Long hours of driving on a road trip can be boring and wearisome and there’s a limit to what you can do to entertain yourself and any passengers. Apart of course from listening to a good audiobook.
Here you’ll find 30 fantastic stories and series to keep you alert while transporting your imagination to a myriad of destinations, with some of the best traveling companions you could wish for. So take a look at the best audiobooks for road trips this year.
Narrated by Martin Jarvis
The end of the world is nigh, all is ready and according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Armageddon is just around the corner. However, not everyone is happy about it.
A fast living demon called Crowley and a rather fussy angel called Aziraphale would rather the world didn’t end. They’ve been living among mortals and are quite fond of the lifestyle they’ve been enjoying for millennia.
Unfortunately, the only way to stop the apocalypse is to find the anti-christ and kill him. The trouble is no one knows where he is. This painfully funny and dark take on humankind’s ultimate judgment will make a wonderful road trip companion.
Narrated by Tina Fey
These autobiographical essays by Tina Fey and read by the author will have you laughing out loud. The Emmy award-winning actress and comedy writer tells all in this unabridged account of her life.
From being a nerd who dreamed of being a comedian on TV to her incredibly successful stints on Saturday Night Live Tina Fey gives us a look inside her life.
She tells all you ever wanted to know about her life and possibly some things you didn’t really want to ask including her opinion on Photoshop, breastfeeding, and Italian rum cake.
This audiobook will eat up the miles and leave you wanting to know more or maybe just leave you craving rum cake.
Narrated by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1984. His mother was Xhosa and his father was Swiss-German. At the time of his birth interracial marriages and sexual relations were illegal, hence the title of his book.
He tells the story of apartheid and his experiences of growing up being neither black nor white but “colored.”
Not only will the tales of his exploits entertain and sometimes sadden you but his effortless switching from one accent to another will enthrall and amaze you.
Despite his award-winning TV appearances and being included in the list of Time magazine’s most influential people his beginnings were humble and life was tough for him. A wonderful audiobook that will entertain and inspire you.
Narrated by Rob McQuay
Few people can do a travel book quite like Bill Bryson. He has the ability to make the forest come alive in your imagination as if you were walking right behind him on the great trails of America.
He describes the scenery he passes through and the people that he meets along the way including a couple of furry inhabitants you might not be too happy to encounter.
This is the story of Bryson’s hike along the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. So it’s a little more than a walk in the woods, to say the least. But it will definitely keep you entertained on your road trip.
Narrated by Sissy Spacek
To Kill A Mockingbird was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century and is a Pulitzer prize-winner. One of the best-loved books of all time it is perhaps something you always meant to read but never got around to.
Now you can listen to this story of a young girl who lives in a world of injustice and prejudice as she watches her lawyer father defend a black man accused of a horrible crime.
Atticus Finch is risking everything by defending Tom Robinson, in a society filled with blind hate. The book is read by Oscar winner Sissy Spacek. Spend your road trip taking in one of the greatest books ever written.
Narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal
A classic American novel that is on everybody’s ‘must read someday’ list. Take advantage of your upcoming road trip to tick this masterpiece off your list and enjoy a great story of the Roaring Twenties.
Read by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal it is the story of Nick Carraway, a New York bond salesman who moves next door to millionaire Jay Gatsby.
From his home, he watches Gatsby’s lavish parties and learns of the wealthy man’s obsession with Daisy Buchanan.
Having met and then lost her during the war Gatsby is determined to get back into Daisy’s life and enlists Nick’s help to do it. But will the reality match Gatsby’s expectations?
Narrated by George Guidall
Shadow is biding his time, waiting to be released from prison after serving three years. Now he just wants to get back to his wife, Laura, and start rebuilding their life. But days before he gets out Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident.
With nothing now holding the pieces of his life together, Shadow accepts a job from a stranger he meets following his release. This man, Mr. Wednesday, seems to know a lot about Shadow, and working for him is more dangerous than he anticipated.
He soon learns that a war is brewing, a battle for the soul of America. And Shadow is right in the middle of it. An entertaining listen for a long road trip.
A tale about the master detective Sherlock Holmes read by the incomparable Stephen Fry will be the perfect companion for your road trip. With millions of fans worldwide, Sherlock Holmes is the most famous sleuth of them all.
The complete works of Sherlock Holmes, all four novels, and five collections of short stories are narrated by the actor who has also written and narrated insights into each of the stories.
This story is the Valley of Fear, taken from the notebooks of the faithful Dr. Watson. Holmes’ arch nemesis Moriarty is intent on carrying out an ingenious but vile crime. Only Sherlock Holmes can stop his evil plan but will he do so in time?
Narrated by Andy Serkis
Why not take one of the best stories of all time with you on your road trip? The Fellowship of the Ring is the beginning of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings story.
It tells the tale of Frodo, a diminutive hobbit entrusted with an enormous task that will decide the fate of his world. Read by the inimitable Andy Serkis who did the motion capture and voice of Gollum in the movies, this is a double treat.
If the Lord of the Rings seemed too daunting a read, let Andy Serkis do the hard work for you. You can just sit and listen as you drive.
Narrated by George Guidall
The Dark Tower series was a departure from Stephen King’s usual genre of horror, but it is equally inspired.
This fantasy novel tells the story of Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger, and is set in a world akin to the Wild West but in an alternate universe.
In his world gunslingers are the highest authority. Roland is searching for the Dark Tower but also tracking the Man in Black who carries Roland’s soul in his pocket.
On his journey, he meets an enticing woman named Alice and befriends a young boy from New York called Jake. A haunting but gripping tale that will have you eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.
Narrated by Matthew McConaughey
A Hollywood actor may seem an unlikely source of inspiration, even one as successful as Matthew McConaughey. But Greenlights is a book full of unconventional wisdom and the lessons he has learned in his fifty-plus years.
He calls it a love letter to life. The book comes from 35 years’ worth of his personal diaries chronicling a lot of his life experiences, memories, and challenges.
The title Greenlights is his way of explaining how to deal with the challenges of life and getting relative with the inevitable. Whether you agree with his philosophy or not this is a great book and well worth a listen on your road trip.
Narrated by Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is a national treasure and a pop culture icon. The diminutive country and western singer is beloved by millions even those who are not fans of that genre of music. Her warm and witty personality appeals to almost everyone.
Songteller is a unique mixture of songs and stories, sung and told by Dolly herself. They give a fascinating insight into the life of this living legend and answer some intriguing questions.
Such as how close did she come to singing ‘I Will Always Love You’ as a duet with Elvis? And of course, the most famous query when it comes to Dolly Parton is, just who was Jolene?
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
Bird Box was a highly successful Netflix film starring Sandra Bullock. Now listen to the story as an audiobook and experience it in a whole new way.
The book interweaves the past and the present, giving background to the horror that befell the world from out of nowhere.
Something that cannot be looked upon without driving the viewer to murderous violence is stalking Malorie and her two children. They need to travel 20 miles downriver in a rowboat, blindfolded and with only their ears to guide them.
This gripping but harrowing odyssey will leave you on the edge of your seat and have you looking over your shoulder.
Narrated by Jim Dale
For a family road trip, there is no better companion than J.K. Rowling’s debut novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
This is the beginning of Harry’s adventures as a wizard as he receives his invitation to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Forced to live under the stairs by his grisly aunt and uncle, Harry has been enduring a fairly miserable life after the death of his parents.
When strange envelopes with a purple seal start dropping on his doormat it signals that his life is about to change forever. Embark on a wonderful tale of heroism and magic with this first installment of the Harry Potter series.
Narrated by Malcolm Gladwell
Have you ever wondered how some people manage to be extremely successful while others struggle all their lives? Malcolm Gladwell gives insight into how we perceive success and the people who attain it in his book Outliers.
Rather than examining what these successful people are like we should instead focus on where they are from, the idiosyncrasies of their upbringing, their culture, and their generation.
In the book, he explains why Asians are good at math and the secrets of software billionaires.
From the Beatles to Bill Gates the author explains what makes these people tick and how they achieve what they do. This is an entertaining and illuminating book for your road trip.
Narrated by Rosamund Pike
Jane Austen’s classic novel is read by Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike who played Elizabeth Bennett in the 2005 adaptation of the book.
She beautifully captures the tone and wit of Austen’s writing and her attention to detail helps to convey this classic tale. This is the story of Elizabeth Bennett and her four sisters.
Living in the confining society of 19th century England the sisters and their mother are mostly concerned with who are the best suitors.
The inimitable Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are both drawn to each other, but each has too much pride and not a little prejudice toward the other which they need to overcome. A wonderful story that you will be glad you indulged in.
Narrated by Yo-Yo Ma
Musical virtuoso and cello master Yo-Yo Ma presents a blend of personal memoirs with exquisite performances of some of his best work. This is a journey of exploration to find the meaning of our shared purpose and connection as human beings.
Beginner’s Mind is Ma’s insight into how we can open ourselves to new questions and unexpected answers with minds that are stripped of preconceptions.
With the stories of his own ‘four beginnings’ the listener gains an understanding of the author’s past and his hope in the possibilities of human curiosity, collaboration, and creativity.
Even if you are not a music fan this audiobook will entertain and enlighten you on your road trip.
Narrated by Various Artists
Anthony Bourdain was a man who saw parts of the world that most people will never lay eyes on. From his hometown of New York, he traveled the globe with all the curiosity of a born explorer.
From Borneo to Paris, Tanzania to Shanghai this book gives his account of the most memorable and enchanting places that he visited. Here you will find advice on where to stay, what to eat, and in some cases, what to avoid.
In conjunction with Bourdain’s own accounts are a series of essays by friends and family to complement his tales and give some insight into what he was like as a traveling companion.
Narrated by Alice Walker
If you have Pulitzer Prize-winning books on your ‘to read’ list then this should be one of them. The Color Purple is a wrenching but ultimately uplifting story of a courageous and resilient woman.
Growing up in a tough area, despised by society and abused by her family Celie’s only friend is her sister, Nettie who she strives to protect.
When Nettie goes to Africa as a missionary Celie is married off to an older man who is brutal and harsh, just like all the other people in her life.
So she begins to write letters to God and over 20 years they record her journey of empowerment and self-discovery.
Narrated by Wil Wheaton
Wade Watts spends his time plugged into the OASIS, a virtual utopia where players can be anyone they want to be on any one of 10,000 planets. It’s 2044 and the real world is grim and ugly so many people prefer to spend their time in this virtual space.
But it’s not just a place of escapism, somewhere in OASIS the world’s creator has hidden puzzles that will lead to remarkable power and massive fortunes. And Wade may just have stumbled upon the first puzzle.
Now the whole world is watching, and some of them are powerful players who are not beyond committing murder to beat him to this coveted prize.
Narrated by Ray Porter
This audiobook won the 2022 Audie Awards Audiobook of the Year and was a Number One Audible and New York Times audio bestseller. Not surprising considering it comes from the best-selling author of The Martian.
Ryland Grace is awake, he knows he’s been asleep for a very long time. But that’s pretty much all he knows. His memory can’t even dig up his own name, never mind why he is on a tiny spaceship millions of miles from home with two corpses for company.
Getting his memory back in bits and pieces is helping, but it is thanks to an unexpected ally that he may be able to complete his mission and save the earth.
Narrated by Kate Winslet
Matilda is a precocious little girl who loves to read much to the disgust of her parents who would rather she watched TV.
When she goes to school she hopes to escape the bullying only to be confronted by the large and equally unpleasant headmistress Miss Trunchbull.
However, when she is attacked by Miss Trunchbull she discovers that she has a unique way of dealing with bullies and unpleasant situations. Now she can fight back.
This classic story by the highly imaginative and creative Roald Dahl will be a wonderfully entertaining story for a family road trip. Narrated by Academy Award winner Kate Winslet it will be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
Narrated by Various Artists
This multi-voice performance of Max Brooks’ World War Z is an unabridged version and includes five hours of previously unrecorded content.
The list of narrators reads like a list of Who’s Who in Hollywood and includes Martin Scorsese, Mark Hamill, and Simon Pegg.
The author, Max Brooks takes the role of The Interviewer with this glittering cast of voices contributing to the documentary-style oral history of people who came into contact with the undead.
An apocalyptic tale that feels uncomfortably all too real will keep you spellbound during your road trip. This version was recorded to coincide with the release of the movie while the original won an Audie Award for Best Multi-Voiced Performance.
Narrated by Richard Matthews
Take a road trip and get smart along the way. Embarking on a different kind of journey, perhaps his most difficult so far, Bill Bryson attempts to answer some of the oldest questions posed by humankind.
From the Big Bang to the appearance of humans he pursues the answers to all our queries about how we got here. To do that Bryson has sought the knowledge and wisdom of archaeologists, mathematicians, and anthropologists.
In his quest to give us the answers, he traveled to their laboratories, offices, or field camps. The result is an entertaining, funny but informative book. It may not answer every question, but it comes pretty close and is an engaging listen.
Narrated by Stephen Fry
Snatched off the Earth seconds before it is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent has his friend Ford Prefect to thank for his timely exit.
Ford has been posing as an out-of-work actor but is really a researcher for the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Now they are traveling through space with a paranoid and chronically depressed robot meeting equally bizarre characters.
Zaphod Beeblebrox is a two-headed, ex-hippie, and ever so slightly crazy, president of the galaxy. Trillian is Zaphod’s girlfriend, and someone Arthur tried to pick up at a party.
And then there is Veet Voojagig, obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he has ever bought. To say this will be a fun listen on your road trip would be an understatement especially as it is narrated by the brilliant Stephen Fry.
Narrated by Jeff Woodman
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an incredibly moving, honest but funny story. It is a story about a boy, Christopher Boone who has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is similar to autism.
He doesn’t go out, dislikes being touched, small talk, and meeting new people. But one night he sees his neighbor’s dog who he observes is dead due to the garden fork stuck in its body.
Although he has never left his street before he now knows he has to if he is to deduce what has happened to the dog. But what he discovers will shake the foundations of his once logical and perfectly ordered life.
Narrated by Marin Ireland
A wholly original story that will keep all the family entertained on your road trip. This is the tale of Lillian and Madison, roommates and inseparable friends at boarding school until one day Lillian has to leave unexpectedly. They haven’t spoken since.
But now Madison needs her help. Her step-children are moving in with her family, and she needs Lillian to take care of them. It turns out that they have an unusual habit of spontaneously combusting when they are agitated.
Considering her dull life Lillian while doubting Madison’s story figures she has little to lose and agrees. So begins her relationship with these two unusual kids who have stirred parental emotions in her. A witty and tender story of trust and protectiveness.
Narrated by Tom Hanks
This highly acclaimed book by New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett is perhaps her most powerful novel so far. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks this is a book that will take you on more than a car journey.
At the end of the Second World War Cyril Conroy amassed great wealth. His first action is to buy the Dutch House, a sprawling estate in Philadelphia’s suburbs.
Despite taking his family from poverty to enormous wealth Cyril has unwittingly set in motion the unraveling of everything he loves.
Told by his son Danny, as he and his sister Maeve are forced from the house by their stepmother it documents their own return to poverty. A strong and gripping tale of relationships and loss.
Narrated by Various Artists
The Golden Compass has been hailed as one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. It’s not hard to see why. Pullman creates a world where parallel universes are within reach and where people have animal familiars.
The heroine is a young girl called Lyra who has to travel to the frozen North to prevent her uncle from building a bridge to a parallel world and to save her friend Roger. But what can one small girl do?
However, this is Lyra. She is scheming, savage, and exactly the kind of hero that her uncle and friend need. This is a masterful feat of storytelling and has been hailed as one of the best juvenile fantasy novels ever.
Narrated by Nick Offerman
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are an American classic and something that everyone should read, or in this case, have read to them.
This story depicts the joys and excitement of boyhood in St Petersburg, Missouri along with the conflicting emotions that go with growing up.
Mark Twain was uncannily adept at describing the life of a boy on the cusp of adulthood, wanting to be independent but clinging to the hazy days of summer and doing nothing at all.
Along with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, this book would shape American literature. The smooth baritone of Nick Offerman is perfect for this Mark Twain masterpiece.
Best Audiobooks For Road Trips Buyer’s Guide
Travelling Solo Or With Others?
The book that you choose to listen to on your road trip should take into consideration whether you are going to be in the car by yourself or with passengers.
If sharing the road trip you will need to think about what would be appropriate for other listeners. For family trips, look for books that appeal to adults and children alike and steer clear of anything too graphic or gory.
While the author you choose to listen to is obviously important you should also pay attention to who is narrating the story. Listen to a sample before deciding if you can have this person read to you for the next few hundred miles.
Someone you like as an actor in a movie is not the same as having that person talk for ten-plus hours as you drive. Make sure that not only is the book the right choice but so is the person that is reading it to you.
Audiobooks are a great way to make the miles fly by and an excellent opportunity to catch up on the list of books you’ve never gotten around to reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best audiobooks for road trips this year.
Before we finish up, a tip: If you’re looking for some new books for your reading list, check out our new guide to the best-selling books and authors of all time right here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Audiobooks Good For Road Trips?
Listening to a good novel is a great way to pass the time on long drives.
When traveling with children a popular book such as Harry Potter is a great way to keep them entertained and stop them from getting bored.
What Should I Listen To On A Road Trip?
Pick a genre you enjoy and a book you have been meaning to read but never got around to. Remember to consider any passengers when choosing an audiobook.