Best Road Trip Podcasts To Listen To (2020)

I may be aging myself here, but who remembers creating a mixed tape or burning a CD before you embarked on an epic road trip? Those days are far behind us and all you need now are some binge-worthy podcasts to provide solid company while on the road. From true crime, audio drama, political scandal to everything in between, take note of these admirable road trip podcasts. Depending on your mood of which podcasts you want to listen to while on the road trip, here are some of our podcast recommendations.

If you enjoy a mystery or true crime stories, listen to Serial. A true crime podcast from the creators of This American Life. Season 1 tells the true story of Hae Min Lee’s 1999 murder (12 episodes).

The Left Right Game is a fictional audio drama about a journalist who goes missing when following a group of paranormal explorers playing the Left/Right Game.Your hands will be sweaty on the car wheel throughout the entire series.

Running from COPS is about the result of an 18-month investigation that delves deep into how the show actually gets made, how much control police departments really have over the final product, and the harrowing stories of the people who have ended up on camera (6 episodes).

Slow Burn Season 2 looks back at the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal that rocked the nation (8 episodes).

If you enjoy science and research, here are other podcast recommendations:

The Dropout is the story of Elizabeth Homs, who was once identified as the ‘next Steve Jobs’, and her company’s unbelievable rise and fall (6 episodes).

The Happiness Lab hosted by Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos who takes you through the latest scientific research and shares inspiring stories that will forever alter the way you think about happiness.

If you enjoy stories of how businesses got started or their successes and failures, tune in to these shows:

How I Built This. Our favorite episode is the story about Dave’s Killer Bread.

StartUp Season 1. A documentary series by Gimlet Media that is about the obstacles and stories of tech entrepreneurs.

With so many different genre podcasts to choose from, we created a list below of the best road trip podcasts of 2020. When you’re ready to put your seat belt on, make sure you have all of these recommendations in the queue. Drive safely and happy listening!

Serial

by This American Life

34m

average length

44

episodes

This true crime podcast is for the fully-fledged Stephen King lover. It’s perfect for people who have a penchant for crime, suspense, and thriller stories. This podcast show offers the very best of non-fiction drama. Sarah Koenig is no less of a natural storyteller and a skilled investigator. With her personality, it’s almost like being in these thrillers. It’s nearly impossible to ask for a better host.

Headlong: Running from COPS

by Topic / Pineapple Street Media / Dan Taberski

27m

average length

10

episodes

Dan Taberski and the team behind Missing Richard Simmons investigate COPS — the longest running reality show in TV history — and its cultural impact on policing in America. Our story begins with the footage of a routine arrest behind a church in Georgia...

Dolly Parton's America

by WNYC Studios & OSM Audio

37m

average length

12

episodes

In this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton—but why? That simple question leads to a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America’s great icons. Join us for a 9-episode journey into the Dollyverse. Hosted by Jad Abumrad, creator of Radiolab and More Perfect. Dolly Parton’s America is co-produced by WNYC Studios, home to great podcasts like Snap Judgement, Death, Sex & Money, and Nancy.

StartUp Podcast

by Gimlet

39m

average length

166

episodes

A series about what it's really like to start a business.

Slow Burn

by Slate Podcasts

39m

average length

51

episodes

Ever heard of a podcast show offering content TV series style? Here’s one. Each season of Slow Burn discusses highly controversial historical events in America, clears the air, and answers, long unanswered questions. Thus far, they've discussed politics and entertainment. There's much more in store. Explore the other side of history with host Josh Levin.

The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

by Pushkin Industries

32m

average length

55

episodes

Who would think that an elemental emotion like happiness has a scientific undertone? Yale University Professor, Dr. Laurie Santos has devoted years of study to discover the science of happiness, and he happily shares her discoveries with the world. There can be more control over our emotions, and science proves it. Check out this podcast show to see how!

The Dropout

by ABC News

21m

average length

13

episodes

Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world's youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as "the next Steve Jobs" find herself facing criminal charges -- to which she pleaded not guilty -- and up to 20 years in jail? How did her technology, meant to revolutionize healthcare, potentially put millions of patients at risk? And how did so many smart people get it so wrong along the way? ABC News chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, along with producers Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson, take listeners on a journey that includes a three-year-long investigation. You'll hear exclusive interviews with former employees, investors, and patients, and for the first-time, the never-before-aired deposition testimony of Elizabeth Holmes, and those at the center of this story.

How I Built This with Guy Raz

by NPR

46m

average length

234

episodes

Another podcast produced by NPR, How I Built This with Guy Raz (hosted by, you guessed it, Guy Raz) covers topics like business, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Each episode dives into the story behind a specific entrepreneur and the movement they started, including the people behind well-known companies like Instagram, Airbnb, Lyft, Chipotle, and Ben & Jerry’s. It’s super insightful and revealing, with plenty of gems to offer about how people succeed. It’s a great choice for anybody who’s interested in starting a business, or just learning about the ones they know and love.

The Left Right Game

by QCODE

29m

average length

14

episodes

Tessa Thompson stars as an idealistic young journalist trying to make a name for herself by following a group of paranormal explorers, obsessed with a seemingly harmless pastime known as the Left/Right Game. The journey takes her into a supernatural world that she and the other members of the expedition can neither handle nor survive. The Left Right Game Premieres Monday, March 23rd, with new episodes releasing weekly through May 25th. Subscribe today wherever you find your favorite podcasts and visit qcodemedia.com for more information.

Sick

by WFYI/Side Effects Public Media

25m

average length

10

episodes

What happens after a doctor uses his own sperm to impregnate his patients? Sick is an investigative podcast about what goes wrong in the places meant to keep us healthy. Award-winning journalists Jake Harper and Lauren Bavis dig deep to share shocking personal stories of medical injustices, and hold accountable the people and institutions meant to care for us. Sick's first season explores the complications of fertility medicine, one Indiana doctor’s abuse of power, and the generations of lives he affected.

88 Days: The Jayme Closs Story

by KARE 11 | VAULT Studios

27m

average length

12

episodes

On October 15, 2018, a couple was brutally murdered in a small Wisconsin town, and their 13-year-old daughter vanished without a trace. For 88 days, the search for Jayme Closs was a mystery that captivated the nation and left a grieving family holding its breath. KARE 11 television reporter Lou Raguse extensively covered the months-long investigation and takes listeners inside the case and into the mind of the killer. Hear in-depth interviews, analysis, and how it all unfolded. 88 Days: The Jayme Closs Story is a KARE 11 original podcast in association with Vault Studios. New episodes are released on Tuesdays. https://88dayspodcast.com

The Thing About Pam

by NBC News

21m

average length

20

episodes

Two days after Christmas, 2011, Russ Faria came home from game night to find his wife, Betsy, dead. He was soon charged and convicted of her murder. But Russ Faria insisted he did not kill his wife. Betsy’s brutal murder set off a chain of events that would leave one man dead, another man implicated, and expose a diabolical scheme. It would also see Dateline NBC—the true-crime original—become a part of the never-ending saga that proves the old adage: Truth is stranger than fiction. This original series from Keith Morrison and Dateline defies all expectations.

Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.

by Wondery

21m

average length

17

episodes

Football star Aaron Hernandez went from the bright lights of the Super Bowl to a convicted murderer in a few years. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, best known for its investigation of the sexual abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, takes a hard look at the crisis facing football through the lens of Aaron Hernandez’s life and terrible crimes.From Wondery, the podcast team that brought you Dr. Death, Spotlight asks: Did a brain badly damaged by football contribute to Hernandez’s violent behavior? Did he keep secrets about his sexuality that collided with a hyper-masculine football culture? Did elite coaches and teams look the other way as Hernandez was spiraling out of control?Spotlight uncovered new documents, audio, and interviews to go deep into the story of what happened to Aaron Hernandez, and what it means for those of us who cheer on a violent game. 

Dirty John

by iwonder@wondery.com

17m

average length

36

episodes

Debra Newell is a successful interior designer. She meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family doesn’t like John, and they get entangled in an increasingly complex web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival. Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times.

To Live and Die in LA

by Tenderfoot TV & Cadence 13

25m

average length

29

episodes

In Feb 2018, an aspiring actress vanished from her Hollywood apartment. Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss was asked to help the family get answers. Together, they found them...sometimes at great personal risk. For the first time in a serial podcast, go inside a gripping multi-state investigation as it unfolds from the moment of the disappearance to each twist and turn in the case. Stay not only more informed than the news, but listen as the official story is dismantled with in-the-moment first-hand reporting with the leading figures in the investigation. The new #1 podcast from the team behind Up & Vanished and Atlanta Monster.

Passenger List

by Passenger List

30m

average length

11

episodes

Atlantic Flight 702 has disappeared mid-flight between London and New York with 256 passengers on board. Kaitlin Le (Kelly Marie Tran), a college student whose twin brother vanished with the flight, is determined to uncover the truth. Passenger List is a mystery thriller podcast from PRX’s Radiotopia.

Ear Hustle

by PRX

40m

average length

56

episodes

Ear Hustle brings you the daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration. The podcast is a partnership between Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist, and Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and was co-founded with former San Quentin resident Antwan Williams. The Ear Hustle team works in the San Francisco Bay Area, both in San Quentin State Prison’s media lab and from offices on the outside, to produce stories that are sometimes difficult, often funny and always honest. Episodes offer a nuanced view of people involved with the American prison system and those reintegrating into society after serving time.

Stuff You Missed in History Class

by iHeartRadio

33m

average length

1513

episodes

Co-hosts, Holly Frey and Tracy V. Wilson, are a fantastic team. Together, they paint vivid pictures of the past, which most people seem to forget. Listeners often feel like they are living through history when this duo explores exciting events from the past. Stuff You Missed in History Class ensures that the audience does not feel like they can’t keep up with history.

Radiolab

by WNYC Studios

42m

average length

235

episodes

Another public radio program that is also available for free as a podcast, *Radiolab* has been running since 2002. It focuses on topics in the philosophy and science realms but in an accessible and light-hearted way perfect for the podcast format. If you think you’re not into science, podcast hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich may just be able to convince you otherwise. Each hour-long episode is innovative, stylized, and engaging, full of music and sound effects to hold the interest of even the most attention-challenged listeners.