best road trips podcasts

7 Best Podcasts for Road Trips

Who doesn’t love road trips?

Whether with family or friends, it’s a great way to unwind and relax. Everyone needs that break from the drudgery of everyday life.

It is an exciting time and a most-needed chance for a change of environment.

Now, you’ve exhausted the playlists on your phone, and everyone’s not really in the mood for music or talking. Before attempting an awkward ice-breaker, put on an exciting podcast and grab everyone’s attention!

Most people like listening to music.

Well, I do. Everyone knows a particular song, and they sing together or nod along with the beat.

But when you play an exciting podcast, besides intriguing most people, you educate and invite interaction.  Even a 15-minute podcast on your road trip could give you more than you know- a new insight, an idea, laughs, tears, and maybe even shivers.

And if you’re driving solo, listening to a great host’s dulcet tones could make you feel less lonely.

Laugh, agree, disagree, get sentimental, or quietly wonder. There’s a whole list of podcasts waiting for you to check out on your next road trip!

Here are my favorites! (In no particular order and depending on my mood or the company that I’ve got)

1. A Thousand Things to Talk About

a thousand things to talk about

I know, right? The first time I listened to one of her episodes, the intro music reminded me of Plant vs. Zombies, too!

But I swear the topics are not nearly as bizarre as zombies. The discussions are so easily relatable to everyone.

This brief and straightforward two-to-three-minute podcast is great for all types of listeners.

It’s perfect because it answers seemingly simple everyday questions anyone would ask. The talented host, Andrea Parrish, comes up with very interesting comments and facts you wouldn’t have thought of.

There’d be topics like “stupid jokes” and then she starts talking about how groaning at “Dad jokes” is about as satisfying as a good laugh. Wow, I hadn’t thought of it that way but it’s true.

There are over 500 different episodes and topics to choose from and you could easily skim through 10 episodes in less than an hour. Nice.

Andrea’s rich and fruity voice will keep you listening on and on.

Oddly, her manner of speaking reminds me (again) of Ms. Perky (Allison Janney) in 10 Things I Hate About You. Whatever, you should see that old-but-gold movie.

And since I’ve already deviated from the topic, seriously, check it out for yourself and tell me my ears are lying.

2. 60-Second Science (Scientific American)

60-second science

You don’t have to be a geek to love a little bit of science trivia every now and then.

In elementary school, we were taught that science is everywhere and in everything. Science is generally a fascinating subject, especially if you’re listening to Christopher Intagliata.

Chris is one of the hosts for 60-Second Science podcast, along with Karen Hopkin, Jason G. Goldman, and Steve Mirsky, to mention a few.  He’s the senior producer of Science Friday and was a 2015 Woods Hole Ocean Science Journalism fellow, an opportunity given to professionals in the field of science productions.

I didn’t even have to see his face – I instantly, irrevocably, fell for his voice!

Man, that smart science guy with a beautiful voice would be all you want to listen to all day. I certainly would.

I just got dreamy-eyed listening to him to talk about tooth tartar!

That’s easily why 60-Second Science makes it on my list of best podcasts for road trips.

So what are you waiting for? Get your quick one-minute dose of science on your next road trip with Chris on 60-Second Science.

Or visit the main page, Scientific American and select Science Talk if you prefer lengthier 10-40 minute audio clips.

Topics included are Health, Mind, Sustainability, Tech and The Sciences.

You’d also have the option of downloading the talks on MP3 format for free right from the site itself.

So if you’re not sure about internet access on the road, best to download it before the trip.

3. Lovett or Leave It

lovett or leave it

According to Charlie Chaplin, “A day without a laugh is a day wasted.”

Well, the same could be said about road trips. What better way to start a long drive than with lots of ha-has!

There’s no question that laughter is good for the soul, and for the body, and for everyone!

Podcaster Jon Lovett, a former political speechwriter-turned-comedian will keep you laughing along with his live audience.

Jon’s experience at the White House as Obama’s former speechwriter gives him a clear understanding about what goes around in politics. This also makes it almost natural for him to unapologetically rag and poke fun at personalities who make the headlines.

The satire goes on for about an hour and you’ll get to hear participation from other comedians, journalists or actors on the panel show.

There’s so much variety in the episodes – games, funny impressions, audience participation, and dramatic readings.

If you’re on a long trip, an hour could go by in a jiffy just listening to this hilarious recording.  He could get ruthless so it’s kind of like a guilty pleasure you’d want to indulge in.

A quick bit about the host: Did you know that Jon Lovett allegedly officiated the first same-sex marriage in the White House in secret?

That, too, against the Obama administration policy at that time. Now that takes guts!

4. Home of the Brave

home of the brave

I don’t know about you, but I feel that there’s something about real stories, especially those captured raw that makes me lose myself in the moment.

It makes me very sentimental.

Just like this segment from Home of the Brave where the host, Scott Carrier, teaches his five-year-old boy a skiing lesson, and at the same time imparting a valuable life lesson.

Feel like listening to something inspiring or soul-stirring on a nature drive?

Leave it to Scott Carrier to “carry” you on a heart-warming journey.

This particular episode starts with an introduction where Scott talks about the weather in Salt Lake City, where he lives, and then replays a recording taken way back in the winter of 1992.

It was a real conversation between father and son and is so precious in many ways. It starts with his son innocently asking him about skiing straight down.

He could have answered him with a direct yes or no. But I love how Scott engaged his boy with a story instead. It worked so well.

So he tells him about a guy refusing to make turns while skiing who ended up boring a hole and getting buried deep into the snow until nobody could find him.

Then Scott goes on to tell his kid about turns representing control and associating gravity with love. It was such a beautiful conversation.

The Peabody award winner has a way that touches a chord through his original storytelling. His soft and charming wobbly voice adds a hue of emotion to his narratives that captivates the soul.

If you’d like a touchy-feely podcast on a quiet trip, check it out.

5. The Magnus Archives

the magnus archives

Are you in for a thrilling adventure on the road?

It might be one you’d enjoy and remember the most.

Studies show that some people enjoy getting a scare every once in a while. So if you love that dopamine kick that gets you high, wouldn’t it be fun to share it with a group who enjoys the same?

Based in Chelsea, London, The Magnus Institute is a 19th-century organization founded by Jonah Magnus. This means they’ve been around for quite a while now.

This institute is committed to researching or gathering accounts related to the esoteric and the supernatural.

This horror fiction podcast, The Magnus Archives, dramatizes the stories.

And if Jonathan Sims’ voice doesn’t sound dark enough, watch out for the sinister background music that’s sure to send chills down your spine.

Some basic precautions before attempting to put this on your car stereo:

  1. Don’t dare if you don’t enjoy the chills.
  2. Read the content warnings on the podcast before playing.
  3. And of course, drive safely and try not to hit a tree and get stranded somewhere in the middle of the night. (You know those things don’t always end well.)

Otherwise, see how dauntless you are and put on this eerie podcast on your road trip with your thrill-seeking fellas.

Fasten your seatbelts, maybe grab a popcorn, and enjoy the ride!

6. TED Talks Daily

TED talks daily

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of TED Talks.

Known for its slogan, “ideas worth sharing” this media organization’s focus was primarily on technology, entertainment and design, thus the acronym, TED.

But TED has gone a long way since its conceptualization in 1984, now having talks covering a wide range of subjects, from AI developments to cultural topics.

To date, there are over 2,500 TED Talks available and more are added to the list daily.

How convenient it must be to get access to these fresh ideas on the go?

Different accomplished personalities from different parts of the world, sharing their most brilliant ideas that authored their respective successes.

And they’re handing these ideas out to you for free! That too, in no more than 18 minutes.

That’s just awesome.

So while on a solo drive or on the road with just about anyone, get TED Talks Daily on.

Instead of listening to the same song you’ve already memorized, why not play something new and enriching?

Music is great and powerful, but so is knowledge. Pay a little more attention to the latter and ask yourself, “Did I learn anything new today?”

With TED Talks Daily, you’d surely have an answer.

7. One Bizarre Podcast

one bizarre podcast

Imagine, it’s late afternoon and you’ve been on this long monotonous ride for hours.

Everyone in the car is either sleeping or dozing off. You’re just watching out for one more spectacle through the car window before thinking to join them in slumber, as the endless landscapes along the road have started to look dull and uninteresting.

You get your moment and before you know it, it’s over just like that.

The sunset is gone in but a matter of minutes and the world around you turns dark and dull once more.

You struggle at the thought that you’d still have to go on like this for an hour more or so. This was not the kind of road trip that you had in mind, but everyone’s all beat up and snoring.

You can’t sleep either, because your mind is restless surrounded by this deafening quietness.

I just painted you a scene as poetically as I can, but that place is actually bad and I’ve been there.

You feel like you’re about to go crazy with boredom and you feel helpless, shifting in your seat every two seconds.

Well if you must go crazy, One Bizarre Podcast is there to the rescue – that is, to indulge you. Plug those earphones in and listen to things as bizarre as they get.

Hosts Kaity Heart and Blaquie O talk about random stuff such as megalodons, spirit photography, ouija boards, and zombies, not lacking in sense of humor and laughs, of course. I swear you’ll hear Kaity laughing 80% of the time!

So if crazy stuff makes you tick, you’ve found your niche.

Set your restless, weird mind free and join the madness.

Road trips should be a great experience – fun and memorable, something to look forward to.

All it takes is to have the right elements ready: the right mood, the right people (if with company), and of course, the right podcast for everyone to enjoy and relate to.

And as difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations, carefully picked podcasts make for a wonderful road trip. Does that even make sense?

Anyway, curate your own list of best podcasts for road trips.

I’ve shared mine. What’s yours?

Laura Baxendale
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Laura Baxendale

I am Laura, a mid-twenty-something woman with a mild obsession with listening to podcasts. When I don't have my headphones glued to my ears I enjoy running, fashion and spending time with my friends.

Oh! Almost forgot, I am also addicted to green tea and Harry Potter.
Laura Baxendale
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