Whether you’re planning to travel for the upcoming holiday season, heading out of town for business, or simply taking a family vacation, chances are there’s some sort of long haul trip in your future. And as any busy dad knows, those coveted hours of travel time are best spent catching up on some much-needed shuteye.
While a few lucky folks were born with the gift of being able to slip into a slumber anywhere, falling asleep in transit poses a real challenge for the rest of us. If you find yourself in the latter category, the secret to sleeping soundly on your next adventure might be finding a high quality travel pillow. It’s not just a game-changer; it’s an essential in any traveler’s bag of tricks. Here, five of the best travel pillows to use on your next cross-country flight, extended train trek, or family road trip.
Cabeau Evolution Cool Travel Pillow
When it comes to designing some of the most inventive travel pillows on the market, few companies can compete with Cabeau. Their new-and-improved Evolution Cool model is not only supportive, but it’s stylish, too. Constructed with a combination of polyester (92 percent) and spandex (eight percent), it’s packed with innovative features, such as a dual-density memory foam core, 360-degree chin support, and cooling circulation vents made of breathable mesh fabric. Users can even resize the pillow thanks to its two frontal pivot loops, so it’s always a perfect fit for smaller and thicker necks alike. Plus, the moisture-wicking shell can be removed and tossed in the wash if it ever starts looking dingy. Last but not least, its collapsible design and compression travel case make it a cinch to roll up and pack into your carry-on, so you can bring it with you anywhere, anytime.
Trtl Travel Pillow
Typical U-shaped travel pillows tend to be chunky, cumbersome, and far from compact — which is exactly why a team of mechanical engineers got together and created the Trtl (pronounced “turtle”) Travel Pillow. Made from a super-soft hypoallergenic fleece shell and polyurethane foam filling, the secret of the patented design lies within its internal plastic support system. The ergonomic shape is scientifically proven to hold the neck and head in position, and it weighs just half a pound. Think of it as being part scarf, part neck brace, and all comfort. All you need to do is wrap and nap. It’s also machine washable, and comes in four different colors: black, grey, red, and coral.
Yes, it looks a bit ridiculous, but the Ostrich Pillow is a cocoon of comfort. Inspired by the curious way ostriches appear to bury their entire heads in the sand, this fully enclosed pillow elicits a similar effect. Users swear by it for long haul, international flights and domestic treks alike. The soft exterior is made from 95 percent viscose and five percent elastomer, and it’s filled with thousands of polystyrene microbeads for maximum coziness. Whether you prefer to fall asleep sitting straight up, reclined back, against a window, or lying on your tray table, there’s no position this pillow can’t handle. However, if the Original is a bit too extreme for your taste, it also comes in more subtle varieties, including the Light ($45) and Go ($60) models.
The Infinity Pillow
For people on the move, versatility is vital, and the Infinity Pillow certainly delivers. Made from a bamboo fabric and a polyester blend, the machine-washable pillow is ultra-soft and keeps cool to the touch. But what makes this contender especially unique is how many different functions it can serve. In addition to simply looping it around your neck, you can also coil it, fold it, or twist it into a variety of shapes, depending on what you’re specifically looking for. It can instantly transform into a back cushion, an eye mask, or even provide a noise-canceling embrace. Fans insist that it’s an invaluable selection for anyone who struggles to find the perfect position during never-ending trips. Grab yours in grey, navy, burgundy, or tan.
Samsonite Magic 2 in 1 Pillow
Samsonite has long been a trusted name in the travel gear space, with a product line ranging from luggage to umbrellas, briefcases, and more. So when it comes to making a user-approved travel pillow, it’s no surprise they offer a simple but effective solution. Their Magic 2 in 1 Pillow is made from spandex and fleece, and offers a no-frills option that goes back to basics with an innovative twist. Traditionalists can use it as a smaller version of any standard, rectangular pillow. But it can also be unzipped and converted into a conventional U-shaped travel pillow, relieving strain in the neck and shoulders. It’s a bit bulkier than some of the more modern designs, but the external clip makes it easy to attach to a backpack or carry-on before boarding a flight. Plus, it’s extremely lightweight, weighing in at less than a quarter of a pound.