A good, long road trip is what the RV lifestyle is made of. If you’re going to be on the road for hours on end, you’ll need something to occupy your time, and there’s nothing better than the company of an audio book.
Of course, since just about any good book will make the time go by quickly, for this list the focus is on books about traveling. Here’s a look at the audio book titles you’ll want to have in your library before you hit the road.
Longtime CBS News Sunday Morning reporter Bill Geist has been a viewer favorite for many years thanks to his “everyman” look at American life. On the heels of a 5,600 mile RV journey, he compiled “Way Off the Road: Discovering the Peculiar Charms of Small Town America.”
This book is a compilation of his segments on offbeat individuals and personalities that make up rural America (in his traditional deadpan, self-deprecating style). He weaves the stories into a hilarious look at how small town life can be odd, strangely fascinating, and gently ridiculous. Anything but boring!
The Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, is regarded as some of the best hiking in the nation, covering mountains to forest to lakes. At the most basic level, this book is a travelogue, the story of a trip.
But it’s so much more than that. Whether you’re an avid camper or you’re headed for your first time out, this book will make you long for the outdoors.
As you follow Bill and his friend’s journey hiking the entire trail (with just a little prior long distance hiking experience) you learn about the history of the Appalachian Trail and the places it passes through. More importantly, you learn about the people Bill met along the way and how he changed thanks to these meetings.
Without even realizing it, you’ll hear about the social condition of America, local history, protecting the environment, and even the complexities of friendship.
Professionally produced by NPR (so you know they’re good quality) these CDs are perfect for road trips. These short stories are often funny, always interesting, and surprisingly educational. Beyond that, they’re simply entertaining and a great way to pass the time as you roll along. Several themed CDs are available, including:
- National Park Adventures will give you the real story of our national parks, from centuries old ghosts at White Sands National Monument to the man who has the job of scraping roadkill at Yosemite. You’ll hear tales of some of the most famous parks in the country and some you’ve likely never even heard of.
- Family Vacations will give you a glimpse into some of the best family vacation stories you’ve ever heard. Some of these trips are life changing, some end in hilarious disaster, but they’ll all make you want to pack up the family and hit the road.
- Roadside Attractions shares the stories of the iconic highway-side attraction. Whether they’re true culture or all kitsch, and whether the creators are genius or insane, you’ll love these stories about the truly weird tourist traps. If you think our land’s greatest beauty is in the largest velvet museum or the tallest ceramic elephant, this is the book for you.
- Fairs and Festivals celebrates the food, fun, shilling, sideshows, and all-around oddities of festivals and fairs around the country. If the call of the midway is just too much for you to ignore, or you just love to be in the middle of a crowd of people, don’t miss these stories.
If you enjoyed the 2004 film of the same name, you’ll love this book, as most people say it’s far better. It tells the story of two men who take a “one last ride” road trip before one of them gets married.
In the classic “buddy comedy” style, these two friends find themselves in situations from funny to endearing to dangerous. The story here is very entertaining, and you may get a hangover of your own from all the wine the two main characters consume.
In this book, the author loses his wife and his job on the same day. Figuring that he can’t stop life, he sets out to live it. He journeys out to see the “real” America using only the back roads (blue highways) found on old maps, avoiding interstates entirely.
His curiosity for small towns that only make it on the map “because there was an empty space to fill” leaves him meeting an incredible cast of characters and collection of places. As the author learns to dig into his own soul, you may just find yourself moved as well.