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4 Best Headphones to Travel with – Listen Up!

September 9, 2021

How do you choose the best headphones to travel with? Normally, you’d do a ton of investigation, but we took the time to research the features that really matter to travelers, so you don’t have to.

  1. Weight
  2. Noise cancelling powers
  3. Battery life
  4. Comfort
  5. Durability

These are the best headphones for your travels, by feature. Because when you’re about to spend 6 hours flying next to a fussy toddler, you’re more concerned with battery life and noise isolation than whether you look a bit like a 90s DJ.

For full info on each pair, scroll down. TL:DR? Check out our quick list below.

Best all-round: Apple AirPods Pro

Best for battery life: Sony WH-1000XM3

Most resilient: Westone 78400 Adventure Series Alpha

Most comfortable for sleep: Noise Isolation Sleep Earbuds by VZ Sport Mate

1. Best all-round headphones for business travel: Apple AirPods Pro

Easy to charge, great Active Noise Cancellation (ANC is key for surviving a noisy flight), multiple earbud sizes, decent (though not the best) battery life, super portable – at the risk of jumping on the zeitgeist, there’s a lot for travellers to love about the revamped AirPods.

  • £249.00 rrp
  • Weight: 5.4g
  • ANC: 8/10
  • Listening time: 8/10. Up to 24 hours listening time (with a charged case and a bit of switching around).
  • Convenience: 9/10. Control directly from the AirPod or by voice, Selection of buds for the perfect fit.
  • Durability: 5/10 and very easy to lose!
  • Get them here

2. Best for battery life: Sony WH-1000XM3

ANC is crucial for travel but we can’t deny it’s a massive drain on battery life. Sony’s multi award-winning WH-1000XM3 (just rolls off the tongue) can hold their own with up to 30 hours of listening time (38 if ANC is off). Bonus points for flat folding for ease of transport and some truly revolutionary atmospheric pressure regulation that makes them perfectly suited for flying.

  • £269.00 rrp
  • Weight: 155g
  • ANC: 9/10
  • Listening time: 9/10. Up to 38 hours listening time, additional 5 hours of listening from a 10 minute charge.
  • Convenience: 9/10 Tip: Cover one ear to instantly hear conversations
  • Durability: 8/10
  • Get them here

3. Most resilient: Westone 78400 Adventure Series Alpha

From accidental liquid explosions to cables shredded in seat mechanisms to stepping on them in the dark of a night flight, we’ve road-tested a lot of our own earphones by totally destroying them mid-trip – usually just before an important call.

Spare yourself our pain and invest in a sturdier pair if you’re on the clumsier side and less concerned with battery life. You may not have heard of the brand before but they’ve been around since the ‘60s quietly making great products.

Water-resistant, a cable that you can replace rather than buying a whole new pair, housed in a pretty tough case – one day it’ll just be these guys and the cockroaches left.

  • Around £150rrp
  • Weight: 249g
  • ANC: no
  • Listening time: wired/unlimited
  • Convenience: 8/10
  • Durability: 10/10 inc. Weather-resistant
  • Get them here

4. Most comfortable for sleep: Noise Isolation Sleep Earbuds by VZ Sport Mate

A lot of sleeping options come in headband form but we’ve found a lack of size options to be a barrier to adoption. It’s hard to be totally comfortable sleeping on a flight even without a hard piece of plastic stuck in your ear, but with the combination of extra flexible silicon and a supremely low price point, the VZ Sport Mate in-ear buds are gentle on your ears and your wallet.

You’ll still never ditch that caffeine habit but with these ones you may look a little less like a zombie after a red-eye.

  • £15.99 rrp
  • Weight: 54.4g
  • ANC: no – but double-insulation for noise isolation
  • Listening time: wired/unlimited
  • Convenience: 9/10
  • Durability: 8/10
  • Get them here

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