Guide to the Best Travel Pillows
A few years ago, I took a long-haul flight to London. Since I knew the flight was 11 hours, I knew I needed to buy some kind of travel pillow to keep my head from falling forward as I slept, waking me up and straining my neck.
A trip to Target ended with the purchase of a soft, turquoise, inflatable pillow. I wanted one that could fold away, so an inflatable pillow seemed perfect.
However, an hour into my nap, I suddenly realized that the pillow began to deflate. A few embarrassing attempts to blow it up again, and I knew it had a slow leak somewhere. I accepted defeat and knew I wouldn’t be sleeping much on that flight.
Since then, I’ve gone out of my way to test as many travel pillows as I can lay my hands on. Partly to prove a comfortable travel pillow exists and partly because I’m annoyed I wasted money on a bad one. And in my favorite store of all places.
What To Look For In A Travel Pillow
After racking up many flights, here’s what I think about when buying a travel pillow:
- Will I be sleeping upright or can I lean on the window?
- Is it for me or my kids?
- Can it be minimized when not in use?
- What filling is used?
- Is it discrete or is it eye-catching?
- Do I need orthopedic support?
- How much does it cost and how often will I use it?
Keeping that in mind, here are the best travel pillows for upright and window sleepers, orthopedic needs, unique designs, and for kids.
- The TRTL PILLOW is a SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN travel pillow to keep your head in a BETTER POSITION when sleeping upright by holding your head in an ergonomic position during rest. No more nodding heads!
- SUPER SOFT fleece combined with a unique hidden internal SUPPORT, plus some EXTRA COSY CUSHIONING creates a comfortable resting place for your head and neck. Available in RED, GREY, CORAL and BLACK so you can find a colour that suits your style.
- Our UNIQUE PATENTED DESIGN is your ticket to an awesome night's sleep, wherever you are. Designed to look like a SCARF, the Trtl Pillow can be easily adjusted to your comfort.
- The Trtl Pillow is EASY TO ATTACH to the handle of your backpack or outside of your luggage, and it only WEIGHS HALF A POUND (148 grams)! Say goodbye to bulky neck pillows taking up precious space in your carry on, or weighing you down at duty free.
- ALWAYS FRESH and ready to go, The Trtl Pillow is also MACHINE WASHABLE!
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 14:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Will you be sitting away from the window? If so, this neck pillow from Turtl will keep your head from landing onto the passenger beside you or strain your neck, when your head starts leaning over.
Technically, you don’t need to read further than this travel pillow recommendation. Frankly, it’s the best of the bunch. If you’re in a rush to select a travel pillow, get this.
SCIENTIFIC ERGONOMIC SUPPORT
According to the manufacturer, this neck support pillow is scientifically proven to give ergonomic support to your neck during a long flight. Considering mechanical engineers and physiotherapists developed the design, I definitely agree with their claim.
I found that my head was comfortably cradled for the entire time that I napped, which in this case was 5 hours on my flight.
The pillow is half the size of the average travel pillow, so takes up hardly any space in my purse. It can also attach to luggage for convenience.
COMES IN FOUR COLORS
The Turtl comes in four colors – grey, black, coral and red. I went with coral as I didn’t want my makeup to show on the darker fabrics if it rubbed off. It doesn’t matter too much though, because the fabric is also machine washable.
DOESN’T BREAK THE BANK
Despite its snazzy design background, it doesn’t break the bank. Although I will give my money to anyone that makes my life easier, I’m always on the hunt for a good deal.
EASY TO USE AND THERE’S A HOW-TO VIDEO
Using it is easy, you just hold one end near your cheek, and then wrap around your neck like a scarf. It’s really that easy. There’s even a video online if you’re still confused.
- Please search "Evolution S3" for our significantly improved and newest pillow.
- PREMIUM MEMORY FOAM: Made with plush, high quality memory foam, the Evolution Pillow is responsive to your adjustments and offers you the head, neck, and chin support you need to travel and rest better.
- WASHABLE COVER: Made out of high quality soft velour, the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow includes a removable and washable cover that makes cleaning a breeze and eliminating germs easy. It's like taking a new pillow with you on every trip.
- TRAVEL BAG: The Evolution Pillow Travel Neck Pillow was built for convenience and portability. It comes with a small travel bag that allows the neck pillow to compress down to ½ its size so you can relax on airplane trips. You can even use the bag's outside straps to attach to your luggage to save space.
- MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: Cabeau is committed to your complete satisfaction. Accordingly, we will replace all damaged or defective products due to materials or workmanship, upon your receipt of product. So get your must-have airline accessory and travel companion.
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 14:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Another great choice when you’re sleeping upright, is the Cabeau neck pillow. It gives you comfortable support courtesy of the memory foam filling. Memory foam has the ability to remain firm, yet mold to the contours of your body.
360 Degree Support
Whether your head leans to the left, right, or forward, this airplane pillow is designed to cradle your entire neck. It is taller than most travel pillows, which is ideal when you’re sleeping upright in a car, train, or plane.
Thin Pillow Back
When the back of a neck pillow is too thick, it can push your head forward, putting your neck into an uncomfortable position. Not so, with this neck pillow. The pillow’s back is thinner than most travel pillows, which allows your head to remain upright, in the most natural position.
Washable Velour Cover
To maintain the soft velour fabric, it can be removed and washed when needed.
Compresses to 1/4 its Original Size
It also comes with a small travel bag, which helps to compresses the neck pillow into 1/4 of its original size. It’s really handy when you aren’t using the neck pillow.
- SUPER CONTOUR COMFORT - You know what they say: a good day's work starts with a good night's sleep! Following the natural contours of your body, Lights Out travel pillow gently supports your neck, offering a custom-fit feeling that just can't be matched.
- BLOCK OUT THE WORLD - Too much light, noise or even germs around you? No problem! Just pull down the hoodie of your Lights Out pillow to block the light and germs around you, then put your headphones on and relax in the sound of your music.
- BLOCK OUT GERMS - Lights Out Is the world's first travel pillow with "Germ Shield" technology which allows you to easily create your own safe environment. Simply pull down the hood on your Lights Out and let the Germ Shield Carbon filter give you maximum protection.
- LIGHT AND PRACTICAL - If you like to travel light without sacrificing your personal comfort, you'll simply fall in love with Lights Out neck pillow. Lightweight, yet incredibly soft and comfortable, our traveling pillow is the ultimate choice of the smart traveler.
- FLEXIBLE AND VERSATILE - We know that every person is different, so we designed Lights Out portable pillow with two adjustable drawstrings that can be pulled to create the perfect fit. To make things even easier, the hood can be zipped off and washed whenever necessary.
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 14:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Sometimes you want a little sense of privacy in a cramped plane, especially when it’s time to sleep. I’m not the most graceful sleeper, especially when I’m sitting upright. Luckily, the designers over at Lights Out have come up with a simple solution to this common problem – a neck pillow with a built-in hoodie.
CREATES INSTANT PRIVACY ON FLIGHTS
The built-in hoodie is soft polar fleece and big enough to pull past your head. There’s nothing worse than a hoodie that is too short. Once I pulled the hoodie over, my peripheral vision was blocked and I could drift away without worrying my seat passengers were looking at my drooling face.
REMOVABLE AND WASHABLE HOODIE
After a few flights, I detached the hoodie and put it in the washing machine. It washed well and I was able to spruce it up after a few journeys.
Inside it’s filled with microbead material, so it will mold to your neck and head shape. I found it less supportive than the previous pillow, but I need very firm support.
TIP FOR BLOCKING THE MOST LIGHT OUT
The travel neck pillow comes in 6 colors, so you can find something that suits you. I would recommend sticking to the darker colors, to really block out the light.
WINDOW SEAT PILLOWS
- Perfect for travelers or campers
- Foam expands big and packs small
- Comfortable brushed polyester on the outside with soft urethane foam fill on the inside
- New XL size measures a generous 16.5 x 27 in
- Made in the USA with US and global materials
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 14:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Sitting in a window seat on a flight can have its advantages, one being that you can lean your entire body against the window area, when getting some shut-eye. However, it’s not that comfortable, especially with the flimsy complimentary pillow the airline gives you.
Some passengers go as far as bringing their pillow from home, but I find it way too bulky to drag around with me. That’s why I love these little pillows. Picking the right size is up to you, as they come in 4 handy sizes.
Small: 12 x 16 inches
Medium: 14 x 18 inches
Large: 16 x 23 inches
X-Large: 16.5 x 27 inches
Personally, I went with the medium size. It’s a similar size to the flimsy airplane pillow you get on a flight, but it’s more padded and is comfortable to sleep on.
Compressible Foam Filling
The travel neck pillow is filled with soft, urethane foam, and it can be compressed to 1/5 its size when rolled into its case, with the drawstring pulled.
It was nice unrolling it and watching it expand to its final size and then folding it away when my flight was over.
- Made with our Patented Interlocking Fill -- Size 12'' x 18''
- Use it on top of hotel pillows to get all the benefits of your MyPillow away from home
- Use it for travel by plane, train or automobile -- Rolls Right into it's own travel case!
- Provides lumbar support while working at your desk
- MyPillow Promotions Not Valid Through Amazon.
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 15:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
In 16 different colors and patterns, the My Pillow Roll and Go, is an American made travel pillow.
Compressable and Washable
Similar to the previous Therm-a-Rest pillow, this pillow can be rolled and compressed when not in use. The foam insert and the pillow cover can both be washed. It measures 12 x 18 inches, so is similar to the small Therm-a-Rest pillow.
Great Choice of Colors
The main difference between the Therm-a-Pillow to this one, is that it comes in more colors. I know many people who love having a full range of color options, so this is great for those people.
It can be used as lumbar (back) support, against a plane window seat, or when lying down.
- Size 18" x 14" x 3".. GET RELIEF FROM BACKACHE & PAIN WHILE SITTING : It's a FACT that flat, hard and even traditionally padded cushion seats cause pressure on your Tailbone resulting in Pain, Poor posture, Improper spine alignment, Decreased blood circulation, Pinched nerves & Orthopedic problems.
- THE ORTHO-SEAT MEMORY FOAM COCCYX SEAT CUSHION IS ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED WITH A DOCTOR RECOMMENDED U shaped cut out, creating a COCCYX COMFORT SPACE that allows your tailbone to "float" rather than being compressed against the seating surface bearing the weight of your body. The CONTOUR SURFACE DESIGN distributes body weight across the seat, relieving pressure points on tailbone and lumbar.
- PROMOTES HEALTHY POSTURE, Proper Lumbar Spine Alignment, Reduced Back Pain, Increased Blood Flow To The Legs & Superior Comfort. Helps Relieve Pain From Back Injuries, Herniated, Bulging Or Degenerated Disc, Sciatica Nerve Pain, Arthritis, Hip Pain, Sacral Joint Pain, Stenosis, Hemorrhoids, Pregnancy And Other Conditions - Experience extreme comfort
- NON SKID ANTI SLIP BOTTOM KEEPS SEAT CUSHION IN PLACE: - Best for Office Chair, Computer Desk, Kitchen, Dining room, Living room, Drivers Patio, Couch, Recliner. Take it with you to Sporting Events to use on Benches and Bleachers. Great for Car seat cushion, Truck Driver, Train & Airplane Travel, Truckers. Place it on the floor for Yoga, Meditation or as a Kneeling Pad Cushion for Tasks. Also Rocking Chairs for elderly and Nursery.
- ULTRA DELUXE BODY ACTIVE MEMORY FOAM keeps its shape NEVER GOES FLAT! It remains uniform in density, conforming to provide you with the support you need for comfortable seating time after time! Your tush will feel the cush. - The durable, zippered removable, black MESH COVER is MACHINE WASHABLE and provides SUPERIOR AIR CIRCULATION AND BREATHABILITY while standing up to tough everyday use - NO QUESTIONS ASKED - MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. If you aren't 100% satisfied, simply return it within 2 years!
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 13:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
My sister has long-term issues with her coccyx. So much so, that driving, watching movies, and flying on planes especially, can be excruciating. Luckily, there are cushions designed to relieve the tailbone area known as the coccyx.
Feeling self-conscious about carrying a coccyx cushion is the least of your worries, if you need to relieve the pain and discomfort you are experiencing. My sister takes this cushion to the movie theatre, without batting an eyelid.
Ergonomic Cut-Out Design
Getting high reviews from my sister and online, this coccyx cushion is comfortable to sit on for several hours. It is ergonomically designed to avoid pressure to the tailbone. The area is cut out, allowing the tailbone to receive no pressure.
Memory Foam Material
Inside it is filled with firm memory foam, that does not go flat after regular use. It supports the area around the tailbone and does not feel hard after extended use.
You don’t need to worry about this cushion shifting around, because of the non-skid material on the bottom. The last thing you need, is to add movement to your coccyx area.
- GIVE YOUR BACK A BREAK with the original premium lumbar support pillow by MemorySoft...
- SIT LONGER WITH LESS PAIN - This ergonomic memory foam lumbar pillow is made of premium grade memory foam and designed for orthopedic use, meaning you get optimal back support that molds to your back, so you can sit longer without pain!
- NO MIDDLE-MAN - Our direct to consumer model means we can offer better value than big corporate brands selling for $50+. Great gift idea for anyone who sits for work or at home!
- VERSATILE COMFORT - Great for use in the office, home, or traveling in a car, truck, bus, train, or plane. Includes an adjustable elastic snap on strap to attach to your chair, and a removable washable cover for ultimate convenience.
- TRY NOW RISK FREE - 30 day money-back guarantee supported by awesome small business customer service. ADD TO CART NOW, BECAUSE IT'S RISK-FREE! Please note, "MemorySoft" IS THE ONLY AUTHENTIC SELLER OF "MemorySoft" BRAND NAME PRODUCTS.
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 15:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Especially useful on long flights or long car journeys, the Memory Soft Lumbar Support Pillow, supports your back to provide hours of relief. When you have back problems, it’s a good idea to bring your own lumbar support pillow, rather than to hope your seat will have enough support.
The lumbar pillow is ergonomically designed to fit inside the curve of your back. It doesn’t feel too big, which can contribute to even more back pain.
Memory Foam Filling
The memory foam filling is the ideal material for custom back support. It conforms differently to each body shape and bounces back to its original shape when not in use.
Fixable with Elastic Strap
When sitting in a desk chair, use the elastic straps to keep the pillow in place. It can be left in place permanently, for as long as you want.
- The only product that provides FULL LATERAL SUPPORT for the upper body making it easier to relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep longer.
- Promotes proper head and neck and cervical alignment - KEEPS HEAD FROM FALLING FORWARD. Ideal for chronic pain sufferers. INFLATES EASILY with just a few breaths and DEFLATES INSTANTLY. Stores neatly when rolled to minimize packing space.
- ERGONOMIC Patented design provides proper support to prevent tension and neck strain.
- MULTI-USE AND ADJUSTABLE - Position across the torso or down the side. Wear like a messenger bag or tether to an airline seat. Easily loops over headrests in cars and airline seats. See our instructional sheet and videos. Rolled Dimensions: 2 x 9 x 3.5 inches. Weight: 7 ounces
- INFLATABLE - WASHABLE - ADJUSTABLE: Adults & kids older than 8 years. Great for airplanes, buses, trains, cars, camping, backpacking, wheelchairs, airport terminals, watching TV. 2-Year WARRANTY. Great GIFT! OPTIONAL PLUSH COVER SOLD SEPARATELY Luxurious Travelrest velour and memory foam COVER also sold on Amazon.
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 15:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
A little more adventurous, the Travelrest Ultimate Inflatable Pillow, is comfortable and simple in design.
Familiar Sleeping Position
It’s strangely similar to leaning on someone when sleeping, except, in this case, it’s not a boney shoulder or arm. The angle is also better for comfortable sleeping.
Adjust for Comfort
The inflatable travel pillow can be inflated prior to boarding a plane or once you’ve boarded. It took about 7 breaths to fill it completely. I found that it was more comfortable when I filled it to 95% full. I liked the slight squishiness from inflating it a tad less. That’s my tip.
Attaches to Luggage
When finished, it quickly deflates and rolls up and snaps to a luggage strap or handle.
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 13:44 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Another pillow with an innovative design, the J-Pillow is specially designed to cradle your head, chin, and side of your face. Multiple newspapers and magazines rave about the design and I can see why.
Popular with Travelers
After using this pillow, it quickly became clear how many travelers also own this pillow. I counted at least 10 passengers holding one before I boarded my flight. It’s obviously popular for a reason.
If I had to describe the size, I’d say it’s similar to a basketball. It’s not especially small, but it has a handy strap that clips to your luggage. It’s certainly not as big, say, as the huge pillows some people bring from home on their flights.
OK For Aisle Seats, But Great for Window Seats
I was doubtful it would cradle my head, but was proven wrong. I used it in a middle seat and it still worked. I’ve read people say that it works better in a window seat, which makes sense.
Choose the Firmness
The pillow and cover can both be put into the washing machine for cleaning. Either tumble dry on low heat for softer support or air dry for firmer support. The manufacturer specifies which dry cycle to use for custom firmness.
KIDS TRAVEL PILLOW
- Contains (1) Critter Piller children's neck pillow in Blue Dog design. Feather-soft microfibers provide the just-right level of softness and support for your traveling child. Hypoallergenic & machine washable for the best comfort during & after your trip.
- Soft, cute, and cuddly. Critter Piller Neck Pillows are specially designed to cradle your child's head in just the right position to nod off. Built sturdy, this pillow will last for miles of fun. Critter Pillers are recommended for kids age 3 and up.
- Our feather-soft hypoallergenic fiber fill is made from recycled materials, like water bottles, for a comfortable, sustainable pillow, and the soft, cuddly, blue dog design means the Critter Piller is bound to become your child's favorite travel buddy.
- Critter Pillers are filled and finished in the USA. The zipper tab is removed so a child cannot open the pillow and ingest the stuffing. It provides superior support & durability for your traveling child. Make your road trip comfortable for the whole car.
- Built sturdy to last for miles & miles of travel comfort and fun. Environmentally friendly fill & packaging. Helping to preserve the world for the next generation of travelers. Suitable for children 3 years+. Critter Piller: Friends forever & even longer.
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 13:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Designed for children in mind, the Critter Piller is an adorable kids travel pillow that doubles as a toy and also as a neck pillow. Feather-soft microfibers are wrapped in plush fabric, creating a lovely pillow to touch and play with.
26 Characters To Choose
Made in America, this toddler neck pillow comes in an astounding 26 cute characters. It’s machine washable and also hypoallergenic, which I look for when buying items for my kids. I’d recommend this children’s travel pillow for kids starting at 3 years old.
Great for Flights or Car Journeys
This is great on flights, but even better on car trips. Kids can use it around their neck or can lean on it when they sleep.
- Ages 2-4 years
- For use in the car, on a plane or while waiting to get aboard
- Features a signature characters from the zoo collection
- Made of soft, plush velour
- Dimensions: 10.5" high x 10.5" wide x 3" deep
Last update on 2019-06-16 at 13:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
No stranger to Skip Hop products, I’ve bought many of their products over the years for their fun and friendly design. Our guide to the best kids luggage features a few of their designs. The Skip Hop Zoo toddler travel pillow is another great product in their range and is great for little ones.
Several Characters to Choose From
As with all of Skip Hop’s products, they have several characters to choose from and you can purchase the matching backpacks, luggage, and water bottles, to name just a few things.
Great for Toddlers
I recommend this pillow for children between 2 and 4 years old. Any younger or older and they may find it uncomfortable.
Soft Velour Fabric
Soft for delicate skin, the material is velvety and feels comfortable to rest on. The neck pillow can be tossed in the washing machine to freshen up.
I hope you’ve found a travel pillow that will make future traveling more comfortable. Or at the very least, made you think about what to look for when looking for the best travel pillow for you.
So tell me, have you also had a bad experience with a travel pillow?