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Tips For Creating A Road Trip Playlist

Road trip music is so important. Be sure to check out these tips for creating a road trip playlist to make your perfect one.

For more tips, check out all of our travel posts.

A man changing the car radio dial with the words "Tips For Creating A Road Trip Playlist" digitally written on top.

A few Thanksgivings ago, I drove from North Carolina to New York by myself. I don’t remember why, to be honest. There was a reason Pete wasn’t able to take the trip with me, and something that compelled me to have the need to go. I can’t recall any of the details.

I can recall that Pitbull and Kesha’s “Timber” and Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You” were the most popular songs at that time because I heard them over and over as I changed the radio station during that ten hour solo drive.

This is why it’s way more fun if you create a road trip playlist.

When I was planning a trip to California, that’s exactly what I did. I found as many songs related to California as I could (LL Cool J’s “Going Back To Cali,” Spitalfield’s “I Love The Way She Said LA,” etc.) and put them on a CD for the plane ride. Because yes, I went at a time when burning your own CD was still a thing.

I’m old.

Now, it’s so much fun for Pete to download music onto his phone and play it during our road trips.

When we drove to Fayetteville for the first time, he downloaded a bunch of my favorite albums and played them the entire time I was driving. That made the drive fly by because I was able to sing along as I drove.

When we went to Myrtle Beach last year, he downloaded my favorite album from one of my favorite bands and played it the whole way down.

Tips For Creating A Road Trip Playlist

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Figure out how long you’ll be driving.

The biggest plus for making a playlist versus relying on the radio is the lack of repeats. Top 40 stations basically play the … well, I suppose they’re supposed to play the same 40 songs over and over, but it seems like the same 15 on are replay. And that’s cool if you really like Bruno Mars’ new song that’s not even new anymore, but I’m over it.

So, when you’re making your own playlist, be sure to figure out how long your drive is and then create a playlist that long — plus an extra 30 minutes or so in case of traffic — and then double it. You’ll want new tunes for the drive home.

Start with fast songs.

If you’re driving, you want some great driving music on your road trip playlist. You don’t want a string of slow songs to put you to sleep. I use a really similar method for the Spotify playlist I have to psyche me up while I’m working. I have a handful of really fun, fast paced songs that I know all the words to, so I can sing along and get hyped up.

Some of my favorites on my playlist: Inspection 12’s cover of “You Can Call Me Al”, Fall Out Boy’s “Hum Hallelujah”, and The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”. When I can sing along in the car, it really makes the drive go faster. It’s a little distracting while I’m working, though. Like I really want to sing along, but I also need to concentrate or my blog posts will just turn into song lyrics.

Add a few new favorite songs.

Maybe you’re not convinced the latest Lil Nas X song is your new favorite (it is), add it to your playlist. You’ll hear it and it will really stand out.

From then on, it will remind you about driving to your destination and how fun your trip was. It’s a great way to make future you smile.

Get other’s opinions.

If you’re driving by yourself, you can play all your own music. But if you’re driving with someone else, make sure you add some of their favorite songs to the playlist too — even if they’re only riding shotgun. You want everyone in the car to be happy because that will make for a much happier car ride.

Include your own songs.

Pete actually records his own songs. He has this very cool professional mixer and he can record every instrument for every track. It’s so much fun to be driving and one of his songs starts playing on our playlist. So if you write your own songs, definitely add them to your playlists.

Add some classic songs.

Some songs are just really good songs that have stood the test of time. I mean, find me one person who doesn’t stop everything they’re doing to drum along to that one part with Phil Collins in “In The Air Tonight.”

So be sure to add songs like that, where everyone knows the fun parts, everyone knows the words or the TikTok dances, and everyone can enjoy that song together.

Make a Collaborative Spotify playlist.

If you have a paid Spotify account, you can use Spotify on your road trip. That brings you right into the digital age and you’re able to get your songs without having to stream them off a playlist downloaded to your phone (which is what we do because, like I said, we’re old).

What’s cool about Spotify, in particular, is that you can make a Collaborative Spotify playlist. Anyone with a link to the playlist can add songs to it. So, you can go ahead and share that link with whoever you’re taking a road trip with and everyone can add the songs they want to hear. That way, everyone’s happy (well, someone is happy every three minutes anyway).

Best Road Trip Travel Songs:

If you’re looking for some great road trip song suggestions, we have a few:

A woman pumping gas at a Buc-ees gas station with the words "How To Save On Gas On Your Next Road Trip" digitally written above her.

Road Trip Tips:

If you’re planning a road trip, you’re in luck. We have a ton of posts about planning a road trip and with road trip tips that will make your planning a breeze.

And, if you’re planning a road trip with your pets, be sure to check out these links:

What other tips do you have for creating a road trip playlist? Be sure to leave them in the comments.