Travel Guides

15 Best Podcasts for Long Road Trips 2022

best podcasts for road trips

These days, finding the perfect podcast has become just as overwhelming as scrolling through Netflix on a Friday night. Contrary to Netflix though, you can safely listen to the best podcasts for road trips as you make your way home for the holidays. Of course, a podcast & headphones combo can also provide a great defense against human interaction at the airport. I highly recommend this strategy. 

This year, we are driving home a solid 20 hours, so I’m planning ahead in the entertainment department by cueing up 15 of the best podcasts for road trips. These are personal recommendations for podcasts that I have enjoyed and/or am enjoying. I am not claiming that any of these recommendations are a hot take. However, I figure that out of 15 suggestions, there has to be at least one you haven’t listened to yet. So, whether you’re looking to get spooked, laugh, learn, or gas yourself up before arriving home there’s a podcast on this list for you. 

Best Podcasts for Road Trips: Crowd-Pleasers

A crowd-pleaser can be defined as “something for everyone”. These are the best podcasts for road trips with a group…including family. On our trip, everyone is me, the boyfriend, and the dog. We tend to have quite different tastes and interests. But after a lot of trial and error, we agreed upon podcasts that tell stories, that are funny, and/or that interview interesting people.

Armchair Expert:

My absolute go-to. Dax and Monica interview everyone from Neil deGrasse Tyson to Jerry Seinfeld. Armchair Expert has several other endeavors including Flightless Bird with David Ferrier and Armchair Anonymous. My personal favorite is Armchair Anonymous in which Dax and Monica interview listeners about their craziest stories relating to a specific topic. For example, their most recent episode discusses events that listeners witnessed on Black Friday. These stories are hilarious and relatable. Crowd-pleasers for sure. Disclaimer, this is only on Spotify.

Normal Gossip:

Just started this one and I’m really trying not to binge it…Normal Gossip host Kelsey Mckinney brings on a guest every week to first discuss their relationship with gossip, and then tell them a juicy story about people they don’t know. For example, drama in a wedding party of 15 girls. Yikes. The guests weigh in throughout the story to discuss what they might’ve done differently, and of course, cast judgment. The show takes a nice light-hearted and relatable approach to gossip by telling these stories in a funny and non-malicious way.  

Podcasts that Recap your Favorite TV Shows:

Of course, the OG podcast here is Office Ladies with Jenna Fischer and Anglea Kinsey. The two “ladies” break down each episode of The Office reflecting on their favorite memories as actors in the show, and behind-the-scenes info. Other shows then followed suit and made their own “recap” podcasts including; The Always Sunny Podcast, Welcome to Our Show (New Girl), Parks and Recollection (Parks and Rec.), and many others. Is it obvious what kind of television I watch?

Smartless:

Made out of the boredom from the pandemic, Smartless hosts Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes interview actors, directors, musicians, and quite honestly their friends. But there is a catch, each week the guest is a surprise to two of the hosts. Therefore, no preparation. The interviews are led by witty, self-deprecating, and humorous banter between the three pals as their guests share personal stories about their lives and often the world of show biz. 

Heavyweight:

Hosted by Jonothan Goldstein, Heavyweight dives into the lives of everyday people by exploring and resolving specific relationships and events from their past. In a recent episode, the guest Stephanie wants to find out what happened to a bookstore in her town that served as a refuge growing up. Goldstein helps Stephanie find out the story behind the owners and why the bookstore closed. 

Best Podcasts for Road Trips: True Crime

The true crime category boasts some of the best podcasts for road trips with shows like Crime Junkie and My Favorite Murder. It was especially difficult to narrow this category down. So, I stuck to true-crime podcast series that focus on telling just one story in depth. In my opinion, the best true-crime podcasts for a shared road trip. Some of these series’ have helped to reinvigorate (or even solve cold cases). Some are shedding light on cases that need more attention, and others have multiple seasons or stories to enjoy. I figure if you’re going on a road trip, it’s much more fun to start and finish one story together while you share your thoughts and theories with one another.

Sweet Bobby:

Investigative reporter Alexi Mostrous chronicles his live investigation to expose the man “Bobby” who catfished a radio presenter named Kirat. Kirat shares her story about falling in love with Bobby and the consequences while Alexi attempts to untangle and understand the extent of Bobby’s sophisticated scam. 

Counter Clock:

A great choice for a long road trip as there are 4 seasons with 4 separate stories to binge. Investigative journalist Delia D’Ambra hopes to reinvigorate these unsolved crimes with her deep dives into the mysteries. Season one is my favorite and covers the unsolved murder of Denise Johnson, whose case has been cold for 20 years. 

Up and Vanished:

In Up and Vanished, host Payne Lindsey investigates the unsolved cases of missing women in the United States. In each of the 3 seasons and cases, scandal and corruption lead to each cold case. I highly recommend beginning with the first season in which Payne seeks to find answers to the disappearance of Tara Grinstead. 

The Opportunist:

If murder is too gory for you, how about some stories of psychological manipulation? From cult leaders to conspiracy theorists and con artists, The Opportunist delves into the psyche of those who prey on the vulnerabilities of their trusting friends, family, patients, and followers. Host Hannah Smith also interviews victims for a first-hand and sympathetic look into their experience. Although the podcast is most noted for its series on Sheri Shriner, the Sheryl Ruthven story absolutely blew my mind.

Suspect:

In this podcast series, writer Matthew Shaer covers the murder of Arpana Jinaga during a Halloween party at an apartment complex outside of Seattle. He recounts the investigation of all possible suspects that attended the party and subsequent arrest, but that’s not quite the end of the story…Suspect also just launched a new season that recounts the disappearance of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews. Haven’t listened yet, but very excited!   

Best Podcasts for Road Trips: Self-Help & Relationships

The best podcasts for road trips while getting your shit together before seeing the fam. I sort of lumped a couple of categories together here because self-help, motivation, and relationships go hand-in-hand. It’s important to develop a sense of self, discover your passion, and have a healthy mind so that you can show up as the best version of yourself for the other people in your life. What better time to show up for the people that you love than the holidays? Not to mention, the holidays can truly be a time of stress, heartache, and dread for many people. So, if you find yourself feeling down or anxious this time of year, these podcasts may help to shift perspectives and/or provide some actionable tools to help you through.

The Mel Robbins Podcast:

A newer podcast on the scene, The Mel Robbins Podcast is hosted by motivational speaker Mel Robbins. Now, I know what you’re thinking…not another motivational speaker telling me what to do, but Mel’s no-bullshit delivery and actionable tools are a breath of fresh air. Episodes include “How to Manifest Anything You Want: 4 Simple Steps Backed by Neuroscience and Olympic Athletes” and “How to Have More Fun: A Guide to Enjoying the Holidays”. 

On Purpose:

The former monk turned author and life coach Jay Shetty hosts On Purpose which has conversations with celebrities and wellness experts on how to live your life with intention and achieve maximum potential. Topics often include managing relationships, mindset, and wellness routines. Great for soul searching when you’re feeling lost and

How to Be a Better Human:

Ted’s Ideas blog turned hit podcast. Each week, comedian Chris Duffy hosts experts and past TED Talk speakers in a conversational and digestible way to help listeners develop habits for becoming a better human whether that’s in relation to themselves, others, or even the planet. Topics range from “How to Deal with Jerks in the Workplace”, “How to Become a Better Ally”, and “How to Find Gratitude Everyday”. 

The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast:

Hosted by entrepreneurial power couple Lauryn Evarts and husband Michael Bosstick, this podcast covers a lot of ground with a lighthearted touch. They interview everyone from financial experts, to relationship professionals, influencers, and health & beauty gurus. Some of my favorite episodes include “Rob Dyrdek on Mindset Tools to Create Your Dream Life & Receive Everything You Desire” & “Nicole Lapin on How to Master Your Personal Finances and Establish Financial Independence Early”. 

Girls Gotta Eat:

This is another go-to of mine that I listen to weekly. Girls Gotta Eat is a comedic dating and relationship podcast hosted by Rayna Greenberg and Ashley Hesseltine. While their main focus is advice in scoring a healthy romantic relationship, they also take on topics that inevitably affect dating life like finances, family, sexual wellness, and mental health. 

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