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For many of us, the Thanksgiving drive back to the old familiar homestead — yes, the holidays are right around the corner — means hours spent in gridlock traffic. Those who’ve seen the helicopter news footage of freeway jams over big cities like Los Angeles and New York, know that heading out of town at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22, is not the time you should be hitting the road. But, no matter how much planning you do or what odd hour you depart at, the reality is you have a long road ahead with lots of people on it. In any case, you should be prepared to entertain your brain, so you can navigate holiday traffic calmly.

Thanks to car technology and curated playlists, we no longer have to make a conscious effort to avoid radio static. But instead of hitting repeat or thumbing through your phone for a song you haven’t heard before, take this as an opportunity to grow your brain by listening to a podcast. Podcasts are ideal for a road trip because they pack none of the mood-altering sway of music, they keep you engaged on the road, and you’ll come away feeling extremely clever, and full of good ideas for the inevitable small talk of holiday parties.

If you’re new to podcasts, don’t worry, you don’t need to sift through the ratings and descriptions to find something you’ll like because we’ve already done that for you. To prepare for your holiday road trip, we’ve put together our best podcast recommendations for three different genres: educational podcasts for personal growth, professional growth and well-being podcasts — because you can’t neglect yourself during the busiest time of the year! These shows range from 15 min to 3 hours, so you can calmly navigate traffic no matter how long your road trip.

Jump to this section about specific podcasts for professional development

Educational Podcasts for Personal Growth

Holidays and family get-togethers are notorious for bringing up conversations about what’s going on in the world, who’s happy at their job and who’s getting married and having kids — or not getting married and having kids. If you’d rather avoid the obscure answers and talk about something intriguing, then these educational podcasts might be the right conversation tools to prepare with. What’s a better way to do so than by killing hours on the road, while listening to some of the most interesting discourse out there.

podcasts for traffic

Listen to the podcasts here:

Aubrey Marcus Podcast | The Lavendaire Lifestyle | Radiolab | The Joe Rogan Experience | The Knowledge Project | Stuff to Blow Your Mind | TED Talks Daily

Inspirational Podcasts for Professional Growth

Maybe career and professional growth is top of mind for you. For those interested in professional development, we’ve vetted a fair share of shows about leadership, entrepreneurship and career growth. These podcasts are not only a great way to pass time during the regular work commute or holiday traffic, but they’ll inspire you to be more productive and motivated in your work life.

podcasts for traffic

Tribe of Mentors | Redefining Wealth | How Did You Get Into That | Claim the Stage | The Art of Charm | How to Be Awesome at Your Job | Beyond the To Do List

Wellbeing and Self-help Podcasts

The holidays can be the busiest time of the year for many people. We’ve all been there, self-care and well-being go out the window, but it doesn’t mean they have to — there’s nothing like a road trip for reflection and personal space. If you’re needing a little inspiration in your life, some encouragement to stay in shape or you just you need to work through the stressors of everyday life, these are great podcasts to take care of the most important person — you!

podcasts for traffic

Found My Fitness | A Quiet Mind | The Greater Good | Untangle | Talking in Circles | Selfie | The Thrive Global Podcast

Podcasts can fit into your daily routine as easily as your favorite playlist or morning latte, so it’s a no-brainer that they make for the perfect road trip entertainment. But don’t just take our word for it — Research found that 26 percent of Americans listen to podcasts regularly. It’s a medium that has quickly risen from a novelty to an increasingly popular form of content. Grow your brain and stay engaged on the road.