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Tips for Choosing a Travel Radio Alarm Clock

Updated on September 27, 2011

Do You Need a Travel Radio Alarm Clock?

Traveling can be hard. One reason it's so difficult is simply because you are away from all of the comforts you enjoy at home. Being able to relax and enjoy some music can improve the entire experience. Certainly, waking to some tunes is also a better start to a day than hearing a loud alarm, no matter where you are. For this reason, taking along a travel radio alarm clock can help improve the experience.

Of course many mobile phones can provide an alarm, although the tone can be weak. Many of them can also act as music player too, but if you want local radio the number of phones that can provide this is limited. In addition not everyone has one of these phones, as they carry a significant expense. The travel clocks on the other hand a very affordable.

On this page you will see a number of available models and get some tips on how to choose the right one.

Buying Tips

Choosing a travel radio alarm clock isn't too difficult, but there are a few things you ought to think about before making your selection:

  • Size.
    The typical travel alarm clock is quite small, certainly portable enough to fit in your pocket. These smaller devices often fold up and have a hard cover to protect them. However, if you add a decent radio, the size increases considerably. Most of these devices will probably weigh between 7 oz. and 2 lbs. In most instances, the smallest devices will not offer the same quality audio as a somewhat larger device simply because a smaller radio means even smaller speakers.
  • Location.
    You also want to think about where you will be using your this clock radio. If you will be toting it to the beach or on a camping trip, you probably want something that is a bit more rugged; something with seals around the dials, a tough exterior, and so forth to resist scratches and repel water. If however, you'll be flying with your device, you probably want something that will easily fit in your luggage. For those who will be traveling to Europe, a US radio should pick up FM but would ideally have a switch to go to a 9Khz channel interval to pick up AM stations.
  • Audio.
    Certainly if good audio is important, then listening to the device is a good step. It would be rare for these radios to offer stereo sound, this is due largely to their small size. Even if they had stereo, it might not sound much different as the speakers would be so close anyway. However, you can think about what radio functions are important to you. Preset buttons can make it much easier to quickly locate favorite stations when you're in the area. A search function helps to find stations when you're not in the local area. Having inputs that allow you to plug in your favorite devices is nice as well. Being able to connect to your iPod or other devices gives you even more listening options. Having a 3.5 mm jack allows you to plug in headphones.
  • Clock
    Certainly your travel radio alarm clock also needs to tell time and provide an alarm. Check to be sure the display size and brightness will suit you. Some handy features that you may find in addition to the alarm, are a snooze or sleep function, a timer, and a calendar. Some devices may offer only a beep or buzzer alarm while others may give you the choice between a beep and music to wake you. In fact, some devices will provide soothing sounds to put you to sleep after a hard day of traveling. They may play these sounds or music for a defined period of time between 30 and 90 minutes before automatically shutting off.
  • Other Considerations.
    You might want to consider the power source. Smaller devices often operate only on batteries. This is convenient as you can then use it anywhere without worrying about having access to electricity or having an adapter if needed. On the other hand, batteries can die. Larger devices often operate via an electrical outlet. In these cases, having a battery backup is ideal in case the power goes out or you need an adapter and don't have it with you.

    Having an antenna can improve your ability to pick up stations and having either a handle or carrying case can make the device more easily toted around.

Take a Look at the Tivoli Audio SongBook


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      Andy Johnston 8 years ago

      The alarm on cell phones do seem to be the preferred method of waking up for the traveler, but also think that having a travel alarm clock that you trust is good to have as a back up to your phone. You never know when your cell battery will die and how many times have you left on a trip without your cell phone charger? I know I've done that. Nice hub.

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      Nancy's Niche 8 years ago

      Thanks for the info and video demo...While traveling, we use our cell phone alarms for a wake up buzz...