• Travel Songs

8 Songs for the perfect travel playlist

Music is one of the most beautiful forms of art and songs are always a nice source of daily inspiration. Last week I asked some travelers for their favorite travel song and here’s what they kindly shared with us. Enjoy and get inspired to travel now!

Travel Songs

Travel Songs

Pure Shoes by All Saints

Stephanie from Discovering Ice shares with us the following song:

I love the song Pure Shores by All Saints. To me it evokes powerful feelings of inner contentment that I get when traveling. When I hear the beat of that dreamy intro I just imagine myself bumming around at the beach, feeling the heat of the sun upon my skin, the smell of the sand and lazy nights with friends in a hostel.

It’s a really laid back song, yet it makes you want to immediately pack your bag and head for the beach. It also helps that it was featured in ‘The Beach’, one of my favourite travel movies of all time. There’s no greater way of evoking feelings of nostalgia, adventure and travel inspiration than through music!

Better on Holiday by Franz Ferdinand

DJ Yabis from Dream Euro Trip shares his favorite travel song with us

I love music and music festivals. I attend a number European music festivals of them every summer. I feel like every moment of my life is a soundtrack by my favorite artists. One of my favorite travel songs is Franz Ferdinand’s Better on Holiday.

I mean the lyrics goes like “It’s always better on holiday / So much better on holiday / That’s why we only work when / We need the money” which pretty much sums up my life story.

 Africa by Toto

Stephanie Mayo from The World as I see it shares with us the following

From the initial beat to the first lyrics of ‘drums echoing in the night’ and followed with vivid imagery of the wonders of Africa, Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, the song Africa’s chorus rings in my ears and my traveling heart, ‘it’s waiting there for you.’ There has never been a song that has resonated with me as much as Toto’s ‘Africa’.

I’ve known the song my whole life and I’m not sure if it was what helped to subconsciously drive my passion and desire to explore Africa, it’s people, wildlife and wild spaces, or if it only became my theme song pushing me towards a place I feel more connected to, yet still have yet to visit, then anywhere else in the world.

Live To Tell by Madonna

Yara Coelho from Heart of Vagabond shares:

I remember one day, right before signing the papers to move to the US… The radio was on, and a Madonna song was playing. “If I ran away, I’d never have the strength to go very far. How would they hear the beating of my heart “

That sentence resonated with my heart so deeply that in a few days I was flying to the other side of the world on my own. That little piece of Madonna’s song – live to tell – definitely had an impact on my early days of traveling. It still gives me goose bumps when I hear those words, as more than a decade later my travel blog turned out to be named “Heart of a Vagabond”. Sometime we have to let go of our fears, so we can share the beating of our heart with the world.

Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver

Annabel Candy from Get In the Hot Spot shares the following song

A song that inspires me to travel is Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver. Many moons ago (1989!) when I was a poverty-stricken backpacker touring Egypt on a shoestring staying in the shadiest places ever my friend and I managed to sneak into the ultra posh Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor on the banks of the River Nile.

Previous guests have included Jimmy Carter, Agatha Christie and Winston Churchill and, although we wouldn’t be staying the night, we were thoroughly enjoying a taste of luxury. We were sunning ourselves on a lounge by the pool while a steel band played when they launched into Leaving On a Jet Plane by John Denver. There was no one singing but we knew the words and loved it.

That song still hits me with the excitement of travel every time I hear it.

The Survivors by Pet Shop Boys

Jörg Dietrich from Panorama Street Line shares his favorite travel song

The music that has most inspired me throughout my life after childhood has been the bittersweet pop of the Pet Shop Boys. No wonder my favourite travel destination has always been London, the city that they wrote about so often in songs like “West End Girls”, “Kings Cross” or “London” (a song about to Russian immigrants).

But it is not these sociopolitical songs that inspire a tour around London, it is the more subtle words in lesser known songs like the line “look at the view from your balcony, London through your eyes. No one but you to keep me company twenty floors up a high-rise”. My personal London discovery came from the 1996 song “The survivors”.

The lines “cross a windy bridge one winter night, past Embankment Gardens, enter warmth and light” actually prompted me to visit this small park by the Thames river and experience this little gem of a hidden quiet place (well not in summer) in the middle of this metropolis. There one can indeed refresh and find the positivity sometimes lacking a city life and in that sense even the Pet Shop Boys can settle the song with an overtly positive conclusion:

“If life is worth living it’s got to be run as a means of giving not as a race to be won.”

Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin

Margherita from The Crowded Planet shares the following with us

It all started one day when we were in Brazil. It was the start of our big RTW trip and we decided to stop for a few days in Jericoacoara. A few days became a couple of weeks, until we had to leave to catch up with some friends in Sao Paulo. To say goodbye to the place we decided to go on a buggy ride along the coast.

That day on the buggy, we drove past a beach shack playing ‘Me and Bobby McGee’. I thought the song described perfectly the moment I was living. ‘Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose’, Janis sang. I had just left my friends and home in London, given most of my stuff away, refused a brilliant job offer.

Yet, there I was, wind through my hair, all my belongings in a backpack and a year’s travel in front of me. That was the moment when I truly felt free.

It’s time by Imagine Dragons

So how about me? Back in 2012 when I was studying in France I stumbled across a dilemma: One of the final exams was on the day I was flying back from Egypt so I basically had two options: Completely cancel my trip and stay in France for my two-week holidays or to stick to my original plan, miss the final exam and face the consequences upon my return.

When I heard the lyrics “packing my bags and giving the Academy a rain check” I knew I was making the right decision. Long story short? My Economy professor appreciated my honesty and boldness and allowed me to take the final exam at a later date than the rest of my classmates.

I got 19/20. Nothing bad for a world traveler, right? Ever since, whenever I feel doubts about my life plan, I always listen to the song to remind myself who I am and what I stand for. I love it.

What is the song that inspires YOU to travel? Share it with us and let’s create the ultimate travel playlist!


May 14th, 2014|Categories: Travel Inspiration|
Raphael Alexander is a Nomadic Digital Marketer and Travel Influencer who overcame the chains of the local economy and found a way to achieve his dream of having a professional life while traveling the world non-stop. His goal in life is to inspire the people of the world to unleash their full inner potential. A perfect day for him includes exotic animals, ancient pyramids, breath-taking waterfalls and tasty tacos. Lots of tacos.


  1. Suzanne Fluhr May 14, 2014 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Like smells, certain sons remind of certain times and places. “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, performed by Peter, Paul and Mary reminds me of the year we lived in England in 1969 to 1970 when I was 15-16—first, because I was sad to leave my school and friends in the U.S. and then because I was sad to be leaving England.

  2. Jessica @She Dreams of Travel May 14, 2014 at 9:47 am - Reply

    This is a great list! Whenever I hear “Where The Streets Have No Name” or “Still Haven’t Found” by U2 it just makes me want to pack my bags, get in my car and drive to wherever the wind blows me. The songs can be interpreted in different ways, but for me they’re all about wanting to experience life to its fullest and just get out there and see everything!

  3. Samantha Hussey May 14, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

    My travel song (songs) are by Bob Marley. When I was a child my parents would put the tape on in the car when we were driving down to the West Coast in England. It was forbidden to play Bob Marley songs at any other time. So now whenever I go on holiday its what I listen to. I find it hard to listen to it any other time. I have to be on holiday in the sun. Always.

  4. Steph | Discovering Ice May 14, 2014 at 10:42 am - Reply

    This is a great list! Making my feet itchy again 😉 Thanks for including my suggestion!

    • Shelley May 14, 2014 at 11:53 pm - Reply

      I completely with your choice, Steph! Absolutely love this song and it always reminds me of those peaceful times on a beach too. 😀

  5. DJ Yabis May 14, 2014 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Great list! There are so much more to discover!

  6. Tim May 14, 2014 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Like one of the comments above I have always associated travel, especially in Asia, with Bob Marley and in particular the album Legends. But still, your list has some great tunes on it and find myself singing in my head a few of them right now.

  7. Stephanie Mayo May 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Love this piece! There are so many songs that inspire us to travel, from a lyric to a whole verse! I have to agree with Samantha in the sense that all Bob Marley songs make me want to travel, to some warm, sunny exotic locale!

  8. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey May 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    What a great idea for a post!! I cant think of anything, but these do make me wanna get up and moooooove

  9. Mani (A New Life Wandering) May 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    I will second the song: “leaving on a jet plane” and I will add “happy trails” (a 1950s song, originally by Dale Evans Rogers). The latter is sung to people leaving a pilgrim center in rural India and it makes me cry every time they sing it to me.
    “Some trails are happy ones,
    Others are blue.
    It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
    Here’s a happy one for you.

    Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
    Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.”

  10. Hi Raphael,

    What a fun idea for a travel post – thank you for including me – I loved reading the other travel blogger’s favourites and listening to them – especially Africa by Toto – great choice Stephanie 🙂

  11. Hitch-Hikers Handbook May 15, 2014 at 4:42 am - Reply

    Great list, Raphael! “Africa” by Toto is such a great tune! I would also add “I’ve been everythere” by Johnny Cash 🙂

  12. Sam May 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    This is such a cool idea! Love Franz Ferdinand, and of course Madonna!

  13. Donna Hull May 17, 2014 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Definitely Leaving on a Jet Plane. Of course my version involved a boy and saying goodbye.

  14. Casey @ A Cruising Couple May 18, 2014 at 4:28 am - Reply

    What a fun list! I’m always looking for new songs to add to my playlist. My ultimate travel song is Good Life by One Republic. Maybe a bit cheesy, but I love it all the same 😉

  15. Anna May 19, 2014 at 2:30 am - Reply

    I´ve just started doing a #MondayMixtape feature and this list is perfect inspiration for the next playlist theme! Great choices and good diversity there.

  16. Kağan June 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    I would definitely add the song “Wanderlust King” from Gogol Bordello! Whenever I go for a trip, on the way or packing before a trip it’s a must for me 🙂

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