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Ear pods or ear buds or neither?

What’s your preference? I am used to ear buds but my new phone has no jack. Bought ear pods but they require some practice, sometimes not foolproof.

Would you take ear pods and/or corded ear buds on an overseas trip (assuming you have downloaded audio tours to do on your own, not using whisper system as on group tour)?

Mine came in a charging case (heavy for its size), do you tote that around with you in your day bag, or leave it at the hotel?

Do you have a special bag for your small tech items that you like?

Posted by
2716 posts
Posted by
5508 posts

but my new phone has no jack

It might not have a 3.5mm jack, but you should be able to use wired earbuds. You might just need an adaptor or earbuds with a usb-c or whatever connector works with the port on your phone.

I still prefer wired earbuds. They are one less thing that needs to be charged. I also find the bluetooth ear pods to be uncomfortable as compared with the smaller earbuds.

Posted by
3822 posts

We’ve changed to the pods. We can each wear one and listen to Rick’s audio tours with just one phone. This saves on our phone battery. Another advantage is that since there is no wire there are no tangles. The case isn’t so large that it adds weight or is annoying.

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6489 posts

I got these Bluetooth mini-headphones, which work well with my hearing aids. They take a micro-USB charging cord. They don't block out street sounds, so I'm less likely to get run over by a bus while listening to an audio tour. I also got this bag for charging cords, adapters and such. It comes in a slightly bigger size.

Posted by
9550 posts

How about instead of either or neither, a third response: both.

I take my corded earbuds because they are easier to deal with on the plane, and my Bluetooth earphones for regular use - but mine have a cord that joins the two earbuds, because the last thing I want to mess with is an earbud that has fallen out and is somewhere around my or my neighbor's feet in the dark on the plane.

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330 posts

Traveling with my iPhone 12Mini, I use both wired Sony earbuds (with the Apple brand lightning to 3.5mm adapter) as well as a pair of Sony Bluetooth wireless LinkBuds. I’ve tried the generic adapters and they don’t hold up. The Apple AirPods and wired buds don’t fit my ears.

Different situations call for one or the other so I take both. Although they are noise canceling, I don’t wear the LinkBuds on the plane (too easy to fall out and lose) but they do come in handy for audio tours and as suggested upthread, are more easily shared than wired earphones. Both of my Sonys are super comfortable.

The LinkBuds have a very small charging case that I carry in the front pocket of my day bag. I use a pencil case style zipper bag for my earphones, cables and a small portable phone charger.

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2716 posts

I missed your bag question. I use a Travel mesh zippered bag for electronics. It holds all my phone supplies, plug adapters, phone stand. I use hair ties to wrap up cords, color coordinated of course. This takes less room than the electronics bag someone gave me that’s similar to the one RS sells.

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206 posts

Horsewoofie, I got that type of ear bud for my last phone but didn’t use them(I think I was worried I would wear out the port), just gave them to my husband since his IPhone still has lightning port. He hates ear buds, they fall out of his ear, but we need something when we do audio tours on our own. Thanks for the suggestion.

Laura, my phone has a USB-C port, so it’s worth getting the ear buds, thanks for your suggestion. I can still use the earbuds with the round jack version with Playaways from our library(at home, I mean, not for travel).

Sharing the pods is a great idea, Barbara, though I guess you don’t stray too far away from each other/the device? I haven’t tested the range of Bluetooth connection. I have these, but I haven’t tried talking on the phone with them, just listened to music once or twice. Good sound quality.
Do you use your pods to talk on the phone, or just for audio?

I can’t decide if it’s worth bringing them, are they worth the hassle of charging and the weight of carrying them.

Dick, the mini headphones look interesting. Thanks for the link to the tech bag. I’m not wild about its design but glad it works for you.

This style might work better for me, not sure.

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1764 posts

Wireless earbuds are great. I was a wired holdout for quite a while, but as with so many things now converted and would never go back.

These small and light JVC's are $25, work great, perfectly acceptable sound quality. If I lose one no big deal. But my current pair has survived 10 weeks in Europe so far:

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6274 posts

I use Apple AirPods when I travel, which come in a small hard case. I like them because they are very portable, fit well in my ears and I don't have to mess with tangled wires. I do also bring a pair of wired buds, just in case, as they take up very little room.

For storage, I use the amazing Tom Bihn's Travel Tray (small) to store my electronics in. All of my chargers, cords and Airpods/buds are kept there. It's a very handy way to keep them together and also have them available, as they sit on a bedside table or desk when I get to my hotel. And when you're ready to pack up, you just pull up the drawstring, and it's all kept safe inside. I really love the Travel Trays. I gave each of my sisters one for Christmas last year and they love them. One uses them for her jewelry, and another for tech stuff like me.

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371 posts

Thanks for the suggestion for a couple to share buds to listen to RS walking tours Barbara. I bring buds and the wired adapters that don’t have to be charged for my iPhone. And of course a long charger cord for the phone.

Posted by
10206 posts

I leave tomorrow and will be bring my old wired earbuds for use on the plane for seat back entertainment. I can also use it with my phone with a dongle like this.

I just got some AirPods Pro’s that I will be taking as well. I bought this so the if one comes out of my ear I won’t lose it.

Posted by
414 posts

I too bring both.
I have a pair of EarFun bluetooth earbuds in a case that is tiny, light, and takes up no extra room. I have had them for about six months and wear them almost daily for working out and walking. The battery has never died. I don't know how long it would last if I just didn't charge them - four or five hours at least.
I used to use wired earbuds exclusively for travel, because previous pairs of wireless earbuds only had a battery life of about two hours, which wasn't long enough when I was out for the day. I still have a pair of wired earbuds in my bag; once again, they take up virtually no room and they're easier to use on a plane. I always got tangled up in the wire while walking and using them, though, which was annoying, so I'm happy to use my wireless ones now.
I didn't realize that not having an audio jack on a phone was a thing until I bought a Samsung S21 (after having had an S10 for several years). I often have to use a white noise podcast in the middle of the night (snoring spouse) so I needed an audio jack. So I didn't use the S21.
However, I'm going to Switzerland this week and read that my S10 is probably not compatible with any of their roaming networks except for 2G, so I'm switching back to my S21, and have an audio jack adapter on its way to me right now.

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103 posts

I can't wear most ear buds or pods. I only wear the soft silicon-tipped corded earbuds, if I use them at all, with an adapter for my iPhone. I don't like having something that expensive that I could easily lose and not be comfortable. The bonus is they don't have to be charged and if I lose them, I can pick up a replacement cheaply.

I bought a cheap, soft nylon case the size of the earbuds to keep them and the cord wrangled.

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281 posts

I use Beats Fit Pro as I need noise cancelling. Different ear buds fit differently. Air Pods keep falling out on me. Memory foam tips should solve the comfort problem for most.

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10206 posts

The AirPod Pro comes with 4 tip sizes, from XS-L. I have small ear canals and can’t wear typical ear buds.

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206 posts

Hank-the JVCs look good. My Soundcore P2s seem fine, but as Andrea mentioned, it’s worth considering some kind of tether, I’m sure they will fall out and roll around on the plane, or fall on the ground.

Mardee, I agree, have both sizes of the travel trays, but I’m trying to limit the bulky shape they create when full. I’m a backpack traveler, no rolling bag, so space is limited. But I do love Tom Bihn travel trays for domestic travel. Fits my glasses, eye drops, tech items, phone and lip balm, everything needed by the bedside.

Kayla, I’m considering bringing both types but not sure yet.

Andrea, have a wonderful trip!

Thanks for weighing in, everyone! I learned some good things in this thread so far. I agree, ear buds weigh nothing, those need to come along no matter what. I’m used to coiling them up into a zipper sandwich bag or snack bag that’s easy to put in a pocket or day bag.

If I bring the ear pods with case and charging cord (it will fit my USB-C cord for my phone), it will end up in the day bag too. I may just use a thicker quart size Ziploc or Hefty bag. Sometimes I tuck in one of those silica gel packets to help keep moisture out.

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206 posts

Horsewoofie I have bags like that, I will look at them. Thanks!

Mariam, I agree, air pods seem vey expensive for something I might easily lose. That’s where Andrea’s tether idea would help. But it’s possible to lose them even with the tether(in my case, could leave them somewhere or just worry about that possibility).

Racquet588-I agree, a long charging cord is a must. I’m bringing a 6’ cord.

Jason in Denver-what sort of memory foam inserts have you found? Or would you like to invent some just for the Rick Steves forum participants? If so, I’m in….😁

Posted by
6883 posts

If you have earbuds you like, just buy a usb-c to jack converter/adaptor. Shop around and check reviews, since there is some signal conversion involved not all such devices are created equal and some compatibility issues can occur. But even so, $15-20 should have you covered.

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206 posts

Balso, nice option.

All, I think these should work well enough for my needs. The Soundcore P2 ear pods are falling out of my left ear. When I push it back in, I accidentally turn it off. 🙄 I’d use a different sized silicone cover for a better fit, but this one fits best out of my choices. Oh well, nothing is perfect. I can still practice using them.

Sound quality is outrageously good-if they can stay in my ears. Do your ears get sore from the weightier bulk of the pods?

Posted by
22 posts

I still prefer wired earbuds since my phone still has a 3.5mm jack. 🎧 Even if I were to upgrade to a phone without that port, I can still use my wired buds with a dongle or Bluetooth adapter.

Posted by
627 posts

If you're looking for a 3.5mm to USB-C adaptor --
Still have 3.5mm and USB-C wired earbuds from previous Samsung phones, but I mostly use a few sets of inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds.

Have a couple pairs of JLab Go Air --

And a pair of soundPEATS Q30 --

I always like the inexpensive sets for backpacking. I could lay in my hammock gently swaying in a night time e breeze and go to sleep listening to New World Sympathy.

All my various sets of wired and Bluetooth earbuds travel with me and live in my everyday bag.

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206 posts

Hey VAP,
I appreciate the backpacker’s perspective, thanks for the links. Lightweight, minimal gear suits me.

Your mention of listening to music while in a hammock reminds me of the old days sitting in a beanbag chair, listening to the stereo with Sennheiser “on ear” headphones. 🙂

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206 posts

Engrdavid, Laura, Jen S and others,
Your mention of adapters was helpful, thanks! I ordered some today.

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35 posts

I decided to secure my Airpods, mostly on the plane, for an upcoming trip. I have a cool eyeglass retainer from Dick’s Sporting Goods that has loops on the ends for my sunglasses and I realized they fit nicely on my Airpods! I can use them otherwise for my glasses. if need be, while walking around. They have a rubber loop that fits snugly. One less thing to buy/consume!