5 Songs For Your Road Trip Playlist

There’s something I find awkward about driving and chatting at the same time, even if I enjoy giving friends lifts and picking up hitchhikers in New Zealand. After an hour or so, when my concentration shifts back to the road and I forget that I’m alone, my passengers’ attention inadvertently turns towards the road trip playlist.

Maybe they don’t complain about the music because it’s my car, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about my choice of music, which is usually alien to them. It’s usually the most – and only – memorable part of the trip after the scenery. The songs I listen to are not what one might consider mainstream, or the songs one thinks of when these singers are mentioned, so I thought I’d share a few picks from the five hours of (legally purchased) tunes on my iPod Shuffle.

Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over
Crowded House (1986)

Okay, this was mainstream many years ago, but it’s a must for any road trip in Australia or New Zealand, especially if you’ve seen the ‘Pure NZ’ TV ads. It’s even better when you’re driving through the pasture and the mountains under a blue sky.

Russian Red – Everyday Everynight
Fuerteventura (2011)

Perfect for any weather, even if it’s raining buckets outside, If that’s the case the lyrics are a subtle reminder to drive safely and not bin the car!

Amy Macdonald – Slow It Down
Life in a Beautiful Light (2012)

I met a couple of Germans in Wanaka who were busking their way around the country. For some reason the Scottish singer is really popular in German-speaking countries, so they knew ‘Mr Rock ‘n Roll’ when the playlist selected it. This more recent number is just as good to sing along to.

Little Boots – Motorway
Nocturnes (2013)

As a DJ, Little Boots knows how to create an atmosphere, and there are few better tunes than ‘Motorway’ to welcome nightfall on the open road.

The John Butler Trio – Ocean
John Butler (1998, re-released 2012)

You don’t need to be driving along the coast to leave your passengers awestruck by this instrumental.

[Bonus] Edvard Grieg – Morning Mood
Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Opus 46 (1876)

This is not a song. I have a soft spot for classical music and make no attempt to hide that. For maximum effect, play the first 2 minutes (as this flash mob did) as the morning sun rises, or just before your destination comes into view.