Road trip season is here! Whether taking a family vacation with kids piled into the minivan, driving to that out-of-state college or rolling up the winding highway on your way to a romantic weekend at a bed and breakfast, road tripping is as American as apple pie and baseball. Everyone at some point in their life has taken a road trip.
Knowing how to fill long hours in the car is key to drive-time without losing your mind. Choosing music is tricky – you want Bach and she wants Bachman Turner Overdrive. An audiobook is swell if you’ve got a 20-hour drive and everybody has the same taste in books. But what can you do to get through the long drive one hour at a time, all while keeping your brain stimulated and not aggravating everyone in the car? Listen to a well-chosen podcast.
Here are five podcasts for your next road trip to educate and engross you, without lulling you to sleep or annoying you. Watch out – these are so good you might just miss your exit.
This is an investigative journalism podcast. Boring, right? Wrong. Downloaded 40 million times in the past two years, S-Town is a riveting, twisty journey into rural Alabama that’s so otherworldly that the listener has a difficult time believing it’s not fiction. S-Town transports us using investigative storytelling with an almost literary quality. The seven episodes weigh in at around an hour each, so if you’ve got a long haul, tuck in to this one and prepare to enter a different world.
Funny, sweet and real, Armchair Expert is hosted by actor Dax Shepard and features his relaxed conversations with celebrities. Shepard is honest and asks the questions that other interviewers don’t, making even the most unattainable person seem relatable and well, just like one of us. These episodes are long – almost all are over two hours – but so engaging you won’t mind at all.
This absolute gem of a podcast fuses storytelling with science, featuring the unseen forces that shape our ideas, beliefs, and behaviors. Produced by This American Life alumnae, the quality of research and production of each podcast will leave you in awe, enlightened and educated.
Like people? And stories? Then you’ll love The Moth, which features recorded live storytelling events based on a theme. The great thing about this podcast’s format is that if a certain storyteller bothers you, you can skip it and move to the next. Chances are, you’ll love 99% of them.
Remember those long evenings crowded around the living room radio, listening to a serial program? Neither do we, which is why We’re Alive is so much fun! Presented like the weekly serials of yesteryear – ending on a cliffhanger, doling out the story and adventure a bit at a time – this podcast is about the zombie apocalypse. Good acting, interesting characters and perfect pacing make you hunger for the next hour-long episode. With over 100 million downloads and ten years under its belt, We’re Alive could help you criss-cross the country several times over.
These podcasts can – but don’t always – contain mature themes and adult language, so they’re appropriate for most teens and adults. For cars that contain younger kids, Wow in the World is included in this list of excellent podcasts. Perfect for curious kids and interested adults, it delves into wonders of science and technology, keeping everyone in the car happy, engaged and educated. With episodes averaging 30 minutes, these can be stacked to fill hours.