I don't know why, but it look me a LONG time to get behind the idea of listening to podcasts in the car (or at all). It just was not appealing to me for a while. I had heard that there were all these great podcasts out there, and people seemed to really like them, but I felt like I would be bored.
Well, I finally opened my mind to this awesome medium a few years ago (mostly through Grace intentionally choosing podcasts for our drives), and today I want to share what some of our favorite podcasts have been for road trips! In my experience the best podcast recommendations have been through blogs or word-of-mouth, so I hope you find something new that you enjoy listening to. If you have suggestions you think Grace and I would like, I'd also love to hear them!
Here are some that we've gotten really into:
Generation Why - the two hosts get together and discuss a case or mystery each episode. They usually discuss famous/infamous murders, but they also discuss mysteries like the Titanic conspiracy theory (that they totally debunk), Princess Diana's death, and others. This is one of the few murder mystery podcasts Grace will listen to (because she wants to avoid parallel thinking for her show Murder with Friends), because it's a different-enough concept. That said, if you like her show, I'm sure you will love Generation Why.
Young House Love - actually, this is one that I'm just into on my own (I haven't had Grace listen to it but it's more my style than hers). It's a married couple who are somewhat of experts in home decor and renovations, and each episode they discuss common questions and new ideas related to those concepts. I was skeptical when I heard about this podcast--how can a non-visual medium deal with design and decor in an interesting way? But trust me, they really do! If you're at all interested in DIY, home decorating, etc., check out Young House Love.
Serial - this one kind of goes without saying, as it really revamped the whole podcast genre and was incredibly popular. I'm guessing you've already listened to it. If you haven't, this is a great introductions to podcasts and will convince you of how riveting they can be. Note: I tried listening to Season 2 and didn't like it, I'm sorry to say.
S-Town - initially along the same lines as Serial (same producers, I believe), S-Town is a captivating and wildly fascinating podcast. It's the first podcast Grace and I listened to on our Alaska trip, and we were both completely engrossed for hours. I will say, without giving anything away, the themes and topics were VERY different from what I was expecting, and very different from Serial. I promise, this one is worth listening to.
Criminal - this podcast has one of my favorite narrators, Phoebe Judge. Just love her voice. She discusses different crimes and a whole variety of things that somehow involve criminal justice (the theme is very broad). Every now and then there's an episode that's a miss for me, but most are hits. They're pretty short episodes, which is nice if you just have an average-length commute and want to hear a good story.
You Must Remember This - one of Grace's all-time favorites. It discusses the secrets and forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century. Grace is an old Hollywood fan and knows all the old movie stars' names, which I think most people have forgotten (which is kind of the theme You Must Remember This explores). If you are interested in old Hollywood, this is a great podcast.
In the Dark - Grace and I each (separately, on our commutes) recently listened to this podcast, and we agreed it was one of the most riveting we'd listened to in a long time--for us, up there with Serial and other "greats". It's been out for a couple of years, but I hadn't heard of it until recently. The subject matter is dark (as the name might suggest), but it's incredibly compelling and highlights an important area of criminal justice/social policy from a perspective I had never thought about. Season two (about a different case) is coming out next week, and I'm looking forward to listening.
Heaven's Gate - we listened to this podcast last weekend on our drive to Jamul (check out my recap of that trip here). Sometimes the narrator was a little cheesy or overly dramatic, but the basic topic (the Heaven's Gate cult and the mass suicide in San Diego) is SO interesting. I didn't know much at all about the cult, so I was hooked on this podcast and learned a lot about a strange little slice of history.
Honorable Mentions - these are a few that I wasn't glued to, but definitely still entertained us on our long Alaska drives (and I'm sure they're exactly someone else's cup of tea):
Up & Vanished - this podcast is about the disappearance of Georgia beauty queen Tara Grinstead. The story is horrifying and compelling, but the narrator just wasn't my favorite. We didn't end up listening to the end of this one. I also felt like there were entire episodes that didn't go anywhere and could have been cut out of the series. That said, if you have a particular interest in this case, the podcast goes really in-depth about it.
Someone Knows Something - kind of the same issue; slow podcast, not my favorite narrator. But again, very interesting case, and took place in Canada, where we were traveling at the time.
Missing & Murdered - we listened to this because it deals with Alberta Williams, who (it is suspected) was murdered on the "Highway of Tears." We drove the Highway of Tears (a highway in rural British Columbia where a high rate of women have gone missing and/or been murdered) for a couple of days on our Alaska trip, and--I have no idea why--we thought it would be "fun" to listen to a podcast about it. Well, we didn't get up getting scared, which goes to show you the podcast was a little dry. Side note - you can find out more about the Highway of Tears here. We felt perfectly safe our whole drive.
Happy podcast listening!