Road Trip Music

Road trip music is by far the most effective way to get me in the flow.

Musical notesThere seems to be certain kinds of road trip music that go with the road trip experience better than others. For me, instrumental music seems to compliment the driving experience. Also, deep spiritual-journey types of music have done well for me on my road trips. That is no wonder at all, as the road trip is a spiritual journey for me.

Whatever music for a road trip you choose, it should be driving music that gets you in the flow. It should not be music that sedates you. It also doesn’t help you if the music makes you angry (road rage is an unpleasant experience for everyone), so I hope that’s not what gets you in the flow.

I could show you lists of songs that seem right for a long drive. But, it seems there are far too many to list. And besides, your favorite type of road trip music might be different than mine. So I’ll do something different. I’ll talk about the different ways we can take our favorite road trip music with us.

Quote - Peter Hoeg


MP3 Players

Taking music on the road with us is easy when it’s stored electronically. With digital media, we can have all our music with us and play it easily whenever we want to.

We can store and play our digital music on an MP3 player. It amazes me that I could have a music collection of forty thousand songs and still be able to carry it around with me wherever I go (on a road trip). I can even carry it in one hand. I remember a day when travelling with my music collection meant a CD walkman and a cardboard box overflowing with CD’s.

  • Flash Player – Your songs are stored in a memory chip. There are no moving parts, so jostling won’t make it skip and the battery will last longer. The bigger-capacity flash players can store up to sixteen thousand songs.
  • Hard-Drive Player – There is a little hard-drive on board to store your music on. This makes the hard-drive player a little larger than the flash-player. And don’t jostle it too much. The bigger-capacity hard-drive players can store up to forty thousand songs. You can also surf the web on many hard-drive players.
  • MP3 CD Player – Most CD players made today support the mp3 format. You’ll need a CD burner on your computer to put your mp3 files onto CD. Where a CD can hold 18 songs, it can hold 140 songs in the mp3 format.

So you’ve got an MP3 player and you want to listen to your music while you’re driving. There are five ways I can think of to do that.

  • FM transmitter
  • Cassette adapter
  • Bluetooth transmitter
  • Car stereo with iPod dock or line input connection
  • Headphones

Getting road trip music from an online music store is great! You can usually preview a song before you buy it. If you only want one song from an album then that’s the only song you have to buy. And if you’ve heard a song before then chances are you can find it at your online music store. Songs usually cost ninety nine cents. But sometimes they’re less than that or even free. Watch out for DRM (digital rights management). Some online music stores use DRM to prevent you from mass producing recordings by limiting the number of devices you play your downloaded music on. And make sure the online music store is compatible with you MP3 player (most songs at iTunes can only play on an iPod and most songs at Zune Marketplace can only play on a Zune player). There are five major stores to check out.

  • iTunes
  • eMusic
  • Amazon
  • Zune Marketplace
  • Walmart MP3 Music

And there are Rhapsody and Napster which both let you have unlimited music for a monthly subscription fee.


Satellite Radio

If you’re driving away from civilization and away from the radio towers that your radio depends upon for a signal, then consider satellite radio.

There are currently two major broadcasters of satellite radio. Those are Sirius XM Radio and 1worldspace. They upload programming to satellites in space. Then those satellites beam a signal to your special receiver back on Earth. 1worldspace beams to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Europe. Sirius XM Radio beams to North America. There are great benefits for you.

  • There are virtually no commercials (my favorite).
  • There is no static (also my favorite)
  • You’ll get a signal anywhere on the continent.
  • You’ll be listening to digital quality sound.
  • There are lots of channels to choose from.

All you need is a receiver for the satellite signal and a subscription from Sirius XM Radio or 1worldspace. There are lots of options for adding this type of radio to your road trip car, so check them all out before deciding on the best option. Sirius XM Radio has a nice website for that.

Sirius XM Radio also offers a great travel package. You’ll get to see real-time traffic data, weather, fuel prices, sports scores, and movie times, all on a small video screen.


AM/FM Radio

There’s nothing wrong with good old AM/FM radio. It’s cheap road trip music, and it adapts to anyone’s taste.

The am/fm radio is one constant in a newly manufactured car. It’s one standard feature that’s put on just about every single new car in the whole world. So this is one type of music player that most of us have. If you have diverse musical taste then you will easily find something you like at any given time on the road. And the closer to civilized life you are driving, the more diverse your music selection will be. It’s also a really convenient way to get traffic, weather, and news while you’re on the road.

You can check out your route and see what stations you’ll find along the way. Go to radio-locator.com .

I remember driving through West Virginia in the early morning hour and the only type of road trip music I could find on the dial was bluegrass. And if you’re driving in the Midwest USA then you’ll hear mostly western music. Drive in the southeast USA (also known as the bible belt) and you’ll hear a lot of gospel music. With AM/FM signals, we can learn something about the place we’re driving through without even leaving the road.


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