The 10 Best Travel Headphones of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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Noise Cancelling Headphones Group Shot

TripSavvy / Jhett Thompson

Travel headphones come in handy when you want to listen to music to soothe your flying anxiety or need to talk to loved ones back home with your hands-free. But what makes a great travel headphone? We wanted to find travel earbuds that could handle an arid Big Bend National Park hike and weather-resistant headphones that would let you explore Seattle on a rainy day. And we wanted to seek out the best travel headphones for noise cancellation—because who wants to deal with those annoying noises on a plane or train?  

To find the best travel headphones, we had several people test 26 different ones. They considered everything from sound quality to comfort, ease of use, and noise cancellation. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 was our top choice. With a battery life of 20 hours, crisp sound quality, and fantastic noise-cancellation capabilities, we can confidently say that you should add them to your packing list. 

Now read on to discover more travel headphone favorites and how they can benefit your travels.

Best Overall

Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700


What We Like
  • 20-hours battery life and Bluetooth range of 30 feet

  • Pair to two devices at once

  • Spotify Tap Playback feature and connects to Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant

  • Intuitive touch control on the ear cups

  • Choose among 11 different levels of noise cancellation

What We Don’t Like
  • Very expensive

  • They don’t stay in place with excessive movement

It’s no surprise that headphones by Bose would be our top pick. The brand is well known for its high-quality sound systems, and that ingenuity has made its way into the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. These over-the-head travel headphones come in black and silver and have such a crisp sound that our testers said it mimics hearing a band live. 

The headphones feature 11 different levels of noise cancellation, which you can change according to your preference. The tester said it could feel a little odd to be unable to hear your own voice, but at least you get a sense of how phenomenal the noise cancellation really is. When taking a voice call, you’ll be glad to know that the headphones have ten mics that work to remove background noise and capture only your voice—no need to worry about talking on a windy day or in a crowded airport. 

Our tester said that setting up the Bose headphones is super easy, thanks to the Bose app. The app also provides insight into using intuitive touch controls on the ear cups. For instance, by touching the right earcup, the headphones will open the last Spotify playlist you listened to and immediately start playing the next song. Other movements raise the volume and change songs. 

The headphones may be expensive, but it’s well worth the price to have headphones that can last 20 hours on a single charge and have a Bluetooth range of 30 feet. Remember that these are not the best headphones for rapid movements, like working out. They’re comfortable, but they’re unlikely to stay on your head if you’re doing a rigorous activity.  

Price at time of publish: $379

Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 8 inches | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Battery Life: 20 hours

Bose Noise Cancelling 700

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Budget

Anker Soundcore Life P3 Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Anker Soundcore Life P3 Noise Cancelling Earbuds


What We Like
  • Water-resistant

  • Three noise-canceling modes

  • Increase bass with BassUp mode

  • The app lets you customize sound and find missing earbuds

  • Charging case with wireless charging capabilities and 35 hours of battery life

What We Don’t Like
  • Bluetooth range is not provided

  • Sound quality during phone calls could be better

At nearly $75, the Anker Soundcore Life P3 headphones are not necessarily ‘cheap,’ but you get a high-quality product at a price that’s more affordable than others—and that’s ultimately why it’s our budget pick. The Anker Soundcore Life P3 earbuds have a seven-hour battery life on a single charge, but you can get an additional 35 hours of playback time by placing the earbuds into a fully-charged case. Ten minutes of charging provides two more hours of playback.  

As for the sound quality, our tester described it as ‘vibrant’ when listening to music. The BassUp mode, which increases the bass, is a nice touch. The earbuds have three noise cancellation modes—Transport, Outdoor, and Indoor—which remove noise based on your environment. Our tester couldn’t hear other noises when music played, even at low volume. They added that some sound came through when music wasn’t playing. 

Our tester was not impressed by how the sound quality of a voice call differed from the sound quality of music. They also noted that the noise cancellation features didn’t work well when on a call and that they could hear background noises on their end, as could the person on the other end of the phone call. 

There are plenty of features our tester didn’t mention that we find incredibly interesting, like how you can adjust the sound quality through the Soundcore app and choose preset modes like Game mode, which creates an immersive audio experience when playing mobile games. And if you ever lose an earbud, just hit “Find My Headset” in the app, and the earbud will emit a loud noise until you find it. 

Price at time of publish: $80

Dimensions: 2.56 x 1.97 x 1.18 inches | Bluetooth range: Unknown | Battery Life: 7 hours

Anker Soundcore Life P3

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Value

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro


What We Like
  • Water-resistant and blocks the sound of wind during calls

  • Touch control and voice commands

  • Track lost earbuds through the SmartThings app

  • Automatically turns off noise cancelation when you speak

  • Connection switches between devices automatically

What We Don’t Like
  • Bluetooth frequency range is unknown

  • Only 5 hours of playtime when noise cancelation is on

Although Samsung makes these Buds Pro earbuds, you don't need an Android device to use them. In fact, our tester connected these earbuds to their iPhone and was blown away by the sound quality. They described the sound as "crisp and clear" and said they could hear each instrument that made up a song. 

Samsung designed these earbuds to block the sound of wind during calls and allow you to control the level of noise cancelation. So, if you want to hear no surrounding sounds, that's an option, but if you need ambient sound for safety purposes, like when walking around a city, you can have that too. Plus, the noise cancellation turns off automatically when it detects your voice so that you can converse with a flight attendant without taking out your earbuds or turning them off. 

We are a little disappointed by the earbuds' battery capabilities. You'll only get four hours of battery life when talking on the phone with noise cancelation on. Unfortunately, battery life is not much better when watching movies or listening to music—5 hours with noise cancelation on and 8 hours with it off. The case does hold an additional 13 to 20 hours of playback. Thankfully it only takes 5 minutes in the charging case for the earbuds to store up another hour of playtime. 

Lastly, these headphones are water resistant, can be tracked through the SmartThings app, and will automatically switch between devices. 

Price at time of publish: $200

Dimensions: The case is 4.75 x 3.5 x 1.75 inches, and the earbud is 20.8 x 19.5 millimeters | Bluetooth range: Unknown | Battery Life: 4 to 8 hours on a single charge, depending on whether noise cancelation is on and whether you're playing music or talking

Samsung Galaxy Pro earbuds

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Comfort

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4


What We Like
  • Noise cancelation capabilities and pauses music when you speak

  • Touch sensor controls and Alexa, Google, and Siri enabled

  • Can be paired to two different devices at the same time

  • Music automatically paused when the headphones are removed

  • 30 hours of battery life with quick charging capabilities

What We Don’t Like
  • Set up is a little cumbersome

  • Noise cancellation could be better for the price

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are over-the-head travel headphones with plush cushioning around the ears and enough flexibility to fit most heads comfortably. Where they shine brightest is in the battery life—30 hours! Plus, it only takes 10 minutes of charging to get five more hours of playback. Our tester didn’t like how confusing the setup was or that they had to create a Sony account, but once it was all said and done, they really enjoyed the sound quality of these headphones. 

Our tester said the sound was great, whether playing music or listening to podcasts. They mentioned an equalizer menu allowing users to adjust the sound however they see fit or use preset sound settings labeled “mellow” and “excited.” Noise cancelation seemed decent, and while our tester noted that they didn’t hear any other sounds when playing music, some sounds did come through when the music wasn’t playing. 

Users control the headphones through touch activation, though a few features are automatic. For instance, removing the headphones while playing music will automatically pause the song and then play from that exact spot when you put the headphones back on. The headphones also automatically pause your TV show or song when you speak.  

One of the most surprising things about the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones is that they have a Bluetooth range of 400 meters or 1,312 feet—a considerably large distance. Of course, people, objects, walls, and electromagnetic fields can affect this, so we imagine that the Bluetooth frequency range is quiet unless you’re in an open area.    

Price at time of publish: $350

Dimensions: 7.27 x 3.03 x 9.94 inches | Bluetooth range: 1312 feet | Battery Life: 30 hours

Sony WH headphones

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Overhead

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 35 II


What We Like
  • Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled

  • Three noise cancelation settings

  • Up to 20 hours of battery life

  • Connect to two devices at a time

  • Voice prompt about battery life each time you turn headphones on

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

If you prefer over-the-head headphones when traveling, consider the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. Whether walking around a city or running on a treadmill, you shouldn’t have any issues—at least our tester didn’t. In our review of these headphones, we found the sound quality was excellent, especially when speaking to others on the phone. As for songs, the vocals are sharp and crisp, and while the bass is strong, the tester said it could be a little stronger. 

These headphones have three noise cancelation levels—low, high, and off. When noise cancelation is on and music plays, all other noise is effectively snuffed out. You will likely hear ambient noise without music or a TV show playing. 

For the price, we were pretty surprised that these headphones don’t have touch activation controls. You’ll have to push buttons on the side of the headphones to adjust the volume or turn on Bluetooth. However, they can be paired with Alexa and Google Assistant, though it seems that Alexa is better integrated and offers more voice control options than Google Assistant (which won’t work with Apple products anyways). 

Take note that the battery life is up to 20 hours—not firmly 20 hours. It’s likely that noise cancelation and whether you’re talking or watching a movie will affect the battery life. At least it only takes 2 hours to recharge these headphones completely. When you put these headphones on, a voice prompt informs users of the battery life and signals when the battery life is low. 

Price at time of publish: $299

Dimensions: 3.2 x 6.7 x 7.1 inches | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Battery Life: 20 hours

Bose Quietcomfort 35

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Splurge

Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max


What We Like
  • Mesh canopy for a comfortable fit

  • Aware mode lets you hear noise around you

  • Automatically switches Bluetooth to other devices

  • Pauses and resumes music when taking headphones on and off

  • Designed to create 3-D audio and cinema-like audio experiences

What We Don’t Like
  • Not water resistant

  • Unknown Bluetooth range

  • Not all features will work with Android devices

If you have the cash lying about, the Apple AirPods Max will make excellent travel headphones. They’re designed with a unique mesh canopy that offers a comfortable fit on your head for most activities though if you’re doing something rigorous, they could fall off. While these headphones will connect to Android and Mac devices, overall, they’re better designed for Apple users. Set up is easy with an Apple phone, and Siri is integrated, meaning Siri will read your text messages and announce other notifications automatically. The headphones can pair with multiple Apple devices and switch over automatically from, say, an iPad to an iPhone when you receive a call. 

In our testing, we found that the sound quality was superb. Expect sharp and clear sounds and even some instruments that you probably wouldn’t have noticed with lesser headphones. Noise cancelation is equally fantastic, even in “Aware” mode. Our tester said that when using “Aware” mode, they had to be close to someone to know they were speaking to them. 

While these headphones are not water resistant, and we do not know the Bluetooth range, you’ll be glad to know that the buttons are easy to use and that the headphones automatically pause music when you take them off and continues playing the song when you put the headphones back on. 

Price at time of publish: $549

Dimensions: 6.64 x 3.28 x 7.37 inches | Bluetooth range: unknown | Battery Life: 20 hours

Apple Airpod Max

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Weather Resistant

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones


What We Like
  • Water-resistant and smart active noise cancelation

  • Works with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant

  • Thirty-six hours of battery life on a single charge

  • Personalize sound settings and find headphones via the app

  • Automatically stops and starts sound when removing and putting on headphones

What We Don’t Like
  • Not particularly lightweight

  • The sound quality could be better

Whether you get caught in the rain in London or want to listen to music at the beach, you’ll be glad to know that the Jabra Elite 85H headphones are water-resistant. We love that these headphones offer 36 hours of battery life when noise cancelation is on and 41 hours when it’s turned off. It doesn’t hurt that the headphones will automatically pause a song when you remove them from your head and then start the song up from the same spot when you put them back on. 

Our tester noted that these headphones were a bit heavy and that the sound quality was “average.” Perhaps by adjusting the sound settings through the app, you can create a more favorable sound quality. The app also helps you find the headphones if they’re lost. 

As for noise cancelation, it’s a smart model, which means that the headphones automatically adjust the noise cancelation depending on your environment. Our tester found that it worked decently well and suggests these headphones would be a good option for plane travel. 

Price at time of publish: $250

Dimensions: 9.25 x 7.64 x 3.31 inches | Bluetooth range: 33 feet | Battery Life: 36 to 41 hours, depending on noise cancelation being on or off

Jabra Elite 85H headphones

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best for Tech Newbies

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro


What We Like
  • Touch control and Siri enabled

  • Impressive noise cancelation

  • Sweat and water-resistant

  • Transparency mode with a single touch

  • Stops and starts sound when headphones are taken on and off—at least for Apple users

What We Don’t Like
  • Only up to 4.5 hours of battery life on a single charge

  • Android users can’t use all the Airpods Pro features

Airpods were a game changer when they were released, and it’s no surprise that people still love to travel with them today. These simple earbuds have three different tips to fit different ear sizes and are sweat and water-resistant. By simply touching or pressing the Airpods Pro earbuds a few times, you can change songs, pause, play, or turn on Transparency mode to hear the world around you. 

The sound quality of these earbuds is pretty good, though or tester noted, “It didn’t knock it out of the park for me.” The noise cancelation, on the other hand, was impressive to the tester, so much so that it made them nervous to walk around outside with the noise cancellation on because it was difficult to hear traffic and other people. 

Regarding battery life, the Airpods Pro can hold up to 4.5 hours of listening time on a single charge and only 3.5 hours if you’re talking the entire time—and that’s with active noise cancelation and transparency off. Comparable to others on this list, that’s not a lot of battery life. However, with the wireless charging case, you can get 18 additional hours of talk time and 24 hours of listening time, but you’ll need to charge the pods a few times. Five minutes in the case provides an hour of battery life. 

While we chose the Airpods Pro earbuds for “tech newbies,” that’s really only the case if you have an Apple device. Connecting is super simple for Apple users, and Siri can help with notifications, making calls, or even changing songs. Android users won’t be able to use Siri, and they’ll need to take a few more steps to connect the earbuds to their device. 

Price at time of publish: $249

Dimensions: each: 0.94 x 0.86 x 1.22 inches, Wireless Charging Case: 1.78 x 0.85 x 2.39 inches | Bluetooth range: unknown | Battery Life: 3.5 hours of talk time on a single charge, 4.5 hours of music/video playback on one charge, 24 hours of additional charge via a fully-charged case

Apple Airpods Pro

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Multi-Use

Beats Fit Pro Noise Canceling Earbuds

Beats Fit Pro Noise Canceling Earbuds


What We Like
  • Sweat and water-resistant

  • Flexible wingtips for a secure fit

  • Can wear a single earbud at a time

  • Android and Apple users enjoy different but equal features

  • Active noise cancelation, Transparency mode, and Adaptive EQ mode

What We Don’t Like
  • Call sound quality isn’t as good as music sound quality

  • Only 6 hours of listening time on a single charge

These Beats Fit Pro earbuds are super stylish and offer a lot of value for the price. With the flexible wingtips, enjoy a super secure fit. The sweat and water-resistant feature means you can safely wear them while working out. Using these earbuds is simple, too. Just tap or press the earbuds to pause, skip a song, or even turn noise cancelation on and off. You can even wear one earbud at a time. 

When talking about the sound quality, our tester said that the “base and rhythms of the music translate very well on different octaves.” However, they added that although the noise cancelation does an excellent job of removing all background noise, the sound quality felt more powerful and louder when not using the noise cancellation. They also felt like the audio on voice calls could be better. 

Perhaps our favorite aspect of the Beats Fit Pro earbuds is how it’s designed for Apple and Android users, and they each get their own features that work with their systems. Both have one-touch pairing, with Apple users also getting features like automatic switching between devices, audio sharing, and access to Siri. Apple users can also find an earbud on the Find My App. On the other hand, Android users can use the Beats App to customize the earbud controls, receive notifications about the battery level, and conduct a Fit Test to get the best sound and fit. 

As with most of the earbuds on this list, the battery life could be better. You only get 6 hours of listening time on a single charge, but with a fully charged case, you can get an additional 18 hours. Thankfully, it only takes five minutes of charge time to get one hour of playback. 

Price at time of publish: $200

Dimensions: Bud: 1.18 x .94 x .75 inches, case: 2.44 x 2.44 x 1.12 inches | Bluetooth range: unknown | Battery Life: 6 hours of listening time on a single charge, up to 18 hours with the charging case

Beats Fit Pro earbuds

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Best Earbuds

Jabra Elite 85t Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Jabra Elite 85t Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds


What We Like
  • Rain resistant and wind protection for better calls

  • Can use right earbud alone

  • Works with Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa

  • 11 levels of noise cancellation and Hear Through mode

  • Hearing test that adjusts the sound to your hearing profile

What We Don’t Like
  • Only 5.5 hours of battery life on a single charge with noise cancellation on

The Jabra Elite 85t earbuds are rain resistant, work with Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa, and should help to relieve pressure in your ear canal. Once you set up these earbuds, we encourage you to do the hearing test within the app, as it tests your hearing in both ears and adjusts the sound to your specific hearing profile. There is even a test that lets you know if you’re wearing the right ear tip for the best fit. Within the app, you can also adjust the noise cancellation and Hear Through mode and then turn it off and on by pressing a button on the earbud itself. 

While the bass could be better, the sound quality is fantastic. In fact, our tester thought that the sound quality was better for music and TV shows with the Jabra Elite 85t than with the Airpod Pros. (They do admit that Airpod Pros have better sound quality in talk mode.) No matter the volume of your music, when you have the noise cancellation on with these headphones, you can’t hear anything, even when outside. Hear Through mode can be toggled on and off with the push of a button. 

Keep in mind that the battery only lasts 5.5 hours on a single charge when noise cancelation is turned on; you might get 7 hours of battery life with it turned off. The charging case holds between 20-24 more hours of battery life.

Price at time of publish: $230

Dimensions: 5.12 x 4.41 x 1.65 inches | Bluetooth range: 33 feet | Battery Life: 5.5-7 hours on a single charge depending on whether noise cancellation is on or off, 20-24 more hours in charging case

Jabra Elite 85T

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Other Travel Headphones We Tested

Here are the other travel headphones we tested:

Beats Solo Pro, EarFun Airpro 2, OnePlus Buds Pro Wireless, Master & Dynamic MW08, Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, Sony WF-1000XM4, Anker SoundCore Life Q20, Anker SoundCore Life Q30, Sennheiser 450BT, Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX, Bowers & Wilkins PX7 wireless, Shure Aonic 50, and Microsoft Surface Headphones 2.

Noise Canceling Testing

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

How We Tested

We tested travel headphones in our New York testing lab and then sent them to testers for real-world testing. The initial lab testing involved testing and rating each headphone for the following attributes: setup, comfort, sound quality, noise cancelation, functionality, and user interface. Each attribute was rated on a five-point scale, and those scores were averaged to give each pair of headphones an overall score. 

Noise canceling testing

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

What to Look for When Buying Travel Headphones


Headphone prices can range from $10 to $500, but we’ve found that the best headphones for traveling tend to cost over $100. The higher the price, the more likely you’ll be investing in more technologically-advanced headphones with fantastic sound quality and a wider variety of features. 

Audio Quality

Audio quality is perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying travel headphones. Sometimes “you know it when you hear it,” and the only way to do that is to test the headphones yourself. Keep in mind that voice and music sound quality often differ—at least, that was what many of our testers experienced with different headphones. 

Buyers may find it helpful to test the audio quality of headphones at tech stores like Best Buy, but what do you do if you want to buy a pair of headphones online? tested 697 headphones for their sound quality, focusing on everything from bass accuracy to frequency response consistency. Their goal was to test headphones and rate them according to whether or not they produced a more neutral, crisp, clear sound, the kind you’d hear if something was mixed in a studio. They’ve done a deep dive into the audio quality in a way that would be difficult to do on your own, making this a fantastic resource for any buyer. 


Just as we all have different bodies, our ear shape and head shape differ too, which can impact our headphones choice. If you have the option of testing a pair of headphones before you buy them, do so! At the least, ensure you can return them if they are uncomfortable. 

When it comes to earbuds, you may have to change the earbud tip to a bigger or smaller size to ensure that it fits in your ears properly. Headphones that go over your head should provide a firm fit without causing too much pressure on your ears or cranium. Finally, test out the fit by doing different movements. Do the headphones shift when you walk? Do you want to wear them for a morning run at the hotel? Over-the-head headphones are not the best option for rigorous activities; earbuds may be better for those who like to exercise. 

Noise canceling testing

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I care for my headphones?

    Keep your headphones clean by occasionally wiping them down with a soft cloth slightly dampened with water or an anti-bacterial towelette (just don’t let too much liquid sit on the headphones for too long). It’s especially important to remove earwax from the earbud units so that it doesn’t harden and create issues. Always store your headphones properly; if they have wires, don’t let them tangle or twist. While you don’t have to worry about this with wireless headphones, those with wired headphones need to keep the headphone jack free of debris, dust, and dirt. Clean it out with a gas duster on occasion. 

  • Does listening to headphones cause hearing loss?

    Headphones can cause hearing loss over time if not used properly. Try to lower the volume to prevent hearing loss. Noise-canceling headphones can remove background noise and assist in keeping the volume lowered. Earbuds might be slightly worse than headphones in the long run. No matter which type of headphones you have, take consistent breaks from using them. Your hearing will thank you. 

  • Is Bluetooth frequency range important?

    Bluetooth frequency range is the distance between your headphones and the device it connects to. So, for instance, if you are playing music on your phone and you walk to the bathroom, will the headphones stay connected, or will it have gone out of range and the music will cut out? Bluetooth frequency ranges can vary, though we prefer those over 30 feet as it prevents you from carrying your device or phone with you wherever you go. 

  • What kind of headphones can I use on a plane?

    Many planes these days have moved their in-flight entertainment from screens on the back of the seats to your personal Wi-Fi-enabled device. In that case, you only need to plug the headphones into your device or use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly. 

    Many long-haul planes still come with screens in the back of the headrest, which can make your wireless headphones useless. The wired headphones that flight attendants pass out have poor audio quality, so you’ll need to come prepared with a Bluetooth adapter that you plug into the headphone socket on your seat. From there, it’s as simple as connecting the adapter to your wireless headphones, allowing you to hear the audio from the headrest screen.

Noise canceling headphones testing

TripSavvy / Vicky Wasik

Why Trust TripSavvy

Author Alex Temblador is an outdoor and travel journalist who lives in Texas. In addition to working out–running, lifting, hiking, kayaking, and more–at least five days a week, Alex seeks out adventurous travels all around the world. Throughout her career as an outdoor and travel journalist, she has rappelled in Mexico, kayaked in Puerto Rico and Thailand, skied in Telluride and Montana, surfed in Zihuatanejo, scuba dived in Bonaire, hiked in Peru and Switzerland, and completed a one-day, 100-mile cycling event in 100-degree weather in North Texas.

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