Travel Tips

The Ultimate Travel Playlist: 100 Best Travel Songs (with Lyrics and Videos)

Katie Hammel

Katie Hammel

July 18, 2023

10 min read

Table of Contents

Music has the power to transport us, change our moods, and conjure memories. And, for many travelers, music is closely linked to travel. It can helps us understand the people and culture of a place, break down language barriers, and sear certain moments into our memories forever.

With help from members of our Travel Community and Going staff, we've created the ultimate travel playlist of 100 travel songs. Some reference specific places, others showcase the musical talent of a specific country, and others simply celebrate the joy of exploration.

Here, in no particular order, are 100 of our favorite travel songs.

56 songs that reference specific places in the title or lyrics

Sure, some of these songs, such Paris by the Chainsmokers or Toto’s Africa, actually have little to do with the specific place; it’s just used as the title or the setting for the story. But others not only reference a country or city, they also evoke a specific sense of that particular place or tell a story about that destination.

For example, in Marrakech Express, Crosby, Stills & Nash recount scenes from a train ride Nash actually took in 1966. In London Calling, the Clash sing about the social issues facing London in the late 70s. In Walking in Memphis, Marc Cohn croons about his experience wandering the city. And Simon & Garfunkel's America was inspired by a road trip that Paul Simon took with his girlfriend.

Here are some of our favorite songs that mention a specific city or country, and a snippet of the lyrics.

Listen when: you're on a $388 flight to Vienna, or a $671 flight to Johannesburg, or a $353 flight to Paris, or...

1. Kathmandu – Bob Seger

I think I'm going to Katmandu

That's really, really where I'm going to

If I ever get out of here

That's what I'm gonna do

I know my plane is due

The one that's going to Katmandu

Up to the mountain's where I'm going to

If I ever get out of here

That's what I'm gonna do

K-k-k-k-k-k Kathmandu

2. One Night in Bangkok – Murray Head

One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster

The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free

You'll find a god in every golden cloister

A little flesh, a little history

I can feel an angel sliding up to me

3. I've Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash

I've been everywhere, man

I've been everywhere, man

Crossed the deserts bare, man

I've breathed the mountain air, man

Travel, I've had my share, man

I've been everywhere

I've been to








4. Africa – Toto

The wild dogs cry out in the night

As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company

I know that I must do what's right

As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you

There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

I bless the rains down in Africa

Gonna take some time to do the things we never have

Bonus: Check out the 2018 cover by Weezer and this awesome 2016 video from Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard.

5. Marrakech Express – Crosby, Stills & Nash

Take the train from Casablanca going south

Blowing smoke rings from the corners of my my, my, my, my mouth

Colored cottons hang in air

Charming cobras in the square

Striped jellabas we can wear at home

Don't you know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express

6. Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – Shakira

Today's your day

I feel it

You paved the way

Believe it

If you get down get up oh oh

When you get down get up eh eh

Tsamina mina zangalewa

This time for Africa

7. San Francisco – Scott McKenzie

If you're going to San Francisco

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

If you're going to San Francisco

You're gonna meet some gentle people there

8. London Calling – The Clash

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in

Engines stop running, the wheat is growin' thin

A nuclear era, but I have no fear

'Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

9. Galway Girl – Ed Sheeran

You know, she played the fiddle in an Irish band

But she fell in love with an Englishman

Kissed her on the neck and then I took her by the hand

Said, "Baby, I just wanna dance"

With my pretty little Galway girl

You're my pretty little Galway girl

10. Istanbul (Not Constantinople) – They Might Be Giants

Every gal in Constantinople

Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople

So if you've a date in Constantinople

She'll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam

Why they changed it I can't say

People just liked it better that way

11. Ramblin’ Man – the Allman Brothers Band

I'm on my way to New Orleans this mornin'

I'm leavin' out of Nashville, Tennessee

They're always having a good time down on the bayou

Lord, them Delta women think the world of me

Lord, I was born a ramblin' man

Tryin' to make a livin' and doin' the best I can

And when it's time for leavin'

I hope you'll understand

That I was born a ramblin' man

12. Aux Champs-Élysées – Joe Dassin

Aux Champs-Elysées, aux Champs-Elysées

Au soleil, sous la pluie, à midi ou à minuit

Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Elysées

In English:

Champs-Elysees, Champs-Elysees
In the sun, in the rain, at noon or midnight
There is everything you want on the Champs-Elysées

13. Lovers in Japan – Coldplay

Tonight, maybe we're gonna run

Dreamin' of the Osaka sun

Ohh, ohh, ohhh

Dreamin' of when the morning comes

14. Barcelona – George Ezra

Every time you have to go

Shut my eyes and you know

I’ll be lying right by your side

In Barcelona

15. April in Paris – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

I never knew the charm of spring

I never met it face to face

I never knew my heart could sing

I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom

Holiday tables under the trees

April in Paris, this is a feeling

16. Blue Hawaii – Elvis Presley

Come with me

While the moon is on the sea

The night is young

And so are we, so are we

Dreams come true

In blue Hawaii

17. Back in the U.S.S.R. – The Beatles

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out

They leave the West behind

And Moscow girls make me sing and shout

That Georgia's always on my mind

Aw come on!

Yeah I'm back in the U.S.S.R.

You don't know how lucky you are boys

Back in the U.S.S.R.

18. Rio – Netsky featuring Macklemore

It’s the “Rio” remix, you should see us

Swimming in the ocean like the pool is hella heated

Expedited Visa and I’m posted with my feet up

Parasailing over beaches, got my girl from Ipanema

19. Barcelona – Ed Sheeran

And you and I we're flying on an airplane tonight

We're going somewhere where the sun is shining bright

Just close your eyes

And let's pretend we're dancing in the street

In Barcelona


20. Havana – Camila Cabello

Havana, ooh na-na

Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh na-na

He took me back to East Atlanta, na-na-na, ah

Oh, but my heart is in Havana

21. In America – Neil Diamond

Everywhere around the world

They're coming to America

Every time that flag's unfurled

They're coming to America

Got a dream to take them there

They're coming to America

Got a dream they've come to share

They're coming to America

22. Tennessee – Arrested Development

They tell me my ears are so young

Go back, from whence you came

My family tree, my family name

For some strange reason it had to be

He guided me to Tennessee

Take me to another place, take me to another land

Make me forget all that hurts me, let me understand your plan

23. Paris – The Chainsmokers

We were staying in Paris

To get away from your parents

You look so proud

Standing there with a frown and a cigarette

Posting pictures of yourself on the internet

24. Graceland – Paul Simon

The Mississippi Delta was shining

Like a National guitar

I am following the river

Down the highway

Through the cradle of the civil war

I'm going to Graceland

25. Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor

In my mind I'm gone to Carolina

Can't you see the sunshine?

Can't you just feel the moonshine?

And, ain't it just like a friend of mine

To hit me from behind?

Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

26. New York State of Mind – Billy Joel

Some folks like to get away

Take a holiday from the neighborhood

Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood

But I'm takin' a Greyhound on the Hudson River line

I'm in a New York state of mind

27. Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn

Saw the ghost of Elvis

On Union Avenue

Followed him up to the gates of Graceland

Then I watched him walk right through

Now security they did not see him

They just hovered 'round his tomb

But there's a pretty little thing

Waiting for the King

Down in the Jungle Room

When I was walking in Memphis

I was walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale

Walking in Memphis

But do I really feel the way I feel?

28. America – Simon & Garfunkel

Cathy, I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh

Michigan seems like a dream to me now

It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw

I've gone to look for America

29. Mexico – James Taylor

Way down here you need a reason to move

Feel a fool running your stateside games

Lose your load, leave your mind behind Baby Jane

Oh, Mexico

It sounds so simple I just got to go

The sun's so hot I forgot to go home

Guess I'll have to go now

30. California – Phantom Planet

Hustlers grab your guns

Your shadow weighs a ton

Driving down the 101

California here we come

Right back where we started from

California, here we come.

31. Chicago – Sufjan Stevens

I fell in love again

All things go, all things go

Drove to Chicago

All things know, all things know

32. Kokomo – The Beach Boys

Off the Florida Keys, there's a place called Kokomo

That's where you want to go to get away from it all

Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand

We'll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band

Down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to

Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama

Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go

down to Kokomo, we'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow

That's where we want to go, way down in Kokomo

33. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sweet home Alabama

Where the skies are so blue

Sweet home Alabama

Lord, I'm coming home to you

34. Vertigo – FM Belfast

We are going far away

We are going far away

We are going far away

From Utah

Don't you look down

Don't you look down

You are high above ground

We are driving with our friends

We are driving to a faraway place

35. California Love – Tupac and Dr. Dre

Say what you say, but give me that bomb beat from Dre

Let me serenade the streets of L.A

From Oakland to Sacktown

The Bay Area and back down

Cali is where they put they mack down give me love!

California, knows how to party

California, knows how to party

In the city of L.A.

In the city of good ol' Watts

In the city, the city of Compton

We keep it rocking

36. Malibu – Miley Cyrus

But here I am

Next to you

The sky is so blue

In Malibu

Next to you

In Malibu

Next to you

37. Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight and the Pips

He's leaving

On that midnight train to Georgia

And he's goin' back

To a simpler place and time

And I’ll be with him

On that midnight train to Georgia

I'd rather live in his world

Than live without him in mine

38. California Dreaming – The Mamas and the Papas

All the leaves are brown

And the sky is grey

I've been for a walk

On a winter's day

I'd be safe and warm

If I was in L.A.

California dreamin'

On such a winter's day

39. New York Groove – Ace Frehley

Many years since I was here

On the street I was passin' my time away

To the left and to the right,

Buildings towering to the sky

It's outta sight in the dead of night

Here I am, and in this city, with a fistful of dollars

And baby, you'd better believe

I'm back, back in the New York groove

40. Miami – Will Smith

Party in the city where the heat is on

All night, on the beach till the break of dawn

Welcome to Miami

Bienvenidos a Miami

Bouncin' in the club where the heat is on

All night, on the beach till the break of dawn

I'm goin’ to Miami

Welcome to Miami

41. Vienna – Ultravox

The music is weaving

Haunting notes, pizzicato strings

The rhythm is calling

Alone in the night as the daylight brings

A cool empty silence

The warmth of your hand and a cold grey sky

It fades to the distance

The image has gone only you and I

It means nothing to me

This means nothing to me

Oh, Vienna

42. Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley

Bright light city gonna set my soul

Gonna set my soul on fire

Got a whole lot of money that's ready to burn

So get those stakes up higher

There's a thousand pretty women waitin' out there

And they're all livin' devil may care

And I'm just the devil with love to spare

Viva Las Vegas, viva Las Vegas

43. Rocky Road to Dublin – The Irish Descendants

Well in Dublin next arrived, I thought it'd be a pity

To be so soon deprived a view of that fine city

So then I took a stroll down among the quality

Me bundle it was stolen in a neat locality

Something crossed me mind, then I looked behind

No bundle could I find upon me stick a-wobblin'

Inquiring for the rogue, said me connaught brogue wasn't much in vogue

On the rocky road to Dublin

44. Beverly Hills – Weezer

Beverly Hills

That's where I want to be (gimme, gimme)

Livin' in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

Rollin' like a celebrity (gimme, gimme)

Livin' in Beverly Hills

45. Surfin' USA – The Beach Boys

Haggerties and Swamies

Pacific Palisades

San Anofree and Sunset

Redondo Beach L. A.

All over La Jolla

At Waimea Bay

Everybody's gone surfin'

Surfin' U.S. A.

46. I'm Shipping Up To Boston – Dropkick Murphys

I'm a sailor peg

And I've lost my leg

Climbing up the top sails

I've lost my leg!

I'm shipping up to Boston, whoa

I'm shipping up to Boston, whoa

I'm shipping up to Boston, whoa

I'm shipping off to find my wooden leg

47. Hello Seattle – Owl City

Hello Seattle, I am a manta ray

Deep beneath the blue waves

I'll crawl the sandy bottom of Puget Sound

And construct my summer home

48. God Blessed Texas – Little Texas

God blessed Texas

With His own hand

Brought down angels from the promised land

Gave 'em a place where they could dance

If you want to see heaven, brother, here's you chance

I've been sent to spread the message

God blessed Texas

49. Taj Mahal – Sam Roberts Band

Sitting with you on the banks of the Ganges

Stealing a kiss on the streets of Bombay

Caressing your hair like the wind through the palm trees

I never dreamed that anyone could take you away

Keep on keep on keep on singing

Taj Mahal

I'm building a beautiful statue

To make sure that no one forgets you

50. Alaska – Maggie Rogers

I was walking through icy streams

That took my breath away

Moving slowly through westward water

Over glacial plains

And I walked off you

And I walked off an old me

Oh me, oh my, I thought it was a dream

So it seemed

51. Miles from Minnesota – The Lower 48

Yes next year we'll go traveling

Our escapades so baffling

Our sovereign love returning to the sea

We'll be miles from Minnesota then

Writing letters we won't send

For no words shall contain what will be

Well your sweet voice and my rough hands

When darkness prowls we will dance

Through bluffs and fields and orchards with the moon

Yes next year we will leave this place summer's kiss is just a taste

Fall's warm embrace is coming to us soon

Oh! We've got everywhere to go

You should sleep, I'll see you in the morning

52. Take Me Home Country Roads – John Denver

Almost heaven, West Virginia

Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River

Life is old there, older than the trees

Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze

Country roads, take me home

To the place I belong

West Virginia, mountain mama

Take me home, country roads

53. Miles Away – The Maine

I took a trip up the west coast


Was searching for a temp so low

And a summer high

The Sun swayed and set slow

Made waves with some friends I know

Got lost in the ebb and flow

Of the drifting tide

(And I)

I didn't ever want to come down

From that west coast rush and summer high

And easy, peaceful sense of time

54. Brazil – Declan McKenna

I wanna play the beautiful game while I'm in Brazil

'Cause everybody plays the beautiful game while out in Brazil

'Cause it's all you've ever wanted, and it's all that you want still

Don't you wanna play the beautiful game out in Brazil?

55. Under African Skies – Paul Simon

Joseph's face was as black as the night

And the pale yellow moon shone in his eyes

His path was marked

By the stars in the Southern Hemisphere

And he walked the length of his days

Under African skies

56. Take It Easy – The Eagles

Well I'm a standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

Such a fine sight to see

It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed

Ford slowin' down to take a look at me

Come on baby

Don't say maybe

I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me

We may lose and we may win

Though we will never be here again

So open up, I'm climbin' in

Take it easy

26 awesome international songs

A song’s title or lyrics don’t need to explicitly mention a specific place; sometimes it's the artist, the melody, the language, or simply the emotion of the song that ties it in our memories to a place we love.

Whether it’s the sultry sounds of Gotan Project’s Amor Porteno taking us back to a tango club in Buenos Aires, or the ethereal sounds of Hoppípolla from Sigur Rós transporting us to the otherworldly landscapes of Iceland, these international songs make us think of the places they are from or written about.

Listen when: you're on your cheap flight to Iceland, or packing for your trip to Seoul, or strolling the streets of Paris, or driving the backroads of Scotland, or...

57. The Last – Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

58. Let the Music Play – Shamur

59. La Vie En Rose – Edith Piaf

60. Gangnam Style – Psy

61. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin

62. Money (That's What I Want) – Cheryl K

63. Royals – Lorde

64. Rewrite – Asian Kung Fu Generation

65. Redemption Song – Bob Marley

66. Dreams – The Cranberries

67. Little Busters – The Pillows

68. Jai Ho – A.R. Rahman

69. Counting Stars – Nujabes

70. I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) – The Proclaimers

71. Sni Bong Dengue Fever

72. Jungle Drum – Emiliana Torrini

73. On and On – VIXX

74. Beds are Burning – Midnight Oil

75. Amor Porteño – Gotan Project

76. Dui bu Qi – Transition

77. Sirocco – Ulrich Schnauss and Jonas Munk

78. Mi Gente – J Balvin

79. Hoppípolla – Sigur Rós

80. Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

81. Land Down Under – Men at Work

82. Guantanamera – Celia Cruz

18 great songs about travel and wanderlust

Finally, the last songs on the list are those that inspire us to get out and see the world, that commiserate with those us of suffering from the travel bug, and that celebrate the beauty of a life less ordinary.

Listen when: you're suffering from an acute case of wanderlust or dreaming of your next great adventure.

83. Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf

Get your motor runnin'

Head out on the highway

Lookin' for adventure

And whatever comes our way

Yeah Darlin' go make it happen

Take the world in a love embrace

Fire all of your guns at once

And explode into space

84. Roam – The B52s

Roam if you want to

Roam around the world

Roam if you want to

Without wings, without wheels

Roam if you want to

Roam around the world

Roam if you want to

Without anything but the love we feel

85. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For – U2

I have climbed the highest mountains

I have run through the fields

Only to be with you

Only to be with you

I have run, I have crawled

I have scaled these city walls

These city walls

Only to be with you

But I still haven't found

What I'm looking for

86. Come Fly with Me – Frank Sinatra

Come fly with me, we'll fly, we'll fly away

If you can use some exotic booze

There's a bar in far Bombay

Come on fly with me, we'll fly, we'll fly away

87. On the Road Again – Willie Nelson

On the road again

Goin' places that I've never been

Seein' things that I may never see again

And I can't wait to get on the road again

88. Road to Nowhere – Talking Heads

We're on a road to nowhere

Come on inside

Taking that ride to nowhere

We'll take that ride

I'm feeling okay this morning

And you know

We're on the road to paradise

Here we go, here we go

89. Life is a Highway – Tom Cochran

Life's like a road that you travel on

When there's one day here and the next day gone

Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand

Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

There's a world outside every darkened door

Where blues won't haunt you anymore

Where the brave are free and lovers soar

Come ride with me to the distant shore

We won't hesitate, break down the garden gate

There's not much time left today

90. When I’m Gone (Cups Song) – Anna Kendrick

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ‘round

The one with the prettiest of views

It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers, it’s got sights to give you shivers

But it sure would be prettier with you

When I’m gone

When I’m gone

You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

You’re gonna miss me by my walk

You’re gonna miss me by my talk, oh

You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

91. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

Someday girl I don't know when

We're gonna get to that place

Where we really wanna go

And we'll walk in the sun

But till then tramps like us

Baby we were born to run

92. Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root

Well, I would like to hold my little hand

And we will run, we will, we will crawl, we will

I would like to hold my little hand

And we will run, we will, we will crawl

Send me on my way (on my way)

93. Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett

I blew out my flip flop

Stepped on a pop top

Cut my heel had to cruise on back home

But there's booze in the blender

And soon it will render

That frozen concoction that helps me hang on

Wastin' away again in Margaritaville

Searchin' for my lost shaker of salt

Some people claim that there's a woman to blame

But I know it's my own damn fault

94. Moon River – Audrey Hepburn

Two drifters, off to see the world

There's such a lot of world to see

We're after the same rainbow's end, waitin' 'round the bend

My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me

95. Leaving on a Jet Plane – Peter Paul, and Mary

My bags are packed

I'm ready to go

I'm standing here outside your door

I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

But the dawn is breakin'

It's early morn

The taxi's waitin'

He's blowin' his horn

Already I'm so lonesome

I could cry

So kiss me and smile for me

Tell me that you'll wait for me

Hold me like you'll never let me go

I'm leavin' on a jet plane

I Don't know when I'll be back again

Oh, babe, I hate to go

96. The Passenger – Iggy Pop

I am a passenger

And I ride and I ride

I ride through the city's backside

I see the stars come out of the sky

Yeah, they're bright in a hollow sky

You know it looks so good tonight

I am a passenger

I stay under glass

I look through my window so bright

I see the stars come out tonight

I see the bright and hollow sky

Over the city's ripped-back sky

And everything looks good tonight

97. Vacation – The Go-Go's


All I ever wanted


Had to get away


Meant to be spent alone

98. Homeward Bound – Simon & Garfunkel

Every day's an endless stream

Of cigarettes and magazines

And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories

And every stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be

Homeward bound

I wish I was

Homeward bound

Home where my thought's escaping

Home where my music's playing

Home where my love lies waiting

Silently for me

99. No Roots – Alice Merton

I like standing still, but that's just a wishful plan

Ask me where I come from, I'll say a different land

But I've got memories and travel like gypsies in the night

I count gates and numbers, then play the guessing game

It's just the place that changes, the rest is still the same

But I've got memories and travel like gypsies in the night

And a thousand times I've seen this road

A thousand times

I've got no roots, but my home was never on the ground

100. Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz

I want to get away

I want to fly away

Yeah, yeah, yeah

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Katie Hammel

Going's former Director of Content Marketing, Katie is an award-winning content marketer and freelance travel writer. She has been to 30+ countries, prefers markets to museums, and dreams of one day living in a small cabin by the sea in Iceland. Originally from Detroit, she lived in Seattle and Chicago before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two cats.

Published July 18, 2023

Last updated December 28, 2023

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