The Best Kindle for Travel: The Kindle Voyage

May 5, 2018

I love e-readers, and after some research and experience with other Kindles, I finally landed on the Voyage.

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This post explains more about my evolution with e-readers and why I landed on the Kindle Voyage as my go-to e-reader as a traveler. I think it is the best Kindle for travel. It not only comes with me on every trip to supply my reading habit, it goes with me in my purse wherever I go at home! I’m not a techie, so I’m going to keep my explanation of why I love my Voyage pretty low-tech. For more technical details, I recommend consulting with Amazon.

For more of World is Wide’s travel gear recommendations, look here.

Why a Kindle?

I know, I know…the feel and smell of real books is so much nicer, yada yada yada. Yes, I too really like reading real books. For me, the pros of a Kindle far outweigh the cons. The Kindle has eliminated many barriers to reading for me.

I have been a Kindle user since 2011, when I got a Kindle Keyboard for my birthday. I asked for it because I realized that one of my barriers to reading more was that I didn’t want to lug a book around to places where I would have time to read, like on a trip. Especially if I was reading a library book that I might risk injuring or losing. Plus I am a pretty light packer, so adding the bulk of a book in my bag is not worth it for me.

But the advantages of the Kindle go beyond its size.

  • The experience of reading on a Kindle has honestly been pleasant.
  • I can store tons of books on it.
  • It’s much lighter weight and less bulky than a book, and I can get a new book loaded onto my Kindle while in wi-fi without even getting out of bed. It takes up almost no space in my favorite travel purse and can even be easily carried in my favorite travel jacket!
  • Kindles can go weeks without needing to be charged, so depending on the length of your trip, you may not need to charge it during your trip at all.
  • And as much as I like the aesthetics of having massive bookshelves in my home, I don’t like to dust them. I’m not a re-reader of books, so there isn’t any real need for me to stockpile physical books in our house.

I’ve tried reading on tablets. They are too heavy for my taste, even the smaller tablets, and the back lighting strained my eyes. And reading on a Kindle app on my phone? I don’t think so. Too small, and too much of a battery drain, and when traveling, I am always conscious of not needlessly using up my cell phone battery.

I know there are other e-reader brands out there, but Kindle made sense for our family because we are all in on Amazon Prime, and they are most compatible with Overdrive, the e-book system used by many public libraries.

My History with Kindles

I had been using my Kindle Keyboard for a few years after I got it in 2011, but eventually our young son, a reluctant reader at the time, decided it was fun to read on a Kindle. When you find something that makes your kid love to read, you go with it! So I let him use my first Kindle and got myself another basic Kindle, a keyboard-free version this time. (Today’s basic Kindles have touch screens. Mine was not that fancy. It had buttons for turning the page and navigating the menus.) I used this second Kindle for awhile until, you guessed it, my daughter decided Kindles were great. My Kindle was once again co-opted by one of the wee ones in our house. For the record, both of these Kindles still work.

Around this same time we were planning a trip to Europe, and I had a little birthday money burning a hole in my pocket. I decided to check out the latest advancements in e-reader technology.


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My Selection: Kindle Voyage

At the time, the high-end Kindle on the market was the Voyage, which was what I ended up getting. I selected it over Kindle’s less-expensive Paperwhite. (In fairness, the Oasis was not available at the time. It is now the Kindle device with the most features and a higher price point than the Voyage. I will talk more about the Oasis later in this post, as my husband owns one.)

The features I like about the Voyage are:

  • The adaptive light sensor: The Voyage has adaptive light sensors. What that means is that it automatically senses the light where you are reading, and it adapts the proper lighting on the e-reader accordingly. I’ve been able to read on it in direct sunlight or in complete darkness as a result. I knew we were going to be spending many hours of quality time in trains where the lighting can be unpredictable, and I thought (correctly) that this technology would be helpful for reading on the train. (FYI, the Oasis also has this feature.)
  • The option for swiping or “page press”: The Paperwhite’s only page turn option is to swipe the screen, like you’re turning a page. To turn the page on the Voyage, you can either make a swiping motion on the screen, or you can use the responsive “page press” spots on the edges of the e-reader. If you’ve used an older Kindle, you probably know that it used to have physical buttons on both sides of the e-reader for page turning. The smaller buttons at the top turned back a page, and the larger buttons at the bottom turned forward a page. This works similarly on the Voyage, except there are no physical buttons The page press feature senses the pressure from your finger and gives you just a bit of a response, like a tiny vibration. I find it works fine for me, though sometimes it’s just easier to swipe. 
  • Its weight: The Voyage is a teensy bit lighter than the Paperwhite and the Oasis. When you want to pack light, every little bit helps. It also makes it a little easier to hold while reading.

Comparing the Voyage to the Paperwhite and Oasis:

Amazon provides a comparison of their different Kindle devices. I’m not going to delve into comparing the Voyage to the basic (least expensive) Kindle, but some key differences (positive and negative) I notice between the Voyage and the other two Kindle models are below.

  • Compared to the Paperwhite:
    • The Voyage is quite a bit more expensive than the Paperwhite. For many users, the Paperwhite may be perfectly adequate. I know several happy Paperwhite users. For me, I like the adaptive light sensors enough to warrant the extra expense.
  • Compared to the Oasis: My husband has an Oasis, and he loves it.
    • For my husband, the fact that the Voyage had no physical buttons to turn pages was a deal-breaker. Apparently it was a big deal to a lot of people, because the Oasis has buttons. This does not bother me enough to spend more on an Oasis.
    • The Oasis also has a build-in back-up battery built in the case, which means it lasts even longer without a charge. For a longer trip, that might be important. For me, it’s not a big deal, as both just use a USB cable to charge (so no need to bring a single-use charger), and the Voyage’s battery still lasts weeks.
    • Some also like the form of the Oasis when it’s out of its case. It is thicker one one side of the device, which rests nicely in your hand. If you want to switch hands, you can turn the Oasis around to put the thicker side in your other hand, and it rotates the screen accordingly.
    • The Oasis is more expensive. I personally haven’t seen enough features in the Oasis that would make me want to upgrade my Voyage.

If you haven’t already tried a Kindle, I highly recommend them. They are light, easy to use, and provide a pleasant reading experience. They are a perfect balance of size and convenience. Happy reading!

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