With the pandemic grounding flights worldwide and international travel stymied by a host of complex, country-specific border restrictions, globetrotters have had to look closer to home for summer adventure, and they're hitting the open road in droves – and cranking up the music while they’re at it. 

According to data collected by Spotify between May 5 and July 30, there was a massive jump in the creation of road-trip playlists between June and July – a 92% increase, mainly from listeners in the US, but also the UK, Australia, Canada and Germany. There was a spike in camping-themed playlists as well, a nearly 140% increase – a clear sign that the streaming platform’s audience is feeling both the tug of the open road and the appeal of wide-open spaces

And it looks like they’re doing more than just daydreaming about it. In July, streaming in offline mode increased by 24% versus other months, indicating just how many people were on the move at summer’s peak. Of Spotify’s curated playlists, Classic Road Trip Songs was the clear favorite, with 3,518,918 likes, followed by 70s Road Trip at 2,140,061 likes and Indie Rock Road Trip, with 571,192 likes. 

Drone view of American car driving in a straight road at the California desert.
Spotify's road-trip playlists were increasingly popular in June and July © Artur Debat/Getty Images

On average, user-compiled road-trip playlists ring in around five hours, with Harry Styles’s “Watermelon Sugar,” Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA,” and OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” proving just as popular as classic-rock sing-alongs like “Livin' On A Prayer,” “Life is a Highway,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’’. Plenty of listeners added podcasts to their queues as well, the big winners being Stuff You Should Know, Crime Junkie, My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, and Ted Talks Daily. 

As for those camping-themed playlists, they’re in high rotation in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and Germany, where listeners are loving songs like “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd, “Fishin' in the Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, and “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I – not to mention weather-related hits like ACDC’s “Thunderstruck” and “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande. 

Then there are the staycationers. Spotify reports an almost 120% increase in the creation of staycation-themed playlists from June to July, particularly in the US, the UK, Brazil, Canada, and Ireland, where listeners are loading up on seasonally-appropriate tunes like “Island In The Sun” by Weezer, “Summertime Magic” by Childish Gambino, “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys, Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved,” and, of course, Don Henly’s “The Boys Of Summer.” 

Looking for something to listen to? Browse Lonely Planet's selection of travel playlists here

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May 16, 2024: We started the day at the Centro Ecuestre Los Caireles.  There we met our hosts Miguel Angel and his brother Jesus, who own and run the farm.  (Miguel Angel wore a black vest.)  The Centro is a horse back riding school.  We shot pics at their farm and then headed to the town of Consuegra.  On the mountain overlooking the town, there is a castle and several windmills.  We shot pics and video of Miguel Angel and Jesus riding around the windmills and the castle.  This area is notable because it is where the fictional Don Quixote rode around in Miguel de Cervantes’ famous novel.  Afterward, we returned back to El Centro where we filmed our hosts riding by grape vineyards and olive groves to the nearby Villafranca de los Caballeros lagoons.
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