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10 Travel Tunes for Your Next Trip

Put the windows down, and turn the radio up.

By Courtney Guth, University of Maryland 

We all have our travel essentials. For some, it’s a well packed backpack filled with any and every first-aid supply you can think of. For others, it’s a comforting piece of home like an old blanket or stuffed animal. As for me, it’s music. Whether I’m traveling by plane, train, bus, or car, I need some music to get me through the journey.

When I listen during my travels, I’m either hiding away behind my headphones or rocking out and belting along. It all depends on how I’m traveling. I don’t think fellow plane passengers would appreciate my out of tune renditions of Whitney Houston hits, but if I’m behind the wheel, anything goes. Like traveling with good company, it simply makes the time go by faster.

To suit your travel needs, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites. Everyone has different music preferences, so not every track on this list may cut it for you, but I hope you discover some new tunes to add to your next travel playlist or maybe re-discover an old favorite:

Fun, “We Are Young”

Tonight // We are young // So let’s set the world on fire // We can burn brighter than the sun”

Here at College Tourist, we’re all about traveling while we’re young. When I listen to this song, I think of the late and carefree nights I’ve encountered during my travels. From the pubs of Ireland to the streets of New York City, I’ve had some great memories (albeit they may be a little fuzzy from time to time). I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything, and this song definitely channels the invincibility I felt at the time.

The Beach Boys, “Kokomo”

“Ooh I wanna take you down to Kokomo // we’ll get there fast // and then we’ll take it slow”

This tune is great for daydreaming of travel or anticipating the perfect getaway. Any time I listen to it, I think of warm tropical waters and my trips to the Caribbean. You can’t ignore the “rhythm of the steel drum band” as the song play. My mind instantly wanders to a sunny seaside spot with a blanket and refreshing beverage.

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

“But I would walk five hundred miles // And I would walk five hundred more // Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles // To fall down at your door”

If you’ve ever watched How I Met Your Mother, you know why this song is on the list. Aside from being one of Marshall’s favorite road trip songs, it’s one of mine too. The song is just so catchy. One time as we were heading back from a trip to a ski resort, we put this song on repeat for way too long and couldn’t get it out of our hands. You’ve been warned.

Billy Joel, “Movin’ Out”

“It seems such a waste of time // If that’s what it’s all about// Mama, if that’s movin’ up then I’m movin’ out.”

I’m a big Billy Joel fan, so this list absolutely had to include a Billy reference. While Movin’ Out isn’t my all time favorite Joel tune (how could I possibly pick just one??), it’s perfect for this list. I think the song captures that independent spirit of travel. Sometimes we’re unsatisfied with where we’re heading, and we need to change direction. Set off on your own adventure, and don’t be afraid to change direction from time to time.

Styx, “Come Sail Away”

“Come sail away, come sail away // Come sail away with me”

There’s something so carefree about this song. The singer even says “I’ve got to be free // Free to face the open life that’s ahead of me.” I get that same feeling whenever I stare out at the ocean from the shore. I’m ready to set out on an adventure when this song comes on.

Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

“Because I’m easy come, easy go // A little high, little low //Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me, to me”

Okay, so the song isn’t directly related to travel, but this song is such a great road trip tune. There’s one rule in my car (aside from the obvious one that requires everyone wear their seat belts): when Bohemian Rhapsody comes on, you have to jam a la the iconic Wayne’s World scene. I don’t care if you can’t hit Freddie’s falsetto’s; you’re jamming out.

Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing”

“Don’t stop believin’ // Hold on to that feelin’”

Another belt worthy tune. Whether you’re taking the midnight train going anywhere or have another destination in mind, this song will get you through. The song definitely helps me channel my desire to chase what I want and not give up on it. It also has a killer guitar solo. Recipe for a wonderful travel tune.

Metro Station, “California” 

“What do you say we leave for California? // If we drive all night, we can make it by the morning // And, no one has to know if we decide to go”

This is probably one of the more obscure songs on my list, but it’s a good one. I love the idea of just setting off with someone you’re close to, not telling anyone else, and getting away. It’s an upbeat tune with catchy lyrics. I could definitely drive all night with this one playing.

Simon & Garfunkel, “Homeward Bound”

“Home, where my thought’s escaping // Home, where my music’s playing // Home, where my love lies waiting”

Not all travel tunes are about getting to your destination. Sometimes you need a song for the return trip. Simon & Garfunkel are just what you need. There’s nothing wrong with longing for home from time to time. This song got me through my flight home from Dublin. When I listen to it, I can still feel that anticipation that built as I made my way to my gate where everyone was waiting for me.

Frank Sinatra, “Come Fly With Me”

“Come fly with me, let’s float down to Peru // In llama land there’s a one-man band // And he’ll toot his flute for you // Come fly with me, let’s take off in the blue”

It’s impossible to resists the sultry crooning of Old Blue Eyes. This song makes me want to go anywhere with Frank…or really anyone willing to serenade me with it for that matter. (Okay, maybe I’m not that easily convinced, but I’m a sucker for a good serenade). I love its easy, breezy, melody. It makes me just want to swing dance, but that’s probably a bad idea when my hands are on the wheel.

So there you have it! Perhaps some new tunes for your next trip. I’d love to know what’s on your travel playlist, as well.

Courtney Guth

University of Maryland | 31 stories

Courtney Guth is a senior English major at the University of Maryland College Park actively seeking an answer to the age-old question, “so what are you going to do with that?” Her answer currently involves working in communications and development for a small non-profit in Washington, D.C. If she’s not exploring the nation’s capital, she’s probably watching an old movie, attempting to cook, or losing her voice at a Maryland Terrapins’ game. She believes the adage that “the world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page” but why just read when you can write?

One response to “10 Travel Tunes for Your Next Trip”

  1. christianyb says:

    Well done! I think I would add all ten songs to my lists 🙂

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