Photo: All you need is a backpack.

Gear and equipment forum

iPod vs Cheap MP3 player vs portable CD player?

Posted by ssaint on 21/9/2009 at 22:25


I'm going to be going on a 7/8month long backpacking trip in November, but i'm torn between taking a cheap MP3 player or my iPod, or an old portable cd player?

im leaning to the portable old school CD player so i can get AA batteries instead of trying to recharge an iPod, and also i can then buy/swap any random albums... but it will take up more space and weight.
I've never bacckapcked before so any advice would be great!

Thanks! xx

#1 ssaint has been a member since 2/9/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by mattocmd on 21/9/2009 at 22:37

Who are you going to swap albums with? I could be wrong but I don't remember seeing many CDs in SE Asia. I know travelers want to carry as little as possible so I'm pretty sure most if not all have switched to mp3 players. As opposed to toting a CD collection around.

For music a lot just take their mp3 player to guys who load songs on for a cheap fee (I'm talking about the guys on like Khao San Road, Siem Reap, ect). Thats the illegal way.

I guess the legitimate way would be to buy the songs/albums online from like itunes and download them into the mp3 player.

When it comes to charging mp3 players all you have to do is plug it into the USB port of any computer in any of the numerous internet cafes in the region.

#2 mattocmd has been a member since 13/6/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 365
 Send mattocmd a private message 

Posted by somtam2000 on 22/9/2009 at 07:31 admin

Agree with Matt, I'd definitely take an MP3 player.

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,652
 Send somtam2000 a private message   Where has somtam2000 been?   Website   Twitter   Facebook    Flickr    Google+   Instagram   Pinterest 

Posted by Rufus on 22/9/2009 at 09:44

Depends whether you like listening to noise or music. The quality of the mp3 format is nowhere near the quality of sound of a CD, (which is nowhere near the quality of sound of vinyl.)

#4 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 974
 Send Rufus a private message 

Posted by Lother on 22/9/2009 at 15:11

I definitely wouldn't drag along a CD player. The player is so much bigger than most mp3 players, and so are the CD's.

As to Rufus's comment, I gotta say very few people, especially with a portable player and small headphones which I assume you'd be using, can tell the difference between good-quality (256-320 kbps) mp3's and CD. But if that's an issue, most mp3 players also support some lossless formats (at least .wav, maybe also flac or ogg).

#5 Lother has been a member since 12/5/2006. Location: Earth. Posts: 214
 Send Lother a private message 

Posted by Tilapia on 25/9/2009 at 00:13

Why not take your iPod with a wall charger and AC adapter? That way you won't have to rely on internet cafes or your guest house computer, and you won't have to buy batteries.

#6 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,507
 Send Tilapia a private message   Where has Tilapia been? 

Posted by sidewinder on 25/9/2009 at 17:47

Noticed a lot of guidebooks mention about taking a CD player so you can 'swap cd's with other travellers' but I too have not met anyone who carried around CD's, apart from a DJ I met.

Take your ipod and try and buy a travel charger for it, then you can plug it in anywhere without an adapter. Also, I took one of these and it was one of the most useful things I took, was very small, sounded great and 3xAAA batteries lasted over 2 months

#7 sidewinder has been a member since 11/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 57
 Send sidewinder a private message   Twitter   Instagram 

Posted by themuths on 26/9/2009 at 10:34

Posted from within Vietnam.

I traveled India/Nepal three years ago, and took a bulky Creative Labs mp3 player with me. I chose it then because it had 24 hours of battery life, when Ipods were still only lasting for a fraction of that. The player lasted throughout the trip, though dealing with the cumbersome software was annoying, and right afterwards the charger broke down, rendering it useless without a computer.
Thankfully, Ipod battery life has significantly improved, and my 4th gen nano is doing a fantastic job as I'm cycling through SE Asia. For charging, I have a netbook with me so I don't have to worry about plugging it in, but every hotel we've stayed in has had ample plug-ins, so charging shouldn't be a problem whatsoever.
Like another poster mentioned, I'd only bring CDs if I were trying to DJ while traveling - and even though I am a DJ, hauling all that weight around to play a few "shows" doesn't sound appealing in the slightest. Music serves as a comfort, and reminder of home, while on the road, you're not going to be concerned with sound quality when you're stressed out on a bus, relaxing on a beach, sitting alone in your hotel room, or whenever else you actually use your iPod. Many days pass when I don't use it at all, there's simply so much else going on that listening to music is a low priority. And as a budget traveler, having to buy new AA batteries constantly is going to be much more annoying (and expensive) than having to recharge your mp3 player!
As for acquiring music, if your camera has SD cards, and you're using a card-reader with them, then you can also get music off of people's computers quite easily, and then either save it for later or put it on your mp3 player or whatever. I just did that while in Kep, got 2 gigs of great music while staying at Botanica Guesthouse from the kindly owner - who knew Belgian music was so spectacular? I've found that acquiring the new music is arguably more important than listening to it extensively while traveling - I want to here the sounds I miss from home, and later when I'm not traveling I have much more time to listen to the new music I've found.

#8 themuths has been a member since 16/9/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 21

Posted by mattocmd on 26/9/2009 at 14:55


Invest in an Ipod


#9 mattocmd has been a member since 13/6/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 365
 Send mattocmd a private message 

Posted by ssaint on 28/9/2009 at 22:29

yeah true, i kinda forgot that CDs are getting pretty obsolete these days. thanks for the advice everyone, i'll take my iPod and a travel charger- sorted!

Thanks sidewinder, that speaker thing looks wicked, i might invest if i have some spare cash!

#10 ssaint has been a member since 2/9/2009. Posts: 6

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.