The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist:
Top 40 Best Road Trip Songs

Your ride is gassed up, wiper fluid topped off, and your beef jerky supply is running high - it’s time to head out on the open road. There’s something endlessly exciting about embarking on a long road trip with a carful of friends. For many of us, some of our fondest memories and greatest inside jokes were born between the highway lines on the interstate heading anywhere. It’s no secret that the best part of a road trip is the getting there – and it’s no secret that one of the most crucial elements of any long car ride is the music on the radio.

Gone are the days of scanning for new radio stations as you drive in and out of coverage areas. Flipping through a glovebox binder with your thirty favorite CDs is another bygone era. Nowadays most folks have the almost limitless capability of building their own custom playlist to act as the soundtrack for their asphalt adventure. But which songs should be added to your Ultimate Road Trip Playlist? We asked bloggers and content creators from all across the net which must-have songs are in heavy rotation on their road trip playlists.

Spanning from classic rock to country, pop hits to indie treasures, this list has a little something for everyone in your caravan. Find the Spotify Playlist here. Take a look and a listen - and may your next road trip rock!

Classic Rock

“Tiny Dancer”
Elton John

Let's all admit it: nothing is more fun to sing along to than Elton John. This crooning Brit has a way with words and tunes, and Tiny Dancer is the ultimate example. Plus, you get to sing about counting headlights on the highway... so apropos.

Suggested by:
Margot Peppers
Editor
Lazy Trips
https://lazytrips.com/

“I Want to Break Free”
Queen

It is obvious. I just want to get away from the usual humdrum of life when I travel and nothing else catches the mood better than FM at his best.

Suggested by:
Saurabh Jindal
Founder
Talk Travel
https://talktravelapp.com/

“The Passenger”
Iggy Pop

Because Iggy Pop.

Suggested by:
Nabanita Singha Roy
Blogger and Social Media Head
Rushlane
https://www.rushlane.com/

“She's a Little Runaway”
Ken Clayton

You can sing along.

Suggested by:
Nabanita Singha Roy
Blogger and Social Media Head
Rushlane
https://www.rushlane.com/

“Ventura Highway”
America

There's probably no song, more iconic, that invokes the feeling of a road trip than this one. The listener's mind will naturally think of a coastal drive down Highway 101 along the California coast. Convertible is a must!

Suggested by:
William Flood
Freelance Writer
http://www.neonroadtrip.com/

“Running on Empty”
Jackson Browne

This is a song that makes you want to crank up the volume and roll the windows down while driving. This coming of age song alludes to a young person's starts life carefree, how adulthood eventually catches up, but the yearning to be free stays with us. Echoes of being on the road tell the story.

Suggested by:
William Flood
Freelance Writer
http://www.neonroadtrip.com/

“Roll Me Away”
Bob Seger

This song is about escaping the pressures of life by hitting the open road - and how the "journey" is far more important than the destination.

Suggested by:
William Flood
Freelance Writer
http://www.neonroadtrip.com/

“Free Bird”
Lynyrd Skynyrd

For me (and probably many others), it is Lynyrd Skynyrd, Free Bird. There is something about Southern Rock that just encapsulates everything that is great about road trips. Maybe the mind automatically pictures big trucks and the open road when listening. But there are 2 reasons Free Bird stands out above any other for a road trip song to me. First, that guitar solo. It has to be one of the best ever and one you can never get bored of. Second, the length. At a little over 9 minutes long, the miles literally fly by, almost as if you are a Free Bird yourself.

Suggested by:
Matt
Travel Blogger
The Travel Blog
https://www.thetravelblogs.com/

“Dancing in The Dark”
Bruce Springsteen

This is just a classic for me, I love the beat and the lyrics -- just puts you in a good mood! Fun to sing along to!

Suggested by:
Tara Redfield
Chief Blogger
The Food Pervert
https://www.thefoodpervert.com/

“Brandy”
Looking Glass

This song is so upbeat and paints such a beautiful image in my head about life and how it use to be. I am a millennial and songs like this help me imagine the eras that I did not get to experience.

Suggested by:
Alex Tran
Marketing Specialist
Hollingsworth LLC
https://www.hollingsworthllc.com/

“Summer of '69”
Bryan Adams

If you don’t have Summer of ’69 in your road trip playlist, what is that playlist even worth? The song was released in 1985, and it’s been blasted in cars and camper vans worldwide ever since. There’s a good reason why Summer of ’69 was in the top 5 of Canadian singles of all time, and it’s exactly this road trip playlist-worthiness.

Suggested by:
Sander Van Den Broecke
Travel Blogger
Ars Currendi
https://www.arscurrendi.com/

“Rocky Mountain Way”
Joe Walsh

This classic Joe Walsh tune is quintessential American rock and roll at its best, with a lurching rhythm, bluesy piano solos and funky riffs. Whether you really are cruising through the Rocky Mountains, or even just driving from point A to point B in Boringtown, this song makes you feel like you're king of the world. Play the air guitar at your own risk - and always keep at least one hand on the wheel!

Suggested by:
Margot Peppers
Editor
Lazy Trips
https://lazytrips.com/

“Funkytown”
Lipps Inc

No road trip is complete without listening to Funkytown by Lipps Inc! The lyrics mention making a move "to a town that's right for me," but more importantly, the funky beat and uplifting energy of the song will instantly recharge your batteries on a long trip. Everyone knows and recognizes the song, and I've yet to listen to it without smiling and dancing along!

Suggested by:
Debra Carpenter
Marketing Manager
Nathan Oulman Realty
https://www.realestatesandpoint.net

“Ramblin’ Man”
Allman Brothers

The essence of never staying in one place too long.

Suggested by:
JP Emerson
Freelance Automotive Author
Power Automedia
https://www.fordmuscle.com/

Pop

“I Could Be The One”
Avicii vs Nicky Romero

This might be an unusual suggestion but I’d recommend “Avicii vs Nicky Romero - I Could Be The One”. The song is lively and upbeat so of course it’s great “musically”, however it’s the feelings it creates when listening to it if you’ve watched the video even just once. This was my wife and I’s anthem before we immigrated from England to Portugal. As you’ll see from the video it’s all about leaving the rat race and living your dreams which is an amazing feeling to have when you’re on a road trip!

Suggested by:
Gary Miller
Director
Algarve Fun
https://www.algarvefun.com/

“Shotgun”
George Ezra

As a full-time travel blogger at WonderfulWanderings.com, road trips are my jam! While I love tuning into local radio stations to hear what kind of music they play, my current go-to driving song is "Shotgun" by George Ezra. It's upbeat, super catchy and it has that feeling of wanderlust and the urge to discover yourself through travel. He also sings that riding shotgun makes him feel like a someone and I can relate to that feeling of getting more confident through travel and exploration.

Suggested by:
Sofie Couwenbergh
Founder
Wonderful Wanderings
https://wonderfulwanderings.com/

“Summertime ft. San Holo”
Yellow Claw

Plenty of musical beats.

Suggested by:
Nabanita Singha Roy
Blogger and Social Media Head
Rushlane
https://www.rushlane.com/

“Fast Car”
Jonas Blue (feat. Dakota)

This is a modern twist on the Tracy Chapman original. I love the beat, just a great song to drive to, especially if you have a fast car.

Suggested by:
Tara Redfield
Chief Blogger
The Food Pervert
https://www.thefoodpervert.com/

“T-Shirt Weather”
Circa Waves

T-Shirt Weather is just one of those songs that you know people will still sing along to on a long road trip in twenty years. Its appeal doesn’t rely on funky fads that come and go, but on its timeless pop-rock feeling that everyone enjoys. And even if you have no idea what this song sounds like, you should get to know it. I promise that you’ll thank me for it.

Suggested by:
Sander Van Den Broecke
Travel Blogger
Ars Currendi
https://www.arscurrendi.com/

“Barcelona”
Ed Sheeran

I’m not quite sure how he did it, but Ed Sheeran managed to capture the essence of the Spanish lifestyle and weather in a song. That song is Barcelona. The Irish singer-songwriter’s magical ability to write songs that capture and enthral so many people is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed, and for good reason. Barcelona is upbeat, energetic and just plain gorgeous.

Suggested by:
Sander Van Den Broecke
Travel Blogger
Ars Currendi
https://www.arscurrendi.com/

“Shooting Stars”
Bag Raiders

The entire first two minutes of this song are essentially one big build-up to the final crescendo. With its pleasant synthy backdrop and infectious beep-beeping, listening to Shooting Stars sort of makes you feel like you are about to fly into outer space - hence the name, I suppose! It's especially good for nighttime driving, when everything feels that bit more otherworldly.

Suggested by:
Margot Peppers
Editor
Lazy Trips
https://lazytrips.com/

“Casanova”
Palm Trees

This song will get anyone who hears it in an instant mood of extreme happiness and joy. Although the subject isn’t revolutionary, the song still manages to make everyone in the car sing along at the top of their voices. Besides, what can beat screaming I am not your casanova with the top down and the wind gushing in your hair?

Suggested by:
Sander Van Den Broecke
Travel Blogger
Ars Currendi
https://www.arscurrendi.com/

"Where the Night Goes" by Josh Ritter is one of my favorite non-cliche road trip songs. It tells the story of a girl who ran off to LA and is coming home, but with lines like "Feel the pull of the American darkness," road trippers driving through the big, empty areas of the American west will relate. The first time the song hit me, I was traveling to LA myself, and those lines really resonated with me seeing just how vast and empty many of the western states are.

Suggested by:
Kris
Travel Blogger
Nomad by Trade
https://www.nomadbytrade.com/

Alternative and Indie

“On Top of The World”
Imagine Dragons

My favorite song to listen during a road trip is 'On Top of The World' by Imagine Dragons. I love it because it's positive and it makes me enjoy the journey even more! I feel that I'm in the right place at the right time: I am making my dreams come true.

Suggested by:
Karolina Klesta
Travel Blogger
https://karolinapatryk.com/

As soon as you hear the opening chords and the words If you love somebody sang by Dan Reynolds, you’ll realise that the next three minutes and twelve seconds of your road trip will be the foundation of some very fond memories. On Top Of The World instantly makes any listener self-confidently love the way they’re handling life and believe they’re able to do anything they set their mind to.

Suggested by:
Sander Van Den Broecke
Travel Blogger
Ars Currendi
https://www.arscurrendi.com/

“Ain't No Sunshine”
Henrietta Adewole

This version isn't too sleep inducing or too peppy. It could be a bit slow though, but there's no denying her voice is soothing.

Suggested by:
Nabanita Singha Roy
Blogger and Social Media Head
Rushlane
https://www.rushlane.com/

“Wonderwall”
Oasis

Hopeful and happy song.

Suggested by:
Nabanita Singha Roy
Blogger and Social Media Head
Rushlane
https://www.rushlane.com/

“Send Me On My Way”
Rusted Root

This is a classic long-journey song with the perfect mood for up-beat driving. If you actually read the lyrics of the song, it's not really clear if the song is about a journey - but listening to it definitely makes it feel like it is. And that's what matter! This song is hopeful, free and full of bop (it actually makes you want to shoulder dance while you echo "on my way" throughout the verses.) It's one of those windows down, belt to the world kind of songs, while you thrust your arms out and tap the beat on the side of the car.

Suggested by:
Charlie Brook
Content Creator
Her Me Out
https://www.hermeout.com/

“Mystery of Love”
Sufjan Stevens

This is another awe-inspiring song that will make you feel like you're starring in your own indie love movie. Basically, it's great to listen to if you're doing a road trip with a significant other because it will make you feel exceptional and like you're the only two people that exist. It's also good if you're by yourself and you want music to think about life to.

Suggested by:
Charlie Brook
Content Creator
Her Me Out
https://www.hermeout.com/

"Don't Stop Movin'"
Zameer Rizvi

I would like to recommend "Don't Stop Movin'" by Zameer Rizvi. The song is very upbeat. It is about continually progressing (something we all hope to do on our road trips), and has an ear-worm of a chorus. I hope you enjoy it!

Suggested by:
Melanie Rogoff
Publicist
JV Agency
https://jv.agency/

“Shake it Out”
Florence + The Machine

Love this track -- the slow build to the beat works well on the road. The epic voice of Florence makes you feel like you're soaring through the sky. The louder the better.

Suggested by:
Tara Redfield
Chief Blogger
The Food Pervert
https://www.thefoodpervert.com/

“Island in the Sun”
Weezer

This song is great for a long ride. Usually on a long ride, I am probably on a holiday.

Suggested by:
Alex Tran
Marketing Specialist
Hollingsworth LLC
https://www.hollingsworthllc.com/

“The Way”
Fastball

Another good holiday song. I love traveling without an itinerary because you leave room for opportunity.

Suggested by:
Alex Tran
Marketing Specialist
Hollingsworth LLC
https://www.hollingsworthllc.com/

“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
The Proclaimers

Full disclosure: one of the main reasons why I’m Gonna Be is on this list is because of its legendary status as the only song that would play in Marshall’s car in How I Met Your Mother. Though it doesn’t have to be the only song on your playlist, it’s a great song to blast on a long road trip.

Suggested by:
Sander Van Den Broecke
Travel Blogger
Ars Currendi
https://www.arscurrendi.com/

“Life Is A Highway”
Tom Cochrane

Does a song called Life Is A Highway really need an explanation as to why it’s in a list like this one? Fine: it’s been a classic ever since it was released in 1991, it has a tremendously high singalong value, it was featured in Cars and it’s literally called Life Is A Highway. Are you still looking for the perfect road trip song? Because you’ve found it.

Suggested by:
Sander Van Den Broecke
Travel Blogger
Ars Currendi
https://www.arscurrendi.com/

“You've Got the Love”
Florence + the Machine

It kind of feels like this song was written to be played as loud as possible in a car that's driving along a scenic coastal route on a summer day. Florence's voice is guaranteed to send tingles down your spine, and the harp pinging in the background adds an extra element of magic.

Suggested by:
Margot Peppers
Editor
Lazy Trips
https://lazytrips.com/

“Fast Car”
Tracy Chapman

You're in a car. Tracy is singing about a car. What could be more perfect? In all seriousness though, this song is the perfect blend of uplifting and heartbreaking, with a shiver-inducing chorus that seems to come out of nowhere, repeating jubilantly: "I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone." It's bittersweet and beautiful and immediately makes you want to cry and roll down the windows and sing for joy at the same time. Road trip bliss.

Suggested by:
Margot Peppers
Editor
Lazy Trips
https://lazytrips.com/

“California”
Phantom Planet

I've taken a number of road trips across the USA, and one of my favourite ways of picking music is to theme it around the trip. For example, we drove Route 66 across the USA, and picked songs both related to Route 66, but only songs specifically about each state we were driving through. An example, for California, the song "California", by Phantom Planet, is perfect for the California section of the trip, or for driving down 101, as it specifically references that highway.

Suggested by:
Laurence Norah
Blogger
Finding the Universe
https://www.findingtheuniverse.com

Country and Folk

“This Land is Your Land”
Woody Guthrie

If it's the open road calling, I like "Americana"-themed songs. They make me feel patriotic, and really put me in the mood to just drive and drive.

Suggested by:
Gail Leicht
Writer/Creator
Skinny Guide
http://www.skinnyguide.com/

“Wide Open Spaces”
Dixie Chicks

Here's another song that lends itself to journeying. It's about seeing the world and finding your space within it. It's absolutely perfect for driving down a long road at sunset and when you want to be filled with awe at your surroundings.. It will make you feel justified for traveling, as you drive along and discover the world. Perfect for invigorating your desire to keep going after hours of driving and great for sing-along.

Suggested by:
Charlie Brook
Content Creator
Her Me Out
https://www.hermeout.com/

“Traveller”
Chris Stapleton

Stapleton's voice is the perfect bluesy/Americana sound for the open road. Also this song is about travelling, making you really take in the lyrics as you're driving!

Suggested by:
Tara Redfield
Chief Blogger
The Food Pervert
https://www.thefoodpervert.com/

“Blues Run The Game”
(Performed by) Laura Marling

I think every version of this song is great, but I particularly love the way Laura Marling makes you feel included in her loneliness in this version. This is one of those listen-to-when-you-want-to-feed-your-sadness kind of songs, which is quite a frequent sentiment on a long-road trip. It's even about traveling, and how you can't escape the loneliness that comes with life: “Wherever I go the blues are all the same.” But her light-hearted voice will make you feel better for it, especially if you let yourself sing along!

Suggested by:
Charlie Brook
Chief Blogger
Content Creator
Her Me Out
https://www.hermeout.com/

We hope this list has given you some good ideas on what to include on your own personal Ultimate Road Trip Playlist. While some of these tunes may have your whole car singing along, others may have passengers reaching for the ear plugs. Music is subjective and everyone has different taste, but nothing will pass the time between pit stops quite like singing loud and proud with some of your best buds.

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