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Whether you prefer murder or mindfulness, we've got something for you.

Jess McHugh
December 14, 2017

Anyone who has embarked on a long flight or a cross country road trip is familiar with the feeling of distressed boredom that creeps up at some point in the journey. Pretty soon you're checking your watch every five minutes with 10 hours still to go.

Whether you're headed to grandmother's house for Christmas or jumping on a flight to a remote island, the journey there doesn't have to be filled with mindless airport novels or inane small talk with your seat mate.

Podcasts are here for you: to distract, entertain, and educate, whether you're traveling solo or with a group. With some help from Travel + Leisure's editors, we've selected some of the best podcasts in every genre, to make the journey just as enjoyable as the destination.

True Crime

S-Town: This investigative podcast explores an alleged cover-up in a small Alabama town, painting a vivid portrait of southern life. Downloaded more than 20 million times, the seven-part series quickly became a runaway hit.

Heaven's Gate: Why did 37 people kill themselves in an apparent mass suicide in 1997? This podcast sets out to find answers, exploring the UFO religious group called Heaven's Gate.

Serial: Hosted by Sarah Koenig, this investigation into the 1999 disappearance of Hae Min Lee became one of the most popular podcasts in the country and arguably helped launch podcasts as a popular mode of entertainment. The series was so powerful that it may have played a role in helping convicted killer Adnan Syed secure a new trial.

Comedy

Call Your Girlfriend: Described as a “podcast for long-distance besties everywhere,” this show sees Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman discuss everything from fashion to feminism to pop culture and politics. The two friends encourage a message of supporting other women in this witty, well-reviewed podcast.

2 Dope Queens: This live comedy show hosted by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams tackles a variety of topics ranging from sex and relationships to race while welcoming a smorgasborg of celebrity guests, including Tig Notaro, Marc Maron, and Vanessa Bayer.

My Brother, My Brother and Me: In case you've ever wondered “Who actually reads Yahoo Answers?” you will soon have your answer. Three hilarious brothers take on a variety of the Internet's most pressing questions and deliver everything from farm wisdom to practical tips for being friends with the school lunch lady.

Science/Technology

Invisibilia: Invisibilia, which is Latin for “invisible things,” explores a variety of topics that influence human behavior, combining narrative with scientific research.

Reply All: Reply All is a great podcast for anyone who's all about the Internet. From Uber hacking to Facebook spying, this podcast has got you covered.

Note to Self: In many ways similar to "Reply All," this WNYC podcast delves into questions of identity and security in the digital age.

History

The History Chicks: This podcast is for anyone who has long mulled over the quote “well-behaved women seldom make history,” coined by Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Each episode explores in detail the lives of historical women, both well-known and obscure in an effort to reclaim the historical texts and lessons that are so often dominated by men.

Mogul: Hailed as "essential listening" by The New Yorker, Mogul's six episodes chronicle the life of music executive Chris Lighty, exploring the broader history of hip-hop at large.

Slow Burn: In an era when citizens are developing a growing appreciation for journalism that holds those in power accountable, Slow Burn turns its eye on one of the biggest stories of the 20th century: Watergate. This podcast interviews those close to the investigation that led to the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

Current Events

This American Life: One of the most downloaded podcasts each week, this podcast covers a variety of national and hyper-local stories, ranging from undocumented workers in the South to a Jeep dealership in Long Island.

Death, Sex & Money: WNYC describes their podcast as "the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation," and the episodes often explore national issues such as the opioid crisis through compelling portraits of people who are directly affected.

Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!: For a lighter take on the news, this NPR podcast takes several wacky current events stories and challenges readers to decide which ones are true and which one is fabricated.

Wellness

Happier: As the title might suggest, this podcast aims to make its listeners a little happier. The episodes can help people take simple steps to make their life better. Recent episodes offered tips on de-cluttering one's life and using color to imbue one's home with notes of mindfulness.

The Tim Ferriss Show: This interview based podcast breaks down the techniques and lifestyle habits of some of the most successful people in the world, helping you become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger or Tony Robbins.

Hidden Brain: Learn about the secrets of our own bizarre and sometimes erratic brains while discovering the science behind some of the most pressing “Why am I like this?!” questions.

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