Whether you’re flying across the Atlantic or taking a bus from Los Angeles to Seattle, a travel pillow will come in handy when you just can’t keep your eyes open.
The importance of a travel pillow is widely underrated among travelers. Anyone who has had few a sleep on when of those barely reclining aircraft seats will know how awful the soreness in the neck and shoulders is once the crew cabin wakes you.
To ensure a peaceful sleep and healthy neck muscles, a travel pillow is, in our opinion, absolutely necessary if you’re going on a long journey.
The Best Travel Pillows Reviewed for 2018
With so many neck pillows to choose from, finding the one that suits your needs and comfort can seem like a daunting task.
After lots of research and personal experience, we’ve compiled a list of what we believe are the 5 best travel pillows you can buy.
There is also a buyer’s guide after the reviews for you to know what to look for when you purchase your product.
Our Top Pick
TravelRest Ultimate Memory Foam
The TravelRest Ultimate Memory Foam travel pillow has a unique design that allows it to rest flat with the seat. It provides great cushioning with its soft memory foam due to its unique design and high side walls. It also features rubber grip dots to make sure the pillow doesn’t slip while you sleep.
The TravelRest’s unique design and great price offering makes it a perfect purchase for anyone looking for a good rest during travel. You can definitely say goodbye to sore necks and muscle aches with this pillow.
The Trtl looks less a travel pillow and more like a cloth. This is because of its brilliant side-rest design that is innovative and ensures unparalleled resting angle for your head as you sleep on your side. This is also one of the most compact travel pillows available on the market.
If you sleep with your head resting on a side and also need to save space, there isn’t a better travel pillow out there than the Trtl.
The ergonomic design of the TravelRest Ultimate makes it a travel pillow that stands out from the rest. This pillow can law flat against the seat back due to its flat design, preventing the pillow from pushing the ahead away from the headrest.
This great design decision makes the TravelRest one of the most comfortable pillows to use in lengthy flights or long road trips.
The TravelRest also has rubber grip dots that run along the appropriate regions to prevent the pillow from slipping while you sleep. The memory foam used to make the cushioning of the pillow adjusts to the contours of your neck, surrounding the entire circumference and preventing your head from leaning too far in any direction to cause distress.
You can also remove the exterior velour of the pillow to machine wash. It weighs in less than a pound and compresses to a quarter of its size. It also comes with a Velcro-strapped carrying case for storage.
The TravelRest does have a great design, but the higher walls on each side can push against your ears and cheeks, especially if you have a short neck and a broader jawline.
- Design ensures it rests flat on the seat
- Memory foam provides great cushioning
- Great ergonomic design
- Lightweight and compact
- Sides can brush against the ears and cheeks
When it comes to innovative design in an extremely small footprint, there’s no travel pillow that beats the Trtl. It gets its name for being sturdy and providing a strong support when you rest your head to the side.
The fleece of this pillow is extremely soft and combines with a unique internal support at a specific angle that feels natural and ensures there is no cramp. This is achieved by a special plastic frame that is flexible enough to adjust to be ergonomic, but firm to prevent your head from bobbing around in a bus or during turbulence in a flight.
The Trtl travel pillow has a cozy, soft fleece that will keep your neck warm. The cushioning feels great with skin and doesn’t cause any sort of fatigue.
But perhaps the best feature of the Trtl pillow is just how compact it is. This is one of the lightest and smallest travel pillows you can buy, weighing just half a pound.
Saving space is important when traveling, and the Trtl has been designed to do exactly that. This pillow folds up and can be slid into a small bag or attached to the outside of your luggage or hand-carry backpack.
The downside? This pillow only provides support on one side. If you’re someone who doesn’t move their head around much, there isn’t a better product out there than the Trtl. If you are though, you’ll want to skip on this innovative design and opt for something more conventional.
- Great innovative design
- Lightweight and compact
- Comfortable fleece
- Keeps the neck warm
- Provides support only on one side
The Aeris Memory Foam travel pillow sticks to the tried and tested design of contemporary travel pillows with a few tweaks to further enhance the experience and comfort.
We all know and love the semi-toroidal design of travel pillows, and AERIS utilizes that with its high quality memory foam. The memory foam base is covered with an internal cover that is further placed in a removable velour cover, which is easy to take off for machine washing.
One of the major problems with round travel pillows is their tendency to get uncomfortably warm during prolonged use. AERIS addresses this issue by providing ventilation holes across the pillow for improved airflow and an overall better sleep experience.
This AERIS travel pillow also comes included with ear plugs and an eye mask. If you’re a light sleeper who prefers darkness and silence, you’ll love that AERIS has added these items to the mix, though we do feel the ear plugs are a tad uncomfortable.
To put the pillow away, there’s an included portable bag in which the pillow can be squeeze in. The AERIS travel neck pillow is available in four different colors: black, blue, olive green, and purple.
- Ventilation holes keep the pillow at an ideal temperature
- Memory foam provides great cushioning
- Comes with an eye mask
- Round design can push your head away from the seat
The Cabeau Evolution is a great alternative to the TravelRest Ultimate pillow if the contemporary round travel pillow design isn’t your thing. This pillow utilizes a U-shaped curve that covers the circumference of your neck.
It isn’t as flat as the TravelRest, nor does it have the right angles, but it is large and soft enough to adjust to the shape of your neck and provide a great amount of cushioning due to its thick design. It does so with a memory foam core that is covered with a machine washable velour, both of which are extremely comfortable.
The Cabeau travel pillow also has a string closure that allows you to get a tighter fit around your neck. This makes it ideal for people with narrow necks. In fact, its adjustability makes it universally applicable. To store the pillow, you also get a compact storage bag in which you can compress the pillow and stuff in.
This travel pillow is quite thick, so it does tend to get warm if you’re traveling in poorly air conditioned buses or trains. You’ll love the coziness and warmth of the pillow during flights though.
The Cabeau Evolution comes in a large variety of colors – seven, to be exact, which we love. Every traveling companion of yours can have the color of their choice.
- U-shaped design provides great cushioning and support
- Soft and comfortable
- String closure makes it fit any neck type
- Comes in plenty of color options
- More expensive than most travel pillows
- Tends to get really warm
If your head tends to lean forward while you try to sleep during travel, then the BCozzy Pillow is the right choice for you. This travel pillow has been specifically designed to support the chin for forward leaners.
The sore neck that you tend to get by leaning forward while sleeping will be eliminated with the BCozzy Pillow. This travel pillow has a patented design that provides all round comfort and support to the head, neck, and chin. All this is done without the annoyance of dangling strings and poking buttons.
The pillow is a but thinner and thus does not provide as much support as the Trtl or the TravelRest travel pillows, but when paired with a large pair of comfortable headphones, the BCozzy becomes comfortable and you can place your head on it perfectly.
The travel pillow also has a small loop that can be clipped outside of most bags. This ensures that it doesn’t take much space.
Like the Cabeau, the BCozzy is available in a multitude of different color options. The brand also offers the pillow in three different sizes: adult, child, and XL adult for the bigger individuals.
- Prevents head from leaning forward
- Plenty of color options
- Comes in different sizes
- Easy to store
- Doesn’t offer as comfortable a head rest as larger pillows
The main reason to buy a travel pillow is for the support it provides to your neck and head. When buying your travel pillow, make sure it provides ideal support for your head. Individuals have different neck and head sizes, so you should get one that is adjustable.
You should also be self-aware of the position you sleep in. If you tilt your head in only one direction, that a travel pillow like the Trtl pillow is ideal for you. If your head is prone to leaning forward as you sleep, consider BCozzy’s product.
The texture of the pillow primarily comes from the cushioning material inside and the outer cover. You want a travel pillow made from a material with a very soft finish for a good sleep. Most travel pillows are made from memory foam which adjusts to the shape of your neck and head. The cover is usually made from velour.
A scratchy, rough surface on a travel pillow will irritate your skin, not only waking you up but also making you sweat and causing rashes.
Space is very important when traveling. No one wants to carry any more luggage than absolutely necessary. Your travel pillow shouldn’t be an additional hindrance. Look for a pillow that can be compressed and squeezed into a bag easily. The Trtl is unmatched in that respect, as it is the travel pillow the smallest footprint and can fit just about anywhere.
Certani larger pillows are lightweight and can be compressed into the carrying bags they come with. Not all bags though provide a hook or way to attach them to your luggage. You should make sure there is some convenient way to store or hang your travel pillow with your hand luggage to safe space.
Do I need a travel pillow?
If you tend to sleep during long journeys, then buying a travel pillow is a good idea. The seats in buses, trains, and aircrafts are not design in a way to provide the necessary head-rest during sleep, and the pillows given by airlines aren’t ergonomic enough. A travel pillow ensures that your head, neck, and shoulders are in a rested position as you sleep, preventing sores and other pains after you wake up.
Are inflatable travel pillows better than regular ones?
Inflatable travel pillows are often cheaper than regular ones, but they are not better. Most inflatable travel pillows require you to manually inflate the pillow. Moreover, they tend to deflate during long journeys, especially in flights due to the pressure differences.
A regular travel pillow is better in every way, which is why we’ve only listed non-inflatable travel pillows in our list.
How often should I wash my travel pillow?
Ideally, you should wash your travel pillow after every journey. Oils and bacteria accumulate on the pillow as you rest on it for a prolonged period, which can cause irritation, acne, and rashes.
Is a warranty important for a travel pillow?
There are a few travel pillows that come with a 2-year warranty. While this is certainly useful, we believe that most good quality travel pillows are durable enough not to require one. This shouldn’t be an important factor in your purchase decision.