Finding the right travel pillow can be quite overwhelming. The number of types and styles alone is enough to make even the most experienced shoppers think twice before deciding. However, we’ve decided to make it easier for you and showcase the most important features to look for when you’re searching for the perfect travel pillow. Let’s take a look at those features.
When it comes to sizes of travel pillows, you’ll soon realise there is no industry standard. Sure, most of them are quite similar in size, as most of our heads and necks are similar in size. However, travel pillows vastly differ in size and weight and which one will you choose is entirely based on your preference and travel style.
Naturally, the size of the travel pillow is important mainly because of comfort, but these pillows are used on the go, so you have to consider their carrying size, as well. Inflatable pillows are fairly easy to carry, but the microbead pillow can get quite bulky and unless you plan on carrying it around your neck from the start – you want to reorganize your luggage.
Similar to sizes, travel pillows come in various shapes as well. In general, most travel pillows are U-shaped and are designed to be snuggle around your neck, offering much-needed support for your neck or head in the sitting position.
However, there are a few other shapes, as well. V-shaped neck pillows are also a thing. Then, pillows that can twist and shape-shift also exist. You can find U-shaped pillows with hoodies, J-shaped ones, hourglass-shaped ones and so on. You can even find regular, cushion-shaped neck support travel pillows or even full-body and infinity travel pillows.
This, as well, can be overwhelming, but the variety is necessary to find the perfect level of comfort.
When it comes to the weight of these pillows, you can see how important it is that they're lightweight. They're sitting on your shoulders, snuggled around your neck and even if they were over a pound, pound and a half – they would quickly become uncomfortable.
In general, most travel pillows are under a pound in weight, with a few notable exceptions like infinity pillows. The average weight of a travel pillow would be around 200 grams, though the standard range is anywhere between 100 and 300 grams.
Another thing to consider is portability and how the weight would affect that. Even though you may not care about the extra 300 grams in your backpack – airport security just might.
Just like with any other pillow, the firmness level will affect the comfort and supportiveness of the product. However, in most cases, you won’t find any indication of the firmness level of a pillow anywhere on the packaging or the product. However, there’s a neat trick you can use to guess how firm the pillow actually is.
Basically, inflatable pillows are pretty firm when inflated properly, but the firmness can be somewhat adjusted by the amount of air inside of a pillow. Memory foam pillow on the other hand hit that perfect balance between comfort and support. And finally, if you're looking for a more plush, cushiony feel – you’d choose a microbead travel pillow instead.
Generally speaking, travel pillows are divided into two categories – inflatable and non-inflatable. We don't have to point out the main difference between the two, as it is pretty self-explanatory judging by the name.
These two groups are quite distinguishable from one another. For instance, non-inflatable travel pillows are much harder to store and carry than their counterparts are. They can't be blown out and put into a pocket. Also, they're in general quite firmer, as we learned a few moments ago and they're usually made from the same material.
Non-inflatables, on the other hand, come in a wide variety of materials, which makes it a lot easier for you to find the one that fits your needs the best. You can search for optimal comfort, supportiveness or temperature regulation.
A common myth about travel pillows is that they can get very hot, very fast. Now, that's not entirely true. Every pillow gets hot as they assume your body temperature. Travel pillow does the exact same thing. However, they're often used in not-so-ideal sleeping conditions, which can, in return, make for a hotter sleeping experience.
However, as is the case with regular pillows, there's a solution to this issue. Selecting the pillow made from quality materials that allow for great breathability will affect how hot or chilly the pillow feels. For instance, memory foam pillows aren’t the greatest option if you get hot while you sleep, but it’s not the worst either. You can always improvise with a pillow cover if you want.
In addition to knowing all the basic and key features and characteristics of travel pillows, we thought we’d share a few tips on buying and using these pillows. We won’t focus as much on features, as much as we will on actual tips on how to avoid confusion and make the best pick based on your preferences.
The first tip we have for you is to not pay attention to the price. In a world of travel pillows, price isn't a reliable factor. All of these cost pretty much the same and just because one is more expensive than the other does not mean it’s better.
Another thing to check before you buy a pillow is whether it is machine washable or not. Most come with a removable, washable cover, but be sure to inform yourself on how to clean the pillow.
Finally, your sleeping position will greatly impact whether you find a pillow comfortable or not. For instance, back sleepers usually enjoy U-shaped travel pillows as they offer the best neck support when they lean back.
So, to sum it all up.
That’s because it was designed with the traveller in mind and does away with any drawbacks other travel pillows may come with.
For one, it can be strapped to the back of your headrest, keeping your head perfectly still and keeping the pressure off your neck. This is a lifesaver for bumpy roads as your head can’t come forward and potentially wake you up. The pillow even has support for your chin, so you know they’re taking this seriously!
And when it comes to the build of the pillow itself, it comes with responsive memory foam, a moisture-wicking polyester cover, and an adjustable clasp in the front. It’s machine washable and can even be squished down into a travel bag. What more could you possibly want from a travel pillow?
If you're looking for the best absolute deal on a travel pillow, but you aren't willing to sacrifice quality and comfort – we'd suggest you try this one out. It looks like a regular, inflatable travel pillow that you'd buy in front of a bus from a local salesman, but instead of it being a piece of inflatable rubbish – you get a nice, firm, memory foam travel pillow. It offers great support, it's quite comfortable and it wraps around your neck nicely. Also, it comes in a few colours, you can choose the one you like the most to match your style.
After all, it’s made in a way that can support your neck, torso, and even your arms!
Just quickly inflate the travel pillow (which shouldn’t take more than 5 seconds thanks to the dual valve system), place it in your lap, and then lean forward and sleep like a champ. The pillow is angled in such a way that your body remains in a natural resting position and you can even easily watch some videos on your phone as you dose off.
Plus, this pillow comes with an eye mask and earplugs as part of the deal. So, we honestly can’t think of a reason not to get this pillow immediately and make every trip from now on a time to catch up on your beauty sleep.
Trunki has always been known for their amazing products and they’ve delivered once again. If you have kids under the age of four and you want to get them a travel pillow – you should absolutely get them this one. Trunki Kids comes in 7 different colours, or better yet characters, all of them similar, but slightly different in size. They’re incredibly comfortable and plush, thanks to microbead filling, but they still offer more than enough support for your little ones thanks to ergonomic design. They come with two magnets holding the front of the pillow together for additional neck support.
The ergonomic design of this pillow is pretty much guaranteed to have you actually feel rested once you wake up from a nap in an upright position. Trtl Soft Pillow manages to strike a perfect balance between comfort and wonderful support and alignment thanks to the great design. In addition to that, it's super soft and cushiony, so you won't have any problems sleeping for a few hours at a time. it comes in few colours and it pretty much looks like a scarf once you put it on, so, bonus points for style! Naturally, since it’s made of fleece and polyester – it’s machine washable.
This travel pillow is for those who can't really get comfortable in the seat and need some additional comfort. AirGoods travel pillow is quite bulky, which makes it ideal if you want to just lean forward, grab onto something and sleep that way. It’s uniquely designed to keep your body aligned as much as possible and have you feeling comfortable as you snuggle with your travel buddy. Another benefit of this unique design is that it can double as a body pillow if you’re in need of some extra support. Finally, there’s a neat pocket in the pillow where you can rest your phone so you can enjoy a movie or a TV show while you relax.
To call Huzi infinity pillow just a travel pillow would be an insult to it. This puppy can do pretty much do it all. It can muffle the outside noise if you wrap it around your head, it can support your back and neck simultaneously, you can rest your arms in it or you can just wrap it around your neck like a scarf and have some major chin and neck support. It's also quite comfortable due to the material build and great design and even when you sleep for hours at a time – it really doesn't get hot. To top it all off – it's machine washable in its entirety.
The advantages of owning the best travel pillow extend far from just being able to take a nap in an airplane or a bus. For such a simple product, there’s more to it than it meets the eye.
First of all, a quality neck pillow prevents neck fatigue and pain. When we fall asleep in an uncomfortable position, our head tends to lean in one direction. Without the proper support that travel pillow provides you with, you’d wake up feeling stiff and sore from hyperextending your neck.
Additionally, they can be quite beneficial when it comes to snoring. Keeping your neck straight allows for better airflow since your airways aren't obstructed, thus preventing sleep apnea and snoring.
On top of all that – most of the travel pillows are really easy to wash and maintain, especially if they come with a removable cover. A removable cover makes it a lot easier to keep clean.
Finally, it wouldn't be a complete buyer's guide if we didn't touch on some of the frequently asked questions. Now that we've gone over our picks and the important features of travel pillows, it's time to answer some of the burning questions you might ask before you decide to buy one of these. Let's answer some FAQs!
Travel pillows usually last around 2 or 3 years, but it all depends on the quality of the pillow and how often you use it.
You can wash your travel pillow by hand or in the washing machine in lukewarm water and a slow-washing cycle. For more info, see our guide on washing pillows.
There’s no one-size-fits-all travel pillow, so whichever one you find the most comfortable is the ideal sized travel pillow.