13 Travel-friendly Headphones That Will Make Any Trip More Enjoyable
Whether you're hoping to listen to that album you’ve been meaning to for months, to binge-watch movies, or take a nap without having to listen to the passengers around you, our number one piece of advice is: Never board a plane or a train without headphones.
Of course, finding the right pair takes some research and time. The first thing you should look for in a nice pair of travel-friendly headphones is noise cancellation. This feature not only isolates ambient noise so you can enjoy your movie without hearing the baby in 19B cry for the entire flight, it will also serve your fellow passengers by blocking the sound from whatever movie you're watching while they try to read a book. Basically, it’s a win-win.
And since you can spend hours at a time wearing headphones while traveling, they must also be light and comfortable. Your ears or head should not hurt after watching only one episode of your favorite show. My personal rule of thumb is if I can fall asleep with the headphones on and not wake up with a headache, then I know I’ve invested my money well.
It is also essential for your headphones not to take up a third of the room in your travel tote. This is not an issue you’ll have with earbuds, but if you’re shopping for over-ear headphones, opt for a foldable or collapsible pair.
Obviously, great sound quality is a must and the good news is that nowadays you don’t have to break the bank to get headphones that offer crisp sound and punchy bass.
Keep scrolling for 14 travel-friendly pairs at every price point to make your next trip more pleasant.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones
Frequent and business travelers take note — Bose’s new version of their QuietComfort 35s is absolutely worth the investment. Not only do they have superior noise-canceling qualities, but you can now adjust the level of noise-canceling to better fit your environment. The battery lasts an impressive 20 hours and a quick 15-minute charge will give you two and a half hours of battery life. The headphones also come with Google Assistant built in, so you can manage your daily tasks or receive texts via voice command.
To buy: amazon.com, $349
Jabra Sport Pace Wireless Earbud Headphones
For all you sports enthusiasts who don’t like skipping workouts while on a trip, these cool wireless headphones are everything you’d wish for — sweat-resistant with a built-in microphone and a reflective cable that keeps you safe in case you decide to go for a night run.
To buy: amazon.com, $48 (originally $99)
Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones
The updated version of these popular headphones is lighter, more comfortable, and will play your favorite tunes longer. The improved dual-mode Adaptive Noise Canceling feature lets you block outside noise even if you’re not listening to music, and the 12-hour rechargeable battery will surely last one very long flight. And last but not least, the headphones are foldable so they won’t take up much space in your carry-on bag.
To buy: amazon.com, $270
Bose QuietComfort 20
Bose’s noise-canceling technology “shuts out the world” and lets you “focus on your music.” The great thing about that feature is that you can turn it on or off so you can hear those pilot announcements in case of turbulence, for example. The soft tips form a gentle seal so it doesn't hurt your ears and contribute to noise reduction. The QuietComfort 20 headphones are available for Apple devices as well as Samsung and Android.
To buy: amazon.com, $249
Etymotic Research MC5
With great sound accuracy and a very high noise-isolation level, this pair of headphones is not only a great option for that price point but you can also be certain they are a durable one. They come in a box that includes an assortment of ear tips so you can find the best and most comfortable seal for you.
To buy: amazon.com, $79
You’ll be lying if you said these Sony headphones don’t grab your attention. And trust us they are worth it — with impressive sound quality and a Bass Boost button that delivers an extraordinary bass response, they will make you feel like you’re in a club and not stuck on a train or a plane. The built-in rechargeable battery will last a remarkable 20 hours and the wrap-around-the-ear cushions are a good seal for the ultimate listening experience.
To buy: amazon.com, $119
Jwait Bluetooth Headphones
These in-ear headphones feature superior Bluetooth technology and offer a faster and more stable connection between devices. The battery lasts for up to ten hours and it will take only about an hour and a half to recharge it. Expect HD sound quality and an impressive bass performance, especially for this price point.
To buy: amazon.com, $20
Apple's tiny, tangle-free AirPods are the most effortless way to get rich, high-quality sound. They'll connect automatically to your iPhone or other Apple devices. And the case holds up to 24 hours worth of extra power; just 15 minutes of charge will give you three hours of listening time.
To buy: amazon.com, $145 (originally $159)
Ghostek soDrop series
With top-of-the-line sound quality and an uber cool design that will turn a few heads at the airport, these headphones basically look just as great as they sound. There’s a built-in microphone in one of the earcups so you don’t have to remove them to take a phone call. And the bi-directional noise reduction feature will ensure your full attention is on the sound.
To buy: amazon.com, $70
Symphonized NRG 3.0 Earbuds
Crafted from real wood, these headphones produce impeccable sound while blocking out any surrounding noise. They come with three silicone ear tips, in three different sizes, for a custom and comfortable fit.
To buy: amazon.com, $26
TaoTronics Active Noise-canceling Headphones
Listen to music or binge-watch your favorite TV show for up to 15 hours with these headphones. The built-in noise-canceling microphone also lets you have undisturbed voice calls.
To buy: amazon.com, $46
Even H3 Bluetooth Headphones
It’s relatively easy to find wireless headphones that deliver on either price or sound quality, but a set that achieves a happy medium between the two is rare. Developed with input from musicians and sound, software, and hardware engineers, the latest iteration of this over-the-ear set by Even is both affordable and made with the high standards music aficionados have in mind. After being paired with your device, the headphones’ app takes you through a quick quiz to determine how you hear a handful of frequencies, then creates a personalized “audio print” that optimizes music to your hearing — one of our editors was shocked by the difference. What better way to tune out plane cabin cacophony?
To buy: weareeven.com, $149
Oucomi Active Noise-cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
These foldable headphones weaken surrounding noise by 20dB with the switch of a button. They deliver impeccable connection via Bluetooth which makes them perfect for hands-free calls (they have a built-in microphone) as well as listening to music. The battery lasts 12 hours.
To buy: amazon.com, $60