How to Make the Ultimate Road Trip Playlist


Being put in charge of curating the road trip playlist is one of the highest honors. Not just anyone is capable of weaving together old-school jams and Billboard hits, so basically the fate of the entire road trip rests in your hands. No pressure. If you want to create a playlist worthy of countless Snapchats, here’s how.

  • Incorporate a couple classics. Just because you’re a closeted Belieber doesn’t mean you can assume everyone in your car, is, too (even though they totally are). So try to maintain at least a minor facade of coolness by including a handful of classic songs in your playlist. Think “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Uptown Girl”—basically anything that came out before you were born and has a chorus that’s easy to sing along to.
  • Include that one song you never could understand. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj. “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors. What do all of these songs have in common? You scream them at the top of your lungs every time they come on the radio, and you also have no freaking clue what the words actually are. A road trip is the perfect time to finally figure out what Nicki is saying at the end of that second verse….or forget about it and make up your own words entirely. It’ll make for a good DIY Dubsmash either way.
  • Add indie jams. Don’t feel like you have to go totally mainstream, either. If there’s a local band that you’ve really been vibing on, they can fit into your playlist, too. Alt rock, folksy bluegrass, and emo love songs are all welcome here.
  • Mix in Katy Perry (or whoever has the hot single out right now). The art of crafting the perfect road trip playlist really comes down to this: you should feel like you’re listening to the radio, but, like, a radio in an alternate universe in which only songs worth singing to actually exist. That means you need to just take the plunge and include “Out of the Woods” or whatever nightmarishly perfect pop song is being overplayed on the radio right now.
  • Indulge your guilty pleasures. In a similar vein, don’t be embarrassed to highlight your favorite song of all time—even if it’s something impossibly embarrassing like Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive.” If you’re road-tripping with friends who can’t hang with a Riri throwback, it’s going to be a loooooong ride no matter what you’re playing.
  • …or give up and leave it to the experts. Maybe you only got stuck being the road DJ because everyone else is too lazy. You weren’t born for this job; it was thrust upon you. In this case, don’t embarrass yourself—leave it to the experts and download this playlist, curated by actual musicians, on Spotify or Apple Music.


33 Perfect Songs for Your Road Trip According to Musicians [Refinery 29]

How to Create the Ultimate Playlist for Your Next Road Trip [Huffpost Travel]

The 50 best road trip songs of all time [TimeOut]

  • April 5th, 2016
  • Posted in: AVA