Playlist – Top 20 Travel Songs for Wanderlusters
If there’s one thing that I cannot live without on my travels, and life for that matter, is music. Throughout the years I went through the pop phase, then rock, metal, alternative, indie… Nowadays, with a bit more “wisdom” on these bones, I like a lit bit of everything. I like good music, basically. No labels, no prejudices. If it’s good, it goes into my playlist. And you know how a good soundtrack can make all the difference in a movie? The same thing happens to me with travels.
A long bus, train or plane trip wouldn’t be the same without the songs that usually make my mind travel when I’m back at home. I usually spend hours on end working on the music selection for my iPhone before leaving for the trip. That’s why I decided to share a playlist of 20 of the best travel songs here on Joland. Below you’ll find a description and video for each one and at the end of the post the complete playlist on Spotify.
1| “The Passenger” – Iggy Pop
A true classic and as such, number 1 in this playlist of travel songs. “I am a passenger and I ride and I ride …“. There is no way to listen to this song and not feel overwhelmed by a desire to immediately leave with a one-way ticket.
2| “Riders on the Storm” – The Doors
Another timeless classic. What a song. Try listening to it on a train or bus trip while the rain hits your window, and get ready to enter another dimension right away.
3| “Hopeless Wanderer” – Mumford & Sons
This is one of those travel songs that immediately starts me thinking about my next destination. “Don’t let your heart grow cold,” they say. I couldn’t agree more.
4| “Ramble on” – Led Zepellin
With lyrics inspired by the book “The Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien, this one is, without a doubt, one of the greatest classics of all time. The ring is replaced on the song by the search for a bigger-than-life love all around the world. It speaks of freedom and the eternal search for happiness. And what can you want more? 😉
5| “Mausam” – Nitin Sawhney
India is a country that has has been forever fascinating me. And Nitin Sawhney’s songs, especially those on the “Beyond Skin” album, take me straight there, whenever I hear them. “Mausam” talks about the changes that take place in our life over time. Of sadness, happiness, and the balance that must exist between one emotion and the other.
6| “Ticket to Ride” – The Beatles
This song has always been part of my playlists of travel songs. The obvious interpretation of the lyrics would be related to travel, with the departure of the girl he likes. But in reality, there are several theories behind the lyrics, including one that refers to the days spent by the band members in the Red Light District in Hamburg, Germany. Regardless of what the song really means, we can all agree that it is an excellent one, right?
7| “Roam” – B52’s
The lyrics of this song say it all: “Fly the skies, see the seas, run around all the continents. Go ahead, roam without a care.”
8| “Wonderlust King” – Gogol Bordello
Few songs have lyrics as related to travelling the world, new experiences and living life to the fullest as “Wonderlust King” by Gogol Bordello. “But I’m a wonderlust king. I stay on the run, let me out, let me be gone.“
9| “Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
The feeling of freedom that you get when you get into your car and hit the road with no destination. Although the song is not directly related to travel, is it or is it not a perfect road trip song?
10| “The Golden Age” – Beck
“Put your hands on the wheel. Let the golden age begin, let the window down, feel the moonlight on your skin. Let the desert wind cool your aching head. Let the weight of the world drift away instead.” And what about that guitar riff right at the beginning …? This is it, isn’t it?
11| “The Sea” – Morcheeba
Travel to a beach destination far away and while looking at the horizon, listen to this song. Then tell me if it doesn’t make sense to include it in a playlist of travel songs. “I left my soul there, down by the sea. I lost control here, living free.“
12| “I drove all night” – Cindy Lauper
A classic from the 80s, by the great Cindy Lauper. One of the most romantic songs ever, but also one of the most perfect ones for road trips.
13| “Here I go again” – White Snake
This song by White Snake has everyone singing its chorus passionately, don’t even bother denying it! The ultimate lone traveller song.
14| “Hard Sun” – Eddie Vedder
Who hasn’t dreamed of being Cristopher McCandless at least once when while watching the movie “Into the Wild“? The idea of leaving everything behind and exploring the world with utter freedom is something that inevitably touches us. And whenever I hear this song, from the movie’s soundtrack, there is something inside of me that starts to boil and a smile that is automatically drawn on my face.
15| “I’ve been everywhere” – Johnny Cash
“Crossed the desert’s bare, man. I’ve breathed the mountain air, man. Of travel I’ve had my share, man. I’ve been everywhere.” The great Mr Johnny Cash, ladies and gentlemen.
16| “Have love, will travel” – The Black Keys
Original music by the 50s/60s punk-rockers, The Sonics, performed by The Black Keys. A classic in the world of travel songs.
17| “Postcards from Italy” – Beirut
A song about longing, about memories of happy times. Listening to it on the road makes me want to appreciate the moment even more to keep the best and most vivid memories.
18| “Road Trippin” – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Is there a more perfect song than this one to start a road trip? The answer is no. It’s impossible. “Road trippin ‘with my two favourite allies. Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies. It’s time to leave this town, It’s time to steal away. Let’s go get lost anywhere in the USA.“
19| “Time to move on” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Are you allergic to routine and stagnation? Join the club and put this song on. Makes sense, doesn’t it? “What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing. But under my feet, baby, grass is growing. It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going.“
20| “Sweet Disposition” – Temper Trap
Is there a better feeling than the one of total freedom while looking at your life like a blank book waiting for your stories and memories? That’s how I feel on the road. And this song is the perfect soundtrack for those moments.
And here is the full playlist, on Spotify. I will continue to update it with more songs, so if you like, add it to your favourite playlists!
What about you? What songs are part of your travel playlist? Leave your suggestions in the comments box below!