Designer Daddy’s Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

KIA Road Trip Playlist

Road trips were a big part of my childhood. As a military family, that meant lots of visits to grandparents and cousins each summer and Christmas. Most of these trips were taken in the family van (this was pre-minivan, folks). It was a glorious every-shade-of-brown, tricked out with a movable table, back seat that folded into a bed, and wall-to-ceiling velour. And as the oldest kid, I had the best seat — the captain’s chair behind the driver; feet propped up in the tinted windowsill; plugged into my Walkman as I watched the world whiz by.

College road trips consisted of driving the 787 miles from Waco to my parents in Colorado Springs. It was equal parts breathtaking and mind-numbing, but with the right music (and lots of Dr. Pepper), the trip went by in no time.

Nowadays our expeditions are usually to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Yet music is still an essential part of our travels — whether it’s to entertain a fidgeting second grader or keep Papa awake during I-95 traffic.

In a couple of weeks I’m heading to San Diego for the ultimate music-filled road trip — an adventure sponsored by Kia Motors! I and a bunch of other parent bloggers are being treated to a full-emersion experience in all things Kia… centered around a rock-and-roll theme! I’ve already got a few concert tees picked out for the live band karaoke; I can’t wait to play rock star for a night with my fellow overworked, hyped-up, reliving-their-childhood moms and dads! We’re also going to be tooling along San Diego’s picturesque coastline, test-driving various Kia models… including the all-new Kia Stinger GT. SWEET, as the kids say.

So yeah, this trip needs a pretty epic soundtrack. Below is my ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP PLAYLIST, which I plan on blasting from my (hopefully) red Stinger. And also on the plane ride there… and in my Uber from the airport… and as I fall asleep in the hotel… Oh god, I’m so ready for this.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


I tried to not include too many oh-so-obvious choices and as much musical variety as I could muster. Most song titles link to a video, or check out the full mix (PLUS BOUNS TRACKS!) on Spotify.

1. CARS / Gary Numan
The coolest song about cars, ever.

2. LET’S GO / The Cars
The Cars have several car-related songs (natch), the most famous of which is “Drive.” While I do love that song, it doesn’t feel as “road trippy” as this pick.

Cake is a favorite of mine and my husband, and this tune always makes me think fondly of the carefree (AKA childfree) trips we took early in our relationship.

4. FREEWAY OF LOVE / Aretha Franklin
Classic convertible song. Also beloved by Mary Kay reps.

While “Rollin’ With My Homies” is another fine choice, it’s not nearly as speaker-thumping as this one.

Okay, maybe THIS is the coolest car song ever. It’s certainly the sexiest.

7. SHUT UP AND DRIVE / Rihanna
No, YOU shut up.

8. DAY TRIPPER / The Beatles
Beat out “Drive My Car” by a nose.

9. ROUTE 66 / Depeche Mode

10. I LEFT MY WALLET IN EL SEGUNDO / A Tribe Called Quest
A cross-country drive ends in a conveniently forgotten wallet, providing an excuse to get back on the road. A chill, quintessential cruising song.

Sorry “Take It Easy” fans, this one rocks harder and is less overplayed.

12. CARTROUBLE / Adam & the Ants
Playing this one on a road trip might be testing karma, but it’s too kickass not to include.

13. CAR SONG / Elastica
Apparently about having sex in a car. Not the only one on this list…

14. SLOW RIDE / Foghat
There was a bumper crop of car/road trip songs in the 1970s. This is the grooviest best.

15. PULL UP TO THE BUMPER / Grace Jones
Not really about cars. 😉

16. MIDDLE OF THE ROAD / The Pretenders

17. GUITARS, CADILLACS / Dwight Yoakam
Country road music, Southern California style.

18. HIT THE ROAD JACK / Ray Charles
Being kicked to the curb never sounded so soulful.

19. MERCEDES BENZ / Janis Joplin
“It’s the want of something that gives you the blues. It’s not what isn’t, it’s what you wish was that makes unhappiness.” – Janis Joplin

20. RIDE / The Vines
21. DEVIL IN MY CAR / The B-52’s
I considered “Roam” or “Love Shack,” but old school B-52’s holds a weird, sinister place in my heart.

22. SEVEN BRIDGES ROAD / Dolly Parton
Originally written by Steve Young, made famous by The Eagles, and recorded by a truckload of other artists. Dolly’s perfectly-harmonized bluegrass version is sheer country road trip heaven.

23. LONG ROAD TO RUIN / Foo Fighters
Epic song. Epically hilarious video.

You can never have enough Cake. Always gets my motor revving and the volume up to 11.

25. I’VE BEEN EVERYWHERE / Johnny Cash
The Man in Black, roaming the countryside. How many of these have you visited?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Warning, this list is not particularly family-friendly. For a more kid-safe playlist, try this one.

Check back in a few weeks for my follow up on the trip. And if you’ve got a favorite road trip song, leave it in the comments. I’m always looking to expand my musical horizons!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.