The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

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A road trip isn’t a road trip without good music.

In my opinion, a road trip playlist must consist of at least one of the following:

  1. Be upbeat to get you through those long stretches of highway
  2. Highly singable
  3. Educational – lessons about the 1980’s music is considered educational, right?
  4. Songs about road trips – duh?

First, let me tell you about how I created my playlist

If you don’t use Spotify, I highly recommend it. It’s a music streaming app that allows you to create your own playlists. Need inspiration, you can also listen to one of their many playlists based on mood, genre, or decade. And of course, they have their own version of songs to sing in the car. Spotify is free with ads, or you can upgrade to a premium subscription for $9.99 a month.

Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

You can listen directly to my Ultimate Road Trip Playlist on Spotify. As of writing today I have over 70 songs, enough for 4 1/2 hours on the road. But, don’t take just my list alone! I reached out to several other travel bloggers to get their favorites as well. Here’s a list by the above categories of our must-have Road Trip Songs!

Upbeat Songs

  1. Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer
  2. Happy – Pharrell
  3. I Really Like You – Carly Rae Jepsen
  4. Roar – Katy Perry
  5. Life’s a Beach – Heymous Molly
  6. Immortals – Fall Out Boy
  7. Renegades – X Ambassadors
  8. Geronimo – Sheppard
  9. Perfect Day – Hoku (You know the song from Legally Blonde)
  10. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash
  11. King of the World – First Aid Kit
  12. Counting Stars – One Republic
  13. Best Day of My Life – American Authors
  14. Every Chance We Get We Run – David Guetta
  15. ABC – Jackson 5
  16. When Will I See You Again – Owl City (Jennifer plays this song to remind her boys that even though they may be sad to leave again, a new adventure awaits)

Singable Songs

  1. The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens
  2. Super Trouper – Abba
  3. A Horse with No Name
  4. American Pie – Don McLean
  5. End of the World – REM
  6. Ex’s & Oh’s – Elle King
  7. Candy – Paolo Nutini
  8. Runnin Down a Dream – Tom Petty
  9. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard – Paul Simon
  10. Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin
  11. Riptide – Vance Joy
  12. Happy Together – The Turtles
  13. Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty
  14. Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy
  15. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
  16. The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk 3
  17. I’m a Believer – The Monkees
  18. You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes
  19. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  20. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith)
  21. Africa – Toto
  22. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice (A1A – Beach Front Avenue)

Educational Songs

Remember – I did say 80’s songs are educational!

  1. You Spin Me ‘Round – Dead or Alive (sadly we had to explain what a record and spinning was)
  2. Unhappy Birthday – The Smiths
  3. Friday I’m In Love – The Cure
  4. Rapture – Blondie (the best part is when they try to rhyme cars/guitars etc like the old-school rap in the song)
  5. 8-6-7-5-3-0-9 Jenny by Tommy Tutone
  6. Turning Japanese by the Vapors
  7. Rebel Yell –  Billy Idol
  8. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N Roses
  9. Love Shack – The B52s
  10. Rock the Casbah – The  Clash
  11. You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party – The Beastie Boys
  12. Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
  13. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
  14. We are Family – The Pointer Sisters
  15. She’s A Maniac – Michael Sembello
  16. I Hate Myself for Loving You – Joan Jett
  17. Cruel Summer – Bananarama
  18. Your Love – The Outfield
  19. Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners

I grew up in the ’80s (obviously, but most of those songs were suggested by Shobha!) but I loved the 60’s. The next part of this list is educational – let’s call it music history – from the ’60s to ’70s.

  1. My Generation – The Who
  2. Jolene – Dolly Parton
  3. All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
  4. Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
  5. Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations
  6. Tiny dancer – Elton John
  7. Danke Schoen – Wayne Newton (Because, you know, Ferris)
  8. Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd
  9. It’s Not Unusual – Tom Jones (Try not to do the Carlton if you’re the driver)
  10. Anything by the Beach Boys
  11. Anything by the Beatles

Road Trip Songs

These include some classics as well as new ones to discover

  1. Holiday Road – Lindsey Buckingham (The Original National Lampoon’s Vacation Version)
  2. Holiday Road – The Frank & Todd Show (Acoustic cover that’s a lot of fun)
  3. Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts
  4. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
  5. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
  6. Small Town – John Mellencamp
  7. Into the Great Wide Open – Tom Petty
  8. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  9. Route 66 – Chuck Berry
  10. ‘Til We Run Out of Road – Jewel
  11. Road Trippin’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  12. Shanghai Cigarettes – Caitlin Rose
  13. Southern Sun – Boy & Bear
  14. Same in Any Language – i Nine
  15. Home – Phillip Phillips
  16. American Girl – Tom Petty

Please check out the following bloggers who contributed to the Road Trip Playlist

Shobha George of Just Go Places – She’s doing the dream Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip this summer!

Marta Correal of Learning Escapes – She introduced me to Paolo Nutini, a new favorite!

Maggie Abernathy of Dakota Gypsy – She’s got some fantastic pieces on the National Parks.

Jennifer St. Louis of Our Family Travel Adventures – Her family is on a worldschooling adventure and they are living my dream!

I want to hear from you! Keep the conversation going and comment below with your must-have Road Trip Playlist song!

28 thoughts on “The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist”

  1. Nice list, Tonya! One of my go-to’s is Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. Could anything be more “singable’?

    Oh, and I appreciate all the work you do to keep that 80’s music alive and well! (fist bump)

  2. I need to work on my road trip music options. The only time I ever even put thought into what I was listening to was when I bought The Duck Commander Family audiobook before moving from Nebraska to Ohio. (And even then, I probably should have bought another two audio books to cover the entire trip!) Good suggestions.

    1. Thanks Alexa, I should have mentioned that this is an evolving list as I keep adding to it every time I hear a good song. It’s probably taken a year to get it to where it is today.

  3. I am going on a Road Trip from San Antonio to San Diego soon and this is perfect! You got a lot of my fav songs on there. I also highly recommend Irish drinking songs as sing alongs. Turns your road trip into a pub crawl and the beer you drink after you stop tastes so much better 😉

  4. Nice and detailed list. There’s definitely something for everyone. We did a 3 week road trip – boomers and millennials – music was interesting . Surprising too were who sang along with what!

  5. This is a KICK ASS list. I love singing along to American Pie/ don’t stop believing. Its a perfect road trip list – I need to download and put them togt for my next adventure. Thanks for collating and sharing.

  6. I LOVE your playlist suggestions! I am just about to travel overland through Africa for 5 weeks and this post is going to give me a great start to picking out some awesome tunes to get us through 8-9 hour driving stretches!

  7. I want to go on a roadtrip with you! So many of my favorites are featured on this list. I get embarrassing in the car when Abba comes on!

  8. Ha Ha! I see I got called out for the 80’s nostalgia. We realised over the weekend that my kids had never heard Another Brick in the Wall – so that got fixed fast. Love this list and will be playing it this summer. So many good songs on this list. Along with movies, we take our music education seriously 🙂

  9. I love road trips! I can’t travel without listening to music so thanks for this. My spotify/playlist is on my top 5 must haves whenever I travel.

  10. Too much fun! I think my favorite are the sing out loud songs since I love to belt it out on long drives. With loud music so no one can actually hear me, of course.

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