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Going On A Road Trip? We’ve Got A Podcast For That!

Don’t leave home without this.

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illustration of road trip map with podcasts
Lauren Semmer
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Do you love to travel? Do you enjoy getting travel tips and finding travel buddies? Then join our closed Facebook group, The Ethel On-The-Go, today. It's special!

Three components make up the perfect road trip: The snacks, the people in the car and the entertainment. We’re leaving the first two up to you (though you can never go wrong with M&Ms, IMHO), and we’ve got you covered for the entertainment. We spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to podcasts to create the perfect road trip list.

For grisly road trips:

You have a ton of choices when it comes to true crime, but we narrowed the list down to our absolute faves:

Casefile Don’t turn on this Australian podcast until you know what you’re getting yourself into, as it is very disturbing. They cover a lot of child abuse and other horrific crimes — and they don’t shy away from gruesome details. If you don’t have a strong stomach or if you’re a sensitive person, steer clear. For diehard true crime enthusiasts — this is where to go to get your gory fix.

Crime Junkie Go down the rabbit hole of murders with the two hosts, who really get the nitty, gritty details of each crime. Each episode features a different crime, though some big ones last for two episodes. Although they don’t tend to do interviews on their show, they have all the horrifying details — and their empathy shines through.

Serial This is the OG of true crime podcasts, launching back in 2014. They’re the ones who essentially turned a talk show into a cinematic experience. It’s hard not to love a podcast that makes you feel like you’re watching a true crime documentary as you drive down the highway. Be warned: This crime changes each season. The first season was the absolute best, though the third season is a close second.

For family road trips:

They might stop asking, “Are we there yet?” when you pop a few of these on:

SmartLess Teens may be enticed to put their phones down when you play this award-winning podcast hosted by funnymen Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. Every episode features a different celebrity with whom they chat about regular events, silly stories and anything else on their minds. They manage to get celebs that appeal to just about everyone, from Jennifer Aniston to LeBron James. Bonus: They also sell merch, so you know it’s teen-friendly.

Heavyweight Sneak in a little life lesson for your older tweens and teens via this podcast, which hosts guests who have regrets in their lives — anything from missing a fun moment to becoming an addict. They won’t even realize they’re getting a life lesson as host Jonathan Goldstein is so funny despite the sometimes very heavy topics.

Stuff You Missed in History Class You may be driving away from school, but that doesn’t mean you should skip your history lesson. The fun part about this one is that many of the topics are weird and wild.

For girlfriend road trips (aka, the best kind):

Trashy Divorces What’s better than gossiping about bad relationships with your BFFs? Add celebrity divorces to the mix and we’re giving thanks for the best podcast idea ever. On a recent episode, the hosts detailed Full House Jodie Sweetin’s tumultuous years and her three messy divorces (they don’t actually have the celebrities on the show). We give that one a 10/10, two thumbs up.

Sounds Like a Cult This fascinating podcast examines cult-status favorites from Taylor Swift to doomsday preppers. Didn’t think you could be sucked into a cult? Maybe it’s time to re-examine. This is a funny, insightful podcast that will get you talking.

Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV If you’ve got a group of reality TV-loving ladies in your car, this surely will be your jam. It digs deep via interviews with fan-favorites throughout time from Big Brother to The Kardashians to Love at First Sight.

For romantic road trips:

If you’re hitting the road with your partner, these will spark deep convos.

This American Life It originated as a public radio show in 1995 and you can still catch it on air. Turn on the podcast to hear host Ira Glass interview interesting everyday Americans. You’ll dig deep into their stories and with 28 years of episodes, you can go down a rabbit hole.

Can I Tell You a Secret? Kill a few hours on your road trip when you get sucked into this series by the Guardian. You’ll be immersed in small-town England, where Internet fraud and cyberstalking spiral.

Modern Love The New York Times column about love, relationships and everything in between is also a podcast. Listen to each story, and then stay tuned for an interview with the essayists to learn what happened after it was published.

What's YOUR favorite podcast at the moment? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle