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How to Make the Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

I never hit the highway without an awesome road trip playlist.

We all know after a few hours in the car it can get a little dull traveling to your vacation destination.

Here’s a great way to add a little fun to the long ride.  Create a playlist called the “History of Me” through music.  A nostalgic journey of the music that defined you (this shouldn’t be anything you’re still proud of). With each song, tell the story of why that particular song mattered in all the wonderful, humiliating, growing pain years of your life. Think puberty or middle school.

Some ideas to get the memories flowing:

1.     First record you bought with your own money.
2.     Your first musician crush.
3.     Your second musician crush.
4.     The song you pretended to sing in front of all your adoring fans.
5.     The song you thought you knew all the words but got it slightly wrong.
6.     Your first dance-dance song.
7.     Your first slow dance-love song.
8.     A favorite song from the first album you bought.
9.     Your favorite foreign language song.
10.  The song you played when you got Dad’s car and had a full tank of gas.
11.  The song you thought “he” or “she” would sing to you.
12.  The song you roller skated to.
13.  The song you used to sing at the top of your lungs in front of your parents that you didn’t know was completely sexual.
14.  Your first break-up song.
15.  A song that made and still makes your skin crawl.
16.  A song everyone loved and you hated.
17.  A song you pretended to like so that the cool kids would like you.
18.  The song you hope nobody finds on your ipod.
You’ll get to know each other on a while new level. It’s an embarrassment of riches and you can laugh at each other’s music tastes when you didn’t know any better and get to know each other in a whole new way in the process.


Here’s a part of my list:

1.  Love will Keep us Together, Captain and Tennille
2.  Day Dream Believer, The Monkee’s
3.  Da Do Ron Ron, Shawn Cassidy
4. You Light up My Life, Debbie Boone
5. Rock the Boat, Hues Corporation
    The lyrics are “We’ve been sailing with a cargo full of love and devotion”
    My 8 year old version “we’ve been sailing to Chicago on the Miami Ocean”
6. I Feel for You, Chaka Kahn
7. Heaven, Bryan Adams
8. Blinded by the Light, Manfred Man off of K-tel records Music Machine
9. Rock Me Amadeus, Falco —okay, I think I’ve embarrassed myself enough.
What would be on your ultimate road trip playlist? Share in the comments!
I never hit the highway without an awesome road trip playlist. Add a little fun by creating a playlist called the History of Me. Here's how.

More from Samantha Brown:

Fall Music Festivals

Best Travel Songs Ever

Best Roadtrip Movies 

A Traveler’s Guide to Selfies

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. I’m impressed, Manfred Man and Falco. A strong musical legacy in anyone’s book. Going to start working on my playlist right now. First song that came to mind “American Pie” (long version of course) by Don McLean.

  2. 1. More Than A Feeling – Boston
    2. Don’t Stop Believin – Journey
    3. Brick House – Commodores
    4. Centerfold – J. Giles Band
    5. Beth – Kiss
    6. Dancing Queen – Abba
    7. Greased Lightning – Grease Sountrack
    8. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
    9.Thats The Way I like it KC & the Sunshine Band
    10. I wish I had a Girl – Henry Lee Summer
    11. Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds
    12. Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon
    13. Livin on A Prayer – Bon Jovi

    I have to stop, and I might need to get some professional help.

  3. You’ve been traveling even before you became a professional traveler! (#5) I just hope your sense of direction has improved!

  4. I’ve been to that spot! Love seeing places I recognize. For travel music I usually make a playlist of songs themed to my destination.

  5. If you can forgo the lyrics, Jessica by the Allman Brothers is a great driving song as you’re heading to your joyous destination! Just keep your eye on the speed.

  6. Very nice list. I’m down with it but if I had my preference, I’ll skip #’s 3, 4, 6 & 7, substituting Tempted by Squeeze, Ventura Highway by America, Down Under by Men at Work and Our House by Madness.

  7. 1. First record you bought with your own money.

    This Diamond Ring – Gary Lewis and the Playboys

    2. Your first musician crush.

    Eydie Gorme

    3. Your second musician crush.

    Annette Funicello

    4. The song you pretended to sing in front of all your adoring fans.

    I didn’t pretend. Sherry by the Four Seasons, Optimist Baseball Field for the parents.

    5. The song you thought you knew all the words but got it slightly wrong.

    That’s too long a list.

    6. Your first dance-dance song.

    The Twist – Chubby Checker

    7. Your first slow dance-love song.

    Summer Nights. I wrote it when I was twelve and played it on TV.

    8. A favorite song from the first album you bought.

    Emily Wherever I May Find Her

    9. Your favorite foreign language song.

    Ne Me Quiite Pas – Jacqies Brel

    10. The song you played when you got Dad’s car and had a full tank of gas.

    Operator by Jim Croce

    11. The song you thought “he” or “she” would sing to you.

    Da Doo Ron Ron

    12. The song you roller skated to.

    Blue On Blue – Bobby Vinton

    13. The song you used to sing at the top of your lungs in front of your parents that you didn’t know was completely sexual.

    My Bonnie

    14. Your first break-up song.

    If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot

    15. A song that made and still makes your skin crawl.

    Ladies Night. I simply hated disco.

    16. A song everyone loved and you hated.

    I Don’t Know How To Love Him – Jesus Christ Superstar. The original Jesus Is My Boyfriend song.

    17. A song you pretended to like so that the cool kids would like you.

    None of the kids were cooler than me. 🙂

    18. The song you hope nobody finds on your ipod.

    One of mine that shall remain nameless. Part of the Sick Songs for A Sick Society collection. All songwriters have them. 🙂

    1. I like the songs on your playlist. A few of mine would be Disney Girls by Captain and Tennille, Shannon by Henry Gross and The Way You Do The Things You Do by Rita Coolidge

  8. Most embarrassing song to “tour by”? This might be easy. And I can’t believe how the DJ’s cluttered the airwaves with this when it came out. “Ben”. As they also were not shy about “intro-ing” it: “A love song to a rat”. We all piled into a car and saw the movie at a Drive In theatre in NJ…

  9. I thought this was an article about Route 66 because this is a gas station that was on the road between Oatman and Kingman, AZ. It burned down a few years ago and was rebuilt and opened as a cafe and gift shop. Not sure if the cafe is still open. I was disappointed that you didn’t mention it. But then I see most of the comments are at least a year old and the rest are 4 years old.

  10. Samantha, I can’t believe you spelled his name wrong! It’s Shaun Cassidy not Shawn…I liked him so much when I was a teenager I had his poster in my bedroom. LOL It’s a great list of songs though.

  11. For a road trip playlist? 2 words. Tom Sawyer.
    (Especially if you’re road tripping in a 1970s Oldsmobuick land yacht).

  12. Great List, you need to throw in a Disney song or two for the many times you visited us here In Orlando 🙂

  13. Lost in the 50’s tonight by Ronnie Millsapp
    Anything by Fleetwood Mac
    Anything by the Eagles
    Buttercup by the Foundations
    Smoke gets in your eyes

  14. I recently took a 2 day roadtrip with my nephew. We both put together playlists of songs that were important to us. As I was driving, he played DJ and we took turns with explaining why the song was on the list. We both enjoyed it so much, we’ve promised each other to create new playlists to share. I was introduced to many new artists, and he got a taste of music he’d never been exposed to.

  15. The 70s Channel on XM radio – the music of my youth. I can drive for hours with a smile on my face.

  16. Here is a partial list of my road trip playlist. Each one brings back a special memory and is great for flying down the road. Enjoy

    Ridin’ the Storm Out – REO Speedwagon
    Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
    Highway Star – Deep Purple
    I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles
    Flirtin’ With Disaster – Molly Hatchet
    Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man – Bob Seger
    Are You Ready – Grand Funk Railroad
    Treat Her Right – George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers
    Journey to the Center of Your Mind – Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes
    Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
    Home in My Hand – Foghat
    Runnin’ with the Devil – Van Halen
    Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers – Z Z Top
    Road Fever – Foghat
    Easy Livin – Uriah Heep
    Still Alive and Well – Johnny Winter
    The Jean Genie – David Bowie
    LaGrange – Z Z Top
    Rock & Roll – Led Zeppelin

  17. My husband always plays On the Road Again by Willie Nelson when we first leave the house. My kids love it and now expect it for each road trip.

  18. One time we left Buffalo for a car trip, heading west. After about 25 minutes, “In a Gadda da Vida” by Iron Butterfly came up on the iPod. I swear, we were about out of New York State and into Pennsylvania when it ended.

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How To Make The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist
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