There’s nothing like a great road trip, but long drives can be exhausting and there’s only so far car games like spotto and eye-spy will get you!

Podcasts have long been the answer for entertainment during extended periods of travel, becoming increasingly popular just this past decade. From crime stories, comedy, novels and business marketing/entrepreneurship – there’s plenty of topics to choose from.

So whether you want to zone out with headphones or just keep the peace on the road, we have you covered! Here is a list of some of the best podcasts, highly recommended, divided into categories for your convenience:


The best podcasts for road trips: Investigative reporting/Crime:

the artwork for the australians bowraville, on of the best crime podcasts for road trips

1. Serial

If you’ve heard of podcasts, but you haven’t heard of Serial, you’re in a very small niche. Serial was largely responsible for the explosion of podcast popularity when it was released in 2014.

Each of the three seasons follows the investigation of an unsolved case from the USA. Listen from the very beginning for the best experience.

2. Wine & Crime

Wine & Crime is a bit of an outlier in the crime podcast genre. It’s part true crime, part comedy podcast. Three hilarious female comedians sit down each week, drink wine, and talk through their favourite true crime stories.

3. S-Town

Another blockbuster podcast, S-Town comes from the team behind This American Life and Serial. Mid way through investigating an alleged murder in Alabama, a dramatic turn mid-production changes the direction of the series midway through.

There won’t be any spoilers here, so you’ll have to listen for yourself.

4. Bowraville

The first big investigative podcast from down-under, Bowraville comes from the journos at the Australian and reports on the Bowraville murders, where three indigenous children were killed with a few months of each other. The podcast was compelling enough to have the case reopened.

5. Trace

One of the many excellent crime podcasts from the ABC, Trace follows the murder of Maria James in 1980.


The best podcasts for road trips: Comedy

the artwork for the betoota advocate, one of the best comedy road trip podcasts

1. The Dollop

The Dollop is a show about American History, where comedians David and Gareth take turns schooling each other on a particular subject…hilarity ensues. Cool fact: the show actually started as preparation for Dave’s set at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, so there’s a cool Aussie link.

2. The Betoota Advocate Podcast

The Betoota Advocate has quickly become Australia’s favourite satirical news website, and they’ve been putting out an audio version of their news feed for the last year or so. Each week they release a short radio news bulletin, plus a 30-minute interview.

Just to be 100% clear, the stories are totally made up.

3. Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

A US news quiz show on NPR, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is one of the funniest ways to catch up on news from North America (it’s like Have You Been Paying Attention, but actually funny). With some great comedians on the show each week, you’ll have a hard time keeping a straight face.

4. 2 Dope Queens

2 Dope Queens is basically a stand-up comedy set in a podcast. Phoebe and Jessica record the piece live, and never fail to make us laugh. A lot.

5. My Dad Wrote a Porno

My Dad Wrote A Porno This one is exactly what is says on the box. One of the hosts discovered their father wrote a pornographic novel, which the presenters read through each week. It’s become one of the most laugh out loud podcasts ever since.

Probably not one for kids.


The best podcasts for road trips: Business and Startups

The artwork for how I built this, one of the best road trip podcasts about business

1. HBR Idea Cast

Harvard  Business Review has been the source of excellent advice from business leaders and psychologists for generations. This podcasts offers most of those lessons in a free, condensed form, to everyone. Each episode is a fairly short interview with the author of the articles in each month’s edition, and is well worth a listen for managers and employees alike.

2. The James Altucher show

There is a glut of podcasts from so-called startup gurus right now, but there are a few that cut through the noise, one of which is the James Altucher Show. He’s got a very solid track record, having started twenty or so companies, most of which have been sold on. If you have entrepreneurial ambitions, give this one a listen.

3. StartUp

The StartUp podcast is a project of Alex Blumberg, one of the creators of NPR’s Planet Money (which is also worth subscribing to). It follows his path to starting his own podcasting network, from finance, to talent acquisition, to ongoing growth. Alex’s radio craft really shows in this piece.

4. How I Built This

How I Built This takes NPR’s storytelling heft to the world of startup and business podcasts. Each episode, Guy Roz tells the story of the start of one of the world’s most successful companies. Each is a compelling story, with a few valuable lessons to be learnt.


The best podcasts for road trips: Music

The artwork for Strong Songs with Kirk Hamilton, one of the best music podcast for road trips

1. The Soundtrack Show

If your favourite part of Star Wars is the orchestra blast at the top of the opening crawl, you’ll love the Soundtrack Show. Host David W. Collins spends each episode taking apart the soundtracks of some of your favourite films and explaining why they’re great. For musicians or casual listeners, David’s explanations are fantastic. 10/10 would recommend this one.

2. Hit Parade

It’s one thing to be a pop music nerd, but what about nerding out over pop charts? Chris Molamphy is all about that life, and makes it surprisingly interesting! Learn more about the history of pop music than you ever thought you could by tracing back the history of the Billboard Hot 100.

3. Strong Songs

Ever wondered what makes Single Ladies such a banger? Or why Toto’s Africa makes you tear up a little? Strong Songs is all about examining what makes awesome songs awesome. Even the most passionate music fans can learn something new.


The best podcasts for road trips: Future Cities and Urban Planning

Yes, the GoGet team are total urban planning geeks, and we have a tonne of great podcasts we listen to religiously, that you may also enjoy.

The art for the technopolis podcast, one of the best road trip podcasts about cities

1. 99% Invisible

99% Invisible is all about explaining the invisible ideas that make our society work a little better. It’s a design podcast at its core, but they interpret that very liberally, covering everything from architecture, graphic design, city planning, and systems thinking. If you’re looking for just one podcast to help you think differently, this is probably it.

2. City of the Future

The City of the Future podcast comes from the team at Sidewalk Labs, which is Google’s cities project. The podcasts explores a few key ideas that have emerged from their ongoing research about how to build cities better, from smart stop lights, to heated sidewalks, to self-driving cars.

3. Technopolis, by Citylab

Another leader in the smart city space, Citylab have a podcast called Technopolis, exploring the ways technology are impact our cities, whether we like it or not!

 

About Tim Beau Bennett

Tim is an ex-journalist and radio presenter, and has been a professional writer for over a decade. He regularly writes about technology, lifestyle, and smart cities, and has written for news site including the ABC, SBS, and Australian Financial Review.