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There’s no better way to pass the time on the road than settling into a great podcast.
Sure, it’s a lot of fun to sing along to your favourite 80s hits, but after a few hours, that will surely get old, particularly if you’re on a family road trip.
The best things to listen to while driving will all depend on the individual, but with over one million podcasts currently streaming with over 30 million episodes as of April 2020, there’s sure to be something out there for you.
Some podcasts are short and sharp, perfectly designed for your commute to work, while longer form stories, investigations and interviews can make for a great road trip podcast.
Read on, as we round up some of the best podcasts to listen to while driving.
Overview: As conventional radio began to make way for streaming services early last decade, Welcome to Night Vale was one of the first to bring audio drama to the new platform in a big way, quickly garnering a large fan following on Tumblr.
Welcome to Night Vale is a twice-monthly podcast that plays out in the style of traditional radio, with local weather, news and announcements from the fictional desert town of Night Vale.
The evolving and mysterious drama plays out in 20-30 minute episodes, so it is suitable for short commutes, but if you’re not caught up, there’s hundreds of episodes dating back to 2012 that can keep you entertained on a longer trip.
Where to listen: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, welcometonightvale.com
Overview: Hosted by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, StarTalk Radio is as entertaining as it is informative. The show is co-hosted by comedians and covers all kinds of topics from space travel, aliens, sports and the role science plays in people’s everyday lives.
StarTalk radio also sees regular all-star guests from the science world, and is aimed at “all the people who never knew how much they’d love learning about space and science,” according to its host.
Where to listen: startalkradio.net, Spotify, Apple Podcasts
Overview: For many of us, a good podcast to listen to while driving is a podcast about, well, driving! Rusty’s Garage is hosted by Aussie automotive commentator Greg Rust, and features racing drivers and motorcycle riders, as well as car designers and passionate collectors.
Each guest talks about some of their own vehicles and ownership stories, generally over two 30-40 minute episodes, so Rusty’s Garage is suitable for both long road trips and under-one-hour journeys.
Where to listen: podcastoneaustralia.com.au, Apple Podcasts, Spotify
Overview: Famous talk show host Conan O’Brien has been interviewing celebrities for more than 25 years, but thanks to the podcast format, Conan is able to go deeper, without the constraints of a television time slot and regulations that control what he can and can't say.
As the tongue-in-cheek story goes, Conan found that after all his years at the Late Night desk, the only people at his holiday party were the people that worked for him, so in this playful and funny podcast, Conan looks to hang out with stars and “find some real friendships along the way”.
The podcast sees guests from all walks of life, with actors, comedians, musicians and important cultural figures, discussing all kinds of things over hour-long episodes.
Where to listen: earwolf.com, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher
Overview: Hosted by comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas, How Did This Get Made deconstructs and makes fun of outlandish and bad films.
Have you ever seen a movie so bad that it’s good? This regular hour-long podcast is dedicated to just that.
Overview: Stuff You Should Know has been one of the most popular podcasts since debuting in 2008 and is consistently top ranked on iTunes, thanks in part to the wide range of subject matters it addresses.
The show is known for its well-researched writing, as it looks to reveal the inner-workings and history of life’s many facets.
In the words of hosts Josh and Chuck: “If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further.”
Episodes are released tri-weekly and are generally around 50 minutes in length.
Where to listen: iheart.com, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher
Overview: From the creators of This American Life and host Sarah Koenig, true crime podcast Serial made waves big waves when it investigated the murder of Hae Min Lee, uncovering new information and speaking to the accused murderer Adnan Syed, who still maintains his innocence.
Serial tells one story over the course of each season, going in depth and making it perfect listening for long road trips.
The stories can be so enthralling, that you may find yourself still listening once you’ve reached your destination.
Where to listen: serialpodcast.org
Overview: Comedian, martial artist, UFC commentator and television host Joe Rogan is one of the most influential names in podcasting. His long-form show, the Joe Rogan Experience, sees regular interviews with all kinds of people, from Elon Musk to Post Malone, and everyone in-between.
Joe is known for his curious nature and has an uncanny ability to have his guests open up. This podcast is often strange and controversial, but for many, that is its charm.
New episodes are published every few days and often run for over three hours, and so the Joe Rogan Experience is perfect for long road trips.
Where to listen: Spotify
Overview: Marc Maron is one of podcasting’s greatest success stories. The disgruntled comedian and radio host started WTF in his garage in 2009 with little expectation, but his gut-wrenching honesty and unique interviewing style resonated with a growing audience, and it is widely believed that the show changed and ignited the podcast landscape to be what it is today.
From humble beginnings, Marc Maron has since welcomed to his garage personalities such as Robin Williams, Keith Richards, Lorne Michaels and former president Barack Obama.
Where to listen: wtfpod.com, Spotify, Apple Podcasts
Overview: If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re into cars, and CarsGuide’s own Tools in the Shed podcast is a great way to learn about all that is happening in the car world. Of course, we’re biased.
Tools in the Shed is a weekly podcast hosted by the CarsGuide crew, which aims to keep you informed on all the latest automotive goss in a fun and engaging manner; perfect for your morning or afternoon commute.
Where to listen: carsguide.com.au/news/podcast