The Top Travel Pillows for a More Comfortable Trip

If you travel with any frequency, whether by car, bus, plane, or train, it’s no secret that it can be tricky to get comfortable while you’re en route. Airplanes especially are notorious for being uncomfortable and difficult to rest or sleep in. While it may not solve all your comfort problems, a good travel pillow can make it easier to relax during your trip and make it more comfortable, regardless of your method of travel. Travel pillows may be smaller versions of standard bed pillows or have a more curved shape. Either way, they’re meant to tuck around or behind your neck to fill the space between your head and neck and the headrest of your seat on a bus, plane, or train. This not only cushions your neck and head but prevents your neck from bending too far or into an awkward position. Here are a few travel pillows we recommend.

What Should You Consider in a Travel Pillow?

Here are a few things to think about before buying travel pillows:

  • Type: There are three main types of travel pillows for you to choose between. There are inflatable pillows, which you can inflate to your desired firmness and then deflate and fold up tightly for convenient storage. There are also microbead travel pillows, which are not only nice and light, but change shape to fit your neck for extra support. You may find them less comfortable and less portable than the other two types, however. The third type is memory foam pillows, which are generally the most comfortable and the firmest. They can be compressed during transportation and will also mold to your neck’s shape, though they’re the priciest of the three. All three types will mostly have a U-shaped design.
  • Support: Since a travel pillow’s main purpose is to offer neck support, the amount and type of support is an important factor to consider 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. Consider these factors and how much support you feel you’ll need, and pick your travel pillow accordingly.
  • Size: Your new pillow won’t do you much good if it doesn’t fit into your bags or carry-on (in the case of airplanes), after all. You have to take into account their portability, weight, thickness, and bulkiness. Most will be fairly light since they’re meant for travel, but some will be more lightweight than others. Some models can be compressed or otherwise sized down, which is ideal if you like to travel light or have limited space.

Best Value: MLVOC Travel Pillow and Airplane Travel Kit

This top-notch travel pillow comes as part of a whole traveling kit that gives you a higher value purchase. Besides the pillow itself, you receive a lightweight traveling bag to fit the whole kit, a pair of earplugs, and a 3D contoured eye mask—all meant to increase portability and promote sleep during travel. The travel pillow is made of premium memory foam to cushion the head and neck and relieve pressure points. It can compress down to half its size to fit into the provided traveling bag and has a snap strap that attaches it to your carry-on bag without taking up room inside the bag itself. The pillow’s curved design is meant to better fit your neck and prevent your head from lolling forward as you sleep. The rope lock lets you adjust its angle and size to give you the best possible fit and support. The pillow’s cover is made of soft, breathable therapy cloth developed to be sweat resistant. The cover is machine washable for your convenience and comes in four different color options.

Best Neck Support: Phixnozar Memory Foam Travel Pillow

While all travel pillows will offer neck support, this memory foam model is deliberately made to offer maximum support. The ergonomic curves are designed to keep your head and neck in place at a good angle to prevent soreness, pains, and discomfort that tend to pop up when sleeping on a bus, plane, or car. The pillow comes with an adjustable rope lock that lets you change the angle and size for maximum comfort. This also makes it easier to fit the pillow to your neck’s size. This travel pillow also doubles for sleeping on flat surfaces. Simply flip it upside down, and it functions as a smaller version of a standard nightly bed pillow. The pillow cover is soft, resistant to sweat, and can be washed in the washing machine for your convenience.

Best Neck Support

Most Versatile: BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

Versatility is a useful feature in travel pillows, especially if you frequently travel by different transportation methods. A travel pillow that is ideal for a car trip might be too bulky for airplane travel, for instance. Fortunately, this model is highly versatile and can be rearranged into different positions to best fit your needs and the available space. It can be wrapped all the way around your neck for equal support or arranged to entirely support your head on one side. This makes it great not just for side sleepers but adjustable whether you have the aisle, middle, or window seat while traveling. The 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. The attached snap strap lets you clip the pillow to your luggage, and the pillow itself is compact and lightweight to boot. It’s also machine washable without needing to remove the cover. There are two sizes, large and extra-large, depending on the size of your neck.

Most Versatile

BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow- Unique Patented Design Offers 3 Ergonomic Ways to Support The Head, Neck, and Chin When Traveling and at Home. Fully Washable. Large, Gray

A highly versatile travel pillow that can be rearranged into three different positions to fit your needs and travel arrangements.

Best Inflatable: UROPHYLLA Inflatable Travel Pillow

If you prefer the compact portability of an inflatable travel pillow to a foam or cloth one, this is the model for you. This pillow is made of PVC material with a breathable velvet pillowcase that makes it soft and comfortable to the touch. The pillowcase can be removed at any point for easy and convenient washing. Thanks to its inflatable properties, you can adjust the pillow to any size and thickness you want, thin, medium, or firm, depending on your environment and personal preferences. The ergonomic design will help reduce neck and head discomfort while you sleep. And even though this pillow is inflatable, this model is designed to reduce the risk of air leaks. Choose between four color options to match your luggage. This travel pillow weighs less than half a pound and comes with a convenient traveling bag.

Best Inflatable

UROPHYLLA Inflatable Travel Pillow, Soft Velvet Inflatable Travel Neck Pillow for Airplanes, Train, Car, Home and Office with Packsack & Comfortable Velvet - Blue

An inflatable travel pillow that can easily adjust to your preferred thickness and has a removable velvet cover.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support LifeSavvy.

LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?