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Travel Tales From the #nerdbirds

Travel Tales From the #nerdbirds

By #nerdbirds
The #nerdbirds met on a Virgin America final flight in 2018, and believe the journey is just as fun as the destination. They discuss all aspects of the travel experience, with a focus on design, sustainability, and destination stories.
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West Coast I-5/101 Roadtripping: Northern California (#113)
Join #nerdbirds Rachel & Kai as they talk about hidden gems in Northern California as the final part of a series guide on a road trip from Seattle down to the SF Bay Area. Rocky rough coasts, volcanic byways or lush redwood forests? It's all in your reach in Northern California!
July 31, 2021
Triathlons and Tea: Sports Travel Stories Around the World (#112)
With the start of the Olympics, #nerdbirds Brendan, David, and Rachel reminisce about traveling for sporting events around the world. From triathlons in Japan where participants break mid-event to BBQ to stopping for elevenses on the hiking trail in England, they ponder the idea of the American need to cross the finish line first vs. other cultures that focus more on the journey. They also share thoughts on virtual fitness journeys and tips for packing sports equipment.
July 24, 2021
Destination Series: First Time in New York City (#111)
#nerdbirds Charlie and Rachel talk about their first memories of New York City in the late 90s/early 2000s -- interspersed with a 2019 trip report with David and Sebastian to visit the TWA Hotel preview at the new World Trade Center. They also share advice for first-time travelers to the city that truly never sleeps, including things to do if the city feels overwhelming.
July 17, 2021
Pacific NW Roadtripping: Seattle South to Oregon (#110)
Join #nerdbirds Kai & Rachel as they chat about roadtripping down I-5 from Seattle and through the state of Oregon - Mt. St. Helens, the other Vancouver, Portland, Eugene, Junction City, Grants Pass, Medford -- along with stops along the Oregon Coast.
July 10, 2021
Boom! The Glamour of Supersonic Flight (#109)
Time for a sonic boom! #nerdbird Rachel has her hands full with both Brendan and Sebastian's witty banter, from Sebastian reminiscing about his flight on the famous Concorde to Brendan sharing thoughts on design in the Jet Set era. They also discuss the book Supersonic: The Design and Lifestyle of the Concorde and ponder Boom Supersonic's vision of a flight to anywhere in the world in 4 hours or less.
July 4, 2021
How do Different Cultures Celebrate Summer? (#108)
#nerdbird co-host Kai found himself missing the Finnish midsummer holiday, so Rachel thought it would be fitting to talk about global celebrations in the summer and how Americans make them their own, from Scandinavian Days in Oregon to Japanese Obon Festivals in California.
June 27, 2021
From Pizza to BBQ: The Random 50 States Challenge, Part 2 (#107)
After this week's planned episode encountered technical difficulties, #nerdbird Rachel rounds up Charlie and Sebastian to chat about anything, starting with things to see in Antarctica. They eventually decided to go for Round Two of the 50 States Challenge, and talked about travels (and deep-dish pizza and BBQ) in Illinois, Arizona, Tennessee, New  Mexico, South Dakota, and North Carolina.
June 20, 2021
Twilight, Amazon Pickup Points & Ferries, Oh My! (#106)
#nerdbirds Kai & Rachel continue their discussions about the great state of Washington, going a bit further afield from the Seattle metro area to the north and west. Into the northern Puget Sound islands, Bellingham, the exclave of Point Roberts and the majestic Olympic Peninsula. Hear about what's it's really like to live in the tiny town of Forks, thrust into the popular spotlight thanks to the Twilight series (which the author had never been to before writing the books!). And how geography gives you wild swings in just how much rainfall there is in pretty short distances...
June 12, 2021
Destination Series: Seattle (#105)
#nerdbirds Rachel & Kai chat about the Emerald City and all there is to do around it. Listen in for the best ice cream shops, bookstores in Seattle, as well as the best gardens, beaches, and museums in the Seattle metro region.
June 5, 2021
Adventures at the Airport Information Desk (#104)
What happens when #nerdbirds Sebastian and Rachel shadow an airport information desk? All kinds of amusing moments, which leads them to thinking about non-frequent travelers and how to best navigate confusing airport environments.
May 29, 2021
No Boring Places: The Random 50 States Challenge, Part 1 (#103)
What do South Carolina, Colorado, North Dakota, Alaska, and Nevada have in common? In #nerdbirdland, they were the results of Kai spinning a wheel and Rachel having to think about experiences in each state. From Charlie's recent experience in Charleston to flying on a plane with skis in Alaska, Rachel points out that any place can be interesting with the right mindset.
May 23, 2021
Travel Tunes: How Music Impacts our Journey (#102)
#nerdbirds Brendan & Kai muse on how music has set the stage for travel and how it heightens, supports & cements the experiences we have when we travel. Hear how Kai fell in love with his all-time favorite music artist on a flight, and how Brendan has playlists to match phases of flight.
May 17, 2021
Destination Series: Hawaii Like a Local (#93)
Search for "Hawaii like a local" and you'll find dozens of articles claiming what to do to have an authentic Hawaiian travel experience. #nerdbird Rachel quizzes Oahu native Sebastian on these topics to get the real scoop.
May 8, 2021
Post-Vaccination Travel Tales (#101)
#nerdbirds Brendan and Rachel chat about dipping their toes into the travel world post-vaccination, from a Delta First Class flight to an encounter with influencers in Big Sur.
May 1, 2021
Keeping it 100 with a #nerdbirds Jeopardy Showdown! (#100)
Our 100th episode coincides with the 3rd anniversary of the final flight of Virgin America -- where our podcast crew met! #nerdbirds Brendan, Charlie, David, Sebastian, and Pilot Sarah play a custom Jeopardy-like game with travel trivia created by Kai and Rachel. Explore the geographical origins of cheesecake and other popular foods, find out just how much cheese and BBQ Brendan and Sebastian can pack into a carryon suitcase, and learn that in the end, it's all just about the Kit-Kats. Head over to to view the game board and test your own knowledge of all things travel, aviation...and food :)
April 24, 2021
Jet Lag, Healthy Travel, and The Joys of Pudin Hara (#99)
What do jet lag, travel health insurance, and Pudin Hara have in common? Find out as Rachel quizzes fellow #nerdbirds Charlie and David on their travel safety know-how.
April 21, 2021
Traveling with a Purpose: The Future of Travel, Part 3 (#98)
In this final episode of Travel from a Futurist Perspective, #nerdbirds Kai and Rachel are challenged to think about past travel patterns, current innovations in the travel world, and things they could do to make a difference. They discuss innovation in areas from airplanes to cruise ships, share advice for preparing the everyday traveler for the near future of travel, and ponder the purpose of this podcast.
April 17, 2021
The Futurist's Guide to Travel, Part 2 (#97)
In Part 2, #nerdbirds Rachel & Kai look at selected pain points in the travel journey using futurist tools and flip them on their head, starting the thought process about how they might look in the future - but not before talking about the current state of travel a little more first!
April 8, 2021
The Futurist's Guide to Travel, Part 1 (#96)
It's been 364 days since we aired Episode 1! How has the travel industry changed, and what do these changes bode for the future? In Part 1, #nerdbirds Rachel and Kai look at travel thru the lens of a futurist, citing stories and examples from four patterns of change: growth, collapse, constraint, and transform.
March 31, 2021
How to Grow From Stressful Travel Moments (#95)
In Tibet, travel is about being "uncertain about everything" to grow your mindset. #nerdbirds Kai and Rachel ponder this statement through stories of their own uncomfortable travel moments, and consider how personal growth happens using the Japanese concepts of kensho (incremental growth over time) and satori (mindblowing, life-changing, aha! moments).
March 24, 2021
California Like a Local: Tips, Sights & Stereotypes (#94)
What are the best places to see, experience and eat in California? Join born & raised California #nerdbirds Kai & Charlie, along with long-term California resident #nerdbird Rachel as they talk about the Golden State, its natural beauty, and food -- and bust some stereotypes along the way!
March 14, 2021
What if Business Travel Never Comes Back? (#92)
Why do people travel for business, and what does the future of business travel look post-pandemic? Will people go back to the same old thing, or will it take a different tack? #nerdbirds Rachel and Kai chat about everything from quality over quantity, how long it's been since they've been on a plane, and how sustainability, digital nomadism, and the widespread adoption of remote work could change how the travel industry looks at business travel going forward.
March 6, 2021
Navigating the Culture of Japan: A Video Podcast (#91)
Watch this episode at -- #nerdbirds Brendan and Rachel continue from their First Time in Japan episode to share tales and advice on navigating a country with social norms that are the complete opposite of the USA.
February 27, 2021
Americans and Their Quirky Habits: Culture Zaps in Reverse (#90)
Ice in drinks. Winning is the only thing. Perfectly straight teeth. #nerdbirds Rachel and Kai boomerang from last week’s Culture Zaps to look at Americans and their charming, quirky, and maddening habits.
February 21, 2021
Culture Zaps: Ubuntu, Floor Zero, & Goats On Buses (#89)
#nerdbirds Rachel & Kai riff on culture shocks & culture zaps - that experience we all have when we run into something that is different from how we're used to. They talk about experiences near and far, and how these cultural differences help us see the world differently.
February 13, 2021
Dishing on Airline Dishware: A Video Podcast (#88)
This episode is best viewed on our website! Go to Although barely registering a thought among most travelers, many airlines spend a great deal of detail into the very vessels in which food, drink, and other comforts are provided onboard.#nerdbirds David, Kai, and Rachel debut the first video podcast with a show-and-tell of individual collections and experiences, highlighting many unique designs & logos from around the world.
February 7, 2021
Should Your Bucket List Care About Sustainability? (#87)
Talk about sustainability is all the rage, but will pent-up travel demand push sustainability to the wayside when the pandemic ends? #nerdbirds Kai & Rachel chat about the issue facing sustainability right now – who really cares? They also chat about a surprising find that connects our motivations for travel to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - safety, relationships, prestige, or even self-actualization - and whether it's possible for people to travel to their own beat given the pressures of social media.
January 31, 2021
Destination Recap: Nordic Culture (#86)
In the last of three introductory parts, #nerdbirds Rachel & Kai revisit, discuss & introduce the Destination Series episode surrounding Nordic culture, a follow-up to an episode recommending things to do and place sto see across the Nordic countries. In the flashback, #nerdbirds Jeremy, Rachel & Kai all discuss Nordic culture, their values and norms, and how to understand and respect a culture to really get the most out of travel.
January 23, 2021
Design Recap: Can Anyone Make Airports Fun? (#85)
In the second of a third-part recap of upcoming podcast themes, #nerdbirds Kai and Rachel revisit one of the first Design Series episodes that looked at what makes an airport an enjoyable experiences. This episode featured David, Jeremy, and Rachel exploring design features at Everett Paine Field (Washington), Zurich (Switzerland), Singapore, and Portland (Oregon) -- and considered how the hotel/hospitality experience could factor into airport design.
January 20, 2021
Sustainability Recap: Travel and the Triple Bottom Line (#84)
We're finishing this flashback series with a look at our three themes going forward: Sustainable & Regenerative Travel, Design, and Destinations from a Traveler Perspective. In this May 2020 episode, we start to explore the idea of sustainability: Before the pandemic, the global airline industry was facing a race to the bottom for employee wages and customer experience. #nerdbirds Rachel, Jeremy, and Kai discuss the triple bottom line - people, planet, and profit - and consider this new metric in the post-COVID-19 travel industry.
January 16, 2021
Flashback: Conversations with a Pilot (#83)
Pilot Sarah joins the #nerdbirds crew starting with this July 2020 episode. She has been a flight instructor and startup, corporate, cargo, and commercial pilot. Through lightning rounds and submitted questions, learn about Sarah's favorite airports, where to sit on the plane when she's not flying one, and her offer to help Harrison Ford brush up on his flight skills :)
January 13, 2021
Flashback: Dashes, Delays, & Downtime at the Airport (#82)
In this July 2020 flashback, #nerdbirds Charlie, Jeremy, and Rachel and listener Allen share tips on navigating cancelled, delayed,  and missed flights through a variety of stories from around the world.
January 10, 2021
Flashback: Vacation Mode: Integrator or Separator? (#81)
In this flashback episode from June 2020, #nerdbirds Rachel, Jeremy & Brendan discuss two ways people vacation, either working in some work while on vacation or drawing a line in the sand and completely disconnecting.  They talk about how COVID-19 blurred the lines between work and play, and what vacations might be like post-pandemic.
January 6, 2021
Flashback: Airline Celebrations (#80)
#nerdbirds Rachel & Kai reminisce on airline celebrations as they introduce the flashback to episode 8 which recorded all the way back in April 2020 with #nerdbirds Rachel, Jeremy & Eric. Airline celebrations take many forms, including route inaugurals, captain's final flights or, as in the case of Virgin America flight VX1948, the final flight for an airline before they cease to exist. Listen in as they talk about all of them and more - sometimes a party in the sky happens when you least expect it!
January 6, 2021
Flashback: How Do Airports Work? (#79)
With so many episodes and new viewers, we're bringing back classic moments during the holiday break. How Airports Work (#10) featured #nerdbirds sharing their experiences and surprises from working and volunteering at airports. Co-hosts Kai and Rachel introduce the episode with an update of airport life since the episode first aired.
December 30, 2020
A Pilot and a Frequent Flyer Reflect on 2020 (#78)
Last-minute flight cancellations, hazmat suits, and a turkey dry rub tribute to a COVID victim: #nerdbird Sebastian and Pilot Sarah answer questions on 2020 travel dreams, the subsequent reality of the year, and their hopes for 2021 -- including designing RVs to resemble First Class airplane cabins and turning a gigantic Airbus A380 into a museum/home.
December 27, 2020
What's Happened Since "Hotels, Hostels, or Homestays?" (#77)
It was supposed to be simple this holiday season: preview and rerun classic episodes, starting with an April 2020 debate of hotels, hostels, and homestays (Airbnb, Couchsurfing). But then #nerdbirds Kai and Rachel started to wonder what's happened in these industries since the pandemic started, and poof! A new episode emerges instead, with news updates and even some travel coping tips for introverts. The original episode that inspired this episode is here, or scroll back to Season 1, April 21 wherever you listen to podcasts. Be sure to check out the episode links at
December 23, 2020
'Tis the Season for Mileage Run...Stories (#76)
In years past, late December would find frequent travelers making those final desperate flights and hotel stays to keep elite status. Whether flying to Boston for lunch or Atlanta for dinner, dragging a spouse from New York to New Zealand, or walking less than a mile for a hotel staycation, #nerdbirds Charlie and Rachel share their adventures, observations, and thoughts on airline, hotel, and car status programs.
December 19, 2020
Electric Planes, Britain’s Duty-Freexit & Ho-Ho-Home for the Holidays (#75)
In the final episode of season three, #nerdbirds Jeremy and Kai discuss United's ambitious commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050, a game-changing solar-powered automobile coming out in 2021, and the troubling end of duty-free shopping in the UK. In part two, they provide even more virtual travel opportunities, just in time for the holidays.
December 16, 2020
20 Questions With a Gate Agent (#74)
Rachel asks her friends to come up with questions for a gate agent -- which conveniently, #nerdbird Kai was for two different airlines -- and found there were exactly 20, ranging from the universal "how do I get an upgrade" to the best and worst types of travelers. Listen in as they discuss all the strange, wacky, and fun moments of getting people, baggage, and cargo on board for an on-time departure.
December 13, 2020
Global Connectedness: Goods Flow While People Stay Home? (#73)
In this week's travel news roundup, #nerdbirds Jeremy and Kai discuss special send-off celebrations for the beloved Boeing 747, the end of the "emotional support animal" loophole, and British uncertainty about post-Brexit travel to and within the European Union. In part two, they dive into the DHL/NYU Stern "Global Connectedness Index" and talk about how a decline in travel doesn't necessarily mean the decline of globalization.
December 9, 2020
Destination Series: Palm Springs & The Coachella Valley (#72)
The Palm Springs region has become an even hotter destination in recent years, with mid-century modern vibes, music festivals, and the one-of-a-kind Joshua Tree National Park. #nerdbirds David and Rachel share stories of arriving in the Coachella Valley by road and air -- including encounters with dinosaurs, wildflowers, and windmills -- along with quirky places discovered on their various trips. Be sure to check out their photos and links on
December 5, 2020
The Art of the Stopover & "Half Tourism" (#71)
In this slower news week, #nerdbirds Kai and Jeremy discuss Delta's Thanksgiving performance meltdown, train connections to Walt Disney World in Florida, and Emirates' enticing "Dubai Connect" program which will pay for your stopover in the City of Gold. Afterwards, they take a dive into the realities of work-from-anywhere and "half-tourism," but does it live up to the hype?
December 2, 2020
Design Series: Fashion in Flight Through the Years (#70)
From military styles to porange dresses and everything in between, #nerdbirds Brendan and Rachel review the amazing Fashion in Flight catalog, which was an exhibit at the San Francisco airport in 2016. Follow along with the digital edition as they discuss the evolution of a flight attendant's uniform from the 1930s to the 2010s, including the military-inspired origins to the bold, colorful Space Age, the tension between safety and high-end fashion, and their favorite (and not-so-favorite) designs from each era.
November 28, 2020
How to Study Abroad in a Pandemic (#69)
#nerdbirds Kai and Jeremy discuss the pending merger between Korean Air and Asiana, the return of the Boeing 737 MAX, and the futuristic hyperloop transportation concept. In part two, they take a deep dive into study abroad: past, (virtual) present, and (hybrid) future.
November 25, 2020
Penguins, Racecars, and Eyeballs: The World of Shipping by Air (#68)
I’ll take some penguins with my holiday packages for $100, Alex! #nerdbird Rachel chats with Pilot Sarah about the strange and wonderful things that fly in the belly of a plane — or, in the case of cargo planes, the entire plane — and arrive at the cargo areas of an airport. Sarah also answers questions about crew sleeping on long flights, where your luggage and pets go on a plane, and the difference between a cockpit and flight deck.
November 22, 2020
Travel From Your Couch vs. Long-term Workcations (#67)
In this week's news roundup, #nerdbirds Kai and Jeremy dive into virtual tourism. From Christmas markets to the arts to destination-specific experiences, there's a virtual tourist attraction for everyone! Afterwards, they'll take a look at how travelers are taking longer trips than ever before, and how accommodations are trying to support long-term workcations.
November 18, 2020
FOMO vs. JOMO: Is There Joy in...Not Traveling? (#66)
What is FOMO (fear of missing out) and JOMO (joy of missing out) like eight months after the pandemic grounded most of the planet? Rachel chats with #nerdbirds Charlie and Kai about hustle culture, going deeper with familiar places, and the European reality check on (past) American travel habits.
November 15, 2020
Weddings in the Sky & Video Game Hotels (#65)
In this week's travel news roundup, #nerdbirds Jeremy and Kai discuss travel-related election results, the chance to get married on a plane, and an unprecedented alliance between Cathay Pacific's pilot and flight attendant unions. Later, they dive into hospitality initiatives, including mid-week hotel closures in Las Vegas and brand-driven lifestyle hotels sprouting up all over the country.
November 11, 2020
Travel Photography When You're Not Traveling (#64)
In this unconventional look at travel photography, Rachel chats with Robin Davis from the Cortona Center of Photography: "When you take a photograph, you have to be fully in the moment, and that's travel" -- which is also a mindset that can be created at home. She answers questions about getting meaningful shots, what gear you really need in the smartphone era, and making photos that reflect your unique perspective.
November 8, 2020
Flying Somewhere? Uluru, Mauritius, Hawaii and More (#63)
#nerdbirds Jeremy and Kai have your latest episode of the Weekly News Roundup, taking you around the world for the latest and greatest travel news! On the docket for Part 1 includes plans for a new South African airline called "Lift",  Qantas' latest sightseeing package of an all-inclusive  overnight holiday to "somewhere", and Slovakia tests half of their entire population for one day. In Part Two, they look to warmer climes where Mauritius is welcoming the work-from-anywhere crowd with one-year renewable visas, and catch up on the latest with Hawaii's slow reopening to tourists.
November 4, 2020
Destination Series: Washington DC, COVID Style (#62)
With Election Day coming up in the US, #nerdbirds David and Rachel ponder what there is to do and see in Washington, DC and surrounding areas during the pandemic. With 15 years living in DC (David) and 20 trips to the region (Rachel), they share tips for neighborhoods and activities off the tourist path ("a Disneyland for government!").
November 1, 2020
Long Tunnels, Longer Flights, and More of This Week's News (#61)
In this episode of the Weekly Roundup, #nerdbirds Jeremy and Kai discuss the emotional goodbye to Berlin-Tegel Airport, the exciting new undersea connection between Denmark and Germany, and the return of the world's longest flight...with a twist. In part two, they dive into some intriguing initiatives, like travel-starved Singaporean flights to nowhere, mystery destination packages in New Zealand, and the chance to get your very own hotel subscription.
October 28, 2020
Design Series: The Art of Airline Maps (#60)
Airline maps?! What could be exciting about that? Plenty, when you join #nerdbirds Brendan and Rachel as they browse through the book Airline Maps: A Century of Art and Design and explore the evolution of flying through the world of graphic design. Topics include maps as a tool to inspire wanderlust, women in aviation's early days, and the darker sides of the Golden Age of Flying.
October 25, 2020
The Era of the Pivot: Travel News (#59)
In part one of this week's news roundup, #nerdbirds Jeremy and Kai discuss the Department of Defense study that found COVID is nearly intransmissible in flight, Southwest and United's intriguing expansion, and Iceland's new sustainability measures. In part two, they take a deeper dive into airline and airport vendors' efforts to pivot their brands, for both the short and long terms.
October 21, 2020
Redefining Luxury: From Sustainable to Regenerative Travel, Part 2 (#58)
In part two of reviewing the Regenerative Travel Summit, #nerdbirds Rachel and Kai ponder the future of luxury travel and accommodation, how hotels and tours can be more inclusive, and preview future related episodes: FOMO vs. JOMO, and the Slow Food movement.
October 18, 2020
Free Money to Travel & Health Passports (#57)
In part one of this week's news roundup, #nerdbirds Kai and Jeremy talk about US cities that will pay you to visit, basic business class in Japan, and an initiative to reduce quarantine time between New York and London. In part two, they take a deep dive into different "health passport" concepts that industry experts say may be the key to revitalization of travel.
October 14, 2020
Addicted to Travel? Moving Beyond Sustainability to Regenerative Travel, Part 1 (#56)
The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all time to think about how and why we travel. After tuning in to the recent Regenerative Travel Summit, #nerdbirds Rachel and Kai share highlights while pondering how regenerative travel moves beyond sustainability, the economic reality of those who work in travel and tourism, regenerative transportation, and what individuals can do when traveling in a post-pandemic world. (Hint: there's a lot of talk of quality, not quantity. Influencers beware!)
October 11, 2020
Travel News Roundup: First Class Dining Delivered To Your House? (#55)
In this week's News Roundup, Kai and Jeremy chat about Paris' new lockdown, the demise of AirAsia Japan, the travel bubble between Australia & New Zealand, Singapore Airlines' home-dining program, leisure travel trends, and the man-made Maldivian island.
October 7, 2020
I'm Just Here for the Food: Traveling & Eating from a Local Perspective (#54)
Intrepid foodie and #nerbird Sebastian joins Rachel to talk about all things food -- from finding local hotspots in the USA and abroad, to thinking about sustainability and fine dining, and integrating newfound favorites once you're home. Location-specific mentions include a BBQ sprint in Austin, croquettes and fried chicken in Japan, Guinness in Ireland vs. everywhere else, and South African rooibos tea.
October 4, 2020
Who Let the COVID-Sniffing Dogs Out? And Other News (#53)
In this week's news roundup, #nerdbirds Kai and Jeremy talk about COVID-sniffing dogs, pricey airport testing, the future of party cities, and an Italian inquiry into shady airline business practices. Plus, they'll dive deeper into airline and travel agency sustainability - a topic on everyone's minds as we navigate the changing COVID-19 landscape.
September 30, 2020
Destination Series: First Time in Japan (#52)
First-time visitors to Japan usually encounter a radically different experience than Western culture. #nerdbirds Brendan and Rachel share a dizzying array of stories from food of all price ranges to onsen hot baths, from Fukuoka to Tokyo and Kyoto. They also share useful phrases, transportation tips, and cultural insights.
September 27, 2020
Indulgent Flights to Nowhere & Traveler Lifecycle: Reflection (#51)
In this week's travel news, #nerdbirds Jeremy & Kai discuss Airbus' new zero-emission ZEROe hydrogen-powered aircraft, Thailand's plan to welcome visitors for up to nine months, Qantas' seven-hour flight to nowhere that sold out in 10 minutes, and how the cruise industry hopes to combat COVID-19. They close out the Traveler Lifecycle series by discussing the oft-overlooked Reflection stage -- when a trip is over, but can still be quite impactful.
September 23, 2020
Looking Back with Travel Disasters, Looking Forward After COVID (50th Episode Special)
For our 50th episode, the #nerdbirds return to reflect on travels past and future, from Brendan's Hollywood-as-a-local recommendations and Eric's JetBlue travel disasters to David's dream of going to the Faroe Islands and Sebastian's New York City food tips (with a sampling of Charlie's Travel Disasters). Rachel and Jeremy also share the origins of the #nerdbirds name, reflect on months of podcasting, and discuss the new format for Season Three which includes Kai as a co-host.
September 20, 2020
United Says Sayonara to Tokyo Crews; Mexico Travel Opens; Italy’s Tourism Catastrophe (#49)
In this episode of the Weekly Roundup, #nerdbirds Jeremy and Kai discuss the closure of United's Tokyo-Narita base, JetBlue's exciting expansion, and the troubles facing Italy.
September 16, 2020
Destination Series: Desert Southwest Road Trips (#48)
A listener asks about roadtripping in the Southwestern USA, and #nerdbirds Rachel, Jeremy, and Kai deliver with plenty of itinerary ideas originating from Phoenix, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and Salt Lake City. Check out our Google Map on with all routes and suggestions of places to visit.
September 13, 2020
Are you Ready for Health Tattoos; Demystifying Carbon Offsets; Regenerative Travel Preview (#47)
In the Weekly Roundup of travel news, #nerdbirds Kai and Rachel share insights on United's new COVID destination map for the US, health passports and tattoos, sustainable travel by making rocks, and international travel's effect on high-end restaurants. They end with a preview of sustainable vs. regenerative travel.
September 9, 2020
Essential Travel Apps at the Airport and Your Destination (#46)
Part 2 of the Essential Travel Apps series takes you on the second and third phases of the Traveler Lifecycle -- from arriving to the airport  (if you're flying), to getting around on the ground, and sharing  memories after returning.
September 6, 2020
Goodbye Airline Change Fees & Traveler Lifecycle: Going Home (#45)
In the Weekly Roundup, the #nerdbirds discuss the bombshell news that United, American, Delta, and Alaska are removing cancellation and standby fees, and its impact on airlines. In the next segment of the Traveler Lifecycle, Rachel, Jeremy, and Kai share tips on making the journey home as smooth and stress-free as possible.
September 2, 2020
Essential Apps for Travel Dreaming & Planning (#44)
As the saying goes, "There's an app for that" -- and it's definitely the case for all aspects of travel! Join co-hosts Rachel and Jeremy as they share apps useful during the first stages of the Traveler Lifecycle: from wish list generation during the Dreaming stage, to food and weather resources in Planning, and the must-have apps to download before starting your journey. All apps mentioned can be found at
August 30, 2020
Traveler Lifecycle: Dodging Crowds, Staying Safe, & Getting Around at Your Destination (#43)
After our Weekly Roundup of travel news, we dive back into our Traveler Lifecycle series. You've survived dreaming, planning, travel, and arrival, and now it's finally time to enjoy your trip. In this episode, #nerdbirds Rachel, Jeremy, and Kai discuss getting around with local transit, how to see tourist attractions without the tourist crowds, and advice for staying safe and healthy.
August 26, 2020
First-Time Solo Travel Adventures (#42)
Getting on a plane and heading somewhere new on your own is no easy feat. In this episode, listen in as #nerdbirds Charlie, David, and Jeremy share their first experiences traveling alone to places as near as Chicago or as far as Dubai and Japan. Afterwards, Rachel and Kai reflect on their own experiences and share advice for first-time solo travel.
August 23, 2020
Understanding a Trillion-Dollar Travel Industry & The Weekly Roundup (#41)
Building on past episodes about creating sustainable travel and how airports work, #nerdbirds Kai, Jeremy, and Rachel discuss the pandemic's effect on the aviation-industrial complex -- including digging deeper into issues confronting airports, airlines, and airplane manufacturers. In the Weekly Roundup, they discuss Americans' comfort (or lack thereof) with flying, the current rollercoaster of European travel, and a firsthand account of airport life in August.
August 19, 2020
Destination Series: New Zealand (#40)
Rachel loves roadtrips; Jeremy loves public transit. So what do they do during separate trips to New Zealand? The complete opposite! Follow along as Rachel recounts three weeks traversing the North and South Islands by bus, and as Jeremy roadtrips from Queenstown to Christchurch. The episode ends with advice for anyone who dreams of traveling there. Look for episode content and links at
August 16, 2020
Traveler Lifecycle: Arriving at Your Destination (#39)
In the next installment of our Traveler Lifecycle series, #nerdbirds Jeremy, Kai, and Rachel discuss issues around arriving at your final destination via air, and using ground transportation to get to your accommodation. For prior episodes in the series, check out: Dreaming & Planning, Booking, Pre-Departure Checklist, and Our Wildest Travel Dreams.
August 13, 2020
Nordic Culture & The Weekly Roundup (#38)
After sharing ideas for a Scandinavian trip in the last episode, #nerdbirds Kai, Rachel, and Jeremy are pressed to share cultural values and norms within Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway. The Weekly Roundup discusses Virgin Atlantic's bankruptcy, Southwest decreasing aircraft cleaning, and other COVID-related travel news.
August 9, 2020
Destination Series: Scandinavia + Finland (#37)
During our Traveler Lifecycle research, one request appeared for taking a multi-week trip to Sweden. Join co-hosts Jeremy and Rachel along with #nerdbird Kai as they provide an overview of the Stockholm region, along with weekend trips to destinations only an hour's flight away in Finland (Helsinki), Denmark (Copenhagen), and Norway (Bergen/Oslo/Trondheim).
August 5, 2020
Pathways to Being a Pilot; Revenge Travel; Should I Fly to the East Coast? (#36)
The #nerdbirds answer a listener question about potential travel to the East Coast; Pilot Sarah talks to Rachel about the two paths to become a commercial pilot and cultural differences between major airlines; The Weekly Roundup features pilot negotiations, the end of British Airways Flight 1, and revenge travel.
August 2, 2020
Conversations with a Pilot, Part 1 (#35)
After Jeremy's weekly aviation roundup, Pilot Sarah joins our podcast! She has been a flight instructor and startup, corporate, cargo, and commercial pilot. Listen in as Rachel springs the lightning round and questions from other #nerdbirds on Sarah in the this part of Conversations with a Pilot. Learn more about Sarah's favorite airports, where to sit on the plane when she's not flying one, and her offer to help Harrison Ford brush up on his flight skills :)  If you'd like to ask Sarah a question for an upcoming episode, leave a listener voicemail at or written question on -- where you'll also find photos and sounds mentioned in this episode.
July 30, 2020
Destination Series: Canada (#34)
In the first episode of our Destination Series, co-hosts Jeremy and Rachel share tales from travels across Canada -- from Vancouver and a good chunk of British Columbia, to Calgary and the Canadian Rockies, and from Toronto and Montreal all the way to Atlantic Canada.
July 26, 2020
The Weekly Recap & Group Travel Dreaming (#33)
We're debuting a new feature: The Weekly Recap, where co-hosts Jeremy and Rachel discuss travel and aviation news of interest during the first half of the episode. Fellow #nerdbird Sebastian joins us in the second half to add insight on the Dreaming stage of The Traveler's Journey, pondering group trips and family travel while growing up in Hawaii.
July 23, 2020
Best & Worst Airplane Food: Lightning Round with Sebastian & Tom (#32)
No two words incite more opinions than...Airplane Food! Get to know #nerdbirds (and foodies) Sebastian and Tom during this lightning round episode. Co-hosts Rachel and Jeremy challenge them to come up with the worst and best dishes on airplanes and airport lounges, from 50 Shades of Beige, pre-digested pasta, and sea urchins to JetBlue Mint breakfasts, Air France La Première everything...and even a shoutout to United :)  Look for photos on
July 20, 2020
The Traveler Lifecycle: Pre-Departure Checklist (#31)
Your flights & hotel are booked, but it's not time to leave yet! In this episode, Jeremy & Rachel talk about the pre-departure checklist, covering everything from immigration and health to activities and packing.
July 16, 2020
Dashes, Delays, and Downtime at the Airport (#30)
Nearly every traveler's biggest nightmare is being stranded at the airport. Listen in as we share tips on navigating cancelled, delayed, and missed flights through a variety of stories: from listener Allen rerouting to Las Vegas and exploring the Strip at 2 AM, to co-host Rachel exploring the St. Louis Arch; from #nerdbird Charlie dashing lightning-fast through three terminals and a parking lot at LAX, to co-host Jeremy enduring a five-hour line at the Cape Town airport.
July 13, 2020
The Traveler Lifecycle: Booking (#29)
Rachel said it best when she called booking a "hot mess." Though it sounds simple on the outside, the booking process is one of the most confusing steps in the traveler lifecycle. Listen as Rachel & Jeremy discuss pain points, strategies, and tips, for booking flights, transit, and accommodation. Have questions about Google Flights? Check out Jeremy's Google Flights Guide.
July 9, 2020
Lightning Round: Passport Edition (#28)
We've brought back the infamous lightning round from our first episodes! Listen in as #nerdbirds Jeremy, Charlie, Eric, and Rachel share stories of worst passport photos, interesting stamps, and unique cover designs.
July 5, 2020
The Traveler Lifecycle: Dreaming & Planning (#27)
In the first episode of The Traveler Lifecycle series, #nerdbirds Jeremy and Rachel break down the first two steps: dreaming and planning. Listen as they describe their approach to these steps, pain points that travelers experience, and potential solutions to promote healthy, engaging travel. Plus, hear an update about travel during COVID-19 after Jeremy's flight home.
July 1, 2020
Listener Voicemails: Roadtrip Audio, Holiday Weekend Travel (#26)
After 25 episodes, we thought it was time to start a new season -- and what other way to start than with responding to listener voicemails! Listen in as #nerdbirds Rachel and Jeremy discuss driving vs. flying to Southern California, and reflect on the making of this podcast while answering a question about suggested podcasts and audiobooks for an upcoming road trip.
June 29, 2020
A Week of Roadtrips in the COVID-19 Era (#25)
If it weren't enough for co-hosts Jeremy and Rachel to fly to San Francisco from two different cities, they promptly embarked on a series of roadtrips throughout Northern and Central California. Listen in as they maneuver closures, pit stops, crowds, and drive-thrus -- and share tips on how to be a roadtrip travel ninja this summer.
June 25, 2020
A Tale of Two Flights: COVID-19 Edition (#24)
In this episode, learn about flying during COVID-19 through the eyes of your hosts. While Rachel was sitting in first class with an empty seat beside her, Jeremy was stuck in a middle seat in economy on a completely full flight. Learn about their different experiences and what it means for your summer air travel plans.
June 22, 2020
Pandemic Travel Planning (#23)
In the first ever Travel Tales from the #nerdbirds episode recorded in-person, listen to Rachel and Jeremy recount how they planned their unique trips to San Francisco during the coronavirus pandemic.
June 18, 2020
Putting the Fun in Functional Airport Design (#22)
In most of the world, airports are sterile, dark, and unfriendly to the senses. In this episode, Rachel, Jeremy, and #nerdbird David explore how we can put the fun back into functional airport design -- from the cool relaxed vibe of Paine Field to the resort feel of Singapore.
June 14, 2020
Making Roadtrips Fun (#21)
Who doesn't love a roadtrip?! Well, you might not if you're only focused on getting to your destination. Join hosts Rachel and Jeremy as they share the ups and downs of roadtrips long and short, along with advice for making the most of your time on the road. Leave us a voicemail with your roadtrip questions, and we'll answer them in a future episode!
June 11, 2020
Vacation Mode: Are You an Integrator or Separator? (#20)
Turning on the "out-of-office" email response is a highlight for every working person. In this episode, listen as Jeremy, Rachel, and #nerdbird Brendan talk about what "vacation mode" means to different types of workers, how the COVID-19 pandemic has blurred the lines between work and rest, and what a post-pandemic vacation might feel like.
June 7, 2020
Our Wildest Travel Dreams (#19)
It's no secret that air travel will be forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, listen as Rachel, Jeremy, and #nerdbird Kai discuss their travel dreams -- and what the future might look like from technology and health viewpoints.
June 3, 2020
Family Travel Tips (#18)
Though all of us #nerdbirds love our solo travel and vacations with friends, family travel is just as important. Join Jeremy, Rachel, and special guest Ida to discuss family travel tips to make the journey incredible for the little ones!
June 1, 2020
Strange Encounters of the Foodie Kind (#17)
Travel and food go together like peanut butter and jelly. And what kind of travel podcast doesn't have an episode about food? Listen along as Rachel, Jeremy, and #nerdbird Charlie talk about their foodie habits and stories of their strange food encounters along the way. We hope you're hungry!
May 28, 2020
Tourist or Traveler: Which is "Better?" (#16)
In this episode, Jeremy, Rachel, and #nerdbird David dispel the age-old tourist vs. traveler dichotomy. Listen as they discuss their experiences uniting the two with stories from travels to France, Hawaii, Disney World, North Korea, Morocco, Japan -- and even the Scandinavian Days Festival in Oregon!
May 25, 2020
Staycation Experiences & Tips (#15)
As we embark upon our second month of quarantine, the staycation may be the only way to unwind. Listen to your hosts, Rachel and Jeremy, as they chat about their staycation experiences and tips, from spa days to cooking classes and art to digital detoxing. Just because you're stuck inside doesn't mean a staycation is out of reach! Linked resources can be found at
May 21, 2020
Travel & the Triple Bottom Line: Sustainability Week Part 2 (#14)
Before the pandemic, the global airline industry was facing a race to the bottom for both employee wages and the passenger experience. In this episode, listen along as Rachel, Jeremy, and #nerdbird Kai discuss the triple bottom line - people, planet, and profit - a new metric for sustainable success in the post-COVID-19 travel industry.
May 18, 2020
Sustainability Week: Individual Actions (#13)
Join the #nerdbirds this week as they discuss sustainability in the travel industry. In this episode, Jeremy and Rachel talk about healthy travel habits — because travel should be sustainable for individuals, too!
May 14, 2020
Design Series: Airline Identity & Branding (#12)
In our second episode for Design Week, #nerdbird Brendan shares the major aspects involved with an airline's identity. Learn how web design, customer service, and even uniforms affect how we perceive an airline.
May 10, 2020
Design Series: Designing the Airport Experience (#11)
Welcome to Design Week, where our #nerdbirds are providing an overview of commercial aviation design and branding. In this episode, hear from #nerdbird David about design aspects that affect the traveler experience, from getting to the airport to navigation and arriving at a destination.
May 7, 2020
How do Airports Work? (#10)
Airports come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there’s even a saying, “When you’ve seen one airport, you’ve...seen one airport.” Join #nerdbirds Jeremy, Rachel, and Kai as they discuss their perspectives on the airport experience, and the path commercial aviation might take in the near future. (Also, Happy One Month Anniversary to our podcast series!)
May 2, 2020
Student Travel Tips (#9)
With #nerdbirds co-host Jeremy set to graduate from college, we thought it fitting to feature travel tips for students -- especially alternatives to stereotypical Spring Break-type trips. Links mentioned in the podcast include: Scott's Cheap Flights, secretflying on Twitter, theflightdeal on Twitter, GasBuddy, Free Walking Tours, Meetup, and Atlas Obscura.
April 30, 2020
Celebrations: Airline Inaugurals & Farewells (#8)
Join hosts Rachel and Jeremy as they celebrate the second anniversary of the final Virgin America flight, where the #nerdbirds met. Plus, hear from #nerdbird Eric about his eight celebration flights from destination inaugurals to brand new aircraft. Who said you can't have a party on a plane? Not us!
April 25, 2020
Hotels, Hostels, or Homestays? The Great Debate (#7)
Join co-hosts Rachel and Jeremy with #nerdbirds David and Kai as they chat about their favorite places to stay. Listen to fun hostel stories from David, luxury hotel experiences from Jeremy and Kai, and couchsurfing with Rachel. Don't know which one you like the most? Listen to our discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
April 22, 2020
Planning vs. Serendipity (#6)
Jeremy, Rachel, and Brendan discuss the age-old travel question: How much planning is enough? Listen along as they talk through their stories of meticulously planning, finding serendipity, and mixing the two as they traveled the globe.
April 19, 2020
Meet the #nerdbirds, Part 3 (Kai) & Future Episode Preview (#5)
In our final intro lightning round, we chat with airline veteran Kai and highlight our favorite topics over the next 20 (!) episodes — talk about being inspired by recent conversations!
April 16, 2020
Meet the #nerdbirds, Part 2: Brendan & Eric (#4)
Listen along as we learn about two more #nerdbirds and their favorite aviation stories. Take a walk down airplane memory lane with Los Angeles-based Brendan, and learn more about planespotting from Boston-based Eric in another exciting lightning round episode.
April 13, 2020
Meet the #nerdbirds, Part 1: Charlie & David (#3)
Hosts Jeremy and Rachel decide to introduce all the #nerdbirds through aircraft/airline/airport lightning rounds. In this episode, meet Charlie (based in Seattle) and David (originally from Vermont, now based in San Francisco). Learn about David and Jeremy’s early avgeeky tendencies, ponder with Rachel what exactly should be the plural of Airbus, and get a taste of Charlie’s airport karma for a future travel disasters episode.
April 9, 2020
This or That: Airline Edition (#2)
After an incredibly fun first lightning round, the #nerdbirds went back for more...two more to be exact! Listen in as #nerdbirds Jeremy and Rachel debate Spirit vs. Frontier (and several other airlines), and discuss dream destinations and favorite food.
April 5, 2020
The Accidental Lightning Round (#1)
What better way to get started with a travel podcast than talking about our favorite airplanes and airports? Meet some of our #nerdbirds and listen to their travel tales, all prompted by an Instagram story template :)
April 2, 2020