This guide to finding the best travel pillow is for all of you jet setters and globe-trotters, who spend more hours on the move. Be it on a plane or in a car and have more stamps in your passport and wanderlust-inspired pictures on your Instagram than books at the library.
Every great traveler knows the value of a travel pillow. After all, with you insatiable appetite for adventure, you never know when you’ll get the next chance to sleep. Between the planes, the trains, the boats, and the buses, one of the essential items in every traveler’s pack is indeed, a reliable travel pillow. Thank me later after you are done reading this elaborate guide.
So, what sets travel pillows apart from the others? Great question. Honestly, the type of travel pillow that works best for you depends on you, the napper/sleeper. Some people enjoy rigid support; others love memory foam, while others enjoy soft materials to rest their cheek on.
Things to consider when Choosing the Best Travel Pillow
It is possible to walk into any store and pick a pillow to use during you trips. But that doesnt mean that you will find the right travel pillow that will give you the performance needed. That is the reason why you need to understand every aspect and requirements of a traveler. And why you will need a pillow in the first place. Below are some of the qualities of a travel pillow you have to look for before investing your money in any product available.
Material of the Pillow
Do you have any allergies or a preference to materials? Travel pillows are made from every material you an image–from microfleece to bamboo cloth, styrofoam beads to memory foam.
If you have children, you might want to consider a washable pillow, while a backpacker on a trek through Europe might be more inclined to purchase an inflatable travel pillow.
Common Travel Pillow Materials
The Shape of the Pillow
The ideal shape of your travel pillow will depend largely on how you sleep while sitting up. Does your head roll forward, or are you a side sleeper prone to neck kinks?
For example, the typical U-shaped travel pillow will do nothing for a “fall forward” sleeper, in the same way that this small travel pillow probably wouldn’t be ideal for traveling long distances while sitting upright (unless you had a window seat).
Some travel pillows products are new to the travel pillow industry and have unique shapes unique to that product. It’s important to assess what upright sleeping patterns you have, and then choose the pillow based on your personal sleeping patterns.
Different Travel Pillow Shapes
The Classic U
The J Shape
What Special Features You Can’t Live Without
Are you planning to attach your travel pillow to a carry-on, or pack it in your backpacking gear? Are you looking for a room-saver, or a pillow that has a case? It’s important to decide what you’ll be using your pillow for the most, and then think about the circumstances you’ll most use our pillow.
Examples of Special Features
Comes with a Carrying Case
Comes with carry-on attachment capabilities
Our Top Travel Pillow Picks
Now that we’ve addressed things to consider when purchasing a pillow, like your sleeping style, what materials your travel pillow should be made of, and any special features your pillow should have, I like to show you a list I’ve compiled of my top seven travel pillow recommendations.
These top seven recommendations are based on personal assessment as well as reviews by the purchasers. After all, the best way to decide on which travel pillow to purchase is to read the travel pillow reviews.
Top 7 Best Travel Pillow Recommendations
1. The J Pillow
This travel pillow is a top seller on Amazon in no less than five countries throughout the world! It’s unique shape provides full neck and head support, and with over 7,000 reviews and a consumer rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, I had to check this out. The J Pillow did not disappoint!
- Provides head, neck, and chin support
- Very soft, great materials (polyester blend)
- The only complaint we have is it’s weird shape makes this pillow a little bulky, but it collapses well.
2. The TravelMate Memory Foam Neck Pillow
This Travel Pillow boasts thermo-sensitive memory foam that contours to your neck and head for custom support.
Buyers love this pillow because it has a removable cover for washing, and the pillow is truly memory foam.
I highly recommend this pillow because it is the best value–high end materials at an accessible price!
- Removable cover is machine washable
- Made of high-quality materials
- The memory foam is thermo-sensitive
- Traditional U shape
- Has an elastic to attach to your carry on
- Some people say that this pillow doesn’t collapse very well because it is made of memory foam.
3. Travel Pillow – Kohbi ® Travel Bliss Memory Foam Neck Pillow
Yes, another memory foam pillow in the lineup. What can I say? There’s something about the material that is perfect for upright sleeping.
The Kohbi ® Travel Bliss is great for all of the standard reasons, but the game changer is that this pillow is noticeably thinner in the back, where your neck would be up against the headrest.
I love this small but distinct difference because now when I fall asleep, my head isn’t pushed forwards.
- Traditional U Shape
- Premium thermal-sensitive memory foam
- Clip to hold the pillow in place, or attach to luggage
- Super-soft outer cover material (microfiber that feels like suede)
- Only comes in one size, smaller-necked people didn’t feel it fit properly
4. Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow
I personally love this design because it is so unique. The inflatable travelrest deflates for easy packing, and its elongated shape provides full lateral support.
It’s unique design is also great for all different sizes–kids and adults alike can benefit from this inflatable travel pillow. The pillow’s outer layer is also incredibly soft.
- Inflatable and completely collapsible
- Soft, cotton outer layer
- Provides full lateral support
- Ranked #1 travel pillow by the Wall Street Journal
- The nylon cord that secures the pillow to the chair gets in the way of the screen on the back of the chair. However, there are multiple ways to use this pillow
5. Travel Pillow – Memory Foam Filled Neck Pillow
This Travel Pillow not only has memory foam, but it also has a hypoallergenic bamboo cover. The cover also has a zipper, so removal for washing is fast and easy. I love this pillow because I love it’s soft but supportive, hypoallergenic properties.
- Machine washable
- Hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and dust mite resistant
- 100% money-back guarantee
- snap closure to secure in place and for attaching to carry-ons
- Some people find that the memory foam can get hot while wearing it for extended amounts of time.
6. My Pillow – My Travel Pillow with blue carrying case
I like this pillow because it’s different from the other travel pillows. It’s shaped like a standard pillow, and made from eco-friendly materials (recycled foam). The pillow comes with a small plastic travel bag that helps pack it down from a 12in. by 18in. pillow to a travel-sized carrying bag.
- The Official National Sleep Foundation Travel Pillow
- Full-sized pillow
- Provides excellent lumbar support
- Comes with its own travel case
- Some people thought this pillow was too thick and bulky.
7. Skyrest Travel Pillow
Another unique and inflatable design, the Skyrest Travel Pillow is triangle-shaped and designed to rest on the tray in front of you, so you can lean forward and fall chance to sleep on the rest. No more neck kinks or overextension. The pillow collapses down to about the size of a folded shirt, and is easily stored.
- Pockets for arms to wrap around the pillow
- Collapses down to about the size of a folded shirt
- Easy inflate/deflate settings
- Triangle shape is designed to lean forward
- This pillow was designed specifically for airplanes, and doesn’t work well in any other traveling environment
The travel pillow you want depends on your individual needs. Your sleeping style, your preference of materials, pillow shape, and any special features that you require all contribute to the perfect pillow fit based on your specific needs. Personally, I enjoy the memory thermo-sensitive memory foam and enjoy hypoallergenic materials.
When looking for the perfect travel pillow, it all depends on what you’re looking for. There are hundreds of different shape and material styles, all it takes is knowing and understanding what you’re looking for.