun.

The beauty of read-aloud pieces, which are already stunning examples of travel writing, is that the imagery is spectacular and gripping from beginning to end. The show celebrates exploration, new experiences and the wonder of our planet, and as one works through the episodes, the listener is left with a feeling of wanderlust and a yearning for travel.

It is hard to pick a favourite, and each episode leaves you adding a new destination to your bucket list.


The Travel Diaries

  • Format: Podcast series
  • Year: Since 2019
  • Listen on: Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

The Travel Diaries is a beloved show in travel podcast circles. It’s hosted by travel journalist Holly Rubenstein, whose personal travel experiences combined with a warm, in-depth interview style awaken the listener’s curiosity about the world beyond.

Rubenstein is joined by some notable and interesting guests, including Sir Richard Branson, Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, chef Heston Blumenthal and actor Stanley Tucci. These episodes are divided into travel “chapters” of the guests’ lives, such as their earliest travel memory, their hidden-gem destinations and what’s at the very top of their own travel bucket lists.

We started listening with an episode featuring Jessica Nabongo, who claims to be the first black woman to visit every country in the world. Having travelled many of those countries alone, her story is a fresh insight into solo, female travel and her vivid memories of each destination is sure to give the listener itchy feet.

Scattered in between these narratives are destination-focused episodes, and while the guest-centred episodes take the listener around the world, these special episodes take the time to showcase the beauty of one place. They are in-depth listens that feature many voices, from local experts to those who have travelled there as tourists, and are rich with history and stories. For anyone who is researching a specific destination, these are a wonderful way to experience a new place through audio.


The First Mile

  • Format: Podcast series
  • Year: 2020
  • Listen on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts and The First Mile’s website.

The First Mile is a thought-provoking listen that focuses less on destinations and more on people who travel, the ethics of tourism and the nuance and complexity that exists in the travel space.

The hosts, travel writers and adventurers Ash Bhardwaj and Pip Stewart, invite their guests to share their own journeys and how these have shaped the way they look at the world.

Through these compelling conversations the podcast opens up discussions on travel that often get missed underneath the experiences of new places, people and food.

We started with an episode featuring explorer Leon McCarron, who has travelled more than 1,000km and tens of thousands by bike. He has a unique perspective on adventuring, and advocates for slow travel over fast-paced, commercial, in-and-out trips. His focus is on the people and how the destinations are built on their stories. McCarron is also extremely knowledgeable about each place he visits, saying that knowing the history of a space before you arrive adds to your understanding and how you experience the journey.

Interspersed with these interviews are travel-narrative dispatches that are made up of audio clips from the hosts’ own travels, which are interesting insights into the world of a professional traveller. DM/ML


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