Free and nearly free ways to pass the miles

As an RVing family, we spend a LOT of time in the car. While the kids are content to entertain themselves with movies, Kindles, and a whole bag full of various activities, breaking up the monotony of the drive can be a bit more challenging for the driver. Although Jarrett is often content to just take in the scenery, I like to pass the miles listening to audiobooks. But since annual subscription services can get a bit expensive, we’ve found a few tricks to scoring good deals on audiobooks.

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Borrow from the library:

My favorite way to save money on audiobooks is by borrowing them from the library. With a selection of kid- and adult-themed books-on-cd, it’s the perfect way to get listening material for shorter trips.

In addition to books-on-cd, though, many libraries now offer digital downloads through OverDrive or Hoopla. After installing the software on your device, you can “check out” an audiobook, download it to your device, and then have access to it until the end of the lending period, at which time it automatically expires (so no late fees!). Check with your local library to learn more about what digital download options are available.

Take advantage of special introductory pricing:

If you have never joined a subscription service like Audible or Christian Audio, you can sign up for a special free 30-day trial offer. If you find it’s not quite what you expected, you can cancel anytime.

Watch for limited-time bargains:

From time to time Audible will offer special deals on a variety of audiobooks–and sometimes as cheap as $.99! I love to follow Read Aloud Revival on Instagram and Facebook because Sarah Mackenzie shares good deals that she finds on family-friendly audiobooks.

Get a free audiobook every month:

Over at Christian Audio, you can score a free audiobook every month. Additionally, Christian Audio offers special sales throughout the year where you can score other audiobooks for a fraction of the retail price.

Go for the classics:

At websites like Loyal Books, LibriVox, and Lit2Go you can score free audiobooks and ebook downloads of classic titles that are now in the public domain. And over at iTunes you can snag a free Audiobooks app with nearly 3,000 classics.

Rent from Cracker Barrel:

So this option is kind of cool: Stop in at a Cracker Barrel and purchase an audiobook from the rack. Listen to it for as long as you want, then stop back in at a Cracker Barrel (it doesn’t have to be the one you first visited) with your receipt and return it for a partial refund. You’ll be docked about $3.49 for each week you “rented” it, but then you’ll get a refund for the remaining balance. There is a limit to how many weeks you can “rent” the audiobook, though, so be sure to check the terms at the store; they should also be printed on your receipt. 


Need some suggestions for what audiobooks to start with? Here’s a list of some of our favorite audiobooks for kids and adults:

For the kids:

For the adults:

Do you have a favorite audiobook you’d recommend? If so, leave us a comment below!

4 thoughts on “Free and nearly free ways to pass the miles

  1. Tanya M Sorem

    I love reading and listening to audiobooks of historical fiction. Over the holidays, my husband and I listened to Beneath a Scarlet Sky, about WWII. A different perspective. It was really good! We listened to the unabridged version which was over 17 hours long and kept our attention the whole time. I would have to say, it is probably not the best for little ears so we would only listen when the kiddos had their headphones on.

    1. Kristin Post author

      Hi Tanya! Thanks for the great tip–we will have to track that one down for our May RV trip. The kids received sound-reducing headphones for Christmas, and those have proved invaluable so far! 😉

  2. Deb Snyder

    Great tips! I’ve tapped into community library resources for many years, but I didn’t know of some of the other entities that offer digital downloads for free or nominal costs. Ironically I was just Googling for this info a few weeks ago and I got overwhelmed. Your tips were helpful and timely.

    1. Kristin Post author

      Hi Deb! So glad the tips were helpful! And thank goodness for libraries–so many wonderful resources at our fingertips! 🙂

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