Over the past year, I’ve been thinking about the worst things about travelling. The little irritations and the big, difficult parts of any trip. Long haul flights, train travel and sometimes staying in cities can leave you tired, drained and annoyed. I’ve come up with a solution to my biggest problem and I think it could make a fantastic Christmas gift for a traveller.
I’ve narrowed this down to what exactly drives me mad and the answer I’ve come up with is noise. People talking, babies crying and even that white noise of airplane engines or train tracks can drive me up the wall. Occasionally, it really doesn’t bother me. I can sail through the day enjoying the sound of kids and people chewing loudly (ok, never that one!) However, if I have been travelling for over 6/7 hours on flights, overnight, jetlagged and I’m not halfway to my destination, you better believe I will need some help to stay sane.
This is where my magical suggestion comes in. It really has helped me over my last few trips and is even a great idea for noisy offices or public transport commutes to work. The solution is noise cancelling headphones.
I bought a cheapish pair after trying out a friends headphones and it is a game changer for me. I used to feel groggy and had headaches from long haul travel but this makes a big difference. It also allows me to be less irritated in confined spaces with other travellers which feels better too. You just put them on and drown out the background noise.
Here are my reviews of some of the best noise cancelling and noise minimising headphones on the market (apologies for some of the terrible photos of me on night flights!)
Sony MDR ZX110NA
Price – £45
My verdict – Great budget pair of noise cancelling headphones. Anyone could use these and they are adjustable and easily folded away. Padded earpieces sit on your ears and are comfortable. Not too big and good for carry on baggage. The only downside to this pair was the wire. Not a big issue but wireless headphones with Bluetooth are fantastic. For the price, I wouldn’t expect that level and you get a great piece of tech anyway. A solid effort from Sony!
Score – 4 out of 5
Plantronics Backbeat Pro
Price – £155
My Verdict – Wireless and Bluetooth compatible is the future! This pair were great to wear on the go. My only slight issue was the size. At full size, they are bigger than all of the other headphones I tested with large earpieces. They are very comfortable with padding on your ears and across the headband. The sound was crisp and you can adjust the volume and switch tracks on the earpieces. Easy to set up with your device and adjustable size. A good value option for wireless, full size, over-ear headphones.
Score – 4 out of 5
Ghostek Turbine In-Ear
Price – £29.99
My Verdict – I wanted to try a couple of in-ear noise limiting headphones. I have a couple of friends who don’t like big, on-ear or over-ear headphones and they are not for everyone. When I go running, at the gym or on a public transport commute, I generally use in ear pieces. I chose a budget pair and a more expensive pair (further down). These are wired and very easy to use. They are plug in and go type of headphones. The noise limiting side was ok, the silicone tips do keep some background noise out but less than the others I tested. If you’re looking for a good pair of cheaper headphones, go for these ones.
Score – 3 out of 5
Bose Quiet Comfort 35
Price – £280
My Verdict – You get what you pay for and these are at the top. I loved this pair of headphones. Every part was luxury from the padding to the noise cancelling excellence and the wireless Bluetooth features. I liked the shape of the earpieces and how easy it was to set up. There was a detachable wire that you could plug in to your flight entertainment. They weren’t too big and very easy to store in the case. Great for carry on luggage and a firm favourite for me. If only they were a bit cheaper, I would buy as a Christmas gift for all the family! An indulgence but you will be hard pushed to find better.
Score – 5 out of 5
Powerbeats2 Wired In-Ear Headphones
Price – £120
My Verdict – I will use these in future when running or at the gym. The fit is great and very secure. They do limit the noise and have a great sound with enhanced base. The wire is adjustable and there is a remote talk feature on the cable. Easy to store in their case and perfect for carry on luggage. A brilliant pair of in-ear noise limiting earphones.
Score – 4 out of 5
Do you own a pair of noise cancelling headphones you use for travel? What was your verdict of any on my list?
A huge thank you to the companies involved in giving/loaning me headphones for this review. My views are absolutely my own and this did not affect how I scored anything in the post.
Prices correct at time of publishing.