How to Pick the Best Affordable Earbuds for Travelers

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General Travel Advice

Best Affordable Earbuds for Travelers

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One of my favorite things to do is to hike or at the least take long walks while listening to music. I wanted to find new earbuds so they had to be the best affordable earbuds for travel. My gear, especially my earbuds, have to work while traveling or when I am at home.

My earbuds have to be affordable, high value and sturdy. That criteria is what I used to determine my top three travel gear criteria. I have to buy stuff that is dependable but, also not too expensive to replace because I know they will break or get lost.

Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel

A recent incident on a Delta flight hit this home for me. I was in the USA when I had to replace my earbuds. So having just done this research on earbuds, it seems like a good idea to share it with you. This is going to be a three-part series. First I will focus on the new earbuds, then fitness and personal security travel gear and last post will be on home security.

How I Lost My Earbuds

My story begins with a recent flight on Delta, in business class and a broken air vent. The flight attendant tried to fix the air vent that was like a wind tunnel. She couldn’t so the air marshall changed seats with me. I sat in his seat and as soon as I sat down the man next to me had to get up. I stood up, he got up and I waited for him to return.

Take Your Earbuds with You

I left my earbuds in the armrest socket and put the earplugs in my seat. I don’t usually unplug them when someone gets up, do you? When he got back and sat down, he said, “I crushed your headset.” I looked at it. He was right. Somehow my Sennheiser earbuds were bent at a 90 degrees angle. When I gently took it out of the socket, the metal was left in the plug. But the wires were in my seat.

T.V. Show Says It All

It’s funny, the day before I watched Judge Judy on TV. The t.v case featured a 17-year-old boy. He found himself in court because he poked a hole in a pizza box while playing with a pen. The story goes – a girl sitting next to him had placed her cell phone on the pizza box while looking in her purse. He poked the pizza box just once. The pizza box went flying when the boy pulled his pen out of the box, and the cell phone flew across the room and broke into pieces. So he was in Judge Judy’s courtroom being sued for breaking the girls iPhone. The Judge said this.

“Did you poke the pizza box?” Judge Judy asked.

“Yes.” the boy replied.

“You are a responsible person, buy the girl a new cell phone. Why are you wasting my time? Why are you in my court? You broke her phone. Do the right thing.” Judge Judy said.

“I said I was sorry.” The boy said.

“That’s a good beginning. Now, buy her a new iPhone.” Judge Judy replied.

No Apologies

In my case, I didn’t get the apology, I wasn’t getting new earbuds. The flight attendant gave me a set of new airline earbuds. She wrote up the incident. But after using the Delta earbuds my ears hurt a day later, and it was only a three-hour flight. So earbuds are now on my list of items to “bring a spare” when traveling. Yes, I bring two earbuds now. They are small! It’s important to be comfortable on the plane so having a spare set of earbuds to cancel out airplane noise and unwanted airplane conversations is important.

Four Uses for Earbuds

My first category is it needs to work with everything. Some of the earbuds came with mics so they can take a call on my cell phone. That’s a plus as long as they work seamlessly and let me take a call while I am listening to Sirius XM radio app.

The second possible reason for using earbuds is when you exercise or go hiking. You want to be aware of your surrounds and the noise around you. But you don’t want noise canceling, but noise reducing is valuable and allow you to talk on your cell phone.

The third possible use for ear buds is to cancel all the noise such as when you are on an airplane and want to sleep.

The fourth possible use is if someone wants to focus just on great music and sound. Great base and balance make for great earbuds!

Just My Opinion

I thought it is good for you to know that I didn’t get paid to write this post. No one donated equipment for me to test. I researched the best, bought the earbuds, then tested the gear comparing each set to the other ones based on the reviews. The earbuds were mostly bought from Amazon. One pair was bought from the Microsoft store. My rating for each pair based on what I think is best. I decided to write about the good ones – and skip the negative comments!

Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel: Best Value with Mic and Great Sound

These earbuds won best overall because they fit well, had different size ear pieces, felt good in my ears, worked with most of my devices, and have a mic with very good sound.

Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel for Universal Devices

Universal with a cell phone mic, good sound, and some noise isolation. You can’t beat the price either.

These weren’t as comfortable for my small ears but had color coding so you know left and right easily in a dark place. The price is great too if you want these to be a spare pair.

These were best for running or doing sports, they were comfortable, didn’t come out when hiking and I had noise reduction but not complete noise canceling as promised.
Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel, Best Affordable Travel Gear - Earbuds

Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel

This pair were very comfortable – fab sound but don’t have a mic so if you are using a phone that is a negative.
Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel, Best Affordable Travel Gear - Earbuds

Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel and iPhone

This pair of earbuds are rated best by Business Weekly and I liked them for iPods and Apple devices. The only downside is they are more expensive.
Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel, Best Affordable Travel Gear - Earbuds

Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel with Noise Canceling

This pair is best for airplane travel – they cut noise out almost completely and are over the ears so they are comfortable if you prefer that to putting gear in your ears. These are great for a long flight, sleeping at night but are the largest so they take up the most room of the gear tested.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Samsung and Android devices, Black

Best Affordable Earbuds for Travel, Best Affordable Travel Gear - Earbuds

One Other Point

As I said originally, I have an Android phone. My Samsung earbuds should be good enough – but they aren’t. I tested the Samsung earbuds that came with the Galaxy Android phones, they were worse than all the others that I tested. They have good sound but they really hurt my ears. So I don’t use them and this is why I began my search for better earbuds. Now you can pick the set that are best for you from my recommendation list. Let me know what you decide to buy! Good luck. Hopefully you wont sit next to the Hulk on your next flight like I did.

Copyright © 2018 Capetown-Rio, Inc. USA. All rights reserved. Republishing is allowed only with written permission. All photography rights on this page belong to Capetown-Rio, Inc. and the author. Do you have a question, business proposal, or speaking opportunity? Please contact me here.

Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.


  1. Peter Shaw

    November 7, 2017 at 7:42 am

    You are amazing Kate!!!

    • Peter Shaw

      November 7, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Traveling is one of my most favorite activities so thank you Kate!!

    • Kate

      November 7, 2017 at 7:46 am

      Hi Peter, thanks for the encouragement. But, why? I have to tell the truth about my travel – sometimes it works and sometimes my trips have a few glitches!

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