best podcasts for road trips: This American Life

This coming week, Dan and I will be driving to northern Indiana, back to central Indiana, to eastern Iowa, and then back to central Indiana again. When we’re preparing for any road trip, we pull out our iPod (or iPhone) and update our favorite podcasts.

We initially connected over a drive home from Chicago and our common love of This American Life, and we’re still listening now. Music is always on in our home, and we aren’t books-on-tape kind of people. But podcasts? Podcasts are perfect for road trips. 

best podcasts for road trips: This American Life

May I share one of the best podcasts for road trips — This American Life — and a few of my favorite episodes? Here they are.

This American Life — An hour long podcast (and weekly radio show) with one general theme for each episode and a variety of stories on that theme. Examples: high school prom, breakables, secret identities, confessions, road trips. The stories are usually real-life stories told or reported by a variety of people, and they’re almost always phenomenal.

484: DoppelgängersOur recent favorite. We’re still talking about it on a regular basis, and you’ll know why when you listen. From TAL: “We got a tip about a meat plant selling pig intestines as fake calamari, wondered if it could be true, and decided to investigate. Doppelgangers, doubles, evil twins and not-so-evil twins, this week. Fred Armisen co-hosts with Ira Glass.”

487: Harper High School, Part I: Heartbreaking, and eye-opening. Don’t miss Part II. From TAL: “We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances.”

482: Lights, Camera, Christmas!Perfect for this time of the year! We were just reminiscing about this one last night. From TAL: “This holiday season we bring you a show filled with stories of people going to great lengths to throw a special Christmas for their families. Including tales of Luna the guinea pig (pictured), Bambi the reindeer, and Jeko the super-powerful (and somewhat-scary) Christmas elf.”

Hear about + view my favorites from The Moth and 99% Invisible

If you don’t prefer podcasts, you could buy a physical copy of some of the best episodes — This American Life: Stories of Hope & Fear