Buying Guide for Travel Pillows
Why buy a travel pillow?
The obvious reasons are rest and relaxation before the weight of your business trip or the rush of vacation hits you. Or maybe you’re headed home from your favorite vacation spot and had a little too much fun and need to catch up on sleep before heading back to real life. A travel pillow has your back. They keep your neck, head, and shoulders more supported for a pain-free, comfortable rest between destinations.
What should you know when shopping for your travel pillow?
- Support: Since a travel pillow’s primary purpose is to offer neck support, the amount and type of support are essential when selecting one. Think about your most common neck position when you sleep upright while traveling. Do you lean backward, forward, or off to the side? Some travel pillows are designed for certain sleep positions. Also, note that inflatable and memory foam models offer more support than microbead ones.
- Size: Your pillow won’t do you much good if it doesn’t fit into or onto your bags or carry-on (in the case of airplanes), after all. You have to consider their portability, weight, thickness, and bulkiness. Most will be pretty light since they’re meant for travel, but some will be more lightweight than others. Some models can be compressed or otherwise sized down, ideal if you like to travel light or have limited space.
What are quality travel pillows made from?
There are tons of options at your fingertips for finding the right travel pillow. Choose from soft, non-inflatable models with memory foam, fiber, or microbead filling, depending on the strength and thickness you’re looking for. Or you can choose a firm, ergonomic, inflatable pillow that offers customizable sleep positions that allow you to rest your entire body weight on a sturdy, standing cushion.
Our Picks for the Best Travel Pillows
MLVOC 100% Memory Foam Travel Pillow
A travel pillow featuring luxury, quick-shaping memory foam.
Pros: This top-notch travel pillow by MLVOC comes as part of a full kit, making it an excellent value. Besides the pillow, you receive a lightweight travel bag, a pair of earplugs, and a 3D-contoured eye mask—all meant to increase portability and promote sleep during travel. This travel pillow is made of premium memory foam to cushion your head and neck and relieve important pressure points. It can compress down to half its size to fit and includes a snap strap that attaches to your carry-on bag without taking up interior space.
Cons: There isn’t much protection from your chin falling to your chest while sleeping, so you may want to rotate the pillow slightly.
Bottom Line: This pillow is an incredibly comfy investment for long airplane or car rides—it’s the whole enchilada so that you can enjoy noiseless sleep in any lighting.
BCOZZY Double-Support Travel Pillow
A patented pillow to support the chin, head, and shoulders.
Pros: This highly versatile support pillow from BCOZZY can be rearranged into different positions to fit your needs and the available space best—wrap around your neck for equal support, or arrange to support your head on one side entirely. This pillow is ideal not just for side sleepers but adjustable for all positions, whether you have the aisle, middle, or window seat while traveling. A double, adjustable loop in the front makes for a nice chin rest, and the narrow back side won’t put pressure on your neck or push your head forward to prevent neck and shoulder pain and soreness.
Cons: The wrap-around nature of this travel pillow may create extra warmth, so if you already run hot, make sure you point the airplane or car air-conditioner your way for help staying cool.
Bottom Line: Quality at an excellent price, this innovative travel pillow provides flexible sleep options for any length of the trip. Adjust to your ideal position for much-needed shut-eye.
Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow
This travel pillow contours to nearly any shape or position.
Pros: You can achieve instant, customizable comfort with this twisting memory-foam travel pillow from Dot&Dot. Its flexible joints and soft body bend to target sensitive pressure points in your back and neck, plus shoulders, spine, and even legs. It even provides extra support for specific areas, like your lumbar or the underside of your knees. Attach your travel pillow to your suitcase handle using the convenient button snap. Just got home from vacation? Toss your pillow’s breathable, machine-washable cotton in the washer to keep it clean and sanitary for your next trip.
Cons: This pillow features an interior rod to support its excellent flexibility, so you may be able to feel the rod through the fabric.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a multifunctional solution for any area of your tired body, this could be the pillow for you. It quickly and easily becomes whatever you need it to be.
UROPHYLLA Inflatable Travel Pillow, 100% Soft Velvet Inflatable Neck Pillow for Traveling, Airplanes, Train, Car, Office with Compact Bag, Breathable Washable Cover, Suit for Adults Sleeping - Grey
Get the most support from this velvety soft travel pillow that you can adjust to your liking.
Pros: This ergonomically designed travel pillow from UROPHYLLA is a quality option for vital head and neck support. It has the classic U-shape along with two humps on either side to conform to your body. Its thick cushion features a soft, velvet cover to provide ultimate comfort where you won’t sweat or feel irritated on the skin. Next time you board the plane, adjust the pillow by blowing it through the valve—three breaths are all it takes. Once you’ve landed, deflate it and pack it down to easily store it in your briefcase or purse or hang it around your bag.
Cons: The pillow doesn’t hold firm enough to support the neck for long periods of time.
Bottom Line: If you’re tired of your traditional travel pillow flattening and not delivering that fullness you experienced when you first bought it, consider this adjustable option. You’ll also get a plush feel and extra support from its not-so-typical design.
EverSnug Travel Blanket and Pillow - Premium Soft 2 in 1 Airplane Blanket with Soft Bag Pillowcase, Hand Luggage Sleeve and Backpack Clip (Black)
Get the most out of your travels with this cozy pillow and blanket duo made with premium microfleece.
Pros: Going camping or flying overseas? This microfleece plush travel pillow and blanket morphed into one will get you through your travels comfortably and in style. The blanket rolls out to a whopping 65 inches in length and 40 inches in width to provide great coverage in the coolest of places. Roll it back and pack it in to transform it into a pillow when needed. Once packed up and ready to leave, just use the hand luggage sleeve at the back along with the included carabiner to attach it to your suitcase.
Cons: It isn’t heavy-duty or made with premium fabrics, so the threading may come loose after a few uses. Also, be aware this is not a pillow and a blanket—so once you unfold it to become a blanket, you no longer have a pillow. It’s one or the other.
Bottom Line: The next time you’re in a pinch and need some warmth or support for your neck, you’ll be happy you got this two-in-one travel set. Snuggle up on your flight, then use it as a pillow once you reach your destination.
Travel pillows come in tons of shapes, sizes, and materials, depending on which parts of the body you need to target. Whatever the configuration, these soft, comfy travel buddies are designed to snuggly fill the space between your head and neck, resting against the headrest of your seat on a bus, plane, or train. Find one that will support you best.