The gas tank is full. Your bags are packed. But have you downloaded your audiobook yet? Turn your next long drive into an out-of-this-world voyage with these epic sci-fi and fantasy audiobooks, all of which feature an epic trip or journey (a road trip, if you will). These best audiobooks for road trips will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire drive — and, when you sign up for an Audible 30-day trial, you can listen to two transportive books for free.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
This cozy award-nominated sci-fi novel centers around the motley crew of the Wayfarer, a battered tunneling ship tasked with punching holes through space. When Rosemary Harper joins the crew, she's just interested in escaping the scandalous past she leaves behind on her home planet. But as the Wayfarer team faces danger during a lucrative but risky job, Rosemary realizes that her place on the ship may be more permanent than she first believed. If you're on a solo road trip and looking for company, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a great pick — you'll quickly fall for the vividly imagined, lovable characters as they set off on their own road trip through the stars.
If you're on a particularly long drive and in need of more than one book, you're really in luck — there's one other published standalone Wayfarers novel, the Hugo Award-nominated A Closed and Common Orbit, and another on the way.
Length: 14 hours and 23 minutes
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
If you have a long drive ahead of you for the holidays, this Joe Hill novel looks at the Christmas season through a truly chilling lens.
As a child, Victoria McQueen discovers she has the ability to take shortcuts through space on her bicycle when searching for missing objects. Her strange skill brings Victoria face-to-face with Charles Talent Manx, a child serial killer obsessed with Christmas who drives the roads of America — both the roads that can be seen on an average map, and the roads normal mortals never travel on — in his Rolls Royce Wraith. Victoria escapes her first encounter with Manx, the only child to ever do so. But once she's grown and has a child of her own, Manx comes back. Victoria will have to call on her old talent again to prevent him from driving her son off to the sinister Christmasland forever.
The audiobook is narrated by Kate Mulgrew, who brings humor and fire to the story of Victoria and her epic battle with Manx.
Length: 19 hours and 41 minutes
Narrator: Kate Mulgrew
Parable of the Sower
This chilling dystopian novel follows a harrowing journey across dystopian America. In the 2020s, teenager Lauren Olamina lives with her family in a walled neighborhood in L.A., protected from the chaos of crime and environmental disasters outside their compound. But when the neighborhood walls can no longer keep disaster out, Lauren bravely leads a small group through the remains of America in search of some salvation, preaching the power and solace that comes with recognizing that the only constant in our lives is change.
Length: 12 hours and 5 minutes
Narrator: Lynne Thigpen
If you want a road trip story that will have you double-checking your doors are locked and thinking twice before making any unscheduled pit stops, this frequently overlooked Stephen King book is for you. Desperation, Nevada is a dusty ghost town off Interstate 50. And there's something very wrong with Desperation's lawman Collie Entragian, who hunts travelers unfortunate enough to pass the isolated little backwater. But Collie is only one manifestation of the ancient evil lurking in the desert.
If you're planning a trip to the American Southwest and you've got nerves of steel, Desperation is the dark tale for you. The audiobook is narrated by Stephen King, so you'll feel just like the master himself is in the passenger's seat.
Length: 21 hours and 15 minutes
Narrator: Stephen King
This elegant, chilling Archur C. Clarke Award-winner will have you reaching for your Purell, wherever you are on your journey. The story pivots back and forth between two timelines: before the Georgia Flu quickly killed almost all of the population, and two decades after Year Zero. Twenty years after the apocalypse, a group of traveling musicians and performers intent on thriving and not just surviving in their new reality accidentally angers a sinister cult. Mandel weaves together a love of Shakespeare, a mystery surrounding a sci-fi graphic novel, and thriller elements to create a breathtaking, unforgettable story.
Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Even if you've already read American Gods, or watched the TV adaptation, this full cast tenth-anniversary edition audiobook is a must-listen for a road trip across the U.S.
The story was inspired in part by British transplant Gaiman exploring his fascination with American landscape and culture. It follows Shadow, a convict released early from jail after his wife and best friend die in a car crash. But Shadow soon realizes there's more to the fatal accident than he first thought. Heartbroken, he signs on as a bodyguard for the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. Wednesday and Shadow travel together across America, preparing for a brutal battle between the Old Gods brought to America and the New Gods of technology.
Length: 19 hours and 39 minutes
Narrator: Ron McLarty with a full cast
If you're a bit of a reluctant traveler, you're sure to sympathize with the anxieties of Bilbo Baggins, a humble hobbit pulled from his cozy home in the Shire to embark on a danger-fraught quest to take treasure from the dragon Smaug. Rob Inglis' masterful narration will keep you company as you travel there to your destination and back again. If you have children along for the ride, this is a particularly great listen.
Length: 11 hours 8 minutes
Narrator: Rob Inglis
The Eye of the World
The Eye of the World is the start of a truly epic saga. Save this one for a lengthy road trip — or to listen to if you're training for a marathon. There are fifteen titles in The Wheel of Time, some of which were written by Brandon Sanderson following Robert Jordan's death in 2007. The first book, The Eye of the World, follows a group of friends who set out from the bucolic village of Emond's Field after it's attacked by marauding Trollocs who seem intent on targeting the friends specifically. Determined to prevent future attacks, they leave the only home they've ever known and head out on a transformative journey.
Length: 30 hours and 2 minutes
Narrator: Kate Reading
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Stephen Fry — the narrator behind the acclaimed UK audiobook editions of the Harry Potter series — brings Douglas Campbell's absurd masterpiece to life in this endlessly entertaining audiobook. The story follows Arthur Dent, an average human with no idea that his buddy Ford is in fact an alien visiting the planet on a research project. When a race of bureaucratic, odious extraterrestrials called Vogons arrive to demolish Earth and replace it with a space highway, Ford rescues Arthur from a fiery death. Now without a home planet, Arthur is catapulted into a voyage across space during which Ford instructs him on how to survive as an intergalactic hitchhiker.
Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes
Narrator: Stephen Fry