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Buses, Trains or Planes – Make Long Journeys Better With These Travel Songs.

Confession Corner: Travel songs are a big deal at Penguin and Pia. Music can often form the soundtrack to adventures. You can listen to a song years later and instantly be transported back to the moment you first heard it. You remember who you were with, where you were, what you were up to. Every detail floods your mind like the water in a river after a storm. Many of you can probably relate to that feeling.

If you’re looking for crazy upbeat road trip travel songs that will get you in the mood for a killer weekend partying with friends – you won’t find those here on this list! This list is for the wanderers, the thinkers, the soul-searchers, and the drifters. These are songs that make you think, head against the bus window – imagining the place you’re heading towards while thinking about the place you just left behind.

While we dislike giving music labels with regards to their genre, it can often be useful for people to understand the type. That said, if we had to categorize these songs, they would all be in the indie/folk/Americana/alternative genres. A softer, new sound that mixes guitar with piano, melodies with strings. There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of most of these artists – which means you’ll discover loads of new music! These songs are just a sample of their work – be sure to use YouTube to discover more by the ones you like.

Want to hear a song? Simply click the photo to be brought to YouTube! Ready to discover new music? Here we go!

“Between Cities” by Donovan Woodsdonovan woods album cover

Let’s start off with the big guy who is homegrown from Canada. Donovan Woods’ soft voice and acoustic skills are a pleasant mix of emotion and grit. Eric once heard him live and chatted with him after the show.  All of his lyrics tell a story – and “Between Cities” is no exception. Fitting if you’re travelling… between cities.

“Boardwalks” by Little Mayblack album cover with white circle design

Listening to Little May sing to you as you ride on the bus or train makes for a sensational travel experience. “Boardwalks” is a little more upbeat, perfect for driving along at your own pace as you head into an adventure.

“Never Come Back Again” by Austin Plaine

woman and man walking down small stairs with bags

Austin Plaine is a US-born songwriter who carries a great vibe through the entire self-titled album. “Never Come Back Again” has lyrics that are sure to fuel your wanderlust. Just listen to the first few lines!

“Agape” by Bear’s Den

man with beard and orange toque on beach

The UK-based group is anything but a sleeping bear. “Agape” is a cheery tune that is great for long walks and/or hikes. Their anthem-style tone is powerful and yet somehow soothing. Think of them as a UK version of Lord Huron – who we purposefully left off of this list. We know that’s painful to hear for some!

“Sleeping Giant” by Bootstrapsblack album cover spelling bootstraps

Bootstraps are this new-rock mix that comes out of nowhere with a pleasant sound and some beautifully done songs. “Sleeping Giant” is the one that empowers you to take on a new challenge or begin something with a fresh start.

“Atlas Hands” by Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Admittedly, “Atlas Hands” is that ONE song that everyone knows if you name the artist. If you haven’t heard it before – that’s okay. You should give it a go right now. It’s perfect for thinking while you travel. Benjamin’s later songs are a reflection of a difficult adulthood so definitely check out his newer stuff and you’ll hear the difference.

“Holocene” by Bon Iver

boy splashing in the water with mountains in background

Guilty. There’s Bon Iver on this list. How can you leave Mr. Vernon off a “wanderlust playlist”? Answer: you can’t. “Holocene” is a classic – but always a good one for a road trip or plane ride.

“DNA Bank” by Freelance Whalesfreewlance whales green and blue album cover

If you’re laughing at the band name Freelance Whales, you should be. Because it’s awesome. They are a 5-piece from New York that specializes in a fun – almost quirky – acoustic sound. Don’t believe us? Try “DNA Bank” on for size. It’s great for getting ready to take on a new city.

“That Moon Song” by Gregory Alan Isakovalbum cover with cartoon man and moon

Gregory Alan Isakov is another one of those smaller artists with a beautiful sound and soothing voice. “That Moon Song” is definitely a song for summer nights at the cottage or for long bus rides to the middle of nowhere.

“Something” by Julien Bakerwoman's legs with acoustic guitar

Julien Baker is a tiny addition (physically, she’s a tiny girl) with a huge voice. Her guitar playing is beautiful, almost haunting. “Something” is a classic from her first album. Eric once saw Julien play live in Toronto and she did not disappoint.

“Night Owls” by Mree

black album cover with guitar strings and womans face

Mree’s sound in “Night Owls” is soft and angelic. As with most songs on this list, it’s carried by acoustic guitar and it’s absolutely beautiful. The entire album Winterwell is fantastic and worth your time!

“Another Tale From Another English Town” by Lanterns on the Lake

two girl sitting on hilltop overlooking city

Lanterns on the Lake are a UK band that has a varying sound. From soft piano ballads to powerful, almost rock songs, they have a great range. “Another Tale From Another English Town” is somewhere in the middle. It’s catchy yet reflective – good for when you’re leaving a new city. Eric saw them play in Copenhagen – they were absolutely mesmerizing live.

“The Mortal Boy King” by The Paper Kites

wooden album cover with green plants

Usually known for their song “Bloom” which is on the same album – “The Mortal Boy King” is a long and slow track that’s the definition of reflective and pensive. Just, go listen to it. You’ll know what we mean once you do.

“Vapour” by Vancouver Sleep Clinic

album cover with paint streaks

Vancouver Sleep Clinic is the stage name of Tim Bettinson, a guy from Australia, oddly enough. His electronic sound is catchy and usually more upbeat if you’re looking for a song with a better pace for your travels. “Vapour” sounds magical at times – making use of acoustic and atmospheric effects.

“My Life Changed” by William Fitzsimmons

girl in white dress outside on sidewalk

The first time we heard Willian Fitzsimmons we were in Oslo, Norway in a coffee shop. Ever since then – we’ve been hooked. The album Until When We Are Ghosts is great – and “My Life Changed” doesn’t disappointing. A master of the acoustic and with a soft, saddened tone – his beard is awesome and should be respected at all times.

And there you have it – some of our favourite songs that get us through travel days. What did you think of the playlist? Find any classics on there that you can’t travel without? Hopefully, you were able to discover some new music! Let us know what you liked in the comments below – we’re always down to music swap!

As always, Happy Headphone Waddlin’,
– L&E

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Beautiful Travel Songs for Your Next Long Trip


While waddling the globe, Penguin and Pia enjoy belly slides and tasting the freshest fish dishes the world has to offer. When not lounging on ice chairs, they can be found working in the travel space in countries all around Europe.

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