Travel Podcast Reviews

by Ant Stone on March 4, 2010

in Audio,Podcasts

Hands up if you have hearing. OK, now hands up if you own an MP3 player. Hands up if you own a computer. Hands up if you like travel. If both your arms are aching, then you’re the target audience for the following collection of free audio travel podcasts.

I subscribe to them all, because I find the medium to be one of the most exciting, consistent and convenient formats available to today’s traveller. I listen to podcasts over breakfast, while on the bus, and an OCD dictates I listen to one to fall asleep.


I hasten to add, not purely on the subject of travel. I listen to podcasts about sport, current affairs, technology and comedy, as well as some slightly more obscure and offbeat shows. As some of you know, I’ve been known to try my hand at producing my own podcasts, and so I know first-hand how much time and effort goes into producing, editing and marketing a show.

It is incredibly tough. Apple’s iTunes Store provides an extremely narrow window for new travel podcasters to be heard, often pitting them head-to-head with the likes of ubiquitous Disneyland resort podcasts, lowly celebs or established online travel brands. If you want to be a successful podcaster, you need to be dedicated.

Unless you have a sizeable budget you’re going to have to become a designer, a producer, an articulate communicator, a marketeer, a sound engineer and a technophile. It’s like blogging on speed. Because lest we forget, for every episode you produce, you’ll need an accompanying post. You’ll need independent RSS feeds, a unique SMO (Social Media Optimization) approach and a progressive attitude.

So it’s all credit to those that dangle below this sentence, and despite whether I agree that their show is all they hoped it to be — I applaud their effort, for braving the harsh plains of new media, to bring me my daily dose of audio.

Travel Podcast Reviews

This Week in Travel PodcastThis Week in Travel
Launched: August 2009
Frequency: Weekly
Approx Length and Size: 1 hour; 40mb
Presumed Target Audience: 40+ Tech-Savvy Americans
In Fifty Words: The Elders of online #travel; Chris, Jen and Gary invite a guest to discuss current topics. It’s opinionated, and hearing them type while they talk is irritating. Imagine you’re seven and earwigging on your parents conversation — mostly uninteresting, but for some reason you keep listening, and eventually learn something new.
Rating: 5/10
Visit this Podcast’s Website or Subscribe to this Podcast

The Indie Travel PodcastThe Indie Travel Podcast
Launched: Early 2007
Frequency: Weekly
Approx Length and Size: 20 mins; 9mb
Presumed Target Audience: <35 Budget Travellers
In Fifty Words: A useful resource, discussing a diverse range of topics. Strong Kiwi accents resound, and they can come across slightly lovey-dovey. Above all, they succeed as an informed voice for today’s budget travellers, and they’re constantly improving. Topics vary from on-the-road experience to interesting interviews.
Rating: 7/10
Visit this Podcast’s Website or Subscribe to this Podcast

BBC Excess Baggage Travel PodcastExcess Baggage
Launched: February 2009
Frequency: Weekly
Approx Length and Size: 28 minutes; 13mb
Presumed Target Audience: 30+ Armchair travellers
In Fifty Words: An enthusing travel podcast from BBC Radio 4, presented by Sandi Toksvig or John McCarthy. Often featuring extraordinary travellers’ tales and hot travel topics, in the entirely approachable BBC style. Authors of travel books are regularly interviewed, as well specialists in various fields. An altogether accessible, and educational travel podcast.
Rating: 8/10
Visit this Podcast’s Website or Subscribe to this Podcast

PRI's The World with Lonely Planet Travel PodcastPRI’s The World: Talking Travel with Lonely Planet
Launched: December 2009
Frequency: Biweekly
Approx Length and Size: 18 mins; 8mb
Presumed Target Audience: 25+ Culturally Aware
In Fifty Words: Short and sweetened with insight. Presented by Clark Boyd and usually featuring two of Lonely Planet’s well-informed authors, Robert Reid and Tom Hall. They mostly discuss the unique travel aspects of current news headlines. The combination of UK and US personas results in an amiable, down to earth and educational show.
Rating: 8/10
Visit this Podcast’s Website or Subscribe to this Podcast

Amateur Traveler PodcastAmateur Traveler Podcast
Launched: July 2005
Frequency: Weekly (Sunday)
Approx Length and Size: 30 minutes
Presumed Target Audience: 25+ Experienced and Aspiring Travellers
In Fifty Words: Chris Christensen presents a kindly, ‘Dad in the Shed’ style show. A Californian internet-junky, Chris succeeds in delivering a well-structured show which features an unpredictable and exciting range of destination podcasts, by interviewing experienced travellers. Sometimes know-it-all, with some annoying vocal ticks (“uh huh”, “interesting”) but overall, enlightening and informative.
Rating: 8/10
Visit this Podcast’s Website or Subscribe to this Podcast

Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase Travel PodcastBetty in the Sky with a Suitcase
Launched: August 2005
Frequency: Sporadic
Approx Length and Size: 30 minutes; 30mb
Presumed Target Audience: The Living Dead or the Airline industry.
In Fifty Words: Presented by veteran air attendent, ‘Betty’ (a pseudonym) this travel podcast is excruciating. I’m pretty sure she’s literally high. Betty loves to laugh at her own non-jokes, and I truly pity those who have to fly with her. Her saving graces, are her irregular and interesting stories, from a unique perspective.
Rating: 3/10
Visit this Podcast’s Website or Subscribe to this Podcast

Heather on her Travels PodcastHeather on her Travels
Launched: October 2009
Frequency: Sporadic
Approx Length and Size: 30 minutes; 16mb
Presumed Target Audience: 30+ Women
In Fifty Words: This podcast fits into the ‘glass of vino on the terrace’ genre. A new production with an articulate and honest approach from Englishwoman, Heather. As an easy-listening, informative programme it’s quite BBC and possibly a bit long-winded for the current format, but definitely one to keep your ear out for.
Rating: 6/10
Visit this Podcast’s Website or Subscribe to this Podcast

Travel Rants PodcastTravel Rants Podcast
Launched: December 2009
Frequency: Sporadic
Approx Length and Size: 6 minutes; 5.5mb
Presumed Target Audience: B2B, or Savvy 25+. Industry Insiders.
In Fifty Words: Cheery consumer blogger, Darren Cronian presents a swift, thought-provoking podcast providing a vocal extension to the Travel Rants blog, rather than a stand alone product. His voice can be distracting — possibly trying to iron out his friendly Yorkshire accent, to appeal to a global audience. A worthy, on-topic first foray.
Rating: 6/10
Visit this Podcast’s Website or Subscribe to this Podcast

Have I missed one? Do you have an opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris (Amateur Traveler) March 4, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I am only “sometimes” a know-it-all? I must be slipping :-)

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Craig March 5, 2010 at 1:22 am

Thanks for the reviews, Ant. There’s a new one in there for me too.

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Ant March 5, 2010 at 2:55 am

@Chris: I’d rather you were a know-it-all than a thinks-he-knows-it-all.

@Craig: You’re welcome. Safe travels through South America. What an impacting start to the journey with the Chilean earthquake. I’m glad you’re all OK.

Reply

Darren Cronian March 5, 2010 at 10:51 am

A Travel Rants podcast translation service will be available soon! ;)

The Yorkshire accent is probably the reason why I have stuck with text only for so long. I think a ranty podcast is a good addition to the blog, and at the moment I am just looking at ways of improving it.

I don’t want to send people to sleep with my sexy Yorkshire accent (ahem) but happy for any feedback and thank you for the mention since I have only put out two episodes so far.

I’ll be trying to stick to one episode a month.

Darren
.-= Darren Cronian´s last blog ..Bookmark my travel consumer guides =-.

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Ant March 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm

@Darren. As an Englishman, whose parents are both from Yorkshire, I’d welcome you to unleash it. It’s a friendly accent, as oppose to some other regional English accents. It promotes trust, and honesty.

The beauty of podcasts, is that they step away from the BBC language of old. Just scanning the top podcasts in the iTunes Store (UK) shows how popular regional accents are with listeners: Rickey Gervais, Dave Gorman, Chris Moyles and lest we forget, Jonathan Woss.

Although, to be fair — a lot of the others do seem to be the old school of the BBC.
.-= Ant´s last blog ..Travel Podcast Reviews =-.

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Alex Lee June 3, 2010 at 3:54 am

Haven’t tried anything like that yet, but i might suggest for everyone to have little faith

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Jason July 9, 2010 at 1:18 am

umm podcasts..would have been a good idea to look for something regarding the Inca trail in Peru before I took it last year..it’s very good and scenic but there are actually better ones like lares trek which aren’t so frequented. the planners I used , http://www.closerperu.com , actually told me to take a different one because at the time of the year I went trail was busiest…but all and all it was a good trip… I recommend that agency if anyone is going there any time soon, really good prices and good service.

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derek mcahon July 23, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Excellent piece. I’m a big fan of Talking Travel.

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Ant July 23, 2010 at 8:05 pm

@Derek: Thanks for your comment. I agree. It gets better and better. Five months on, I still highly recommend that travel podcast. The thing I like about it compared to some others, is its length. It doesn’t ramble on, like some podcasts seem to.

Despite the many podcasts out there, I think it’s still early days for podcasting as we’ll come to know it, and I believe there is a massive gap in on the platform for short, sharp podcasts.

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Karen Bryan November 16, 2010 at 8:49 pm

I recently started doing regular 5 minute podcasts on audioboo which summarise recent Europe a la Carte blog posts, calling them European Travel Roundups:
http://audioboo.fm/users/49919/boos.atom

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Ant Stone November 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Thanks Karen, I’ve been listening. I’m planning a new podcast review soon.

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David Brodie March 21, 2013 at 7:09 am

Hi Ant – after a one year hiatus I have started up my travel podcast again at http://www.travelin10.com – hope you come check it out sometime – great site!

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