Music to make you travel

[photograph © Wylie Maercklein / The WideAngle]

Is there one piece of music that has the power to move you?  Not a song that’ll get your feet tapping or have you burning up the dance floor at cousin Jerry’s wedding. I’m talking music that drums its way into your bones, sings to your soul and has you running for the next bus or plane out of town. If there’s a song that has you needing to explore the world, you’ll know – it’s a powerful feeling.

We asked seven travel bloggers to share the music that inspires them to hit the road. Before you listen to the music that moves them, get your passport ready and pack your bags – we’ll meet you at the border.

PS We’d love to know what song gets you all fired up to travel, so please add a comment below. What song gives me itchy feet? Listen to it here.

Don’t Worry” – Playing For Change

When travelling, you learn for life the things you would have never have learned at school or work. You meet amazing people with fascinating stories. I believe you become a better person when you travel. –– Melvin Boecher / @traveldudes

Ramble On” – Led Zeppelin

Story of my life, man. I left Hawaii after a decade to find the queen of all my dreams, and here I am now. Landed in Morocco, missed the depths of Mordor, slipped by Gollum, and was going round the world – but found my girl and slipped away with her. –– Vago Damitio / @Vagobond

Going to Mexico” – The Steve Miller Band

Something about that opening riff and the sudden wailing chant – “Pack ma bags” sums up the spontaneity of a sudden roadtrip. No plans. Just hit the road. A battered red convertible rumbling south over hot Mexican tarmac. “’53 Studebaker goin’ for broke, pushin’ it night and day.” Call me shallow but – even if we are usually too grown-up to do it – there’s something irresistibly appealing about that reckless shucking off of all responsibilities. Just a note stuck to the fridge door: I’ve gone to Mexico. –– Mark Eveleigh / @Mark_Eveleigh

House of the Rising Sun” – The Animals

It was the summer of 1978 when I took my first road trip into France with 10 friends stacked into two cars. I had just started to play the guitar and the very first song I learned to play was “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. While it is not really a travelling song, I must have played it five million times during that trip and hearing it now, 34 years later, or playing it myself, always takes me back to my first real travel experience. –– Raf Kiss / @MotoToursBrazil

Easy” – The Commodores

Although this song chronicles leaving your lover, its overall connection to travel is about gaining freedom. Whenever I hear it, my spirit soars, I feel lighter and hopeful, just as I do prior to every plane, bus or boat that whisks me away to uncharted lands – physically or emotionally. The chorus drips with laid back, devil-may-care intentions, “I’m easy like Sunday morning…”  As travel should be. –– Jeannie Mark / @nomadicchick

Yellow River” – Christie

We like to travel by land wherever possible and quite often this involves either water transport or walking along a riverbank. Once this song gets into my head it’s there for days. I’m obviously too young to remember it when it first came out, but it’s one of those timeless classics that people will still be playing in another 50 years. With lyrics including “So pack my bags I’ll be on my way” and “tomorrow night you’ll find me sleeping underneath the moon”, it should be a recognised traveller’s anthem. –– Andy Jarosz / @501places

Yuhin Chala Chal Rahe” – Swades

I heard the song years ago and love the lyrics and free spirited nature of the traveller, the joy of exploring and being on the road. –– Rebecca Subbiah / @chowandchatter


  • nomadicchick says:

    Appreciate the inclusion with such varied musical tastes. Cheers!

  • It was a lot of fun listening to those tunes, and it’s interesting for me that a couple of them were from “my” generation (baby boomers). I’m surprised there was nothing more “modern”. I wonder why that was?

    By one of those weird, quirky coincidences at the time I logged on to read this my iPod was playing Billy Joel’s ” New York Frame of Mind”…..which is the one which always does it for me. I know it’s specific to one place, but I yearn to be there whenever I hear it.

    • mano@mano says:

      Beautiful that some songs are able to do that! Don’t usually listen to Jay-Z or Alicia Keys, but parts of their “Empire State of Mind” have me dreaming of visiting NYC. – Narina

  • rebecca says:

    fun post guys really enjoyed it 🙂

    • mano@mano says:

      Thanks for contributing Rebecca! A colleague leaves in two weeks for a six-month cycle around China, India and Tibet – she says your song has her longing to be in India already. – Narina

  • Great to get a chance to write with you all. I really enjoyed your inspiration…not that I needed too much. Bag already packed. haha.
    Your comment on Billy Joel got me thinking too Islandmomma – for sure he’s done a few ‘roadtrip’ ditties. ‘Why do I go to Extremes’ springs to mind: maybe, once again, more of a rebel song than a travel tune. Maybe the two things often go hand-in-hand. Something in me would like to think so…
    Hope we get to write together again sometime soon.

  • Julia says:

    I’ma have to add “Pura Vida,” by Braddigan, and “Indiasong” by India.Arie!

  • Hilary says:

    Fantastic toons!!

  • Erik Deckers says:

    On a warm spring night, play Dave Brubeck’s “Take 6” while you’re driving at night with the top down or the windows down. It’s loud with the wind blowing, so you have to turn it up. And the saxophone sounds bouncy, but a little mysterious, so you have to drive at night, on a long, quiet highway.

    Nothing makes me want to get in my car and drive at night more than “Take 6.” To me, it’s the ultimate relaxed driving song. On more than one occasion, I have gone for a night drive by myself, just so I could experience this feeling once more.

    • Nothing like a long night drive with the window open to stop you getting drowsy and the music turned up so loud that you’ve lost your breath by the time you arrive. So loud in fact that you weren’t even aware you were singing.
      NB: It’s cool on an open, deserted highway. Not so cool in the High Street. Got that, kids…? 😉

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