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Looking for songs about traveling to fuel your next journey?
In addition to recommendations for songs about going on an adventure and exploring, we’re sharing with you the best collection of songs to add to your playlist for a long drive home or during your next vacation.
What You Will Learn
- The Benefits of Listening to Music While Traveling
- What’s in This Collection?
- Presenting: Songs About Traveling and Having Adventures
- 1. Anywhere, Passenger
- 2. Leaving on a Jet Plane, John Denver
- 3. Sleep on the Floor, The Lumineers
- 4. The Chinatown Bus, Bishop Allen
- 5. Ghost Towns, Radical Face
- 6. The Motorcycle Song, Arlo Guthrie
- 7. Katmandu, Bob Seger
- 8. Hard Travelin’, Woody Guthrie
- 9. I’ve Been Everywhere, Johnny Cash
- 10. Roam, B-52
- 11. I Woke Up in a Car, Something Corporate
- 12. Drivin’ My Life Away, Eddie Rabbitt
- 13. Last Train to Clarksville, The Monkees
- 14. The Getaway, Hilary Duff
- 15. Come Sail Away, Styx
- 16. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
- 17. The Best Way to Travel, The Moody Blues
- 18. Girl on a Train, Skizzy Mars
- 19. If I Had a Boat, Lyle Lovett
- 20. Watching Airplanes, Gary Allan
- 21. Trains and Boats and Planes, Dionne Warwick
- 22. Traveling On, Kongos
- 23. Fly Away With Me, Tom Walker
- 24. Castle on the Hill, Ed Sheeran
- 25. Proud Mary, Creedence Clearwater Revival
- 26. Get Here, Oleta Adams
- 27. Fly Away from Here, Aerosmith
- 28. Wherever I May Roam, Metallica
- 29. Ventura Highway, America
- 30. The World at Large, Modest Mouse
- 31. Leaving Las Vegas, Sheryl Crow
- 32. On the Road Again, Willie Nelson
- 33. Orinoco Flow, Enya
- Final Thoughts
Music makes traveling better.
Here are some of the major benefits you can get from listening to your favorite music while traveling:
Traveling can be done alone, or it can be done with someone you care about, such as your friends, family, or someone special as part of your relationship goals.
For this collection, we’ve rounded up songs about:
Traveling can also be a metaphor for other experiences in life—love, our struggles in overcoming adversity (e.g., addiction, heartbreak, poverty), enlightenment, temporary or permanent escapes, etc. We’ve also included songs on these topics.
Check out these tracks to add to your travel playlist.
“If you get up on a jet plane or down in a submarine. If you get onto the next train to somewhere you never been. If you wanna ride in a fast car and feel the wind in your hair. Darling, just look beside you. Oh, I’ll go with you anywhere.”
This is a love song and a song about traveling. It tells of one’s devotion to the person they love, which makes them willing to travel anywhere just to be with that person.
“So kiss me and smile for me. Tell me that you’ll wait for me. Hold me like you’ll never let me go. ’Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again. Oh, babe, I hate to go.”
This classic song is about having to take your leave. Traveling can sometimes bring heartbreak when we have to say goodbye to the people we love.
The song is also a wistful one, as the person promises to return even though things are uncertain.
However, we must remember that traveling can often change who we are and things are never the same once we return.
“Pack yourself a toothbrush, dear. Pack yourself a favorite blouse. Take a withdrawal slip. Take all of your savings out. ’Cause if we don’t leave this town, we might never make it out.”
Sometimes the place where we are prevents us from reaching our full potential.
It takes a lot of courage to leave, especially if we’ve been in our comfort zone for so long. [Check out these Steps for Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.]
“I, I am a passenger tonight. I watch the world from inside.”
Commuting late at night can be an adventure, too.
In this track, we see the world through the eyes of someone who rides a bus one night from Chinatown. During his trip, he recalls some of the places he’s been before and feels like an outsider watching the goings-on around him.
“I’ve got no need for open roads. ’Cause all I own fits on my back. I see the world from rusted trains. And always know I won’t be back.”
This song is about someone who’s left everything he knows to travel from place to place, with no intention of settling down. Perhaps this person is running from his past or he’s trying to find himself in his wanderings.
“I don’t want a pickle, just want to ride on my motorcycle. And I don’t want a tickle ’cause I’d rather ride on my motorcycle. And I don’t want to die. I just want to ride on my motorcycle.”
This song is a tribute to the motorcycle—to the freedom and joy it brings to the one singing the song.
What’s your favorite mode of transportation when traveling?
“I think I’m going to Katmandu. I think it’s really where I’m going to. If I ever get outta here, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
If you want a temporary break from life, traveling can be your escape.
This song is about traveling to a place where no one can bother you so you can regroup and decompress. After you’ve recharged, you’ll be ready to take on new challenges.
“I’ve been ridin’ them fast rattlers, I thought you knowed. I’ve been ridin’ them flat wheelers way down the road. I’ve been ridin’ them blind passengers, dead-enders, kickin’ up cinders. I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, lord.”
This song is quite different from the other tracks about vacations and the call of the open road. Instead, it is a song describing the challenges of being on the road as a drifter.
In this song, a man travels on trains, working odd jobs in different towns and having a brush with authorities. He’s doing it to find the woman of his dreams.
“I’ve been everywhere, man. I’ve been everywhere, man. Crossed the deserts bare, man. I’ve breathed the mountain air, man. Of travel I’ve had my share, man. I’ve been everywhere.”
Many people include traveling the world in their bucket list. This song is about someone who has traveled all over the world and is now reminiscing about the places and experiences that were most memorable to him.
“Roam if you want to, roam around the world. Roam if you want to, without anything but the love we feel.”
Still hesitant to take that trip? This song might help convince you to finally board a flight and see new places.
It emboldens you to take on new experiences and encourages you to embrace freedom, growth, and learning. This is an open invitation to see the world and try everything it has to offer.
“I woke up in New York City, from my sleep behind the wheel. Caught a train to Poughkeepsie and time stood still.”
Traveling is a chance to meet new people and temporarily escape the routine of home life. In this song, a person embraces a life of travel, seeking new adventures and experiences and deciding if this is how they want to live for the rest of their life.
“Well, the midnight headlights blind you on a rainy night. Steep grade up ahead, slow me down, make no time. But I got to keep rollin’. Those windshield wipers slappin’ out a tempo, keeping perfect rhythm with the song on the radio. But I got to keep rollin’. Ohh, I’m drivin’ my life away, lookin’ for a better way for me. Ohh, I’m drivin’ my life away, lookin’ for a sunny day.”
The main inspiration of this song is the life of roadies. Constantly going on tour provides its own sense of adventure.
However, by being constantly away from home, roadies often miss out on major milestones in the lives of their families and loved ones.
“Take the last train to Clarksville and I’ll meet you at the station. You can be here by 4:30 ’cause I’ve made your reservation.”
This 1966 single is about traveling to see someone you love. In it, a man talks to a loved one on the phone, arranging to meet at the Clarksville train station.
Although it is not directly stated, the man could be a draftee during the Vietnam war, especially considering that there is a line in the song that goes, “And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home.”
“Put the pedal down, headin’ out of town. Gotta make a getaway. The traffic’s in my brain, drivin’ me insane. This is more than I can take. You tell me you love me first, then throw your heart into reverse. I’ve gotta get away.”
This song compares driving to a romantic relationship. A girl gets confused by a guy’s non-commitment and feels like she needs to distance herself to truly see where their relationship is headed.
She compares what she must do in the confusing relationship to navigating through a busy road so she can get somewhere quieter.
“I’m sailing away. Set an open course for the virgin sea ’cause I’ve got to be free. Free to face the life that’s ahead of me.”
This song is about getting away and charting an unknown course. It is about finding and living one’s destiny.
This is a song about self-acceptance and being free to fully embrace your potential.
“So I remember when we were driving, driving in your car. Speed so fast it felt like I was drunk. City lights lay out before us and your arm felt nice wrapped ‘round my shoulder. And I had a feeling that I belonged. I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone.”
This song was released in 1988 and tells of the hardships of a working girl trying to make life better for her and the ones she loves. The fast car in this song symbolizes the opportunity to make her dreams come true.
However, the cycles of abuse, alcoholism, and hopelessness have a very strong pull on some of the people she loves. She comes to accept the fact that she does not need to be a passenger in someone else’s car to realize her dreams.
“We ride the waves. Distance is gone, will we find out? How life began, will we find out? Speeding through the universe. Thinking is the best way to travel.”
This song presents an interesting perspective on traveling. In it, we are presented with the idea that the best way to travel around the world and even across the universe is through our thoughts.
“I met this pretty girl on a train. I fell in love even before I got her name. And I ain’t even know where she was going. But she broke my heart when her stop came.”
In addition to presenting learning opportunities, traveling gives people the chance to meet the love of their life.
In this song, a guy falls in love with another passenger while riding on a train. Nothing comes of it, but the song shows the strange, wonderful, and extraordinary adventures we sometimes experience during our travels.
“And if I had a boat, I’d go out on the ocean. And if I had a pony, I’d ride him on my boat. And we could all together go out on the ocean. I said me upon my pony on my boat.”
We’ve already talked about a song that shows how our thoughts can serve as a vehicle so we can travel anywhere in the universe.
Here’s another song about the power of imagination that allows people to reach interesting destinations in equally interesting ways.
“By now I know you’re 30,000 feet above me but a million miles away, a million miles away. By now I know I ought to act like you don’t love me. But I’m just sittin’ out here watching airplanes take off and fly. I’m just sittin’ out here watching airplanes take off and fly. Tryin’ to figure out which one you might be on and why you don’t love me anymore.”
In this song, we listen to a guy who is watching planes fly above him and wondering which one has his ex in it. It’s a song about goodbyes and travels, telling of heartbreak and hope for a new and better chapter in this guy’s life.
21. Trains and Boats and Planes, Dionne Warwick
“Trains and boats and planes are passing by. They mean a trip to Paris or Rome for someone else but not for me. The trains and the boats and planes took you away, away from me.”
Boats, airplanes, and trains are all ways to take long journeys and adventures in exotic locales. However, in this song, these modes of transportation are only seen as the vehicles that took someone’s love away.
“So long, my flame, my warmth, my fear, my fight. The road’s calling again tonight. Dreaming under street lights. Maybe I’ll catch a train to Rome. See the world until I can’t go on. Then, maybe, I’ll come traveling home.”
In this song, listeners get to know someone who loves to travel—who maybe cannot resist traveling. They bid goodbye to the one they love as they prepare to set forth again to discover new places.
As a consolation, they promise to return home one day.
“So come on, fly away with me to a place where we could be anyone we want to be. And we can bottle up our fears, brew a taste so sweet. Knock us off our feet or more. Burn our troubles, inhale them all. Paint our future on a fractured wall. So come on, fly away with me to a place where we can be anyone we want to be.”
This song describes the experiences of someone who is homeless or lives most of their time on the streets.
It is an invitation to see the world from this person’s eyes as he tries to find purpose and regain his self-esteem when the rest of the world refuses to even glance at him.
“I’m on my way, driving at 90 down those country lanes. Singing to Tiny Dancer and I miss the way you make me feel. And it’s real, when we watched the sunset over the castle on the hill.”
This is a song about coming back to a place from your childhood. As you drive down familiar roads, the memories rush in and you find yourself remembering the bittersweet time of your youth.
“Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis. Pumped a lot of ‘pane down in New Orleans. But I never saw the good side of the city ‘til I hitched a ride on a riverboat queen.”
This classic song is an ode to a time when the main means of transport on the Mississippi River was a riverboat. It is a metaphor for leaving behind one’s stressful existence and embracing a more peaceful existence, possibly aboard a riverboat.
“You can reach me by sailboat, climb a tree and swing rope to rope. Take a sled and slide down the slope into these arms of mine. You can jump on a speedy colt, cross the border in a blaze of hope. I don’t care how you get here, just get here if you can.”
This song is about the urgent call of someone to have their beloved by their side. Oleta Adams lists several possible ways for her beloved to reach her. None of them should be impossible if her beloved is determined, right?
“Take another breath and say another prayer. And then fly away from here. Anywhere, yeah, I don’t care. We just fly away from here. Our hopes and dreams are out there somewhere. Won’t let time pass us by. We’ll just fly, yeah.”
We’ve mentioned previously that there are times when the place we are currently in holds us back from fully realizing our potential. Here’s another song that urges listeners to fly away so they can turn their dreams into reality.
“Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond. Call me what you will. Oh, but I’ll take my time anywhere. Free to speak my mind anywhere. And I’ll redefine anywhere. Anywhere I roam. Where I lay my head is home, yeah.”
Why do many people prefer traveling over settling down in a place where they can build a home and form a family?
Perhaps, as the vagabond in this song says, home can be anywhere he lays down his head. Traveling gives them freedom to be themselves, and they prefer it more than settling down.
“Ventura Highway in the sunshine, where the days are longer the nights are stronger than moonshine. You’re gonna go, I know. ’Cause the free wind is blowing through your hair and the days surround your daylight there. Seasons crying no despair. Alligator lizards in the air, in the air.”
Here’s another song about giving in to the pull of the open road. It tells of moving on, leaving old places in search of new adventures and purpose in life.
“The days get shorter and the nights get cold. I like the autumn but this place is getting old. I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast. It might not be a lot but I feel like I’m making the most. The days get longer and the nights smell green. I guess it’s not surprising but it’s spring and I should leave.”
This next song is another one about living life to the fullest, completely embracing restlessness and wanderlust.
It is somewhat similar in theme to the song above, where a person wanders from place to place searching for something that gives them a sense of purpose.
“I’m leaving Las Vegas. Lights so bright. Palm sweat, blackjack on a Saturday night. Leaving Las Vegas. Leaving for good, for good. I’m leaving for good. I’m leaving for good.”
Traveling is not only an opportunity for new adventures. It also gives people the chance to start over.
This song is about leaving one’s old life behind—most likely with its attendant mess, pain, and fear—and traveling to somewhere they can begin a new chapter with a clean slate.
“On the road again. Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway. We’re the best of friends. Insisting that the world keep turning our way. And our way is on the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again…”
Need another song about people fully embracing a life of traveling? Try this classic from Willie Nelson.
In this song, we feel the excitement and wistfulness of traveling to different places in the company of good friends.
“From the north to the south, Ebudæ unto Khartoum. From the deep Sea of Clouds to the Island of the Moon. Carry me on the waves to the lands I’ve never been. Carry me on the waves to the lands I’ve never seen. We can sail, we can sail with the Orinoco flow. We can sail, we can sail. Sail away, sail away, sail away.”
Released in 1988, this music allows listeners to transcend their current state of mind and float in relaxation. The song is about leaving old places behind to discover new, exciting environments that we’ve never heard of before.
Hopefully you’ve found some favorite songs about traveling to add to your playlist.
We are all often busy with life, but hopefully you get the opportunity to travel.
Even if it’s just an overnight trip out of town, traveling provides numerous benefits in terms of personal growth and expanding your horizons.
If you enjoyed this collection, here are more song collections on specific topics that you can check out: