This year has been nothing short of a whirlwind. As we wrap up the year, international travel is still a no go, and flying in general seems like a bit of a risky proposition. As a result, the humble road trip has roared back on our collective radar as many of us have been taking to the road as a way to get out of the house and explore our surroundings near and far.
When we began discussing road trips on zoom calls and in Slack channels, the one thing that everyone could agree on was that music was essential. A good soundtrack can mean the difference between the hours flying by as fast as the scenery out the window or turning around before you reach your destination.
So what makes a great road trip playlist? It starts with the songs, but with so many incredible choices out there, it’s hard to whittle down to something that stands up to the test of time. However, we had an idea.
To make the perfect road trip playlist, we used three components. First, we looked at Spotify data to identify the most popular songs for driving, according to the top 100 road trip playlists. Next, we surveyed our TripSavvy readers to get their take. After that, our editors weighed in on their favorite songs. In the end, we were left with 29 carefully curated high-vibe songs that create the ultimate travel music of 2020.
Here are the top road trip songs. For the best listening experience, try playing them in order. Enjoy!
"Wake Me Up" by Avicii
Released in 2013, “Wake Me Up” made history by becoming the first song on Spotify to accumulate 200 million streams. This song can instantly put you in a good mood and that's why it's up first on our list.
"Night Moves" by Bob Seger
"Night Moves" is an easy-listening, American Rock classic. "Rolling Stone" magazine named it Single of the Year in 1977. This song is sure to get you in the right headspace for hitting the highway.
"Fly Like an Eagle" by Steve Miller Band
As suggested by one of our readers, "Fly Like an Eagle" was a must-have for this playlist. Even though this psychedelic-rock tune was released in 1976, it still feels relevant today.
Feed the babies
Who don't have enough to eat
Shoe the children
With no shoes on their feet
House the people
Livin' in the street
Oh, oh, there's a solution
"I Feel It Coming" by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk
As suggested by one of our readers, "I Feel It Coming" is a sensual disco-pop song by The Weeknd and Daft Punk. When you play it, this catchy song will make you instinctively bob along as you're on the road.
"Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line
A song that appears on the Spotify list and was submitted by a reader is "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line. This upbeat country song will make you wanna roll the windows down and cruise.
"Take It Easy" by the Eagles
After hours of driving, "Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy," might be the best advice you'll get. Released in 1972, "Take It Easy" by the Eagles is still being played by road trippers, appearing 20 times across the top 100 playlists.
"Riptide" by Vance Joy
"Riptide," the 2013 single by Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy, appears on 13 of the top 100 road trip Spotify playlists. This cheery folk song won the World Music Award for World’s Best Song.
"Old Town Road (Remix)" by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
In 2019 Lil Nas X released "Old Town Road," a country rap remix with Billy Ray Cyrus. It won lots of awards, so it's no wonder that this was a top contender.
"Malibu" by Miley Cyrus
"This song reminds me of a road trip down the west coast from San Francisco to San Diego," says Megan Hartig, Content Marketing Manager. We booked our hotels on the fly with the app Hotel Tonight which was great for spontaneous travel."
"Life in the Fast Lane" by Eagles
You can't listen to "Life in the Fast Lane" without feeling like a badass. This song was on 13 of the top road trip playlists on Spotify. But don't lose your cool as this lyric points out: Life in the fast lane, Surely makes you lose your mind.
Listening to this song can give you a lead foot. Don't get a speeding ticket!
"Hey, Soul Sister" by Train
If you've never sung "Hey, Soul Sister" at the top of your lungs, have you ever been on a road trip? Not according to Spotify listeners. This song appeared 16 times according to Spotify data.
"September" by Earth, Wind & Fire
"I grew up listening to a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire with my parents during road trips," says associate editor Sherri Gardner. "'September' was one of my family’s favorites because it’s fun to sing along to, especially with the windows down."
"Burn The House Down" by AJR
Another great suggestion by one of our readers, "Burn The House Down" written by the pop trio consisting of three brothers, began as a 2018 song about U.S. political climate and became the theme song for the March for Our Lives campaign.
"Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas
If you're struggling to hang in during your long drive, turn up "Carry On Wayward Son" a little louder for some encouragement. This progressive rock song performed by Kansas in 1976 took the band to the next level.
"Dancing In The Moonlight" by Jubël featuring NEIMY
"Dancing In The Moonlight" was named nine times in the top 100 Spotify road trip playlists. This 2018 feel-good pop cover is sure to lift your spirits with its upbeat rhythm, especially if you are driving after the sun goes down.
"Road Trip (2020 Version)" by Convent Bonfires
This song was suggested by one of our readers, and given the title, we had to include it. This obscure, indie-rock track released this year gives us all the good vibes.
"Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey
With almost one billion streams on Spotify, it's no surprise "Don't Stop Believin'" cracks the top 3, with 24 appearances on Spotify's top road trip playlists. So next time you're in your car, turn up the volume and sing on and on and on and on.
"Circles" by Post Malone
Another song listed on the Spotify charts and our reader survey is "Circles" by Post Malone. This 2019 pop single won Song of the Year at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. It sat for a record 39 weeks in the Hot 100's top 10.
"Feel This Good" by Jackopierce
Another reader's choice, "Feel This Good" by musical duo Jackopierce is an easy listening song for the freeway.
Woke up this morning, rolled out of bed
My favorite song's playing inside my head
I go out on the freeway, windows down
Don't know where I'm going, but it's good to move around and
Days like this should never end
"Big Yellow Taxi" by Lennon & Maisy
Canadian sisters, Lennon and Maisy Stella, do a beautiful cover of the classic song "Big Yellow Taxi" originally sung by Joni Mitchell.
"Shotgun (The Wild Remix)" by George Ezra & The Wild
Whoever gets to ride shotgun is sure to enjoy this 2018 song by George Ezra featuring The Wild. "Shotgun" was listed on both the Spotify and readers' choice lists.
"Layla" by Eric Clapton
The acoustic rock song "Layla" was suggested by readers and found on six of the top Spotify road trip playlists. Hailed as one of the most iconic classic rock ballads of all time, there is no surprise it belongs here.
"Higher Love" by Kygo & Whitney Houston
This version of "Higher Love" produced by Norwegian DJ Kygo and the late Whitney Houston is a tropical, high-energy song that was number two on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
"Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty
"I grew up listening to Tom Petty (he was my first concert), and he's still one of my all-time favorite musicians," says senior editor Jamie Hergenrader. "Free Fallin' is worthy of a road trip playlist because it embodies the vibe of the trip—you're out on the open road, free to explore, and the lyrics even mention or hint at several classic L.A. routes, such as Ventura Boulevard, Highway 101, and Mulholland Drive."
"More Than a Feeling" by Boston
Is there a song that reminds you of your secret crush? Apparently someone in the band Boston had one, and that inspired their hit song "More Than a Feeling." Spotify users can relate. The song shows up on 22 road trip playlists, making it the fourth most popular on our Spotify list.
"Hello Darlin'" by Conway Twitty
“In the car, there’s nothing better than classic country," says Astrid Taran, senior audience editor. "There’s something about driving in the middle of nowhere blasting old school country.”
"Fast Car" by Jonas Blue & Dakota
"Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman was listed 10 times on Spotify's list, but we included a remix by Jonas Blue & Dakota to keep things fresh and upbeat to keep things interesting along the ride.
"Sun Models" by ODESZA featuring Madelyn Grant
"This song feels like the perfect soundtrack for a road trip and makes everything feel a little more epic," says visual editor Taylor McIntyre.
"Jack & Diane" by John Mellencamp
Last but certainly not least, here we have a classic rock ballad by John Mellencamp. "Jack & Diane" was released in the summer of 1982 and has been a go-to by road trippers ever sense, appearing 10 times in the Spotify road trip lists.