If you fly often, you know how hard it can be to catch up on some sleep during a flight. It’s tough to contort yourself into a position where your head won’t fall forward or, even worse, onto the person sitting next to you.
It’s time you invest in a travel pillow.
A travel pillow can help you get your head and neck into a more snuggly position on the plane and may even help you get some zzzs.
When you are looking for a travel pillow, there are a few things to consider.
The first and most important factor is how well it holds your head and neck in place.
You want a pillow that doesn’t allow your head to bob and weave while you are dozing. You also want to make sure that it fits comfortably around your neck. Anything too tight or too loose is out of the question.
Do you have room in your carry-on for another item? Probably not.
You want a travel pillow that is portable and compactable.
Planes are full of germs; in fact, the seatback headrests, especially those along the aisles, have been shown to harbor the most germs on the plane. You want a travel pillow that you can wash when you get home.
Here are our top picks for the best travel pillows to take with you on your next flight.
Best Memory Foam Travel Pillow - Phixnozar Memory Foam Pillow
The Phixnozar Memory Foam Travel Pillow is the best memory foam travel pillow.
Memory foam pillows offer the most support, and the best part about them is that they mold to your head and neck, providing maximum comfort for you.
The adjustable rope lock in the front allows you to tighten or loosen it around your neck for the perfect fit. It also helps with your peace of mind knowing you won’t lose it once you fall asleep on the plane because it’s snug and secure around your neck.
The Phixnozar pillow has a soft cover that is made from sweat-resistant fabric and is machine washable.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t shrink in size for the most compactable storage option, but you can easily attach it to the outside of your bag or backpack by using the front rope lock.
Our favorite feature of this pillow is that when you flip it over, it lays flat so you can use it as a regular pillow on any table or flat surface. It’s like having two pillows in one!
Best Inflatable Travel Pillow - AirComfy Inflatable Neck Pillow
If the idea of blowing up an air pillow in front of strangers horrifies you, then the Daydreamer Air Comfy Inflatable Travel Pillow is a great option. It’s a self-inflating pillow, so you aren’t huffing and puffing on the plane. This pillow has push inflation and blows up within one minute.
We love that you can control the firmness of this pillow and adjust it for your needs. You can adjust the inflation level while wearing it to get that perfect firmness you need to pass out.
It comes with a velvet removable, washable cover, a carrying bag and a carabiner clip. This travel pillow easily attaches to your luggage and is very lightweight and compact; you will forget you even clipped it on to your bag.
Best Microbead Travel Pillow - Cloudz Dual Comfort Microbead Pillow
The Original Cloudz Dual Comfort Microbead Neck Pillow has been a best selling travel pillow for over 15 years. The high-quality microbeads hold their shape and don’t squish easily, keeping the pillow firm for longer.
The fabric is soft and cozy on one side and cooling on the other. Because of the microbeads, the pillow itself isn’t machine washable, but you can get some removable washable covers to make sure your pillow stays clean.
The front closure is great for bringing the pillow ends closer in front, so your head doesn’t fall forward, and it also serves as a fastener to attach it to your luggage.
The microbeads allow the pillow to move and mold around you, which offers excellent lumbar support for your back as well.
Best Adjustable Travel Pillow - Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow
If you are always twisting and turning trying to prop your head up one way and then the other, you should consider an adjustable travel pillow.
The Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow completely adjusts in every way. It bends in any direction, and you can use it for your head, neck or lower lumbar support.
The pillow cover is made of soft cotton and machine washable. It also has a snap closure making it easy to attach to the outside of your luggage since it isn’t too compact.
The Twist Memory Foam pillow doubles as a supportive body pillow for when you are trying to get comfortable in that unfamiliar bed at the hotel.
Best Travel Pillow for Kids - trtl Pillow Junior
Many adult-sized travel pillows are too cumbersome and uncomfortable for your kids, but the trtl Pillow Junior is made for kids.
This pillow is more of a neck brace than an actual pillow. It’s great for people whose head tends to fall forward when they are sleeping, and ideal for kids who are fidgety and move all around when they’re falling asleep.
The trtl pillow was designed with feedback from actual kids, so your kids are sure to love it.
It features a hidden, flexible structure, much like a brace with a scarf that wraps around for comfort. The company claims that it’s scientifically proven to provide better head and neck support. It can also be used as a regular pillow for those times when your kids decide to lay flat across your lap.
It’s made from soft fleece that is hypoallergenic and machine washable and packs flat to cram into a bag easily.
The junior version is recommended for kids 8 and older, but after you buy this for your kids, if you absolutely love it – which you undoubtedly will – you can get the adult version for yourself.
Coolest Looking Travel Pillow - HoodiePillow
Let’s face it; travel pillows are kind of nerdy looking. Some people just can’t bring themselves to use one even if it means added comfort.
However, the Hoodie Pillow Travel Pillow is a cool looking travel pillow. It’s super cozy because it is made with sweatshirt material, and looks just like you are wearing a hoodie.
It provides great eye protection, all you have to do is pull the hood down over your eyes, and you can block out the rest of the world, which is the ideal way to travel.
Unfortunately, the HoodiePillow is not machine washable. It can only be spot cleaned, so you may have to decide if looking good while blocking out the screaming child next to you is worth keeping a germ-infested pillow.
Most Ridiculous Looking Travel Pillow - Ralthy Inflatable Pillow
The Ralthy Inflatable Travel Pillow definitely wins the award for the most ridiculous looking travel pillow. Massage chairs inspired the design, and it allows your head to fall forward while keeping your neck supported naturally.
This pillow sits on your lap or your tray table, and you lean into it with your face. Because you are leaning forward with this pillow, you can use your tablet or phone without your head getting fatigued.
It looks rather big and cumbersome, but the high ratings on Amazon prove that people love it. So, if you are willing to give it a shot, you may find that it is just the perfect pillow for you.
It’s easily inflatable and can strap to your bag when it is deflated. It, unfortunately, is not machine washable but does pack down nicely.
Best Body Travel Pillow - Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow
For some of us, it’s not just the bobbing of the head that is making us uncomfortable. Those seats just don’t feel right.
A body pillow could be the solution. Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow is a body pillow for your upper body. You can position it across your body or down the side. It even loops over headrests so you can keep yourself sitting up without slumping.
This pillow is inflatable and can be rolled and snapped to your luggage when deflated. It’s not machine washable, but you can purchase a velour memory foam washable cover.
There are all kinds of travel pillows out there that vary in style, size and shape as well as price.
Once you take into consideration the type of traveler and the type of sleeper that you are and you are sure to find one for you, don’t let that uncomfortable plane ride stop you from your dream vacation.