Travel is one of life’s biggest pleasures. Sleeping while traveling, on the other hand, can be a pain in the neck. Literally. Fortunately, sleepy travelers need not suffer because travel pillows are practically everywhere. However, not just any travel pillow will do. After all, comfort is key and incredibly subjective. So are sleeping positions. If you’re in the market for the perfect travel pillow for your next adventure, then we’ve got just the list for you – the 10 best travel pillows for any kind of snoozing need.
Top 10 Travel Pillows Of 2019 Reviewed
1. Trtl PillowBest Travel Pillow for Backpacking
The Trtl Pillow doesn’t look like your average travel pillow. It’s more like a fleece scarf that you wrap around your neck. Within that scarf is a bendable internal support system that is scientifically proven to provide head and neck support. Altogether, this travel pillow creates a comforting hammock effect. Aside from comfort and support, the Trtl Pillow is machine washable, lightweight, and incredibly easy to pack into a carry-on. However, the pillow only provides support on one side. Some sleepers find that the fabric gets hot. Also, the pillow only comes in one size which makes it uncomfortable to use for individuals with longer than average necks.
- Easy to pack
- Fabric may get hot
- Only supports one side
- Comes in one size only
2. BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel PillowBest Travel Pillow for Kids
The BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow is like your usual U-shaped travel pillow with one main difference. The edges of the pillow allow you to wrap it around your neck to provide chin support (hence the name). You can actually twist the pillow into several positions to suit your sleeping style. Aside from versatility, the BCOZZY comes in three sizes – child, adult, and XL. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors. The filling is Hollow Conjugated Siliconized Polyester Fiber while the outer material is fleece. While the pillow feels comfortable and provides a lot of support, it does get hot. The pillow takes up quite a bit of space. It does come with a strap so you can attach it to your carry-on. However, the strap is a bit flimsy and can break.
- Versatile; multiple positions
- Comes in three sizes
- Does get hot
- Too big for a carry-on
- Flimsy strap
3. Travelrest Inflatable Body PillowBest Travel Pillow for Back Pain
Travelrest Inflatable Travel Pillow is another unique travel pillow. Unlike all other models featured on our list, this one provides full lateral support for your upper body. The pillow keeps your head, neck, and spine aligned and prevents neck strain. The pillow can be positioned in multiple ways. You can tether the pillow to your headrest or wear the strap like a messenger bag to keep it in place. The pillow can be used by kids older than 8 and adults. You can deflate it instantly then roll it up for easy transport. However, the pillow does feel warm to some sleepers. It is inflatable which means it is vulnerable to leaks. Also, the outer material isn’t soft enough for some users.
- Easy to inflate and deflate
- Provides full lateral support
- For kids and adults
- Vulnerable to leakage
- Can get warm
- Outer material doesn’t feel soft enough for some users
4. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel PillowBest Travel Pillow for Camping
The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow is a mini version of your regular pillow filled with soft foam. The foam allows you to compress the pillow into a small compact package, easily fit inside your carry-on. The foam expands 4 inches which is enough to provide adequate support. Plus, it comes in a variety of sizes. However, you do need to wash the pillow prior to use so that it fluffs up properly. Also, it does take a while to fluff up the pillow after it’s been rolled up.
- Rolls up into a compact size
- Variety of sizes and colors
- Machine washable
- Takes time to fluff up
- The cover isn’t soft enough
- Not for side sleepers
5. Everlasting Comfort Neck Pillow and Travel KitBest Travel Pillow for Long Haul Flights
The Everlasting Comfort Neck Pillow and Travel Kit are made of 100% pure memory foam with an ultra plush velour cover. It has an ergonomic raised lobe design which provides your neck and head with more than adequate support. Aside from the U-shaped pillow, you also get memory foam earplugs with an NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of 33, a padded adjustable sleep mask, and a traveler bag. The U-shaped pillow even has a unique cell phone pocket. Even better, you get a lifetime replacement guarantee. However, it is heavy and bulky. It does have an initial chemical smell that needs about a day to dissipate.
- Lifetime replacement guarantee
- Complete travel kit
- Ergonomic design
- Heavy and bulky
- Initial off-gassing
6. Cabeau Evolution PillowBest Travel Pillow for Headphones
The Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow is similar to the Everlasting Comfort Travel Pillow. It is made of responsive memory foam and provides your head and neck with 360-degree support. The flat back of the pillow conforms to your neck and won’t push your head forward. In addition, the pillow comes with a removable, washable cover, a travel bag, and memory foam earplugs. As for portability, don’t you worry. This travel pillow shrinks to 1/4 the size inside the bag. However, it takes a lot of muscle to do that. There aren’t any other sizes to choose from. Some sleepers feel that the pillow is too large for petite individuals. And the plastic cords don’t really work all that great.
- Ergonomic design
- Complete travel kit
- Removable, washable cover
- Only comes with one size
- Hard to compress into the bag
- Plastic cords don’t work well
7. AERIS Travel Pillow
The AERIS Travel Pillow is a U-shaped model that is made of memory foam which is both comfortable and supportive. It comes with a carrying bag that allows you to pack the pillow into a compact size. You also get an eye mask and ear plugs. Plus, the plush cover is detachable and machine-washable. Even better, the travel pillow comes with a lifetime, no-quibble free replacement guarantee. However, it does get a bit warm. The bag seems a bit fragile. And the pillow doesn’t compress into a compact size as much as other models.
- Complete travel kit
- Lifetime replacement guarantee
- Gets warm
- The bag isn’t as sturdy
- Doesn’t compress as much; takes up space in the carry-on
8. Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck PillowBest Travel Pillow for Short Neck
If the budget is tight, then the Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow is your most affordable option. The pillow is filled with microbeads with an outer material made of cool soothing Spandex on one side and premium super soft plush on another. A snap closure keeps the pillow in place and prevents your head from falling forward. Aside from being used as a travel pillow, the Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow can be used for lumbar support, a table pillow, a massage table pillow, and a reading pillow. However, this was a bit short for some sleepers. It does have an initial chemical smell that requires some airing out. Also, this isn’t machine-washable.
- Double-sided cover
- Maybe short for some individuals
- Initial off-gassing
- Not machine-washable
9. Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel PillowBest Travel Pillow for Neck Pain
The Travelrest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow is made of memory foam like many other models on our list. However, unlike other models, this travel pillow has been carefully designed to provide you with adequate support and comfort. It has a flat back to prevent the pillow from pushing your head forward, even features a contoured shoulder cut out. It has non-slip backing to keep the pillow in place. The adjustable velcro provides a customized fit. And you also get a velcro stuff sack and memory foam earplugs. However, the sack easily frays. The earplugs don’t always stay in your ears. And the pillow only comes in one size.
- Unique, comfortable design
- Non-slip backing
- Compresses for easy storage
- Comes in only one size
- Sack easily frays
- Earplugs could be better
10. Huzi Infinity PillowBest Travel Pillow for Window Seat
The Huzi Infinity Pillow is definitely one-of-a-kind. This Mobius-shaped travel pillow is incredibly versatile, allowing you to use it for any sleeping position. The pillow is made of high quality super soft bamboo fabric and microfiber. The pillow is breathable, antibacterial, and machine-washable. It is also hypoallergenic. However, it is bulky and doesn’t compress to a smaller size. And some sleepers feel that it lacks support in certain configurations.
- Breathable fabric
- May not be supportive all the time
How To Choose Best Travel Pillows
Taking a comfortable nap while on a train, plane, bus, or car isn’t easy. Fortunately, sleeping on-the-go doesn’t have to be painful anymore. With the right travel pillow, you can get all the shut-eye you need even in the most uncomfortable places. The question is, how does one find the right travel pillow? Do you want something U-shaped or one that wraps around your neck? Are you a memory foam kind of person or does polyester feel more comfortable for you? There are plenty of factors that need to be considered before you can find a travel pillow that fits your particular snoozing conditions. This buying guide is packed full of information that should help you overcome any shopping dilemma you encounter while purchasing your new travel companion.
Types of Travel Pillows
This type of travel pillow is one most people are familiar with. Its shape provides you with support around the back and sides of your neck with an opening at the front to enable you to put the pillow on easily. However, this opening means you also don’t get chin support. Sleepers whose heads flop forward while snoozing may not like the lack of support.
Unlike U-shaped travel pillows, this type provides sleepers with 360-degree support around your neck such as the Trtl Pillow and the BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow. Flopping heads won’t have a problem finding support with this pillow. However, some sleepers find that the pillow feels a bit restrictive. It can also feel too hot wrapped around your neck.
This type of travel pillow is like a mini version of your regular pillow at home. One example is the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow. It is perfect for those who are able to sleep in a reclining position or even those who are able to lean up against a window. However, it doesn’t provide support for those who don’t have a wall or window to lean the pillow on. This type of pillow also won’t help support your head when it flops forward or sideways while you sleep upright.
Some travel pillows can be converted from a U-shaped model into a rectangular pillow and vice versa. This is a great option for travelers who aren’t sure where they’ll be sitting – a window seat or a middle/aisle seat.
While most travel pillows can be classified into one of the types we’ve mentioned above, there are some that have a unique design like the Huzi Infinity Pillow. These include crossbody travel pillows that are perfect for side sleepers and J-shaped travel pillows that provide sleepers with extra chin support.
How comfortable is it?
Comfort is key if you want quality sleep while traveling. The material should feel plush against your skin and provide ample support for your neck and head like the Everlasting Comfort Neck Pillow and Travel Kit. However, it shouldn’t be too restrictive or tight. It also shouldn’t be made of a material that traps heat and makes the pillow uncomfortable after a while.
How portable is it?
Obviously, you’re going to be taking this pillow with you on your travels. But you don’t want it to take up too much precious space in your carry-on. In short, you’re going to need a travel pillow that compresses into a smaller size like the Travelrest Inflatable Body Pillow or can easily be clipped to your bag. Take note that inflatable travel pillows are very portable; you can easily pack them into your bag. However, they also are vulnerable to leaks which can leave you without a pillow when you need it the most.
How well does it fit you?
The best travel pillow should accommodate your particular sleeping style. It should be able to support your head in the direction you move it in. It should also enable you to sleep whether you’re sitting in a window seat, a middle, or an aisle one. Aside from the sleeping style, the pillow should fit your head shape and size, neck length, and even your hair. There should be space to accommodate your ponytail or whatever hairstyle you wear. To have a good sleep, you can also check our blog on the best cooling pillows.
Is it washable?
Traveling can make you filthy. Your travel pillow isn’t immune to that. Plus, drool is bound to get on your pillow. Obviously, you’re going to want to be able to clean it which means looking for a washable travel pillow like the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow. At the very least, you’ll want to get a pillow with a washable cover.
Other factors to consider
There are different materials that can be used to create the outer cover of a travel pillow. It can be plush velour, soft cotton jersey, fleece, or some other material. Since this material will be the one that touches your skin, only you can be the judge what feels soft and comfortable. It’s best if you test which material feels best to you. The AERIS Travel Pillow, for example, has a plush velour outer cover.
There are three types of fillings that are commonly used in travel pillows – memory foam, polyester hollow fiber, and microbeads. Just like the outer material, choosing the right filling is going to be up to what suits you best.
Memory foam is very comfortable. It molds to the shape of your head and neck while providing you with adequate support. However, memory foam can get hot and pillows with this kind of filling are usually the most expensive.
Polyester hollow fiber is a filling material that you’d commonly find in a lot of regular bed pillows. This filling material is both comfortable and supportive. However, like regular bed pillows, the filling does clump together over time which distorts the shape of the pillow and affects the amount of support it provides. You may need to replace your travel pillow more often. The BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow is one example of a travel pillow with this type of filling.
Microbeads are the least expensive type of filling. However, they do make a slight noise when you move the pillow which can be annoying for some sleepers. They also aren’t the most comfortable. One example of this type of filling is the Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow.
Naturally, you want to get a travel pillow that’s soft and smooth. However, when you’re traveling, your head is bound to move around with all the bouncing around of the vehicle. You might want to look for a travel pillow with some kind of grip or traction at the bottom to keep it in place while you snooze like the Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow.
Travel pillows that come with a carrying case are easier to pack. Some even help compress the pillow so that it doesn’t consume as much space in your carry-on. However, you also need to make sure that plumping up the pillow after taking it out of the carrying case doesn’t take too long.
Just like any product, you’ll find in the market, travel pillows come in a range of prices. It’s not necessary to spend a fortune to get a really great travel pillow. Some basic models are sold for less than $10 but they might not last for long. Mid-range travel pillows cost around $20 to $30 and most of them are very comfortable and provide adequate support. Those that cost upwards of $50 are made of memory foam and ergonomically designed. If you’re a frequent flier and have the budget for it, a high-end travel pillow might be your best bet.