The Best 1990s Road Trip Playlist for 2020

Long road trips are a perfect time for music, and the 1990s have excellent choices from all genres.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 14, 2022

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Things to remember...

  • For the perfect 1990s playlist, you can choose a mix of the Billboard Top 100 songs of the decade or pick hits from your favorite genre
  • Listening to music helps drivers stay focused on long drives
  • Besides the perfect playlist, you should also have snacks, ample break times, and a solid car insurance policy to cover your road trip

With Tamagotchi, Beanie Babies, Pogs, Blockbuster, and some of the greatest snacks to ever cross supermarket shelves, the 1990s live on through nostalgia.

One of the best ways to recapture those positive 1990s vibes is through music, and there’s no better time to reacquaint yourself than on a long road trip.

You need more than a solid roadside assistance plan, full tires, and an assortment of your favorite snacks to make a successful road trip. Not only is music enjoyable, but it can also help you stay focused on long, boring stretches of road.

If you’ve forgotten some of your favorite jams, you can revisit the most popular songs from the 1990s below. Then, explore everything else you need to make your road trip a success.

Relive the Billboard Chart Toppers

The 1990s is a decade known for its music. From techno and hip-hop in the first half of the decade to grunge and later boy bands and pop, the 1990s has something for everyone.

If you’re interested in a 1990s playlist, a great place to start is with the top three songs from each year. While these songs don’t represent the true diversity of music from the 1990s, they can give you an overall feeling for the decade.

YearNumber One SongNumber Two SongNumber Three Song
1990"Hold On" by Wilson Phillips"It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette"Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O’Connor
1991"(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" by Bryan Adams"Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" by C+C Music Factory"Rush Rush" by Paula Abdul
1992"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men"Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot"Jump" by Kris Kross
1993"I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston"Whoomp! (There It Is)" by Tag Team"Can't Help Falling in Love" by UB40
1994"The Sign" by Ace of Base"I Swear" by All-4-One"I'll Make Love to You" by Boyz II Men
1995"Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring L.V."Waterfalls" by TLC"Creep" by TLC
1996"Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" by Los del Rio"One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men"Because You Loved Me" by Céline Dion
1997“Candle in the Wind 1997” by Elton John“You Were Meant for Me” by Jewel“I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112
1998“Too Close” by Next“The Boy is Mine” by Brandy and Monica“You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain
1999“Believe” by Cher“No Scrubs” by TLC“Angel of Mine” by Monica
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While the top Billboard songs for each year are a great place to start for your playlist, you should also flesh out hits from your favorite genres.

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Have Fun With the Top Pop Songs

While the 1990s isn’t the only decade with memorable pop songs, it has many iconic entries. Even people that don’t usually like pop music typically enjoy one or two 1990s pop songs. Here is a small selection of some of the best pop songs the 1990s offered:

  • “Vogue” by Madonna, 1990
  • “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, 1999
  • “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin, 1999
  • “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt, 1995
  • “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” by Selena, 1994
  • “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, 1997
  • “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera, 1999
  • “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey, 1995
  • “Linger” by The Cranberries, 1993
  • “Stay (I Missed You)” by Lisa Loeb, 1994

Some of these pop artists are still active today, while others had an instrumental influence on the next generation of musicians. Whatever the case, you’re sure to have fun listening.

Jam Out With Rock and Grunge Fan

Every decade of popular music has an iconic subgenre — music from the 1960s had soul and psychedelic rock, while the 1980s saw the rise of rap, hair metal, and the new wave movement. One of the most distinct subgenres in the 1990s was grunge. Here are some of the top rock and grunge songs of the 1990s:

  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, 1991
  • “Alive” by Pearl Jam, 1991
  • “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, 1995
  • “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1991
  • “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, 1991
  • “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots, 1994
  • “Cherub Rock” by The Smashing Pumpkins, 1993
  • “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden, 1994
  • “Basket Case” by Green Day, 1994
  • “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, 1990

Grunge didn’t stick around for long and was already losing popularity by the end of the decade. However, the genre created some great tunes that you can still catch on the radio today.

Belt Your Lungs Out With Ballads

One of the joys of a long road trip is singing along as loud as possible. Try these excellent ballads from the 1990s if you want something to sing with:

  • “My Heart Will Go On” by Céline Dion, 1997
  • “Save the Best for Last” by Vanessa Williams, 1991
  • “Un-Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton, 1996
  • “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal, 1994
  • “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith, 1998
  • “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses, 1991
  • “I Would Do Anything for Love” by Meat Loaf, 1993
  • “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes, 1997
  • “Soul Asylum” by Runaway Train, 1993
  • “Let Her Cry” by Hootie and the Blowfish, 1994

While there are plenty more 1990s ballads to sing along with, this is a great place to start.

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For the Rap and Hip-Hop Fan

Rap and hip-hop weren’t born in the 90s, but they certainly found their strides there. With so many great choices, it’s hard to choose just a few.

  • “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg, 1992
  • “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer, 1990
  • “California Love” by 2Pac featuring Roger Troutman and Dr. Dre, 1995
  • “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Doggy Dogg, 1993
  • “My Name Is” by Eminem, 1999
  • “N.Y. State of Mind” by Nas, 1994
  • “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J, 1990
  • “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube, 1992
  • “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G., 1994
  • “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs N Harmony, 1996

The 1990s was a starting point for many of today’s biggest artists, while others created timeless songs perfect for any road trip.

Have a Good Time With Country Favorites

The 1990s is the bridge between classic, twangy country music and the pop-influenced songs of today. Country artists like Garth Brooks rocked this decade, and there are simply too many hits to include in one list.

  • “Check Yes or No” by George Strait, 1995
  • “Neon Moon” by Brooks & Dunn, 1992
  • “Fancy” by Reba McEntire, 1990
  • “She’s in Love With the Boy” by Trisha Yearwood, 1991
  • “Be My Baby Tonight” by John Michael Montgomery, 1994
  • “Wide Open Spaces” by The Dixie Chicks, 1998
  • “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks, 1990
  • “This Kiss” by Faith Hill, 1998
  • “Independence Day” by Martina McBride, 1993

Country music doesn’t appeal to everyone, but the 1990s had some truly great songs for those who are fans.

Sing Along With Boy Bands and Girl Groups

Of all the 1990s musical genres, you could argue that the decade did boy bands and girl groups the best. There are still groups today, but a group rarely reaches the fever amongst fans that they did in the 1990s. Here are some of their most popular songs:

  • “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys, 1999
  • “C’est La Vie” by B*Witched, 1998
  • “Tearin’ Up My Heart” by *NSYNC, 1997
  • “Flying Without Wings” by Westlife, 1999
  • “Wannabe” by Spice Girls, 1996
  • “Back Here” by BBMak, 1999

Many members of boy bands or girl groups went on to have successful solo careers, like Justin Timberlake from *NSYNC or Beyonce from Destiny’s Child.

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Explore Alternative and Indie Groups

Several songs don’t quite fit into any of the genres above. Alternative hits from the 1990s include everything from heartfelt love songs to quirky beats. Here are a few of the best:

  • “One” by U2, 1991
  • “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M., 1991
  • “What I Got” by Sublime, 1996
  • “Loser” by Beck, 1993
  • “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys, 1994
  • “The Impression That I Get” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, 1997
  • “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring, 1994
  • “Firestarter” by The Prodigy, 1996
  • “Your Woman” by White Town, 1997
  • “Peaches” by The Presidents of the United States of America, 1996

This is just a selection of 1990s alternative hits — there are plenty more to choose from if you need a longer playlist.

Other Road Trip Necessities

There’s more to a successful road trip than a fantastic playlist. To ensure your road trip happens without a hitch, follow these simple tips:

  • Bring a real map. While virtual maps are a wonderful resource, they’re not foolproof. If you’re driving somewhere unfamiliar, having a paper map — and knowing how to read it — can keep you on track if your phone fails.
  • Stock snacks. Healthy snacks can keep you focused and feeling good. While the occasional junk food isn’t bad, you don’t want to make yourself feel bogged down with sugar.
  • Check your car. Before leaving, ensure your engine fluids are full and tires are in good condition.
  • Take breaks. Take bathroom breaks whenever you feel the need. It’s also essential to stretch and walk for a few minutes to keep your blood flowing.
  • Get the right insurance. The best insurance types to have on your car during a road trip are collision for accidents and roadside assistance in case anything breaks down.

Most states require a minimum amount of liability insurance to drive, but liability doesn’t cover your car. While it’ll make your monthly payment higher, the extra coverage and peace of mind are worth it.

Protect Your Car on Long Road Trips

The 1990s offers hundreds of hours of music to get you through any road trip. While the right music gets you through the journey, the right car insurance helps your car get through it.

To find the right coverage at the best price, you should compare quotes with as many companies as possible. Then, grab your favorite songs for your 1990s playlist and hit the road.



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