On your travels again? Relax, lean back and close your eyes. There’s a whole world for you to listen to.

Man on grass, listening to a podcast
You're never alone when you're listening to a podcast.

Even though you may be travelling alone, there’s no need to feel lonely – especially if you have a good companion to listen to … A wise companion. A smart companion. A witty companion. A companion that makes you think about big and small issues. Choose the companion you want, and decide whether you want to travel on the airport shuttle together, snuggle down in bed at night, or simply meet up for a cup of coffee. Podcasts open up a whole new world of flexible learning and entertainment. And this is precisely why podcasts have really taken off.

PS: If you don’t know how a podcast works, see the bottom of this page.

As long as you have headphones, you need never travel alone again thanks to podcasts. On your way to the taxi, you can be swept away by the clear voice of Jad Abumrad talking about science and poetry in the Radiolab podcast. While waiting for your flight, call up an episode of Stuff you should know and find out some facts about the Great Wall of China. Can you really see it from the moon? Several thousand feet above the ground, lean back in your seat and feel the hairs on your neck start to rise as you immerse yourself in the first and second instalments of the true crime podcast Serial. Even before the seatbelt signs are switched off, you will have had the time to speculate whether Adnan Syed was innocent or guilty.

For people you spend a lot of time travelling, podcasts are an absolutely brilliant medium – not just for entertainment and relaxation, but also from the perspective of knowledge. The podcast universe is an inexhaustible source of information, language, music, poetry, technology and science. And in contrast to TV shows, for example, you can dip into podcasts any time and anywhere at all. All you need is a device that can play audio files, and if you are going to a place where you cannot stream podcasts directly, you can simply download them in advance. The perfect travelling companion.

We have listed a few of our favourite podcasts below. Which ones do you like best?

1. Serial
  • By: This American Life
  • Genre: True crime/documentary
  • About: In season 1 of the podcast ‘Serial’, we follow journalist Sara Koeng’s own investigation of the murder of Hae Min Lee in Baltimore in 1999, for which her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was sentenced to life in prison. Guilty – or a victim of miscarriage of justice? Listen and decide for yourself.
2. Criminal
  • By: Criminal
  • Genre: True crime/documentary
  • About: Criminal is a podcast about real crime and real people. Each episode introduces a new crime and the person behind it. Could there be a particular reason why they’ve ended up on the wrong side of the law?
3. This American Life
  • By: This American Life
  • Genre: Personal journals
  • About: This is a weekly podcast of the award-winning radio show ‘This American Life’. First-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny and surprising.
4. S-Town
  • By: Serial and This American Life
  • Genre: Society & Culture
  • About: Reporter Brian Reed is contacted by John, a man who hates life in his small hometown in Alabama. John tells him that he has heard a son from a wealthy family bragging about getting away with a murder. The police refuse to do anything about it, so he asks Brian to come and investigate the alleged murder. Yet instead, another person dies, and it is this person’s mysterious life story you get to follow in the podcast.
5. Stuff you should know
  • By: HowStuffWorks.com
  • Genre: Society & Culture
  • About: Can you outrun an alligator in a zig-zag? Why do men have nipples? Join Josh and Chuck as they explore the Stuff You Should Know about everything from alligators to areolae in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
6. The Habitat
  • By: Gimlet
  • Genre: Science & Medicine, Society & Culture
  • About: Prior to NASA’s major expedition to Mars, NASA has conducted a social experiment to see what everyday life might be like for the astronauts, who will live on the red planet for more than a year. The experiment took place on a remote mountain in Hawaii, where they simulated what the conditions expected on Mars. Six people were isolated for a whole year, living and working as astronauts. The podcast contains audio diaries with the “astronauts’” own experiences during the experiment.
7. Pardon the interruption
  • By: ESPN
  • Genre: Sports & Reactions
  • About: Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon face off on the day’s hot topics in the American world of sports – and more.
8. Freakonomics Radio
  • By: Stephen J. Dubner and WNYC
  • Genre: Society & Culture
  • About: In their books Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore ‘the hidden side of everything’, with stories about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama’s boys. The Freakonomics Radio podcast, hosted by Dubner, carries on that tradition with weekly episodes. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, perhaps enraged and definitely surprised.
9. My Dad Wrote A Porno
  • By: Jamie Morton
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Imagine if your dad wrote a porno. Most people would probably try to ignore it. Not Jamie Morton. His dad actually did write an erotic novel and he decided to do a podcast about it with the help of his best mates, James Cooper and BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine.
10. My Favorite Murder
  • By: Exactly Right/Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
  • Genre: Comedy
  • About: Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark recount and discuss some of their favourite murders and listen to hometown crime stories submitted by friends and fans.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio or video file on the internet. All you need to be able to listen to a podcast is a device that can download/play audio files, such as a smartphone or an MP3 player. The podcast phenomenon has actually existed for more than 15 years, and the first Norwegian podcast was aired by NRK P2 in 2005. However, it is in recent years that the phenomenon has achieved an authentic breakthrough.

The vast majority of radio shows today are uploaded as podcasts after transmission, which means that you can listen to the radio precisely when it suits you. In addition, it is becoming increasingly common to prepare separate series especially adapted to the podcast format.

iPhone has its own podcast app that is actually installed in the phone itself, and you can use it to find all kinds of podcasts on the market. If you have an Android phone, you will need to install a podcast app. Open the Google Play app and search for a podcast app that you can download to your phone.