best free audio books

77 Best Free Audiobooks for the Road Trips

Sharing is caring!

Where can I get the best free audiobooks for my next road trip? Wait, Is listening reading? Yes, yes, it reasonably is. Listening to great audiobooks is a beautiful way to help a long drive move along. Now, FREE audiobooks are even better, aren’t they? Before I jump into my recommendations for what books you might want to listen to on your next long trip, let me show you how a free audiobook can accompany you on the open road.

Want to skip to the best books? I’ve broken it down into categories, so click this and jump to where you want to be Books for the whole family road trips books for travelers, Best biographies, Booktok Recommendations (TikTok’s book community, for those not in the know), Best Fiction, Best Non-Fiction, Best for Long Stretches, and lastly a great selection of Books you’ve probably never heard of.

Where can you get audiobooks for free for your road trip? Here are the best ways:

1.) Audible – free trial. The best part about the free trial is that you can download the premium free books, of which there are plenty. But you also get 2 free regular book for your free trial. I don’t know if this would work, but then you accidentally put those onto an old phone you have sitting around and then turn off the wifi so it doesn’t sync. Not that you should do that, because that’s probably fraud?

2.) Library Card for physical ones – Now, you may not have the capability of listening to CDs in your car, but if you do, it never hurts to have a physical option of listening to things when you might not have space on your phone to have enough downloads. Visit your local public libraries to get your card today!

3.) Library Card for Libby app or Hoopla (others exist too!) – The wait list for Libby can be months for certain audiobooks, so I’m going to start by telling you that if you have a road trip coming up and you want those on your phone, make sure that you go and request them ASAP! But, they have a large library of immediately available titles – so you won’t be bereft of audiobooks, but you might be on a wait list for the ones you want for a while.

4.) LibriVox – online free public domain audiobooks in the USA. LibriVox is straightforward to use and has a great search feature for the kinds of books you may want to read. Bonus, you can preview the recordings before you download to see if you vibe with the reader – a great way to ensure you don’t have a miserable time trying to listen to the book!

5.) Following Podcasts – Several podcasts have readings of their entire book. Or have read out loud public works, it takes a little sleuthing but another way to have some more free audiobooks in your life.

Why are these free audiobooks for road trips all listed as approximate times?

I’ll be the first to say that I speed up my audiobooks. (I do the same thing with podcasts) – I’ve found that my brain likes it better when they’re slippy. So I most often list a= a speed of 1.3. or 1.4 times. On each platform, if you’re streaming on Libby or listening on audible – you can choose the speed to go faster or slower. I have some friends who listen to everything at 2x speed – your brain can keep up with the words coming out, but that’s not as enjoyable of an experience for me. You get to choose! And best of all – you can change it at any time if you feel like it needs to clip along or slow down because you start thinking about other things.

best free audio books

Alright, ready for the fun stuff? A list of the best free audiobooks for road trips:

10 Books for the entire family from shortest to longest

  1. “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein – approximately 30 minutes – I mean, I had to, You know? It never gets old, and is just a great thing to have in your arsenal of books for those short road trips. I’m partial to trees, but this growing-up story never gets old. I know I said that twice, but I believe it.
  2. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak – approximately 1 hour – Ah yes! Another classic. I could listen to this every day. And any time we’re helping each other deal with big emotions, everyone wins, right!?
  3. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – approximately 3 hours – a tale of friendship, love, and loss. The tale of a little boy visiting different places in space.
  4. “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White – approximately 5 hours – The heartwarming friendship between a spider and a pig is a beloved classic.
  5. “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis – approximately 6 hours – The first in the book series “Chronicles of Narnia” and the story of how good triumphs evil.
  6. “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett – approximately 6 hours – This classic fairy tale was the first book I re-read.
  7. “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum – approximately 6 hours – I mean, the classic tale of Dorothy, her dog, her best friends from the trip, and the wicked witch. This never gets old! (Pro tip- don’t reread this book and watch the movie. You’ll be disappointed about a few plot things they changed)
  8. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle – approximately 7 hours – Another one of my favorites for older children, especially more time travel and adventure.
  9. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain – about 14 hours – Southern adventure with both main characters fighting to leave behind the world they started with.
  10. “The Chronicles of Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis – about 30 hours – For the long road trips, you might as well just right into the full series!

10 Books for the travelers at heart

  1. “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed – approximately 12 hours. This true story follows a woman who embarks on a transformative journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
  2. “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer – approximately 6 hours. This book, based on a true story, details a man’s journey into the wilderness of Alaska and the experiences he has along the way.
  3. “The Art of Travel” by Alain de Botton – approximately 5 hours. This unique travel book explores the philosophical side of travel and draws upon the experiences of past travelers.
  4. “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac – approximately 12 hours. This classic novel follows two friends as they travel across North America in search of self-discovery.
  5. “Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel” by Rolf Potts – approximately 6 hours. This book is a must-read for anyone considering a long-term travel adventure. Potts provides practical advice and inspiration for travelers.
  6. “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail” by Bill Bryson – approximately 10 hours. This book follows the author’s journey hiking the Appalachian Trail and the observations he makes about American culture along the way. Bill Bryson is one of my favorite travel authors. Beautifully written, with over 300,000 reviews on Goodreads it has a 4.06, which is so good.
  7. “The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux – approximately 15 hours. Might be controversial; some find it tedious, some enchanting. We travel through a myriad of trains – and the stories that come along with it.
  8. “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac – approximately 12 hours. – A young group of friends hitchhiking around the US – might be vaguely autobiographical. This makes the must-read travel list.
  9. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert – approximately 11 hours. The Eating in Italy was my favorite – but a woman going out to find her best life and find it. 
  10. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson – approximately 6 hours. To change the theme drastically, his writing style is one of a kind. The subtitles of the book is:  “a savage journey to the heart of the American dream” – I’ll read all his books. Always.
best free audio books

10 Books for the Biography Folks

  1. “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson – approximately 17 hours. This biography delves into the life and legacy of the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc.
  2. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” – approximately 19 hours. This autobiography provides a first-hand account of the life and activism of civil rights leader Malcolm X.
  3. “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson – approximately 20 hours. This biography offers a comprehensive look at the life and work of physicist Albert Einstein, who revolutionized our understanding of the universe.
  4. “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank – approximately 5 hours. This poignant diary was written by Jewish teenager Anne Frank while she was hiding from the Nazis during the Holocaust.
  5. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot – approximately 10 hours. This non-fiction book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge and used extensively in medical research, making significant contributions to the field of medicine.
  6. “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand – approximately 13 hours – a non-fiction book that tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was captured by the Japanese during World War II and endured years of torture and abuse.
  7. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama – approximately 17 hours – a memoir by the former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama in which she describes her life and career.
  8. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey – approximately 5 hours an autobiography by comedian and actress Tina Fey, best known for her work on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. I loved this audiobook version so much, Tina is such a good storyteller.
  9. “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay – approximately 19 hours – is a novel that tells the story of a young boy growing up in South Africa during the 1930s and 1940s and his quest for self-discovery and acceptance.
  10. “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela – approximately 25 hours- an autobiography of Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, which details his early life, coming of age, education, and 27 years in prison before becoming president and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society.

10 Books that Tiktok Loves (I see you Booktok) – Don’t at me if your favorite wasn’t on this list – it was tough to choose.

  1. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” (ACOTAR) by Sarah J. Maas – approximately 11 hours: A tale of love and power set in a magical world. The start to your love affair with these characters – gets a 4/5 spicy rating for this romance.
  2. “From Ash & Blood” by Jennifer L. Armentrout – approximately 9 hours: A supernatural adventure filled with danger and romance. Two spicy scenes – so only a 3/5 for spicy.
  3. “The Poppy War” by R.F. Kuang – approximately 18 hours: A epic historical fantasy about a war-torn nation and a young woman with a powerful destiny.
  4. “The Night and Its Moon” by S.A. Chakraborty – approximately 18 hours: A magical adventure through the realm of djinn, where fate and freedom collide.
  5. “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – approximately 11 hours: A supernatural mystery set in a creepy mansion in 1950s Mexico.
  6. “The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones – approximately 10 hours: A haunting story about four Native American friends who must face the consequences of a hunting trip gone wrong.
  7. “Every Summer After” by Colleen Hoover -approximately 7 hours: A heartwarming romance about a summer that changes the course of two lives.
  8. “House in Cerulean Sea” by T. J. Klune – approximately 10 hours: A magical tale of love and acceptance in a world where difference is not tolerated. One of my favorite young adults books for all time.
  9. “Where the Crawdads Sing” – by Delia Owens: Approximately 8 hours – A coming-of-age mystery about a young woman who lives alone in the marsh and becomes embroiled in a murder investigation.
  10. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” – by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Approximately 12 hours – A captivating historical fiction about a legendary Hollywood actress and the seven men who loved her, as told to an ambitious young journalist.
best free audio books

10 Books that are Fiction

  1. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood – approximately 10 hours: A dystopian novel about a totalitarian society that strips women of their rights and assigns them to bear children for the ruling class.
  2. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins – approximately 9 hours: A psychological thriller about a divorcee who becomes embroiled in a missing person case after observing a couple from her commuter train.
  3. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – approximately 13 hours of listening time: A dystopian adventure about a young girl forced to compete in a brutal televised competition to the death.
  4. “1984” by George Orwell – approximately 6 hours: A classic novel about a totalitarian future society in which Big Brother controls every aspect of life.
  5. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams – approximately 5 hours: A comedic science fiction adventure about a hapless human and his alien friend who travel through space.
  6. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt – approximately 20 hours: A coming-of-age novel about a young man who navigates the art world and his own identity after surviving a tragic bombing.
  7. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho – approximately 4 hours: A philosophical fable about a shepherd boy who sets out to fulfill his personal legend and discover the true purpose of his life.
  8. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson – approximately 18 hours: A crime thriller about a computer hacker and a journalist who team up to solve a wealthy family’s dark secrets.
  9. “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah – approximately 15 hours: A historical fiction about two sisters in Nazi-occupied France who must navigate the dangers of war to survive and protect their families.
  10. “The Stand” by Stephen King – approximately 27 hours: A post-apocalyptic novel about a group of survivors who must band together to defeat an evil entity in the aftermath of a pandemic.

10 Books that are Non-Fiction

  1. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot – approximately 9 hours – A non-fiction book about Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge and were used extensively in medical research.
  2. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg – approximately 8 hours – A book that explores how habits are formed and how they can be changed.
  3. “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by John Carreyrou – approximately 10 hours – A book that details the rise and fall of Theranos, a biotech company that promised to revolutionize blood testing but was later revealed to be a fraud.
  4. “The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life” by Robin Sharma – approximately 8 hours – A book that teaches readers how to develop the habit of waking up early and using the time to build their personal and professional lives.
  5. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey – approximately 8 hours – A book that provides a framework for developing personal and professional effectiveness and achieving success.
  6. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu – approximately 5 hours – An ancient Chinese military treatise that provides strategies and tactics for winning conflicts and achieving victory.
  7. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell – approximately 9 hours – A book that explores the factors that contribute to high levels of success and the ways in which society can facilitate or hinder the success of individuals.
  8. “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss – approximately 10 hours – A book that presents strategies for reducing the time spent working and increasing the amount of time available for leisure and personal development.
  9. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill – approximately 6 hours – A classic self-help book that teaches readers how to achieve wealth and success by developing a positive attitude and taking decisive action.
  10. “How Far Light Reaches” by Sabrina Imbler – approximately 6 hours – “ Imbler discovers that some of the most radical models of family, community, and care can be found in the sea”
best free audio books

10 Books that are super long – mostly because they’re a series!

  1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling- 7 Books. Okay, assuming *maybe* someone somewhere hasn’t heard of Harry potter….it follows Harry Potter, a young boy who discovers he’s a wizard and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He and his friends Ron and Hermione uncover the truth about a dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents and is determined to return to power. The series features magic, friendships, love, and the fight between good and evil. I haven’t listened to these yet, but from many many trusted sources, the audio version is phenomenal.
  2. Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss –  There are 3 Books (Book One, Book Two, and Book 2.5) – approximately 74 hours. Fans are desperately waiting for Book 3 (or 4 depending on how you slice it) I haven’t gotten to the third one yet, but when I tell you it took me a minute to get into the first one, I couldn’t put it down (press stop… because I listened to them!) The series tells the story of Kvothe, a legendary musician, arcanist, and adventurer, and his life journey from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to his years at University and his eventual rise to fame and infamy. 
  3. Wheel of Time – 14 books would take just over 19 days of continuous listening to finish… Roughly 456 hours. It follows Rand al’Thor, a young man who discovers he’s the Dragon Reborn, a powerful figure prophesied to save and destroy the world. Yes, this is a t.v. series too! But listen to the book first.
  4. The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien – approx. 63 hours. You knew the hobbits would be here somewhere, didn’t you? The Lord of the Rings- is an epic fantasy novel set in a fictional world called Middle-earth. It follows hobbit Frodo Baggins as he sets out to destroy the One Ring, a powerful and evil artifact created by the Dark Lord Sauron.
  5. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams – approx. 22 hours The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a comedic science fiction series that follows the misadventures of an unwitting human named Arthur Dent and his alien friend Ford Prefect as they travel through space. It’s filled with satire and wit and is a classic in the sci-fi genre. A must-read for everyone, honestly.
  6. “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo – approx. 34 hours is a historical novel set in 19th-century France, it tells the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his quest for redemption, as well as the struggles of the poor and oppressed in France.
  7. “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy – approx. 72 hours It follows the lives of several aristocratic families as they navigate love, war, and politics. It’s a classic novel that delves into the complexities of human nature and is widely considered one of the greatest works of literature ever written.
  8. “Warrior of the Altaii” by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson – approx. 27 hours It is a fantasy novel that tells the story of a young man, Wulfgar, who, the god of his tribe chooses to be their protector. He soon discovers that the god is not what he seems, and he’s pulled into a conflict between gods and mortals. It’s a fast-paced, thrilling novel that explores the idea of destiny and free will.
  9. The Dark Tower” by Stephen King – 8 books, approx. 70 hours It is a series of 8 books written by Stephen King, it’s a mix of fantasy, horror and western genres. The series tells the story of Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, and his quest to reach the Dark Tower, which is said to be the nexus of all universes. This is rumored to be in process to be a TV series on Amazon in the future. So, now’s a great time to get this done!
  10. “The Malazan Book of the Fallen” by Steven Erikson – 10 books, approx. 45 hours This is a series of 10 books by Steven Erikson; it’s a high fantasy series that takes place in a fictional world called Malazan Empire. The series follows the politics, wars, and conflicts of different characters, races, and gods.

7 Books that you’ve probably never heard of that authors recommend:

  1. “My Abandonment” by Peter Rock – approximately 7 hours – A harrowing story of a girl who lives off the grid with her dad in Oregon.
  2. “Little Big Man” by Thomas Berger – approximately 7 hours – Described as a cross between Huck Finn and Moby Dick.
  3. “The Box Man” by Kobo Abe – approximately 5 hours – For fans of Haruki Murakami’s novels.
  4. “The Man Who Loved Children” by Christina Stead – approximately 12 hours – Is considered one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
  5. “Stoner” by John Williams – approximately 7 hours – A book that readers often thank the recommenders for bringing to their attention.
  6. “Riddley Walker” by Russell Hoban – approximately 11 hours – A twist on a post-apocalyptic world with dazzling language that’s both old and new.
  7. “The Time of Many” by Elizabeth Maddox Roberts – approximately 11 hours – A novel that should be read by everyone who loves truly great literature.
best free audio books

You may also enjoy these related articles:

Did you enjoy this article? Want to hear more? Stay in touch! Sign up below to receive tips and tricks about Beautycounter, non-toxic living, and traveling.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *