The Best Podcasts to Listen to On Your Commute

Is there anything more boring than a daily commute? Unless your commute is a straight drive down a gorgeous scenic highway that only you know about, chances are you’ve experienced the dread, frustration, and mind-numbing monotony of the daily commute to the office. Rather than choking back your road rage or memorizing every billboard you pass, why not throw on something to at least soothe your ears? Fewer occasions are better suited for podcasts than commutes, so here are six of our favorite 30-minute-or-less podcasts for your commute.

Positiviteeny!

best podcasts for commute positiviteeny

Even if you’re lucky enough to head off to your dream job every day, everyone succumbs to the depressing drags of the workday routine occasionally. That’s why we recommend Positiviteeny, the itsy-bitsy podcast dedicated to sending out “messages of hope, support, and inspiration in 10 minutes or less!” Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, your hosts Travis McElroy, Erika Ishii, and Amy Dallan drop a positivity bomb on you. Rather than giving you a list of things to be happy about, the three hosts instead encourage you to find your own positivity as they have quick-but-meaningful conversations about topics like how to deal with goofing up, forgiving others, accepting compliments, practicing self-care, and more. The result is teeny, tiny episodes that act as bright little reminders to live your best life.

Listen

A Thousand Things to Talk About

A Thousand Things to Talk About

A Thousand Things to Talk About is the perfect droplet of listening for super-short commutes or those last few minutes of your drive. Although episodes are only 1 minute to 4 minutes long, the ideas that host Andrea Parrish drops will stick with you far longer. Every weekday, Parrish succinctly tackles a topic and leaves her listeners with a question to ponder and discuss all day long. Topics are widely varied and can range from ideas that feel strangely ethereal, like dreams or self-knowledge, to topics that seem shallow but become surprisingly deep, like lawns and selling art. The show is quick, interesting, and has a way of making you genuinely reflect even on topics you wouldn’t imagine you’d care to. There are literally hundreds of episodes in the show’s archive, too, so you’ll have conversation-fodder for a long time.

Listen

Up First

Up First

If you like to stay in-the-know on current events, Up First needs to be part of your commute routine. Not only does this podcast keep you up to speed on the new every weekday morning, but it also saves you hours of scouring articles or watching cable news by doing it in 10 to 15 minutes. Hosted by Rachel Martin, David Greene, and Steve Inskeep, Up First gathers up all the news and serves you the biggest stories “from politics to pop culture” in a super-quick format. Up First is an NPR production, so you know it sounds great, with crystal clear audio and sound clips woven in for a clean, newscast-y feel.

Listen

Blank on Blank

Blank on Blank

Blank on Blank is a podcast that dusts off archival audio and shares interviews with a huge variety of figures from history. The show was built around the idea that “writers save interviews recorded while reporting, yet most of them are never heard,” and each episode features previously forgotten interviews with a huge range of historical figures, from entertainers to journalists to explorers and authors. The interview audio is woven seamlessly with modern narration and music that tells a brief story of each interviewee. The show is nothing short of fascinating, as listeners are treated to the thoughts and stories of figures from Hunter S. Thompson to George Washington Carver in their own voices.

Listen

Song Exploder

Song Exploder

Musicians and music lovers should be hitting up Song Exploder on the reg regardless, but with episodes that are typically 20 minutes or less, it’s especially great for a commute. Each episode of the show centers around a single song as creator Hrishikesh Hirway invites the artist to discuss how it was created. Artists discuss their inspiration and give a sound-by-sound retelling of how the final song came to be. The show is a natural hit for musicians, but anyone with even a passing interest in music will find themselves engrossed in Song Exploder’s stories of artistic creation.

Listen

The Story Behind

The Story Behind

On The Story Behind, host Emily Prokop takes quick, deep dives into the history of everyday objects, from the theremin to the smiley face to Play-Doh. Prokop’s narration style is slick and conversational; she manages to pack more information in each episode than seems possible. Episodes run from 5 to 15 minutes, and Prokop’s narration is backed by a varied, unobtrusive soundtrack. What makes The Story Behind unique, however, is the way in which Prokop structures episodes to keep you invested in topics you never would have thought to research yourself, making her short stories of “the extraordinary history of the ordinary” perfect for getting absorbed in on your way to work.

Listen

If you burn through all of these, you should check out our favorite podcasts for road trips, our top overall picks for 2019, these productive podcasts to help get your life together, the best fiction podcasts overall, the greatest history podcasts, some spooky horror podcasts, a few hilarious comedy podcasts, or The Manual’s own podcast. Need more suggestions? Here are some of our faves for men’s fashion, craft beer, and true crime.

And if you’re new to podcasts, you’ll need one of the top apps for listening. If you’re more interested in the small screen, these are the best podcasts that have been adapted into TV shows.

Fashion & Style

Cuts Clothing Offers Comfortable and Customizable Tees for Professionals

Yes, you can wear a T-shirt to the office. You just have to do it right.
Food & Drink

Mail-Order Meat: Where to Order Quality Meat Online

Need a cut of steak? Some pork? A few lobster tails? Skip a trip to the store and these premium delivery companies.
Travel

21 Best Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Adventure

Get out of town ... or just go to the library. Travel books simulate the sensations of sailing, sightseeing, and setting out to explore.
Style

Beyond Clothing Can Be Worn in Sub-Zero Temperatures and On Hot Dates

Do your clothes pass the re-warming test? Beyond's do.
Culture

Treat Yourself to a Glass of Bourbon and a Pappy Van Winkle Barrel-Fermented Cigar

No, they didn't just dip cigars in booze and let dry. Though now that you mention it ...
Culture

What Is a Float Tank? A Beginner’s Guide to Flotation Therapy

Flotation therapy can help hormone regulation, stress and pain relief, and sleep quality. But how does all this happen through floating on your back in a windowless tank of water?
Culture

The Lady-Approved List of Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Her

Before you buy her a bottle of red wine, a box of chocolates, and lingerie, read this.
Culture

7 Best Finance Apps for Budgeting, Money-Saving, Investments, and More

Stop stressing out and get the most out of your precious cash.
Culture

19 Classic Books Every Man Should Read (or Re-Read) in 2019

Make 2019 one for the books. Here's your reading list for the rest of the year.
Culture

9 Best Crime Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're like the rest of the country, you're probably obsessed with true crime right now. Here are the best documentaries to get your fix.
Culture

10 Best History Podcasts for Learning About Everything From Pirates to Presidents

Everything has a history, whether it’s a country, a famous figure, a piece of art, or a popular snack food.
Culture

Never Suffer from Post-Workout Soreness Again with the Theragun G3Pro

Theragun's latest the Theragun G3PRO was designed to help alleviate sore muscles and promote faster recover in everyone from professional athletes to your grandma after her PT appointment.
Culture

The Big List of Brands with Lifetime Warranties: Buy It Once, Have It Forever

Get gear that will last forever (or, at least, be replaced for free if it breaks).