Music is great to jam to in the car, but becomes dull and repetitive after a while. Nothing passes the time during your commute or road trip quite like a wholesome podcast. Audiobooks are great and all, but there’s something a bit more informal and real that most of us love about podcasts. It’s also great that many hours of episodes are readily available. Your favorite probably still has new content that you look forward to each week.
The realm of podcasts is infinitely vast. It’s not hard to find your niche. To help you out though, here some titles in the popular categories.
- Endless Thread: Hosted by Ben Brock Johnson, Endless Thread is a podcast from WBUR and Reddit that delves into some of Reddit’s most fascinating and powerful stories. This best-of collection is not just the host reading what other people have written; not at all. Endless Thread offers great narratives and insight from the speakers, as well call-ins from the writers and people involved in certain threads. This gives listeners a much deeper understanding of what they might read online. Many of the episodes are quite moving.
- The Walk: In The Walk, you are the protagonist. You must deliver a mysterious package from Inverness to Edinburgh, but just as you get to the train, “The Burn” sets off a bomb that decimates the station, then sets off an electromagnetic pulse rendering all cars, trains, and electronics useless. A terrorist organization is after the package and the fate of the human race lies in your hands. To make matters even more thrilling, you are the number one suspect in the bombing and the police are after you.
- We’re Alive: A Story of Survival: We’re Alive is heavily compared to The Walking Dead, but predates the show by over a year. The author, KC Wayland, spent time as a soldier in Baghdad, seeing firsthand how people react in high-stress situations. He felt that most survival horrors got it all wrong, so he wrote and directed his own zombie apocalypse story, in which you are the main character.
- The Dollop: The Dollop is a bi-weekly podcast that explores random topics of American History in comedic fashion. Every week, Dave reads a story to his co-host, Gareth, who has no idea what the topic is going to be about. The two then poke fun at this person, place, or thing. What’s not to love? Most episodes are well over an hour in length, and being 362 editions in thus far, you’ll never run out of intellectually good times.
- Presidential: This one-year, 44-episode series explores the fascinating lives of every one of the American Presidents in chronological order. Presidential is hosted by Washington Post reporter Lillian Cunningham. Each episode, Lillian interviews presidential experts who discuss in great detail the details of each Commander in Chief, whether famous figure or lesser-known leader.
- The Pirate History Podcast: For about two years now, The Pirate History Podcast has recorded 100 episodes of narration on the Golden Age of piracy in the seas. Stories are told, facts are learned, and myths are debunked. As a listener, you’re given context you don’t get from most books and it’s fascinating to hear how pirates influenced our interpretation of them in modern entertainment. Per their description, “history, high seas adventure, myth and magic, voodoo, treachery, biography and freedom await.”
- Criminal: For true crime fans it doesn’t get any better than the Criminal podcast. For five years, listeners have enjoyed their guilty pleasure of listening to brutal, creepy, and real crime stories. Episodes are usually 20-30 minutes long, making it perfect for commutes. Of course, you can binge on road trips as well.
- Small Town Murder: Hosted by comedians James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman, Small Town Murder. According to them, “We try to give you a movie’s worth of show every week,” and they sure do. Most episodes run over the two-hour mark, mainly because every story is 100% true and takes place in a different town each time. Context is given, investigations are explained, and … comedy is added? Do murder and comedy mix? You’ll have to make that call yourself.
- My Brother, My Brother and Me: If “useless advice” shows are your thing, great! You have 9 years and well over 400 episodes of My Brother, My Brother and Me to listen to. Like the title suggests, this podcast is hosted by the McElroy brothers, Justin, Travis, and Griffin. The show is probably the most not-for-kids on the list and ensures a great time.
- The NoSleep Podcast: Whether horror stories are your thing or not, you have to admit they keep you awake. The NoSleep Podcast is great for those late night road trips when you start to feel drowsy. Similar to Endless Thread, the NoSleep series takes Reddit stories and narrates them in epic fashion, along with great sound effects. These are the kinds of stories that make you wonder if demons are among us and give you that “someone is watching me” feeling at night. Since the stories originate from Reddit, anything goes. Urban legends and paranormal tales are the favorite. There are even personal experiences, which may not be real, or are they?
- The Moonlit Road: The Moonlit Road explores true, or rather told as true, campfire-style stories and legends of the American South. The stories are rather folktale and historical in a sense, meaning that they’re often milder than the NoSleep stories, but will still keep you just as engaged.
- The Other Stories: The Other Stories describes itself as, “a weekly short story podcast. A modern take on The Twilight Zone, Tales From The Crypt, or The Outer Limits. Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller, and WTF stories.”
- Second Life: Hosted by Hillary Kerr, each Second Life podcast explores the stories of female entrepreneurs who have made life-changing career changes to become successful in their new fields.
- Nice Guys on Business: Doug Sandler and Strickland Bonner host the Nice Guys on Business to help small business owners and entrepreneurs alike with relationships, honesty, trust, and integrity in business.
- The Daily: Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, Michael Barbaro hosts The Daily podcast from The New York Times. It is the go-to place for national news for many people’s commute.
- Keep It: Keep It is a show about pop culture, politics, and what happens when the two smack into each other at alarming speed. In an age where most people are obsessing over celebrities, musicians, and politics, it can be nice to be up to speed.
- The Art of Charm: For those looking to improve their social lives and surround themselves with positivity, The Art of Charm is a great listen. AJ Harbinger and Johnny Dzubak currently host this personal, career, and relationship advice show with over 160,000 listeners per episode.
Now that you have thousands of hours of awesome podcasts, all you need is a road trip destination. Why not fire up some horror stories and travel to famous horror movie locations? Wherever you travel, the best way to shorten the distance is to hit play on your favorite series and binge away.