Finding the Best Headphones for Travel: 3 Must-Have Features

The evolution of the audio space has certainly paved the way for a more refined travel-listening experience. Headphones are proving to be just as commonplace as our smartphones, serving as a necessity for our 9 to 5 or airborne commute. Though you should know the average over-ear or basic earbud won’t suffice. Quality is key when shopping for the right pair of travel headphones. Three key features to keep on you radar to make trips more enjoyable: noise cancellation, compact size, and longer battery life.

Noise-Cancellation: Tuning Travel Sounds Out

Whether it’s the sound of a neighbor’s chatter, the tracks on a train ride, or the need to focus on a plane, noise-cancellation is an important comfort function for traveling. Most modern headphones are equipped with passive or active noise-cancelling technology, or both. While many models are successful at eliminating ambient background noise—low frequency noises such as the roar of an airplane engine or gusty winds—the majority aren’t engineered to block most environmental disturbances.

Passive noise-cancelling headphones are technically noise-isolating and do not use any electronic sound reduction technology. Active noise-cancelling headphones contain the same attributes as its passive counterpart, while adding microphones and complex processing into the equation to achieve superior clarity. Phiaton has innovatively designed models such as the BT 150 NC and 900 Legacy that allow for as much a 95% noise reduction. Closed-back sealed headphones, like the 900 Legacy, sit over the ears to help block out external noises while an in-ear design forms an acoustic seal within the ear itself. We recommend looking over our full breakdown [How Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work] to see how these noise-canceling technologies work.

Design: Carry-On Friendly & Comfort Functionalities

Headphone format is the next key feature in finding the perfect travel companion. Both earbuds and in-ears flaunt compact designs that can easily be tucked away in any pocket. Earbuds generally sit in the concha or “bowls” of your ears, while the in-ear design actually goes into the ear canal. You can score a basic pair for as low as $5 at your grocery counter, but don’t expect top-notch performance. For a reasonable price, the avid music lover can take in portable convenience and excellent sound output with the BT 150 NC.

Full sized, on-ear headphones support more noise reduction properties simply because of the design, and often deliver more powerful sound. Phiaton has managed to create a travel, user-friendly model in the BT 330 NC, which has a foldable form factor and great wireless capabilities for instant mobility. Audio output proves to be just as seamless, powered by dynamic drivers that generate excellent resonances.

 Longer Listening Hours & Practical Cords

Wiring completes the trinity of travel headphone features. Wireless features are a gift for many, but if you have a long overseas flight, it isn’t very helpful to have a pair of Bluetooth headphones that will only last through the first couple of hours. A pair that keeps battery life in the double digits, like the BT 460’s that can last up to 20, is the perfect travel companion. If your office is as far as you’ll be travelling, it’s comforting to know that you don’t have to worry about charging your pair every day. If you’re afraid of getting caught with a low-powered device, look for headphones that provide a spare cord that lets the sound flow sans Bluetooth connectivity.

For those that prefer to stay connected via a wire, a tangle-free cord is crucial. Who enjoys pulling their sound cans through countless loops, risking damage with too many tugs? One pull in the wrong direction can shorten a product’s lifespan. The creation of tangle-free cords like those on the PS 202 NC can alleviate this problem.

Whether you prefer the light, compact style of an earbud or the secluded aura of active noise-cancellation, Phiaton hosts a collection of travel headphones to accommodate your everyday journeys.

By CJ Washington

Updated March 23, 2021

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