15 Favorite Travel Songs

Songs have a way of transporting us to a destination or bringing back memories from a trip taken years ago. To me, Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow always reminds me of long drives down Highway 1 in California with the windows down, wind in my hair and singing along to Sheryl as the endless sun-kissed beaches passed me by.

Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to By the Boab Tree by Ophelia of the Spirits from the movie Australia, which played a big part in my decision to visit the country next year. Songs also get us through long road trips, entertain us on train rides, and calm nerves on flights. Everyone has their favorites, and in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Oz, I wanted to make a collection of traveling songs. So, I asked my globetrotting friends and came up with the following 15 songs. Hope you enjoy them!

(Songs in alphabetical order)

1) “Alberta Bound” by Paul Brandt

Recommended by Bruce Sach, Writer

2) “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton

Recommended by Silpa Saladi, Doctor

3) “Autour de Rocher” by Jimmy Buffett

Recommended by Michael Patrick Shiels, radio show host of Michigan’s Big Show

4) “Fly Over States” by Jason Aldean 

Recommended by Dorothy Stephenson, Founder of Sundance Studios

5) “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty

Recommended by Adriana Alfonso, Human Resources Director

6) “Graceland” by Paul Simon

Recommended by Katelyn Salvato, Speech Pathlogist. Katelyn says “On his way to Graceland, the storyteller gets a perspective of what has happened in his life. There’s something spiritual about the trip, something that ties together what living is all about. Paul Simon’s album was the soundtrack for our road trips along the east coast in the late eighties and early nineties. The song evokes the best kind of nostalgia.”

7) “If You are Going to San Francisco” by Scott McKenzie

One of my favorite songs, and it brings me back to the road trip I did with a good friend last year. We rented a convertible and drove all the way from Yosemite to Napa to eventually San Fransisco, where of course I did put flowers in my hair.

8) “Jet Airliner” by Steve Miller Band

Recommended by Scott Josephson, who gave me the idea for this blog post (thank you!). Scott says, “The carefree spirit of the song, coupled with Steve Miller’s voice, is my favorite way to start a trip.  The band has a number of songs about travel, but this one is a staple every time I’m on a plane.”

9) Khwabon Ke Parindey by Javed Akhtar (sung by Mohit Chauhan and Alyssa Mendonsa)

From one of my all time favorite Hindi movies, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You only get to live once…)

10) “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver

Recommended by Bruce Sach, Writer

11) “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane

Recommended by John DiScala, Travel Expert and Founder of JohnnyJet.com

12) “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers

Recommended by Tod Emko, Creator of A Piggy’s Tale Comic Book Series

13) “Ride Captain Ride” by The Blues Image

Recommended by John Bond, Author

14) “Ride” by Lana Del Rey

Recommended by George McPeek, Pilot

15) The Walking Dead’s “Lead Me Home” by Jamie N Commons

A song that’s fitting for an end of a trip (and of course for all the Walking Dead fans out there.)

Please share your favorite travel song in a comment. Would love to hear from you!

Published by Lavanya

Lavanya Sunkara is a writer, animal lover, and globetrotter based in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Fodor’s, Forbes, USA Today and many more in a career spanning ten years. She covers travel, eco-lifestyle, culture, pets, and wildlife conservation.

3 thoughts on “15 Favorite Travel Songs

  1. Great list; I am adding
    8 More Miles to Louisville (Wil Maring)
    East Bound and Down (Jerry Reed)
    Holiday Road (Lindsey Buckingham; not too much to the song, but was the theme song to National Lampoon Vacation)
    Take Me Home, Country Road (John Denver)
    Running on Empty (Jackson Browne)
    Never Been to Spain (Three Dog Night

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