If you're about to take a trip, be it on a plane, train, or automobile, a great set of headphones can help make the journey more enjoyable. A great set of travel headphones will sound pretty good, stand up to the bumps, drops, and general stresses of travel, and most importantly, block out the constant drone of engine noise and crying babies.
Luckily, you don't need to empty your wallet to gain freedom from the din of travel. Using our world-class testing equipment and software provided by ListenInc, we've selected a handful of the best headphones for traveling, at a few different price points.
The MEElectronics M6 headphones provide all the noise-blocking prowess of expensive headphones at a fraction of the price—as little as $20 online. Unlike noise-canceling headphones, the M6s plug your ear canal, blocking anywhere from 50 to 87 percent of outside sound from ever getting to your eardrums—protecting both your hearing and your sanity. Extended use isn't always comfortable, and audio quality is as uneven as you'd expect for the price. But sometimes you just need a cheap set of headphones, and this is the cheap set that travelers should look at.
The Sennheiser CXC 700s are in-ear headphones that also provide active noise cancellation, and provide a fantastic mix of function and performance. They don't erase as much noise as high-end active noise-cancellers do, but it'll be good enough for most travelers. Audio quality is really quite good for this type of design, too. Buds like these are a rare gem for the price point (about $180 online).
If you've got the cash, upgrade to first class with the Harman Kardon NCs. Released earlier in 2013, these headphones look great, are very easy to maintain, and have some of the best audio quality for a set of active noise-cancelers that we've ever tested. Attractive and smelling of a new car with leather seats, these will set you back a pretty penny at $349—but you absolutely get what you pay for.