Does travel have a sound? You bet! Here, we share songs that help set the tone, from the tracks that inspire ticket-purchasing, to those we listen to up at 35,000 feet. After all, those post-trip memories will benefit from a little background music.
“Come Fly with Me” by Frank Sinatra
Why it’s great: Bombay, Acapulco, and Peru are just a few pit stops on Frank’s silky-sounding, retro-glam itinerary.
“La Vie en Rose” by Edith Piaf
Why it’s great: This ode to smoky, sexy, mid-century France, performed by one of the nation's enduring icons, inspires wanderlust like no other.
“Africa” by Toto
Why it’s great: The nationalism in this track is palpable, serving as a reminder of just how powerful a physical place can be.
“Ca Plane Pour Moi” by Plastic Bertrand
Why it’s great: The ’77 anthem blended punk elements with a surprising elegance, landing it on the charts of 13 countries. At the time of its release, it was the third French-language hit in the United States.
“Samba Vexillographica” by Devendra Banhart
Why it’s great: The Venezuelan artist’s music is decidedly modern but deeply rooted in Latin folk sound.
“Mon Pays (My Country)” by Yelle
Why it’s great: The translation of this French pop song celebrates travel and exploration, stating ‘Life is a long path / Mine won’t be straight ahead.’
“Paris is Burning” by Ladyhawke
Why it’s great: Rather than dreamy and dignified, this catchy Europop track pays homage to Paris’ vibrant, youthful underground.
“The Girl from Ipanema” by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto
Why it’s great: The beach-y, wistful classic is pure vintage romance. Penned by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, the Brazilian bossa nova classic was made famous by Joao's wife, Astrud Gilberto.
“Island in the Sun” by Weezer
Why it’s great: The lyrics are idyllic without being cloying, conjuring up thoughts of Mediterranean beaches and panama hats.
“Holiday in Spain” by Counting Crows
Why it’s great: This brooding ballad fully captures the escapism of travel and the occasional appeal of pressing ‘pause’ on reality for a few days.
“Black Diamond Bay” by Bob Dylan
Why it’s great: This haunting story-set-to-music encapsulates intrigue, mystery, and adventure against an international backdrop.
“Entre Las Olas” by Jose Luis Teruel
Why it’s great: The Spanish guitar strikes a balance between delicate and playful.
"Leaving on a Jet Plane" by Chantal Kreviazuk
Why it's great: This ethereal, brooding cover of the John Denver classic comes from Canadian singer Kreviazuk, and was recorded for the "Armageddon" movie soundtrack.