Whether you catch public transport, car pool or walk to work, commuting can be a drag. We’ve found a way to change that this year.

Trying to maintain a positive attitude when you’re squashed up against a smelly stranger or stuck in standstill traffic isn’t always easy. And after a long day on the job, falling asleep and missing your station is a very real possibility. If commuting’s got you down, why not keep yourself entertained (and awake) with a podcast?

From history nerds to true-crime fans, there’s a podcast to suit every interest. Out of all the podcasts available, these are some of the best of the best.

1. Serial

Serial put podcasts on the map. Downloaded by over 14 million people, it’s the ultimate true-crime drama. Season 1 examines a murder that occurred in the American state of Baltimore in 1999, while Season 2 looks at the story of a US marine who was held captive by the Taliban for five years. Hosted by insightful reporter Sarah Koenig, every episode has a unique mixture of suspense, intrigue and humour.

Plenty of podcasts focus on criminal cases, but what sets Serial apart is how addictive it is. Despite covering such different topics, both seasons have the same ability to get listeners hooked within minutes. Since you’ll be eager to hear what happens next, listening to Serial on your way to work can make your commute feel much faster.

2. Hardcore Histories

History nerds rejoice – from Genghis Khan’s creation of the Mongol Empire to World War I, this podcast covers some of history’s most fascinating (and fearsome) chapters. Host Dan Carlin takes listeners on an aural adventure through bygone eras with such enthusiasm that you’ll find yourself listening with bated breath as he explains the inner workings of ancient civilisations.

Not much of a history enthusiast? You don’t have to be! Hardcore Histories has a way of simplifying complex historical events without dumbing them down. If you’re a little squeamish, keep in mind that some of the episodes are quite graphic (it’s hard to talk about bloody battles, revolutions and the rise of modern warfare without including at least a few gruesome details).

3. Stuff You Should Know

A couple of guys sitting around talking about how things work might sound a bit boring, but Stuff You Should Know is one of the most though-provoking podcasts out there. Covering science, history, politics, pop culture and a range of other topics, the hosts (Josh Clarke and Charles ‘Chuck’ Bryant) can make any subject sound interesting. Combining facts with comedic value, they educate their audience simply by talking among themselves. If your general knowledge needs work, you’ll instantly feel smarter after listening to Stuff You Should Know.

4. This American Life

Produced by the same people who made Serial, This American Life is a weekly podcast. It started out as an Emmy-winning TV show in 2006, before making the jump to radio/podcast format. Each episode is based on a different theme and includes several different stories based around that theme. Many of the episodes are funny and heart-warming, while others cover more serious ground.

From body image to the state of Russian politics, This American Life has explored practically every subject under the sun. Since This American Life has been running for so long, you can easily scroll through old episodes and pick out topics you think sound interesting.

5. Conversations

If you’re looking for a podcast that hits closer to home, Conversations is one of Australia’s most listened to public radio shows. Presented by journalist Richard Fidler, each episode features a different guest talking about their life experiences. Some of the guests are famous, but many of them you’ve probably never heard of before.

The overarching theme of Conversations looks at what motivates humans to do what they do, whether they’re an artist, chef, writer or worker in their community. This podcast can be a bit of tearjerker, so be sure to keep some tissues on standby.

Don’t forget to download your podcasts before your commute!

If you don’t download your podcast while you're connected to Wi-Fi, you might run the risk of going over your data allowance. To browse your favourite podcasts and download them on the go, check out one of amaysim’s SIM plans – with no lock-in contracts and powered by the Optus 4G Plus network, all you have to do is pick how much data you want.

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