These 15 Podcasts Deserve a Spot on Your Road Trip Playlist
These days, many more people are opting to travel by car — travel data has shown a huge uptick in road trips this year. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a car travel newbie, once you enter the road trip game, you quickly learn how important it is to have a well-stocked car and a killer road trip playlist on your phone (downloaded and ready to go in case you lose service). But you can only hear the same songs so many times before you start cursing your decision to travel old-school. That's where podcasts come in. Whether you're into politics, true crime, or just need a good laugh and a little company, these are the 15 best podcasts for your next road trip.
You're Wrong About
Journalists Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall look back at public figures and noteworthy events, and reconsider these topics with a present-day lens, like the OJ Simpson case and how Yoko Ono and John Lennon's relationship affected The Beatles. Sometimes they talk about current events, too, like the Wayfair conspiracy. Regardless, these episodes will definitely get everyone talking.
This nonfiction podcast focuses on the prison system and what happens to people once they leave it. Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams (who were both formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison) cofounded the podcast with visual artist Nigel Poor, giving a very real take on the subject. You'll want to laugh and cry within the span of each 30-minute episode — nothing like an emotional rollercoaster to pass the time, right?
Funny guys Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett recently started a podcast that hosts surprise guests every week. From fellow actor/comedian/podcaster Dax Shepard to Senator and prospective VP Kamala Harris, each episode is different in a great way. Smartless is a nice blend of humor and education, making it a good pick for friends with varied interests.
Dax Shepard's podcast is always trending, and for good reason. His show is really about being human. He talks about his own life and setbacks, and has special guests on every week. With some episodes that clock in at over two hours, it's an ideal road trip listen.
NPR's Code Switch tackles race in every aspect of society, from politics to pop culture. With a diverse team that offers different points of view, co-hosts and journalists Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji find a way to be witty and informative.
Episodes are only 30 minutes long, but with weekly content for the last four years, you'll be set even if you're driving cross-country.
Drunk Women Solving Crime
Comedians and writers Hannah George, Catie Wilkins, and Taylor Glenn get progressively more drunk while simultaneously trying to solve true crime cases, from personal stories to listeners' own unsolved mysteries. With special guests on a lot of episodes, this show is always exciting, and an easy way to kill an hour.
A recent podcast from iHeartRadio gives a fun twist to crime podcasts by putting listeners in the role of detective. The aspects of each case are explained and at the end you'll find out who did it and what actual crime story the episode was inspired by. This show demands active listening, so you can switch it on any time someone says they're "bored" or "tired."
Culture writers Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham scan the internet for things that move them, whether it's to tears (both happy and sad), feelings of frustration, or excitement. As another show that's on its fourth year, it's an easy listen that will quickly pass the time, especially at 30-60 minutes an episode.
Hosted by the Cooking Channel's Dan Pashman, The Sporkful claims to not just be for foodies, but for eaters, talking about food, culture, and people. If you're planning on chowing down at your destination, this podcast will hype you up on the way.
Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend
With hilarious guests like Will Ferrell, Kristen Bell, and Nick Offerman, Conan O'Brien's podcast is every bit as funny as his late-night show, and is a good way to pass the time quickly.
This podcast has innovators and policy makers from around the world talking about global issues and how we could solve them—from homelessness, to gender wage gaps, and more. Interviews are conducted by fan-favorites Malcom Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg. It's a great way to learn something new while keeping those road trip energies high.
Hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman from Gimlet have created a podcast about the internet and specific experiences that listeners' have on it. It's definitely a show you have to listen to yourself to understand what it's all about — but it's worth it. Reply All has been around for five years, with some episodes that are 20-minute easy listeners, and others are hour-long deep dives. No matter what you're into or how much time you have, there's an episode for you.
Articles of Interest
This 12-part series hosted by Avery Trufelman is about what we wear (from clothing items to specific styles) and why we wear it, and gets into the frustrating lack of pockets in women's clothing. If you've got a 5 or 6-hour drive ahead of you, you can listen to this series from start to finish.
TED Radio Hour
Host Manoush Zomorodi explores some of the biggest questions of life with the help of some of the world's greatest thinkers. If you like TED Talks, you'll love this show. It's a good way to start talking about creativity, change, humanity, and other deep topics that help everyone really get to know each other.
Travel specialists at AFAR put together short episodes that transport you from city to city around the world. They're quick listens, but they're perfect for a shorter trip.