A lot of preparation goes into a road trip. You have to decide where you’re going to stay, where you’re going to stop, and – most importantly – what music you will be jamming out to! As we all know, that is serious business. To make your life a little easier – and so you can focus on inevitably forgetting something important – we have compiled the ultimate playlist with the best road trip songs to sing your heart out to along your adventure.
A long road trip is an American family rite of passage. And the right Spotify playlist (or the right CD collection if you’re going old school) is an important part of the family bonding. Truckin’ down the open road, screaming in unison the refrain to one of the world’s greatest songs is the stuff of which family memories are made. It doesn’t matter who you rock out to — Tom Petty, the Beach Boys, the Grateful Dead, Guns N’ Roses, the Beatles or some other band — so long as you rock. You never want to be “Running on Empty” on a “Road to Nowhere.”
To make it easy to pull together a great playlist of driving songs for your next road trip, here are our votes for the 29 best road trip songs for “Driving Down the Highway.”
29. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
I don’t think there is a single person who doesn’t drop everything they are doing to belt out the lyrics to Don’t Stop Believin’. And if you are shaking your head saying that you never do – you, my friend, are a liar. This is the perfect song for any road trip – heck, it’s perfect for any time!
28. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
Yes! Bring on The Boss for your trip ’cause, baby, you were born to run!
27. The Allman Brothers Band – Ramblin’ Man
A classic tune about not staying in the same place for too long, Ramblin’ Man deserves a top spot on the playlist – and is a contender for the repeat button.
26. Taylor Swift – Shake it Off
While everyone can pretend to hate T-Swift, even though they secretly want to be her, no one can deny the power of Shake it Off. It is so damn catchy. Even if you have heard it three million times, you just can’t help yourself from singing along anytime it comes on. T-Swift 4 Lyfe!
25. Smash Mouth – All Star
“So what’s wrong with taking the back streets?” That’s a good question from the boys of Smash Mouth – and the perfect motto to live by on your road trip.
24. Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby
Major bonus points, and very little judgment, to those who can rap along to Ice Ice Baby.
23. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
You don’t have to be road tripping through Alabama to sing along to this classic.
22. The Rolling Stones – Start Me Up
A legendary band, a legendary song… need I say more?
21. Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over the Rainbow
There is nothing wrong with a slow jam to change things up a bit when you’re cruising along a highway that doesn’t seem to end. Besides making you want to watch The Wizard of Oz, this tropical version of Over the Rainbow will have you dreaming of a vacation in Hawaii!
20. White Snake – Here I Go Again
Slow is good but sometimes the only way to revive a road trip, and wake up the passengers in the back seat, is with an 80s power ballad performed by a band with more hair than a girls’ softball team.
19. Tommy Tutone – Jenny (867-5309):
While you maybe should feel bad for whoever got stuck with the phone number 867-5309, you shouldn’t feel bad for whoever is in earshot and gets to listen to everyone in the car singing/screaming some Tommy Tutone.
18. Katy Perry – Dark Horse
Almost all of Katy Perry’s songs are ideal contenders for your road trip playlist but there is something extra fun about Dark Horse… maybe it’s Juicy J.
17. Sir-Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back
When it comes to playlists, Sir-Mix-A-Lot better have something to do with your selection.
16. Jimmy Buffet – Margaritaville
Margaritaville is more than just a place, it is a state of mind. This jam is perfect for your drive to the Florida Keys – where lives are lived on Island Time and there is plenty of tequila.
15. The Killers – Mr. Brightside
An incredibly catchy song, Mr. Brightside’s energetic beat and truthful lyrics make it a jam everyone knows and loves. No matter how many times you hear it, screaming “cause I’m Mr. Brightside” at the top of your lungs never gets old!
14. Technotronic – Pump Up the Jam
Its obvious why this was/is a worldwide hit. Besides being featured in Michael Jordan’s greatest career decision, SPACE JAM, it is also the epitome of the 90s – fanny pack and spandex included.
13. Oasis – Wonderwall
Cruise into the 90s with this classic jam. Get lost in the lyrics, and memories made when the song first came out and you were combating your teenage angst with Oasis, grungy jeans and big flannel shirts.
12. Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl
Besides giving the world the spelling lesson it so desperately needed, Gwen Stefani has made road trips a little less boring with Hollaback Girl.
11. Willie Nelson On the Road Again
This classic tune was released in 1980 and it sounds just as fresh and road-trip-inspiring today.
10. Beyoncé – Single Ladies
You don’t have to be a single lady to love jamming out in the car to this song – I mean Beyoncé was, and still is, married to Jay-Z when she laid down the “if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it” law.
9. Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want to Have Fun
That summer road trip up California’s coast with four of your girlfriends getaway just won’t be the same without Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Go ahead and make it the theme of your trip, or even the theme of your life – I mean, Cyndi Lauper clearly knows best.
8. Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried
Driving through the south isn’t complete without a little country – after all, that is the only thing on all of the radio stations. But be sure to crank up Chicken Fried and enjoy the ease of country livin’.
7. Young MC – Bust a Move
While dancing is difficult, and generally frowned upon, during your drive down the interstate – that doesn’t mean Young MC’s hit song shouldn’t be included on your playlist. Passengers will thoroughly enjoy “busting a move” as the driver raps along and enthusiastically head bops.
6. Steppenwolf – Born to Be Wild
I think the lyrics “Head out on the highway, lookin’ for adventure, and whatever comes our way,” sums it up for why this song needs a spot on the list.
5. Blink 182 – All the Small Things
Who knew a pop-punk band could remind us, in their own quirky way, that it is the little things that matter most in life. That includes a 36-hour cross country road trip with your family that involved getting lost, a flat tire, but plenty of memories.
4. Prince – Little Red Corvette
Remember one of the greats as you sing along to this classic tune. Even if it isn’t Saturday night, it’s all right.
3. Outkast – Hey Ya
There is never a time when shaking it like a Polaroid picture, or salt shaker if that’s more your thing, should be frowned upon – road trips included. In fact, it should be encouraged as a perfectly acceptable song and dance craze for any and every situation.
2. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Give Queen a real run for their money with your group’s rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. Not only is this one of THE BEST karaoke song of all time, it is also perfect for a summer road trip sing-along.
1. Frozen – Let it Go
While we may not have wanted to include anything from Frozen on this list, we knew we had to. There isn’t a single person with children under 12 on a road trip who isn’t listening to the soundtrack. All parents are probably pros in the art of tuning out Ana, Elsa and their Frozen gang by now, so just “Let It Go” and skip to the next track as soon as possible.
This post was written by Kelli McDaniel.