Van Life Playlist

Hi friends!

So this wouldn’t be a proper travel blog if I didn’t share my top road trip songs, right? A few weeks ago I asked for song ideas on Instagram and since then I have done a bunch of research and listened to a ton of songs to find my top picks. I also found some great ideas from other awesome travel blogs (such as A Girl and Her VanThe Planet DWorld of Wanderlust, and Travel Fearlessly to name a few!)

Here is the list of my top five vanlife/roadtrip songs with a quick explanation and a sample of lyrics from each song. I have also included a list of honorable mentions that almost made the list. My criteria for choosing the songs were how much I enjoy listening to the song on the road and also how much the lyrics reflect my own personal vanlife adventures. I also tried to pick some less popular songs, since many of the lists I found had the same handful of popular songs over and over again. I hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment with any songs you think I missed!


  1. Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel

So I realize that this song is more about hitchhiking south down the east coast, rather than living in a van, but this song just has a road trip feel to it and always puts me in a great mood! Plus the lyrics about running away from the New England cold really hit close to home!

I’m running from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old time string band
My baby plays a guitar, I pick a banjo now
Oh, north country winters keep a-getting me and
I lost my money playing poker so I had to up and leave
But I ain’t turning back to living that old life no more



  1. Lord Huron – Ends of the Earth

Lord Huron has some of the best lyrics out there for travelers and nature lovers! I love this song so much and it is perfect for driving along back roads on a rainy, foggy day. As Steve and I travel around, we often talk about what it would have been like to explore these lands before everything was developed and commercialized, which is reflected in the lyrics of this song.

Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever
I’m gonna see where it leads
Oh, there’s a mountain that no man has mounted
I’m gonna stand on the peak
Out there’s a land that time don’t command
Wanna be the first to arrive
No time for ponderin’ why I’m-a wanderin’
Not while we’re both still alive
To the ends of the earth, would you follow me
There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see
To the ends of the earth, would you follow me
If you will have a say my goodbyes to me


  1. Dixie Chicks – The Long Way Around

While this song is clearly about three women driving around in an RV, the lyrics still ring true for our vanlife adventures. And while I don’t normally listen to country music, the tune of this song is perfect for driving long stretches of desert highways when the sun is shining bright. We love to take the long way around!

I hit the highway in a pink RV with stars on the ceiling
Lived like a gypsy
Six strong hands on the steering wheel
I’ve been a long time gone now
Maybe someday, someday I’m gonna settle down
But I’ve always found my way somehow
By taking the long way
Taking the long way around
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around



  1. Trampled by Turtles – School Bus Driver

I am a huge fan of Trampled by Turtles, and their bluegrass feel and singable tunes are perfect for a road trip! If you’ve never listened to TBT, I highly recommend the albums “Stars and Satellites” and “Palomino”. This song, from one of their earlier albums, has lyrics that really match our vanlife adventures (though a school bus sounds way more spacious than our van!).

Well I wanna be a school bus driver
And drive all over the world
And if you would like
Well you could ride with me
And we could live on the road
We’d cruise by the banks
Of rivers deep and wide
Never have to think
About space or time

We could have our home
Out up in the hills
Never have to pay
No dues or bills


  1. Keller Williams – Blazeabago 

This song is number one on my list because the lyrics are just so perfectly accurate for living on the road in a large van! I can’t tell you how many times we have been driving up steep mountain roads at our slow speed and have been passed, honked, and cursed at by angry drivers wanting to go faster. While we don’t “pop the top” in our van, we can just stop and sleep in the back of then van whenever we need to!

Top speed is 30 as we cruise the pass
Feelin’ kinda dirty as I see the bug wavin’ on the windshield glass
Angry mountain folk blow on by, flippin’ the bird
But I’m goin’ as fast as I can
Angry mountain folk blow on by with a mean word
We even get passed by a wild game herd
And the man says “Where do you come from, son?”
But I says “Right out back
Wherever I stop and pop the top, that’s where it’s at.”
Up and down, round and round
Back and forth, to and fro
You ask me where I come from son
I live in the blazeabago


Honorable mentions (some awesome road trip songs that didn’t make my top five list!)

  • Willie Nelson – On the Road Again
  • Johnny Cash – I’ve Been Everywhere
  • Tom Cochrane – Life is a Highway
  • John Denver – Take Me Home Country Roads
  • Bon Iver – Holocene
  • Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces
  • The Head and the Heart – Rivers and Roads
  • America – Horse With No Name
  • Mumford and Sons – Hopeless Wanderer
  • Steve Miller Band – Rock’n Me
  • Modest Mouse – Interstate 8
  • Eagles – Take It Easy
  • The Allman Brothers Band – Midnight Rider
  • The Lumineers – Sleep on the Floor
  • Cake – The Distance
  • Neil Young – Unknown Legend
  • Of Monsters and Men – From Finner


Thanks for reading and thanks to all of you who have given me suggestions! I’m sure I missed some amazing road trip songs, so feel free to leave more ideas in the comments here or on Instagram (@carrieoutdoors) and I can always edit this post to add new songs! Stay tuned for more adventures from Utah!

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