Best Podcasts for Long Plane Rides

Or car rides, or train rides, or boat rides.

The newspaper, the Walkman, the MP3 player, and the classic “I Spy” are all noble predecessors to what is arguably the most entertaining and popular time passer of today; the podcast. Podcasts are essentially radio without the songs. The most entertaining people get together and share meaningful conversation, supported by a team of editors who spare the audience of the occasional awkward pause or host slip up. Apple Podcasts is the most popular place to listen, with the opportunity to listen on a web browser or using the app. However, if you are partial to android you are not out of luck. There are many options available if you would like to listen on a non-Apple device. Try Stitcher, Castbox, or my personal favorite – Google Podcasts. With each option you can search for a specific podcast or browse top podcasts, subscribe to your favorites so they appear on your home screen, and download individual episodes so that they are available for your listening pleasure if you are offline (for example: on an airplane). Because not everyone’s tastes are alike, below is a list of some of my favorites, some which are on my list to try, and some which have been recommended by friends.

3 That I Love

Stuff You Should Know– Hosted by the quirky, charming, and hilarious Josh and Chuck, Stuff You Should Know was created by howstuffworks.com. Remember that website? In 45-60 minute episodes you will learn the nitty gritty details about all kinds of subjects. Did you know that elephants elect a new matriarch after the death of their previous matriarch? Did you know that the River Themes in London used to produce a stench so prominent it could be smelled for miles around? Random historical facts, scientific anomalies, and current events are all discussed. Episodes come out once every few days. Don’t have a lot of time? Try a 10-15 minute “Short Stuff” episode instead.

Office Ladies– Can there really be too much of “The Office?” Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey don’t think so. Years after the final episode of this renowned series, these two have become fans of their own show. The actors who played Pam and Angela are dedicating one hour-long podcast episodes to each episode of the show – in order! They share their fast facts, tidbits, and memories of the making of each episode. Plus, they are starting to have guests! The world wanted more Office and Jenna and Angela are giving the world more Office. So far, episodes are about 50 minutes long.

The Daily– The New York Times hosts a daily 25-30 minute podcast which airs so early in the day you can even listen on your morning commute. Interviews, background music, and a concise yet informative script all combine to create an intriguing, inviting, and impartial news report. There is a focus on one major subject plus a brief summary of other important items at the end entitled “here’s what else you need to know today.” This podcast airs 5 times weekly.

3 That I Hope To Love

Travel with Rick Steves– Of course a travel podcast must be included! If you are not on the road, then naturally you are searching for your next destination. Let the pleasant and kind Rick Steves help- 52 minutes at a time. Through expert guests or resident guests along with a dive into history, Rick attempts to bring passion for exploration and understanding to listeners once weekly.

Duolingo Spanish or French Podcast- Learning another language can be essential for travelers and truly helps you to become a global citizen. Finally there is a way to practice your language skills simply by listening. Duolingo is a popular language-learning app that broke into the podcast world. Listen to short, simple narrations intertwined with English descriptions in 20-25 minute sessions aimed to help intermediate language speakers sharpen their skills once per week.

TED Talks Daily– Remember TED Talks? Now it is easier than ever to engulf yourself in your daily dose of thrilling education. This podcast gives listeners the audio to one TED Talk each day, usually ranging from 10-20 minutes. Perfect timing for an afternoon walk or cab ride.

3 My Friends Love

Crime Junkie– Usually 30-60 minutes, Crime Junkie shares true stories about crimes that have actually happened. Scenes are set by title labels such as MURDERED, MISSING, SERIAL KILLER, and CAPTURED, and are made raw from a lack of dramatic reenactments. Eerie music and captivating storytellers enchant listeners in this weekly show.

The Shrink Next Door– This kind of podcast is in essence a book-on-tape. With an introduction followed by eight 30-45 minute episodes, The Shrink Next Door is a fictional story about a man from the Hamptons who thinks he knows his neighbor until the neighbor mysteriously disappears. This podcast was created by Wondery, the creator of several other popular podcasts of a similar book-on-tape nature.

The Thing About Pam– NBC created this podcast years after Dateline drew people to the story. This 6-episode series more deeply investigates this true story full of unpredictable twists and turns that make up the murder of Betsy Faria at the end of 2011. Who killed her?

Podcasts can truly be the perfect companion on your travels. Hopefully one of the above suggestions will spark your interest and allow for smoother, and more entertaining, sailing on your next adventure. Enjoy!

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Written by Carol Gabbert, Van Zile Travel

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