My top 15 travel songs

I’ll admit, I’m a music nut. Whether it’s on my daily bus rides around the city, a long flight across the country, or simply a workout at the gym, I’m dependent on my iPod and my love of music. I have a soundtrack to most things I do in my life, and I love getting to know people from learning about their music tastes.

For any of you who are as addicted to music as I am, I give to you my favorite travel playlist that inspires me to get up and go explore the world.

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Holocene” – Bon Iver

I listened to this song on repeat for a good chunk of my flight to Rome. Not only is the melody soothing when realizing that you’re flying halfway across the country not knowing a soul on the other end, but the lyrics centered around possessing humility are really what speak to me. Holding onto your humility is so important when traveling and discovering a different culture. To let go of judgements and the idea that one culture is better than the other. To be a traveler instead of a tourist.

Everything’s Magic” – Angels and Airwaves

“Just sit back and hold on, but hold on tight/ Prepare for the best and the fastest ride.” This song describes perfectly how I feel when I’m in a new place to explore. The excitement, possibilities, everything’s magic.

Big Jet Plane” – Angus & Julia Stone

“Gonna take you for a ride on a big jet plane.”

Plane“- Jason Mraz

“I’m leaving your town again/ And I’m over the ground that you’ve been spinning/ And I’m up in the air so baby hell yeah/ Well honey I can see your house from here.”

Clarity” – John Mayer

“By the time I recognize this moment, this moment will be gone/ But I will bend the light, pretend that it somehow lingered on.” The epitome of travel and the beautiful fleeting experiences that come with it.

Airplanes” – Local Natives

I adore this song for so many reasons. It reminds me of jetting off to follow your own dreams, and the sadness that sometimes comes with leaving parts of you behind.

California” – Phantom Planet

My go-to road tripping song, especially on my many trips of going back and forth between the Bay Area and San Diego. But even more than that, I love listening to this song while abroad because it reminds of where I come from and how much I love the place that I’ll eventually always come back to.

Young Blood” – The Naked and Famous

Maybe I associate this song with travel because the first time I heard it was when I was doing a pub crawl in Berlin, they blasted this whole CD while we were driving around the city. It not only reminds me of having ridiculously good nights abroad, but also the importance in doing as much as I can while I’m still young and able.

Land Locked Blues” – Bright Eyes

“I dreamed you were carried away on the crest of a wave.” Perfect song for those dreamy days spent imagining my next adventure.

The Girl” – City and Colour

“While I’m off chasing my own dreams sailing around the world/ Please know that I’m yours to keep my beautiful girl.” Besides the fact that his voice makes me incredibly happy, this song is one that I can relate to a lot while traveling. It’s hard to not leave someone or something behind when you decide to take off on your own and explore the world.

Drops in the River” – Fleet Foxes

Young today, old as a railroad tomorrow/ Days are just drops in the river to be lost always.” I always think of an epic journey whenever this song comes on. To not take any day for granted, or put off that trip that you’ve been wanting to take because who knows how much time we have. Actually, pretty much any song by Fleet Foxes is great for traveling.

Find My Way” – The Gabe Dixon Band

“Well it’s a long way I know/ And there’s no one way to go/ But it’s all gonna show in the end.”

Shine” – Laura Izibor

“Let the sun shine on your face/ don’t let your life go to waste.” Perfect song to give into what you really want to do with your life.

Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen

“I’m a shooting star leaping through the skies/ Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity.” Love this song.

Sweet Disposition” – The Temper Trap

A flood of good memories come back to me whenever I listen to this song. This has been the soundtrack to a lot of nighttime adventures, a lot of good times at home in San Diego and abroad.

What are the go-to songs you listen to while you travel?

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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