I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that I would mention music as one of the ways to stay entertained on a long trip. If you’re like us, you probably own a number of CDs aimed just at kids, some of them really fun and wonderful. But I’m equally sure that many of you have listened to The Wiggles (or something similar) until you find that your hands are clenched on the steering wheel to avoid throwing the CD out the window,
But before you assume your road trip options are hearing “The Wheels on the Bus” a hundred times, consider Road Trip Tip #4: Make a soundtrack for your trip that pleases everyone.
For the past two years, every time we have a long road trip planned, Matt and I create a themed playlist that we debut on the first day of driving. We can and do include music we already own, but we also tend to use this as an excuse to browse iTunes for songs we didn’t know we wanted, which is a fun thing to do together in itself (and revelatory – who knew about Matt’s affinity for Queen? Or that I might realize I share it?). Once we’ve made the playlist, we burn it onto a CD.
Past themes have included fun songs from the 1950s; a mix of Motown and Beach Boys tunes; and songs that our parents had on albums in the 1970s.
There are many reasons why I love to do this. By selecting music as carefully as we choose books, we make sure that we expose the kids to a wide variety of styles and artists. Also, since the songs we pick tend to be ones that are part of our own histories, they open up lots of opportunities for discussion and sharing of stories in the car. And it’s just fun to hear what songs the kids especially like. Finally, the CDs don’t go out of rotation when we come home. We listen to them all the time; they are like audio scrapbooks of our vacations together.
Here is the playlist from our recent Midwest trip, with the theme of “music that Matt or Mara listened to in the late 1970s and 1980s.” The idea was to include the music we started listening to when we moved past our parents’ record collections and started amassing our own. It’s not comprehensive of course (there’s actually a second companion CD for our Vermont trip later in the summer). I’ll give you a nickel if you can guess which songs are mine and which are Matt’s.
- Blitzkrieg Bop, The Ramones
- Heart of Glass, Blondie
- Space Age Love Song, Flock of Seagulls
- Take it Easy, The Eagles
- She’s a Killer, Queen
- Beat on the Brat, The Ramones
- Get Into the Groove, Madonna
- Jenny, Tommy Tutone
- Rock the Casbah, The Clash
- I’m Already Gone, The Eagles
- Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me, Juice Newton
- You’re My Best Friend, Queen
- Der Kommissar, Falco
- Vogue, Madonna
- I Wanna Be Sedated, The Ramones
- Rich Girl, Hall & Oates
- Six Months in a Leaky Boat, Split Enz
- Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Clash
- Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater
- Playing With the Queen of Hearts, Juice Newton
- Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen
- It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, Billy Joel
Of course the kid’s chose “Beat on the Brat” as their personal favorite. And I loved listening to Tommy try to figure out the words to “I Wanna Be Sedated” – the ones he made up would make even Joey smile, I’m sure.
This post is part of my 2009 series of Road Trip Tips. Other tips in the series include: