Good music equals good vibes, and tunes about travel bring together two of our greatest loves. We can’t always be lucky enough to be off exploring, but these songs do a pretty good job of transporting us around the world. We’ve thrown together thirty of the best travel songs from some of our favourite artists for you to add to your escapism playlist! These epic songs speak of everything from our dream destinations, to finding yourself, appreciating the moment and letting loose. Excuse the cheese, and enjoy our playlist!
1. Free – Trevor Hall
Trevor Hall wrote Free after his flight was delayed for seven hours, making him late to arrive for a performance in Squamish, Canada. He arrived at Vancouver airport at 3am and rushed to the festival. During the drive the sun began to rise over the ocean, and he realised that if he wasn’t late he never would have witnessed that amazing scene. Travelling can be stressful at times, but above all else it’s a privilege and a gift. We can handle late flights, lost baggage, or whatever else it throws at us!
2. Guaranteed – Eddie Vedder
This song was an instant classic. Eddie Vedder wrote Guaranteed for the film “Into The Wild”, which you should definitely watch (or read the book!) if you aren’t familiar with the story. It’s all about going back to the basics, living a simple life and being free to do as you please.
3. Big Sur – Jack Johnson
What’s a travel playlist without some Jack Johnson? Big Sur gives us tropical, surfy vibes, but we like listening to it wherever we are. It’s about about briefly escaping the things we can’t avoid in life, being surrounded by your best friends and getting lost in conversations that only end because you have to go to bed. Sound familiar?
4. New York – Cat Power
Cat Power’s cover of “New York, New York” is one of our favourites by far. The song was originally written for Martin Scorsese’s film New York, New York (sorry for saying New York so much) and was re-recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1979, which is the most famous version of the song. But we think this version is super special! The song is about the stiff competition and valuable rewards that can be found in New York City, and it makes us want to go there every time we hear it.
5. Step Out – José González
Step Out was written for the film “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty”, which if you’ve seen you’ll understand why it had to be included in the playlist. This song (and the film) is all about getting out of your comfort zone and leaving behind the things that make you feel too “at home”, so it’s pretty perfect for us!
6. Sunny – Bobby Hebb
Everyone knows this one! Sunny is definitely about a love that eases the pain during a difficult time in life, and in a way, isn’t that travel for all of us?
7. Here’s To Now – Ugly Casanova
Here’s another song from a movie. Here’s To Now was written for the film “180° South: Conquerors of the Useless”, a documentary of a man retracing the steps of Doug Tompkins and Yvon Chouinard, the founders of The North Face and Patagonia, respectively. It’s a pretty epic journey as he drives south from Ventura, California to Patagonia, Chile (get it? 180° South?) and then climbs Corcovado Volcano. Here’s To Now is a perfect travel song because it’s about living in the moment, but also planning ahead. You know, the classic “should I plan my trip now or be spontaneous when I get there?” dilemma.
8. These Old Shoes – Deer Tick
These Old Shoes is about travelling long distances and getting to your love by any means necessary, which is pretty much how we feel when we know there’s a cold pint waiting for us at our next destination.
9. Riders On The Storm – The Doors
Another classic song that’s always been on our road trip playlists. Riders On The Storm is largely about how we’re a tiny part of a massive, chaotic universe, which is both terrifying and comforting at the same time.
10. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman hit it out of the park with Fast Car. It’s been a favourite family road trip song for many of us even when we were kids, so there’s a bit of nostalgia there, but it’s also appropriate for a travel playlist as it’s all about chasing a dream. Sometimes you just gotta get away!
11. Old Pine – Ben Howard
Old Pine is a perfect song about creating memories, growing up and being completely intoxicated by an experience. We think everyone has memories that this song will bring back, or maybe you’ll make new ones to it, you do you.
12. Mountain House – Blue Child Collective
Mountain House is for the people that come across places in their travels and wish they could just build a hostel and live there forever. You might not, but you can sure dream about it.
13. The Stars Keep On Calling My Name – Mac Demarco
The Stars Keep On Calling My Name is another one that follows the “get out of town, escape the same old routine” trend, which is pretty relatable. This one always has us tapping our feet and bobbing our heads on the plane/train/bus #noshame.
14. Something Good – Alt-J
Something about Something Good makes us feel like we’re flying through the air, even if we’re just at the kitchen sink washing up. This song is about mending a broken heart with fun distractions. Maybe that resonates with you, maybe it doesn’t, either way this song is a good’un.
15. Silver Timothy – Damien Jurado
Silver Timothy is part of two records that Damien Jurado created, telling the story of a dream he had about a man who leaves his home with no form of ID and wanders through the desert. It’s more or less about trying to disappear and find yourself, but it’s a little adventurous too.
16. The Air That I Breathe – The Hollies
Another song about forgetting everything that brings you down and just being happy with someone special, The Air That I Breathe is a good one to get you into relaxation mode.
17. The Time And The Weight – Current Swell
The Time And The Weight is a bit heavy. It focuses on how time is fleeting, and the weight that comes along with making the right decisions with the time we have. So why not plan a trip to experience something new?
18. Fisher – Camel Power Club
Fisher is a nice reminder to stop comparing yourself to others and just have the most fun you can have for you.
19. So Tired – Crumb
We added So Tired to the playlist, because to us it says a lot about being frustrated with the world as it is and trying to escape for a bit.
20. On A Coconut Island – Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong took beach vibes and put them directly into a song with On A Coconut Island. It takes us back to eating homemade ice cream on tropical islands and watching the sailboats go by while the waves crash onto the beach and wash up to our feet. Good times.
21. Amsterdam – Peter Bjorn and John
Amsterdam is another heavy song, but it’s still a classic that we had to include. It isn’t exactly about Amsterdam itself, but more about someone you love going off to do better things and then being stuck thinking about how well they’re doing without you (yep, pretty saddening – sorry). Maybe a trip to Amsterdam is what you need to turn that frown upside down?
22. The World At Large – Modest Mouse
This has been a favourite song since the days of sitting in the backseat of our parent’s cars going on road trips. The World At Large is about a drifter who isn’t exactly sure what they’re looking for or what they want, but they know that everything will be okay in the end. It’s the perfect song to ease our restlessness. The World At Large flows perfectly into Float On on the same album. Listen to them back to back for pure chilled vibes.
23. Mountain Sound – Of Monsters And Men
We threw in Mountain Sound because it makes us think of hiking through Iceland and gets us hyped up to go one day (Of Monsters and Men are from Reykjavik, BTW). The song is also about realising the true weight of your actions, not the weight you perceive that they have, so maybe that will speak to you?
24. Tomorrow Comes Today – Gorillaz
In all honesty we’re not 100% sure what this song is about or why we love having it in a travel playlist. We’re pretty sure it touches on not wanting to be on the camera or surrounded by all the technology of the digital age – there’s more to your trip than how it makes your Instagram look, after all.
25. St. Elsewhere – Gnarls Barkley
CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse are a pretty iconic duo, so we had to include St. Elsewhere even though it’s another song that’s widely open to interpretation. At first it sounds perfect because it’s obviously about getting away and not wanting to be tied down or held back, but we’re pretty sure there’s more to it than that and are open to suggestions.
26. Tighten Up – The Black keys
Less about travel and more about running wild for love, we think Tighten Up is still relevant to our travel playlist. Our hero used to run wild until he met someone that made him ready to slow down, unfortunately, that person is still running around doing their own thing. 😔
27. Gotta Travel On – Bob Dylan
There are tons of different versions of Gotta Travel On, with variations in lyrics and titles, but Bob Dylan’s is probably the most well known. The lyrics are pretty straight forward – he’s been in the same old town for too long and it’s time for him to move on. Been there.
28. City Lights – The White Stripes
City Lights encompasses the feeling of looking out the plane window at night and seeing the glowing city lights of your destination. Isn’t that just the best?
29. Holiday – Ocean Alley
Holiday is pretty much just about letting loose on vacation, doesn’t get much simpler than that!
30. I Mua – Nahko And Medicine For The People
One of the translations of “I Mua” from Hawaiian to English is “to move forward”. Nahko wrote this song as a tribute to Mauna Kea, the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, but it’s also a celebration of life. We think it suits our travel playlist because of how lucky we are to be able to see the world the way we can nowadays.
Let us know which travel songs you have in your playlist in the comments! 🙂