When planning a road trip of any considerable length, a good music playlist is the most essential part of my preparation. I do a lot of traveling by car and by myself, so it is my music that keeps me company. Thankfully, due to the technological wonders of GPS location and mapping, I no longer have to worry about how I am going to get to where I'm going. I do however, spend a lot of time thinking about how the heck I'm going to get to where I'm going! A long drive can be a dreadfully tedious task, and if you can't keep yourself awake and entertained, it may start to feel like you're never going to make it. Here lies the importance of music preparation.
Just this past month, I planned a trip out to the east coast to visit with my sister for the first time. After doing some Google mapping calculations, I was informed that my journey was going to have a duration of 11 hours and 41 minutes! Ouch!
Driving round-trip, I was facing roughly a full day's worth of drive time (24 hours). Nobody in their right mind would want to be in a car that long, especially with gas prices these days. But I was pretty excited about visiting my sister and I did not want the long drive to put a damper on that excitement. So I immediately came up with two great reasons to be excited about the long drive.
First of all, road trips are the perfect excuse to eat fast food for every meal of the day. You can supersize your meals all day long and not feel guilty because that is your only option! Secondly, spending a day in the car is a great opportunity to sample your music collection that you have amassed over the years. I have loads great music tucked away on my computer as well as several new albums that I haven't given my full attention to. After thinking about the kind of music I wanted to pack along for the trip, I began to get pretty excited about traveling and all of the playlist opportunities that were laid out before me.
I began wondering to myself what kind of songs would make a good playlist for the road. The first thing that came to mind was that I needed to stay awake and stay active, so each song would have to carry a solid beat. I am a big fan of the emotion packed into sad songs, but I knew I would have to leave them out of this playlist because driving all day is depressing enough. I knew I had to have that active beat, but to make the music selection process easier I categorized my music playlist into categories that would keep me conscious!
- Sing Alongs - Songs that I know by heart that I can sing out LOUD. Massive choruses are needed for this category.
- Beat Boxers - Give me some drums and a bass line that I can pound the steering wheel to.
- Guitar Heroes - Sometimes a hard rock guitar solo replicated via air guitar is needed to keep the blood pumping.
- All-Time Albums - Albums from your all-time favorite bands that you can just wear out, no matter the occasion. All songs have to be solid. You don't want to pick up a downer if you are playing songs randomly.
- Free Hit Singles - There are a ton of up-and-coming bands out there that are giving away some of their best music for free. They do this so they can reach new fans and it is a great option for building a playlist. It is always nice to hear a new song once in a while to keep the excitement going.
Building my road trip playlist was a pretty fun process. But I wanted to make sure I kept that same attitude throughout my long journey. To keep this excitement going throughout my drive, I created some goals and fun challenges to make things interesting. My music playlist goal for the road trip was to start playing my iPod mix on shuffle and then not skip a single song for the entire duration of travel. I wanted my playlist to be like attending a concert. I would have no clue as to what song was coming next and I would be pleasantly surprised by the unending presentation of all my favorite music.