Don’t Forget To Pack: Noise Cancelling Headphones

by Melissa on June 3, 2011 · 1 comment

With my latest traveling experience to Australia and New Zealand already documented for you all to enjoy, I’m constantly trying to think of more ways that I can write about traveling and hopefully engage readers with relevant information.  Prior to my travels I had done a lot of research into things that I should bring along with me, and as any traveler  (first timers to seasoned veterans) will tell you, space in your pack is limited.  Whatever you think you just can’t live without, more than likely, you can.  But that’s also not to say that you shouldn’t bring a long a few luxury items that may enhance or help your travel experience.

on plane
One luxury item that I do try to always bring with me, are a pair of noise cancelling headphones.  I know they can be a bit bulky, but in my opinion they are well worth lugging around.  Not only do they help drown out the noise of screaming babies on a long-haul flight over the Pacific (or wherever else you may be going), but they work wonders at also drowning out the deafening sounds of the infamous snorer — who you are bound to encounter on numerous occasions, if you go the hostel route for accommodations.

“But they’re so expensive!”  Ah, young grasshopper, how you have a lot to learn.  On the one hand, yes, there are brands, such as Bose, that are quite pricy and not in your average backpacker’s price range.  On the other hand, I have managed to track down a number of different cheaper and equally effective brands.

My first pair of noise cancelling headphones were Equip brand.  I can’t actually find a website for this brand, but I bought them at Shopper’s Drug Mart in Canada.  They retailed for $39.95CDN and worked amazingly.  I had them for a little over a year, until I was in New Zealand and in a drunken stupor, accidentally fell asleep on them, thus breaking the left side of the headphone off from the headband part.  I was so sad to find them broken when I woke up.  They worked wonderfully though, and did travel all over the world with me.  When I returned to Canada, I went back to my local Shopper’s Drug Mart, and as of a few weeks ago, they still sell them, and they are still $39.95.  I highly recommend these ones, as they are cheap, reliable and good working headphones — just don’t fall asleep on them.

My second pair of noise cancelling headphones are a pair of Panasonic RP-HC150.  I bought them at the Wellington airport in New Zealand because I knew that I didn’t want to continue traveling for 3 months without them.  They were a good price, at $49.95NZD (roguhly $40CDN) and I still have them.  They came with a carrying case which is really just a bag made of a thicker material.  They also came with a few adapter pieces so that you can fit them into different audio jacks.  The noise cancellation isn’t as good (in my opinion) as the Equip headphones, but they still manage to do the trick.

The final pair of noise cancelling headphones that I have been exposed to are the mighty Bose Quiet Comfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones.  Definitely on the higher end of the price spectrum, they retail for about $349.95CDN.  My dad has a pair of them, and I tried them out just to see how they differed from my much cheaper pairs of headphones.  To be quite honest, I couldn’t really tell much a difference between my $40 pair and his $350 pair.  I’d recommend buying a cheaper pair, and using that saved money towards your actual travels — then again, that’s just me.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b_womanplane

Now I’m by no means claiming to be a noise-cancelling headphone connoisseur, these are merely my suggestions.  But I would highly recommend bringing a pair of noise cancelling headphones along with you on your travels.  Trust me, you’ll use them a heck of a lot more than you think.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Walker Andrew June 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

Another options that I have found to be successful is sound isolating headphones. I have a pair of Shure SE210s, and while they certainly aren't the cheapest headphones, they are incredibly comfortable, drown out a lot of the external sounds (not so great at the airlplane "hum", but makes voices, babies, etc much, much quieter), and take up a LOT less space since they are just earbuds.

I wasn't ever big on the ear buds as they hurt my ears… but these ones I can wear for 6-8hrs at a time (i.e. a working day!) and not have tired or sore ears. Plus, given that they isolate out a lot of the external noise, I can have the volume set much lower on my media player which I figure is probably better for my ears (as an example, Air Canada's video system is almost too loud with the volume set to "1").

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