Sounds of Summer: A Sunny Playlist for Your Salon

A new study has revealed the top songs and artists people listen to while traveling and on summer vacation – with popular artists such as Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift making the list.   

The research, conducted by the travel site Miss Tourist, utilized the tool Playlist Miner to analyze just under 10,000 Spotify playlists. The search used ten keywords such as ‘travel’, ‘vacation,’ and ‘road trip,’ which identified the top tracks and artists featured in these playlists.  

The data revealed the ultimate travel and vacation playlist, with Calvin Harris’ dance-pop anthem Summer claiming the top spot, the perfect song to get you in the vacation mood.   

Next is the acoustic classic Riptide by Vance Joy, which brings relaxed vibes to the road trip. Following closely behind is Declan McKenna’s Brazil which adds a more Indie feel.  

Other notable tracks include pop icon Sabrina Carpenter’s new song, Espresso and folk anthems such as Noah Kahan’s Stick Season. Vacationers clearly still love the classics, as Natasha Bedingfield’s song, ‘Unwritten,’ also features prominently in travel playlists.  

Calvin Harris makes the top ten list again with his 2011 song of the summer Feel So Close, followed by classic rock from The Killers with Mr. Brightside. Rounding out the list, Pit Bull’s (feat. Ne-Yo) Time of Our Lives has been named another classic vacation tune.   

Additionally, the study revealed the top artists people choose to listen to while traveling. Taylor Swift emerged as the top artist, appearing 2,894 times across the analyzed playlists—significantly more than the second-place artist, Calvin Harris, who is also coincidentally Swift’s ex-boyfriend, and had 2,047 appearances.  

In fact, the research showed that across each keyword search, the playlists all frequently featured Taylor Swift’s hits, especially her track Cruel Summer, which ranked as the seventh most popular song for travel and has collected over two billion Spotify streams since its release in 2019.   

Ranking as the second most-featured artist is Calvin Harris, with 2,047 appearances. His song ‘Summer’ was the top choice, taking the number one spot in travel playlists with 600 appearances. The track has garnered just under one and a half billion streams on Spotify, making it a must-have song on any travel or vacation playlist.  

Calvin Harris secures another spot in the top ten songs with his hit Feel So Close – Radio Edit, which ranks eighth. With over 988 million Spotify streams, this feel-good anthem stands out as a popular choice for summer vacations.  

Pitbull has been named the third most featured artist in travel playlists, with 920 appearances. His track Time of Our Lives ranked as the tenth most prevalent song overall. The track has garnered a staggering number of streams – over one billion – making Pitbull a staple for any upbeat vacation playlist.  

Coldplay and Drake follow closely behind, in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Coldplay appeared 855 times, with their uplifting and atmospheric music clearly resonating well with travelers. Drake made 688 appearances, offering a mix of relaxed and energetic tracks perfect for any journey.  

Sabrina Carpenter ranked sixth, with 655 appearances in travel-related playlists, and her new hit song Espresso was the fourth most popular choice. This is hardly surprising, given that the song has already amassed over 500 million streams on Spotify since its release in April 2024.  

Avicii ranked as the seventh most popular artist in travel and vacation-related playlists, with 623 appearances in relevant playlists. Avicii’s top song, Wake Me Up, a summer classic, ranked in fourteenth place. It is obviously still a popular song choice, as since its release in 2013, it has amassed a staggering number of Spotify streams – over two billion.   

Vance Joy has been named the eighth most featured artist in the study, with 584 appearances in vacation and travel-related playlists. His classic summer song Riptide claimed the second most popular spot, with 584 appearances in relevant playlists. The iconic song has been streamed over two and a half billion times on Spotify, making it one of the most popular summer songs of all time.   

Rounding out the top ten artists are Declan McKenna, with 576 appearances in travel-related playlists, and the Arctic Monkeys, which had 541 appearances.  

The Ultimate Summer Travel and Vacation Playlist

1.    Summer by Calvin Harris
2.    Riptide by Vance Joy
3.    Brazil by Declan McKenna
4.    Espresso by Sabrina Carpenter
5.    Stick Season by Noah Kahan
6.    Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
7.    Cruel Summer by Taylor Swift
8.    Feel So Close-Radio Edit by Calvin Harris
9.    Mr. Brightside by The Killers
10.    Time of Our Lives (featuring Ne-Yo) by Pitbull
11.    Unforgettable by French Montana
12.    I Ain’t Worried by OneRepublic
13.    Tongue Tied by GroupLove
14.    Wake Me Up by Avicii
15.    Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears
16.    Give Me Everything (featuring Nayer) by Pitbull
17.    Passionfruit by Drake
18.    Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus
19.    Could You Be Loved by Bob Marley & the Wailers
20.    One Dance by Drake
21.    Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon
22.    The Nights by Avicii
23.    Hips Don’t Lie featuring Wyclef Jean) by Shakira
24.    (It Goes Like) Nanana-Edit by Peggy Gou
25.    Hey Ya! By Outkast
26.    Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men
27.    All the Stars (with SZA) by Kendrick Lamar
28.    End of Beginning by Djo
29.    Shotgun by George Ezra
30.    A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay

Speaking on the findings, Yulia Saf, Founder of Miss Tourist, says: “Music can be a powerful tool to enhance your travel experience in several ways. Firstly, it can significantly reduce stress, making it an ideal companion for anxious travelers, especially those who find flying nerve-wracking. Listening to music can soothe the mind and ease the stress associated with travel.  

 “Secondly, music has the ability to make time pass more quickly. This is particularly beneficial during long journeys, as it helps to distract and entertain, making the hours seem shorter and the trip more enjoyable.     

“Lastly, research suggests that music can have tangible physical benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and improving sleep quality. For those looking to rest while traveling, whether on a flight or a train, picking some of the more chilled and soothing songs from the playlist is a great way to facilitate relaxation and promote better sleep, leading to a more comfortable and restful journey.”  

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Originally posted on Salon Today

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