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.ย 
  • 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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  • Reply
    Alison Netzer
    May 10, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Great discussion I really need to get one and take some time for myself

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 11:56 am

      They are really handy, for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Heather Young
    May 10, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I have a Kindle Paperwhite and LOVE IT! I hadnโ€™t looked into any other models, but when I need to replace my Kindle, Iโ€™ll definitely look into the Voyager and Oasis. I find that I read MORE on my Kindle than a hard copy book.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Totally agree about reading more. I usually (but not always) get library books, so I’d never have a book when I wanted it. So much handier with the Kindle. I have heard good things about the Paperwhite, too.

  • Reply
    Priya Florence Shah
    May 10, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    I had a Kindle, but found the lack of functionality irritating. I’m one of those people who prefers reading on a tablet. To each his own.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      I can see where that would be frustrating. I especially felt that with the older basic Kindles I had, but I don’t notice it as much on my Voyage.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Books are a definite must when traveling! I can see why this would be useful.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Very much so. Especially if you are a light packer. Lugging around books = no thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Shreya Saha
    May 11, 2018 at 3:28 am

    I am not much of a reader now, I mean I have shifted from storybooks to travel magazine, so this might not be an option for me anymore. But I guess this is a great product as per your suggestions, I will keep in mind for my friends. I remember one of my buddies have Kindle Paperweight and I have no clue what it is about.

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 5:38 am

      FYI, I believe you can subscribe to magazines and read them on a Kindle, though I will say that the reading experience will not be as good because it’s not in color and is much smaller. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 5:55 am

    Sounds much easier, but I’m old fashion reader – give me the magazine or the book in my hands to feel the pages ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 6:03 am

      I know…it’s always going to be better on the real thing. Even my kids prefer to read “real” books now. But if you’re looking to reduce bulk in your travel bags, it’s a great alternative.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 10:35 am

    This is a very timely post. After nearly going blind trying to read on my kindle app on my iPhone, I just started researching kindles. We actually purchased the original first generation one and it has seriously progressed technology wise. I’m thinking seriously about the voyage now – the adaptive light sensor may be key!

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Oh good, I’m glad this is helpful! The Voyage or the Oasis would be a good bet for you. I limped by with the older ones, which were totally fine, but the Voyage and Oasis are SO much better! Good luck!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Just like Nives mentions, I too am an old fashion reader โ€“ I still prefer my books to be ‘real’ books. I haven’t tried the Kindle yet. And despite the weight advantage (especially while travelling), I think I would still prefer to carry a book.

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      To each their own. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a good option for some, but not all.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I have been thinking of trying Kindle. But I have been wondering as a shortsighted person who wears contacts would Kindle be good for my sight?!
    I spend much time in front of the screen already ๐Ÿ™

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      My understanding is that the Kindle screen is different than a computer or tablet screen. It is “up lit” instead of “back lit,” so it’s easier on your eyes. Maybe try one from someone you know who has one before investing in one. It’s nice to be able to adjust the font to whatever size you want as well.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    While I love to read a physical book more, I did get a kindle for traveling. I got it as a birthday gift last year. It is the paperwhite model and has ever been my best friend. I solemnly agree with everything you have written here!

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      Yay! I’ve heard the Paperwhite is great, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad it’s working for you!

  • Reply
    Adrenaline Romance
    May 12, 2018 at 1:02 am

    I’m 45 years old, and for me, there’s nothing better than reading a real book. But at the same time, I also welcome new technology, and I love the Kindle. My partner and I bring our Kindle when traveling; it’s lighter and more convenient than carrying a number of books.

    • Reply
      May 12, 2018 at 7:46 am

      Agreed. I’m a little older than you and feel the same. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    June 9, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Interesting! I usually read on my ipad mini, and also use it for everything internet. I am also a big fan of free library e-books. I live being able to get a new book in minutes, especially in the evening when i finish one and am not ready to go to sleep. But the ipad is a little heavy to hold for reading, so i am considering a kindle.

    • Reply
      June 9, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      I agree with the iPad Mini being a little heavy. My kids and husband have similar sized tablets, and I just find them too heavy. The kindle is so much lighter!

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