** February 2020 update: It’s getting hard to find via Amazon discount priced AAA battery powered noise reducing headphones, as most models now have built-in batteries. I say stick with a model that has a removable battery or batteries if you can find one. To me, the transition feels like a design move towards planned rapid obsolescence and is another strike against Amazon for not doing more to curb **
While Amazon is clearly not above critique, the company has for over a decade offered low-cost and high-quality products not always available in stores to US customers … who don’t necessarily have easy access to stores. Case in point, I once bought a <$90 reel lawn mower in rural Montana via Amazon, avoiding a 200 mile round-trip drive to the nearest big box stores.
Over the years, I have scored via Amazon some surprisingly durable and otherwise inaccessible discount goods that have enriched my family’s living and travels. Specifically, the following low-cost and portable gadgets have become a part of home life and nearly every trip:
- <$40 Active (AAA battery powered) noise reducing headphones
- A roughly $10 headphone jack splitter with individual volume control
- Amazon’s <$50 7″ Fire Tablet with an optional <$10 covering case
- DOSS SoundBox Color Portable Wireless Bluetooth (or wired) Speaker — about $20
As Amazon Prime members, we have used these items to watch downloaded videos on flights and even bus trips, saving hundreds in rental costs since 2016. Active noise reducing (if not completely noise cancelling) headphones powered by replaceable and rechargeable AAA batteries have brought additional comfort to the longest trips. The DOSS portable speaker — which has incredible sound quality considering its size and cost — has further helped us to create an enjoyable personal atmosphere wherever we are in the world.
By all means, travel frugally … but don’t regret creating your own (discount) luxury!
This post was inspired, in part, by Mr. 1500′s bus adventures in Iowa 🙂