There are three components to a good road trip: a good attitude, good snacks, and a good playlist. Without good attitudes, a road trip can be hell in a tin can for hours on end. Without snacks, everyone gets hangry… and you end up in the exact same hell. Without a playlist, you face the possibility of uncomfortable silence, pure static, being forced to play nonstop DJ, or even listening to some angry zealot on AM radio telling you to repent. So, yeah, playlists are essential — plus, they leave hands free for passing snacks and pointing out cows.
But just because you’ve pumped up the road trip anticipation by adding songs to your “perfect playlist” doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement along the way. One mom-and-daughter duo on TikTok is going viral for their unique road trip music tradition, and it’s totally worth borrowing. The brilliant idea? Building a playlist on the fly by sourcing songs from the people they meet.
“My mom and I make these wild ‘strangers playlists’ every time we travel together,” shares Delilah Isabel (@delilah_isabel). “We’ll decide on a theme and then ask every single person we meet the same question for that playlist.”
Talking to strangers you meet along the way when you’re traveling alone or with kids may not always be a good choice. However, these women are experienced travelers, so they likely know when to trust their gut and leave situations or people that make them uneasy. Plus, as you can see in the video, they’re mostly asking people they come into contact with in public settings: gas station attendants, convenience stores cashiers, etc. Though, Delilah shares that the conversations offer some surprising experiences in return.
“We end up hearing some amazing stories, drinking wine with people, even ending up in some people’s cars on a little adventure,” she shares about this trusting but rewarding venture, adding that they’ve also found themselves sitting around fire pits and hearing answers from people who overheard their conversation and joined in. “This led us to hear so many amazing stories and have songs to remember all these people by, and now we have a two-hour playlist.”
What kind of questions are they asking? It seems like the overarching idea is to ask questions about songs that might trigger strong emotions or a good story. “On this road trip, we asked literally everyone we met, ‘What is a song that makes you really fucking happy?’” she explains, giving an idea of the kind of question they might pose to strangers.
Want to try this playlist idea and need some question inspo?
- What song always makes you cry, no matter what?
- What song reminds you of your best friend?
- What song reminds you of your mom/dad?
- What song reminds you of your partner (or an ex)?
- What song do you remember most happily from your childhood?
- What song do you want played at your wedding/funeral?
- What song do you know all the words to, even without hearing the music?
- What’s a song you love, even though you always butcher the lyrics?
- What song do you associate with your happiest memory?
- What song always makes it onto your road trip playlist?
- Is there a song that makes you think of (insert place you’re going)?
- Is there a song you used to love and now you hate?
According to Delilah, the connective power of music has taken their road trips to the next level. “I’ve made 5 strangers playlists now,” she captioned the video, “& each one has changed my life! Make one on your next trip.”