A travel pillow is a must-have accessory for any traveler; still, finding the pillow that’s right for you can be a challenge. We’ve got some tips for selecting your ideal travel pillow, along with some specific recommendations to help you get started in your search.
Best Travel Pillows
1. Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow
This memory foam pillow is a versatile option for travelers because it can accommodate so many different sleeping positions. It can also consolidate to fit into a small pouch for easy travel and comes with a washable cover.
2. Huzi Infinity Pillow
The unique infinity-symbol shape of the Huzi pillow allows you to wrap and shape it in whatever way is most comfortable for you. This, combined with its bamboo fabric, makes its a great choice for travelers who just can’t seem to get comfortable with traditional travel pillows.
3. Trtl Super-Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow
Think outside the “U-shaped” box with the Trtl neck support travel pillow, which looks more like a scarf than a traditional pillow. Its extremely soft material and shape help hold the neck into an ergonomic position for maximum comfort—and it’s super lightweight for easy stashing in your carry-on.
4. AirComfy Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow
Looking for a pillow that can fit into even the smallest of carry-ons? The AirComfy Ease is an inflatable travel pillow that can be deflated and placed into a tiny pouch for easy transport. Meanwhile, it comes with an elastic band that allows for easy securing onto your headrest.
5. BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow
The BCOZZY Travel Pillow offers a patented extension that provides chin support while you snooze, which prevents your head from slouching forward and jolting you awake. It also comes in 16 different color options to suit your sense of style!
Advantages Of Using A Travel Pillow
Still not sure whether or not a travel pillow is right for you? Take some time to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of traveling with one. Most frequent travelers would agree that having a great pillow can make all the difference; the key is finding the one that’s right for your needs and sleeping style.
Prevent Stiff Neck and Pain
Have you ever tried to sleep on a flight or even on a crowded bus or train? If so, then you know just how difficult it can be to get (and stay) comfortable. Even if you are able to drift off to sleep for a bit, you may be jolted awake the second your head starts to inevitably slouch forward—or you may wake up with an extremely sore and stiff neck. That’s not a fun way to arrive at your destination!
With the right travel pillow, you can enjoy the ergonomic support you need and the comfort you desire to help you sleep more comfortably and soundly during your travels. Specifically, a travel pillow with ergonomic support that works to properly align the spine can make the all the difference. Rather than waking up feeling achy and stiff when you reach your travel destination, you can wake up feeling truly refreshed.
Enjoy More Restful Sleep
When you’re traveling, it can be difficult to get the restful sleep your body is used to. This is especially true if you’re flying overnight on a red-eye flight, for example. Even with the cabin lights off and noise-canceling headphones blocking out the distractions around you, being confined to a small airplane seat can make it extremely difficult to get comfortable. And when you are able to fall asleep, the type of sleep you’re getting probably isn’t the most restful—especially if you’re not comfortable. You may wake up frequently throughout your flight or be unable to fall asleep at all. Some airlines offer small pillows to passengers flying at night, but these often fall flat (literally); plus, who knows how many other travelers have used that same pillow? Yikes.
When you have the right travel pillow, not only do you get to enjoy passing the hours away sleeping on your next flight, but you can enjoy the restful sleep you need to wake up feeling great when you arrive at your destination. You may even get in those precious REM sleep cycles that you would otherwise be missing without the comfort of a travel pillow.
Potentially Reduce Snoring
If you suffer from sleep apnea or are a chronic snorer while you sleep, then you may be worried about the possibility of even falling asleep during your travels. You might feel embarrassed by your snoring or be worried about bothering others on your flight. This is a legitimate concern—and if you have symptoms of a condition such as sleep apnea, it’s important that you consult a medical professional. However, it’s also important to understand that the right travel pillow can help to reduce or even eliminate snoring by keeping your head ergonomically propped in such a way that properly aligns the airways.
Not all travel pillows are designed this way, but if you know you have an issue with snoring, it may be worth looking into one that is designed with this in mind. It could make the difference between you (and other passengers) being able to sleep soundly on your next flight and being distracted by snoring!
Disadvantages Of Using A Travel Pillow
When considering whether or not a travel pillow is right for you, you should also think about some of the potential disadvantages of purchasing one. Again, most would likely agree that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks—but it’s a good idea to look at both sides.
Additional Items To Bring
When you’re packing for a trip, you already have enough items to worry about bringing along with you. A travel pillow adds to that list. Combine that with the fact that some travel pillows are rather bulky and it’s easy to see why some travelers prefer to avoid them altogether. Depending on its size, a travel pillow may not fit easily inside your carry-on bag, so you may need to carry it separately. This can be inconvenient, especially when it comes to presenting your boarding pass and identification throughout the airport. Fortunately, there are some space-saving travel pillow designs that allow for easy collapsing into a small pouch; others may also come with straps so you can at least attach your travel pillow to your carry-on bag instead of having to lug it around separately.
Possibility Of Choosing The Wrong Pillow
Not all travel pillows will offer the same features and level of comfort. If you end up buying the wrong travel pillow for your specific sleeping style and preferences, you’re probably going to be disappointed. For example, not everyone will benefit from the traditional “U-shaped” travel pillow and some may find this design downright uncomfortable. Those who snore, on the other hand, will want to look for a pillow that has specific head and neck support to maintain a clear airway passage and reduce snoring.
With so many different travel pillow options out there (and countless different designs), it can be difficult to know which is best for you. This is where taking the time to do your research can make all the difference so you don’t end up disappointed in your purchase.
Can Be Difficult To Keep Clean
Depending on the material out of which your travel pillow is made, it can sometimes be difficult to keep them clean. Not all travel pillows come with an easily removable or washable cover, so you might cringe thinking about the types of bacteria that the fabric may have picked up on your travels. Some materials are more prone to staining as well, so it’s important to look for a travel pillow that can be washed or that at least comes with a washable cover.
Costly To Purchase At The Airport
If you wait until you’re at the airport to purchase your travel pillow, you’re probably going to end up getting ripped off. Travel pillows and toiletry bags are heavily marked up at the airport (much like nearly everything else you buy at the airport), and the selection will be limited. In fact, if you wait to buy your travel pillow until you’re at the airport, there’s a good chance you’ll only have traditional “U-shaped” options to choose from. Of course, you can avoid this issue by taking the time to research and purchase your ideal travel pillow online before your trip.
How To Choose The Best Travel Pillow
Ready to start shopping for a travel pillow? There are a few considerations worth keeping in mind to find the one that’s right for you.
Consider The Right Shape For You
Start by looking at the different shape options available. Of course, there is the typical “U-shaped” pillow, which will get the job done by offering a little support on either side of your head, but is far from the ideal option for most. Other pillows, such as the Trtl Neck Support Pillow, are actually designed to wrap around your neck and reduce stiffness. Some other pillows come with a versatile design that actually allows you to conform the pillow into the shape you desire.
Take some time to explore your options and consider your own sleeping preferences when deciding on a pillow shape or design that’s best for your needs.
Explore Filling Options
Travel pillows can be filled with many different types of materials. Memory foam is a popular option these days and can be great for providing just the right amount of cushioning and support that will conform to your body. With a memory foam pillow, however, it’s important choose one with a protective cover, as memory foam is porous and could become easily stained or contaminated by bacteria. If you don’t find one with a cover, look for one that’s machine washable and will hold up well in the washing machine.
Another filling option to consider is air! Inflatable travel pillows are great because they can be deflated and easily folded up for compact storage when not in use. At the same time, these pillows may not provide the same level of support and comfort as a memory foam pillow, so you may need to decide whether space or comfort is more important.
What About Materials?
The materials out of which the exterior or cover of the travel pillow is made are also important. A soft travel pillow will provide added comfort and may make it easier for you to sleep soundly. On the other hand, some materials cannot be laundered as easily. Consider sticking to softer and more durable materials that will allow for easy washing, such as cotton or microfiber. You’ll also want to choose materials that are breathable, as anyone who has ever flown on a plane knows just how stuffy those cabins can be.
Make Sure It’s Easy to Lug Around
Ease of transport is also key when choosing a great travel pillow. A large and cumbersome travel pillow will be difficult to lug around the airport, so finding one that can be easily attached to your carry-on bag or even collapsed and stored inside your carry-on bag can be a huge plus. This will make getting through the airport easier. Some travel pillows are designed to be compressed and stored in tiny pouches when not in use; inflatable travel pillows are also a great option to consider for convenience and space-saving qualities.
Think About Overall Value for Your Money
The prices of travel pillows can vary greatly, so be sure to consider the overall value you’re getting for your money. In general, it’s best to spend a little more money up-front on a great travel pillow than to have to replace your cheaper travel pillows every couple of years. Ideally, your travel pillow should last you for many years and many trips to come, so you’ll find that it’s worth spending a few extra bucks on one that will truly provide you with the best experience.
The Bottom Line
For most travelers, a quality travel pillow is a great way to catch restful sleep while on-the-go. Whether you find yourself on a plane, train, bus, or even in the passenger seat of a car, a great travel pillow can provide you with the ergonomic support you need to avoid aches and pains while traveling. Be sure to check out our picks for the top five best travel pillows and take the above tips into consideration as you shop for the one that’s best for you.