Taking a road trip with friends or family is an exciting adventure. But sometimes, the long hours on the road can take their toll, especially when you drive through endless stretches and are out of song recommendations.
The good news is that you can actually mix up your playlist by including some audiobooks on your playlist! Not only will you get an enriching experience from your travel and the places you visit, but you’ll even maximize the hours you spend in the car by learning something new or enjoying a new story!
Plus, if you have kids traveling with you, the storytelling can definitely keep them in their seats—or on the edges of their seats as they wait for the next chapter.
Best Audiobooks for Road Trips
When you choose an audiobook for your road trip, you may want to do a mix of fiction and nonfiction books. Here are some of our recommendations:
Modern Fiction Audiobooks
If you are a fan of modern fiction, consider this the time to stock up on more of your to-be-read (TBR) list at no added effort. Check out these choices:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Run Time: 12 hours 12 minutes
Narrator Cassandra Campbell creates a compelling listening experience with her authentic accents and distinct narrative voice, giving you the full experience of this story set in small-town North Carolina.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Narrator: Toni Morrison
Run Time: 12 hours and 3 minute
What better narrator to listen to than the author herself! This 1988 Pulitzer winner will surely keep you at the edge of your seat—or at the wheel—as it follows the tale of a slave woman, whose murdered daughter haunts her. Of course, consider skipping this if you’re driving alone a dark road for hours on end.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Narrator: Elisabeth Moss
Run Time: 12 hours and 6 minutes
Get lost in a dystopian society while driving cross-country with this audiobook narration by the gifted Elisabeth Moss, who also stars in the Hulu series inspired based on this book. Get yourself thinking about the world with this mesmerizing tale of exaggerated patriarchy.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Narrator: Allan Corduner
Run Time: 13 hours and 56 minutes
If you want a good historical story while you drive, this tear-jerking tale about a girl in 1939 Nazi Germany might be a great choice. Just make sure you have enough tissues to keep your eyes clear and on the road!
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Narrator: Stephen Fry
Run Time: 5 hours and 52 minutes
This humorous science fiction tale will surely keep you entertained to the end of your road trip. Arthur Dent gets plucked from the Earth a few seconds before an intergalactic highway construction demolishes it. The masterful narration of Stephen Fry, an acclaimed British actor, makes the story come alive in the most hilarious fashion.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Run Time: 10 hours and 2 minutes
This complex tale explores the family dynamics of an interracial family, following Lydia with her Chinese father and white mother living in Ohio in the 1970s. The soft voice of Cassandra Campbell was the perfect choice to narrate this thought-provoking piece.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Narrator: Caroline Lee
Run Time: 15 hours and 55 minutes
This domestic thriller, which inspired the HBO show of the same name, follows three women and their children, who are attending kindergarten together. Australian-born Caroline Lee’s narration makes this story sound exactly as it should, as it is based in suburban Sydney.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Narrator: Kate Rudd
Run Time: 7 hours and 14 minutes
This bestseller by John Green will surely bring you to tears as cancer patient Hazel falls in love with Augustus Waters, who also has cancer. Kate Rudd’s narration infuses great care and sensitivity into this heartbreaking story.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Run Time: 8 hours and 24 minutes
This audiobook, narrated by the author himself, gives readers a unique glimpse of what he envisioned when he wrote the story about young Bod Owens, who is orphaned and raised by graveyard ghosts.
If you’re a fan of classics, these audiobooks will make the perfect addition to your road trip. But even if you’re not a fan, you can actually use audiobooks to ease into what may feel like a more difficult read by having someone else—especially a talented actor!—read it for you:
Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Narrator: Nick Offerman
Run Time: 7 hours and 52 minutes
This classic tale by one of the funniest authors in American history, paired with one of the funniest actors as narrator, will surely make your road trip hours fly by. Follow the adventures of young Tom as he and his friend Huck witness a murder.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Narrator: Thandie Newton
Run Time: 19 hours and 10 minutes
This Victorian-era story will entertain you throughout your road trip, thanks to the excellent narration skills of Thandie Newton, who also played a role in the Beloved film. You will experience Jane’s childhood, school encounters, and stint as a governess, all the way to her love affair with the enigmatic Mr. Rochester.
The Sherlock Holmes Collection by Arthur Conan Doyle
Narrator: Stephen Fry
Run Time: 62 hours and 52 minutes
Enjoy the world’s most famous fictional detective as narrated by actor, comedian, and screenwriter Stephen Fry. His own personal devotion to Sherlock Holmes makes for a great rendition. This collection consists of 12 short stories about Sherlock Holmes, which should give you enough material for several days’ worth of driving.
The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien
Narrator: Rob Inglis
Run Time: 117 hours and 27 minutes
Although the whole duration of this audiobook series may take you more than one cross-country drive to finish, this narration is worth a shot if you want to get your toes wet with this epic trilogy. Inglis even delivers the folk songs with unequalled charm!
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Narrator: Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallagher
Run Time: 35 hours and 14 minutes
One of the benefits of listening to audiobooks is that even difficult books can be within our grasp. This dual narration makes this classic tale come alive with its melodrama.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Narrator: Jake Gyllenhaal
Run Time: 4 hours and 49 minutes
Jake Gyllenhaal’s narration will surely bring this classic story to life, from the famous parties to the love triangle drama between Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby.
If stories are not your thing, you can also opt for nonfiction audiobooks to keep you company as you drive. These will help you expand your thinking and learn new things as well.
Educated by Tara Westover
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Run Time: 12 hours and 10 minutes
This memoir has landed on several best books of the year lists, and follows the author’s experiences leaving her survivalist family at the age of 17. Despite not having any formal education, she pursues one at Harvard and Cambridge University.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Narrator: David Sedaris
Run Time: 5 hours and 53 minutes
This collection of amusing nonfiction short stories narrated by David Sedaris himself will surely delight you on your long drive.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Narrator: Jeff Bottoms
Run Time: 7 hours and 44 minutes
Cal Newport explores the importance of focused work, which he calls “deep work,” in contrast to “shallow work,” which includes all the distractions of daily life. Return from your road trip equipped with skills to be more efficient and effective.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Narrator: Dave Ramsey
Run Time: 3 hours and 41 minutes
Have a fruitful road trip by learning how to give your finances an overhaul. Dave Ramsey narrates this book himself, and his track record of helping countless people get rid of debt and build wealth will give you priceless insights and practical tips.
Awakening the Entrepreneur Within by Michael Gerber
Narrator: Michael E. Gerber
Run Time: 7 hours and 33 minutes
If you’ve been longing to start your own business, check out this audiobook narrated by the author himself. With his bestselling book The E-Myth, Michael Gerber has helped many people learn the mindsets that entrepreneurs need in order to succeed.
Called to Create by Jordan Raynor
Narrator: Jim Denison
Run Time: 6 hours and 9 minutes
Jordan Raynor explores the power of creating businesses that serve others. He shares stories of some of the most influential businesses, including charity: water, TOMS Shoes, and Chick-fil-A, among others.
Listening to Audiobooks
The great thing about audiobooks is you can easily multi-task, making them the perfect company for driving on long road trips.
For more tips to get the most from your listening experience. check out our guide on how to listen to audiobooks.
Which books would you choose to listen to on a road trip? Share your picks in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:
- 20 Best Books on Audio: Listen to Your Favorite Reads
- 10 of the Best Websites to Download Free Audiobooks
- How to Become an Audiobook Narrator in 7 Steps
- Audiobooks vs. Reading: Which Has More Benefits?
Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.