As great as a road trip sounds in theory, sometimes it can be a drag. That open road gets monotonous; that pop hit that plays at least once an hour on the radio gets tired really quickly; and even chatter with your travel mates can get stale.
The best way to liven the mood is to plug in your device of choice, push play on a podcast, and crank the volume up. Whether you want to laugh at crazy stories, listen to sage advice, learn more about your favorite celebrities' lives, or dive headlong into a fascinating subject, we promise these podcasts will make the miles zip by.
With over 700 episodes recorded in his California garage, comedian Marc Maron has sat down with just about everyone: rock stars, fellow comedians, entertainment industry veterans, you name it. Since his episodes run about an hour and change, he’s able to go fairly deep with his guests, talking about their personal and professional failures and successes.
His recent conversations with President Obama, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Louis C.K. are particular standouts. As a head’s up, the most recent 50 episodes are free to listen to, but to access his considerable archives, you’re going to need to subscribe for $3.99 a month.
On her show, actress Anna Faris hangs out with her Hollywood friends — Chelsea Handler, Lisa Kudrow, and Lance Bass, to name a few — cracking jokes, playing silly games, and answering relationship questions. It's very conversational and quite funny — perfect if you want to listen to something breezy on the road.
3. Fresh Air
Terry Gross is a national treasure. She sits down with movers and shakers in the film, TV, and literary world, and asks thoughtful questions about themselves and their craft. It’s engrossing stuff — no pun intended.
4. The Moth
After one episode you’ll see why The Moth’s podcast is so insanely popular. It features some of the best storytelling you’ll ever hear. Some of the stories are emotional and poignant, others are side-splittingly funny. Download a few —seriously, any ones — and see what we mean.
6. Dear Sugar
Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond answer readers' questions with insight, heart, and kindness. The “sugars,” as they call themselves, often have experts — authors, writers, professionals — weigh in too, which gives additional texture to the podcast as they discuss the issues at hand, which range from infertility to infidelity. It’s like a mug of cozy chamomile tea in podcast form.
7. Savage Love
Whether he’s spouting off about politics or dispensing relationship advice, Dan Savage is exceedingly entertaining. And with over 500 episodes in his archives, you will absolutely have enough content to keep you company anywhere your car can drive. As a side note, the content can be quite racy and explicit, so if you have little ones in tow, you might want to save this for later.
Tech and Internet
Season one followed Alex Blumberg as he brought his podcast network, Gimlet Media, to market. Season two saw Lisa Chow’s company, Dating Ring, try to make it. Now in season three, the show’s following a range of companies whose businesses are in a rut. The episodes are surprisingly intense as the stakes get higher. Before you know it, you’ll feel emotionally invested in these journeys and will be eagerly listening to the next installment.
9. Reply All
Food and Cooking
Christopher Kimball obsessives will adore this. First, the ATK team fields questions from readers, and then they give cooking tips and discuss the best way to execute recipes. You'll be dreaming of searing the perfect steak while flying down the highway.
Here’s another fun, food-focused podcast. Some of their episodes are more topical, discussing cooking tips and trends like barbecuing or holiday cooking. Other episodes feature interviews with stars and celebrities in the food world. It’s perfect if you’re on the road and have food on the brain.
If you haven’t listened to Serial yet, there is no better time than a road trip. Season one explored an old murder case and a possible wrong conviction, and season two dove into some contested events when an American soldier defected from his army base in Afghanistan. Download either season (or both!) and see what the fuss is all about.
Go ahead and tell us: What's your favorite podcast?