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Some Good Earbuds for my Europe Trip?

I'm going to be traveling for 3 months in Europe, and I will be taking the train through about 15 different countries, even to far off places like Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Greece. My point is - I will be spending a lot of time on trains. Therefore I want some really good earbuds to listen to both podcasts and a couple of audiobooks that I've downloaded. Currently I just have the regular earbuds that come with iPhone, and they're not very comfy for my ears at least :)

What earbuds would you recommend for train traveling in Europe? I suppose some trains will be rather noisy, so I'm thinking that I might need some noise canceling ones. The Bose QuietComfort 20 seems to be one of the best earbuds choices in terms of noise cancellation according to different sites like,2817,2423090,00.asp and Only thing is that it's rather pricey. Any other earbuds you've used for travel that you'd recommend?

Posted by
518 posts

I don't have a specific brand in mind, but have some suggestions on type. Noise cancellation type headphones or earbuds are going to be pricey and if they aren't pricey then they probably aren't going to be that good. I've opted for "noise isolation" type buds, which are the kind that come with several different sizes of rubber attachments so you can see which one fits your ear the best. The idea there is that they form a tight seal around your ear canal, so you're "isolating" outside noises. Realistically you can still hear what's going on around you, but the difference is the music you're listening to comes through much, much better and it's not having to compete with outside noises as much. I've also used bluetooth noise isolation earbuds. The benefit of those are that there are no cables connecting to your phone so there's nothing to get tangled up and you can freely take your phone out, put it in your bag, etc. and continue listening to whatever it is you're listening to, here are the ones I'm currently using:

New models are always coming out. The thing about these bluetooth ear buds is that they are much bigger than regular earbuds due to the bluetooth circuitry being contained in the earbud. So these are not for everyone. Personally, I like being able to have my phone free from any connected cables. The other thing to keep in mind is that because there is bluetooth circuitry contained in these earbuds, they also have a battery and need to be charged. Run time can vary.

Posted by
31043 posts

steven, good luck getting the right ear buds for all that train travel.

I hope that your 3 months takes into account the 90/180 rules of the Schengen agreement if it applies to you....

Posted by
13813 posts

I normally don't like earbuds but I bought the Bose Quietcomfort 20 a couple of months ago. I tried them on a flight to see if I would keep them or send them back.

All I can say is I will never travel without them again. Very comfortable, blocks out almost all the engine noise, and made my trips less stressful.

I went back and forth with having the noise canceling feature on and off and I can't tell you how much better it was with the noise canceling on. I could hear my audiobooks clearly without having to blast them to block out background noise.

Even on the ground, I used them with the noise canceling turned off to save battery life.

Amazon has them on sale for $50 off.

Try them. If you don't like them, send them back.

Posted by
285 posts

I have the Bose noise canceling ear buds you mention. In my opinion they are worth every penny. Super sound quality, comfortable, and the noise canceling feature REALLY blocks out the ambient noise. They are the best earbuds I've ever bought.

Posted by
32051 posts

Wow, $250 for a pair of Ear Buds! They must be good for that price (but not sure I could afford that).

Posted by
77 posts

I have the Bose QuietComfort 20s too. I've used them extensively on every airplane trip and even long car rides. Very comfortable, easy to charge with the same charger used for your smartphone and best of all, still work when the battery runs out.

Yes, they're expensive, but I've never regretted buying them.

Posted by
5 posts

Believe it or not, I've had great success from the pair I spent $10 on at Target!
SkullCandy is the brand, they do have some wild colors but you can generally find basic black or white. They don't last forever (I've had to replace mine every 2-3 years when one of the sides will stop working), but they are great for the price. I have misophonia, which is essentially a strong aversion to certain sounds, and this especially applies to sounds from other people in public places that are out of my control. These sit solidly in my ears, and even though they aren't technically noise cancelling, I find that when I have sound coming through them, they do an excellent job of blocking out ambient noise.

Good option if you're looking for a very inexpensive solution!

Posted by
3763 posts

If you look on Amazon, there's a pair of Panasonics that are #1 rated that only cost about $5. I got them and they're just fine. At that price, buy 2 and stash one away for when one breaks or is lost.

I'm not a bud fan, I prefer regular headphones, you can get very good noise cancelling ones for not very much. Again a few minutes of research on Amazon will yield amazing results.

The buds that come with Apple products were designed by Satan, they are so uncomfortable.

Posted by
544 posts

The QC20s are awesome, especially for air travel. Also check out Bose SoundTrue, which are similar to the QC20 without the expensive noise-cancelling tech.

Apple Beats Powerbeats are also super comfortable for me. I like the new cheaper wired version instead of the bluetooth ones, just so I can plug in to the screens on the airplane and have one less thing to charge.

Make sure if you're shopping online to get the iPhone version and not the Android version of the Bose.

Posted by
518 posts

I would consider Bose if they made an ear bud that has BOTH noise cancellation AND Bluetooth. I don't like having wires dangling and bluetooth connectivity means the device (iphone, etc.) is free to move independent of the earbuds.

Posted by
4 posts

Try JLab J5 metal earbuds. Great sound, great fit, comfortable and you can buy them for $20. or less on line. They also give you different size buds to best fit in your ears. They also cancel out a lot of ambient noise, but still let you be aware of your surroundings.
I've used them many times for flights and have been very happy with them.

Bedford, MA

Posted by
1 posts

Might want to check this noise isolating earbuds list. I have the thinksound ts02's and they're comfortable and sound great. Plus if you try to sleep on flight they're small enough to comfortable rest your head on the side.

Posted by
2 posts

I am using Bose Quiet Comfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphone. It is the first in ear noise cancelling headphone. I got a nice a discount for the headphone from bay bloor radio in toronto .
I have been using it for the last few months and and I am completely satisfied with it’s quality. Even though i Invested a little more money. It's better to invest some money for a good quality product than going for cheap ones. I was using under $50 headphones before which normally turns garbage after 2-3 months.