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 had been subsequently reopened, and was even covered in a 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 22 super awesome audio options for your next big road trip... or even just a drive across town.
1. 'Ted Talks Daily'
Ted Talks always stimulate new thoughts and ideas delivered by experts and individuals who have an excess of knowledge to share on a subject. If you’re looking for a “thought-provoking” podcast, Ted Talks Daily allows you to listen in on these intriguing speeches ranging from various topics like health, astronomy, geology, psychology, and more. It’s perfect for those who are constantly willing to learn more.
2. 'Forensic Files'
Forensic Files, the television series, has been around for over 20 years. Now available in podcast form, you can listen to fact-based, dramatic storytellings of scary events, from criminal cases to disease outbreaks, that, full disclosure, may make it difficult for you to sleep. You may want to refrain from listening to this while you’re driving at night if you scare easily.
3. 'Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations'
Oprah Winfrey offers this podcast to those who are looking for answers to some of life’s biggest questions. On SuperSoul Conversations, Winfrey speaks with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, and health and wellness experts to give perspective on ways to get closer to a better version of yourself. Some of her guests include Lady Gaga, Lupita Nyong’o, Dr. Phil, and Joel Osteen.
Couples eagerly sought out Dr. Donald Cline when faced with fertility complications. Little did they know that he was using his own sperm to inseminate his patients, resulting in the birth of over 70 of his own children. Award-winning journalists Jake Harper and Lauren Bavis explore this case in the podcast Sick, giving a voice to those affected by Cline’s malpractice.
5. 'Office Ladies'
Even though The Office hasn’t aired for seven years, it’s a show that stays relevant, made evident by the countless memes and GIFs that still circulate the internet. On Office Ladies, Jenna Fischer, who played Pam Beesly, and Angela Kinsley, who played Angela Martin, team up to present a podcast breaking down episodes from the Emmy Award-winning show. The two divulge behind-the-scenes secrets that have never been revealed before this podcast.
6. 'Deadly Manners'
Deadly Manners is a 10-episode crime podcast that stars Kristen Bell, RuPaul, Alisha Boe, and other notable actors who work to solve a mystery that takes place during the wintertime of 1954 after the guests are stuck at a dinner party. A murderer starts killing the guests who can’t escape the mansion, and it’s up to them to figure out who is responsible.
7. 'Gone Fishing'
Gone Fishing is a true-crime mystery comprised of interviews with Gail Maney who was arrested on her son’s birthday for the murder of 21-year-old Deane Fuller-Sandys. A news editor, Amy Maas, met Maney while visiting a prison and was intrigued by her story, shocked that the woman she had met was a convicted murderer. Maney claims she had never met Fuller-Sandys before and the evidence combined with witness accounts make this story a real mystery.
8. '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."
10. '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 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a case generally considered pretty cut and dry until now.
11. '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.
12. '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.
13. '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 Katie Couric as a guest. The podcast was featured in the 2017 Time roundup of "50 Best Podcasts Right Now."
14. '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.
15. 'Endless Thread'
16. '2 Dope Queens'
Co-hosts Jessica Williams (of 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 four-episode HBO special that featured Sarah Jessica Parker and Jon Stewart as guests.
17. 'Empty Frames'
One part true-crime story, one part society drama, this enthralling podcast covers the real-life art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in March 1990.
18. '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 biweekly audio trip.
19. '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, and it's worth it to sign up for the service's free 30-day trial just to check it out.
20. '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.
21. 'Slow Burn'
Slow Burn is an eight-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.
22. '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.
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