Businesses are opening, masks are coming off, and people are hitting the road once again. And with so many travelers fanning out across the U.S., it’s essential to plan ahead.

Book your hotel early, set your restaurant reservations, and for long road trips, get the perfect podcast ready to go.

New podcasts drop almost hourly, which means navigating the thousands of choices out there may seem like a game of chance. Some are great for quick listens, but for longer trips, you will likely want a podcast that will truly capture (and keep) your mind occupied.

We put together a list of five podcasts that are perfect for the long haul, with rollercoaster life stories that intertwine colorful characters into vivid and well-realized settings that will make the miles melt away and the trip fly by.

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‘The Clearing’

Have you ever felt someone you know might be a murderer? Well, that’s how April Balascio felt about her father. After spending her childhood moving from home to home, she hires a detective and discovers her suspicions had been true all along.

From Pineapple Street Media, in association with Gimlet, “The Clearing” follows April and host Josh Dean as they explore her childhood, her father’s life, and try to separate truth from conspiracy after her father is connected with an ever-increasing number of murders.

‘S-Town’

Ask anyone from a rural American town about their home, and you’ll likely get one of two answers. Either they love it, feel a deep sense of community and never want to leave, or they just couldn’t wait to get out. The main character of this podcast embodies the latter. It follows “This American Life’s” Brian Reed as he investigates an alleged murder in Woodstock, Alabama, following an email he receives from an eccentric local, John B. McLemore. After months of exchanging emails and phone calls with John, Brian travels to Woodstock and discovers there is more to this story than he could have possibly imagined. John is one-of-a-kind, and the scope of his investigation departs from murder mystery and transforms into a study of a brilliant mind, of a community and of ourselves.

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‘Slow Burn: Watergate’

The Watergate scandal is so well known that subsequent scandals often just have “-gate” tacked onto the end. Aptly named “Slow Burn” from Slate Plus focuses on the parts of Watergate that are not as well known. It tells the story of the people who contributed to exposing the truth and the slow drip of information as they uncovered the scandal, all in a narrative format that feels like the podcast itself is breaking the story.

‘The Dropout’

“The Dropout” is the classic story that teaches us that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Host Rebecca Jarvis from ABC Audio follows the story of Elizabeth Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford, founded a world-changing medical tech company, and in the process became the youngest female billionaire in the world.

Holmes’ company, Theranos, reached a $9 billion valuation on the promise of blood tests with a single drop of blood. There was just one small problem. Theranos is accused of being a fraud with no working product. In 2018, Holmes was charged with defrauding investors.

‘Last Seen’

“Last Seen” is a true-crime podcast that tells the story of the theft of 13 artworks from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The podcast follows investigative journalists from The Boston Globe and WBUR Boston as they investigate how, with a $10 million reward offered, the heist could possibly still be unsolved. It includes exclusive interviews, first-ever access into the museum, and the 81 minutes it took for the thieves to steal a half billion in jewels before disappearing forever.

Road trips are exciting, and they can be even more so with a fun podcast to enjoy along the way. Check out one of our favorites so that choosing one isn’t such a daunting task!

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