Best road trip songs: all the tunes you need to bring on your next adventure

When you’re traveling on a road trip, there’s not always a ton of stuff to do - well, besides keep your eye on the road. Not only does a great playlist keep you entertained, but it can help keep you attention where it should be, which is more important than ever when you’re driving.

But when you’re on the road you can’t just listen to any old song - some songs lend themselves a whole lot better to road trips than others. These songs, which have proved themselves time and time again with their infectious melodies, blood-pumping guitar riffs, or skull-rattling drum beats are the best way to get your adrenaline pumping and your energy up long after you turned the key. 

Without further ado, here are the 10 best road trip songs of all time. 

10. Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros 

Home may be a love song ... but it’s also about coming home, as the title suggests. Probably best left until your return trip than as the first song on the list, Home blends an upbeat verse with a catchy hook in the chorus that will leave you unable to wait until you get back to your significant other, cat, or even just your own bed. 

9. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers 

Decidedly older than Home, I’m Gonna Be, commonly known simply as 500 Miles, is a classic road trip song - so much so, in fact, that it got a starring role in How I Met Your Mother for that exact purpose. 

Why is it such a great choice? Largely because if you don’t already know the words to sing along, you’ll quickly figure them out and you’ll soon start singing along. I’m Gonna Be is repetitive, simple, and perfect for long road trips ... you know, if it doesn't drive you crazy first.  

8. Don’t Stop Believin’ - Journey 

Don’t Stop Believin’ is an anthem for the ages - one of those classic songs that’s found just as much success in recent times as it did when it was first released by Journey in 1981. The entire song builds to the chorus towards the end of the song, but once you finally get there you’ll realize why this is such a classic tune.  

7. Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane 

One of two songs on this list with “highway” in the title, Tom Cochrane’s Life is a Highway is simply a catchy song. Sure, you may not know the words to the verses, but once you hit that chorus you’ll have enough energy to keep driving ... wait for it ... all night long. 

6. Sweet Child O’ Mine - Guns N’ Roses 

Rock fans probably don’t need a reminder to add this song to any playlist, but in case you forgot about it Sweet Child O’ Mine blends a super catchy hook in the chorus with spectacular guitar riffs that make it obvious why Guns N’ Roses are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  

5. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd 

It doesn’t really matter if you’re from Alabama or not, Sweet Home Alabama is a song that people from any state, country or continent can enjoy. Lynyrd Skynyrd's ode to 'Bama may be more Southern Rock than some like, but that doesn’t change the fact that it boasts one of the most recognizable guitar hooks of all time and a chorus that sticks with you for an entire car ride. 

4. Born to be Wild - Steppenwolf 

This rock classic is perfect for those going somewhere they normally wouldn’t go. Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild blends a fast paced verse awash with driving references, with a chorus that’ll get your blood pumping and your heart racing. 

3. Highway to Hell - AC/DC 

On your road trip you’ll probably hit a few highways ... just hopefully not the one in this song. Highway To Hell, which was one of the final songs recorded with legendary original AC/DC singer Bon Scott, has that classic rock vibe to it. The guitar riffs at the start are immediately recognizable, as is the chorus - and whether you’re driving somewhere you should be going or somewhere you shouldn't, you’ll have a hard time resisting belting this tune. 

 2. No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn - Beastie Boys 

Often on road trips, sleep takes back seat to simply going where you need to be going. That’s kind of the vibe the Beastie Boys have going in one of their debut hits, No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn. (Pro tip: We recommend actually sleeping in between driving so that you’re nice and alert on the road.) 

1. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen 

There could be no one else to perfectly round out this list than the boss himself. Born To Run is one of Bruce Springsteen’s most instantly recognizable songs, thanks to its melodic verse and high-energy chorus. Just when you think the song couldn’t get more energetic, the song re-emerges from a cacophony of instruments and launches into the anthem of the ages. Beware, though: if you’re listening to Born To Run on the road, you’ll want to keep a close eye on that speedometer - it can be a bit easy to lose track of how fast you're going when you're listening to something with this much energy behind it. 

TechRadar’s The Road to the Show 2018 sees our intrepid writers braving a cross-country trip across the US, using the best gadgets to bring you their daily travel blog and offering the best tips for a tech-based roadtrip. The journey is brought to you in association with ZTE and the ZTE Axon M, with car transportation provided by Genesis.  

Christian is a writer who's covered technology for many years, for sites including Tom's Guide, Android Central, iMore, CNN, Business Insider and BGR, as well as TechRadar.