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The most popular road trip playlists around the world

Looking for the perfect road trip playlist? This report has analysed hundreds of playlists on Spotify to reveal the ultimate road trip tracks worldwide.

Road trips provide unmissable adventures, but what if you don’t have a car? With temporary car insurance, you can insure yourself on a friend’s car, a family member’s car or a rental car for the length of your trip. This means you can enjoy the road trip experience without worrying about not being insured.

Two car passengers enjoying listening to music in their car

 

The world’s most popular road trip songs

After analysing 999 of Spotify’s top road trip playlists from around the world, the study found the following 27 tracks are featured the most. They include some of the biggest artists of all time, such as Fleetwood Mac, through to modern-day hits from artists such as Harry Styles.

Infographic showing the 3 most popular songs on spotify playlists in our survey

The most popular road trip song around the world is Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd, appearing on 121 of the playlists analysed. Released in 1974, this track was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s highest-charting single (reaching 8th position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974).

Despite being one of the most recognised tracks out there, Sweet Home Alabama never reached number 1 in the charts. Out of the 15 countries analysed, Sweet Home Alabama featured on 8 of the top 10 tracklists, proving the song is a hit with drivers worldwide.

Popular prom and wedding song, Mr Brightside by The Killers comes in second featuring in 114 playlists. Mr Brightside was one of the first full songs The Killers ever wrote. Initially released in 2003, it became most popular when re-released in 2004, peaking at number 10 in both the US and the UK.

The only other song appearing in over 100 global road trip playlists is Riptide by Vance Joy, which comes in third place. This coming-of-age love story was released in 2013 and peaked at number 10 in the UK. In 2015 it was the second longest charting single on the US Billboard Hot 100, appearing for 43 weeks.

Rank Track Artist Playlists
1
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
121
2
Mr Brightside
The Killers
114
3
Riptide
Vance Joy
112
4
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
88
5
Africa
TOTO
83
6
Life is a Highway
Rascal Flatts
78
7
Pumped Up Kicks
Foster The People
73
8
Hotel California - 2013 Remaster
Eagles
72
9
Little Talks
Of Monsters and Men
71
10
Hey, Soul Sister
Train
70
10
Shotgun
George Ezra
70
12
Dreams - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
68
13
Shut Up and Dance
Walk The Moon
67
13
Classic
MKTO
67
15
Dancing in the Moonlight
Toploader
66
16
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
The Proclaimers
65
16
Stacy's Mom
Fountains Of Wayne
65
16
All Star
Smash Mouth
65
19
As It Was
Harry Styles
60
19
Party in the U.S.A.
Miley Cyrus
60
21
Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond
58
21
High Hopes
Panic! At The Disco
58
23
American Pie
Don McLean
56
24
Watermelon Sugar
Harry Styles
54
24
Don't Stop Me Now - Remastered 2011
Queen
54
24
Go Your Own Way - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
54
24
Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)
Kate Bush
54
 

The most popular songs for road trips in the UK

The most popular road trip song in the UK is I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by Scottish duo the Proclaimers, appearing in 13 playlists. Fittingly, it was written by Craig Reid while preparing himself for a road trip to Aberdeen for a football match.

This is followed by 2 songs that appeared on 12 playlists each: London Calling and Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
The Proclaimers
13
2
London Calling - Remastered
The Clash
12
2
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Tears For Fears
12
4
Life is a Highway
Tom Cochrane
11
4
Friday I'm in Love
The Cure
11
4
Don't Stop Me Now - Remastered 2011
Queen
11
7
Africa
TOTO
10
7
There She Goes
The La's
10
7
Go Your Own Way - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
10
7
The Chain - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
10
7
Song 2 - 2012 Remaster
Blur
10
7
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Arctic Monkeys
10
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Wales

In Wales, the data reveals that the top 3 tracks are Mr Brightside, Sweet Home Alabama and Riptide. Unlike the world’s most popular road trip songs, The Killers top the list in Wales, followed by Lynyrd Skynyrd in second.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Mr Brightside
The Killers
25
2
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
19
3
Riptide
Vance Joy
18
3
As It Was
Harry Styles
18
5
Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond
17
6
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
16
7
Life is a Highway
Rascal Flatts
15
7
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
The Proclaimers
15
9
Livin' on a Prayer
Bon Jovi
14
9
Dreams - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
14
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Scotland

It may not come as a surprise, but Scottish duo The Proclaimers reached the top spot for Scotland's most popular road trip song with their hit I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles). Data shows that 139 Scottish road trip playlists feature this track.

In second place is Mr Brightside by The Killers, featuring on 60 playlists. This is followed by Go Your Own Way - 2004 Remaster by Fleetwood Mac, appearing on 39 playlists.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
The Proclaimers
139
2
Mr Brightside
The Killers
60
3
Go Your Own Way - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
39
4
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
33
4
I'm on My Way
The Proclaimers
33
4
As It Was
Harry Styles
33
7
Shotgun
George Ezra
32
8
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
30
8
Riptide
Vance Joy
30
8
Dreams - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
30
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Ireland

Ireland’s harbour city of Galway is a namesake for Ireland's most popular road trip track.

Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran appears in 42 different Irish road trip playlists, with the song being heavily influenced by traditional Irish music.

The songs in second and third don’t have any clear links to the Emerald Isle, with Riptide by Vance Joy in 23 playlists and Sweet Home Alabama in 22.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Galway Girl
Ed Sheeran
42
2
Riptide
Vance Joy
23
3
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
22
4
N17
The Saw Doctors
20
5
Brown Eyed Girl
Van Morrison
19
5
The Boys Are Back in Town
Thin Lizzy
19
7
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
18
7
Linger
The Cranberries
18
7
Dirty Old Town
The Pogues
18
10
Whiskey in the Jar
The Dubliners
17
 

The most popular songs for road trips in the USA

The United States sees the largest search volume for road trips on Google and also the biggest number of USA related road trip playlists. In total, there are 1,481 of these playlists on Spotify.

The top tracks feature classic American hits from the likes of the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, and John Denver. Sweet Home Alabama ranks as the USA’s favourite road trip track, with Hotel California - 2013 Remaster and American Pie filling the second and third place spots respectively.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
489
2
Hotel California - 2013 Remaster
Eagles
352
3
American Pie
Don McLean
296
4
Born in the U.S.A.
Bruce Springsteen
276
5
Take It Easy - 2013 Remaster
Eagles
227
6
Life is a Highway
Rascal Flatts
187
6
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
182
8
Californication
Red Hot Chili Peppers
170
9
Take Me Home, Country Roads
John Denver
168
10
Born to Be Wild
Steppenwolf
159
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Italy

Italy’s favourite road trip tracks are Dreams - 2004 Remaster by Fleetwood Mac and As It Was by Harry Styles, both featuring on 26 playlists. Harry Styles has 2 songs in Italy’s top 10, showing how popular he is in the country. Classics from the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac also feature in the top 10 most popular songs.

L'Italiano by Toto Cutugno features in 25 of Italy’s top road trip playlists, ranking as the third favourite track. Released in 1983 L'Italiano was Toto Cutugno's biggest international success. The track hit number 1 in Italy, France, Portugal, and Switzerland.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Dreams - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
26
1
As It Was
Harry Styles
26
3
L'Italiano
Toto Cutugno
25
4
Hotel California - 2013 Remaster
Eagles
18
4
Felicità
Al Bano And Romina Power
18
6
Here Comes the Sun - Remastered 2009
The Beatles
17
7
Africa
TOTO
16
7
Mystery of Love
Sufjan Stevens
16
9
Late Night Talking
Harry Styles
15
9
Love in Portofino
Dalida
15
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Canada

Canada sticks to some of the most famous road trip songs, heavily influenced by American classics. Sweet Home Alabama ranks first, with Life is a Highway and Free Fallin’ following in second and third place respectively.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
40
2
Life is a Highway
Tom Cochrane
38
3
Free Fallin'
Tom Petty
31
4
Mr Brightside
The Killers
27
5
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
The Proclaimers
27
6
Hotel California - 2013 Remaster
Eagles
25
7
American Pie
Don McLean
25
8
Life is a Highway
Rascal Flatts
25
9
Summer of '69
Bryan Adams
25
10
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
24
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Australia

An Aussie ‘80s classic unsurprisingly hits the number 1 spot for Australia. Down Under by the rock band Men at Work was a worldwide phenomenon for years after its release in 1980. Down Under is followed by American classics American Pie and Sweet Home Alabama.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Down Under
Men at Work
35
2
American Pie
Don McLean
28
3
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
27
3
You Shook Me All Night Long
AC/DC
27
5
Highway to Hell
AC/DC
24
5
The Horses
Daryl Braithwaite
24
5
Riptide
Vance Joy
24
8
How to Fly
Sticky Fingers
23
9
Africa
TOTO
21
10
Hotel California - 2013 Remaster
Eagles
20
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Spain

Latin tracks prove to be very popular in the top 10 road trip songs in Spain. Artists such as Juanes, with his track La Camisa Negra in first place, are joined by artists such as Shakira and Marc Anthony. Anthony’s Vivir Mi Vida comes in second place, followed by Caraluna by Bacilos.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
La Camisa Negra
Juanes
18
2
Vivir Mi Vida
Marc Anthony
17
3
Caraluna
Bacilos
14
4
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
12
4
Hips Don't Lie (feat. Wyclef Jean)
Shakira
12
4
Pepas
Farruko
12
4
Oye Mi Amor
Maná
12
4
Colgando en Tus Manos (con Marta Sánchez)
Carlos Baute
12
9
Africa
TOTO
11
9
Mientes
Camila
11
 

The most popular songs for road trips in New Zealand

The list for New Zealand is largely made up of local artists, with Auckland’s Dave Dobbyn taking the top spot.

His song Slice of Heaven appears in 17 different playlists. While it's not as well known outside Australasia, it’s considered one of New Zealand’s most popular songs after appearing in tourism ads in the 80s and 90s.

Two more songs by Kiwi artists are in joint second: Bliss by Th’ Dudes and April Sun in Cuba by Dragon.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Slice of Heaven
Dave Dobbyn
17
2
Bliss
Th' Dudes
16
2
April Sun in Cuba
Dragon
16
4
Always on My Mind
Tiki Taane
13
4
Weather with You
Crowded House
13
4
Why Does Love Do This to Me
The Exponents
13
7
In the Air
L.A.B.
12
7
Gutter Black
Hello Sailor
12
9
Go Your Own Way - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
11
9
Misty Frequencies
Ché-Fu
11
9
Sitting Inside My Head
Supergroove
11
 

The most popular songs for road trips in France

France enjoys some classic road trip songs that are popular across the world. France’s top track is Mr Brightside by The Killers, which features on 38 French road trip playlists. Harry Styles’ As It Was ranks second with Elton John’s global hit Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time) taking third spot.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Mr Brightside
The Killers
38
2
As It Was
Harry Styles
35
3
Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
Elton John
33
4
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
31
5
Shotgun
George Ezra
30
6
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
29
6
Africa
TOTO
29
8
Watermelon Sugar
Harry Styles
27
8
Here Comes the Sun - Remastered 2009
The Beatles
27
10
Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)
Kate Bush
25
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Portugal

Portugal’s road trip playlists favour some old school American rock tracks. American Pie, Sweet Home Alabama, and Dreams - 2004 Remaster make up the top 3 most featured road trip tracks in Portugal.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
American Pie
Don McLean
13
2
Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd
12
3
Dreams - 2004 Remaster
Fleetwood Mac
11
3
Beggin'
Måneskin
11
5
Hotel California - 2013 Remaster
Eagles
9
5
Don't Stop Me Now - Remastered 2011
Queen
9
7
Riptide
Vance Joy
8
7
good 4 u
Olivia Rodrigo
8
7
Escape (The Pina Colada Song)
Rupert Holmes
8
10
Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)
Kate Bush
7
10
Cold Heart - PNAU Remix
Elton John
7
10
Californication
Red Hot Chili Peppers
7
10
Mrs. Robinson - From "The Graduate" Soundtrack
Simon & Garfunkel
7
10
Mr Brightside
The Killers
7
10
Do I Wanna Know?
Arctic Monkeys
7
10
Do You No Wrong - Single Version
Richie Campbell
7
 

The most popular songs for road trips in India

India’s favourite road trip track is Dil Dhadakne Do by Joi Barua, in a list dominated by Indian artists.

Notably, many of these songs appear in the soundtracks of Bollywood films, including each of the top 3.

Dil Dhadakne Do appeared in the film of the same name, while Masakali was in Delhi-6 and Ik Junoon was written for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Dil Dhadakne Do
Joi Barua
26
2
Masakali
Mohit Chauhan
20
3
Ik Junoon (Paint It Red)
Vishal Dadlani
18
3
Kabhi Kabhi Aditi
Rashid Ali
18
3
Kal Ho Naa Ho
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
18
6
Dil Chahta Hai
Shankar Mahadevan
17
6
Naina Da Kya Kasoor
Amit Trivedi
17
6
Senorita
Farhan Akhtar
17
6
Chand Sifarish
Jatin-Lalit
17
10
Buddhu Sa Mann
Amaal Mallik
16
10
Ilahi
Pritam
16
10
Tere Bina
A.R. Rahman
16
10
Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai
Roop Kumar Rathod
16
 

The most popular songs for road trips in Germany

Top tracks in Germany road trip playlists are feel-good rock and pop tracks. Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts is top, featuring on 16 playlists. Blinding Lights from The Weekend and Journey’s Don't Stop Believin' come in joint second, both featuring on 12 playlists.

I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE and Beggin’ by Måneskin occupy 2 spots in Germany’s top 10 tracks. Måneskin formed in Rome in 2016 and went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 for Italy with their track Zitti e buoni.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Life is a Highway
Rascal Flatts
16
2
Blinding Lights
The Weeknd
12
2
Don't Stop Believin'
Journey
12
4
I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE
Måneskin
10
4
Beggin'
Måneskin
10
4
Green Green Grass
George Ezra
10
7
Shivers
Ed Sheeran
8
7
One Kiss (with Dua Lipa)
Calvin Harris
8
7
Wake Me Up
Avicii
8
7
On Top of the World
Imagine Dragons
8
7
Bam Bam (feat. Ed Sheeran)
Camila Cabello
8
 

The most popular songs for road trips in South Africa

Africa by Toto is the most common track in South African road trip playlists. Since its release in 1980, Africa by Toto has been certified 8 times platinum. Tracks SETE (feat. Young Stunna & Blxckie) by K.O and Nomakanjani by Brenda Fassie follow in second and third place. South Africa’s top 10 tracks are less rock-heavy when compared with other countries, featuring modern rap and pop tracks.

Rank Track Artist No. Playlists
1
Africa
TOTO
15
2
SETE (feat. Young Stunna & Blxckie)
K.O
12
3
Nomakanjani
Brenda Fassie
11
4
You're the One
Elaine
10
4
Banyana
DJ Maphorisa
10
6
Ngud' (feat. Cassper Nyovest)
Kwesta
9
6
Drive - Radio Edit
Black Coffee
9
6
Another Universe
Arno Carstens
9
9
Driven to Drink
Shotgun Tori
8
9
In My Feelings
Drake
8
9
Youngblood
5 Seconds of Summer
8
9
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
Paul Simon
8
9
Risky
Elaine
8
9
Sponono
Kabza De Small
8
9
Silver Foyer
Sold Ash
8
9
Jack
Nasty C
8
9
Give Me Something (feat. Rowlene)
Sha Sha
8
9
3 in the Morning
Prince Kaybee
8
9
Eazy
Nasty C
8

Louise Thomas, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

"Ever since the invention of the car radio, music and driving have been inextricably linked, and today creating the ultimate playlist is a huge part of the road trip experience. Similarly, having your own playlist ready for a long drive means you won’t get distracted whilst driving, keeping you safer on the road.

"A road trip is recognised as one of the most popular bucket list experiences. However, those who don't own a car or want to share the driving might be put off by the insurance details. If you’re thinking of borrowing or hiring a car for your road trip there is no need to worry as temporary car insurance is there for these situations! With the right insurance, you will be protected if anything were to happen whilst on the road, enabling you to have a worry-free trip!"

 

Methodology