You Need to Make a “Strangers Playlist” on Your Next Trip — Here’s Why

published Apr 23, 2024
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Portrait of two women with long blond and brown curly hair sitting in car, wearing sunglasses, smiling.
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When I was growing up, my family took a road trip almost every summer. Hours upon hours in the car meant sleeves full of CDs, heated debates over which roadside attractions to pull over for, and plenty of car games to play. We filled up notebooks with state names for the license plate game; we played 20 questions on repeat; we played the alphabet game so much I retroactively fear for my parents’ sanity. But in looking for the best road trip game, I wish we had known about the “strangers” playlist. 

What is a “strangers” playlist?

A “strangers” playlist is one you make while traveling, by asking strangers you meet along the way for a favorite song of theirs. TikTok user delilah_isabel shared the concept in a video, saying, “My mom and I make ‘strangers’ playlists when we travel together. We choose a theme and ask every person we meet for a song. This trip was ‘what’s a song that reminds you of your mom?’ We talked to shop owners, Uber drivers, waiters, hostesses, and so many more.”

You can pick whatever theme you want: What’s a song that always makes you want to dance? What would be the soundtrack to your life? A song that reminds you of your best friend? A song that feels like home? And then use that as your guide to build a playlist and get to talk to new people, whether you’re solo tripping or traveling with friends or family. 

The comments on the TikTok are filled with people thinking of doing the same thing on their next trip — and people touched by how heartwarming the answers to the “What’s a song that reminds you of your mom?” prompt were. “I love human connection so much, this has me crying😭❤️,” says one commenter. 

“If someone asked me this, I would never forget them😭,” says another. 

Someone else writes, “This is the sweetest idea.”

“AMOR ETERNO IM CRYINGGGGG,” says another, referencing one of the stranger’s song picks. 

Want to listen to the playlist for yourself? You can find it on Spotify here.

In the end, delilah_isabel writes in her video, “We now have a 1.5-hour playlist to remember all those people by, and I have 21 new songs that make me think of my mom.” 

Excuse me while I go call my mom and make some travel plans!!