I have a lot of American relatives, and when I was a kid, we couldn’t often afford four plane tickets to go visit them. As a result, we took a lot of road trips. Before each one, my mom would spend weeks putting together surprise packs for me and my brother, containing new books, car games, and other treats to keep us occupied and happy and not fighting over who was on whose side of the back seat.
My dad’s contribution was music.
Our road trips often took us through areas where, if you could get a radio station at all, it was the one that provided automated weather reports and updates on road conditions – not exactly the stuff of spontaneous sing-alongs and car dancing contests. So dad made sure we had cassette tapes, and plenty of them. When we were really young, our favourite was Anne Murray’s Hippo in the Bathtub. We had to buy a second copy after the first one wore out from overuse, and we still know all the words.
Hands down the best music for any road trip, however, is the Traveling Wilburys. For starters, it’s right there in the name of the group. This band practically demands you take it for a drive. Then there’s the band itself – a dream team of George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne – a collection of talent so densely concentrated, it’s almost a black hole.
But mostly it’s the songs. From “Handle With Care,” a track it’s literally impossible not to dance to (even when you’re speeding down the highway) to the hilarious “Dirty World” (“he loves your big refrigerator!”) this is music that puts everyone in a good mood and makes the miles fly.
I also recommend it for cleaning the bathrooms. Scrubbing toilets is a lot more fun with a little hip action.
What’s your favourite road trip music? How do you entertain yourself or your kids when you travel? Share your favourite road trip memories in the comments!