Last Updated on March 20, 2021
Over the last couple of years, traveling has evolved from being a necessary experience to a comfortable and fulfilling one. Modern-day travelers are not simply fascinated by the prospects of arriving at their destination. They also want the trip itself to be as comfortable and memorable as it can possibly get.
One of the best ways to guarantee a comfortable flight or road trip is by taking a travel neck pillow with you. These pillows are available at most airports and come in various shapes, sizes, materials, and price ranges. If you travel regularly but have never appreciated the significance of investing in a neck pillow, you’re missing out on a lot.
But as we’ve just indicated, all travel neck pillows are not made equal. While some pillows promise the ultimate comfort during your trip, others may leave you with a terrible neck and backache. So, how do you go about selecting the best travel pillow for you?
Read on as we unpack the best features to look for in a travel pillow, as well as some top product recommendations.
How to Choose a Neck Pillow for Your Next Trip
The comfort of a neck pillow for travel is largely determined by the design of the pillow as well as the material that it’s made of. In terms of design, we have Inflatable pillows, Microbead pillows, and Memory foam pillows.
Inflatable pillows are generally cheap, lightweight, and portable. However, the fact that you have to inflate them each time before use may be a hassle for some travelers. Plus, they could present risks of allergy.
Microbead pillows are mostly hailed for their ease of use and relative affordability. However, they’re a bit slippery and are not very portable.
Memory foam pillows are the most popular choice among travelers, thanks to their high levels of comfort. These pillows are generally designed with a memory foam that’s covered by a washable velvet clothing. On the flip side, memory foam pillows are costlier than their Inflatable and Microbead counterparts.
The durability of a travel neck pillow mainly comes down the pillow’s material and washability. One way to tell that a material is durable is by checking that its lines are properly stitched. In terms of washability, your focus should be on the outer fabric.
However, the fact that a pillow is washable doesn’t mean that you should tuck it into the washing machine every other day. Washing your travel neck pillow too frequently may cause the pillow to lose its shine.
3. Packability and Portability
You want a pillow that’s both packable and portable. Therefore, the smaller and lighter, the better. Also, the pillow should be a uniform shape, feature a compact design, and be easy to collapse into a smaller size for ease of storage. A clip or strap for clipping the pillow onto your suitcase or backpack is a bonus as far as portability goes.
Other factors to consider when buying a neck pillow for travel include cost, style, brand, ergonomics, and ease of use.
5 Best Neck Pillows for Travel
1. Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam
Size: 0.8 x 10 x 5 inches
Weight: 13.4 ounces
Color Options: Blue and Grey
Material: Memory Foam, complete with Velour and Micro-fiber cover
- Back is angled, hence non-slip
- Compresses to a ¼ of its size for portability
- Package includes memory foam earplugs for additional comfort
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Cushioning is a bit tall for some users
Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam has been voted the best travel pillow from 2018 to 2020 by Wirecutter. So, what is it about this pillow that makes it so popular among travelers? First is the incredibly comfortable design that’s made from thermo-sensitive memory foam, offering maximum support to your neck, head, and shoulders. Another notable thing about the design of this pillow is the non-slip backing that holds it firmly in place, adding comfort to long-haul flights and road trips.
In terms of portability, Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam can compress to a ¼ of its size, which ensures that it doesn’t use up space in your backpack or suitcase. Plus, the pillow comes with a Velcro stuff sack.
2. UROPHYLLA Inflatable Travel Pillow
Size: 2.46 x 3.43 x 5.51 inches
Weight: 4.8 ounces
Color Options: Blue, Deep-blue, Gray, and Deep-gray
Material: Soft Velvet case with PVC Material liner
- Ergonomic raised design
- Incredibly lightweight
- Less air leaks
- 12-months warranty
- Looks a bit awkward when deflated
The first thing you’ll love about the UROPHYLLA Inflatable Travel Pillow is its lightweight design, which speaks to its portability. Plus, it’s an inflatable pillow, which means that you can deflate it after use and tuck it into your suitcase or backpack hassle-free.
As far as comfort goes, the UROPHYLLA Inflatable Travel Pillow features a soft velvet case and a PVC liner. And the fact that the pillow is inflatable allows you to adjust it to different comfort levels, including soft, medium or firm. UROPHYLLA is also relatively easier to use compared to most inflatable pillows, as it takes a paltry 10 seconds to inflate it with your mouth.
3. Cabeau Evolution S3 Memory Foam
Size: 9.5 x 10 x 5 inches
Weight: 11.6 ounces
Color Options: Blue Glitter, Cardinal, Galaxy, Steel, Jet Black, Pink Velvet, Holographic Silver, and Indigo
Material: Memory Foam with Polyester cover
- Holds your head and neck firmly in place
- Numerous color options
- Packable and portable
- Machine washable
- Thick cushioning may interfere with your headphones
Cabeau Evolution S3 Memory Foam is another excellent recommendation for travelers who are looking for the ultimate comfort during their trips, thanks to the pillow’s super-soft memory foam with polyester cover. A variety of color options is another thing to love about the Cabeau Evolution S3 Memory Foam pillow.
The design of the pillow offers maximum support to your head and neck, preventing you from falling forward while sleeping even when cruising through rough terrains. Cabeau Evolution S3 is portable too, thanks to the provision of a compact travel case that compresses the pillow’s size in half. Also, this neck pillow features a quick-release clasp that attaches to your travel suitcase, which saves on your storage space.
4. Trtl Pillow Plus
Size: 8.27 x 6.69 x 3.15 inches
Weight: 9 ounces
Color Options: Blue, Pink, and Charcoal
Material: Plastic Brace with Polyester Fleece
- Ergonomic design for maximum head and neck support
- Machine washable
- Folds flat, saving storage space
- Fleece may be too warm
If you’re looking for a travel neck pillow that combines adjustability, breathability, ergonomic design, and comfort in one package, your search ends with Trtl Pillow Plus. This pillow sports an ultra-soft cushioned support for your neck and head, preventing you from suffering neck strain during your trip.
The manufacturer offers a waterproof carry bag where you can safely stash your pillow when not in use, saving you crucial storage space. Weighing only 9 ounces, Trtl Pillow Plus is also reasonably lightweight and won’t add extra baggage to your suitcase. The pillow is designed with a detachable scarf that makes it easy to wash and maintain.
5. AirComfy Ease Pillow
Size: 14 x 3.2 x 8.5 inches
Weight: 1.58 ounces
Color Options: Black, Grey, Aqua, and Dark Blue
Material: Velvet Cover with Luxurious Interior Foam
- Ergonomic construction keeps your head upright
- Comes with lumbar back support
- Adjustable size
- Highly portable
- A bit cost-inhibitive
AirComfy Ease Pillow is probably the lightest travel neck pillow on our list, which makes it ideal for minimalistic travelers. But that’s not the only spec that makes this pillow portable. You can also compress it into an enclosed packsack for ease of carrying. Plus, an included carabiner allows you to clip the pillow onto your carryon suitcase.
AirComfy Ease Pillow also features an ergonomic design that keeps your head upright for the duration of your trip, thereby preventing strains resulting from tilting your neck from side to side. Like most high-end inflatable pillows, you can adjust the size of AirComfy Ease to your desired firmness.
If you’re yet to incorporate a travel neck pillow into your regular travel accessory, now is the time to make that critical decision. And while you’re at it, consider purchasing any of the above reviewed products for the ultimate comfort during your trip.