Summer is here, which means it’s time for internships, vacations and, usually, a break from college classes and homework. For college students, flights and long vacations are sometimes out of our budgets, but road trips are a lot more affordable.
However, the biggest downside to road trips, especially ones from the Midwest, is the drives can be incredibly boring. Music streaming services make the drive a little better, but if you’re in an area without great cell service, you could be stuck searching the radio for anything you’re interested in. Unless you’re really into Christian rock or country music, you could be out of luck.
Thankfully, there are a number of podcasts out there that can give you something brand new to listen to that could make you laugh, think or teach you something.
Here’s a list of podcasts, in no particular order, that are great for a road trip, no matter your interests.
“My Brother, My Brother and Me,” or MBMBaM, is a self-described “advice show for the modern era” put on by three brothers, Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. The premise of the show is that the McElroy brothers take listener questions and give humorous, if not terribly useful, answers. They also read Yahoo Answers questions, that are more often than not as ridiculous as they are entertaining, such as “What does Batman think of weed?”
MBMBaM is a perfect podcast for a road trip: Episodes are typically long enough to kill a decent chunk of time but fast paced enough to keep your interest, and although there are more than 350 episodes, there’s no running theme to the show, so you can listen to the newest episodes without missing anything.
Fair warning though, the McElroy brothers do tend to swear a lot, so it’s probably not the best podcast for younger kids.
“Welcome to Nightvale” tells the story of an incredibly strange, yet somehow incredibly normal, desert town located somewhere in the deserts of the United States. Nightvale is a town that denies the existence of mountains, doesn’t allow people, or dogs, in their municipal dog park and has a parent-teacher association that is lead by a sentient glowing cloud that demands worship.
The show takes the form of a community radio show, narrated by local radio host Cecil Palmer, that describes the daily events in Nightvale, like the escape of deadly librarians from the library or the mayoral race between a five-headed dragon and the faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home.
Episodes take around a half hour, and every episode features a song from a mostly-unknown artist in place of the weather report. “Welcome to Nightvale” also features guest stars like Wil Wheaton and Mara Wilson, who is best known for playing Matilda.
Nightvale has been running since 2012, so there’s quite a bit of backlog to get through, but the early episodes are of a high enough quality that they’re still worth listening to. Even though you can jump in wherever, I recommend starting at the beginning to get the whole story.
The original working title of “We Got This” was “Barguments,” because each episode is based on a different argument, such as “what is the worst Christmas song?” “who is the best Disney princess?” or “are ghosts real?”
Mark Gagliardi and Hal Lublin do their best to answer these questions and claim that once their judgment has been rendered, the argument is settled forever. The show has hosted special guests like Weird Al Yankovic, Wil Wheaton, Billy West (Fry from “Futurama”) and Mythbuster Adam Savage.
Episodes are usually under an hour, and you can jump into whatever topic you want to listen to without worrying about listening to all of them. This is a perfect road trip podcast, because even if you disagree with the answer the podcast gives, it sparks a conversation between you and your friends.
Hosted by Jeff Cannata and Anthony Carboni, “We Have Concerns” is a short, thrice weekly podcast that focuses on a news article or oddity, like the story of a man who biked coast to coast in 1919, chained to his bike, all because of a bet.
“We Have Concerns” is at the very least an entertaining podcast, but more often than not the show manages to deliver an interesting tidbit of information in a digestible and funny way. Cannata and Carboni take a look at topics from history to modern science, and the show’s topics are usually interesting enough to be entertaining even without their input.
Episodes usually run under a half hour, so even if the topic isn’t one to interest you, there’s another one on the way fairly quickly. The show moves at a fast enough pace that every episode only feels like a single song has passed, so the show does a great job of cutting down boredom on a long road trip.