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My Favorite Road Trip Playlist

As Published In Airstream Live Riveted
My Favorite Road Trip Playlist

“Home on the range” is an all-time classic road trip song but if you are hitting the road for 17 hours, you need other options. We’ve consulted super-organized full-time Airstreamer, Ramona Creel, on how she goes about picking the best playlist for travel.  Hope you enjoy!

Do you have a special road trip playlist?

I don’t have a single favorite playlist — instead, I like to create playlists that are specific to the area where we’ll be traveling. For example, going through Dixie means country music, Banda in the Southwest, Jimmy Buffett in the Keys and incidental music from the Disney theme parks in Orlando. If we are passing through Washington D.C., or Philadelphia, maybe a little John Philip Sousa. Also, I can’t argue with some Beach Boys while driving in SoCal or grunge rock and Angelo Badalamenti in the pacific northwest. Finally, bring on the broadway show tunes and Frank Sinatra when heading to NYC — and N’awlins just ain’t The Big Easy without a whole lot of jazz and zydeco!

Being the gigantic media fan that I am, I’ll also enjoy pulling out pieces that are tied to a movie set in the area — for example, even though Sufjan Stevens is singing about Chicago, I think New Mexico when I listen to his songs, thanks to Little Miss Sunshine.

Do you have a favorite artist, genre or band to drive to?

Well, I’m a Gen-Xer — so my go-to comfort music is 80’s new wave. (There’s rarely a trip that doesn’t involve Simon LeBon, George Alan O’Dowd, Neil Tennant, or Roland Orzabal!) However, during those long wide-open stretches between patches of civilization, it’s really whatever mood happens to strike. My auditory urges are triggered very similarly to how I crave food — by something around me that flips the switch associated with a particular memory or feeling. At any given moment, we might go breakbeat electronic, blues, 90s alterna, millennial pop, classical, novelty silliness or spoken-word comedy — all thanks to a signpost, conversation or landscape. My tastes are all over the board, and I love having the freedom to indulge in anything I want without paying for satellite radio. (Thank you, Steve Jobs for that fine 240 GB iPod classic!)

How does the music affect your road trip experience?

That silly little mp3 player is a huge, vital, integral part of my travel — the sounds emanating from it totally set the tone for that day’s adventures. I agree with Dick Clark’s claim that “music is the soundtrack of our lives.” A familiar melody is actually one of the strongest sense-memory triggers your brain can experience. The places we visit get imprinted with the songs we heard on that trip. Now when a particular tune pops up on my playlist, it’s like I’m reliving the related travel experience. Makes casual radio-surfing even more rewarding!

Do you ever listen to podcasts or educational programing?

I will on occasion listen to books on tape and recorded podcasts in the car — but I tend to do that sort of thing more at home. I rarely listen to podcasts for entertainment purposes — I’m drawn to a webinar or show because there’s some particular topic that interests me and I want to learn more. So then I’m stopping throughout the recording to take notes — and that’s hard to do (not to mention dangerous and illegal) while you’re driving.

As Ramona said, it’s amazing how the songs we hear on the road can trigger so many other memories and allow it all to connect together. What is on your playlist when you hit the road? If you need Ramona’s help organizing the perfect road trip song collection, contact her!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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