Holiday road-tripping: Music makes all the difference


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But before the “stockings are hung by the chimney with care,” and the halls are “decked with boughs of holly,” many students must make the journey to their respective homes to meet their loved ones.

For many students, making the journey back home means a long road trip. But road trips don’t have to be boring. One thing that makes road trips a memorable experience is the music played.

Often the destination or occasion for road-tripping determines the type of music that is to be played. Mitch Spencer, from Thatcher,  Ariz., said music has the ability to set the mood and raise excitement.

“Music is such an important part of road-tripping,” Spencer said. “Of course, it depends on the mood you’re trying to set and where you’re going, but that’s why you have to have a wide variety of stuff to choose.”

For long trips, he likes a medley of music to differentiate things. At the beginning, he likes to have pump-up jams blasting; near the middle, he chooses more relaxed music; and nearing the end of his journey, he’ll need the pump-up jams again to carry him in with a bang.

Brad George from Cody, Wyo., agreed with Spencer concerning the importance of music on road trips. He said he believes music serves so many purposes on road trips.

“Music makes the trip not as boring, keeps you awake, is social and can be a conversation starter,” George said. “I’ll listen to pretty much anything when I’m road-tripping because it just makes it fun.”

George did say that his genre of choice is country.

“It keeps you attentive,” George said. “It’s fun to sing along — as loud as you can. I do that all the time.”

Erica Larsen, a sophomore studying photography, has had many memorable experiences with her family on road trips. Her family has frequently done the cross-country road trip, but to make it entertaining they use music and sing-a-longs more than DVDs and word games.

“There are six people in my family, each with very different tastes in music,” Larsen said. “One playlist or genre can’t please us all, so what we do is, we take turns choosing the song. Our only rule is that you don’t mock someone’s choice, because you wouldn’t want them to mock yours.”

This system works for her family. Larsen said that by the end of the road trip the boys secretly learn to like the girlier choices of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, and the girls are belting the more male-oriented sounds of Alabama.

“We are all somewhat musically talented,” Larsen said. “So when we can harmonize and split into parts, it just makes us all come together. Actually, sometimes I remember the car rides more than the actual vacations, and I would definitely attribute that to our road-tripping music.”

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