Before you hit the road, or get on a plane, you need a travel pillow. Sleeping well on a long journey can be the key to arriving refreshed and ready to go. But getting some shut-eye on an overnight flight, train, or car ride can be a challenge without the proper neck pillow. If you’ve ever had your nap interrupted because you’ve turned into a human bobblehead, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
A solid travel pillow should offer the right amount of support, be comfortable, portable and easily washable, and at least attempt to look somewhat cool so as to avoid inflight embarrassment.
From neck pillows that look like elegant scarves to others that inflate in under a minute, there are plenty of options on the market that will allow you to rest your weary head. These travel pillows are your best bet at a restful journey.
When you use the Ostrich travel pillow, be prepared to have people ask you about it. It's got a unique look, but it's truly comfortable. Thanks to its memory foam neck support and wraparound style, the Ostrich pillow pretty much ensures that like its namesake, you'll bury your head in it. It envelopes you and holds together with Velcro. But be warned of its large size. If you use earbuds, the height of the pillow can be an issue.
This memory foam pillow has a clever feature that sets it apart from the competition. There's a strap that's designed to attach the pillow to your airplane or car headrest. This is a game-changer that will keep your pillow secure and your head in place. And when you land, the pillow compresses to half of its size and fits neatly into the included travel bag. Though lots of travelers have been left with broken zippers on the bag, which kind of makes it worthless.
Say goodbye to nodding heads and stiff necks with this Trtl pillow. Pronounced “turtle,” this pillow keeps your head in a better, ergonomic position thanks to its patented internal support system. The Trtl Pillow is a bit like a cozy, comfortable scarf made from hypoallergenic polyester fleece. Yet, the strengthened ribs tucked inside offer scientifically-proven head and neck support, granting you the best of both worlds. It’s machine-washable ensuring it’s fresh and ready for each new adventure. But this travel pillow is built for taller people with longer necks, and can be too bulky if you're traveling light.
This neck pillow inflates in 30 to 60 seconds simply by pressing a built-in inflation pump. You can adjust it to your desired level of fullness at the push of a button. When you wake up, simply deflate the pillow by releasing the air valve and slip it into its lightweight packsack, which comes with a clip for attaching to luggage. The downside of the inflation feature is a head-turning sound, which is reminiscent of a bicycle horn.
This compressible pillow is a great choice for people who aren't interested in the standard neck pillow design. A drawstring and cord lock work together so this thing doesn't expand unexpectedly in your bag. And speaking of fitting in your bag, you can choose from four different sizes to match your luggage (and noggin) size. The shredded urethane isn't everyone's cup of tea, and some users thought it could have come with more stuffing inside.
Whether you’re placed in a window, aisle, or middle seat (or even at home), this infinity pillow is up to the task of making you comfortable. The first Mobius-shaped travel pillow looks like an infinity scarf and is made with breathable bamboo fabric to keep travelers cool while they slumber. Striking the right balance between soft and supportive, this travel pillow is made of luxurious fabric that’s antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. The entire pillow can be tossed in the washing machine after each trip. Some travelers said the pillow didn’t provide is enough neck support and were hoping for a bit more firmness.
This pillow can be twisted and turned to fit your exact sleep and comfort specifications. It holds its shape (whatever you need that to be) for as long as you need, thanks to its memory foam construction. Just twist it into whatever shape you want. The cotton cover is machine washable. But the memory can split after a long period of use, and there's really no easy way to stash it or carry it.
This petite pillow is adjustable so it works equally well for men, women, and children. Travelers can inflate it fully to be as firm as possible or release air if they prefer a softer touch. With an expandable elastic band, you can secure it to your headrest so it stays in one place and won’t slip or slide while you’re trying to sleep. Smaller than other options, this pint-sized travel pillow cradles your neck, offering support that’ll prevent pain and stiffness and won’t make you feel claustrophobic the way large pillows might. It does double duty in that you can also use it for lumbar support. Tragically, it can start to deflate minutes after you rest your head on it.
This crossbody pillow can be worn 'messenger bag style' and offers full lateral support. It easily attaches to an airplane seat’s 'wings’ or a car’s headrest so you don’t have to wake up to adjust it. It's a great alternative to the traditional behind-the-neck options, and it inflates easily and deflates almost instantly. When rolled up, it doesn’t need much room inside your travel bag. But it can be tough to keep in place when you're trying to doze off.
Making it one of the most environmentally-friendly pillows on the market, this super-soft microfiber pillow filling is made of recycled materials. At the same time, it’s hypoallergenic and completely machine washable. Thanks to a zipper in the back, you can adjust the level of firmness in this travel pillow simply by removing the stuffing. We like the modest price point and wide variety of colors and patterns. If you have a larger noggin, it can be too small for you.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.
This article was originally published on