The Top Ten Travel Songs

By Nomadic Matt | Published September 15th, 2008

Music is an essential part of the travel experience. It gets us through the tough times, helps us remember the good times, gets us in the mood to go, and helps us cope with coming home. I don’t know where I would be without my iPod.

Music is an all-encompassing force in people’s lives, and it’s no wonder so many good songs have been written about travel. So the next time you are on the road or thinking about travel, here are some great songs to turn on:

Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
A good song about setting out and spreading your wings. Like she says, it’s not easy to say goodbye, but sometimes you just need to go explore. (Music trivia: This song was actually written by Avril Lavigne.)

Upside Down by Jack Johnson
Because we travel to find the things that can’t be found and spread love with everyone.

Breakdown by Jack Johnson
So often we rush our travels. This is a good song that reminds us to go slow.

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sometimes we must be traveling on because there are just too many places to see.

London Still by The Waifs
A good song about dealing with being homesick.

Next Year by The Foo Fighters
Because we’ll all be coming home in a year.

Life For Rent by Dido
Any song with the line “I always thought I’d travel the world alone and live more simply” deserves a spot on this list.

Coming Home by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Another good song about going home.

Leaving on a Jetplane by John Denver
We may plan to only go for a certain time, but, like the man says, we never really know when we will be back again.

Roam by the B-52s
Because we all want to roam around the world.

Some other travel lists you might enjoy:
Great Travel Movies
More Great Travel Movies
Top Signs You are a Travel Addict
The Best Travel Books

comments 17 Comments

Ron in L.A.

Nice list Matt…

I would kick in Runnin’ Down a Dream by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers… ;)

R(etc… )

“I’ve been everywhere” didn’t make the list?….man I just wiki’d it…versions for every country!

Good list, and I’m so happy to see Roam on here. That song always gets me in the mood to hit the road.

I would add Gomez–See the World, John Denver–Country Roads, and although I don’t like Rod Stewart, Forever Young is a good road song. And Five More Hours, by the Gabe Dixon Band.

I have a comment about this…

My itunes is loaded with music from all my travels. It’s a great idea to either 1) have your new international friends burn you a copy of their favs from their home city (just buy a blank cd & I’m sure they won’t mind burning you a mixed copy) or 2) go ahead and buy some popular music from the spot you are visiting.

I was lucky enough to receive a “most popular music Oz has to offer” homemade DVD while I was studying there…and my sister gave me a copy of her “musica de Espanol” mix that her friend gave to her while she was in Spain.

It’s a great idea to keep music from your travels, as well as photos- they are a great way to bring back memories from your time there!

I like the Indigo Girls songs:

Get Out the Map
Hey, Kind Friend

Great list! I love Jack Johnson and London Still.


Lighter Shade of Pale definitely.


You had me at Breakdown! If you like Jack Johnson, then you should look into Eric Hutchinson – love the song, “In Late August” I love having friends give me songs from their home – It’s how I got into MIA, Sigur Ros, Dizzy Rascal, Passe, and loaded my mp3 player with a crazy eclectic mix.

Nice list – I would add ‘Wild Rover’ by the Dubliners – sung at full pitch after several pints of Guinness


i agree with will “ive been everywhere” johnny cash.


So many good songs, so little time. I had a list about 14 I liked but cut it down since ten was a better number.. But you all bring up good choices…..

we all have our own top ten. Music is so personal, no two lists will be the same…


Christ! Jack Johnson!! have you lot not had enough of him?? it’s enought to make your ears bleed on the backpacking circuit!!

Kelly Clarkson! Oh Matt, you’re killing me.

Sorry Matt… I usually agree with your lists, but Kelly Clarkson and Dido???!!! I can’t even get there :(


Home is Where the Heart Is – The Sounds (Crossing The Rubicon)
New York – Cat Power (Jukebox)
The Train Song – Vashti Bunyan (Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind: Singles and Demos 1964-1967 Disc 1)

Travelin Boy by Art Garfunkle…. could be your theme song…

Definitely Runnin’ Down a Dream, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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