The Ultimate Family Road Trip Playlist

Clay and I have been taking long road trips since our dating years in college. We were both out-of-state students at Clemson University and had a 650+ mile drive home – me to Pennsylvania and him to Ohio. During breaks we occasionally accompanied each other on these long drives home, unaware that they were just the beginning of what would be a lifetime of road trips together. Living far away from family and moving across the country on the whims of Uncle Sam have resulted in hundreds of thousands of miles logged together. Malcom Gladwell famously reasoned that 10,000 hours of practice can turn anyone into an expert – by that logic, Clay and I are fast approaching road trip expert status. Because of this, we have extensive knowledge in creating the ultimate family road trip playlist.

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Music is life. And thanks to streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, we’re able to curate playlists that lend themselves to life on the road. We personally use Amazon Music – we find it the most user-friendly across a variety of platforms. We’ve used Price Music for years but recently we completed a free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited and loved it so much that we will continue to pay $7.99/month for the service.

Before I get into some specific song choices, I’d like to share the one rule regarding music on road trips to which we adhere – the driver veto. Whoever is driving on the road trip (which let’s be honest, is Clay 75% of the time), get’s the right to veto any song he or she wishes. It is just one of the many privileges that accompanies driving. Other than that, everything is fair game. So how do you make a spectacular road trip playlist that transcends the vast and various landscapes of our magnificent country? Easy – choose music you like, music that won’t make you fall asleep (e.g. we rarely listen to Bon Iver in the car), and music that is easy to sing along too.

If you’re like us and have little ones in the car, then you probably try to limit the explicit lyrics. But we certainly do not send ourselves to a Raffi and Laurie Berkner purgatory. Quite the opposite – we have no problem exposing our kids to great music. We also have no issue introducing them to the magic of guilty pleasure songs and the joy of singing along with one-hit-wonders. Below is just a sampling of songs we’ve included on our Ultimate Family Road Trip Playlist – I’ve broken them down by decade but there is no sense of order beyond that. We always utilize the shuffle function so everything gets discombobulated anyway – which is the way it should be when listening to music in the car.

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1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

What are some of your family’s favorite songs to listen to in the car? Do you create playlists or listen to full albums? Is there any song in particular that reminds you of a road trip?

The Good Place – It’s Forking Amazing

Last Sunday I found myself cheering for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the New England Patriots – not because they’re my favorite expansion team nor because of #deflategate. I was emotionally invested in a Jacksonville win solely because of Jason Mendoza.

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The Good Place is the best and most clever comedy on television right now. Hands down. Additionally, the show is literally filling the Parks and Recreation-sized void within me by featuring insanely smart writing, thought-provoking philosophical questions, and some of the best visual humor on television. Not to mention the seemingly limitless supply of food puns.

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Currently in it’s second season, the best way to describe The Good Place without revealing major spoilers is that is a sitcom about the afterlife – specifically about the adventures of the four characters below. Ted Danson is absolutely hilarious, Kristen Bell as adorkable as always, and D’Arcy Carden as Bad Janet is everything I don’t want my daughter to become. Like most Michael Shur comedies, there are astute observations about the irritating nuances of existence and no shortage of pop-culture references. And yes, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback, Blake Bortles, is heavily referenced. BORTLES!

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My love for The Good Place leads me to excitedly talk about it whenever I’m asked about what I am currently watching. I’m not a fan of the traditional comedies currently on television (e.g. Big Bang Theory, Modern Family) so I’m thrilled that The Good Place continues to gain a following. Everything about the show is well executed and every episode seems to feature at least one shocking admission or mind-bending twist.

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So if you’re not watching The Good Place, you’re missing out. It is absolutely crucial that you start at the beginning, rather than jump right in with the current season. Netflix and Hulu both currently have the first season available for streaming. Embrace the weirdness of the pilot and stick with it. It pays off, I promise. So grab yourself an Arkansas bagel, some frozen yogurt, and watch The Good Place. You may even end up with your own Derek!