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Go ahead and load up your mp3 player, slip on your earphones, and crank up the tunes. Who knows where these songs will take you.

THERE’S A GOOD reason many of us take an mp3 player with us when we travel. Music can transport us-back home, away from an overcrowded bus, or through a restless night.

Music helps us connect to others-to fellow travelers who might share our taste in songs and to locals who might not speak our language but can carry the rhythm.

For those of us with gypsy blood, music can speak to who we are and why it is that we can never seem to settle down. Music engenders a desire to see a new place, or to travel simply for the joy of the journey.

In the few minutes that a song lasts, the ember of wanderlust inside us can be stoked into a bonfire that can’t be ignored. Suddenly, we’re inspired to earn that money, book that flight, pack that bag–do whatever it takes to get back on the road.

So here I present thirty songs that best capture the spirit of travel.

Go ahead and load up your mp3 player, slip on your earphones, and crank up the tunes. Who knows where these songs will take you.

Songs About Place

Certain songs take you immediately to a specific place. They precisely capture somewhere you’ve been or inspire you to plan a trip to the locale forever locked in lyrics.

Other songs don’t name names, but in your mind, the place evoked by the tune is so exact you have no doubt what town, city, or country the singer is crooning about…until you meet another traveler who pictures an entirely different place every time that song is played.

1. Carolina in My Mind by James Taylor

Who doesn’t see that Carolina sunshine or feel that moonshine when this classic comes through the speakers? I certainly hear “the highway calling” each time this song appears on my play list.

2. Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills, and Nash

The vivid imagery of this song–colored cottons, charming cobras–brings this famed Moroccan city right to life. Can you resist its call?

3. Africa by Toto

Come on, I couldn’t leave this one off, could I? It’s classic.

4. Katmandu by Cat Stevens

Strange and bewildering is certainly one way to describe this town. If you’ve been there, I’m sure you can think of many other fitting adjectives.

5. Graceland by Paul Simon

On the surface, sure, it’s a song about Memphis, but I think we all have our own Graceland, that place where we go for reasons we can’t explain, with the hope of being well received.

6. We Danced Anyway by Deana Carter

In each of our histories, there’s that “happy little foreign town,” where we danced, laughed, and were in love with every minute of every day. It’s the place we find a way to go back to time and again, even if just in our memories.

7. Where the Streets Have No Name by U2

It’s the town not in any guidebook, the one you found when you got off the train at the wrong stop or surreptitiously shared a hostel room with someone who had just come from there. It’s the restaurant without a sign, the guestroom tucked away in a back alley, the beach you’ll never be able to find again…but will always remember.

Songs About How To Travel

A common maxim reminds us that it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters. If it’s about the journey, then the method of transportation is important.

By boat, by train, by foot, by car…the manner in which we travel plays a large role in the way in which we experience the world.

8. Proud Mary by CCR

Is it possible to listen to this song and not want to give up that “good job in the city” to “hitch a ride on a river boat queen”? Whether it’s on the Mississippi, the Amazon, the Nile, the Ganges, or some smaller, quieter river, boats are a great throwback way to travel.

9. City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie

I’m not sure you can call yourself a traveler if you’ve never made at least one trip by train, passing time playing cards with friends and watching the world pass outside your window.

Songs About the Reasons We Travel

We each have our private reasons for taking a trip, but there are common themes that link travelers.

Often we journey in search of something–ourselves, love, adventure, understanding, the place we belong. Sometimes we go simply because we can’t stand to stay where we are or because of an almost desperate urge for movement.

And in some cases, there is no reason. We travel simply because we are travelers.

10. Time to Move On by Tom Petty

Stay in one place too long and sometimes it really seems that you can feel the grass growing underfoot. That’s when you know for certain that it’s time to move on.

11. The World at Large by Modest Mouse

With the changing of seasons comes a desire for a change of scenery. The migrating instinct awakes in our souls.

12. America by Simon & Garfunkel

While every trip might be a search for somewhere new or different, it’s also true that every journey away from home is an opportunity to better understand the place from which we come.

13. Taking the Long Way Around by the Dixie Chicks

You have them – the friends who stayed at home and settled down. You look at their lives and can’t imagine finding happiness that way. They, on the other hand, look at your life and wonder why you always have to take “the long way around.” Different strokes, right?

14. The River by Garth Brooks

Some people are content to sit on the shorelines, but those of us who travel know that we’ve got to get out there and chance the rapids, dance in the tides, and follow the dream wherever it leads.

15. Fly Away from Here by Aerosmith

As Steven Tyler sings, “our hopes and dreams are out there somewhere.” We can stay where we are and hope our dreams come to us or we can go out and find that better place. I’m not seeing much of a choice here.

16. Free Bird by Lynrd Skynrd

If you live for that feeling of freedom that comes with arriving in a destination where no one knows you, there’s nothing in the world that can hold you down.

17. Ramble On by Led Zeppelin

Is it love that we’re all looking for as we ramble on? Maybe… though not necessarily romantic love. Love of a place, love of a time, love of life itself.

18. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake

Sometimes the road is lonely and the destination isn’t always clear, but the dream is always big enough to compel us to walk down that road time and time again.

19. Ramblin’ Man by the Allman Brothers

Trying to explain why you travel to those who’d rather stay in one place is often futile. You’re coming from places too far apart, so sometimes the best answer (and maybe the true answer) is simply that you were “born a ramblin’ man.”

Songs that Capture the Joy of Travel

At the end of the day, what most often inspires us to go is the ecstasy of travel, pure and simple. The frustrations of airports, the struggles with packing, and the tedium of days spent working all fade away when you set off on your journey.

Photo by Ash

20. Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude by Jimmy Buffett

Who hasn’t scanned the departures at the airport and recalled all the places that they’ve already been and made plans for the places still to be explored?

21. On the Road Again by Willie Nelson

Going places that you’ve never been, seeing things that you’ve never seen, making music with your friends…isn’t that what travel is all about?

22. A Good Day to Run by Darryl Worley

The only question this song leaves to ponder is: what day isn’t a good day to run?

23. Roam by the B-52′s

Fly the skies, see the seas, run around all the continents. Go ahead, roam without a care.

24. Come Away With Me by Norah Jones

I’m not sure it’s possible to resist this siren’s call to walk with her in yellow-grassed fields, to stand with her atop a mountain, to lie with her under a tin roof in the rain. It’s travel the romantic way.

25. Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz

Just think of all the places you would visit if you could fly, taking off with every whim. And travel without the hassle of the airport…I’m not sure it gets better than that.

26. Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane

Windows down, gas tank full, an open road in front of you. This song demands that you sing along as you see the world from behind the wheel.

27. Wherever I May Roam by Metallica

When you’re able to find home on the road, you know that you’ve reached a new level of travel and you no longer care how the world defines you.

28. I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash

Though I’ve yet to actually meet anyone who can claim they’ve been everywhere, there certainly are a lot of people trying. Regardless of whether you like to hit as many spots as you can or take it slow and easy through one place, rambling through the many places listed in this song is always fun.

29. King of the Road by Roger Miller

Everybody wants to be king of something, and if you’re a traveler, there’s no better kingdom than the road.

30. Around the World by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

No arguing here. Life is indeed beautiful all around the world.

What songs would you add to the list? Share your picks in the comments!

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About The Author

Theresa Dowell Blackinton

Theresa Dowell Blackinton is a freelance writer and frequent traveler. In 2008 she will put her relationship tips to the test when she hits the road with her husband for a one year trip around the world. Visit her website, Lives of Wander, to follow along on their journey.

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  • Sheila

    Being a native North Carolinian, I was happy to see JT’s song at number one on your list.

    A couple of songs that I might add that sweep me away to Hawaii are:
    - Beautiful Kauai
    - White Sandy Beach

  • Haley January Eckels

    Great list! I’d add John Denver’s “Country Roads” which always reminds me of road trips.

  • Theresa

    “Country Roads” actually always reminds me of Oktoberfest in Munich, oddly enough. They play that song over and over, and though I’m not sure how many people really know the words, everyone sings along. It was pretty amusing…at least the first few times.

  • Mark

    Great list. It’s hard for me to go anywhere without a good playlist to accompany me, and road trips deserve there own newly created one.

    Carolina in my Mind is my number one travel song. So peaceful and relaxing, just prepares your for the open road.

  • Charlie

    L.A. Woman by The Doors. The engine in the beginning says it all.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    When I hear that opening of Toto’s Africa, I get ready to warm up my vocal chords. Something about it reminds me of open plains, jungles, and drunken backpackers sharing a poor sing-a-long in some back alley…

  • Daniel Harbecke

    “Around the World” by Daft Punk. (More like “Around the Clubs…”)

    Perhaps “I’m Afraid of Americans” by Bowie? Always makes me wanna go somewhere else… ;)

    Seriously. “No Particular Place to Go,” by Chuck Berry. Or the entire album of Joe Jackson’s “Big World.”

  • Greg

    Proud Mary is a great song – was going to say that the only one missing from the list was “Country Roads” but someone beat me to it! :)

    Short, relevant story – in November when I was studying kung fu at the Shaolin Temple, our sifu (master) ordered us to sing a song. I was the only American,there were 3 Germans, 2 Danish, an Australian, and a guy from Singapore. After 5 minutes of deliberation, the only song that we could come up with that everyone knew the words was John Denver’s “Country Roads”! I’ll never forget singing it with those guys while a baffled Chinese sifu watched us get into tears missing home.

  • Matthew

    “King of the Road” and “City of New Orleans” top my list for sure.

    I’d change Petty songs and go with “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”

    I’d also add Lucinda Williams’ “West,” and Dwight Yoakam’s “Thousand Miles from Nowhere.”

    As a guilty pleasure I would add Duran Duran’s “Rio.”

    And for the local addition(Louisville, KY!) that few know of(although the author of this article does), I’d add The Muckrakers’ “Longitudes.” it would make a great first song for the mix…

    Is this addition only, or am I now responsible for 4 subtractions as well?

  • Tim Patterson

    Oh man, how about The Wild Rover, that classic old Irish drinking song…I remember singing that at the top of my lungs with a manic, flat-broke Irishman in a little fishing boat off Koh Sdach in Cambodia…and plenty of drunken sing-a-longs coming home from the bars in any number of countries.

    “Cause it’s no, nay, never…(right up your kilt!) No Nay Never, no more! Will I pla-a-a-ay the Wild Rover…nay never, no more…”

  • Ted

    My top 10 may be different, but Toto will be in. To not enlarge the comment, Im giving the liyrics as . (Repeat and repeat again) Thanks for the list – great list. :)

  • Toby

    See the World, by Gomez. The song is amazing. Check out the video:

  • Flyerist

    I can add two solid contenders:
    Don’t Dream it’s Over – Crowded House. But you’ll never see the end of the road
    While youre travelling with me
    Under African Skies – Paul Simon

    And of course, Down Under by Men at Work. My Australia photo slideshow is set to that music.

  • Chelsea

    Wonderful list, I’m going to bookmark it so I have a kick-ass playlist on the Ipod for the next adventure! Thanks, love the site.

  • megan

    hey theresa,

    great list!

    my top would be wide open spaces. i absolutely love it… makes me miss owning a car, but long way around is an excellent choice.

    i would also add:
    dreams by fleetwood mac
    summertime by sublime
    on a sad note the one by macy gray about getting out of town, the title eludes me
    midnight train to georgia by the indigo girls
    highway man by johnny cash
    the wanderer by johnny cash & u2

    shoot, so many good ones!

  • Jeremiah

    Excellent. It was so rad to see The World At Large make the list. It’s the one that keeps me going.

    “Ice age, heat wave can’t complain
    If the world’s at large why should I remain.”

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  • Nomadic Matt

    What about “london still” by the waifs or “breakaway” by kelly clarkson

  • Marc Latham

    Bon Scott era AC/DC’s Ride On is a classic travel song I think: slow and melancholic lonely travel blues (believe it or not for those who only know later AC/DC!)

    How about a section for coming home after a long trip too, with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Comin’ Home top of the list; followed by Guns n’ Roses Paradise City, Motley Crue’s Home Sweet Home etc

  • Cassie

    My ultimate travel song is Pure Shores by All Saints. Not only does it remind me of my favourite travel movie but it also reminds me of the eternal search to find my beach.

    Also, having my ipod on shuffle and having Beautiful Day by U2 suddenly start to play… Standing on the Great Wall as Bono sings “See China right in front of you,” was kinda breath-taking.

    • Ian MacKenzie

      Cassie – I always wonder when there’s a coincidence like that; when an song matches where you are. It’s usually a nice feeling of “all is right with the world.”

      Then again, it’s also nice to be listening to something fun when in a risky situation. I was careening down a steep mountain road in Laos a couple years ago, while listening to “The Ding Dong Song” by Gunther.

      How could something bad happen when listening to a song like that? :-D

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  • Rikki –

    How about “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys????

    “…to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama….”

    it’s universal, and it makes you feel good because of the catchy melody. A classic!

  • Daniel Harbecke

    I like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin, but only when the oxygen gets veeeeerry thin, and the stars come out during lunchtime.

    Still, it does fit those instances when no other song really would, like when all your clothes have been stolen by gypsies, or the plane is crashing. Have you ever tried whistling it when the police are booking you for something grievous? Me neither, but it’s on the list of things to do. And you know, I bet the guys in the cell will recognize it and whistle along!

    Or Phil Collins.

  • Laura

    I’m not a huge Bob Seger fan, but Roll Me Away captures the spirit of freedom from being on the road…

    “Starin’ out at the great divide, I could go east, I could go west, it was all up to me to decide…”

  • juliemarg

    How can you leave off Come Fly With Me by Frank Sinatra? Your others are good though….

    Come fly with me, lets fly lets fly away
    If you can use, some exotic booze
    Theres a bar in far bombay
    Come fly with me, well fly well fly away

    Come fly with me, lets float down to peru
    In lama land, theres a one man band
    And hell toot his flute for you
    Come fly with me, well float down in the blue

    Once I get you up there, where the air is rarefied
    Well just glide, starry eyed
    Once I get you up there, Ill be holding you so near
    You may here, angels cheer – because were together

    Weather wise its such a lovely day
    You just say the words, and well beat the birds
    Down to acapulco bay
    Its perfect, for a flying honeymoon – they say
    Come fly with me, well fly well fly away

  • Shawn Lea

    Roseanne Cash’s “Rules of Travel” for How to Travel section!

  • Emily

    Off the top of my head…
    "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash. So silly, but I couldn't get it out of my head in Morocco.
    Rufus Wainwright's "Barcelona" and "Leaving For Paris Pt. 2"
    "Holiday in Spain" by Counting Crows

    Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good" drew lots of hoots and hollers in Spanish bars when she'd sing "Jamaica and Spain/We're like how we were again."

    What's the deal with the duplicate comments? Is everyone seeing each one two or three times?

  • Jenny

    Come away with me!

  • Gurpeet

    For the reflective, personal growth spirit of travelling, and the vibe of the journeying itself:::
    "Ancient Love" by Anoushka Shankar
    "Beloved" by Anoushka Shankar
    "Naked" by Anoushka Shankar
    "Adios Ayer" by Jose Padilla (from one of the Cafe Del Mar albums)
    "Mumbai Theme Tune" by A.R. Rahman (also from Cafe Del Mar – Volume 5)
    "Promentory" from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack.

    For the (sometimes) loneliness of leaving, being on the road, and returning home:::
    Blue by Euphoria (with Tina Dico)
    Set the Fire to the Third Bar by Snow Patrol (with Martha Wainwright)
    Run (acoustic version) by Snow Patrol
    The Golden Age by Beck

    For the vibrancy, urgency, excitment, and that feeling of optimism and infinite possibilities of new places and people:::
    New York New York by Moby (with Debbie Harry)
    In My Heart by Moby
    Teardrop by Massive Attack
    Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack
    Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez

    Coming home:::
    You're So Cool by Hans Zimmer (also known as the True Romance theme tune)
    Sand In My Shoes by Dido

  • Anna

    Mr Tambourine Man by Dylan: Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind :)

  • lindsay

    More Than A Feeling – Boston

    I love singing it loudly on open roads :D hehe

  • Scott

    I Am A Passenger – Iggy Pop
    Everything about traveling in every area of the country. Backstreets to open highways.

  • M.A.C.R.O.

    When it all goes south from Alabama

  • Spir4l

    Send Me on My Way by Rusted Root.

  • The Travel Tart

    All good songs, but I guess I good travel song is as individual as the person’s taste. I love Split Enz’s ‘Six Months in a Leaky Boat’ when on water, and ‘This Road’ from James Blundell (Australian singer) when in a car. I also like ‘I was a Kamikaze Pilot’ from the Hoodoo Gurus when I’m in any form of transport that’s a bit crazy, like mini-bus taxis.

  • Zach

    I would also add ‘Into The Great Wide Open’ by Petty for its feeling of freedom. I would also add ‘Margaritaville’ by Buffett under the places category. Great list though!

  • Michael

    Land Down Under – Men At Work ;)

  • bradenbraden

    Im supprized to see no Eddie Vedder (the guy who did the Into the Wild sountrack)

  • Sarita

    “Just Like I Pictured It” by Medeski, Martin and Wood

  • Cbiddle

    Beirut’s “Postcards From Italy” has a horn part that makes me think about that feeling when you’re in the car at the beginning of a long trip and everyone is quiet and happy.

  • stereobread

    “Wonderlust King” by Gogol Bordello, “Every Dog Has His Day” by Flogging Molly and “Une Americaine a Paris” by Rupa and the April Fishes really do it for me. Actually come to think of it just about everything by those three bands.

  • Mel

    Thought I’d jump in here with some more contemporary tunes… As well as some of the lyrics that I really feel capture the feel of travel in those songs:

    Beyond the Border, by the Line: Very emphatically about travel and backpacking. I can’t find the lyrics online anywhere and some are hard to hear, but it’s like this “Take me now, on the road / take me as far away from here as I can go, / and I don’t care my destination, anywhere but here is fine / and I don’t care if I’m ever going home.” What backpacker hasn’t felt like that sometimes?

    All For Swinging You Around, The New Pornographers: “Exploding international, the scenes, the sounds / and famously, the feeling that you can’t squeeze ’round.” “Can’t tell if this is fantasy or culture shock…”

    Heartbreak World, by Matt Nathanson: “Let’s all pack up and move this year / We’ll slip the lines and disappear / leave memories for auctioneers / and those just standing still”
    Pretty the World, Matt Nathanson
    Curve of the Earth, Matt Nathanson

    The Way, Fastball: “They made up their minds / And they started packing /
    They left before the sun came up that day / An exit to eternal summer slacking / But where were they going without ever knowing the way?”

    Beautiful Thing, Sister Hazel: “Well I’ll follow you wherever when you lead me by my nose on / another big adventure I suppose”

  • James

    Hello guys! Thanks for all tips about songs! I like a lot of these songs you mentioned. Personally I like Bittersweet Symphony-The Verve (watch the video first) and Somewhere over the Rainbow, Porcelain by Moby, Glass of water-Coldplay and Rainy Day-Coldplay such of beautiful songs and perfect to walk to. ( At least for me) :)

  • Gary

    “She Walked Along the River (The T-Shirt Song)” by travel songwriting duo Gary Lee Kraut and Jordan Zell.
    Travel music video recently released on France Revisited.

    “My girlfriend went to Paris,
    Walked along the river…”

  • JoAnna

    It’s not specifically related to travel, but the song that really gets me fired up on those late-night road trips is “Nightshift” by the Commodores. There’s something about that song that pumps the adrenaline for me.

  • Powered by Tofu

    Kaiser Chiefs “Oh My God” (the “And oh my god I can’t believe it, I’ve never been this far away from home” song)!

  • Elizabeth

    I am including some lyrics for those songs that are rather obscure.

    **900 Miles (Bethany and Rufus). Music actually sounds like a train, which just adds to the fantastic song.

    “I am walking down the track, I’ve got tears in my eyes, I’m trying to read a letter from my home. And if this train runs me right I’ll be home tomorrow night because I am 900 miles from my home…”

    **What a wonderful World (Good ol’ Mr Armstrong)

    **My Love Goes With You (The Innocence Mission)

    **Walking in Memphis (Carc Cohn)

    **In a Big Country (Big Country)

    **Fool (Cat Power)
    “Apartment in New York, London and Paris/Where will we rest, we’re all living on top of it”

    **Rust and Cyanide (Alaska)
    “Something’s grand in this place/between us, we equal an inhuman race/where the people parade on top of the graves/as a point that they make to tempt fate./in Alaska, we have found our skate.”

    **I’ll Be Gone Til November (Wyclef Jean)

  • Dan Chrisitan

    all good tunes,

    Was glad to see eddie vedder mentioned for the ‘into the wild soundtrack!’

    for me, its gotta be

    Incubus – Aqueous Transmission (further down the river…)

    and no trip would be complete without some Bob Marley – high tide, low tide!

  • orleyh

    I submit “Island in the Sun” by Harry Belafonte, to get that Caribbean feeling.

  • Portia

    Can’t forget the contemporary “Runaway” by Love and Theft!
    One of my favorites!

  • Adam

    I’d have to add on “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans” by the Smashing Pumpkins. Maybe just because they’re such a hometown band for me, but still.

  • Joe

    i would add “Road Trippin’” by rhcp and also “Absinthe Party” by Minus the Bear. I went to Paris last year and had a very similar experience to the one described on the song, and makes me think that almost everyone visiting a big city goes thru the same.

  • Gaby

    I think most of U2 songs are perfect for travelling… my favourite ones:
    - WALK ON

    But great selection anyway!

  • Authentic Seacoast Resorts

    Maybe its the influence of the sea, but there are a lot of great travelling songs from Nova Scotia that we’d recommend for this list starting with the legendary Hank Snow and I’m Movin’ On. Other great Nova Scotia travel songs include Dave Gunning “These Roads”, Eddied LeGere “Maritime Express”, Lennie Gallant “Which Way Does the River Run”, Stan Rogers “Guysborough Train” and Bruce Guthro “Walk this Road”. You can give these great Nova Scotia travel songs a listen our our blip playlist:

    Hope to see you travelling in Nova Scotia soon!

  • Linda

    I agreed with the list. But I also like ZZ Top (Cheap Sunglasses and Sharp Dressed Man) and Stevie Ray Vaughan (everything), plus Bonnie Raitt (everything) and Norah Jones (Come Away with Me) when driving down a highway on a road trip. I like the upbeat tunes for keeping me awake at night and the more soothing tunes for during the day when enjoying the sights of a scenic byway.

  • Janet Hansen

    Very interesting blog post and even more interesting comments. The author writes about songs that have emerged over at least the past 25 years…while all the commenters respond with very contemporary titles.

    Either the blog is not being read by the correct demographic, or the author is doing a bit of a music history travel log.

    The 40th Anniversary of Woodstock is approaching. The date is August 15…and it was a traveling experience that none shall forget…either those who attended or watched and read about it in other mediums. 40 years later, it is still a Happening!

    Janet Hansen

  • mel

    How could you for about LUDachris: Pimping-all-over the world….. funnn song

  • kris

    Great songs, however I’d add Learning to Fly by Tom Petty to the list! It definately makes me want to hop on a plane and just get away from it all for a little while =)

  • Kevin

    Hi there!

    Does anybody know a song, where a guy tells a story, spoken, about hsi travel from teh hotel, to teh airport etc.. its about 6minutes and really groovy, chilled and funny..

    If you know the song or have an idea, please tell me!!

  • chris

    Some cool stuff there. Bit of a different style from what I like on the road, so from an African perspective:

    Goldfish – From Zanzibar with love, the Real Deal and Mbira Beat :)
    Revolution – Cina and Tribute to Legends
    Alexandre Langa – Meticais
    Salif Keita – Madan

    Just makes me want to cruise out the door and get on a plane. Sergio Mendes Girl from Ipanema always does it for me as well, instant dreams of palm trees and white sand.

    Thanks for the list and the idea, made me revisit some good memories!

  • Brittany

    bjork- wanderlust

  • David

    “Another Travelin’ Song” – Bright Eyes. AWESOME.

  • Steve

    Here are some amazing travel songs:

    Going Mobile by The Who (“watch the police and the taxman miss me!”) , Movin On by Bad Company, The Passenger by Iggy Pop, Thumbelina by The Pretenders.

  • Jorge

    how can every one forget about the eagle, hotel california
    that the best song on my list

  • John

    Have a Good Trip – Strawberry Shortcake

  • Ekalb Skeewdus

    Whoever wrote this needs to update their music library and do some searching for some real music as your travel companion. If these songs (with a few exceptions) were on my iTunes my life would be bleak. Whoever wrote this article should stay away from writing music articles in the future. No offense.

  • J

    OOooohhhhh good list!

    Another GREAT one is ‘Home for a Rest’ by Spirit of the West.

    I also like ‘Beautiful’ by India.Arie

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Karmatrekker

    For a long time I would secretly listen to a “Take Off” selection on my iPod once the flight attendants had all come around on pre-flight and done their “turn them off” lecture. I’d hit play right before takeoff as the engines wailed and we started down the tarmac. The first song was always “Hummingbird” by BB King. I always associate traveling with it because by the time we hit 30,000 feet the back up singers chime in with “don’t fly awaaaaaaaay…awaaaaaaaay”. Never fails to send chills up my spine, especially as you make that first bank and roll off into the wild blue yonder….

  • Connor

    Neil Young? Lynyrd Skynyrd? SRV? Most Southern/Rock.

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  • Chase

    Great list!

    I’d also add “Modern Day Drifter” by Dierks Bentley.

  • Adam

    A lot of great songs here!

    I’ll throw in “A Passage to Bangkok” by Rush. All about traveling the world sampling the best smoke :)

  • e

    These Old Shoes – Deer Tick
    listen to it!!!!

  • Michelle

    I love this website :) I would add “On The Road To Find Out” and/or “Wild World” by Cat Stevens.

  • rick

    Great list, however one of the top for me is “Radar Love” by Golden Earring. Acceleration required.

  • XtremXpert

    Eddy Raven – I’ve Got Mexico is another good one I like.

  • johnjack

    A lot of Eddie Vedder’s stuff would definitely top my list of ultimate travel songs. And The Gaslight Anthem, too. Listen to “In This City” by Iglu & Hartly; it always reminds me of those places I’ve been that I’ll always carry with me. MGMT is funky and great to listen to in airports. Old Crow Medicine Show writes great songs for the campfire. Then there’s Vampire Weekend for an eclectic mix of influences. Third Eye Blind brings back lots of memories of traveling around the Mediterranean. The lines, “I believe in the sand beneath my toes/The beach gives a feeling, an earthy feeling/I believe in the faith that grows/And the four right chords can make me cry,” from the song “Semi-Charmed Life” had always been the essence of life in Greece to me. “Lust For Life” by Iggy Pop is another song that has always stayed with me. Not to be critical, but the artical is totally oblivious to all the great stuff that’s going on in music these days. And you can’t forget the ethnic fusion — Mari Boine (a mix of chilling Nordic and ambient styles), Martyn Bennett (Celtic fusion), M.I.A. (trippy African/Asian/dance beats), Dengue Fever (Cambodian rock). Australian Aboriginal music has always given me the chills and a serious urge to travel as well. Damn, I love music!

  • Kayla

    This list would probably be a list of me least favorite songs/artists ever…

    Anyways, here are a few of my top picks:
    “Rains in Asia” – Jump Little Children
    “Take Back the City” – Snow Patrol (it’s about Belfast)
    “Saeglopur” – Sigur Ros

  • Renee

    Ace Frehley- New York Groove .for travelin to Iowa, i mean NY


    I watched the Porcelain Video by Moby I asked a friend out in California where it possibly was shot he ‘s not sure, perhaps you know, those mountains and trees are memorizing

  • Meadow

    great idea. i think we all have those songs that make our wanderlust more intense. I agree with a lot of the songs on here. Good choices. :-)

  • Ad

    Definitely Wanderlust King by Gogol Bordello.

  • goodtwotravel

    I like to begin a road trip with The Avett Brothers “A Lot Of Moving”. It’s an upbeat song that sets a great mood for traveling.

  • lilz

    Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show – one of the best songs of all time

  • Alyishia

    not too fond of most of the songs on this list, but i feel that the best travel songs are more personal than just songs that talk about traveling…
    in my opinion backpacking is the way to go and the mellow tunes are good but sometimes you need the extra kick to keep you going.

    i could go on forever but heres some of my top hits:
    que sera-wax tailor
    rolled-lemon jelly
    shadow of ourselves-thievery corporation
    hang tan-toubab krewe
    no rain-blind melon
    lake michigan-rouge wave
    warning shots-thievery corporation
    universal traveler-AIR
    anywhere i go-slightly stoopid
    hard sun-eddie vedder
    all we have-brett dennen
    old pirate-velours perfect
    what are you afraid of-west indian girl
    danse macabre-kraak & smaak
    superstylin-groove armada
    woman (mstrkrft remix)-wolfmother
    summer breeze-seals and croft
    in the waiting line-zero 7
    everybody got their something-nikka costa
    do you realize-flaming lips
    west coast-coconut records
    bam bam-sister nancy
    yo(brazilian mix)-bassnectar

  • Shahroz

    Nice list, I also like:

    Something Corporate-Woke Up in a Car
    America-Horse with No Name
    Jhonny Cash and the Highway men- Highwayman

  • Rock

    I’ve got a couple of Classic tunes that have not been mentioned. Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” (which was also Evel Knevel’s theme song) has to be mentioned as well as “Vacation” by the Go-Go’s. Honorable mention tunes could include, “Hit The Road Jack”, made famous by Ray Charles and re-invented by Buster Poindexter. The last tune was made famous by the movie, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, Holiday Road by Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham.
    Just a few to “get your roadtrip on” with!

  • Audrey

    Like others on here have said you tend to go more with what reminds you of traveling. I was surprised to see that Frank Sinatra’ fly Away with Me was not on here.

  • paul

    How come nobody has mentioned “Do Anything You Wanna Do” by Eddie and the Hot Rods. Old tune but a real blast that makes you want to get up and go. Otherwise it would have to be “Guaranteed” by Eddie Vedder

  • Amir Thompson

    That music is really amazing, I really love it!

  • Jen

    I think a perfect flying song is Colorblind by Counting Crows. As I listened to it while flying and looking out at the clouds, I got chills.

    I definitely have to agree that Eddie Vender is perfect road trip/travel music

    Boa Sorte (Good Luck) by Vanessa Da Mata and Ben Harper is amazing for driving

    Wake Up, Keep The Car Running, and Intervention, all by Arcade Fire (all great)

    We’ve Come a Long Way by Good Old War

    Closer by Kings Of Leon

    She’s Got You High by Mumm-Ra

  • Moonchi_13

    Bon Jovi – Lost highway =)

  • JedWi

    Tamborine Man by Bob Dylan most powerfully captures that indescribable call to wander.

  • Ric
  • Zach!

    Chicago by Sufjan Stevens is good too….


    Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

  • Sophie Vodvarka

    Some other excellent travel songs:

    “Suzanne”- Leonard Cohen/ covered by Nina Simone:

    “Come! Feel the Illinois!” -Sufjan Stevens

    “Transatlantique” -Beirut

    “Lets get out of this country” -Camera Obscura

    “Mimizan” -Beirut

    “In the aeroplane over the sea” -Neutral Milk Hotel

    “America” -Simon and Garfunkel

    “Boots of spanish leather” -Bob Dylan

    “Yankee bayonet (I will be home then)” -The Decemberists

    “At the bottom of everything” -Bright Eyes

  • Carlo Alcos

    Yeah…At the Bottom of Everything by Bright Eyes is great…and the video rocks!

  • Ciara

    Hey everyone!
    This is really interesting. Theresa I completely agree that music can transport us to a certain place and make us want to go there. I am currently carrying out research on the growing potential of music tourism and how different forms of music can actually influence people to travel to certain destinations. I was wondering if you could take a few minutes of your time to visit my blog at and post some of your comments/views on this. My research is mainly focussed on developments in Belfast, however I am looking to get the opinions of those outside Northern Ireland also. I would really appreciate your comments.
    Thanks so much for your help.

  • Veronica

    Here’s some of my fave travel songs yet to be mentioned!

    -”Citizen of the Planet” -Alanis Morissette
    -”Tokyo” -Charmaine
    -”Paper Planes” -M.I.A.
    -”Breakaway” -Kelly Clarkson
    -”Savannah” -Relient K
    -” All Star” -Smash Mouth
    -”Airplanes” -B.O.B (feat Hayley Williams)
    -”Empire State of Mind” -Jay-Z (feat Alicia Keys)
    -”Jefferson Aero Plane”- Relient K
    -”Smooth”- Santana
    -”Te Dejo Madrid” -Shakira

  • Jesse

    “Leaving on a jet plane” ……how did nobody choose that one?

  • Vanessa

    Guaranteed – Eddie Vedder

    Rise – Eddie Vedder

  • nora

    good life- onerepublic

    i played it everywhere i went in europe and i could never get over the feeling i had when i played it.

  • Dienuca

    Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild…is more than a classic

  • tadhg buckley

    pure shores – all saints (hate the rest of there stuff but love this)
    porno for pyros – 100 ways
    romance in durango – bob dylan
    spinning away – sugar ray

  • Gina

    Love your choices.  One of my favorites is Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea”.

  • Tmccarter

    The Kinks – Drivin’ (from the album Arthur)

  • Tonia

    Key Largo, Margaritaville-Jimmy Buffett, Ride Like the Wind-Christopher Cross, There is No Arizona-Jamie O’Neal (?), Keeps You Runnin’-Doobie Brothers, Sailing-Christopher Cross

  • zcjs

    Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses :D

  • Jodieleighh94

    Miles Away – Years from the sun
    Picture Frames – Georgia Fair

  • LT DAN

    See the World- Gomez :)

  • Pancha Samson

    “Back Down South” – Kings Of Leon

  • D Sharma Winter

    I love to sing “Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” whilst riding in a rickshaw!

  • Easilyjaded

    “Ride” by The Cary Brothers. So airy…perfect.

  • Michael

    How about Far Shore by The Seekers it Brings back memories of all the folks I met on my travels

  • Brittani Sponaugle

    Down in the Valley – The Head and the Heart
    Colder Weather – Zac Brown Band
    Live to be free – Griffin House
    This Must Be the Place – Talking Heads
    Motorcycle Drive-by – Third Eye Blind
    Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight -Amos Lee

    just to name a few….

  • Alistair Nel

    Cake – The distance

  • Cledders

    As an englishman;

    The Jam – English Rose

    Is pretty definitive.

  • overlander

    Top Ten Travel Tunes- With the help of online video, take an audio-visual journey. From heavy rock to Balladeers

  • wuwei37405

    “This land is your land….”  Woody Guthrie

  • Anonman

    Alive – Edwin
    basically makes you feel good to be alive and travel the world.

  • Fila_p

    Wonderlust King by Gogol Bordello!

  • Ladavfox

    I Wish I Could Go Traveling Again by Stacy Kent

  • Tlingit

    Weather With You – by Crowded House

  • Cupid0501

    very monochromatic list…and very American.

  • Francesca

    I think The Passenger (by Iggy Pop) is another of the songs that carries with the pleasure of traveling.

  • alesiamc

    Take it Easy by the Eagles.

  • Christy Mason

    Radar Love ~ Golden Earring

  • r-lec

    Check out my latest blog post with my ultimate travel tunes! :-)

  • Alli

    If your road tripping in Australia, Wide Open Road by The Triffids.  Can’t go past it.

    I once flew out of New York City at sunset to Groove Armada’s Dusk, You and Me and Les Nuits by Nightmares on Wax.  There was dope ambience if I ever I felt it…

  • Tfolstad

    nothing like ending the trip under a beautiful sunset with Louis B. Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”.

  • Castonguay_stacy

    alot of old songs but I have no mp3 player but damn putting them on computer and burning the music down and listening to it be a start on changing my life style around

  • Cristian Pletelier

    And Pat Metheny Group? 

  • Algernon

    wanted dead or alive by bon jovi!! “i’ve seen a million faces and I’ve rocked them all!”

  • viejaviejera

    Home by edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros :)

  • Kipper

    Good Life-One Republic
    Home- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

  • Al_owens

    Route 66 -  written by Bobby Troup, recorded by a lot of people.
    The Promised Land – Chuck Berry.
    Leaving on a Jet Plane – Joni Mitchel.
    The Cremation of Sam McGee – Robert Service.

  • Lala

    Soluna Samay – Should’ve known better

  • Ioannis S C

    Lemonjelly – Rambling Man
    Jack Johnson – Breakdown

  • Kevin G. Albert Melloy


  • Mari Kane

    James Taylor’s Mexico.

  • Gregory T. Levitt

    1. Pure shores – All Saints
    2. The sea – Morcheeba
    3. Travellers chant – Rizzle Kicks

  • Scott Wallace

    Country Roads, by John Denver.

  • Florencia Viale

    Excellent EFL material =).

  • Linda Ullom

    Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver!

  • Russell Mease

    Some really important songs that were missed here include:
    Journey – Be Good To Yourself.
    Supertramp: Take the Long Way Home & Goodbye Stranger.
    Doobie Brothers – China Grove.

  • Marcella Phillips

    Here’s a more literal and retro list for a different direction: LA Freeway, Homeward Bound, Rocket Man, Walking to New Orleans, Route 66, A Train, Chattanooga Choochoo, Day Tripper, Long and Winding Road, Sentimental Journey, Slow Boat to China, Traveling Man.

  • Aaron Ngan

    Aussie band Horrorshow’s song “Itchy Feet”.

    very lyrically powerful, about the wonder of travel and the incessant urge to keep pushing on and exploring and discovering new things.

  • Suzanne Henrion

    New York State of Mind by Billy Joel

  • Pratyush Sinha



    Gogol bordello – Wonderlust king; soundtrack of Into the wild by Eddie Vedder; Destination unknown Alex gaudino…

  • cthoms

    open road – slightly stoopid

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