A travel pillow is an excellent way for you to get comfortable on long flights or car rides. If you are a frequent traveler, you understand the frustration that comes with not being able to relax in a comfortable position to take a nap while in transit. Neck pain is a huge issue, and when you don’t sleep well, it makes the rest of your trip almost unbearable. Travel pillows serve to prevent this issue, and I have decided to review a couple of what I consider to be the best travel pillows out there in order to save you the time and the effort when making your next purchase.
Best Travel Pillow
Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
Top Features of the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
Perfect for When I Travel or Camp
Two things that I enjoy doing the most involve backpacking and camping or travel in general. Usually when I go camping, I would bring along an old, thin pillow that I could easily tuck inside of my backpack simply because it took up less space. Sometimes I would pack no pillow at all for sake of space and weight, simply using a rolled pair of pants or a balled up t-shirt. The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow eliminated that problem for me and let me carry an actual pillow with me that made me more comfortable at night, which, in turn, let me carry a heavy pack while backpacking and camping more easily the next day. It also helped to reduce some of the jet lag on long flights.
Rolls up to a Fraction of its Size
The thing that might make the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow the best travel pillow yet is the fact that it can fold into a small portion of its size. It easily compresses into any size pack which is great. It doesn’t matter whether I am using a larger backpack for my camping and hiking trips in order to accommodate food, clothing and other essentials where I do not want to lug around too much weight, or simply folding it into my luggage when I fly; either way, I still have plenty of room to cart along everything that I need. Once I take it out of the bag it gets its shape back almost immediately and transforms back into the comfortable, accommodating pillow that I need it to be.
Of course, the most important thing that helps me determine what the best travel pillow is, is going to be its comfort level. I like to sleep on my side, especially when I am traveling, and the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow does not let me down. It is filled with an ultra supportive and soft urethane foam on the inside. This foam supports my head no matter how I am laying, and it even provides me with great neck support without me having to try and finagle it a certain way in order to get that support and without it forcing me to sleep in a certain direction to achieve that comfort. On the outside of the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is a comfortable, smooth and touchable soft-brushed polyester cover. This cover is super comfortable on its own, or if I am feeling homesick, I can cover it in my own pillowcase and it fits naturally and snugly.
One of the things I do want to mention about the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is that when I first got it, I was admittedly confused. The pillow looked rather flat and deflated and made me immediately begin to question my choice to review it. That said, after reading the directions that came included and throwing it in the washer and then the dryer, I took it out and it was twice as fluffy as my other pillows at home! Be sure you do this when you first get it, and don’t panic like I did. After that first time, it stays fluffy. When it gets dirty from camping or when I get home from a trip and am doing my laundry, all I have to do is toss it in there to clean it. No spot cleaning required.
- Folds into itself for compact travel options
- Machine washable
- Made with comfortable urethane foam
- Soft, brushed polyester
- Price. The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is definitely at the higher end of the budget out of the pillows I am reviewing, but not so many of them offer such comfort and pack ability. The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow can be taken on a trip of any kind, be it out into the wilderness or on a cozy flight and still retain its comfort and size, so the price is certainly worth it.
2 in 1 Travel Sleep Mask with Memory Foam Pillow
Top Features of the 2 in 1 Travel Sleep Mask with Memory Foam Pillow
Perfect Combination for Camping
To be honest, I think what makes this perhaps the best travel pillow for general travel is the fact that it comes as a two-pack that includes both a luxuriously comfort travel pillow and a GOSLEEP mask to match. The pillow and the mask can connect to one another, making for a restful, dark sleep no matter what position I find myself in. This 2 in 1 Travel Sleep Mask with Memory Foam Pillow provides support and comfort for my head, my neck and my eyes all at once which is imperative to a great sleep or nap. I don’t have to worry about waking up with a strained neck when I sleep in a tent, or from having to lean my head back at an uncomfortable angle while sitting in a car or plane. It stops me from experiencing the discomfort of my head dropping down mid-sleep and jarring myself awake, and it definitely keeps the light out of my eyes when I sleep during the day.
Comfortable, Top Quality Materials
The 2 in 1 Travel Sleep Mask with Memory Foam Pillow is composed of exceptionally high quality materials that feel as comfortable and as inviting as they look. The sleep mask forms around my face excellently, keeping all light out in a comfortable way without pressing too hard against my face or leaving unsightly lines on my cheeks when I take it off. The pillow itself is made out of luxurious, irresistible shredded memory foam that my head can get comfortable against, as it molds around my head instead of the other way around. This also serves to make it more supportive than a standard pillow, helping me to sleep in any position that I want to sleep in. The super soft foam is also super lightweight and highly compact, making it simple to carry with me as I travel or to stuff into my suitcase or backpack.
Perfect for Road Trips
Another great thing about the 2 in 1 Travel Sleep Mask with Memory Foam Pillow is the fact that the included eye mask and memory foam pillow connect to one another by way of an adjustable elastic cord. This cord can attach to a car seat or airplane seat just as easily and will not block the view of a passenger behind you who is viewing an on-flight screen. In a car setting, the GOSLEEP eye mask helps to drown out those irritating vehicular lights from oncoming traffic and street lamps while attaching to the seat itself to help keep your head upright and placed perfectly onto the included memory foam pillow.
An Improved Flying Experience
As stated before, the 2 in 1 Travel Sleep Mask with Memory Foam Pillow is excellent for taking on airplanes. It connects to the seat effortlessly and keeps my head upright just like it does while traveling in a car. If a passenger occupying the window seat does not want to close the window due to the view, I just slide on the sleep mask and block out the light, making it a more pleasant flight experience for everyone involved. Gone are the days of leaning against a window or crunching over in order to catch a snooze on the plastic tray table. I have also learned that these are much better than the c-shaped pillows that are available at the airport for a similar purpose.
- Included GOSLEEP eye mask
- Made with soft memory foam
- Mask attaches to the pillow to keep head from bobbing
- Neck support. The 2 in 1 Travel Sleep Mask with Memory Foam Pillow does not come with inherent neck support, but this is hardly a bad thing and not something that I am eager to consider a downside seeing as I can simply shift the pillow downward a bit and get all of the support that I need.
Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow
Top Features of the Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow
Total Lateral Support
The Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow is really unique in the way that it provides support in a completely different style from most travel pillows. This may just be the best travel sleeper for those of you who like to sleep on their sides much like I do. It delivers full lateral support for my entire upper body, making it simple to snuggle up to on long flights or car rides and become relaxed enough that I can fall into a restful sleep, which is hard for me to do during travel. I have noticed that it helps give me the right head and neck alignment, making it so that I do not wake up from my sleep with an uncomfortable pinching in my neck that I end up being able to feel all day. The Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow is also great because of the fact that it prevents my head from nodding forward and causing me to wake up abruptly from my sleep the second I doze off.
Another huge perk of the Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow is its compact nature and overall pack ability. This travel pillow can deflate completely in a matter of seconds, allowing me to roll it up into a compact size and pack it into my carry-on bag to take on the plane with me without having to worry about lugging it around while I am trying to navigate the airport with full hands already. It rolls into a size of 2 inches by 9 inches by 3.5 inches for simple storage. When I am ready to use it, all it takes is just a few short exhalations into the pillow and it quickly inflates for instantaneous usage as soon as I sit down into my seat on the plane and does not disturb the other passengers. Once it is inflated, its patented, ergonomic design gives me all of the support that I could need to snuggle up and get comfortable, tension-free, no matter how I choose to sleep.
The Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow is also great for when I want to change up how I am sleeping. Most pillows seem to want to accommodate only one sleeping position or the other. I can position it across my torso to rest my head and neck on it that way, or turn on my side and cozy up to it that way. To keep it secured to my body, I can strap it around my torso sort of like a messenger bag or use the strap to tether it to the seat of a plane to keep it in place. It very easily loops around headrests in both cars and on airplanes, including the ability for it to attach to airline seat wings.
Finally, the last awesome perk of the Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow is that it is totally washable. No matter where I take it or how often I use it, I have the comfort of knowing that I can wash it as conveniently as I can use it. The velour cover is easily removed, making it so that I can simply throw it into the washing machine at the end of my trips and clean it while I do the rest of my laundry which seriously saves me a lot of time hand washing so that I can relax whenever I get home.
- Can be fully adjusted
- Easily inflates and deflates
- Machine washable cover
- Perfect lateral support
- Rolls into a quarter of its original size
- Inflation. Inflating the Travelrest – Ultimate Travel Pillow / Neck Pillow might seem like a bit of a hassle when compared to pillow options that come ready to use, but I didn’t mind it. In fact, I enjoyed the ability to keep it tucked into my carry on until I got to my seat as it made maneuvering through smaller spaces much more simple.
J-pillow Travel Pillow
Top Features of the J-pillow Travel Pillow
Perfect for Any Travel Scenario
The J-pillow Travel Pillow is the best travel pillow in terms of its unique and comfortable design. While most travel pillows take on the shape of a standard, every day pillow that I might find in my home, or as a U-shaped pillow that can be purchased in any airport or department store, the J-pillow Travel Pillow comes in a J-shape as its name suggests. This is perfect for taking on planes, in cars or even for relaxing at home, I have realized. It allows me to sleep upright in a more natural and comfortable position, especially if I am using it while occupying a window seat on a plane or leaning against a window in a car or train. This pillow is great for any travel situation that I could find myself in.
All Around Support
Let’s take a moment to talk about the J-pillow Travel Pillow’s unique shape. It, as stated, comes in a J shape that at once cradles my head, supports my neck and even tucks in against my chin. Never once have I awoken after sleeping with this travel pillow to a pained neck or spine. The neck support is wonderful and does not feel as if it is trying to choke me, or as if I were wearing some sort of neck collar like other travel pillows that I have tried. I also do not experience the issue of my head falling forward mid-sleep and rudely awakening me, thanks to the chin support. Even when I sleep on my side, it supports the side of my head and my chin. This pillow is really innovative and seems to have taken all head positions while traveling into account.
Simple to Travel with
Another great feature of the J-pillow Travel Pillow is the fact that it is incredibly easy to travel with. One of my biggest gripes concerning pillows that I want to take with me on my travels is often its size and portability. No one likes moving through a bustling crowd and knocking into fellow travelers with their pillows and bags, and this J-pillow Travel Pillow makes it simple to avoid it. It does this by including a nifty snap-loop fastener that attaches the pillow to my luggage, allowing it to only take up as much space as my bags do. I can also choose to push the J-pillow Travel Pillow into my suitcase itself and I have found that when I do this, it is even more compact than most standard U-shaped pillows of the same size, so I can take it in my carry-on for immediate access on the plane.
Completely Machine Washable
Finally, the J-pillow Travel Pillow is one of the most convenient travel pillows that I have ever used. It is definitely the most hygienic pillow that I have used for travel. This is because I am able to wash the entire pillow instead of just the cover of it. To wash it, all I had to do was drop it into the washing machine with the rest of my laundry and turn it on a warm setting. It came out looking like it did on the day that I bought it. I also learned that if I want the pillow to be a bit softer, I have to tumble dry on a low heat setting. That said, if I want more of a firmly supportive pillow, I just needed to air dry it. Simple as that.
- Can be clipped to luggage or put into the bag itself
- Perfect for sleeping against windows
- Supports head, chin and neck
- Totally machine washable
- Price. The J-pillow Travel Pillow happens to be a bit more expensive than some other travel pillows, but with its unique J shape design and its incredible support, I don’t mind the price. It is also insanely portable and easy to carry and washing it is a dream, leading me to the conclusion that it is worth every penny.
Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow
Top Features of the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow
Perfect for Any Sleeping Position
While I mainly consider myself a side sleeper, I do like to change up the way I lay in order to get comfortable. Sometimes, depending on how I am traveling especially in a crowded and cramped plane seat, I don’t have a choice but to rest a certain way. The Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow lets me adjust it to give me the ultimate support 360 degrees around. This lets me lay on either my left or right side in comfort. It also helps to stop my head from jerking forward and jolting me awake unexpectedly. This Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow even has a flattened rear cushion that makes it perfect for resting against any type of seat–car, plane, train or bus.
Great for Any Travel Situation
Because of its incredibly versatility, the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow is perfect for any sort of travel. It does not matter whether I have the luxury of getting comfortable alone in the backseat of a car and can rest in the exact way that I want to or if am in a cramped space like on a bus or a train; the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow allows me fantastic comfort and stability in any situation. By getting a good amount of rest while on my trips, I am more awake and can function more efficiently while on the go without suffering any inhibiting neck pain.
Speaking of comfort, the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow has a few unique features that allow me to get comfortable during my travels like never before. This memory foam filled pillow features raised sides that support my head, no matter which way it naturally falls while I am asleep. The back of this travel pillow also comes with a flat back that is perfect for resting against any style of headrest to ensure that I am comfortable and supported wherever I am. The Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow also comes with totally surrounding support that targets not only the sides and back of my head but my chin as well. Unlike some of the other travel pillows that I have used, this pillow does not shove my head forward uncomfortably and cause me any neck pain when I wake up.
Finally, the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow can be washed in a washing machine! The soft and inviting cover is completely removable, allowing me to simply strip the memory foam insides of its exterior and then toss the covering into the washing machine with the rest of my dirty clothes after I return home from my trip. This is not only incredibly convenient as it saves me time that might otherwise be spent on spot cleaning the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow, it serves to provide me with the peace of mind that no matter how dirty it becomes from excessive use on my travels, I do not have to worry about creating a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
- 360 degrees of support for head, neck and chin
- Allows for comfort in any position whether it is laying on the side or on the back
- Cover of the travel pillow can be washed in a washing machine
- Flat back for use with any sort of headrest
- Made from memory foam
- Prevents neck pain
- Use with noise canceling headphones. For those of you who travel frequently and like to implement the use of noise canceling headphones, I recommend that you invest in a pair of the slimmer varieties out there. If you choose large, bulky, over the ear headphones, your comfort may be compromised. This is hardly an issue as many of the best noise canceling headphones already come in more slender varieties. Finding the right pair is not going to be a difficult task.
The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is the winner of my roundup of travel pillows. I love the way that it is designed to resemble the look and feel of a pillow that I would use at home, making it simple to curl up with on my side or tuck it under my head for neck support. It is made of an ultra supportive material with a smooth and soft cover. It is also totally machine washable, so I recommend this for anyone looking for something that is as comfortable as it is convenient.
Benefits of Buying a Travel Pillow
– Comfort. One of the best things about using a travel pillow opposed to using a typical bed pillow is that travel pillows are often made using a high quality memory foam. The thing about memory foam is that it easily conforms to the unique shape of your head and neck, providing you with optimized comfort, no matter which way that you like to sleep.
– Support. These travel pillows are also highly supportive. They are designed in such a way to keep your neck and spine aligned at an optimum angle to ensure that you are not causing a strain in your neck that you will feel when you wake up. By providing proper neck support, you can eliminate the issue of being rudely awakened by the sudden jolting of your head as it falls forward once you doze off. Some even come with support for the chin to prevent this from happening as well.
– Better sleep on the go. Nothing makes a trip more miserable than being exhausted from travel. If you are unable to sleep, you often have to spend a day of your trip simply recovering from the sleeplessness and discomfort that comes with jet lag.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Travel Pillow
– Compactness. You want to look for a travel pillow that either can fold up into itself and be stowed away in your carry-on bag for simple access on a plane, or one that can be attached to your luggage instead to help provide a hands-free experience as you navigate the airport, bus station or train station.
– Price. Look for something that is made with supportive, comfortable and high quality materials that gives you the most value for your money.
– Wash ability. When you return from your trip, unpacking is already a hassle; don’t make it worse by having to spot clean the pillow that you have been sleeping on for days at a time. Look for a travel pillow with the ability to machine wash it–preferably the entire pillow as a whole, but one with a removable cover is just as useful.
Tips on How to Choose the Best Travel Pillow for Your Needs
– Consider the way you enjoy sleeping and grab a pillow optimized for that position.
– Think about a travel pillow that can fit into small, compact spaces like an airline seat to optimize your comfort.
– Read online reviews on travel pillows such as the ones below in order to get an idea of what these pillows are like in action.