One of the worst things in life is a long, awkward, silent drive. So whether it’s a family road trip, a getaway with friends, a vacay with your boo, or even a solo thing, there’s no question: Either turn up the radio or resign yourself to the cringe. But while feel-good tunes are great for cruising on the open road, sometimes the best way to beat boredom is with the perfect podcast.
Audio series are especially great for long-haulers. When telling stories or car singalongs get exhausting, you can sit back, relax, and let the hosts do the talking. There’s also an endless selection of shows and different genres to choose from. From interesting interviews and amazing real-life stories to engaging fictional sagas and fun trivia questions, here are the 12 best podcasts to listen to on your next road trip.
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Travel Tales by AFAR
You’re already going on a trip, so it of makes sense to listen to a travel podcast. This one follows different people from different backgrounds in each episode—a chef, a photographer, a comedian—as they explore new countries. They find a part of themselves in searching for lost recipes, finding unexpected connections, and stepping out of their comfort zones.
Things I Got Wrong at Trivia
If you’re traveling with a group, this quiz game show pod is bound to keep everyone entertained. And don’t worry, the questions don’t hinge on obscure facts or specific dates. It’s approachable general trivia, with some pop culture, media, and internet things thrown in.
If your destination happens to be a Spanish-speaking or French-speaking part of the world, then you have some time to brush up on the trip there. Duolingo has simple, beginner-friendly storytelling podcasts for Spanish and French. They even switch it up with different narrators with region-specific accents to help train your ear.
It can be hard to keep up with pop culture with so much going on, but if you’re looking for a review, you can join comedians Lauren Lapkus and Nicole Byer on this hilarious podcast as they talk about all the cultural moments and phenomena they kind of missed. So far, they’ve talked about Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, the Fast & Furious franchise, Tyler Perry project, and more.
Ask Us Anything
The good people of Popular Science are here to answer all our burning questions about the universe, no matter how ridiculous. Episodes from the first season include the answers to “What causes side stitches?” and “Can you survive on a single food?”
My Favorite Murder
At this point, the My Favorite Murder podcast is basically a classic. True crime is everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure and Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark have all the intel. These two talk about their favorite murder tales and also hear their listeners’ and friends’ horrific hometown crime stories.
Hear to Slay
I couldn’t think of a more appropriate title for a feminist podcast. Hear to Slay is hosted by iconic New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay and professor and sociologist Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom. They give their takes on issues and speak with other Black female icons and experts like Ava Duvernay, Gabrielle Union, and Stacey Abrams.
This mystery podcast is really immersive in that it lets the listeners become the detectives. You’re presented with the facts of the case, clues, scenes, and interrogations. By the end of the episode, you guess who committed the crime. Then the narrator reveals who the culprit is and tells you what true crime the episode was loosely based on. Fun, right?
Even the Rich
This podcast is like a mini-getaway on its own. Even the Rich is an escape into the wild, luxurious world of the rich and wealthy. Each season features three to five episodes and focuses on a specific celebrity or family dynasty. Co-hosts Brooke Siffrinn and Aricia Skidmore-Williams dig deep and leave no stone unturned with their well-reported and insightful conversations.
Consider this comedy, real-life stories, and a little bit of therapy all rolled into one. Feeling Asian is really just a show about Asians talking about their feelings. It can be about anything from sex and dating to systemic racism—and sometimes all in one episode. It’s just fun listening to the hosts Youngmi Mayer and Brian Park talk to you like a friend, let you in on their inside jokes, and maybe even help your own emotional growth.
This star-studded psychological thriller is one of the series that formed the fictional audio series genre. The cast includes David Schwimmer, Oscar Isaac, Amy Sedaris, and more. It follows the story of a therapist helping soldiers transition back to civilian life with a PTSD treatment plan, only to find out later that there was more to the “Homecoming” program than she thought.
Love Me tackles all the complexities and messiness of different relationships. It talks about family, chosen family, friends, significant others, and also…robot lovers. Clearly there’s a good mix of personal nonfiction stories and quirky fictional tales!
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