School’s out, the sun is shining and the open road beckons!
If you're taking a road trip this summer, an audiobook is an ideal travel companion. We have hundreds to choose from, and there is something for everyone, no matter what age.
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Best Audiobooks for Couples’ (or Solo) Road Trips
Driving alone can be tedious and an audiobook can help keep you engaged and alert.
Travelling with your better half? An audiobook can give you and your significant other something to share.
1. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Since you’re driving rather than flying, this plane crash thriller from the creator of the TV show Fargo should be safe enough… It’s the story of a group of passengers on a private jet, travelling from Martha’s Vineyard to New York. The plane goes down, but only two passengers survive.
2. The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession by David Grann
If a full-length audiobook is not your thing, give this one a try. There are a dozen pieces of narrative journalism in this collection, and all of them fall into the category of “truth is stranger than fiction.” For instance, the story that gives the collection its title finds the world’s foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes dead under mysterious circumstances.
My favourite piece was “The Chameleon,” about a Frenchman who passed himself off as a missing teenage boy from San Antonio, Texas.
Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips with Kids
Driving with younger children? These shorter books will keep kids and adults alike entertained for hours.
3. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Set in the late nineteenth century, Sarah, Plain and Tall is the first in a series of five books about the Witting family. Looking for a wife and mother for his young children, Anna’s papa puts out an ad which Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton answers, bringing her from Maine to the prairie.
This series is a fun pick for a drive across the prairies (especially if you love the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder).
4. The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne
For stories that appeal to all children, regardless of gender, try The Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne.
Full of adventure, these stories feature Jack and Annie who travel through time and across the world to discover different people and places. You can start with the first collection or dip into the series any place you like.
Books one to four of The Magic Treehouse are available as an audiobook CD and books one through eight are available as a downloadable audiobook. The rest of the series (totaling more than 50 books) is available on various formats.
5. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Kids might recognize this fun tale from its movie adaptation, both of which tell the story of Hiccup and his dragon Toothless.
Narrated by Scottish actor David Tennant, the audiobook follows Hiccup as he tries to catch and train his dragon in order to pass the all-important Viking initiation test.
Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips with Tweens and Teens
All of these stories have a hint of adventure… perfect for keeping older kids from descending into boredom (or driving you crazy).
6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This teen pick takes place on the island of Thisby where the Scorpio Races are held every November. This year Kate “Puck” Connolly will race her land mare against the water horses in an attempt to save her home.
7. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
You might not want to choose Hatchet by Gary Paulsen if you’re heading for a week at a remote lakeside campground (or about to hop on a plane), but otherwise it’s an engaging read. Brian is flying in a small plane to visit his father when the pilot suffers a heart attack and Brian must crash-land the plane in a lake. He’s forced to survive on his own and learns something about himself along the way.
Hatchet is available as a downloadable audiobook.
8. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Who doesn’t love a good pirate tale? The streets of eighteenth century London are tough for any kid, but are especially hard for orphan Mary. Joining a gang seems like her only option, until she gets a job on a sailing vessel… disguised as a boy.
Best Audiobooks for Girls’ Road Trips
Pack up your swimsuit and sandals, grab your bestie and listen to these entertaining audiobooks on the way to your girls’ trip destination.
9. How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Caitlin Moran’s very distinctive voice comes across loud and clear in her book How to be a Woman. Bonus points: the audiobooks is narrated by the author! Moran might not be for everyone, but her book made me laugh out loud. She can be crass at times, but her observations about being a woman are funny and spot on.
How to Be a Woman is available as a downloadable audiobook.
10. Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis
Girl in the Woods is a book in the same vein as Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Aspen Matis begins her memoir as an incredibly sheltered young woman who, on her second night of college, is raped by a fellow student.
Unable to cope, she decides to embark on a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, hoping to come to terms with her experience. At times I found myself frustrated with Matis, but also felt compassion for her as she shared this incredibly personal story.
Not quite what you were looking for? No fear, we’ve got thousands of audiobooks to choose from (whether you’re looking for traditional CDs or digital formats).