Full disclosure, I am a total podcast addict. Whether I'm folding laundry or running errands, the first thing I do is queue up one of my favorite podcasts to make the task at hand infinitely more enjoyable. With summer vacation travel in full-swing, I thought this was the perfect time to round-up the most addictive podcasts to listen to on a road trip. I personally have a 9-hour car journey in my near future, so I'll be podcasting my way across state lines all the way to my final destination.
My love affair with podcasts started — like it did for so many — with Serial, an utterly addictive investigative journalism piece narrated by Sarah Koenig, that explored the murder of a Baltimore high school student named Hae Min Lee. Serial caused so many people to get emotionally invested in the case that it' been subsequently reopened, and that story is now being covered in a new HBO documentary.
While Serial was my podcast gateway drug, I've since expanded my podcast library to include topics ranging from news and politics to parenting advice and pop culture. No matter what mood I'm in, there's a podcast waiting to entertain, inform, or just make me laugh.
Here's a roundup of 15 super awesome audio options for your next big road trip... or even just a drive across town.
1. In The Dark (Season 1 and 2)
In The Dark, a true-crime podcast from APM Reports, is now in its second season, but if you're unfamiliar with it, you'll want to start with the first season. Season 1, which won a 2016 Peabody Award, dramatically reported on the previously unsolved abduction of Jacob Wetterling, and 11-year-old boy in Minnesota.
In the second season, the case is different — this time about a man named Curtis Flowers — but the reporting is just as riveting.
This inspiring feminist podcast comes from the creators of the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast, and feels perfectly timed for the #MeToo era. Co-hosts Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin tackle a different provocative question every episode in Unladylike, including "How to Come out of the Cannabis Closet" and "How to Be a Sex Queen."
3. The RFK Tapes
Whether you're a fan of the Crimetown podcast or consider yourself a bit of a history buff, you won't want to miss The RFK Tapes podcast. The series raises questions about the assignation of Robert F. Kennedy, a case generally considered pretty cut and dry until now.
4. Second Life
Anyone who has ever contemplated leaving their current career behind to start something new will want to listen to the Second Life podcast from MyDomaine. The show features stories of successful women who've made major career changes, at all different ages and stages of their lives, and the result is pretty motivational.
Guests have included Jessica Alba, Mandy Moore, and Sophia Rossi, the co-founder of Hello Giggles.
5. The Daily
No day of mine is complete without listening to this exceptional podcast from The New York Times. I love host Michael Barbaro's thoughtful questions and in-depth coverage of the top news stories of the day. It only takes 20 minutes to listen to and you walk away feeling well-informed without that exhausted feeling you get from watching some of the talking heads on TV.
6. The Longest Shortest Time
The Longest Shortest Time is one of the few podcasts about parenting that I return to again and again, though you don't need to be a parent to listen to it. Host Hillary Frank tackles all topics under the sun and often has Katic Couric as a guest. The podcast was featured in the 2017 Time roundup of "50 Best Podcasts Right Now."
7. Fresh Air
Call me a nerd but I love Terry Gross and her long-running NPR program Fresh Air. Clearly I'm not alone since in 2015, Fresh Air was the most downloaded podcast on iTunes, according to the show's website.
This podcast covers pop culture and other contemporary issues in a very easy-to-listen to format — perfect for logging mile after mile on the open road.
8. Endless Thread
9. 2 Dope Queens
Co-hosts Jessica Williams (from The Daily Show fame) and Phoebe Robinson are not afraid to ask their star-powered guests frank questions on this live LOL comedy podcast. 2 Dope Queens became so popular it was made into a 4-episode HBO special that featured Sarah Jessica Parker and Jon Stewart as guests.
10. Empty Frames
On part true-crime story, one part society drama, this enthralling podcast covers the real-life art heist at the Isabella Stewart Garner Museum in Boston in March of 1990.
11. The Dollop
The Dollop podcast, hosted by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, is an entertaining deep dive into obscure American history. Some topics are more recent, like the rise of Trump, while other episodes go way back in the history books, like about Henry Ford's Henchmen. You'll laugh and learn on this bi-weekly audio trip.
12. West Cork
This true-crime story is centered around the unsolved murder of a French film producer, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, that took place in the unlikeliest of settings. West Cork is an original podcast from Audible, worth it to sign up for the service's free 30-day trial just to check it out.
13. Keep It
Every week the podcast's host, Ira Madison, is joined by a comedian, journalist, politician, musician, actor, or activist, to discuss the hottest topics in pop culture and politics. Keep It is the perfect way to stay up to speed on the important matters, like what's going on with Kanye.
14. Slow Burn
Slow Burn is an 8-episode podcast miniseries from Slate that deep dives into the Watergate scandal. There are some serious overlaps between Nixon's Watergate and Trump's Russiagate, and the meticulous reporting by Leon Neyfakh reveals all of them and more.
15. WTF with Marc Maron
Marc Maron is an OG podcaster, starting his show back in 2009. He's had some legendary interviews on WTF, like the one with President Obama, and the one with Louis C.K (pre-scandal). You can count on Maron to draw interesting guests and ask them the real questions.