A lot of people like to travel around in the summer. Who knows why? It could be because summer break has finally started, saved-up vacation days are piling up or all the wonderful sunshine is finally getting to us. But whether you’re go by plane, train, automobile or even by foot, you’ll need some music in your head. So I’ve compiled some of my favorite songs about traveling, for your wanderlust enjoyment!
Before we start, I have to say that I do not endorse wearing insanely-high heels while traveling (like the lead photo might suggest). If you have to run for a flight or stand in line at a terminal, you will be totally miserable. Or you’ll fall and break your neck. It’s just not a good idea in general.
1. “The Inner Light” by The Beatles
This is definitely one of The Beatles’ lesser-known songs, and is also one of the few written by George Harrison (he’s also the main singer!). The band wrote it while in Mumbai, India, and it definitely carries that spirit of exploration.
2. “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon
I admit, this song has one of the weirdest music videos I’ve ever seen in my life (that’s Chevy Chase next to Simon). But this song tells a story about a man who is dissatisfied with his life, so he completely uproots from his home and starts fresh in a completely different setting. It has a great narrative, and the beat will definitely inspire a spontaneous dance party in any station you’re stuck in.
3. “Soul Man” by The Blues Brothers
Here’s something you don’t usually don’t think about when traveling: not all genres exist from country to country. When I was traveling throughout the UK earlier this year, I was going through jazz and blues withdrawals. There just wasn’t a culture of it like there is in America. So if you’re traveling to a different country this summer, bring along a song or two that really reminds you of home. This song is not only a blues song, but the lyrics are basically a promise that the singers are going to be the absolute best that they can be. Which is exactly the right attitude to have when traveling!
4. “Din Din Wo (Little Child)” by Habib Koite & Bamada
This song is originally sung in Bambara, a language commonly spoken in Mali (and to a lesser extent Senegal). The lyrics in English reveal that this song is one of reassurance. It’s sung to a little kid waiting for his mother, wondering when she’ll be back. It’s a nice song to play when you’re thinking of your family and friends back home, to send them some happy thoughts. Also, the rhythm is really great for going on long walks …
5. “I’m On My Way” by The Proclaimers
Okay, I take it back — this is the creepiest music video I’ve ever seen. But cheesy green screen effects aside, this song is a really awesome traveling theme. Hey, it was Shrek’s!
5. “Choo-Choo Ch’ Boogie” by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
Here’s a really old school song, from way back in 1946! But it’ll make you want to go on a train trip right now! It has lyrics like, “I love to hear the rhythm of the clickety-clack,” for Pete’s sake. Gotta love it.
6. “Leavin’ On A Jet Plane” by John Denver
This is definitely one of the more sad travel songs. But it definitely represents some of the conflicted feelings you can feel when you’re traveling somewhere new, away from everything you know so well. And again, it’s a lovely song to play when you’re thinking of someone you love and are apart from.
7. “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
According to WorldHum.com, the lead singer of U2 wrote the song after learning that in some streets in Northern Ireland, you can actually tell what religion someone was and how much money they had based on where they lived on a street. As an Irishman, he was fed up and wanted to address this through music. The result is an awesome song describing movement and discovery. And a music video that shows Bono without his signature glasses. That’s awesome in and of itself!
8. “The Long Road” by Eddie Vedder ft. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
9. “Slow Ride” by Foghat
The song anyone can headbang to. One of the best driving songs ever. And one of the easiest songs on Guitar Hero.
10. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” by Bob Dylan
Yes, the name implies that this song has nothing to do with travel. But it does! Kind of. The singer is waiting for someone to come home from traveling. Which makes it the perfect song to play at the end of your journey. Apparently there isn’t an original version of this song on the Internet, so this is a version performed by Glen Hasgard and Markéta Irglová (the main couple from the Irish film Once). This version was on the soundtrack of Dylan biopic I’m Not There, so I think it’s legit.
What songs do you like to listen to while traveling? Are any of these songs your favorite?