35 Songs That Summon The Traveler’s Spirit

I was once asked by a friend in college, during one of our weekend getaways, why I always bring a music player with me. I failed to explain well. This is what inspired me to write this post because I now have a concrete answer: because of the melophile’s blood transfused to me in the 90s.

I started collecting songs when I was 10 years old or as soon as I got fond of my elder brother (Tom) and sister’s (Avic) habit of recording them straight from FM stations’ countdowns and transcribing them after. That also implied playing them over and over again on our radio cassette player almost every day. So I thought there must be something really good out of listening to music. I’ve proven this as time went by and got stuck to it too since. Up to now, I could still see how convivial my siblings were each time they do that pastime in my “biological” video player.

Thank heavens mp3 players invaded the Philippines in the early 2000s; I was able to keep songs that became parts of the different stages of my life. Throughout the years, I’ve been using music as one, essential form of relaxation, and sometimes, escape, from the daily grind when it gets utterly boring, among other things.

It’s interesting to note that my playlist’s albums evolve as I grow older. Back in the day, it only had four main folders: “Grade School”, “High School”, “College”, and “In The Zone”. Then life came out of the blue pampering and striking in 2006 or the year after I finally got out of the university. The cycle led to the addition of a special folder called “Daystarters/Travel/Roadrip” to the then 17 albums: (1) “Before Times”, (2) “Brokenhearted/Frustrated/In Pain”,” (3) Exaltation”, (4) “Groove to the Beat”, (5) “Heal”, (6) “Inspirational”, (7) “Mellow Touch”, (8) “Moving On”, (9)“OPM Few Faves”, (10) OPM Guilty Pleasures”, (11) “Tunog Kalye”, (12) “Rock Legends”, (13) “Posh/Classical”, and the already mentioned four.

A year after braving the overseas in 2012, seven more made it to the list: (1) “Dipping in Love”, (2) “Ear Massager – Rock”, (3) “Emotastic – 90s Up”, (4) “Exacerbated/Chafed”, (5) “Frisson/Piloerection”, (6) “Nostalgic”, (7) “2009-2012”. To date, three more folders namely “2013-2014″, “2015-2016”, and “2017” have been added to the playlist.

Simultaneous with the playlist folder’s evolution is the Daystarters/Travel/Roadrip‘s. Most of the songs in this folder were once part of those folders.

There’s nothing like cruising the highway or killing time up on a plane with some good music in the background. I always allot a special time to deeply feel every travel moment that is being in a different place by listening to the album, while on the road or in whatever mode of transport that will get me to my intended destination.

After scrounging around my collections a few weeks ago, I came up with more than 153 more songs for the folder, but for the sake of promoting the importance of reinforcing and setting the wanderer’s mood while on the move or sitting in, standing at, even lying on a travel spot, I’ll only feature my top 35. I picked these songs not only because of their relevance to the subject but the kind of traveler vibe they emanate the moment you hear any of them. 

The latter criterion is articulated by that power to summon the wanderer’s spirit in  you to take a break, ease your travel stress, make you move to the beat, enjoy the moment, stay awake, become optimistic, go out and explore what’s beyond your comfort zone, or simply make the trip go down smoothly as possible. 

(Disclaimer: These are a far cry from what can be seen on the web if you were to look for the experts’ recommendations.)

Consider the following top picks from my list as a few suggestions that will hopefully work wonders on your next travel:

1. A Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay

There’s not much of happy Coldplay songs so that when they made one, it’s something guaranteed to make you raise your hands up in the air while singing it, and think of Katy Perry.

2. All Star by Smash Mouth

Off course, you have to get to the rap part of the song if the intro couldn’t put you in the mood. It’ll surely awaken that feel-good soul in you.

3. Beautiful Day by U2

This song is made for bolstering up the belief that life is beautiful no matter what. Is an addendum still necessary?

4. Best Day Of My Life by American Authors

The title alone will do because it’s the very reason why this song must be included in  the list. You wouldn’t want to start a day with a frown on your face.

5. Black Coffee by All Saints

Literally, the first song you should be listening to upon waking up. The unique pop beat in it makes you wanna move your shoulders up and down alternately.

6. Breathe by Michelle Branch

Ever felt like you wanna take a breather and strum a guitar at the backseat while cruising along the coastal highway? Take Michelle Branch’s. 

7. Bright Lights by 30 Seconds To Mars

The melody maybe a bit mushy but the lyrics give a piloerection. The kind that gets you thinking about being mobile and living up to it. Look at your friends who settled down early in life. If you can’t imagine finding true joy that way, take a different stroke and let this song be your guide.

8. Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake

You can’t get enough of this song once you get a piece of it. It’s just oozing with irresistible serotonin.

9. Closer (feat. Halsey) by The Chainsmokers

This and the 26th song represent the most current sounds among them. You have to love both to be in the contemporary zone without losing tempo relevance.

10. Don’t Stop Believin’ by the Glee Cast

Inspirational at its core since 03 June 1981. When you’re up for something to fuel your wanderlust or finding that inspiration to achieve your dreams, you can’t go wrong with this song.

11. Get My Dough by Ester Dean

Other than the fact that it’s a groovy song, this is what you should listen to when you feel like splurging into something that makes you happy. (Reminds me of a favorite movie about being faithful.)

12. Good Time by Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen

Need I say more to convince you that this song is  an A-Lister for the theme?

13. Here’s to Never Growing Up by Avril Lavigne

The coolest message of the song is the need to break free from adulthood every once in a while like hopping on the the kids’ rides. After all, there’s no point being a grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes, right?

14. Highway to Hell by AC/DC

If passenger’s (i.e., travel buddies) inside the vehicle are at the brink of falling into the slumber world, playing this song is the perfect thing to do especially in the midst of devout believers who are likely to misinterpret the song. Nonetheless, it’ll serve as an instant energy drink to every one.

15. Home by Bone Thugs N Harmony

Digging deeper into the song will give you a different message but as they say, one could interpret a song based on how he understands it.

This one is like a torch of hope and an eye-opener to varying ways of life that gives you a new appreciation for home itself. Moving with its stylized rhythmic character that’s in unison with chanted rhyming speech makes you one hip traveler.

16. I Lived by OneRepublic

Any song about seizing the moment is qualified for this feat more so if it’s about inspiring people to embark on a new endeavor (e.g., climb mountains, wakeboard, skydive, bungee jump, etc.) or make a difference in someone or something.

17. I Took A Pill In Ibiza by Mike Posner

It’s okay to take that mystery pill if it’s a one-time thing but it should never go beyond that. A metaphor for curiosity at the right place, which travelers are drawn to one way or the other.

18. I Want Crazy by Hunter Hayes

We’ll make it short: It’s okay to be crazy sometimes. You can celebrate that through this song.

19. I Would Do Anything for Love by Meatloaf

This is all about monotony breaker that complements the sequence of the common beat and make you sing your heart out.

20. It’s Time by Imagine Dragons

Embracing change and being in charge of your destiny are the key messages of the song. Travelers have that penchant for treading paths less traveled by.

21. Keep on Movin’  by Five

Listen to the lyrics of the song while your hips and feet are moving. You’ll be glad you did.

22. Love on the Weekend by John Mayer

If you’re in a relationship who happens to be going on vacation for less than a month, this piece is your mantra.

23. Never Let You Go by Third Eye Blind

How can you resist that guitar kicks at the beginning and not be willingly hit by them?

24. Pink Life by Gyskard

Not sure if you deserve a break from a hectic day, week, month…year? Dissect the song and the next thing you know is you’re on your way to a coffee shop, restaurant, resort, or any place where you can revel in your fleeting time off.

25. Pure Shores by All Saints

Imagine holding a conch shell to your ear. The ebb and flow sound of the ocean is like this song—so relaxing. It’ll not put you to sleep though so worry not because of its electronica elements.

26. Roses (feat. Rozes) by The Chainsmokers

A simple bass drum beat supporting the harmony coupled with a nice controlled bass guitar riff in the background. All the harmonies and melodies converge to have this reverse effect throughout the song, which gives a lot of weight and volume not only to the song but whoever hears it. These ultimately define why this song is right where it’s at.

27. Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon

Don’t you just wanna dance upon hearing the first note of this song and be merriful? The vivid, colorful, 80ish imagery and upbeat rhythm of the song are delectable to the senses.

28. Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow

This could have been Bonnie Bailey’s  song, “Ever After”, but the universe conspired to put Sheryl Crow’s instead. Who wouldn’t enjoy being at the beach listening to this song or watching her at the beach with that guitar? With that guitar?

Lucky for her. The former doesn’t have an official music video.

29. Style by Taylor Swift

This song may have been the background of that tragic scene in the movie “San Andreas” but it mustn’t stop you from wanting it to be in that playlist for its travelish, melodic tune, particularly if you’re up for a long drive.

30. Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams

Common! Even the kids would love to hear this song. It’s another classic that’s immortal when it comes to this kind of playlist.

31. The Animal Song by Savage Garden

Do you want validation of your right to and the need for personal freedom, which is excellent when equated to traveling and momentarily live a careless life?

It prompts you to live like animals in the jungle—careless and free. Now get that backpack and head to the mountains with this showing on your music player.

32. The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) by Jason Mraz

For starters, the song is about not letting life get you down no matter what happens, and that you shouldn’t waste your life worrying most of the time…

33. Time of Our Lives (feat. Ne-Yo) by Pitbull

This one is definitely one for the clubs—smooth international groove that should keep people moving not only on the dance floor but everywhere. Talking about another inspiration for taking a break and a reminder that every day is a good one.

34. Titanium by Sia

The video is an irony for the relaxing melody it provides—makes you wanna put that headset to your ears, close your eyes, listen to it, and enjoy the moment. (Ana Kendrick did. So should you.)

35. Yeah 3x by Chris Brown

What’s special about the song is the idea of accepting spontaneity and living the dream. Sounds familiar isn’t it? The song’s electro-vibe and frenetic pulse is another perfect nightspot banging anthem and medicine to the dull moment syndrome.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve missed some really good ones here and that people will challenge the list but bear with me. The comment section is turned on anyway.

Related Articles

Best 17 Backpacker Songs Ever – Alternative Travel Songs (hotelgeeks.com)

Best travel music by Travel Bloggers (tinggly.com)

30 songs that capture the spirit of travel (with videos) (matadornetwork.com)

10 Music Videos that Inspire Travel (flightcentre.ca)

17 Wanderlust-Inspiring Background Music Tracks for Your Travel (blog.audioblocks.com)

7 Songs to inspire you to travel in 2017! (liveandletwander.com)

Best Summer Road Trip Songs of 2017 (weather.com)

The Ultimate Travel Playlist (thestudentverse.com)

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Anil M. says:

    Great list! Will definitley be marking these down to download.


    1. Hi, Anil. Thank you for acknowledging my choices here. So nice of you.

      Will be up for catching with with blogging friends this weekend. Would love to see a similar post on your blog if ever.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anil M. says:

        Sounds liked a great idea. I’ve never given it thought, but will definitely consider!


  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    Absolutely loved this post, Sony. Music is something that we can all relate to all around the world. It is universal. I was never the kind who would like listening to music while traveling (I listen to music literally non-stop other times) but as of last year that changed. I got bored on long train and bus rides and when I plugged in my ear phones, everything around me and within myself, I feel a sense of peace.

    Like you, I used to record songs from FM radio with an MP3 player in high school. When one of my MP3 player broke down, I desperately looked for another one that had the FM Record function. I’d then listen to the radio a lot after school and would ready myself to press record when my favourite song came on 😀 Also, cassette tapes were a big part of my childhood too. My mum would drive me and my brother to primary school in Malaysia each morning. The drive was one hour one way all through traffic jam, and I usually got to pick the cassette tapes we could listen to – and it was usually classic Disney songs and I’d sing them all the way too school.

    I smiled when I saw Breathe / Michelle Branch and Soak Up The Sun / Sheryl Crow on your list. Perfect summer songs, perfect for not only cruising down the highway as you said but also for just kicking back. Both songs I also listened to a lot after school in Singapore, in the hot and humid afternoons but I love that kind of weather, and so that music also made those moments perfect 😀

    This really is a great list, and being someone who grew up in the 80s, 90s and 2000s all these songs I’ve come across at some point, some of them I listened to over and over again. If I’d make a list of songs perfect for listening while on the go, it’ll have to include Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) by Green Day. It’s a song that has an acoustic sound all the way through and the lyrics always make me reflect on what has been, and what will be. I’ll also include cover songs by some of my favourite YouTubers and independent artists like Madilyn Bailey, Andie Case – simple, stripped down music. That’s the way I like my life too 🙂

    Lovely write up.


    1. Sony says:

      I’d like you to know that I have included some of Madilyn and Andie’s songs in my personal playlist. 🙂


      1. Mabel Kwong says:

        That’s so lovely to hear, Sony. I listen to their music today too. It was a pleasure scrolling through your post again and seeing our music tastes are similar. It was nice seeing Avril Lavigne in your playlist as I’ve been playing her music on repeat recently.


      2. It’s a delight to “read” from you as always. Some things have changed but some things remain intact. Interactions here may have diminished but the impact, your impact, on me remains the same. Frequency of visits or responses is no loner my measure. The thought counts regardless of form. The old days count as well. Those transcend the childish expectations on social media as we speak. 🙂


      3. Mabel Kwong says:

        That is so kind of you to say, Sony. Thank you for your kind words. It is so true, things change over time. Frequency and interactions on here have diminished here for many of us. But it is never about the quantity but the intention behind our actions. I hope you are well and take care of yourself 🙂


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