Even short flights can be physically uncomfortable and strain your neck and upper back. On long flights, particularly when you want to get some sleep and arrive rested at your destination, a travel pillow is essential for your comfort and rest during the flight. Travel pillows need to provide comfort and support, but also need to be able to stand up to the stress of travel. Even better when they are able to compress into a small size, so that they don't take up unneeded space in your luggage during the rest of your trip. Here are some of the best travel pillows for plane travel.
Best Travel Pillow for a Plane Trip Reviews
1. Trtl Travel Neck Pillow
Review - A Great Plane Pillow
Sleeping on a long flight can be difficult, if not downright painful, which is why so many travelers are constantly on the search for a great neck support pillow. Unlike other neck support pillows on the market, this travel pillow helps to keep the head held in an ergonomic position, which will eliminate neck pain upon waking. Additionally, even though it is filled with internal support, the cozy cushioning helps to stop the support from digging into the skin.
This neck support pillow comes in a variety of different colors so that users can easily choose one that appeals to them. While it is a little bulky to pack, it weighs only 8 ounces, which makes it perfect to carry without adding a lot of additional weight. Because it can be attached to the outside of luggage or a backpack or purse handle, it’s simple to bring this Trtl pillow on the go, no matter the destination. When the pillow gets dirty, it’s easy to wash it by tossing it in the washing machine with some mild detergent.
Thanks to being made from a super soft fleece, this pillow will prevent users from getting neck cramps and from sleeping on an uncomfortable fabric. It is hypoallergenic, which makes it perfect for anyone who has allergies. Not only is the fleece comfortable and soft, but it is very warm, which is great for when traveling by plane, train, or car and combating cold travel conditions. With a combination of internal support ribs and a layer of foam inside the fleece, this pillow is comfortable, supportive, and won’t cause a neck cramp during use.
2. Huzi Infinity Pillow - More Than An Airplane Neck Pillow
Most travel pillows are only designed to be used in one way and, but this travel pillow from Huzi can be used in a myriad of different ways thanks to the infinity design of the pillow. It provides comfort to any sleeping position, no matter whether the user wants extra neck support, wants to use the pillow against the window or desk, or simply needs extra comfort along their back. Because the pillow is so soft and flexible, it can be used in many different ways without breaking.
Not only is the Huzi travel pillow flexible, but the bamboo fabric prevents the pillow from feeling too hot and causing the user to overheat. It is incredibly breathable and does a great job helping regulate body temperature and allowing air to pass through the fabric. This means that users won’t wake up as sweaty and uncomfortable as they may with other types of travel pillows. Packed with thousands of different layers of microfibers, this pillow is designed to be supportive and comfortable without causing the user to become too hot when sleeping or resting during travel.
At the end of a long day of travel, this pillow can be put into the washing machine to ensure that it is completely clean before the next time it is used. While it is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, thanks to the material used in construction, this pillow washes and dries quickly and easily, which ensures that no germs are lingering in it before the next time it is used.
3. Travelrest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow/Neck Pillow
Memory foam is a great material to provide comfort and support, and the Travelrest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow/Neck Pillow allows you to enjoy the benefits of memory foam in a travel pillow. It has a contoured shoulder cut out, and a non-slip backing to support you as you lean back in your seat, instead of pushing the head forward to rest on the chin. It's secured with a Velcro closure, so it stays in place while you relax. The microfiber cover is soft and comfortable, and easily removable for washing in between journeys.
It compresses down to ¼ its size, fitting into the included stuff sack that easily attaches to luggage. It also comes with a pair of memory foam earplugs to make your flights even more restful. It's backed by a 100% money-back guarantee.
4. Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow
The Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow is made of memory foam and has a lot of features to ease stressful flights. The flatter shape at the back of the neck prevents the pillow from pushing the head forward, and the 360° design allows you to rotate it to get the perfect head and neck support for your position.
The removable and washable cover is made of comfortable velour and comes in a wide range of appealing colors. It has adjustable sliding support toggles for a secure fit, and contains a media pouch for mobile devices, so you can keep your device conveniently located.
The Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow collapses down to ¼ of its size and fits securely in the included sack for convenient travel. It comes with memory foam earplugs. This travel pillow has a patented, award-winning design, and is backed by a money-back guarantee.
5. BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow
The BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow has an easily adjustable design to support your head and neck in any position. It is designed to support the chin and keep the head from falling forward, no matter how you prefer to lean your head. It is available in a wide range of attractive colors and is available in children and adult sizes. It is durable and machine washable, with a snap strap that attaches easily to luggage.
The innovative design of the BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow has a flat back, and doesn't rely on front closures to stay securely in place; it simply wraps around the neck. That makes it more comfortable for a wider range of head and neck sizes since it conforms in any position. The design is also good for not allowing heat to build up around the neck and head, unlike some memory foam travel pillows that can feel like a hot box around the neck. The BCOZZY is more like a stuffed animal companion, and a great choice for young travelers.
Airline Travel Pillow Buyer's Guide
People who regularly travel know that being able to sleep or rest on the trip can be key to enjoying the remainder of the vacation upon arrival. Rather than relying on the airline to provide a high-quality pillow, which can be dirty, lumpy, or otherwise uncomfortable, it’s a much better idea to buy a dedicated travel pillow. These are great for using in cars, on planes, and in buses, and some can even be used in a hotel to help you get the rest that you need.
Inflatable or Not
One of the first decisions that you must make when shopping for a travel pillow is if you want one that will inflate or one that is ready to be used right away. Inflatable travel pillows are convenient to carry, but can often allow air to slowly leak out of them, which can cause them to flatten out when used for longer periods of time.
Noninflated travel pillows offer plenty of support, as they are generally made from memory foam, which will conform to the head. This means that they are more durable and offer steady support through the flight, but they do take up more space when packing.
There are a few main shapes to choose from when shopping for a travel pillow. The most common shape is the U-shape, because they offer simple support and are easy to use and travel with. Some users complain that they don’t offer enough head and neck support, which is something to take into consideration.
Another popular shape is the hourglass, which is a very versatile shape for a travel pillow. They can be used for not only the head and neck, but also to support the knees and back. The J-shape, however, is best used only on the head. It is designed to offer plenty of shin and neck support. It’s a firmer design, but this does make it more difficult to carry and travel with.
Wrap pillows fit around the head like a scarf does, which is great for people who tilt their head when sleeping. They are also incredibly portable and aren’t very clunky. Finally, rectangular travel pillows are most like the ones that you use on your bed at night. However, they are much smaller than traditional pillows and don’t offer the best neck support.
The material used in a travel pillow will determine how comfortable it is, as well as how much support it provides. Memory foam is a popular option and allows for plenty of support. Unfortunately, they tend to be very hot and can cause people to wake up sweaty.
Polyester is another good option, especially for people who don’t require a lot of structured support. The problem with polyester is that it can easily go flat over time. Microbeads are becoming a popular choice and are not only supportive, but also breathable. They slip and slide in the pillow to make room for the head, which can be a bit noisy.
Finally, wool is the last option for non-inflatable pillows. It is very durable, stays plush and firm for a long time, and is incredibly comfortable. Unfortunately, wool tends to be hot.
Even though the material used inside of a travel pillow is very important, the outside of the travel pillow is just as important. The right fabric will allow you to easily fall and stay asleep since it will be soft and comfortable. Plastic tends to irritate skin, but fleece and cotton are much softer options.
The weight of a travel pillow can impact your ability to easily take it on a flight with you. Inflatable pillows are the lightest option and are also easy to pack in a tight carry-on. Microbead pillows, on the other hand, are not only bulky, but can add unwanted weight to your bag.
Frequently Asked Questions About Neck Pillows
Will using a travel pillow reduce any chance of having neck pain?
Unfortunately, if you buy the wrong travel pillow for your sleeping style or choose one that isn’t very comfortable, then you are likely to suffer from neck pain when you wake up. This is why it's important to purchase a quality neck pillow so that you won't constantly have a stiff neck when you wake up from your shut eye. However, even the best pillow won't completely eliminate the possibility of neck pain, especially if it's something you are prone to.
Can children use travel pillows?
Not only are travel pillows safe for children to use, but they are actually recommended. A great travel pillow can help alleviate any strain put on a child’s neck when they fall asleep in an unnatural position when traveling. These pillows can help prevent sore necks and even more serious conditions.
Of course, not all travel pillows are designed to be used by a child, and some are much too large to be used safely. It’s a good idea to look for one designed specifically for use by a child to ensure that it will offer the protection and care that the child needs without making them uncomfortable when sleeping.
Is an inflating pillow a better choice than one that doesn’t inflate?
This comes down to a matter of personal preference, as well as how much room you have when you are packing for your trip. Inflatable pillows take up less room in your carry-on, which is great for people who are already overpacked. However, they do have to be inflated before they can be used, which is a bit of a hassle when you are tired and want to go to sleep.
Non-inflating pillows are easy to use right away, but will take up more room in your bag. However, they are ideal for any traveler who wants to be able to pull out their pillow and start snoozing without having to worry about how to inflate their pillow.
How can I avoid overheating and sweating when using a travel pillow?
Some travel pillows come with ventilation in them to prevent you from getting too hot when you sleep. If you know that you tend to run hot when sleeping and don’t want to wake up sweaty from using a pillow, then it’s a good idea to look for a travel pillow that is designed to help release some of the heat that you produce so you’re not too hot in the plane.
We love the award-winning design of the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow. The supportive memory foam, 360° positioning, and soft, washable, velour cover are great features. We especially love the built-in pocket for devices, so you can listen to music, set an alarm, or just keep your device safe and secure while you sleep on the plane. For those with long necks, it's easy to use over-the-ear headphones with this neck pillow, and many people love it.
For those who are smaller and have shorter necks, or if memory foam is just too hot, the BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow is a great alternative. The super-flexible design lets you position it in a variety of ways, whether you are seated in a window, aisle, or middle seat, or however your head is most comfortable.
Even people with short necks and small heads can use over-the-ear headphones with the BCOZZY, and the different positioning options allow you to adjust as necessary and prevent heat buildup.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Megan and the rest of the editorial team here.