It doesn’t exist. The perfect travel playlist, I mean. Like, there’s no one specific playlist that is going to be perfect for every individual who is currently traveling. Rather, finding the right playlist is going to be contingent on a variety of factors.
Photo by Daniela Mota
How are you traveling?
In our day to day lives music is so readily available that we don’t even think about how we’re going to listen to it. In our living room alone, I can play music from a Google Home, an Amazon Alexa, my PS4 using Spotify, my computer using Pandora, and my phone using Youtube. Oh, and there’s an old dusty record player in the corner as well.
All in all, that means I could be listening to music from six different sources at the same time, all in one room. I’m guessing your house isn’t too different. But what about when you actually hit the road/sky/train tracks? It’s not exactly prudent to blast AC/DC out of a boom box if you’re taking an airplane to your chosen destination. Let’s go over the best option for each method of travel.
No wifi means you need to have your music prepped ahead of time. Download the songs you want onto a phone or small music device ahead of time, and pack a nice pair of headphones. High quality headphones can even double as a head rest or pillow!
2. Trains and Busses
Despite the beliefs and accompanying actions of that one guy who actively ruins your daily commute to work by blasting his electro-pop full blast through a portable speaker, people don’t want to listen to your music. There’s no specific right way to listen to music on trains and busses, but there is a wrong way. Keep it quiet and polite!
In this author’s humble opinion, nothing beats the power beats of a mixtape or CD. Car traveling offers more options for music consumption than any other method of movement. Radio, CD’s, tapes, AUX cords, and even just singing at the top of your lungs are all great options. Roll your windows down and let the trees on the side of the highway get a taste of your tunes.
Where are you traveling?
Now, some people would argue it doesn’t matter where you’re going, you should just listen to whatever you like. However, matching your music tastes to the culture of your destination can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re headed to Nashville, also known as Music City. The city is famous for its roots in country music, and many of the best attractions of the city are centered around country music. Which means, if you’re headed to Nashville, you should make a country music playlist ahead of time. Bonus points if you make an effort to listen to music by an artist you could watch perform live in Nashville during your time there. Similarly, if you’re walking back to your Stay Alfred rental apartment, you gotta listen to a tune that reminds you of home.
This technique of suiting your music to match your destination is a good way to get a feel for the culture of the place you’re traveling to ahead of time. And if you’re traveling to a foreign country, there’s no better way to simultaneously learn some of their language and attitude than through their music.
How long are you traveling?
When I was eight years old, my mom took me and my sister on a four day train ride from Washington to Minnesota. She told me to pack some CD’s for my discman, but I only packed one CD. That disc? The Lion King soundtrack. And I am here to tell ya, there are only so many times you can listen to I Just Can’t Wait to be King and Hakuna Matata before you really regret not packing your Rolling Stones tunes as well.
I hope that cautionary tale serves you well. Make sure that whatever music you pack, you bring enough of it. Because no matter how perfect your playlist seems on paper, if you run out of toons halfway to your destination, it’s gonna be a bummer.
Why are you traveling?
Last but not least, your music has to fit your mood. Traveling to Iceland for business is different than traveling there for pleasure, and our music choices should reflect that. If you’re headed somewhere stressful, remember that the perfect music might not be music at all. Download an hour-long meditation, or some soothing nature calls perhaps. Don’t forget your pump up song for before your important meeting!
So, to summarize: there is no such thing as a universal perfect playlist, but you can absolutely have a personal perfect playlist. The contents of that perfect playlist can change based on mood, weather, time traveling, reason for traveling, etc. The perfect playlist for traveling to Texas will not be the same as the perfect playlist for traveling to Berlin.
Oh geez, I almost forgot the most important rule of all. The perfect travel playlist should be fun for everyone who hears is, but especially for the person who made it!
Keep being AllDayChic!