The 25 Best Road Trip Songs of All Time

Best Road Trip Songs of All TIme (In My Opinion)

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while now, you’ve probably realized that we go on a lot of road trips in general, especially in Romania. When the open road is our best friend it doesn’t hurt to lighten up the mood every once in a while in the car, and sing along to some of the great classic songs we all know and love.

When I decided to do this post I’ve put together a list of my absolute favorite songs which I must have with me every time we are on a trip and I realized that I am an old soul because nearly all of my preferred songs have been released before 2000! These classics will probably sound familiar to most of you, and in my opinion are absolutely necessary for an awesome sing-along (yes, I even sing the instrumental parts!).

So, without further ado, here are my favorite 25 road trip songs, in chronological order (because I can’t rank them after likability, they’re all equal to me!)

House of the Rising Sun – The Animals (1964)

This 50+ year old song is one of my absolute favorites, and on the rare occasions when I am the one who takes the wheel (yes, you read that right, I own a driver’s license!) this is THE song which plays on max volume.

Favorite lyric: “Oh mother, tell your children / Not to do what I have done / Spend your lives in sin and misery / In the House of the Rising Sun”

California Dreamin’ – Bobby Womack (1969)

This man’s heavenly voice and the amazing instrumentals make me want to jump in the car and drive from one side of the United States to the other, Kerouac-style!

Favorite lyric: “I went for a walk / On a winters day / I’d be safe and warm / If I was in LA”

Riders on the Storm – The Doors (1971)

This is one of those songs I refer to as “Old but Gold”. Nothing more to say! A real classic!

Favorite lyric: “Take a long holiday / Let your children play /If ya give this man a ride / Sweet FAMILY will die / Killer on the road, yeah”

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)

One of the most famous road trip songs of all time, you’ll definitely start to boogie once you hear the familiar tune at the beginning!

Favorite lyric: “Sweet home Alabama / Where the skies are so blue  / Sweet Home Alabama  / Lord, I’m coming home to you

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (1975)

This is one of my all-time favorite songs, not only for road trips, so naturally it had to make the list. I especially love the diversity of the song and all in all is great to sing along to! And by singing along I mean yowling along to one of the best guitar solos in rock history too!

Favorite lyric: “Mama, just killed a man, / Put a gun against his head, /Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead. / Mama, life had just begun, / But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.

Hotel California – Eagles (1976)

A typical song we listen to after darkness has fallen but we haven’t reached our accommodation yet!

Favorite lyric: “Last thing I remember, I was / Running for the door / I had to find the passage back/ To the place I was before / “Relax, ” said the night man, / “We are programmed to receive. You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!”

Jammin’ – Bob Marley (1977)

This laid-back tune of the King of Reggae is ideal during long summer days whilst passing by green pasture-lands dotted by cows, during an off-road drive

Favorite lyric: No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor we won’t bow; / Neither can be bought nor sold. / We all defend the right; Jah – Jah children must unite: /Your life is worth much more than gold.”

Turn Your Lights Down Low – Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill (1977)

This beautiful song, released in the same year as Jammin’, is a must-hear whilst travelling with your loved one. Bob Marley teamed up with the amazing Lauryn Hill of the Fugees.

Favorite lyric: “Turn your lights down low / And pull your window curtain / Oh let the moon come shining in / Into our life again”

Highway to Hell – AC/DC (1979)

Breaking the romantic vibe is this iconic AC/DC classic, which has me dancing from the beginning to end! A real rebel tune!

Favorite lyric:No stop signs / Speed limit / Nobody’s gonna slow me down / Like a wheel / Gonna spin it / Nobody’s gonna mess me around / Hey, Satan / Payin’ my dues /Playin’ in a rockin’ band / Hey, mamma / Look at me / I’m on the way to the promised land”

Africa – Toto (1982)

I somewhat forgot about this iconic Toto song until Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell sang it in, yes, you guessed it, Africa! It is a must for any road trip, and especially if you’re planning to travel to Africa!

Favorite lyric: “The wild dogs cry out in the night / As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company / I know that I must do what’s right / As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti”

I Want to Break Free- Queen (1984)

I cannot think of a better song to start your road trip with. You know that feeling when you’re leaving you’re hometown, your work, errands and everything else behind to explore a brand new place? THIS is the perfect soundtrack for that moment!

Favorite lyric:I want to break free / I want to break free / I want to break free from your lies / You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you / I’ve got to break free / God knows, God knows I want to break free.”

Take on Me – A-HA (1985)

This famous retro song with its intriguing video is surely familiar to most of you. Its “going away” lyrics are perfect for a summer getaway!

Favorite lyric: “Take on me (take on me), / Take me on (take on me) / I’ll be gone / In a day or two”

Road to Hell – Chris Rea (1986)

After you left the highway to hell, you need to turn left and take the smaller road to hell towards your destination! And Chris Rea’s smooth voice will surely take you there in no-time!

Favorite lyric: “This ain’t no upwardly mobile freeway / Oh no, this is the road / Said this is the road /This is the road to hell”

The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson (1987)

This list wouldn’t be complete without an MJ tune, this is one of my favorites and with its upbeat tempo you’ll surely be dancing in your seat!

Favorite lyric: “I Feel Your Fever / From Miles Around / I’ll Pick You Up In My Car / And We’ll Paint The Town”

Looking for the Summer – Chris Rea (1991)

Ahh… This is one of those “I can’t wait for summer to begin” songs, ideal for a spring getaway when the sunshine is still weak but it still caresses your skin and somewhat heats you up! Gotta love Chris Rea’s voice!

Favorite lyric: “Look deep into the April face / A change has clearly taken place / Looking for the summer / The eyes take on a certain gaze / And leave behind the springtime days / Go looking for the summer”

The Man who Sold the World – Nirvana MTV Unplugged (1994)

I know, I know, this is David Bowie’s song and I give him full credit for that. But as a hardcore Nirvana fan, I absolutely love their unplugged rendition of Ziggy Stardust’s song!

Favorite lyric: “I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home / I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed”

Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)

This song’s video was one of the highlights of my childhood, when video games were scarce in Romania and all we had was Mario (if I remember correctly!). This song has stayed with me ever since, and when someone says Red Hot Chili Peppers, this is their first song that comes to mind!

Favorite lyric: “It’s the edge of the world / And all of western civilization / The sun may rise in the East /At least it settles in the final location / It’s understood that Hollywood / Sells Californication”

Road Trippin’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)

Even though Californication is my no1 RHCP song, this tune must be added to your road trip playlist, even if you’re not heading to the USA!

Favorite lyric: “Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies / Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies / It’s time to leave this town / It’s time to steal away / Let’s go get lost / Anywhere in the U.S.A.”

Wherever You Will Go – The Calling (2001)

Another mandatory song if you’re on the road with your loved one!

Favorite lyric: “If I could turn back time / I’ll go wherever you will go / If I could make you mine / I’ll go wherever you will go”

Breathe – Telepopmusic (2001)

Another genre, but a very summery song, which I listened to a lot after I finished my dissertation last year. Another cool and fresh tune, perfect for carefree summer days!

Favorite lyric: “Another day, just believe”

Girls of Summer – Aerosmith (2002)

This is the absolute mandatory song which needs to be played when you’re on a girlfriend getaway! It’s fresh, hot and reminds me so much of summer!

Favorite lyric: “My favorite thing that drives me wild /Is when a city girl walks a country mile / For a boy she loves God bless the child / Inside the girls of summer”

Point of View – DB Boulevard (2004)

I don’t know if it’s the cardboard car or the carefree lyrics, but this song is a must on my road trip playlist!

Favorite lyric: “I see life and light / All the colours of the world / So beautiful / Won’t you come with me?”

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol (2006)

This is a beautiful medley perfect for night drives.

Favorite lyric: “If I lay here / If I just lay here / Would you lie with me and just forget the world?”

Enjoy the Ride – Morcheeba (2008)

I remember when Morcheeba came to a festival in town and my girlfriend and I stood in the third row, screaming our lungs out to this song. It’s that great!

Favorite lyric: “They shut the gates at sunset / After that you can’t get out / You can see the bigger picture / Find out what it’s all about / You’re open to the skyline / You won’t want to go back home / In a garden full of angels / You will never be alone”

1000 Miles – Roebeck (2009)

This is one of those dreamy songs you listen to at the end of the day when everyone’s tired from all that sightseeing.

Favorite lyric: “All I wanna do is fly-fly-fly / Fly a mile/ Fly a thousand miles with you”

Pin it now, listen to it later:

Best Road Trip Songs of All TIme (In My Opinion)

Do you have any preferences from these 25 songs?

What is your absolute favorite road trip song you can’t live without?

3 Responses to “The 25 Best Road Trip Songs of All Time

  • Great list, wouldn’t have pictured The Calling there, haha. I usually have my headphones on when I’m on a road trip cause sometimes I don’t like the music my parents are listening to. I have yet to go on a road trip with my friends 🙁

  • If I am going on any road trip then I love to listen according to the feel, it may be some kind of rocking, jazz ore another else. And also you have great song list.
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