Top Picks For You

A Podcast for Every Type of Road Trip Companion

It seems like there’s a podcast for everything these days. Which is great, because that means there’s a podcast for every *one*

Some people say that it’s not the destination but the journey that matters. Those people have never been stuck in a car with a traveling companion that started your road trip as a friend, but after several hours of missed exits, monotonous landscapes, and a dwindling supply of snacks, you’re starting to realize they may morph into a full-fledged foe by the time you get wherever you’re supposed to be going. Luckily, if you queue up exactly the right podcast you’ll be able to pacify even the most intense cases of cabin fever.

1 OF 10

What to Listen to With Your Mom

If your mom could host her own segment on Turner Classic Movies and has some opinions about what went down between Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, then have we got a podcast her. On each episode of You Must Remember This, host Karina Longworth excavates the “secret or forgotten history of Hollywood’s first century.” You’ll discover tales you thought you knew about everything from the studio system and the early days of Disney to the Blacklist and Charles Manson.

2 OF 10

What to Listen to With Your (Little) Kids

It seems like all little kids are hardwired to respond to any seemingly finite explanation with: “But why?” While you’ve got your eyes on the road, you can let NPR’s But Why take the reins for a little while. This podcast takes questions submitted by honest-to-goodness kids on a whole range of topics (“Why do spiders have eight legs?” “Where does the sky end?”) and answers them so you don’t have to.

3 OF 10

What to Listen to With Your (Slightly Older) Kids

If you’re traveling with kids that have aged out of their “But why?” phase try Bubble. This sci-fi comedy podcast takes place in Fairhaven, a corporate-run city under a literal bubble that protects its denizens from the alien monsters that live on the planet. The story follows a group of friends working for an Uber-esque monster hunting app as they try to make it in the bubble-bound gig economy.

4 OF 10

What to Listen to With Your Gossip-Loving Bestie

If you’re traveling with the friend that can’t help but load up on checkout aisle gossip mags to flip through while poolside, then they’ll thank you for firing up an episode (or two) of Who? Weekly. Hosts Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, as they succinctly put, it tell you “everything you need to know about the celebrities you don’t.” Basically, if the story has to do with a celebrity that, if you asked the average person about them, they’d reply “Who?” you’ll find them being discussed here. Plus, you can turn playing “Who/Them” into a road trip game.

5 OF 10

What to Listen to With Your Friends Who Know What a D20 Is

As anyone who’s ever wrangled a few friends around a kitchen table and drawn up a character sheet knows, the best parts of any Dungeon and Dragons game have less to do with hunting for treasure and fighting magical beasts and more to do with the absurd, you-had-to-be-there type jokes that happen along the way. Rude Tales of Magic, hosted by Dungeon Master Branson Reese and players Christopher Hastings, Carly Monardo, Tim Platt, Joe Lepore, and Ali Fisher, is an “actual-play” D&D podcast that’s basically as if those moments of absurd, world-class laughs happened all session every session. But even if you’d never even heard of Dungeons and Dragons before it’s worth checking it out as it’s still one of the funniest podcasts of any genre you’re likely to encounter (Note: the humor is often, as advertised, rude.).

6 OF 10

What to Listen to With Your Dad

It’s a universal truth that dads love science. They just do! This one is a bit of a cheat since Radiolab, hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, has been around since before iPods were a thing, let alone podcasts. And there’s a reason it’s endured—each episode takes a scientific topic and then illustrates those ideas through well-crafted storytelling and evocative soundscapes. It’s fascinating.

7 OF 10

What to Listen to With Your Younger Sibling Who Refuses to Explain TikTok to You

Each episode of Reply All takes a look at how we as people interact with technology and the internet. And don’t worry, it’s not the kind of thing where you’re going to be scolded for having your face buried in your phone. These stories on Reply All are sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but they’re always reveal something fascinating about how our own humanity intersects with the technologies that have become so intrinsic to daily living. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing episode that will have you on the edge of your seat, check out episode #158 The Case of the Missing Hit, which might be the most compelling episodes of not just Reply All, but any podcast.

8 OF 10

Someone You Think You Might Like to Date

Why Won’t You Date Me? With Nicole Byer seeks to find the answer to the question of why host Nicole Byer is still single despite being a certified catch. Each episode Byer and a guest talk about dating and relationships more generally and Byer’s love life specifically (occasionally guests will offer their insights on Byer’s dating profiles). Goofy, frank, and always funny, it’s just about impossible to have a bad time listening to this podcast. Byer closes every episode by asking her guest if they’d date her, which provides you with the perfect cover to test the waters. “Haha, what do you think, would you date me? No? Ha, what a fun joke we just shared together. Hey, check out that neat billboard!”

9 OF 10

Your Best Friend From Elementary School

Hey, remember the Y2K Bug, D.A.R.E., and the various moral panics and urban legends that had a stranglehold on local news channels in the late 90s’ and early 2000s? Well, you might remember them but what—if any of it—is accurate? You’re Wrong About, hosted by Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall, takes a look at bygone news stories or people and delves into the more complex truths that are often lost or get distorted by media frenzies, oppressive systems, or the culture at large.

10 OF 10

Your Film Buff Buddy That’s Missing the Movie Theater

If you’re currently road tripping with a friend whose heart breaks a little every time the release date for Tenet gets pushed back, just put on an episode of We Hate Movies. Hosts Andrew Jupin, Chris Cabin, Eric Szyszka and Stephen Sajdak take a bad movie and riff on its filmic shortcomings. So if your friend starts to get bummed out about the fact that they haven’t been in a theater for the better part of a year, you can remind them, “Hey, it could be worse, you could be watching Bee Movie.”

toddthomas2009 August 15, 2020

Amen on Rude Tales which is brilliant and stupid and gross and delightful and heartfelt and insane.

But... really, Mom is into old Hollywood gossip, while Dad is into science? What year is this? Boo.