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      10 Best Travel Neck Pillows — Travel Pillows for the Airplane, Car, Train, Bus, and More

      Holly Riddle
      Airport Dusseldorf

      If you’ve ever attempted to sleep on a flight, then you know how difficult it can be. That tiny, cramped seat in economy class wasn’t exactly made with optimum comfort in mind. If you have a window seat, you can at least lean up against the side of the plane for a place to lay your head. If you’re in the middle or aisle seats, though, you’re out of luck. Don’t even think about putting your head on the tray table. You don’t want to know how many germs are on that thing. 

      So what’s a weary traveler to do? If you find yourself consistently wanting to — and being unable to — sleep during flights, it’s time you invested in a travel pillow.

      What to Look for in a Travel Pillow

      Firstly, don’t make the mistake of thinking that all travel pillows are the same. Once you begin shopping, you’ll realize that you have a wealth of options at your disposal. But while it’s great to have so many options, you may find yourself facing a bit of decision-making anxiety. So how do you pick the right fit for you? Here are a few things to look for in the perfect travel pillow.

      Type

      To best narrow down your choices, firstly, decide on the type of travel pillow you’d like. You have several types to pick from.

      Your most basic travel pillow is U-shaped. These are the pillows you see travelers wearing around the airport, on the backs of their necks. They’re available both as inflatable and non-inflatable variants. Beyond this most popular type, though, you can also purchase wrap pillows, which entirely encircle your neck. There are also rectangular and hourglass-shaped pillows, which you’ll need to carry by hand, but that provide support more akin to a traditional pillow. You can also find J-shaped pillows that are meant for wearing on one shoulder versus around the back of your neck.

      Material

      You can also find travel pillows made from an array of materials, including polyfoam, memory foam, polyester fiberfill, microbeads, and more. You’ll want to pick the material that makes you most comfortable. 

      When picking the best travel pillow material for your needs, make sure to consider temperature regulation, too. While you might be hot-natured and want something that’ll keep you cool, keep in mind that planes can get pretty chilly. However, if you’re a nervous traveler, you might just find that you prefer a pillow that’ll keep you cool and wick away sweat, versus one that’ll keep you warm.

      Support

      While you might love a cushy, soft pillow in bed, you might not want that same feel for your travel pillow. After all, this thing needs to prop your head up during potential hours of flight and some light turbulence. You don’t want your head to go flopping over into your neighbor’s space. To prevent this, look for a travel pillow that’s going to give you a high level of support.

      Size and Portability

      Similarly, while bigger might be better for your pillows at home, that’s not always the case when it comes to travel pillows. You want to look for a travel pillow that’s going to be adequately portable, especially if you frequently travel with just a carry-on. You don’t want to lose too much of your valuable baggage space to your new travel accessory. On the flip side, you don’t want to save so much space that you sacrifice comfort. For example, while an inflatable pillow is the most portable, you might not find it as comfortable as some of your other options.

      The Vacationer Tip

      Are you flying soon? Check out our 41 Carry-On Essentials for Flights. Need new luggage? Check out our Best Carry-On Suitcase Luggage Bags.

      10 Best Travel Pillows

      So are you ready to get shopping? Here are some of our top picks for the best travel pillows.

      1. The Trtl Pillow

      Trtl Travel Pillow

      Photo: trtltravel.com

      The Trtl pillow (pronounced “turtle”) is lightweight, easy to wear, and supportive. A scarf-like stretch of fabric features a rectangular, interior supportive brace that helps to hold your head in place. You can position the pillow so that it supports either side of your head or your chin, and then stretch the fabric around your neck and attach it to the other end of the fabric so that it all stays in place. Think of it as an infinity scarf just with a lot more support.

      Pros:

      • Lightweight
      • Portable
      • Machine washable
      • Budget-friendly

      Cons:

      • It may not work for every head and/or neck size.

      Click Here to See the Trtl Pillow Pricing

      2. The Bcozzy Chin Supporting Pillow

      The Bcozzy Chin Supporting Pillow

      Photo: bcozzy.com

      But what if you prefer to sleep with your head tilted forward. If that’s the case, you may have a difficult time finding the right travel pillow for you, especially since so many travel pillows are that generic U-shape that doesn’t give you any front-facing support. 

      The Bcozzy chin-supporting pillow wraps around your entire neck, with one side of this o-shaped pillow overlapping the other, to give you one side of extra support. This overlapped side of the pillow can be positioned to support your chin or either side of your head.

      Pros:

      • One of the few travel pillows with chin support
      • Comes in multiple sizes

      Cons:

      • A little bulky

      Click Here to See The Bcozzy Chin Supporting Pillow

      3. Infinity Pillow by Huzi Design

      Infinity Pillow

      Photo: infinitypillow.co

      However, if you want infinite options for getting some shut-eye on your next flight, go with the Infinity Pillow by Huzi Design. This super-breathable option is shaped like the infinity symbol and can be twisted, turned, stacked, and adjusted in myriad ways, so you can find your perfect sleeping spot. You can even pull part of the pillow up and over your head to block out excess noise (goodbye, crying baby!).

      Pros:

      • Limitless sleeping positions
      • Made from an extra-breathable bamboo fabric

      Cons:

      • Not as supportive as other options

      Click Here to See the Infinity Pillow by Huzi Design

      4. Design Go Ultimate Memory Pillow

      Design Go Ultimate Memory Pillow

      Photo: go.travel

      If, though, you prefer a travel pillow that’s a bit more traditional, you might want to check out the Design Go Ultimate Memory Pillow. It features the classic U-shaped design, with a handy clip that keeps the two sides connected (so you can hang it on your suitcase handle while traversing the airport). Additionally, the pillow is filled with memory foam and covered in velour, for the ultimate in support.

      Pros:

      • Lots of firm support

      Cons:

      • Not as portable as other options

      Click Here to See the Design Go Ultimate Memory Pillow

      5. Samsonite Microbead Travel Pillow

      Samsonite Microbead Travel Pillow

      Photo: samsonite.com

      This similar U-shaped travel pillow also features a handy clip to keep the two sides of the pillow attached, but it’s filled with microbeads versus memory foam, in case you find the memory foam options a bit too firm for your liking. From trusted travel brand Samsonite, it can also be used as a half-body pillow, for lower back support, or as a footrest.

      Pros:

      • Very flexible
      • Budget-friendly

      Cons:

      • Not as portable as other options

      Click Here to See the Samsonite Microbead Travel Pillow

      6. Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow

      Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow

      Photo: dotdottravel.com

      Likewise, this Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow can be twisted and controlled to whatever your preferred shape, thanks to its elongated design and handy snap attachments. The extra length is especially valuable if you want a little head support and back support at the same time, like if you were leaning up against the side of the plane while sleeping.

      Pros:

      • Breathable, cotton cover
      • Machine washable 
      • Extra flexible

      Cons:

      • Not as portable as other options

      Click Here to See the Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow

      7. The Ostrich Pillow

      Ostrich Pillow

      Photo: ostrichpillow.com

      If you keep up to date on all the latest travel gear, you’ve likely seen the Ostrich Pillow before. This highly-touted, slightly-quirky option covers your entire head, leaving three holes for your ears, mouth, and nose. Blocking out light and noise gives you the perfect spot to completely relax, with lots of cushioning surrounding your entire head. Because of features like these, you’ll hardly even know you’re on a plane. If you’re not keen on sticking your head completely into a pillow, though, you can fold the Ostrich pillow in half and use it as a traditional pillow.

      Pros:

      • Blocks light and noise

      Cons:

      • On the pricier side

      Click Here to See the Ostrich Pillow

      8. Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow

      Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow

      Photo: sunany-vip.com

      The Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow is large — after you inflate it. Until then, it packs away safely and snugly in your carry-on. However, once at full size, you can easily see what makes this pillow so special. It’s not just merely a neck pillow. With a range of carefully constructed holes and various curvatures, this pillow allows you to rest your head to the side, comfortably loop your arm through the pillow’s body (if you prefer to hug your pillow), or even lean forward, giving you pillowed support for your entire torso.

      Pros:

      • Compact and portable

      Cons:

      • Budget-friendly 
      • Have to inflate it

      Click Here to See the Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow

      9. The J-Pillow

      The J-Pillow

      Photo: j-pillow.com

      The only J-shaped pillow on our list, this option is best for those who like to lean up against a hard surface as they snooze (like the side of the plane). The main body of the pillow (or the top of the “J”) supports your head, while the “J” curve comes around to give you chin support. Your head stays firmly in place.

      Pros:

      • Lots of support

      Cons:

      • Not as portable as other options

      Click Here to See The J-Pillow

      10. Clöudz EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper Travel Pillow

      Clöudz EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper Travel Pillow

      Photo: cloudsleeper.com

      The Clöudz EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper Travel Pillow is made for those who like to sleep face-down, but who don’t want to get anywhere near that tray table. The inflatable pillow looks a little like a mushroom. The mushroom cap is where you rest your face (a hole allows for easy breathing). The stalk boasts two holes of its own for two spots for you to rest your arms. You can even put your phone or another mobile device inside the “stalk” so you can watch your favorite shows and movies uninterrupted and in privacy.

      Pros:

      • Portable
      • Easy face-down sleeping solution
      • Budget-friendly

      Cons:

      • Needs to be inflated

      Click Here to See the Clöudz EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper Travel Pillow

      FAQ

      How much should I expect to pay for a travel pillow?

      The cost for travel pillows varies wildly. You could pay under $20 at your local superstore or you could order a luxury, high-end travel pillow online for more than $100.

      Can I clean my travel pillow?

      Yes (in most cases)! Many travel pillows are either machine washable as a whole or feature a removable cover that is machine washable.

      Holly Riddle Headshot

      By Holly Riddle

      Holly Riddle is a freelance travel, food, and lifestyle journalist who also dabbles in ghostwriting and fiction. Her work appears in publications ranging from Global Traveler to Golf Magazine, Mashed to Forbes, and Bloomberg. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring the mountains near her home in the Adirondacks. Her favorite travel destinations include Chicago and New Orleans.