That One Travel Song

Updated October 29, 2015
This post may contain affiliate links that I earn a small commission from at no cost to you. Please see my disclosure page for information.

That One Travel Song Music

I have a favourite travel song I’ve never shared with anyone.

It started with my 21st birthday party when I collated a playlist of songs from the year I was born. Some are classics but others were new to me, with that year not being one I remember terribly well…

Disastrously at my party I fell ill and the second half of the night my pillow kept me company while I listened to my friends party on to my playlist without me.

In the months that followed, with hours of law study to slog through I often listened to that playlist, and a year plus relationship break up later one of those songs began to be my backup song. A pick-me-up. The song I listened to when I needed a boost, the one that lifted my spirits and helped me think I was on some sort of “meant to be” path.

My fight song, if you will.

I started listening to it every time I headed somewhere new, or faced a challenge. When I moved to Canada on a study abroad, and after a summer of travel returned to New Zealand unsure of what I was supposed to do with actual adult life. On the flight to the Gold Coast, kickstarting my journey towards the United Kingdom on a working holiday visa. I was still thrashing the song after one of the best adventures of my life backpacking through South East Asia, and travelling on to Edinburgh.

Especially when I had to leave the UK because my visa ended and I ran out of money.

I suppose you get the idea that this song featured regularly on the “Soundtrack of Sonja’s Life”, if such a thing existed, and particularly in the travel song category.

Travel provides a lot of chances to listen to music. Think airports, planes, buses, trains, and road trips. It’s also a step outside the normal zone of life, where experiences can be both exhilarating and challenging.

I think we all have those songs that instantly transport us back to a different time or place, especially a travel adventure, or remind us of someone we once met. It’s a great quirk of our senses and and one of my favourite ways to remember trips I’ve taken. Years later a song will trigger a travel memory so strong it’s like it only just happened today.

Seven years on and I think this one song is here to stay. I can obsess over other – usually more current – songs, but this is my one consistent travel song. It comes with me on almost every trip, and is especially awesome as a loud car sing-a-long.


Here I Go Again On My Own – Whitesnake.

I am an 80s baby afterall! Get past the slow beginning and it gets awesome…I swear… (Click through if it won’t let you play here).

“Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known…”

I have other songs:

Living on a Prayer, Bon Jovi – A humid Kansas night, not long before I left

500 Miles, The Proclaimers – A winter road trip around Vancouver Island

Gangam Style, Psy & Call Me Maybe, Carly Rae Jepson – Backpacking South East Asia (also special mention to Hangover, Tiao Cruz“I got a Chiangover”…)

Don’t You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds – My first overseas trip from the UK, to Ireland

Can’t Hold Us, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Hanging out the windows of a limo driving through Times Square, New York.

Hotel California – Breaking out spontaneously into song in the back of a cab in Vietnam, on our way to motorbiking through the Central Highlands. No clue what we were in for.

But Here I Go Again On My Own, Whitesnake… that’s my one travel song.

Do you have a travel song like this? Or a song that transports you to a certain time and place? Share below!

Sonja x

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Cora October 30, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Wouah the good part just kicked in, that’s a good one !
    That’s a beautiful post, it’s true that sounds and smells can sometimes trigger memories and just send us back there in every way that matters.
    Myself I’m just putting the entire Hairspray soundtrack when I need a boost, also works better than coffee when you need to keep working even though you just want to sleep !

    • Reply Migrating Miss October 30, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Haha I love when it really ramps up! Definitely play it loud in the car with the windows down…
      Thanks I’m glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 I absolutely love when a random song comes on the radio or pops up on shuffle that takes me back to an awesome travel adventure.
      I’ll have to check the Hairspray soundtrack out! Should probably cut down on the coffee intake…

  • Reply Nikita October 30, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I could never settle on one song! I wrote a playlist and I may make another one, as I keep on thinking of songs I’ve missed.
    I love that you included Don’t You (Forget About Me)… I’ve definitely played that in my head while saying goodbye to very good travel buddies.

    • Reply Migrating Miss October 30, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      I’ll check out your playlist! I’m always looking for new travel songs :). Such a good film for that song and such a good trip memory!

  • Reply Shayne | October 30, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I could not pick just one song but mostly, for road trips or travel in general, it should be an upbeat song or feel good songs! But if I have to choose that one song, it might be Feel Good by One Republic 🙂

    • Reply Migrating Miss October 30, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      Good choice! Most of my travel songs are upbeat, it’s what usually suits the moment! Road trips especially.

  • Reply Shelly October 31, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Awesome! Love that song. 500 Miles will always hold a place in my heart as well. My new travel song is Summer – Calvin Harris. Our neighbor in Panama would play that song over and over, but I never got sick of it.

    • Reply Migrating Miss October 31, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      I love Calvin Harris! Summer is my song from a music festival I went to in Scotland last year where he headlined and it poured with rain during this song and I didn’t even care it was so awesome! Such a good one 🙂

  • Reply Dave (Silverbackpacker) November 1, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Great song. I have my own “personal” song….. Daveys on the Road again by Manfred Mann but there are many others that i can relate to when travelling.
    Bob Dylan – One more cup of coffee accompanied me overland to India back in 1977
    Vanity Fare – Hitchin a ride from my teens when hitching all over the UK
    and many many more. I have made youtube lists of them too.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 1, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      I do love it haha. I must admit I haven’t heard some of these but I’m definitely inspired to listen. I think I feel a collaborative travel bloggers post on our favourite travel music and where it comes from in the works! It sounds like you’ve had some amazing travel experiences.

  • Reply Michael @ Changes in Longitude November 3, 2015 at 9:11 am

    When we started our RTW in 2011 the Adele song Rolling in the Deep was playing everywhere. We’d land in a new country and hear it the first place we went. Still reminds me of embarking on a life of full-time travel.

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 3, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      What a great memory to have :). It’s funny how sometimes the song is because of what’s popular at the time and so you hear it everywhere, and sometimes it’s completely random and could have come from anything!

  • Reply Amy (Two Drifters) November 4, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Haha, OMG I LOVE 80s songs!! That Whitesnake one is great. I also enjoy “Man in Motion” the theme from St. Elmo’s fire haha and any other cheesy 80’s anthems! kindred spirits

    • Reply Migrating Miss November 4, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Haha definitely kindred spirits over Scotland and 80s songs! Something about that 80s music just makes you feel awesome 🙂

  • Reply Nikki November 4, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    What a tune!!!! Good choice 🙂

  • Reply Mary Hood November 6, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Hahah that was not what I was expecting, but I love it! Anything that keeps you pumped and lifts you up is a great song to listen to on repeat. I tend to listen to the same song obsessively for a few months but then move on. Right now my favorite travel song is “Intro” by The XX. It’s just an instrumental, but for some reason it always puts me in a traveling mood 😛

  • Reply Jessie December 17, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Haha! Great song, wasn’t expecting that to be your song of choice! Ahahaha. Funny, but makes total sense.


    • Reply Migrating Miss December 18, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Haha thanks Jessie! It is a bit of a random one, but it always seems to fit!

  • Reply Linda Bahnan April 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    ‘The train headed eastward and onward. The lush green landscape became sparser and habitation more dense. Lee rode with the rhythm of the train, singing “Hotel California”. Everybody sang along until memory deficit prevented anyone offering any discernible words.’ novelines from ‘Hot Times in Goa’. I write travel novels instead of articles but I really enjoy yours.

    • Reply Migrating Miss April 17, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Thanks so much Linda! That’s lovely to hear, and I love your words.

  • Reply Carol August 17, 2017 at 11:55 am

    “Here I Go Again” wasn’t my TRAVEL song… was my DIVORCE song, lol! Got me thru the breakup, heartache and back on my feet as a single mother (in the late 80’s)! Didn’t listen to it for years but now (in my 60’s) and looking for a completely new life that will include travel I just may need to download that song and fire up my anthem as….here I go again! Thank you for the memory and the song suggestions from all the comments….never too old to appreciate and connect to good people & music? Happy travels!

    • Reply Migrating Miss August 17, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post :D. It is a very independent kind of song! Sounds like you’re about to embark on an amazing new adventure 😀

    Leave a Reply