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The 7 best travel neck pillows for 2024.

Avoid a literal pain in the neck with these expert-approved travel pillows.

The Best Travel Neck Pillows

Woman using red Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow in window seat of plane.

Courtesy of Cabeau

Just like the pillow you use at home , the best neck pillow for travel is the one that makes you feel most comfortable, allowing you to relax, rest and ultimately fall asleep on the go. The difference, however, is that a travel pillow is typically used when sitting up, which means it needs to provide enough support to keep your head from bobbing.

Based on recommendations from travel experts and advice from physicians, these are the best neck pillows for travel.

  • Best Overall: Cabeau Evolution S3 on Amazon
  • Jump to features and traveler insights ↓
  • Best Affordable: MVLOC Travel Pillow on Amazon
  • Best for Long Flights: Trtl Travel Pillow on Amazon
  • Best Multipurpose: Huzi Infinity Pillow on Amazon
  • Best Inflatable: Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow on Amazon
  • Best for Backpacking: Marchway Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow on Amazon
  • Best for Kids: BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow on Amazon

Best Overall: Cabeau Evolution S3

Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow in gray and infographic against white background.

Frequent travelers praise the design of the Cabeau Evolution S3, which is made of a special dual-density memory foam. "I brought this neck pillow on 15-hour flights to and from New Zealand, and it proved to be a great investment," says Catriona Kendall , editor at U.S. News. "The pillow gave me enough support to sleep comfortably for hours, and I especially loved how I could roll it up into a small pouch and clip it to my personal item ."

Travelers also appreciate the patented seat strap system that attaches the pillow to a seat or chair headrest as well as the slim flattened back, both of which prevent the head from bobbing. The removable pillow cover, which comes in a variety of colors, is machine-washable.

Price: $39.99 or less

Best Affordable: MVLOC Travel Pillow

Travelers appreciate the support (and the price tag) of this memory foam travel pillow. An adjustable rope lock allows you to secure the pillow to your neck for maximum support and comfort. The breathable and machine-washable cloth exterior prevents overheating. This travel pillow also comes with earplugs and an eye mask for ultimate relaxation.

Price: $29.99 or less

Best for Long Flights: Trtl Travel Pillow

Trtl Travel Pillow in gray against neutral background.

Courtesy of Trtl

The patented design of the Trtl Travel Pillow – with a hidden internal neck support surrounded by soft, hypoallergenic fleece – makes it a favorite among travelers, particularly for long flights. "Something about it just hits right in a travel accessory category where nothing previously worked for me," explains Meaghan Clawsie, luxury travel advisor at Elated Escapes . "I no longer have any back or neck pain when resting on long-haul flights." Simply wrap the pillow around your neck like a scarf, secure it in place with its built-in fastener and rest your head on the support.

If you tend to overheat easily, there's also the Trtl Pillow Cool , made with Tencel fibers to keep you at a comfortable temperature; a mesh panel makes the pillow particularly breathable as well. Both pillows are machine-washable.

Price: $64.99 or less

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Best Multipurpose: Huzi Infinity Pillow

Twisted Huzi Infinity Pillow in blue against cream background.

Courtesy of Huzi Design

If you're not sold on the classic U-shaped neck pillows for travel, consider this snake-like option instead. Able to be twisted into a variety of positions, the versatile Huzi Infinity Pillow provides whatever support feels best – even if that means resting your head on the tray table for a bit. You can also wear it around your neck like a scarf for neck and back comfort (even when you're not snoozing), use it as an eye mask, or drape it over your head if you get cold or want to block out noise.

Travelers love the pillow's bamboo fabric, describing it as soft, smooth and cool. Since it's filled with polyester, the whole pillow can be tossed in the washing machine , unlike its memory foam counterparts. The Infinity Pillow is available in nearly a dozen different colors, including gray, navy and pink.

Price: $49.99 or less

Best Inflatable: Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow

Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow in blue against white background.

Courtesy of Sunany

Travelers love the H-shaped design of this inflatable pillow because it allows for use in multiple directions and supports both sides of the head and neck with a flat back. A removable hood on the pillow is a bonus: It encourages a cozy feel and prevents cold drafts from too much air conditioning. For optimal comfort, it is recommended to inflate the pillow about 80% to 90%.

A pocket for your earbud case on this travel pillow provides convenient access for listening to music, and the removable velour cover is machine-washable. The lightweight inflatable pillow can be stored in the included waterproof drawstring bag, which can also be attached to luggage. This travel neck pillow is available in black, gray and blue.

Price: $23.99 or less

Best for Backpacking: Marchway Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow

While you can often bring your pillow from home for tent camping, backpacking requires something more lightweight, such as this inflatable option by Marchway. "An inflatable pillow is a game-changer when it comes to backpacking, and an ultralight pillow can't be beat," says Leilani Osmundson , senior digital producer at U.S. News. "The Marchway pillow fits the bill: It's comfortable, packable and extremely lightweight." This pillow is designed for both back and side sleepers, and doubles as a lumbar support for everyday travels and needs. Once it's deflated, you can machine-wash the cover before folding the pillow into an included drawstring bag.

Price: $13.99 or less

Best for Kids: BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow

BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow in pink with blue hearts design against white background.

Courtesy of BCOZZY

The BCOZZY neck pillow is ideal for all travelers – including kids, with small sizes for youngsters between 3 and 7 years old, and medium options for ages 8 and 12. Travelers like the ergonomic design of the patented pillow, which supports the head and neck by propping the chin up. Overlapping pillow arms, which wrap around the neck and under the chin, can be tightened based on the level of support you need.

If you or your child is a side sleeper, fold the pillow in half, double up the sides and place it on your shoulder, leaning your head to the side. An elevated side option allows you to overlap the pillow arms on top of each other and rotate it 90 degrees to the side for double support for the neck and chin.

This travel pillow is available in a variety of colors and patterns, including light blue and pink hearts. A snap strap attaches the included travel bag to your child's luggage , and you can throw the pillow in the washing machine after your trip.

Price: $40.97 or less

Frequently Asked Questions

Experts agree a supportive pillow is essential for travel. "The biggest issue many travelers experience when sleeping on a plane is that the seats don't recline enough," explains Dr. Alex Dimitriu, a sleep/wake and performance specialist who is dual board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine. "This often results in the head being just on the brink of tipping forward – which is not a comfortable sleeping position. Because of this insufficient recline, it is important to keep padding behind the head and neck minimal to reduce the tendency for the head to tip forward."

Most travel pillows are designed to be worn around the neck, providing enough support to prevent the head from tipping forward.

When shopping for a neck pillow for travel, experts recommend considering the following factors:

Proper head support:  What's most important is ensuring your head is supported in the right places by your travel pillow – and, in particular, not being pushed forward by excessive padding. "A good pillow would provide support for side sleeping, rather than a lot of padding behind the head, which just pushes the head forward too much," says Dimitriu.

Material: Consider both the external and internal material of the pillow:

External: Chiropractic physician Eric Smith advises to make sure the material of your travel pillow is breathable and won't subject you to an overheated sleep, since one of the main reasons for moving around a lot as you sleep is getting too hot. "When your face gets too hot on one side, even if you're sleeping, you're going to move from it because it's too warm," Smith explains.

There's no real consensus on which material is best for a cool, comfy sleep – and different people will have different preferences – so Smith's advice is to try before you fly (and don't hesitate to request a refund if your chosen pillow isn't working out).

  • Internal: Memory foam pillows tend to offer more firm support – something Smith recommends for anyone, but especially older travelers. "The majority of patients I have that get older, we actually need a more firm pillow, we need a more firm bed, we need more support," Smith says. Pillows filled with microbeads mold more to the neck and head, while inflatable pillows can be adjusted to your preferences based on how much air you use to blow them up.

A travel pillow for your neck isn't considered a carry-on or personal item (and the same generally goes for small, loose items like packable jackets and umbrellas). That said, it's always best to review your airline's carry-on luggage size restrictions before traveling.

A good neck pillow for travel isn't the only key to achieving a decent sleep while in transit. "From the standpoint of evolution, we're kind of hardwired to be a little bit more on high alert in those situations," explains Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and scientist at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. "We're a little bit more in fight or flight mode; our brain is subconsciously scanning the environment for threats and there are new sounds and new smells."

She recommends finding elements that are relaxing to you, which might include some of the following:

  • Travel blanket: Look for something lightweight, such as the EverSnug Travel Blanket . This blanket comes with a carrying case, which can double as a pillow when the blanket is stored inside.
  • Essential or aromatherapy oils: Scents like lavender and peppermint can be especially calming.
  • Earplugs: You can buy traditional foam earplugs to block out some of the external noise, or invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones .
  • White noise app: There are a variety of free apps, or you can try a paid option like Calm (which offers a free trial).
  • Sleep mask: A sleep mask helps to block out the bright light on planes.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Walking Shoes for Travel
  • The Top Compression Socks for Travel
  • Can I Use My Own Airplane Seat Belt Extender?
  • How to Get Wheelchair Assistance at the Airport

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Best Travel Pillows of 2024

Sleep better on your next adventure with one of the best travel pillows on the market, tested and reviewed by CNET's sleep experts.

travel pillow for neck problems

Whether you're traveling by plane, car or train, using a travel pillow that fits your needs and preferences has many benefits. Seats on planes and public transportation are not designed for every body type and height, so your head may not rest comfortably, especially if you're in a middle seat. A travel pillow can support your neck and prevent your head from rolling around while trying to get some shut-eye on your journey. This is especially beneficial on longer trips to ensure proper posture and avoid neck strain or injury.

Travel pillows help prevent neck strain and they can improve your quality of sleep . Maintaining a proper sleep schedule is difficult while traveling, and avoiding jet lag is key if you're voyaging across lengthy distances. Having a travel pillow that keeps you comfortable can make it easier to stay well-rested -- which is essential for your overall health and well-being (and will make your trip more enjoyable). 

Picking the right travel pillow for you can be tricky, as there are many different shapes, sizes and functionalities to choose from. Don't lose sleep over it, though -- we're here to help. Buckle up as we dive into the best travel pillows on the market.

How we tested the best travel pillows

Testing travel pillows on a road trip

CNET sleep experts JD Christison and Aly Lopez tested over a dozen travel pillows.

CNET senior video producer and sleep expert JD Christison and I conducted hands-on -- and heads-on -- test of all the travel pillows in this best list, including our honorable mentions at the end. The characteristics we focused on included portability, adjustability, materials or construction, additional features (such as washability) and price . 

We unpacked the travel pillows, discussing our initial thoughts on each one. We then put them to the test by wearing them in the car while traveling on bumpy and windy roads to see if they were able to keep us comfortable and supported. We each took turns testing the pillows by sitting in various positions and wearing them in different ways as the pillow allowed.

After unpacking the pillows, forming our initial thoughts and opinions and testing them on a long car ride, JD and I also tested them individually over a few weeks while traveling in the car and on a few flights. Our sleep team will continue testing and reviewing these pillows and others in the next few months, so be sure to check back for updates.

Best overall travel pillow

After testing and reviewing over a dozen travel pillows, we chose Travelrest’s Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow as the best overall, thanks to its affordable pricing, quality materials and highly comfortable, traditional design. It has a machine-washable cover that's easy to put on and take off -- an important feature to look for if you want to keep your travel pillow fresh and clean.

travel pillow for neck problems

Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam

JD and I immediately enjoyed the feel and fit of Travelrest's Nest Ultimate Memory Foam, which offers a traditional travel pillow shape and design. Its high-quality memory foam molded nicely around our necks and shoulders, and the microfiber cover is super soft and cozy. It comfortably supported our heads without feeling overbearing.

This pillow's textured backing helps hold it in place, which worked well in our testing. The Travelrest Nest pillow easily squishes down to a quarter of its full size to fit in the small carrying pouch. It's easy to travel with and keep clean in the bag. The cover is completely removable and machine washable, another trait we recommend looking for in a travel pillow.

It has a velcro strap in the front, but this pillow is not as adjustable as some of the other pillows we tested. It's a one-size-fits-all pillow, so it may be a little big for individuals with smaller frames. At $40, this is an average price point for travel pillows of this quality.

  • Comfortable contouring memory foam
  • Machine washable microfiber cover
  • Non-slip material on the back
  • Only one size
  • Not adjustable

Return policy: 30 days Warranty : One-year limited warranty Washability: Machine-washable cover

travel pillow for neck problems

Trtl Travel Pillow

Best adjustable travel pillow.

The Trtl Travel Pillow wins as the best adjustable pillow thanks to its unique ergonomic design, which differs from all the other brands we tested. While testing the Trtl pillow during a long car ride, I eventually forgot I was wearing it because it was so comfortable -- which is saying a lot because I'm particular about anything that goes on or around my neck (you'll see me wearing Trtl, but never a turtleneck). My head felt entirely supported without that claustrophobic feeling I've experienced with bulkier travel pillows. 

This is not your typical U-shaped travel pillow. The Trtl has an internal support piece that you place against your neck and jaw on one side, wrap the soft, hypoallergenic fabric like a scarf and secure it with the velcro piece. The velcro is impressively sticky, which I look for to ensure that the product will be long-lasting. The materials are lightweight and thin, folding up small and packing nicely into the waterproof bag. It's also machine washable and fast-drying; all you have to do is remove the plastic insert first.

While JD and I are very different heights, he and I found the pillow adjustable enough to fit comfortably around our necks. However, Trtl also offers the Trtl Pillow Plus , which is height-adjustable with a twist toggle and designed specifically for various heights, from petite to tall. It also offers a cooling travel pillow with more breathable and thermoregulating materials for those who run hot. Retailing for $60, the Trtl Travel Pillows falls on the more expensive side, but we think it's worth it.

  • Super soft and lightweight
  • More discreet than other travel pillows
  • Super supportive
  • Have to take it off and move it around to switch sides

Return policy: 100-day trial period Warranty : N/A Washability: Machine-washable fabric

travel pillow for neck problems

AirComfy Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow

Best affordable travel pillow.

AirComfy's Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow is small but mighty -- and it's even smaller in its carrying bag, complete with a convenient carabiner to clip onto your luggage. It has a unique bowtie shape with an elastic band that allows you to attach it to the headrest on your seat to keep it in place. You can also place it behind your back if you need lumbar support.

At $24, this is one of the most affordable travel pillows we've seen with this level of quality and functionality. The size isn't adjustable, but you can alter the firmness by adding more or less air as you blow it up, which only takes a few breaths to fill up completely. JD and I were surprised by how lightweight yet durable it felt, and we agreed that it seemed like it would hold up for many trips.

It's worth noting that you may be limited in where you can use it. For example, if you're in the middle seat on a flight, you'd only be able to put it behind you with your head upright (you wouldn't be able to rest your head to the side). The soft velvet pillowcase is removable and machine-washable, which is a nice touch.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Stays in place on the headrest
  • Can also be used for lumbar support
  • Won't hold your neck perfectly in place

Return policy: 30 days Warranty : N/A Washability: Machine-washable pillowcase

travel pillow for neck problems

Travelrest: All-In-One Ultimate Travel Pillow

Best inflatable travel pillow.

The All-In-One Ultimate Travel Pillow by Travelrest was the best inflatable travel pillow we tested. Inflatable pillows have innate travel advantages, such as deflating and packing up super small. They're also great for adjusting the firmness by controlling how much air you put into them.

The Travelrest All-In-One pillow has memory foam inserts, giving it an extra oomph of comfort and support. Since it goes around your body like a sling or messenger bag and rests on a shoulder, you don't even need a seatback to use it. You can comfortably rest your head while sitting in the middle or aisle seats of an airplane without having anything to lean against.

One downside is having to blow it up on the plane while sitting in tight quarters with strangers and moving it around to the opposite shoulder if you want to rest your head the other way. On the plus side, it takes little effort to inflate -- we found that approximately three or four easy puffs will do the trick. Its luxury velour cover is soft and comfortable, removable and machine washable. For $40, we think this is a great value. Travelrest has a similar version without the velvet cover for $10 less.

  • Deflates and packs small 
  • Soft, velvety cover
  • Allows you to rest your head to the side
  • You have to blow it up manually
  • Take out memory foam inserts to wash it

travel pillow for neck problems

Ostrichpillow Original Napping Pillow

Best unique travel pillow.

Ostrichpillow's Original Napping Pillow quickly became JD's favorite. This unique pillow may make you look like an alien or a weird bug, but don't fret -- the sleep you get while wearing it is worth any strange looks you might receive in public. This fully encapsulating pillow blocks light and noise, creating a cozy cocoon for your whole head, unlike the other travel pillows we tested.

This pillow can be used to catch some Zzzs anytime and anywhere, not just while traveling. The materials are incredibly soft, and the inside has extra microbead filling -- it's truly the ideal environment for taking a nap. We did notice that it becomes a little warm after a while, so if you're a naturally hot sleeper, this may not be the best pick for you.

Because of its bulkier design, it's not as easily portable as other travel pillows. It's also one-size-fits-all, so it's not adjustable, but with the added hand and armholes at the top, you can comfortably wear this pillow while lying or sitting against any surface, from the airplane seat to napping on the airport floor. Some users even wear the Original Napping Pillow in bed at night to help them fall asleep faster.

Ostrichpillow offers various pillows and travel products, from the regular Go Neck Pillow (check it out in our honorable mentions below) to the Mini Handy Pillow to eye masks. It also offers a 100-day return period and a two-year warranty, some of the best company policies we've seen for travel pillows.

  • Encompassing coziness for sleeping
  • Great return and warranty policies
  • Does not pack small
  • Might get hot after a while

Return policy: 100 days Warranty : Two-year warranty Washability: Spot clean and air dry

travel pillow for neck problems

Pluto Pod 2.0

Best premium travel pillow.

No travel pillow says "I need space" like the Pluto Pod 2.0 . You'll look like an astronaut, and it's worth it for the enhanced travel experience. Immediately, JD and I could tell it's made with high-quality and durable materials, yet it still feels lightweight. After wearing it for a while, we were impressed by how breathable it is, even with the hood and eyemask fully drawn. You can block out the world entirely without feeling constricted or claustrophobic, which makes it especially ideal for long flights and trips. It's like being inside a mini sensory deprivation tank, making sleeping easier while traveling. The hood is large and spacious enough to wear with over-the-ear headphones.

The neck pillow's design was initially inspired by a neck brace, which Pluto dialed back to make it feel supportive and cushioning. The velcro strap around the neck pillow has a strong stick, and makes the pillow comfortably adjustable.

Pluto thought of everything with the Pod 2.0, and it's obviously been constructed based on feedback from frequent flyers, flight attendants and sleep experts. It rolls up like a burrito and packs small. The outer surfaces are machine washable; all you have to do is remove the foam inside first. If you're concerned about people staring at you while wearing this travel pillow, don't be -- they're probably just jealous.

  • Crafted with durable and breathable materials
  • Completely blocks out the world 
  • Great company policies  
  • Currently sold out (shipping in July and September)

Return policy: 125 days Warranty : One-year warranty Washability: Machine-washable cover

travel pillow for neck problems

Cabeau Evolution Kids

Best travel pillow for kids.

The Evolution Kids Neck Pillow from Cabeau is a cute and functional travel companion for kids. Whether your family is going on a short car ride or taking a long flight, this pillow can help your child feel cozy and comfortable while keeping their head and neck from bobbling or jostling around. The super-soft cover is made of RPET fabric, an eco-friendly recycled material that won't irritate sensitive skin.

We loved Cabeau's fun animal designs and color options, and it's evident from reading the reviews that children love them, too. These pillows are recommended for children ages 3 and up.

  • Multiple designs and color choices
  • Supportive yet breathable
  • Soft fabric won't irritate skin
  • Only comes in one size

Return policy: 30 days Warranty : One-year limited warranty Washability: Machine washable

Honorable mentions

The market is inundated with travel pillows of all shapes, sizes, functionalities and pricing, making it difficult to narrow down your options. We were strict with our testing and reviewing process to bring you a versatile list of the top travel pillows you can buy online. We want to shout out a handful of other travel pillows that impressed us while testing and deserve an honorable mention.

Ostrichpillow Go Neck pillow

If you're looking for another memory foam travel pillow option, check out the Ostrichpillow Go Neck pillow . JD has used this pillow on many trips, and its shape and density have held well over time. The dense memory foam molds to your chin and neck, and there's a velcro strap for adjusting and holding the pillow in place. It's surprisingly lightweight and compacts easily into the small carrying pouch.

travel pillow for neck problems

Cabeau Evolution S3 TNE Neck Pillow

The Cabeau Evolution S3 TNE Neck Pillow has contouring memory foam and raised sides that fully support your neck, keeping your mouth closed and preventing your head from bobbling forward. If you're looking for a travel pillow that will keep your head and jaw feeling secure and locked in place, this is the one for you. It also comes in a variety of fun and bright colors.

travel pillow for neck problems

Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam

The Twist Memory Foam pillow by Dot&Dot has a unique, twistable design that allows you to shape it to support any position for getting some sleep while traveling. The soft cotton cover is machine washable. JD and I both mentioned that we wished it was a little longer to make it even more versatile. But for $25, it's a great value.

travel pillow for neck problems

Travel pillow FAQs

Why should i use a travel pillow.

A travel pillow can provide support and comfort for your head and neck, which is important for long car rides or flights to prevent straining, stiffness and soreness. Using a travel pillow to help you sleep comfortably can lessen the effects of jet lag and ultimately help you arrive at your destination in better shape.

How much should I spend on a travel pillow?

A quality travel pillow typically costs between $30 and $60, depending on the brand, materials and additional features such as adjustable straps or washability. If you travel frequently or have a big trip coming up, investing in a quality travel pillow can be worth it. There are plenty of great affordable travel pillows priced around $15-$20 and more premium options costing up to $150-$200. Ultimately, it comes down to your budget and the features you're looking for.

Are travel pillows machine washable?

Many travel pillows have removable, machine-washable covers, as brands recognize the importance of keeping your pillow fresh and clean for trips. Always check the company's care instructions before throwing your travel pillow in the washer or dryer (especially since most travel pillow covers require washing in cold water and air drying).

Have a trip coming up? Learn about the best headphones for traveling and tips for avoiding jet lag .

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The 10 Best Travel Pillows of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Sleep and relax comfortably on the go with these top travel pillows

travel pillow for neck problems

In This Article

  • Our Top Picks
  • Other Pillows We Liked

Our Testing Process

  • Tips for Buying
  • Why Trust T+L

Sitting upright for hours on end or sleeping on unfamiliar pillows can be incredibly uncomfortable, but a reliable travel pillow can make your trip a lot more tolerable. Whether embarking on a red-eye flight, hitting the road on a long car trip, or looking to get a good night's sleep in your hotel room, the best travel pillows will be comfy, supportive, and portable. 

We tested more than 40 travel pillows, looking at traits like comfort, durability, portability, and quality. We narrowed down the best options while using the accessory for road trips, long-haul flights, train rides, and even sleeping at home, making sure each option was comfortable for extended use. We also brought a few options into our Travel + Leisure lab to get a direct comparison, testing them out on our airplane set. After catching some of the best Z's, we rounded up pillow choices for different types of travelers who are looking to get more rest on their future trips.

Best Overall

Ostrichpillow go neck pillow.

The pillow has an asymmetrical design that can accommodate various neck, chin, and head support preferences.

It might warm your neck if you run hot while sleeping.

The Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow feels like sleeping on a cloud. This travel pillow provided the perfect amount of neck support and comfort when we took it on a flight, allowing us to get more rest than usual. The plush memory foam filling and asymmetric design can be easily adjusted to support the neck, chin, or head with the taller or shorter sides. Although the memory foam is soft and compressible, it felt more supportive than any other pillow we tried. The materials appear high-quality and luxurious, and it is easy to roll the pillow up to fit inside its compact drawstring sack. We found it a little tricky to roll up at first, but once we nailed the technique, we were impressed with how small it became — ideal for those who don't want a pillow to take up too much luggage space.

The pillow held its shape after being in the bag for long periods of time, which leads us to believe that it will hold up well with prolonged use. The pillow cover is removable and machine washable, but we air dried it to ensure it didn’t shrink (and had no issues putting it back on the pillow). A must-have for those with higher budgets, this pillow allows for better sleep and more comfort on flights.

The Details: Viscosa, memory foam | 10.5 x 9.5 inches | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Travel + Leisure / Joy Kim

Most Comfortable

Cabeau tne s3 travel pillow.

The cozy but firm material and innovative chin strap keep you from bobbing your head while sleeping.

It can feel stiff at first and takes some getting used to.

This soft and supportive travel pillow is the perfect accessory for long trips, whether you're in the car or in the air. The pillow itself can attach to any headrest with adjustable straps to prevent your head from sagging or falling into uncomfortable positions while sleeping. There's also an adjustable chin strap for added comfort and security — a feature that really sealed the deal for us during testing. The interior of the pillow feels like memory foam, which offers the ideal balance of support and coziness. The pillow's exterior fabric is soft yet breathable so you don't feel too hot or constricted, though it can take some time to find your perfect position.

We also love that the pillow cover is machine washable. We tested this pillow on a long international trip where it really got tossed around on planes, trains, and buses, so it felt great to wash the cover at the end of the trip, making it feel as good as new. Despite its fairly large size, the pillow is also quite portable as it rolls up into a compact carrying case that you can attach to a bag's exterior or slip into larger backpacks and totes.

The Details:  Polyester, microsuede, foam   | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp

Best Infinity-style

Infinity pillow travel pillow.

The modular design of the pillow makes it easy to use to support the neck, chin, or back while sitting.

The cushioning is fairly soft, so the support isn't as stiff as memory foam.

Most travel pillows come in one shape and size, so we love that you can contort this one in various ways to fit your needs. At nearly 40 inches long, the infinity design (yes, like the scarves worn in the early 2000s) can be wrapped once for less support or twice for the type of neck support found in traditional C-shaped pillows. We used the pillow during an all-day road trip and loved that we could wear it around the neck with a looser or tighter fit depending on how much neck support we wanted. We did find that it was still a little too big for us after looping it twice, so users with smaller necks may not get the support they're looking for. That being said, it can be used in many different ways to make sleeping on planes, trains, and cars more comfortable, so minimal support as a traditional neck pillow isn't necessarily a deal-breaker.

We also found that it's much easier to travel with the pillow since the closed ring shape makes it easy to wear around the neck instead of having to pack it away or risk it falling off. The bamboo fabric is extremely soft and breathable, so we never felt overheated or constricted, and the pillow is machine washable for easy upkeep after a trip. We should also note that it took up a lot of space in our luggage, but it may be worth packing a little lighter to be that much more comfortable while traveling. It also comes in a whopping 10 colors.

The Details: Bamboo, nylon | 39.3 x 6.6 inches | Machine washable

Travel + Leisure / Paige VandeWiele

Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow

It’s supportive and firm without feeling too stiff. 

This would be best for travelers who know they prefer a firm travel pillow.

We love the comfortable and supportive Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow for travelers who like a firmer neck pillow. The buckle strap adjusts accordingly to fit around your neck and offers 360-degree support on the chin, jaw, and back. We loved how you can lean back in the car or plane, and the back of the neck doesn't fall backward. In addition to having exceptional support, the Aeris travel pillow folds into a small ball and easily fits into the included circular carrying case that you can clip onto a backpack or suitcase without being a noticeable nuisance. The travel pillow also comes with earplugs and an eye mask, and features a frontal slip pocket that you can store them in. After a trip, you can unzip and remove the carrying case to machine wash it, although we recommend air drying it to prevent any possibility of shrinkage.

The Details: Velour, polyester, memory foam | 11.81 x 11.42 x 3.54 inches | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Best Hooded

Pluto pillow pod.

It boasts a cozy hood and built-in eye mask for total darkness even on bright flights.

It's one of the pricer options on this list.

Like the black-out curtains of travel pillows, this option comes with a hood and an eye mask that shields your eyes from any light, which is incredibly useful when you're trying to get some shut-eye on a busy flight. It has a soft neck brace that wraps around the neck with light support, and the hood goes on like a regular hoodie with a drop-down eye mask. Once our head was fully cocooned in the hooded pillow, we found that it was a game changer for travelers who have a hard time falling asleep with light or ambient noise around since it muffles sounds and blocks rays.

While the space-helmet-like shape looks quite different from other travel pillows on the market, it's still easy to put on and offers excellent portability. Plus, this newer model features an easy way to clip the pillow to a backpack or luggage handle. One thing to note is that the price point is quite high compared to other pillows on the market, but the unique design and high-quality fabric and construction make it worth it for those with higher budgets.

The Details: Alcantara fabric, WPS mesh | 12 x 6 x 4 inches (folded) | Machine washable

Travel + Leisure / Dera Burreson

Gingerlily Silk Travel Pillow

The silk material is gentle on skin and hair while traveling.

This pillow is 12 by 16 inches, so make sure you have plenty of room to pack it.

For those who love sleeping on silk pillowcases at home, this mini version for travel is an absolute must. Yes, it can be pricey to buy silk travel accessories, but it's also expensive to ruin a blowout and have to find a salon on vacation (and there's no price to be put on fresh, clean skin). This silk pillow is smaller than a standard pillow at 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, but you can still use it in a hotel bed, and it's perfect for trains, planes, and cars — just make sure you have the space in your personal item bag . After using this pillow for multiple long trips, it still shows no signs of loose stitches, fraying, or pilling. Rather, the pillow feels like it will last without ever going limp or flat.

The Details: Mulberry silk, cotton sateen, polyester | 12 x 6 inches

Travel + Leisure / Morgan Ashley Parker

TripSavvy / Morgan Ashley Parker

Best Adjustability

Buyue travel neck pillow.

You can swivel it around to support any part of your head.

It comes with a drawstring bag to stuff it in, but the pillow still takes up a good chunk of space in a backpack.

With thick cushioning on one side of the pillow, the unique design of this travel pillow makes it easy to get comfortable in a small space where there isn't much wiggle room. No matter which way your head tilts when you sleep, you can adjust this pillow with the largest part of cushioning rotated to support the side or back of your head, or you can turn it to the front to prevent your chin from tipping forward or bobbing around. After testing the pillow on both road trips and long flights, we found that the fabric is breathable and soft for resting your head on, and we love that the cover comes off to toss it in the wash. Because of the thicker side of the pillow, it does take up a bit more space in a backpack, but it does come with a drawstring bag if you prefer to carry it outside of your luggage.

The Details: Polyester, spandex | 8 x 8 x 8 inches | Machine washable | Carrying case included

Travel + Leisure / Ava Wegner

Samsonite 2-in-1 Magic Travel Pillow

It has a modular design to shift from a U-shape to a rectangular pillow, offering versatility at an affordable price.

The neck pillow might not offer enough support for some since it's on the softer side.

This microbead pillow from Samsonite can be used as a neck pillow if you're sitting upright or you can shift it into a rectangular pillow for leaning against a window or laying on a tray table. The handy two-in-one design already gets bonus points for versatility, but the budget-friendly price makes it all the more better. In testing, it was an effortless process to switch from the U-shape to the rectangle shape by flipping the pillow inside out. Made with polyester and microfiber beads, this pillow is shockingly lightweight and feels nearly weightless to carry around an airport. Because the pillow is on the softer side with the microfiber beads, we discovered it's not as supportive as a memory foam pillow, but it still offered enough support to prevent the neck from uncomfortably craning too far to one side.

The Details: Polyester | 12.25 x 11.75 x 4 inches | Hand wash

Travel + Leisure / Anita Rutz

Best Splurge

Purple harmony anywhere pillow.

This supportive pillow is comfortable enough to sleep on at night and would make any hotel stay feel more luxurious.

At over three pounds, it's quite heavy but feels weightless if you attach the strap to a backpack.

If you're looking for a travel pillow that is just as comfortable — if not more so — than your pillows at home, then this luxurious one from Purple is the one for you. It's a miniature version of the brand's best-selling Harmony pillow, and it boasts the same cooling gel and bouncy, neck-supporting feel as the larger version. During testing, we found this pillow to be noticeably cooling, breathable, and moisture-wicking, which can come in handy for camping. We wouldn't use this pillow during flights because of the plush, rectangular shape that wouldn't work well when sitting upright, but it would be ideal when you're laying flat, like in a hotel room.

It comes with a machine-washable pillow cover, and there is a travel case sold separately . Because this is one of the priciest pillows on this list, we do wish the travel case was included, but we do think it's worth adding on for its carrying straps and compression features. The pillow feels quite heavy on its own, but when you attach the strap to a backpack, it feels weightless to carry. You can also compress the pillow in half if you have the travel case, making it much more portable. Although this is a splurge for a travel pillow, we think it's worth the investment for travelers in search of a comfortable pillow with luxe features like a breathable honeycomb design, a moisure-wicking cover, and strong neck support.

The Details: Talalay latex, knit | 16 x 13 x 6 inches | Machine washable

Travel + Leisure / Jackie Cucco

Best Breathable

Sleep number travel pillow.

The memory foam filling and synthetic fiber exterior let air pass through for superior breathability.

The pillow is large and was cumbersome to carry, especially for light packers.

It can get hot and stuffy on an airplane, so we love that the synthetic materials used to create this Sleep Number travel pillow are light and airy. The memory foam filling is bouncy and lightweight, and the soft fabric pillowcase is cooling enough to prevent overheating while sleeping in a plane, car, or train. Along with an airplane footrest , it could make a flight more comfortable. We used the pillow on a long-haul flight to Ireland and found it was ideal for leaning your head against the window or on the tray table since the pillow is on the larger side. While the size offers extra cushioning and support like a regular pillow, it did make it slightly annoying to carry through crowded airports since it doesn't come with a compact carrying case. However, it does come with a drawstring bag to carry it separately or you can use the clasp to attach it to backpacks, suitcases, or other luggage.

The Details: Lyocell blend, memory foam | 17 x 12 inches | Machine-washable cover | Carrying case included

Travel + Leisure / Emily Johnson

Other Travel Pillows We Liked

Some travel pillows we tested almost made the cut but didn’t due to a few weaknesses, though they still might make suitable options for some travelers.

Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Neck Pillow : While the memory foam is the perfect balance of firm and soft, we found this pillow to be just a bit too bulky for frequent travel.

Travel + Leisure / Daniela Galvez

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow : If you’re not a fan of the typical U-shaped travel pillow, this one is a good alternative. But because of its design, it offers no neck support and isn't the most useful when traveling via plane or train.

Slip Jet Setter Travel Pillow : The silk material is luxurious soft and cooling, but the pillow itself is extremely bulky to wear and difficult to travel with.

Snugl Neck Travel Pillow : Made with soft and supportive memory foam, the pillow is ultra-comfy to use in-flight, but we had a lot of trouble getting it back into the carrying case.

Cushion Lab Travel Deep Sleep Pillow : The comfort level with this pillow is so high that we started using it to sleep on nightly at home. However, it's not very portable, and we had a hard time rolling it up into the case.

Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow : This is a great pick for travelers who get warm quickly, as the pillow is designed to prevent heat from building up when you wear it. However, we didn't find it as comfortable or supportive as the Cabeau TNE S3 Travel Pillow , so we would recommend that one instead, especially since they retail at similar prices.

Our T+L team tested more than 40 travel pillows to find the very best ones for every type of comfort-seekers. To thoughtfully curate this list, we researched and tested popular options, including pillows with the classic U-shape and rectangular ones, too.

Paying close attention to traits like comfort, quality, durability, and portability, we noted various features that stood out to us for both good and bad reasons. We looked for special features such as cooling designs, firmness, softness, or other claims by the manufacturer to check if they rang true. Our favorite pillows also kept their shape after being tucked away into a case and always sprang back into their original form with no signs of damage. 

After our real-world test, which involved trying the pillows on cross-country road trips and long-haul flights, we brought a few options into our lab to have one team member test them all against each other head-to-head. We then adjusted our results based on the direct comparison, and we will continue to capture testing notes every few months to update our articles accordingly.

Tips for Buying a Travel Pillow

Prioritize neck support.

When it comes to sleeping in planes, trains, or cars, you should focus on your neck and head support. When your head drops during sleep, it can leave you with a sore neck or even a headache. Your travel pillow should be supportive enough that your neck stays securely upright without feeling as though you're being squeezed.

Portability is key 

Whether you pack light or stuff your suitcase full, a compact travel pillow that fits into a small carrying case is ideal for bringing along on trips. Of course, some travel pillows don’t compress, but they should still be easy to clip onto a suitcase or backpack and not bump into too many things if you’re traversing an airport or train station. It's always more convenient when a carrying case is included, especially if it has a luggage trolley sleeve or straps.

Consider the filling material 

Travelers who like a firmer pillow should opt for a memory foam filling that can offer more support than an inflatable alternative. Microbead pillows can be just as supportive as memory foam ones, but they tend to be on the softer side and are more suited to travelers who like a little less structure while sleeping. 

Think about how you plan to use it

Travel pillows are a relatively broad category, so you'll want to narrow down your intended use and travel habits before purchasing since they come in all different shapes, styles, and sizes. For example, if you often find yourself in the middle seat while flying, you'll want a pillow with lots of head support like a memory foam, U-shape pillow or an infinity style that you can adjust. However, window-seaters might opt for a rectangular pillow for leaning against the plane wall.

Travel pillows aren't just for flights, either. There are also rectangular options that can help make you more comfortable while camping or staying in hotel rooms, rental properties, or even friend's houses that might not have great pillows. They are also a road trip essential for every adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can generally find washing instructions on the tag of the travel pillow when you buy it. Removable covers can usually go through a machine wash, but many of our team members opted to air dry the cover to prevent any shrinkage that could happen in a hot dryer. If a pillow doesn’t have a removable cover, you can spot clean the pillow by using a wet cloth dipped in soapy water.

Most standard travel pillows have a semicircular shape that you wrap around the neck to support your neck, head, and chin. These U-shaped pillows often have memory foam or microbead filling, but there are also inflatable neck pillows. There are unique J-shaped travel pillows that are perfect for supporting the neck and head of someone sitting in the middle or aisle seat. In addition, standard pillows make great travel pillows for certain situations, and plenty of rectangular-styled pillows compress down for better portability.

Most travel pillows will come with carrying cases to compress the pillow, making it more portable. If the carrying case doesn't have a handle, it should still pack down small enough to fit in a personal item such as a backpack or a tote bag. Some pillows have a luggage trolley pass-through sleeve, which you can slip over the handle of your suitcase, while others may have a strap or a clip that you can attach to a backpack to carry it hands-free.

Some pillows are specifically designed to be worn in multiple different ways, but in general, it depends on your comfort preferences. You can wear a travel pillow backward , forward, or you can lean on it in the window seat — the most important thing is finding the most comfortable position for you.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Anna Popp is a New York-based commerce writer at T+L, where she writes most of the team's tested content. Anna participated in testing travel pillows and worked with travel editors to determine the results for the best ones on the market based on a series of tests completed during trips taken by plane, car, and train. We will continue to update this article as we test even more travel pillows.

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The 8 best neck pillows for falling asleep on any trip, according to a sleep science coach.

T here are a few things that scream, “look at me, I’m a tourist who’s never left my zip code before”: The Hawaiian shirt and sunhat outfit, the selfie stick, the fanny pack — you get the point. You might think, as I once did, that a big, bulky neck pillow belongs on that list too. After all, it’s one extra thing to carry, looks a bit clumsy, and doesn’t really give you that much support anyway, right? Well, if those things are true, it’s only because you don’t have the right pillow.

Neck pillows are a great tool to help get to sleep while traveling . They also help maintain good posture. Neck pillows support your neck so your body doesn’t have to strain your muscles while trying to hold the weight of your head when you relax. Don’t just take it from me — neck pillows also come highly recommended by sleep experts.

For an expert take on finding the best neck pillow, we caught up with Logan Foley, a certified sleep science coach at the Sleep Foundation . Foley tests sleep products for a living (you can learn more about the Sleep Foundation’s methodology for testing here , and see the full list of where the Sleep Foundation landed on travel pillows here ). She describes her job as someone who can’t replace a doctor, but can give strategies, tips, and schedules to help you sleep better.

We spoke with Foley to learn all about the ins and outs of how to catch some much-needed Z’s while traveling with the proper neck pillow (hint: stuffing a pillow case with clothes won’t cut it).

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to make a purchase.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Matador Network: What’s the most important thing when looking for a neck pillow?

Logan Foley: When looking at and evaluating travel pillows, the most important thing for me is support, meaning how well it holds the head up when sleeping upright. There are other factors we look at as well including materials, cost, and customer service.

How does one find the perfect neck pillow?

Travel pillows come in many shapes and sizes, and it’s really not one size fits all. Some people prefer the convenience of a blow up or collapsible pillow for travel, although I’ve found those are not the most comfortable options. The best option is the one that works for you.

A good neck pillow will have ample support and won’t wear down over time. Travel pillows that are filled with small beads may feel comfortable at first, but I have found they collapse after a few uses.

What has being a sleep science coach taught you about how to sleep while traveling?

Sleeping while traveling is always tough, and even being a sleep coach doesn’t mean I’m immune to the hardship of trying (and failing) to fall asleep in the middle seat. One trick I’ve learned: Always try to get a window seat if you can. Worst case scenario, you can lean against the vehicle’s side or put your pillow against it.

Things to bring:

  • A travel pillow
  • An eye mask
  • Some kind of noise canceling device (headphones, earplugs, etc.)

finding the best travel pillow

Photo: AnnaTamila /Shutterstock

Can you break down the main types of neck pillows, and what they’re best for?

There are many types of travel pillows on the market.

The main ones are:

  • U-shaped: These are the typical travel pillows you will see in the airport shops. They are shaped like a U and fit around your neck to lay on your shoulders, providing good spine alignment. These are a good option for most sleepers, but can be difficult to pack due to their bulk.
  • Wrap: Wrap pillows are relatively new on the market and may make you feel a bit odd on the first use. An example of a wrap pillow is the Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow , which is the main wrap pillow I have personally tested. It wraps around your neck, supporting your head much higher than a typically U-shaped travel pillow, which allows your head to tilt to one side. While your neck won’t be at a severe angle, having your neck titled for a long period of time may cause discomfort. This pillow is very packable and folds into a tight ball when not in use.
  • Rectangular: Rectangular travel pillows look like the traditional pillows you use on your bed, but are typically lightweight and smaller. These will not support your head if you are sleeping upright, but are a good option if you’re looking for a pillow to use once you get to your destination.

Which neck pillow do you most highly recommend?

My top choice is the Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow . It has great neck support to promote spinal alignment, is made up of memory foam that won’t sag with use, and folds up tightly for easy storage.

What would you say to someone who insists they can just recline the airplane seat and sleep that way?

I would say if you’re able to sleep comfortably in a reclined airplane seat, then you’re lucky! Again, these pillows are not a one size fits all product. If you have no trouble sleeping, you probably won’t be shopping for a travel pillow anyway. The one thing I would say is if you can sleep in a plane with no problem, but are waking up with neck pain, you may want to look into getting a pillow to protect your neck, especially if you’re traveling often.

The 8 best neck pillows, according to the Sleep Foundation

After rigorous rounds of testing, here are the travel neck pillows that the Sleep Foundation recommends.

  • Best overall: Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow
  • Best value: Sleep Number U-Neck Pillow
  • Most comfortable: Bear Mini Pillow
  • Best for neck support: Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow
  • Best cooling: Sleep Artisan natural Latex Travel Pillow
  • Best for neck pain: PineTales Buckwheat Travel Pillow
  • Best for side sleepers: Pillow Cube Classic
  • Best for camping: Hest Pillow

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The Best Travel Pillow

Sabrina Imbler

By Sabrina Imbler

Short of scoring a row of empty seats—dream on!—your best bet for getting at least a little sleep while flying is a travel pillow.

After asking 10 panelists to try on eight travel pillows and after taking four cross-country red-eyes in window, aisle, and middle seats, we think the comfortable and easy-to-pack  Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow is the best travel pillow for most people.

Everything we recommend

travel pillow for neck problems

Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

The best travel pillow.

Its tall memory-foam walls let it offer more support than any other pillow we tested. It’s also shaped to sit flush against a headrest, and it compresses to a manageable size.

Buying Options

travel pillow for neck problems

Cabeau Evolution Classic Pillow

A travel pillow available at airports.

This memory-foam neck-support pillow is highly adjustable, but without a contoured back, it can’t quite sit flush with the headrest. It’s available at many airport stores, though.

travel pillow for neck problems

Trtl Pillow

A pillow for one-sided neck support only.

It’s a fleece scarf with a built-in plastic brace—like a one-sided neck brace, but softer and cozier. However, it’s not so great if you tend to shift position while you sleep, and it costs more than the other pillows we recommend.

travel pillow for neck problems

Bcozzy Pillow

Great with large headphones.

Featuring an adjustable design that accommodates over-the-ear headphones, the Bcozzy is an excellent chin-support pillow for people who nod forward as they sleep.

The uniquely angled back on the Travelrest Ultimate sets it apart from other travel pillows because it can lay flat against the seat back. Most other pillows have a rounded back, which pushes your head away from the headrest. The Travelrest also has rubber grip dots to prevent slipping while sleeping. This pillow’s spongy memory foam cushions the entire circumference of your neck, preventing your head from leaning far in any direction, and its adjustable Velcro strap ensures it can fit most necks. The pillow’s cozy velour exterior is removable and machine-washable. Although it doesn’t pack flat, the Travelrest weighs less than a pound and compresses to a quarter of its size when rolled into its Velcro-strapped carrying case.

Our only complaint is that the Travelrest’s high walls, while supportive, can push over-ear headphones off of the ears of people with shorter necks. While the memory foam feels plush, it’s also quite firm; this offers excellent support, but not much give. It also doesn’t let you adjust the fit, like our two wrappable picks: the Turtl and the BCozzy . If the Travelrest fits your neck, it’s an excellent pillow. If your neck is much longer or shorter than this pillow’s 5-inch wall, though, you might prefer the fit of one of our other pillow picks.

If our top pick sells out, or if you find yourself pillowless past security, the Cabeau Evolution Classic Pillow is almost as good a pillow. It lacks the Travelrest’s angled, lay-flat back, but its U-shape, contoured memory-foam core and machine-washable velour cover still provide comparable levels of comfort. Its adjustable string closure also means that you can fit the pillow much tighter around your neck than you can with the Travelrest, making it a good choice for people with smaller necks or people who prefer a more constricted fit. Additionally, it’s the only one of our picks that we’ve regularly seen in stores located behind the security checkpoint at many airports.

If you typically lean to the same side while sleeping, the Trtl Pillow’s fleece-covered plastic frame provides unshakeable support to one side of your neck while remaining comfortable to wear. It’s basically a one-sided neck brace. The pillow’s cozy wraparound fleece will also keep your neck warm, making it a good choice for anyone who gets cold while flying (and a poor choice for those who sleep hot). But the Trtl’s winning quality is its tiny, packable size. Unlike any of our other picks, the Trtl does not need to be compressed or stuffed into a carrying case. It will always take up about as much space as a PB&J sandwich. (It costs a lot more than one, though.)

The Bcozzy , a variation on the hemi-doughnut theme, is our pick for anyone who wears large over-the-ear headphones on a flight or tends to nod forward while they sleep. The pillow’s overlapping ends form a snug cushion that holds your chin in place far better than do the Trtl’s plastic frame or the Travelrest and Cabeau’s chin-facing gap. While the pillow does not provide great support to either side of your neck, if paired with a large pair of headphones, the Bcozzy holds a head in place perfectly. While not as compressible as our other picks, the pillow has a small loop that can be clipped to the outside of most bags so it doesn’t have to take up space inside your bag.

The research

Why you should trust us, who this is for, how we picked our best travel pillow finalists, how we tested travel pillows, our pick for the best travel pillow: travelrest nest ultimate memory foam travel pillow, runner-up for the best travel pillow: cabeau evolution classic pillow, also great for portability: trtl pillow, also-great chin-support pillow for forward-nodders: bcozzy pillow, other good travel pillows, the competition.

I am a frequent flyer who often takes red-eyes from coast to coast—I now live in Brooklyn but fly home to San Francisco to visit my parents. I’m also an insomniac, so falling asleep on planes has never been easy for me. While writing this article, I tested eight travel pillows on two five-hour flights and slept with our four picks on two more cross-country flights. I also spoke with Rebecca Robbins, a postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Center for Healthful Behavior Change at the time of the interview, to see what she looks for in a travel pillow.

In addition, my Wirecutter colleagues as a whole are an exceptionally mobile group. We’ve worked remotely from every continent except Antarctica, so I asked some folks on staff which pillows they like and use regularly. (They’ve also since contributed some additional testing.)

A pile of neck pillows on a wood table. We looked for the best neck pillow available.

Boarding a red-eye without a travel pillow in your bag is like choosing to sleep on the floor when there’s a perfectly good futon nearby. Sure, it’s no bed, but it’s a hell of a lot better than hardwood. In an interview she did in 2017 with The Atlantic reporter Kelly Conaboy, Dr. Mary O’Connor, then the director of Yale’s Center for Musculoskeletal Care, said that despite a lack of clinical studies that support the efficacy of travel pillows, “Many of us who travel have experienced falling asleep with our neck in a weird position and it bothering us thereafter. So, I think they can be helpful, but that depends on how they’re used and whether they support the neck.” In other words, using a supportive pillow may decrease the chances you wake up with an unwanted crick. It certainly has in our experience.

However, not all travel pillows are the same, and if you also happen to have a zealous hatred of your travel pillow, you probably have a bad one. So even if you have a generic pillow you picked up at some airport a few years ago, consider upgrading to one of our picks. And of course, these pillows work well on buses and trains, too.

So how can you tell if a pillow is likely to actually support your head? Rebecca Robbins, a postdoctoral fellow studying sleep at the time of our interview, says the best travel pillows will keep your head elevated and in alignment with your spine: “Look for something that would really be supportive. My one gripe with most travel pillows is that they’re too soft and not too full—you want something that will be supportive as you try to get comfortable in your limited space.” Robbins also recommends finding a pillow that can keep you cozy but not too hot, as she says it’s easier to sleep with a lower body temperature.

Our recommended best travel pillows: The Cabeau and Travelrest pillows are in stuff sacks; the Trtl and Bcozzy pillows are collapsed and lying flat on a table.

Robbins does her best to avoid one common travel situation. “My number one sleep tip is to not take a red-eye if you can avoid it,” she said. “If the flight is five hours, you’re going to only have three hours of true rest, because all the announcements—‘lower your window,’ ‘raise your window.’ Those can be significant distractions.”

We also looked at existing editorial reviews for guidance. Ethan Green , founder of the sleep resource blog No Sleepless Nights, compiled an extensive comparative review of popular travel pillows that we found helpful when deciding what models to test.

For people who want a travel pillow that will ease some of the discomfort of sleeping upright on a bumpy plane ride, we’ve identified the following key features:

  • Comfort and support: The pillow should offer ample support for the weight of your neck and head but not restrict your movements or feel too tight.
  • Portable (but not inflatable): You don’t want your travel pillow to take up so much space in your carry-on that you can’t bring other things you need, so it should compress to a smaller size. Barring that, there should at least be a way to clip it to the outside of your bag or luggage. Inflatable pillows are easy to pack but should be avoided. They inevitably spring a leak, often sooner rather than later.
  • Soft: The material should feel plush against your skin but not trap so much heat that it’s uncomfortable to wear.
  • Universal fit (or as close as possible): The pillow should allow space for people to sleep with a ponytail or accommodate bigger hair, as well as a whole variety of head shapes and sizes and neck lengths.
  • Sleeping styles: It should also accommodate people who move their head in any direction while they sleep. It should also work in a window, a middle, or an aisle seat.
  • Speed of compression/decompression: In case you need to quickly stow your pillow before exiting the plane, or if you want to catch some shut-eye in a moment’s notice, it shouldn’t take too long to stuff the pillow into its carrying case or unfold it to full size.
  • Weight: Ideally, the pillow shouldn’t add undue burden to your carry-on. While inflatable pillows will always be the lightest option, memory-foam pillows don’t weigh much more and can offer significantly more comfort.
  • Grip/traction: Your head will likely move around a bit while sleeping on a plane, especially if there’s turbulence. So any kind of grip or traction around the bottom of the pillow will help it stay in place and keep you snoozing.
  • Machine washable: As you might expect from a vessel that ferries hundreds of people back and forth across the sky on a daily basis, planes can be filthy. So you’ll want to be able to wash the whole pillow—or at least its cover—before you take it on your next trip.

We researched more than 40 travel pillows—which ranged from variations on a hemi-doughnut to inscrutable crowdfunded designs—and after comparing hundreds of glowing and enraged Amazon reviews, we decided to test eight. We asked a panel of 10 people to try each of the pillows in a chair pushed against the wall of a conference room (the closest we could come to airline conditions in our office) and surveyed them on the fit, comfort, and support of each pillow. The panelists all had a variety of neck lengths and jaw sizes, and one even had a substantial beard. We also ran all of the pillows or their detachable pillowcases through a washing machine as instructed to see how well each stood up to a spin cycle and tumble dry.

And because simulations are rarely enough, I brought eight travel pillows on two cross-country flights to see how the pillows felt in the specific back design of an airplane seat. As I was lucky enough to have unnecessarily kind and understanding neighbors (thank you, Mike and Deborah!), I wore each of these pillows in a window, a middle, and an aisle seat to see if they felt comfortable in each configuration. I also tried on Deborah’s Muji travel pillow (as she offered), but determined it had much less support than our picks. I also carried all of our picks on two more cross-country flights on a different airline to ensure the pillows did just as well in different seat designs.

The Travelrest Ultimate pillow, a firm donut-shaped neck pillow, resting on a blanket. The recommended best travel pillow.

The Travelrest Ultimate remains our top pick after several years because its plush but firm memory-foam core offers more support to your neck than that of any other pillow. It’s also one of the few pillows we tested that felt specifically designed for an airline seat, with an angled, grippy back that aligns perfectly to both upright and reclined positions and ensures the pillow won’t slide down as you nod off. The velvety-soft pillow supports heads and necks of all sizes and can be fitted with an adjustable cord and clasp. In the tried-but-true shape of a hemi-doughnut—imagine a doughnut with a bite taken out—the Travelrest Ultimate may look like other pillows, but a number of thoughtful details make it a softer, more supportive pillow than all the rest.

The Travelrest offers better all-around support than any other pillow we tested. Its broad, marshmallowy walls hug the whole circumference of your neck. It feels supportive but not stifling. The easy-to-fasten Velcro strap means it can be adjusted to a snug fit for necks of many sizes. There’s even a small crevice for curlier hair or a ponytail.

In addition to fitting your neck, the Travelrest’s back tapers up to a point to fit flat against an airline seat back. Most neck pillows lack this tapering on the back and the excess padding can push your neck away from the headrest, causing your neck to droop forward. Additionally, the Travelrest has grippy dots on the back that prevent it from slipping.

The best travel pillow, the Travelrest Ultimate, showing the grippy back side.

In addition to its excellent support, the Travelrest is very comfortable and cozy to wear. Its memory-foam core is wrapped in velour, which kept my neck warm without overheating it. The Travelrest’s velour also felt softer and smoother against my skin than similar coverings on other pillows, such as the Cabeau Evolution. It’s also easy to clean: The Travelrest’s cover is easily unzipped and machine-washable. The velour retained its softness after going through a wash and dry cycle.

While the Travelrest isn’t inflatable, it packs down to the size of a roll of toilet paper in its carrying case. Once you fold it cinnamon-roll style and it’s small enough to fit inside the bag, a Velcro strap on the pouch helps you compress it even further. If there’s still not enough space for it in your bag, you can always clip its drawstring to any exterior loop.

All of these thoughtful details were not lost on our testing panel. They gave the Travelrest the highest marks of any pillow in comfort and neck support, and two-thirds of our testers picked it as their favorite pillow.

How the Travelrest has held up

After over a year of use, this pillow had lost none of its supportiveness. The memory foam was just as firm and springy as it was when we bought it. Its velcro strap was still easy to secure. If it fits you, this is a pillow that stays secure and comfortable on your neck for the duration of a long flight. However, we’ve also heard from multiple travelers that this pillow doesn’t fit them. The memory foam is quite firm, which offers excellent support, but not much give. If a pillow of up to 5 inches doesn’t fit comfortably on your neck, we think you’ll be happier trying one of our other picks.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Travelrest Ultimate will never compress to the thin, flat size of a tiny pillow like the Trtl. But its unparalleled, cushiony support can still pack down to a reasonable size, and its 13 ounces won’t make your carry-on noticeably heavier. And if saving space is your highest concern, we think the Trtl provides space-conscious support without the spit-filled fuss of an inflatable pillow.

While the Travelrest’s voluminous plush can support all heads that lean left, back, or right, the pillow may not hold up the chins of people with smaller faces. When my head bobbed forward, my small face sank into the gap between the pillow closure and my neck. You can adjust the Velcro strap for a tighter fit, but the short strap cannot be pulled as tight as the Cabeau’s adjustable strings.

The Travelrest Ultimate’s unbeatable support is in part due to the height of its sides, designed to come up to the jaw of the wearer. This means the pillow may be incompatible with larger over-the-ear headphones for people with shorter necks. For instance, when I tried to wear the Travelrest Ultimate with my noise-cancelling Bose headphones , the pillow pushed the headset uncomfortably far up on my head, taking my earlobes with it. However, my editor, who has a longer neck, didn’t have this problem.

The donut-shaped Cabeau neck pillow resting on a blanket.

If you want a tighter, more adjustable fit, the Cabeau Evolution Classic  (which used to be called just the Evolution) is the way to go. Its contoured memory-foam design offers almost as much neck support as our main pick does, albeit without some of the Travelrest’s luxurious height. But the Cabeau’s adjustable clasp allows a far greater range of cinching than the Travelrest. In other words, the pillow can fit as tightly as you like.

Like the Travelrest, the Cabeau’s hemi-doughnut shape offers 360 degrees of support for anyone wearing it. It also boasts a cushioned memory-foam core and a contoured top that will keep your neck upright and head in place. But unlike the Travelrest’s gently arched bottom, the Cabeau’s flat bottom won’t sit as securely on your shoulders and may move around during your sleep. The Cabeau also lacks the Travelrest’s smartly tapered, grippy back that helps keep the pillow in place during flight. The Cabeau’s velour cover is also machine-washable, but it feels less soft than the Travelrest’s.

The Cabeau's cover comes off the foam core with a zipper.

Although the Cabeau’s fit and shape aren’t quite as good as the Travelrest’s, this pillow is more adjustable. It can be tightened or loosened with two adjustable strings that clip together, which results in a far more adjustable range than the Travelrest’s short strip of Velcro. If you have a smaller neck and know you find a tighter grip on your neck comforting, the Cabeau may be the way to go.

Like the Travelrest, the Cabeau also packs down to a quarter of its size, thanks to an adjustable strap bisecting its carrying case. But at 15.2 ounces, it’s a bit heavier than the Travelrest.

Unlike any of our other picks, the Cabeau Evolution is sold in many of those ubiquitous news stores inside airports. So if you find yourself lacing up your shoes after security and wishing you had bought one of our picks before your flight, look for the Cabeau’s contoured shape among the novelty hemi-doughnuts dangling off the travel pillow racks. It’s the best pillow you can buy at an airport. But if you have the chance to order online, the Travelrest offers more support.

There is a newer model of the Evolution Classic, the S3 , which has straps to hook onto a seat’s headrest. We think it’s a good choice if the Classic version is out of stock or otherwise unavailable. It’s still supportive and comfortable, but not as thick or soft as the Classic.

The Trtl is less a pillow and more a plush neck brace.

The Trtl Pillow , though odd-looking and unconventional, won a contingent of ardent fans with its firm support and slim, packable size. But it’s not our top pick because it works on only one side, and its warmth-trapping fleece can cause your neck to overheat. It’s also the most expensive of our picks. The Trtl consists of an arched plastic skeleton inside of a soft, fleece scarf that wraps once around your neck and then closes with Velcro to hold the pillow in place. You just lean your head against the convex end of the bendy frame, wrap the pillow around your neck, and your head has a soft but firm pedestal on which to rest while you sleep. It sounds weird, but it’s not that different from a neck brace—only it’s one-sided and softer.

Because the Trtl Pillow is little more than a scarf with a plastic plate in it, it packs down to the size of a sandwich and can lay flat against the back of your bag. This is the smallest travel pillow we tested and also requires none of the squashing or awkward cinching it takes to stuff the Travelrest or Cabeau into their holding bags, which are also easy to lose. Unlike any of the other pillows we’ve seen, the Trtl is small enough to fit inside a briefcase or handbag, making it the best option for people who don’t normally travel with backpacks. And at a featherweight 5 ounces, the Trtl is the lightest pillow we tested.

Though the Trtl can support your head from only one side, the tall, bendy plastic frame inside offered more support on that one side than either the Travelrest or Cabeau. Yet even with its soft, wraparound design, it lacks the all-around support provided by our top and runner-up picks. If you are an asymmetrical sleeper (if you prefer sleeping with your head leaning to one side), the Trtl may be a good choice. However, it’s not a good choice for people who nod forward—the plastic insert is too stiff. If that’s you, we prefer the Bcozzy, which we talk more about below .

A closeup of a hand holding the Trtl's cover open to show the lightweight frame inside.

Some testers found the Trtl’s quasi-corseted-turtleneck design off-putting. But then again, no one looks cool wearing any travel pillow. And on that note, the Trtl’s cozy fleece will keep your neck toasty. So if you know you run hot, the Trtl may not be the pillow for you.

Wirecutter’s Ganda Suthivarakom swears by the Trtl: “It packs almost flat, weighs next to nothing, and can be helpful for sleeping even when you are stuck in a middle seat. As someone who is always cold on the plane, I don't mind the whole fleece scarf design, either.”

Trtl has a more padded version of the pillow that claims to be more adjustable; one of our longer-necked staffers tried it and reported that it is indeed more comfortable for him than the original Trtl was. However, the same limitations of the original apply to the new version.

The Bcozzy is another donut-type pillow, but it's longer and thinner, enabling a more coiled configuration.

The Bcozzy is a snakelike spin on the traditional hemi-doughnut that’s perfect for anyone traveling with large headphones or people who tend to nod forward while sleeping and wake themselves up. It lacks the tall, supportive sides of our other picks, but the overlapping front is the perfect height to keep your chin from nodding forward as you doze off. It’s not as supportive on the sides, but this leaves ample room for big headphones.

The Bcozzy’s best advantage is its overlapping circular design, which allows you to adjust the pillow to degrees of personal preference. You can place the overlapping ends of the pillow around any point of your neck (though it only really makes sense in the front or on the sides), and wear the pillow as loose or as tight as you’d like. We think it’s most comfortable when the ends meet right under your neck—and in that position, it cushions your chin better than any other pillow we tested.

The longer, leaner Bcozzy lacks the plush, ensconcing neck support of the Travelrest Ultimate or Cabeau Evolution. It lays so low on your shoulders that it might not even touch your jaw. But this makes the pillow perfect for anyone who likes to wear over-the-ear headphones along with a travel pillow while they sleep on the flight. I personally like to fall asleep to music and drown out the dull roar of an airplane, so the Bcozzy works perfectly for me.

We still think the Travelrest Ultimate is a superior overall hemi-doughnut pillow, but the Bcozzy is an excellent choice if you plan to wear big headphones or know the feeling of that sharp, waking drop when your head falls forward on a plane.

The Bcozzy's small fabric loop for fastening.

The Bcozzy is also one of the least packable pillows, as it doesn’t come with a carrying case and does not compress particularly well. But its 7.4 ounces is around half the weight of the Travelrest or Cabeau, and it does comes with a little loop that clips onto the outside of a backpack or duffel. And even when squished down at the bottom of a bag, it doesn’t take up that much more space than the Travelrest Ultimate or Cabeau.

If you’re a back sleeper who can fall sleep sitting upright in your seat, facing forward, and not need to curl up or lean your head on the airplane window: You may want to try the Posture+ Travel Pillow, which is a U-shaped neck cushion, padded with memory foam, that looks like the back half of a cervical collar. When testing it, we slept surprisingly well, but it won’t suit all (or even most) sleep styles. It’s also not machine-washable, and it is pricy.

If you have a shorter neck and tend to run hot on planes and would prefer a pillow designed to keep you cool: Consider the ventilated Cabeau Evolution Cool —the combination of a silky polyester cover (similar to spandex) and vented design did feel mildly cooler against our necks. And we liked the pillow’s silky feel, packable size, zippered carrying case. But it was significantly smaller than the standard Cabeau Evolution and the Travelrest Ultimate, and it left the chins of long-necked testers totally unsupported. It’s also more expensive—now about $20 more than the Travelrest.

If you always lean to the same side when sleeping: Consider Travelrest’s All-in-One , which has a novel across-the-shoulder design that could be comfortable in such a situation. It has a similar fabric to the company’s winning Ultimate Memory Foam Neck Pillow, but in our tests its bulky inflated tube offered no structured head support, which could pose a problem in bumpy conditions.

If you tend to be a forward-falling head bobber: Consider the Caldera Releaf , which is less travel pillow and more neck brace. It does offer superior neck support, but it constricted the throat too much for our comfort.

The Trtl Pillow Plus , a later addition to the Trtl lineup, is more height-adjustable and has more padding than its older sibling . Our self-described “giraffe-necked” tester said that it did indeed fit him better than the original Trtl had. However, it still supports your head from only one side, making it not a great choice for sleepers who nod forward. It’s also bulkier than the original and costs nearly twice as much.

The Cabeau Evolution S3 is a newer version of our runner-up pick , the Evolution Classic. We liked it, and we think it’s a solid choice if the original Evolution isn’t available. It has added straps that you can hook onto a headrest to keep your head from falling forward while you sleep, but our runner-up pick is softer and slightly thicker, which offers a bit more support. We did find the S3 to be easier to roll up into its carrying case, however.

Intrigued by one of the stranger innovations that we’ve seen in travel pillow design, we tested the Huzi Design Infinity , but we can’t recommend it. Instead of cinching or clasping at the front, it is designed to be looped several times around the wearer’s neck like an infinity scarf. But the pillow failed to support our testers’ necks. Regardless of who tried it, testers found that looping it twice was too loose and thrice was too tight. It was also the largest and least compressible pillow we tested.

The J-Pillow offered a singular, three-pronged design that proved impossible for anyone to figure out without instructions. After some explanation, our testers could wear the pillow correctly, but they still felt that its squishy stuffing offered insufficient support, and only to one side of the head. It’s also impossible to pack away efficiently due to its pyramidal shape. If you want a one-sided pillow, skip this and go for the Trtl instead.

We tested the inexpensive Travelrest Curl because we loved its plush and contoured big cousin, the Travelrest Ultimate. But while the Curl contains the same luxurious memory-foam filling as the Ultimate, the pillow is so small that many testers found that it didn’t even come up to their jaws when worn. It does have an attractive price, but its skimpy size and unsupportive design could support only the shortest of necks.

We found the air-filled Sea to Summit Aeros Traveller Pillow to be similarly lacking. We liked how easy it was to fill—its dual-valve inflation mechanism means it won’t let air out between breaths—and we appreciated that it weighed only about a fifth as much as the Travelrest, but the Travelrest’s 360-degree support made it too hard to go back to an open-ring design that offers no support in the front. Also, one of our former freelance writers recently reported that when she pulled her pillow out of storage, after a few years of not using it, its internal bladder disintegrated in her hands.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

Rebecca Robbins, postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Center for Healthful Behavior Change , phone interview , October 20, 2017

Meet your guide

travel pillow for neck problems

Sabrina Imbler

Sabrina Imbler is a former staff writer for Wirecutter, where they covered kitchen tools and HVAC.

Further reading

A person sitting on a couch wearing a black Pluto Pod Travel Pillow with the eye mask pulled over their eyes.

Pluto Pod Travel Pillow: A First-Class Sleep Experience in Economy

by Dorie Chevlen

This travel pillow is so great you won’t even care if you look silly wearing it.

The Trtl travel pillow.

The Silly-Looking Trtl Travel Pillow Is the Only Way I Can Sleep on Flights

by Elissa Sanci

You might look funny while wearing the one-sided Trtl travel pillow in flight, but you won’t care when you land at your destination bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

A selection of our favorite gifts for travelers, including Aesop travel cosmetics, a book on national parks, an eye mask, and more.

The 36 Best Gifts for Frequent Travelers

by Samantha Schoech

We’ve put together a selection of fun, useful and clever gifts for that person who always has a trip planned.

One of our testers, in a side-sleeping position on one of our picks

The Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

by Jackie Reeve

We recommend the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow for most side-sleepers. If you prefer a smoother cover, get Nest Bedding's Easy Breather Pillow .

The Best Travel Pillows for Long-Haul Flights

Shot of a passenger sleeping on the bus

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you travel regularly you’ve probably learnt to spot the difference between a frequent flier and a rookie—the most obvious tell-tale sign being a bulky travel pillow, typically carried by an inexperienced flier, hanging from a backpack or being worn (wrongly) around the back of their neck before they even get on the plane. Many of us are guilty of buying one of these beanbag worms from the airport duty-free shop, only to realize that they’re more trouble than they’re actually worth.

Do a little research though—as we’ve done for you here— and you might be pleasantly surprised to find that the humble travel pillow has upped its game recently. Specialized brands like  Trtl  and  BCozzy  have entered the market, while pillows that range in shape and materials have popped up on Amazon.

So which ones are actually worth taking on a flight ? We asked our frequent flying editors to test out the most reviewed styles.

How we choose the best travel pillows

Every pillow on this list has been independently tested and reviewed by our editors. When testing, we consider quality, price, unique design features, as well as overall function and visual appeal.

Our top picks:

  • Best overall travel pillow: Cabeau Evolution S3 travel pillow
  • Best for neck support: Trtl travel pillow
  • Best for side sleepers: BCozzy neck pillow
  • Best budget buy: Dot & Dot Twist memory foam travel pillow

travel pillow for neck problems

Best travel pillow for: overall comfort

If you're looking for an upgrade to a basic does-the-job travel pillow or suffer from neck or back pain, Cabeau's Evolution S3 travel pillow is the best we've tested so far. The memory foam style has considered everything, from an adjustable toggle clasp to secure the pillow comfortably around your neck, to a handy side pocket—ideal for storing headphones or earplugs. What really sets this pillow apart from the rest are the velcro straps on the back, designed to loop around a plane seat's headrest, helping to keep your head upright and take any pressure off your neck.

Why we love it:  “The foam in this pillow is extremely comfortable, but what I love most is that the back of the pillow is flat, so you can sit right up against your seat, unlike the typical travel pillow styles which tend to be round and tilt your neck down slightly. The straps are a great idea, but if you're short it might not be possible to secure to the headrest, so keep that in mind. It also comes in a sleek cylindrical bag that, when clipped onto your carry-on , you’d never even know there was a travel pillow inside." — Sarah Allard , digital editor, Condè Nast Traveller UK

travel pillow for neck problems

Best travel pillow for: neck support

Less a pillow and more a supportive wrap for your neck, this unique design from Trtl is ideal if you're short on space and weight in your carry-on luggage—it weighs only 4.5 ounces. The pillow is designed to look like a scarf and features a clever curved U-shaped neck support stand that sits under your jaw and is then secured in place by wrapping the fabric around your neck and connecting the velcro.

Why we love it:  “I often feel like most typical travel pillows are too bulky and hard to get comfortably on, so I was keen to try this style. It's perfect for keeping your neck upright and avoiding any of the nodding that can happen while asleep. I'll admit, it feels a little strange at first to put it on, but the hypoallergenic fleece is soft and warm. It's a great option not just for plane travel, but also long road trips or train journeys.” — Sarah James , deputy digital editor, Condè Nast Traveller UK

travel pillow for neck problems

Best travel pillow for: upper body support

This clever crossbody-sling pillow offers neck and head support while allowing you to truly relax and lean to one side to fall asleep. The pillow comes with a cord at the top that can be secured in place by looping over your seat’s headrest. You can wear the pillow on either side across your body, or down one side, creating more of a barrier between you and the person next to you. The pillow is inflatable, too, so it takes up hardly any room in your luggage.

Why we love it:  “I really love the shape of this pillow, as it cradles not just your neck, but your whole upper body. Although I usually don’t like inflatable pillows, the rigidity of this style works to make you feel secure while sitting upright.” — Lauren Burvill , senior commerce editor, Condè Nast Traveller UK

Best travel pillow for: red-eye flights

More than just a neck pillow, the Pluto Pod boasts a lightly structured and padded hood, as well as a pull-down eye mask. Do you resemble a bobble-headed, 1950s-style alien when you wear it? Yes, you do. Is it, by far, one of the best travel pillows we've tested? Absolutely.

Why we love it : “The pillow has helped me cut down on my sleeping tools. With the Pod, I can eschew ear plugs and an eye mask because the padded hood dampens noise and the flip-down eye mask blocks almost all light. Sleeping with one is like being inside a mini sensory deprivation tank, except you don’t have to worry about getting wet.” — Juliet Izon , contributor

Read a full review here .

travel pillow for neck problems

Best travel pillow for: flexibility

Made of memory foam, this twist style pillow can be bent and contoured to almost any shape. Its flexibility means it can be worn in several ways, from around the neck to under your head, shoulders, or even lower back.

Why we love it:  “I often toss and turn a lot when trying to get to sleep, so I find I’m particularly wriggly when trying to get comfortable on a flight. This kind of flexible twist style of the pillow was perfect for me, as I was able to shape it to exactly where I needed it to be. I ended up settling with it half behind my neck and half under my chin, so I could lie on my side and get a couple of hours of precious sleep.” —L.B.

travel pillow for neck problems

Best travel pillow for: side sleepers

Similar to the Trtl pillow but padded with soft microfleece and covered with microsuede, BCozzy's wrap-around design offers plenty of flexibility in terms of how you wear it. The pillow comes in two sizes and when wrapped around the neck offers double the support for your head, neck, and chin. The real standout of this design is the flat back, which is not only great for maintaining a healthy posture, but also means you can fold the pillow in half and wear it on one side.

Why we love it:  “Even on a plane, I'm a side sleeper. My go-to way to snooze is angling the side headrest as far as it can go so I can rest my head in the corner. Headrests can be very hit-and-miss on planes though, so being able to fold the BCozzy pillow in half is ideal as it can prop my neck and chin up on one side without it feeling too suffocating.” —L.B.

travel pillow for neck problems

Best for: warmth

This squishy infinity-style pillow is all about the soft and breathable bamboo fabric it’s made from. Coming in one large loop, the pillow is worn by wrapping around the neck twice and adjusting and scrunching accordingly depending on the level of comfort you’re looking for.

Why we love it:  “I’d say this pillow is less about neck support and more about soft and cozy scarf–meets–pillow hybrid. It feels like a sleeping bag for your neck—ideal if you get cold easily and are looking for something that’s more snuggly rather than stiff.” —L.B.

travel pillow for neck problems

Best travel pillow for : Versatility

Slip this microbead-filled cap over your head and you’ll completely redefine the experience of sleeping on the go. From the outside, the wacky-shaped headpiece may feel a tad like a Teletubbies costume, but once you pull your head through the 27.5-inch opening, any place you find yourself in—no matter how bright or how loud—can turn into a sleep zone.

Why we love it: “And there’s no right or wrong way to use it: On a plane, use it to lean against the wall of the window seat, lie head down on the tray table of the middle seat, or tilt backward on the headrest of the seat.” — Rachel Chang , contributor

This article was originally published on Condé Nast Traveller UK .

travel pillow for neck problems

The 9 Best Travel Pillows for Sound Sleep On-the-Go

Say goodbye to that sore neck.

best travel pillows

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Why Trust Us?

What to Look for in a Travel Pillow

How we selected these travel pillows, pick the perfect travel pillow following these tips from expert chris meehan..

So, how to make the time in the air (or car or train) more relaxing? The right travel pillow may be the ticket the next time you take off somewhere. It's a basic travel accessory that ranks right up there with great luggage and noise-cancelling headphones .

In its U-shaped form, the travel pillow dates back to 1929 when the design was first patented. Its original intent was for use to recline in the bathtub. Since then, its look and feel has changed with modern versions configured in unique shapes to address all different kinds of travelers: long-haul fliers, restless sleepers, window-seat passengers, and more.

A decent travel pillow includes a soft cover using fabrics like brushed polyester, nylon, or microfiber, while the cushioning (or fill) inside should be supportive and comfortable yet structured enough for your head and neck. The fill types commonly used are assorted types of foam, microbeads, and polyester fiber, in addition to those kinds of pillows with an inflatable bladder

Whether you’re a side slumper, leaner on the seat-back, or nose-to-the sky snoozer, there is a pillow here for you. In our review and testing of travel pillows, we’ve found options in a variety of designs, weights, and shapes from under $20 to well over $60. Read on to find the best one for you!

Best Travel Pillows

  • Best Overall Travel Pillow: Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow
  • Best Hot-Sleeper Travel Pillow: Cabeau Evolution S3 Memory Foam
  • Best Bargain Travel Pillow: Cloudz Dual Comfort Microbead Travel Neck Pillow
  • Best Splurge Travel Pillow: Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow
  • Best Side-Sleeper Travel Pillow: Trtl Pillow Plus
The Expert: Taking multiple plane, train, and bus rides every year, I’m familiar with necessary on-the-go accessories like a travel pillow. For instance, I am based in Colorado and last year I flew to Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. My car travels included a road trip to Zion National Park with a buddy. My average trip takes about seven hours between the trains to and from the airport and the plane ride itself. After using quite a few travel pillows, I’ve found that I enjoy a side-sleeping pillow like the J-Pillow for plane rides since I tend to loll off to one side, and I like the traditionally shaped rectangular pillow, the NEMO Fillo, for other types of excursions like bus and car rides as well as car camping. Its combination of padding and inflate-ability make it versatile for many types of trips.

Many of the travel pillows below don’t look like the traditional U-shaped ones with microbeads—and for good reason. The U-shape doesn't work for everyone as it has a tendency to push the neck forward. Also, if the cushioning isn’t high enough on each side, it may cause your head to flop from left to right instead providing a stationary space. Any neck wobble may result in kinks, stiffness, and soreness.

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Those designs that are squared or have flat cushioning behind the neck with more coverage under the chin help keep the head upright. Contoured areas to accommodate the shoulders and help keep the pillows properly aligned.

Depending on how you prefer to rest, the right pillows will ensure some shut-eye on the plane, in the car, or on the train. Here are some factors to consider.

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While many are compact, this will be a factor depending on how light you like to travel. The most compact of all neck pillows is one that’s inflatable. These can deflate to a size smaller than a baseball. Bulkier memory foam pillows, on the other hand, will compress down to about the size of a football.

Most travel pillows weigh under 1 pound, so they’re manageable enough to bring along and to use without putting downward pressure on your shoulders.

U-shape is most common, but it’s not the only form factor out there. Some travel pillows are mini-sized traditionally shaped pillows. Others are coil or donut-shaped to allow for better chin support for slumping sleepers, and at least a few, like the J-Pillow, are designed to offer extra head support for those of us who love to sleep with our head against the wall of a plane or train.

Just like your pillow at home, travel pillows have a range of different fills. Microbeads are likely the stiffest and least compressible while memory foam offers solid support and adjusts to the shape of your head. Inflatable pillows also offer customized cushioning but are sometimes cheaper in design.

Most travel pillows have a soft, fleecy fabric made of polyester, nylon or micro fleece that’s designed for comfort against the face. The fabric of the pillow can also go a long way to describe its washability. Some have covers that are easy to take off and wash. Even some with integrated covers are still machine washable.

The recommendations below are based on my own travel experiences in the air, car, bus, and train. I also looked at customer reviews to gauge what pillows have performed well for most people. Additionally, I considered the work of Paige Szmodis , who investigated pillow options for the previous version of this article.

Overall, these pillows made their way onto red-eye flights, along for road trips (in cars and buses), camping, and even lounging on the couch. Neck support and comfort were factored in as well as portability, durability, washability, and usage. I also considered if pillows came with a storage bag, how well each pillow retained its shape, and what the packed dimensions were versus overall size.

These pillows represent the top options for travelers who go by car, plane, bus, train, or even those who need a good lightweight pillow for laying horizontal in the airport while waiting for their next flight.

Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

With limited space for a bulky pillow when on-the-go, packability is key. The Travelrest Nest packs an amazing amount of memory-foam cushioning into the smallest stuff sack. Even after being compressed in its bag for over a week, the pillow immediately puffed right back into its original shape.

While compact, it doesn’t compromise on support. With 5-inches of thermo-sensitive memory foam on all sides, it conforms to the shape of your neck and shoulders and keeps your head in place no matter if you tend to loll to the front, back, or sides. Unlike many U-shaped pillows, its angled back sits flush against any seat surface without pushing your head forward. Bonu: the nonslip panel helps prevent it from sliding off airplane seats.

At a reasonable price—Travelrest even throws in a travel bag and memory foam earplugs to sweeten the deal—its removable cover retains its velvety softness after cycles in the washer and dryer, though it’s a bit of a tight fit to pull the cover back on over the foam’s contours. The dense foam also makes it a little challenging to fold up into its bag, but once you get it in there, it can compress down to a quarter of its original size. On the down side, its high cushioning could pinch earrings or interfere with larger headphones.

Cabeau Evolution S3 Memory Foam

Evolution S3 Memory Foam

The Cabeau Evolution S3, which has many of the same top features as our Best Overall, is ideal if you sleep a bit on the hot side. Its breathable, moisture-wicking fabric helps to keep you cool and comfortable.

With its U-shaped design, this memory foam pillow prevents lateral movement—your head falling to either side—and features a slimmed flat back so it won’t push your head forward. While the back surface isn’t angled and grippy like the Travelrest, the Cabeau comes with straps to loop around your headrest to keep it in place. Note: These straps may not be compatible with all seat designs and might possibly disturb the person behind you on a flight. Also, with its thick cushioning, the Evolution's height may interfere with certain headphones.

The dense memory foam will take a few seconds to roll up into the travel case but it will hold its shape well after packing away many times. Plus, the polyester cover was easy to slip on and off to wash and dry. A bonus is the travel case which can easily be clipped onto the outside of your bags and luggage.

Cloudz Dual Comfort Microbead Travel Neck Pillow

Dual Comfort Microbead Travel Neck Pillow

One of the most well-known neck pillows out there, Cloudz is the one you’re most likely to find in an airport. It’s inexpensive and will do the trick for most flights and other travel, but isn’t as comfortable or as well designed as some of the other picks in our roundup.

The spandex fabric on one side allows the pillow to conform to your shoulders and keeps you cool, while the cozy plush on the other side helps you drift off to sleep. The snap in front keeps the pillow properly oriented while traveling. It’s not machine washable, and over time the small polystyrene beads will compress, ultimately reducing cushioning. As such, it’ll do in a pinch but won't have the durability as some of the other choices here.

Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

Go Neck Pillow

The makers of the Ostrichpillow Go believe resting shouldn’t require any effort, which is why they pride themselves on designs that are minimalist and easy to use as well as sustainably made. The ergonomic and sleek Go neck pillow promotes 360-degree comfort with a memory foam core, yet it packs down into a stuff sack just over half of its original size. Even after being stored away for a week, it easily expanded back to its circular shape.

While other options may compress into slightly smaller packs, I like this pillow's dense memory foam padding and the Velcro fastener, which allows for a custom fit. Since its cushion height is higher on one side than the other, the taller side may interfere with headphones. For comfort, the cover is luxuriously soft and holds up after machine washing.

Trtl Pillow Plus

Pillow Plus

Trtl might have the most unconventional looking travel pillow—loop, wrap and nap, as the company says—but plenty of people—especially side sleepers—swear by it. Inside the fleece fabric that gets wrapped around your neck is a cushioned plastic brace that rests on one shoulder and props your head up. Some may find the fleece gets a little too warm, but if you’re always cold on the plane, this could work for you. The fleece wrap also detaches easily from the plastic brace for washing.

While the Trtl Plus is expensive (the costliest of the ones recommended here), it does offer a custom fit courtesy of two plastic knobs that adjust both sides of the plastic panel. It comes with a travel bag which is handy if you don’t want to lug it around on the outside of your bag when traveling.

If you’re still intrigued, but put off by the price, the original Trtl costs about $40 less and is a bit more subtle in styling than the Plus. It looks more like a fleece scarf than a neck brace. There’s no case but it folds almost flat with a Velcro latch, to about the size of a large book, so you can fit it in your bag.

Bcozzy Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow

Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow

If your head tends to fall forward when you try to sleep upright, the Bcozzy keeps your head up by curling around your whole neck with the ends overlapping under the chin. There are also a few more ways you can wear it, such as folded in half to elevate just one side of your head.

The Bcozzy, available in children's and extra-large sizing, doesn’t come with a removable cover, but the whole pillow is machine washable. A travel case is included.

Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow

Inflatable Neck Pillow

According to some studies, passengers shift positions on a plane every 15 minutes, so this travel pillow is ideal for anyone who changes it up frequently on a flight. It works for forward slumpers, side sleepers, and even couples who want to position it between themselves. It's also perfect for those who want to read or watch a program in privacy.

To make the most of this unique pillow, you'll need a tray table to rest it on. The Sunany pillow can be used at either 19.6- or 11.8-inches high depending on how it is oriented. One downside, considering its inflated size is so large, is that it can be cumbersome to reposition.

AirComfy Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow

Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow

This dog bone-shaped, inflatable travel pillow is as ideal for the skies as it is for the roads. Take it in the plane or the car since its adjustable strap easily fits around most headrests, and thanks to its basic shape and adjustability via inflation, you can customize how soft or firm it is depending on your needs.

The foam backed bladder helps reduce the balloon-like feel of some inflatable travel pillows. Use it behind the neck and shoulder or behind the lower back for lumbar support. Extra points for the plush cover that is machine washable.

Fillo

With so many travel specific pillows and U-shaped design styles, why pick a traditional rectangle option as the most versatile? It’s simple—you can’t reinvent the wheel. With foam and an inflatable bladder, travelers can adjust its firmness, roll it up for neck support on a plane, press it against a wall or window, use it as a normal pillow, or take it along for car travel or camping.

This is the versatile pillow I bring on trips when I am doing multiple types of adventure and know I will need a pillow that can handle the travel itself and anything after. I appreciate the use of both the foam and the air bladder, which means I can adjust the cushioning and the support. With NEMO’s combination, it creates a pillow that doesn’t feel like you’re sleeping on a balloon like some inflatable pillows do. It also easily stuffs down into a sack—about the size of a big Chipotle burrito—that’s integrated into the removable, machine washable cover.

J-Pillow Travel Pillow

Travel Pillow

The J-Pillow diverges from the traditional U-shape, co-opting another letter for its design. The curve of the “J” cradles your chin while the rest of the pillow supports one side of your head.

While this design is best-suited for passengers at a window seat, I found the J-Pillow didn’t slip off my shoulder even when I wasn't leaning against a window. There is plenty of cushioning, so it's comfortable, but its biggest flaw is its slightly awkward and bulky shape.

Though it comes with a travel sack, it doesn’t compress nearly as much as other travel pillows. Because it didn’t fit into my backpack, I had to carry it separately—not exactly ideal for frequent fliers—though you could use its snap loop to attach to luggage or tie the bag’s drawstring to a gear loop.

best travel pillows

What is typically the best way to clean a travel pillow? Should I look for one that is machine-washable?

Always follow the manufacturers’ recommendations. Many inflatable and foam pillows aren’t designed for machine washing and can get damaged in the process. Some of my favorite travel pillows have removable covers that are machine washable.

If given the choice of an inflatable, microbead, or memory foam travel pillow, what do you prefer and why?

If I'm not worried about packing space and my travel plans include a flight, I like memory foam since it cradles the head softly. If you’re traveling and doing multiple things while away, an inflatable pillow might be best since it takes up less space while packed and can be customized for different types of resting.

How do you know if a travel pillow is the right fit?

Think about how you rest while traveling and look for a pillow that fits those needs. You’ll want one with enough support to cradle your head as you nod off, whether that’s off to the side, straight back, or slumping forward.

Headshot of Chris Meehan

Chris Meehan is an internationally published writer, author, and editor with more than two decades of professional experience. He has authored multiple adventure guidebooks with Falcon Guides and his work focusses primarily on the nexus between sustainability and outdoor adventure. He is an experienced gear reviewer, tester, and travel writer who has explored multiple continents. 

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The best travel pillows that'll keep your relaxed — even in the middle seat

Tired businessman with neck pillow sleeping on passenger train

Between crowded seats, crying babies and limited legroom, traveling on long flights can be exhausting and uncomfortable. A perfect pillow makes the trek slightly easier to bear and can help you get some sleep during those travel periods. To help you narrow down which travel pillow is right for you, we consulted sleep and travel experts about what to know before shopping, plus we compiled highly rated options to consider.

SKIP AHEAD What are the benefits of travel pillows? | How we picked the best travel pillows | The best travel pillows to consider in 2024 | How to shop for travel pillows

Selected. Our top picks

Cabeau Evolution S3 Sleep Pillow

select Minimize chaos on your next trip with these expert-approved accessories

The best travel pillows in 2024.

Below, we rounded up a selection of the best travel pillows based on NBC Select staff recommendations, ratings and expert advice.

Best overall travel pillow: Cabeau

Cabeau evolution s3 sleep pillow.

Cabeau Evolution S3 Sleep Pillow

  • Straps allow for attachment to headrests
  • Adjustable drawstrings
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Large size may be uncomfortable to some

Former NBC Select editor Christina Colizza says she loves this travel pillow from Cabeau because it prevents slouching by attaching to the plane’s headrest. “As someone who is [very tall], I’ll take all the help I can in getting some sleep while flying, and this pillow makes a huge difference,” she says. “Plus, it compresses down into a small pouch, which makes it convenient enough to schlep around airports.” The headrest attachment also makes this an ideal option for long road trips. This travel pillow comes in five colors and patterns including indigo and galaxy.

Fill material : Memory foam | Machine-washable cover : Yes | Portable features : Travel bag | Rating : 4.3-star average rating from 7,652 reviews on Amazon  

Best splurge travel pillow: Ostrichpillow

Ostrichpillow go neck pillow.

Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

  • Full 360-degree neck support
  • Compresses for easy packing
  • Fit around neck may vary

Ostrichpillow offers a variety of unique pillow alternatives, from a napping option to a mini hand pillow . This memory foam one has raised edges for neck support and comes with a velcro strap that allows you to customize its fit. The travel pillow can also compress down to snugly fit inside the included travel bag.

Fill material : Memory foam | Machine-washable cover : Yes | Portable features : Travel bag | Rating : 4-star average rating from 1,876 reviews on Amazon

Best versatile travel pillow: Huzi

Huzi infinity travel pillow.

Huzi Infinity Travel Pillow

  • Very versatile
  • Bulky: can be hard to carry
  • May be difficult to store

If you’re looking for a pillow with versatility, this option from Huzi may be just what you need. It’s made from a soft, anti-bacterial nylon bamboo that keeps you cool and airy as you sleep, according to the brand. The best part, however, is its scarf-like, 360-degree design — you can move and adjust the pillow however you’d like to target specific areas like your neck, back, chin and more. It can also be wrapped around your head to help muffle noise, or used as support when resting against a plane or car window.

Fill material : Microfiber | Machine-washable cover : Yes | Portable features : None | Rating : 4.3-star average rating from 6,307 reviews on Amazon

Best travel pillow for chin support: Bcozzy

Bcozzy chin supporting travel pillow.

BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

  • Stops your head from falling forward
  • Good value for price
  • Full wrap around can feel constrictive

Few things can jolt you awake faster than your head falling forward while you’re seated. This ergonomic neck pillow offers an adjustable front loop for chin support and a flat back to avoid pushing your head forward. It includes a snap strap that you can hook to your luggage or hang up in your car. The pillow comes in multiple colors and you can choose between various sizes ranging from kids small to extra-large .

Fill material : Polyester | Machine-washable cover : Yes | Portable features : Snap closure  | Rating : 4.2-star average rating from 29,016 reviews on Amazon

Best travel pillow for back support: SmartTravel

Smarttravel inflatable lumbar travel pillow.

SmartTravel Inflatable Lumbar Travel Pillow

  • Easily inflates and deflates
  • Can be used on back as well as neck
  • Hand-wash only

NBC Select managing editor Leah Ginsberg says she likes a lumbar pillow for added back support during long flights. This inflatable pillow serves as both a neck and back pillow, and is designed to fit your body’s natural curves and reduce pressure on the spine and neck, according to the brand. It also comes with an expandable mounting band to easily fasten it to headrests.

Fill material : Inflatable | Machine-washable cover : No | Portable features : Travel bag  | Rating : 4.3-star average rating from 1,262 reviews on Amazon

Best inflatable travel pillow: Sunany

Sunany inflatable neck pillow.

Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow

  • Comes with accessories
  • Quickly inflates and deflates
  • Not very soft

Designed to follow the natural curve of your neck and body, this travel pillow’s ergonomic shape can soothe discomfort and reduce pressure points around your head and neck, according to the brand. You can also place your arms and head inside one of the four holes to support a sleeping position that’s most comfortable for you. It comes with a pouch for storage, along with a matching eye mask and earplugs.

Fill material : Inflatable | Machine-washable cover : No | Portable features : Travel bag | Rating : 4.2-star average rating from 6,696 reviews on Amazon

Best travel pillow for single-side sleepers: Trtl

Trtl travel pillow.

Trtl Travel Pillow

  • Soft, cozy exterior
  • Lightweight and easy to pack
  • Only supports one side at a time

For those who don’t find enough support from traditional U-shaped travel pillows, this uniquely-shaped option comes with a hidden inner support that can hold your head and neck at any position that’s comfortable for you. You can adjust the support to contour your neck, shoulder or jaw, while the fleece exterior is soft and machine-washable.

Fill material: Mesh fabric | Machine-washable cover : Yes | Portable features : Flat design for easy packing | Rating : 4.0-star average rating from 35,371 reviews on Amazon

Best budget travel pillow: Wolf Essentials

Wolf essentials microfiber neck pillow.

World's Best Feather Soft Microfiber Neck Pillow

Wolf Essentials Microfiber Travel Pillow

  • Very affordable option
  • Machine-washable
  • Thickness may cause fit issues

This neck pillow’s fleece cover provides soft, thermal comfort, which is perfect for when the plane or vehicle gets cold. It’s entirely machine-washable (not just the cover) and comes with a snap closure to keep it from sliding off of your neck or to connect it to your luggage. 

Fill material : Polyester blend | Machine-washable cover : Yes | Portable features : Snap closure | Rating : 4.4-star average rating from 10,911 reviews on Amazon

Other travel pillows we love

Crafty world travel neck pillow.

Crafty World Travel Neck Pillow

  • No on-neck fastener

This option comes with a removable and machine-washable cover, so you can easily wash it. It’s made with a memory foam interior and a velour fabric exterior for a soft and comfortable feel, according to the brand. The pillow also has an elastic strap to help you connect it to your suitcase for extra portability. It comes in four colors — black, blue, gray and purple. 

Fill material : Memory foam | Machine-washable cover : Yes | Portable features : Elastic strap | Rating : 4.3-star average rating from 5,558 reviews on Amazon

Mlvoc Travel Pillow

MLVOC Travel Pillow

  • Includes eye masks, earplugs and carrying bag
  • Affordably priced
  • Bulky; may have issues with fit

With its ergonomic, curved design for neck and head support, this travel pillow comes wrapped in a cover that is both machine-washable and sweat-resistant. The travel pillow comes with a contoured eye mask and earplugs, and can fold down to half its size to fit neatly into the included travel bag. Plus, the built-in snap strap can also latch onto your suitcase for easy portability.

Fill material : Memory foam | Machine-washable cover : Yes | Portable features : Travel bag | Rating : 4.3-star average rating from 33,692 reviews on Amazon

select Whether you’re going away for a week or a weekend, there’s a highly-rated bag on Amazon for you.

How we picked the best travel pillows.

The best travel pillows are ones that are comfortable, supportive and easy to carry around, according to our experts. When shopping for a quality travel pillow, they recommend considering the following factors:

  • Inflatable vs. non-inflatable : You can adjust inflatable pillows to your desired firmness, and easily store them away when deflated. With non-inflatable pillows, on the other hand, you can fill them with more cushioned materials to promote comfort including memory foam and poly-fiber fill.
  • Portability : Look for features like straps (that you can attach to your luggage ) or an accompanying pouch (that you can pack it down into) for ease while on the go.

What are the benefits of travel pillows?

Whether your airplane seat is too small or your bus ride endures several bumps, it may be difficult to relax on a long trip. Add noisy conversations and frequent overhead announcements and you have multiple barriers in your way to getting a good nap.

One of the main reasons people struggle to sleep while traveling — especially on international flights with time changes — is because they’re trying to sleep at a time with “low circadian and homeostatic drive” (a time when they would not normally sleep, so they’re not as tired), says Dr. Andrew Varga, a board-certified physician at The Mount Sinai Integrative Sleep Center . The other factor, according to Varga, is the sleeping space, which is usually cramped and doesn’t let you lie recumbent or change positions, except in typically pricey business- and first-class cabins.

“Not everyone is an equally deep sleeper, and people with any sleep issues at baseline will often have a harder time sleeping in a louder and less comfortable environment — such as an airplane,” says board-certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Alex Dimitriu . He noted that posture plays a big role in the discomfort we feel — and as anyone who has slept on a plane knows, “the head tends to fall off to the side or forward, which is both uncomfortable and can cause neck pain, and [can] even make breathing less efficient.”

“Sleeping upright is not at all a natural position,” says Dr. Mayank Shukla , a board-certified pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist in New York City. “Our head weighs almost 10 pounds and flops around the neck when sleeping upright, leading to aches and pain with all that muscle strain.”

Experts noted that travel pillows can provide support for the neck and head, alleviating some pain and discomfort when combating an upright sleeping position while traveling. They’re typically portable, lightweight, ergonomically designed and come in different sizes to fit every type of person, plus some have additional high-tech features like temperature regulation. This is an ideal tool for frequent flyers who hope to maintain a semi-regular sleeping schedule.

How to shop for a travel pillow

The best travel pillow is one that you find the most comfortable to use for extended periods of time. Ideally, Dimitriu recommends testing out the pillow beforehand to see whether it’s comfortable and how it changes shape.

“The emphasis for most users should be to see how comfortably the pillow lets you rest with your back to the seat and without your head falling forward,” he says. And while larger pillows tend to provide more cushioning, he noted “airplane seats are tight, and there is such a thing as too much pillow.”

Below, we highlighted two of the most important considerations when shopping for travel pillows: inflatability and portability.

Inflatable vs. non-inflatable

When going on a long-haul trip, most travelers don’t want another thing to lug around. “Inflatable pillows may allow for more cushion and can fold to a smaller size,” Dimitriu says, adding that they won’t take up too much space in your luggage. They’re also typically more adjustable — you can change the amount of air to get more or less firmness, depending on your comfort level.

Non-inflatable travel pillows include various types of filling material including memory foam, polyester fiberfill and microbeads. While the different materials can make it easier to find a more comfortable fit, non-inflatable pillows tend to be bulkier than inflatable ones. When it comes to cleaning, both inflatable and non-inflatable pillows typically have removable covers that you can machine wash or spot clean.

Portability

If you’re on a multipart journey or backpacking through Europe, for example, the size and portability of your travel pillow may be just as important off a plane as it is on it. Some travel pillows have straps that you can attach to your luggage, while with others you can fold to fit inside a small bag.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Andrew Varga is a board-certified physician at The Mount Sinai Integrative Sleep Center .
  • Dr. Alex Dimitriu is a board-certified psychiatrist, sleep medicine specialist and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in Menlo Park, California.
  • Dr. Mayank Shukla is a board-certified pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist in New York City.

Why trust NBC Select?

Mili Godio is an updates editor at Select and covers a range of sleep topics including weighted blankets , sunrise alarm clocks and blackout curtains .  Ashley Morris is an associate SEO reporter for NBC Select covering skin care, lifestyle and more. For this story, Godio spoke to three sleep medicine experts to get their recommendations on how to shop for travel pillows and their benefits. She also researched dozens of travel pillows on the market that are in line with experts’ guidance.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance , tech and tools , wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

travel pillow for neck problems

Mili Godio is an updates editor for Select on NBC News.

The 7 Best Travel Pillows for Every Kind of Sleeper

Before your next long trip, shop these products to be sure to catch some comfortable Zs.

woman using green travel pillow

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They call late-night flights red-eyes for a reason: people aren’t getting enough sleep when they travel. Let’s face it: whether you’re in the middle seat on a plane ride or in the back seat of the car, it’s hard to get comfortable enough to actually get some quality sleep.

How we chose the best travel pillows

We conducted research on the pillows that offer the most support for your chin, neck, and lumbar for the most comfortable sleep possible. We also consulted with online reviews of best-selling products from verified customers.

Our top picks

Scientifically Proven Super Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow

Best Travel Pillow Overall

Trtl scientifically proven super soft neck support travel pillow.

2-in-1 Magic Travel Pillow

Best Budget Travel Pillow

Samsonite 2-in-1 magic travel pillow.

Luxury Travel Pillow with Memory Foam

Best Travel Pillow for Neck Support

Ostrich pillow luxury travel pillow with memory foam.

The Original McKenzie® Self-Inflating AirBack Lumbar Support

Best Travel Pillow for Lumbar Support

Optp the original mckenzie® self-inflating airback lumbar support.

Cabeau Evolution Cool Neck Support Pillow - Gamer Pillow for Enhanced Gameplay - Neck Pillow for Traveling - Airplane Pillow Made with 100% Memory Foam - Neck Pillow for Sleeping Upright - (Blue) (EC)

Best Cooling Travel Pillow

Cabeau cabeau evolution cool neck support pillow - gamer pillow for enhanced gameplay - neck pillow for traveling - airplane pillow made with 100% memory foam - neck pillow for sleeping upright - (blue) (ec).

Compressible Pillow

Best Packable Travel Pillow

Therm-a-rest compressible pillow.

Ultimate Travel Pillow & Neck Pillow

Best Travel Pillow for Middle Seat

Travelrest ultimate travel pillow & neck pillow.

This top pick by turtl doesn’t conform to the traditional concept of bulky, bean-filled travel pillows. Instead, its one-of-a-kind design wraps around your neck like a scarf with a built-in inner “rib” that contours the jaw, neckline, and shoulder, so it supports your head unlike any travel pillow you’ve ever tried before. It’s thin, lightweight, and packs down small, so it’ll fit in your carry-on no problem. Plus, if you’re inclined to drool while you sleep (no judgment), it’s also machine-washable.

If you’re counting on some beauty sleep but you’re not looking for a major investment, this pillow from Samsonite has everything you could need at a very affordable price. The 2-in-1 pillow converts from a u-shape to a square in seconds, so if you’re not sure if you’ll need lumbar support or neck support this convertible option is perfect for you. One happy Amazon customer says this pick is “comfortable, has a hook for clipping onto my backpack and love the fact it converts to a regular little pillow.”

While this option is a bit more of a splurge, if you’re looking for the best neck support out there, look no further. This luxury memory foam pillow offers 360º natural ergonomic neck support and it’s also height-customizable so travelers can adjust to their preferred comfort level. The soft cover feels great against the skin and is removable for easy machine-washing. It packs down to less than half of its full size to slip effortlessly into the included carry bag, making it ideal for travel. One Amazon customer put it simply: “So comfortable, great support, finally a way to sleep on the plane!”

Even if you aren’t planning on getting any shut-eye on your next trip, a good lumbar support pillow makes any plane or car seat more comfortable. Once you’ve inflated it all the way, the pillow more than doubles in size for additional support for your lower back or anywhere you need it really. The built-in twist valve allows for fine-tuning the inflation to your comfort level. It packs down to just 8 x 3 inches, small enough for even the most compact carry-on bag.

If you’re the kind of person that can’t sleep without a fan on, a cooling travel pillow might be the right choice for you. This cooling pillow from Cabeau has ventilated mesh neck vents to ensure superior airflow, making this an especially great alternative for long-haul flights. With a memory foam core, this model offers excellent head and neck support and its lightweight design packs down to fit in a small bag, so it’s well-sized for tossing into a carry-on. One satisfied Amazon says, “the vented sides keep you from getting sweaty like other neck pillows I own. I would buy it again and it’s worth the extra money. Safe travels!”

If you are an over-packer and you don’t have any room spare in your carry-on, this pillow compresses small enough to fit in most purses! Not only does this pillow come in several different prints and three different sizes, you can use the cinch cord to tailor the firmness and support to your ideal comfort level. Plus, it’s machine-washable! One REI customer writes, “This pillow is so comfortable and it feels like a luxury when I’m backpacking! I love how much it compresses so it takes up very little room in my backpack. Get this pillow!”

TRAVELREST Ultimate Travel Pillow & Neck Pillow

Now this one may seem a bit out of the box, but if you like to lean to the side and you’re stuck in the middle seat on your flight, this pillow just might be worth a shot. You can wear this inflatable pillow like a sash and have something to keep your neck propped up with. This is the only product on our list that provides full lateral support for the upper body, making it easier to relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep longer. It also promotes proper head and neck and cervical alignment and keeps your head from falling forward. It inflates easily and stores neatly when rolled to minimize packing space. One Amazon customer with a review titled “Weird…but it actually works” added that “I don't sleep well on planes, but this let me get four hours of sort-of decent sleep.”

How to choose the right travel pillow for you

line break

Shopping for travel pillows isn’t much different than shopping for traditional bed pillows. The most common features to consider are:

Firmness: As with typical bed pillows, travel pillows range from soft (plush) to medium to extra-firm. The right one for you is a matter of personal preference.

Core construction/Washability: The core of most travel pillows is either memory foam, air-filled, or bead-filled. Again, this is up to what you find the most comfortable. Additionally, you may want to consider if the entire pillow is machine-washable or just the outer cover. Either way, it’s good to know what your pillow hygiene options are!

Size & packability: How small does the travel pillow pack down? Will it fit in or clip on a carry-on travel bag? Consider whether the packed size fits into your travel style and if it’ll comfortably fit within the confines of your “personal item” qualification.

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Try Before You Buy: The best neck pillows for travel

travel pillow for neck problems

Everyone knows how uncomfortable long travel can be on a plane, train or in the car.

Related Articles

MORE: Try Before You Buy: The best carry-on suitcases for spring break

If you are planning a trip this spring break, "Good Morning America" put some neck pillows to the test for Try Before You Buy.

"GMA" correspondent Becky Worley tried three different neck pillows that all can be purchased on Amazon for under $65.

Check out her suggestions below.

By clicking on these shopping links, visitors will leave Goodmorningamerica.com. These e-commerce sites are operated under different terms and privacy policies than Goodmorningamerica.com. ABC will receive a commission for purchases made through these links. SOME PRICES ARE DYNAMIC AND MAY CHANGE FROM THE DATE OF PUBLICATION.

BCOZZY Neck Pillow

travel pillow for neck problems

BCOZZY Neck Pillow for Travel Provides Double Support to The Head, Neck, and Chin in Any Sleeping Position on Flights, Car, and at Home, Comfortable Airplane Travel Pillow, Large, Navy

Trtl travel and airplane pillow.

travel pillow for neck problems

trtl Travel and Airplane Pillow - Real Sleeping Experience on Long Flights - Neck and Shoulder Support - Super-Soft, Lightweight, Easy-to-Carry, and Machine-Washable Flight Pillow

Cabeau the neck's evolution.

travel pillow for neck problems

Cabeau The Neck's Evolution, TNE S3 Travel Neck Pillow Memory Foam Airplane Pillow - Neck Pillow with Attachment Straps - 360-Degree Support for Travel, Home, Office, and Gaming - (Berlin Grey)

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12 best travel pillows for long-haul flights and adventures in 2024

Whether you’re camping, flying or on a long car journey, ensure you’re well rested with one of these, article bookmarked.

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Travel pillows are everywhere – slung around the necks of passengers waiting to check in, poking out of backpacks and dangling from cabin cases . But they’re not just designed for use on planes – they’re great for arduous journeys by car, bus or ferry, too, and can be a lifesaver when (god forbid) a delayed flight means you’re forced to spend the night on a cold airport floor.

Most importantly, they play a crucial role when it comes to body alignment, lightening the load on our neck, head and shoulders by preventing the dreading head bob and making sure that our head stays upright even when we’re out for the count.

The key thing to finding the best travel pillow is that it provides support for your head – if a pillow does this, your neck, back and shoulders will benefit, too. This doesn’t necessarily mean pillows that loop around the neck are the only option because different people sleep in different ways (something reflected in the wide range of options we’ve recommended).

Beyond the shape and filling, there are other, less important factors to consider. Is the lining removable? This isn’t the be-all and end-all, but bear in mind travel pillows are quick to acquire stains and signs of wear and tear, so if it’s not, consider a design that hides those pesky marks. How well does it fit around your headphones , if your go-tos are over-ear models ? This isn’t a problem with most pillows, although there are certainly some options in our round-up that score better than others in this regard.

Finally, in an era when airlines are rolling out increasingly restrictive regulations relating to cabin baggage, how does it do in the stash-ability stakes? If you’re prone to exceeding your size or weight allowance, an inflatable pillow in a carry sack which can be stuffed into a side pocket or dangled from your backpack’s carabiner attachment might be the best option.

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16 best travel backpacks, tried and tested during hiking holidays and city breaks

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How we tested the best travel pillows

A selection of the best travel pillows that we tried for this review

We tested these travel pillows in a whole host of scenarios – at our desks, on long flights, on painfully arduous train journeys and bus journeys across southeast Asia . And trust us – as keen travellers accustomed to long trips on planes, trains and automobiles, we’ve got through more travel pillows than we can count.

We considered multiple factors – were they suitable for trips on which space was at a premium? What did the outer lining and stuffing feel like? Were they as useful on trains and long car journeys as they were on planes (anything that means we get more bang for our buck can only be positive, after all)? In other words, you can rest assured you’re (well, your head, neck and shoulders specifically) in good hands.

The best travel pillows for 2024 are:

  • Best travel pillow overall – Ostrichpillow go neck pillow: £55, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best budget travel pillow – Lifeventure inflatable neck pillow: £12.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best luxury travel pillow – Slip jet setter travel pillow: £79.29, Beautybay.com
  • Best breathable travel pillow – Trtl pillow cool: £29.99, Amazon.co.uk

Ostrichpillow go neck pillow

  • Best : Travel pillow overall
  • Material : Viscose
  • Filling : Memory foam
  • Weight : 350g
  • Dimensions : 25cm x 17cm x 7cm
  • Ultra-soft materials
  • Brilliant ergonomic design

This fantastic memory foam pillow ticked all of the boxes – a removable, ultra-soft lining, a top-quality memory foam filling and generous patches of Velcro to keep it in place, which allows for more adjustability than we’re used to. It’s got a more ergonomic design than other pillows of this size, with a tapered shape which allows it to tuck neatly under our chin. The two-tone colourway also looks incredibly stylish, and we appreciated the tiny size of the label – all too often these are too large and attached to parts of travel pillows where they’re almost certainly going to rub against our skin.

Lifeventure inflatable neck pillow

  • Best : Budget travel pillows
  • Material : Polyester and TPU bonded fabric
  • Filling : Inflatable
  • Weight : 54g
  • Dimensions : 33cm x 47cm x 12cm
  • Very tough fabric on the pillow and stuff sack
  • Great value
  • No fastening to secure the ends at the neck

These days a growing number of travel pillows are made from memory foam. But as travellers who are perpetually short on space, we’ve got a major soft spot for inflatable ones, such as this piece of portable perfection. It inflated and deflated in seconds and the material – a combination of polyester and TPU-bonded fabric – didn’t chafe or rub, even on long flights. We also loved that it came in its very own bag  – an ultra-tough one made with ripstop fabric.

Snugpak butterfly neck pillow

  • Best : For travellers short on space
  • Material : Nylon
  • Weight : 100g
  • Dimensions : 37cm x 15cm x 8cm
  • Stashes into the smallest of pockets and pouches
  • Butterfly shape might not appeal to all

This pillow’s outer material was wonderfully soft, with a thickness that did a fantastic job of ramping up the comfort. It’s a great option for jet-setters who don’t gel with traditional travel pillows worn around the neck – we loved the way its butterfly shape meant it could be jammed into awkward corners and used as a headrest against airplane windows. It inflated and deflated incredibly quickly, and bonus points were awarded for its handy stuff sack, which can be dangled from buckles on backpacks.

Vango deep sleep ergo pillow

  • Best : For frequent flyers
  • Material : Knitted elastic
  • Weight : 80g
  • Dimensions : 41cm x 30cm x 11cm
  • Incredibly soft fabric
  • Supersized valve makes inflation and deflation a breeze
  • Not the best option for those in need of neck (rather than head) support

The shape of this one is inspired by traditional pillows in that it doesn’t loop around the neck but acts as a headrest. Its small size makes it both wonderfully portable and versatile – it works just as well on planes as it does on long coach journeys and camping trips. The large valve means it takes just seconds to inflate and deflate, and the combination of the super soft fabric and a slightly sunken area in the centre did a great job of cushioning our head on a long-haul flight.

Slip jet setter travel pillow

  • Best : Luxury travel pillow
  • Material : Silk
  • Filling : Foam
  • Weight : Unspecified
  • Dimensions : 25cm x 25cm x 12.5cm
  • Soft outer cover
  • The filling is not memory foam

Twenty years ago, when we were backpacking around the world using our wallet, socks or pants as pillows on bus journeys and flights, we’d have loved a pillow such as this one. Yes, it’s expensive but it’s also ridiculously comfortable – a thick curve of foam covered with top-quality mulberry silk (which didn’t just feel great on the skin but kept our hair frizz-free too). An integrated zip allows the cover to be removed and washed (because let’s face it, we’re all prone to the odd mid-snooze dribble). We’re not quite willing to award this a full five stars on account of the filling, which is standard foam. Yes, it’s top-quality stuff but we were hoping for memory foam given the use of the finest silk for the exterior.

Ostrichpillow light versatile pillow

  • Best : Lightweight travel pillow
  • Materials : Viscose
  • Filling : Microbeads
  • Weight : 110g
  • Dimensions : 31.5cm x 16.5cm x 7cm
  • Comfortable
  • The toggle is great for adjusting the fit
  • No washable lining

Yes, this particular pillow looks a little different to the average travel pillow – the suggested way of wearing it is to place it around your head, halo-style, so that it covers your ears and eyes while also cushioning your bonce in all the right places (we could use the toggle to adjust to fit).

We were initially a little nervous about the filling, which consisted of microbeads that felt similar to the ones inside bean bags, albeit slightly smaller. However, our concerns were unfounded – perhaps due to their small size, the result is a wonderful mouldability which provided high levels of comfort, boosted by the ultra-soft lining. The only reason we’re not giving this pillow five out of five is because there’s no removable outer covering should it get dirty, but trust us – this is a minor issue when comfort levels are this high.

Trtl pillow cool

  • Best : Breathable travel pillow
  • Material : Tencel
  • Weight : 299g
  • Dimensions : ‎25.4cm x 20.32cm x 10.16cm
  • Innovative design
  • Breathable material
  • Not the most compact of travel pillows
  • The fastening can be a little fiddly at first

We’ve not come across many travel pillows that come with instruction manuals and were somewhat sceptical about the slightly more complicated design of Trtl’s pillow. In summary, it’s got a built-in rigid section designed to offer firm support for the neck – you keep this section in place by wrapping the scarf-like section around your neck. It was much more comfortable than we imagined and did a great job eliminating the dreaded head-bob, although it only offers support on one side. Despite the built-in rigid section, it’s incredibly light, and the material is surprisingly breathable, too.

Vango Shangri-La memory foam pillow

  • Best : For superior comfort
  • Material : Brushed polyester
  • Filling : Memory foam and an air pocket
  • Weight : 450g
  • Dimensions : 36cm x 11cm
  • Superior comfort
  • Soft fabric

We loved everything about this pillow, which has a precision-engineered ergonomic shape and is covered by some of the softest fabric we’ve come across. The memory foam provided the optimal amount of cushioning, and a colleague who borrowed it for a few moments described his experience as “similar to sleeping on a cloud”. What that actually feels like is anybody’s guess, but we reckon that’s a pretty good endorsement.

The secret to the superior comfort lies in its design, which comprises an outer layer of memory foam and a central air pocket. The result? The mouldability of memory foam and the support which comes courtesy of the air pocket – AKA the ultimate double act, we reckon.

Lifeventure inflatable pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : For a traditional pillow option
  • Material : Polyester and TPU fabric
  • Weight : 77g
  • Dimensions : 36cm x 51cm x 10cm
  • Ergonomic shape provides support

An ergonomic shape provided just the right amount of support (including all-important lumbar support) and the deep grooves aided airflow during a particularly hot, sticky night on a cramped red-eye flight. It’s got enough flexibility to use on planes and trains, and the combination of polyester and TPU fabric makes for an extremely durable pillow. The carry case, made from ripstop fabric, is equally rugged.

Exped air pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : For durability
  • Material : Polyester and TPU polyether film laminate
  • Weight : 60g
  • Dimensions : 46cm x 30cm x 12 cm
  • Easy to adjust rigidness
  • Quick to inflate

Another pillow with an unusual shape – in this case, a semi-rectangular profile – the Exped air pillow isn’t the softest of travel accessories, but it’s ridiculously quick to inflate and wonderfully easy to adjust when it comes to rigidity. It took five short breaths to inflate it fully, and the presence of separate, dedicated inflation and deflation valves cranks up the efficiency. An internal flap in the intake valve means a minimal chance of leaks, too.

Go Travel memory dreamer travel pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : For lumbar support
  • Material : Polyester
  • Weight : 355g
  • Dimensions : 26cm x 25.5cm x 12.5cm
  • Memory foam core provides great lumbar support
  • Thick lining
  • No hook to hang it off backpacks

A memory foam core provides great lumbar support along with cushioning for the head and shoulders, and the lining has a surprising thickness – one which suggests that the memory dreamer is more than capable of standing up to some serious wear and tear. There’s no hook to hang it off backpacks, but we loved the buckle-style clip, which meant we could quickly and easily tweak the fit (something which press studs don’t allow).

Outwell dream boat ergo pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : Multipurpose travel pillow
  • Materials : Polyester
  • Weight : 300g
  • Dimensions : 50cm x 29cm x 10cm
  • Large makes it versatile
  • Top-quality memory foam construction
  • Provides great support

This pillow is one of the largest we’ve tested, but we can confirm it’s still perfectly suitable for plane journeys, thanks to its amazing squishiness. The upside to its supersized design is that it can be used for camping holidays too, and its versatility is ramped up due to a number of factors.

Firstly, the low-flat valves, which are easy to inflate but won’t snag when the pillow is squashed into small spaces or stashed into backpacks. Add a top-quality memory foam construction, super soft fabric and a shape designed to support not just the head but the back and shoulders too, and you’ve got a one-way ticket to the land of nod.

Travel pillow FAQs

What is the best travel pillow shape.

If you’re lucky enough to be one of those few people whose in-flight discomfort doesn’t come from head bobbing but the displeasure stemming from resting your head against hard surfaces, opt for a travel pillow with a traditional shape, rather than a looping design (another benefit of these is that they’re more versatile, and double as great camping pillows when space is at a premium).

What is the best travel pillow filling?

Don’t make the mistake of insisting on memory foam – although memory foam is usually best when it comes to fantastic support, there are plenty of other fillings (such as lightweight microbeads) which work just as well, while inflatable pillows are handy if you’re short on space.

The verdict: Travel pillows

What’s not to love about a cloud-like neck pillow filled with the finest quality memory foam and precision-engineered to support our head, neck and shoulders? Nothing – which is exactly why Ostrichpillow’s go neck pillow bags the top spot. Snugpak’s butterfly neck pillow comes second for its wonderful versatility while Lifeventure’s inflatable neck pillow earns a special mention for its hat trick of practicality, comfort and value for money.

Make travelling light work with one of these travel backpacks for hiking holidays and city breaks

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Chasing The Unexpected

The 10 Best Travel Neck Pillows for Comfortable Trips

If you have to travel a lot for work or leisure, you want to invest in the best travel neck pillows. They’ll quickly become your favorite travel partner because they will allow you to arrive refreshed and ready to take on whatever is waiting for you at your destination. A fantastic gift for travelers , they’re not only good for long-haul flights, where it’s more difficult to find comfort and rest, they’re also good for short flights because they allow you to rest and relax. A travel neck pillow is also useful when you’re traveling by car, bus, or train; you’ll appreciate the extra comfort quite a bit! You can even use it at home if you spend a lot of time sitting while working, reading, browsing the internet, etc.

The bottom line is that you should have one of the best travel neck pillows if trips are commonly featured in your schedule. They will allow you to rest easier, provide comfort, and they’re super easy to use, easy to transport, and easy to wash. If you’re looking for the right neck pillow for you, today we’ve narrowed down the options to the 10 best neck support travel pillows so you can choose the perfect one for you. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, you will enjoy the benefits of a comfortable travel experience without having to spend big bucks.

MLVOC Travel Pillow For Long Flights

Table of Contents

10 Best Travel Neck Pillows to Improve Your Trip

Mlvoc travel pillow for long flights.

MLVOC Travel Pillow For Long Flights

The MLVOC travel pillow is one of the best ones out there and it’s available at an affordable price. It has a curved shape and it’s one of the best memory foam travel pillows. It provides the comfort you need and it will prevent your head from falling forward. Another great thing about this travel pillow is that it features an adjustable rope lock that allows you to adjust the size and angle of the pillow.

This travel pillow is covered with a breathable and soft magnetic therapy cloth, which is sweat-resistant and machine washable, so it will be easy for you to keep it clean and fresh. The superior-quality memory foam will cushion your head perfectly and provide maximum comfort no matter how short or long your trip is. It’s also lightweight and easy to carry!

BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

The BCOZZY travel pillow is one of the best neck support travel pillows out there. It prevents your head from falling forward and it’s adjustable. Also, it doesn’t only support your neck, it also supports your chin when you’re sitting so you can relax completely during your trip. The design allows you to try three ergonomic positions so you will be able to find the perfect support.

Perhaps one of the best things about the BCOZZY travel pillow is that it prevents neck pain and supports posture. So, it’s not only perfect for traveling, but it’s also perfect for work or when you’re sitting at home watching a show, working on the computer, reading, and more. It’s also easy to clean, lightweight, easy to store, and it comes with a snap strap so you can clip it to your luggage.

Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow

The Dot&Dot travel pillow is another great option to consider at an affordable price. It’s quite unique because it’s a twistable travel pillow that you’ll be able to adjust into any shape so it can provide comfort in any position. This design allows you to personalize this memory foam pillow, which is why it’s one of the best neck support travel pillows. Another great thing about it is how versatile it is.

It can support your head, shoulders, back, and even your cervical spine whenever you’re sitting, napping, or relaxing on the couch. It’s one of the best travel pillows for long flights because it provides a ton of comfort and it will make it easy for you to rest. It’s also easy to clean because it’s covered with a cotton cover and it’s also easy to carry because you can attach it to any travel backpack or luggage .

Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Everlasting Comfort Memory Travel Pillow

The Everlasting Comfort travel pillow is made of 100% memory foam and it’s one of the best travel pillows for long flights, short flights, and more. This travel pillow features a raised lobe design that allows your head to rest comfortably in any position. The pillow is covered with an ultra-plush velour cover, which is easy to remove and machine washable.

Another great thing about this travel pillow is that it features a mobile phone pocket so you can use your phone to get to sleep and keep it safe from falling. This travel pillow is lightweight, portable, and it’s perfect for traveling whether by plane, car, bus, or train. It’s also great to use at home or at work if you spend a lot of time sitting and you want to avoid aches and pains.

Travelmate Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Travelmate Memory Foam Neck Pillow

The Travelmate neck pillow is another great option. It’s made of memory foam, so it provides a ton of comfort and it will allow you to get some rest and sleep well during your travels. One of the best things about this travel pillow is that it features a removable insert that allows you to adjust the thickness of the pillow to fit your needs.

The high-quality memory foam will mold perfectly to your neck to provide that comfort you need and it’s covered with a plush velour cover, which you can easily clean by putting it in the washing machine. There’s also an elastic strap that makes it easy for you to carry because you can attach the pillow to your luggage or backpack.

Cabeau Evolution S3 Neck Pillow For Travel

Cabeau Evolution S3 Neck Pillow For Travel

The Cabeau Evolution S3 travel pillow is one of the best travel neck pillows on the market and it’s a bit more expensive, but it also offers more value. This neck pillow is approved by orthopedic surgeons, so you can be certain it will provide the comfort you need to rest easy on your trips and prevent aches and pains. It’s made of memory foam and an adjustable clap to make sure it fits your neck perfectly.

The travel pillow also comes with straps that will allow you to attach it to your seat so it doesn’t slouch or fall forward. It comes with a compact travel case as well, which reduces the size of the travel pillow by half, making it easy to store. It also features a removable cover that’s machine washable.

Phixnozar Ergonomic Travel Cushion

Phixnozar Ergonomic Travel Cushion

Next, we have the Phixnozar travel pillow, which is an affordable option that offers great value. It’s made of memory foam so it will provide all the support and comfort you need to rest easy during your trip, no matter your means of transportation. It features a curved design that will keep your neck in place and prevent your head from moving around.

Another great thing about this travel pillow is that it comes with a rope lock that’s fully adjustable so you can adjust the size and angle for perfect comfort. It’s versatile, it can fit any neck size, it comes with a super soft cover, it’s easy to clean because it’s machine washable, and it’s also compact and easy to carry.

LANQI Travel Neck Pillow For Flying

LANQI Travel Neck Pillow For Flying

The LANQI travel pillow is another inexpensive option to consider and this is one of the best inflatable neck pillows out there. It inflates very easily, with the push of a button, and you can decide how inflated it is. Once you’re done using it, you only have to push the double-sealed black air valve to release the air. Inflatable neck pillows are super easy to put away and they fit anywhere.

Another great thing about this travel neck pillow is that it provides a ton of comfort thanks to its design, which provides raised neck support. It also features a soft micro-velvet cover that’s machine washable. This is the best travel pillow for kids as well because it’s super soft, it can provide a great fit and it’s easy to pack in your kids’ carry-on .

NAPFUN Wrap-Around Neck Pillow for Traveling

NAPFUN Neck Pillow for Traveling

The NAPFUN neck pillow is another amazing option and it’s affordable. It’s one of the best travel pillows for long flights, short flights, and more. It will wrap nicely around your need and keep your head in place so you don’t suffer any aches and pains. Overall, it provides great support and comfort, which is something you’ll be grateful for and definitely want to include in your family packing list .

Another good thing about this neck pillow is that it comes with a double-layered cover that adds to the comfort and it’s machine washable. This travel pillow is also easy to carry because it includes a portable travel bag that allows it to compress to a smaller size, so it can fit anywhere.

SAIREIDER Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow

SAIREIDER Wrap-Around Travel Neck Pillow

Last but not least, we have the SAIREIDER travel neck pillow. This inexpensive option offers high value because it comes with an eye-mask, ear-plugs, and even a storage bag so you can carry this travel pillow easily. This is one of the best travel neck pillows for the price and it’s made with 100% pure memory foam. It will provide support and comfort, making it perfect for your travels.

It features a zippered pillow cover that’s easy to remove and it’s also machine washable, so it’s easy to keep your travel pillow fresh and clean. The ergonomic design offers 360°support for your neck and your head. It won’t squeeze your ears so you can use earbuds and it will prevent aches and pains thoroughly.

Neck Pillow Buying Guide: What to Know Before You Buy

When you’re looking for the best travel pillow for you, there are a few factors you need to consider. You need to ask yourself some questions. What position do you usually sleep in? What kind of material are you more comfortable with? What travel style do you usually practice? How often do you travel? How much are you willing to spend? The most important factor is neck support, of course! You want to make sure the travel neck pillow you choose will be able to provide the neck support you need to allow you to sleep in whatever position you choose. Inflatable pillows and memory foam pillows are ideal, so make sure you consider those options.

The fabric is also important to consider because it will also add to your comfort. Consider the climate of the places you usually go to. If you often travel to hot climates, travel pillows made of cotton or smooth plastic, while fleece travel pillows are perfect for cold climates. Another important thing to consider is the size and weight of your travel pillow. You want it to suit your travel style, so if you tend to travel light, small and lightweight travel pillows are the perfect option. Inflatable and memory foam pillows are also easier to carry. If you have room to spare, you can choose a microbead travel pillow.

Durability is also a major factor to consider, especially if you’re someone who travels quite frequently. You want to make sure your travel pillow can last for a while, so consider spending a little more to get a lot more value out of it. You also want your travel pillow to be washable so you can always keep it clean. Overall, finding the right neck support travel pillow for you is all about considering key factors. Once you do, it will be easy to choose one from our list.

Concerns and Questions About Travelling Neck Pillows

Are travel neck pillows worth it.

There’s no doubt that travel neck pillows can be a bit of an investment. But if you’re someone who travels often or has to endure long flights, they can definitely be worth the money.

Neck pillows provide support for your head and neck, helping to prevent stiffness and discomfort during travel. They also promote better posture by keeping your head aligned with your spine. And if you suffer from headaches or TMJ, a neck pillow can help alleviate some of that pain by providing gentle pressure on the back of your head and neck.

So if you find yourself asking “are travel neck pillows worth it?”, the answer is most likely yes – especially if you value your comfort while traveling!

What are travel neck pillows for?

Travel neck pillows are designed to provide support and comfort for the head and neck while traveling. They help to keep the head and neck in a neutral position, which can prevent pain and discomfort.

There are a variety of different types of travel neck pillows available, including memory foam, inflatable, and cervical roll models. It is important to choose one that is most suitable for your needs and preferences.

Are travel pillows bad for your neck?

No, travel pillows are not bad for your neck. In fact, they can actually help to support your neck and prevent pain while you are traveling. However, it is important to choose a travel pillow that is the right size and shape for your body and to use it correctly in order to get the most benefit from it.

Travel pillows come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so choose one that will fit your body comfortably. If you are using a pillow that is too big or too small, it can actually be more harmful than helpful. In addition, many people find that inflatable travel pillows provide the best support and comfort while they are traveling.

Are neck pillows good for travelling?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best pillow for travel will vary depending on individual needs and preference. However, many people find that neck pillows can be extremely helpful in making long journeys more comfortable.

Neck pillows can help to support the head and neck, preventing uncomfortable aches and pains that can come from sitting in one position for extended periods of time. They can also help to promote better posture, which can be beneficial both during travel and afterwards.

Some people even find that using a neck pillow can help them to sleep better on planes or trains. Of course, not all neck pillows are created equal. There are a variety of different styles available

Are travel neck pillows safe for toddlers?

It depends. Most travel neck pillows are not recommended for toddlers because they can be a suffocation hazard. However, there are some travel neck pillows that are made specifically for toddlers and they are safe to use.

Be sure to read the product specifications before purchasing a travel neck pillow for your toddler. And if you are still not sure, ask your peditration.

Can travel neck pillows be washed?

Yes, most travel neck pillows can be washed. However, some have a special coating that can be damaged by water, so it’s important to read the care instructions before washing.

Ideally, you should wash your travel neck pillow in the gentle cycle of your washing machine and then air dry it. If you need to clean it more thoroughly, you can also use a mild detergent and spot clean any areas that need attention.

Can you sleep with a travel neck pillow?

You bet! A travel neck pillow is one of the most versatile pieces of gear you can take with you on your journey. It can be used as a traditional neck pillow for sleeping if you don’t have an actual pillow, or it can be used as an impromptu seat cushion on an airplane or bus.

It can even be used to keep your head warm on chilly nights. So go ahead and make the most of your travel neck pillow – you’ll be glad you did!

Who sells travel neck pillows?

Amazon is the leading online retailer for travel pillows. They offer a wide variety of travel neck pillows, as well as other travel accessories.

Is inflatable travel neck pillows good for airplanes?

There is no one definitive answer to this question, as there are a variety of different types of inflatable travel neck pillows and each has its own set of pros and cons. However, in general, inflatable travel neck pillows can be beneficial for airplane passengers looking to get comfortable and get some rest during their flight.

Some of the key benefits of using an inflatable travel neck pillow on an airplane include: added support for your head and neck, the ability to adjust the firmness/inflation level to your preference, and portability (compared to bulky pillow options). Additionally, many people find that sleeping with an inflatable travelling pillow helps them avoid developing a stiff neck or headache during their flight.

Now that you know what are the 10 best travel neck pillows on the market, you won’t have an issue finding the right one for you. Every option on the list will allow you to have more comfortable trips and they’re all affordable, though some are more inexpensive than others. These are quality neck pillows that will provide the support you need to actually sleep and relax during trips, whether they’re by plane, car, bus, or train, it doesn’t matter! Instead of feeling tired and experiencing neck pain after a trip, you will feel fresh and rested; we promise!

about me: Angela Corrias

I'm Angela Corrias, an Italian journalist, photographer, and travel writer located in the heart of Italy's capital. Welcome to my website, your comprehensive source for your travels and expert guidance for crafting your dream travel experience.

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We tested 4 travel pillows for your return to sleeping on planes. There was one winner.

Sleeping comfortably in economy can feel impossible, but the right pillow can help

travel pillow for neck problems

If you have flown in economy, you may feel like airlines are doing everything they can to make the experience uncomfortable. The seats are the opposite of ergonomic. The legroom is minuscule. Given that setup, sleeping on a flight is usually a nightmare.

That has been my experience before the pandemic — and even more so now. Since the complicated return of travel, I have had a tougher time feeling comfortable on planes, let alone sleeping on them. Despite knowing a travel pillow can help with the misery, I chose to skip packing one to have more room in my carry-on bag on my first few pandemic-era flights . That repeat decision led to a painfully craned neck, numb hands and little — if any — sleep.

If I’m going to start taking up precious luggage space for a travel pillow again, it has to be worth it. Travel pillows, like many you see at the airport, can be useless, so not just any option will do.

To see what deserves packing, I tested four pillows over four flights between D.C. and California. Here are my findings.

The illustrated encyclopedia of sleeping positions on a plane

Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow, $55

According to the Cushion Lab website , Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop called this pillow “The Tesla of travel pillows.” While I don’t consider myself a Goop person, the claim caught my attention. The company promised an asymmetrical design by an in-house ergonomist that fits under your chin and around your face so you can lean and sleep comfortably with “360° zero pressure neck protection.” It was also the priciest of the bunch at $55, which is more than what I would like to pay for a travel pillow (or a regular pillow, for that matter).

When I unfurled it from its carrying pouch, my first thought was “Ooh this is gooey” — in a good way. The pillow’s fabric felt silky and smooth, encasing something that felt like a hard gel. Apparently that’s the “Hyperfoam,” an “extra dense, dynamically rebounding, proprietary memory foam.”

The case for cutting your airport arrival time dangerously close

I loved the texture of the Cushion Lab contender — and that it squished up smaller than the rest so it took up less space — but I was left wanting more support. Throughout my tests, unless I was leaning back in a specific rigid way (not how I usually fall asleep), I didn’t feel the strong embrace I was looking for in an airplane-friendly neck pillow. Lastly, it fought with my KN95 mask, pushing it up and requiring regular adjusting, but it didn’t really upset a cloth mask.

On the bright side, it looked normal, as far as neck pillows go — unlike my next choice.

Happy Headrest Travel Pillow, $24.99

The Happy Headrest Travel Pillow feels like an option for people who love science fairs. It’s for the infomercial enthusiasts, and the optimists who support crowdfunded inventions on the Internet. It’s a U-shaped contraption that hooks onto a passenger’s tray table, providing a soft ledge for resting face down.

Defying societal norms for a kooky innovation, I set up and leaned onto my bright blue device. Despite looking ridiculous to my fellow passengers, it was surprisingly comfortable. Sinking into the big, juicy pad was a great alternative to crunching my body backward into my seat. This felt like a guilt-free alternative to the controversial recline .

My complaint: You can only really use it to sleep on one side of your head, the side facing the window. After a while, my neck was feeling kinked and uncomfortable, but turning over felt impossible. Unless I’m traveling with the person seated next to me , there’s no way on God’s green earth I would rotate to turn toward a stranger. You’re way too close to your economy-row neighbor to face them; it would be intimate and weird.

How do you actually get those $49 flights? There’s always a catch to airline sales.

It also fit awkwardly in my backpack. It’s 10 ounces and carry-on-friendly, but it can’t fold up so you’ll have to schlep the bulky frame throughout your travels. It does come with a snap-on clip if you want to have it dangle from your luggage.

SeatDreamzzz Wall Pillow, $39.99

If I know I’ll be attempting to sleep on a flight, I always pick a window seat so I can curl up in my little nook without the interruption of my row-mates getting up for the lavatory. The SeatDreamzzz Wall Pillow seemed like the perfect accompaniment.

The pillow is an inflatable L-shape device that looks like a tiny suede couch. According to the company, it’s the first of its kind, designed to rest against a wall to provide support “in one of the most frequently slept-in positions outside of your bed.”

In the era of mask mandates and contagious airborne diseases, I did feel guilty and unsure about removing my mask to inflate the pillow. I figured it was no worse than eating or drinking on the plane and pumped up my accessory. You can make it super firm or keep it a little squishy so you can nestle into it.

Once it was in shape, the challenge was figuring out how to position the pillow against my wall (or window). There wasn’t an “ah ha” moment where I felt like I got it right. Nonetheless, it did provide great support not only for my head, but also for my arm. It’s versatile and has the potential to facilitate some snoozing, plus it deflates into the size of a soda can — allegedly. I just shoved it into my backpack without folding it up tightly.

Cabeau Evolution Classic Neck Pillow, $29.99

I have long stood by Cabeau’s Evolution Classic neck pillow. It was my go-to pick when I traveled constantly. I’d leave it behind in a cab, hotel lobby, Airbnb and inevitably buy a replacement. Breaking it out for this experiment felt like reuniting with an old friend.

As I had remembered, it is very plush, so there’s not much room for your neck to flop over. There’s an adjustable clamp in the front to make it even more secure, like a more-forgiving neck brace. You can roll it up to make it smaller to pack, although I lost the carrying sack long ago.

What I hate about the Evolution Classic is the fabric. It reminds me of a Greyhound bus seat. Cabeau makes another model, the Evolution Cool, that addresses overheating, but it’s $60. For someone prone to losing travel pillows, I am less inclined to splurge on the upgraded version.

After testing all of the travel pillows, I ultimately returned to the Evolution Classic for napping purposes. It’s not perfect, but it’s a safe and easy bet — no setting it up, no breaking it down. You just whip it out and snooze whether you’re stuck in economy, a train, the bus or a long, long car ride.

The harsh reality is that flying economy is unforgiving on the body, whether you are trying to sleep or not. You can alleviate some of the pain with accessories like a neck pillow. You just have to find the right one for you.

Video editing by Allie Caren.

More travel tips

Vacation planning: Start with a strategy to maximize days off by taking PTO around holidays. Experts recommend taking multiple short trips for peak happiness . Want to take an ambitious trip? Here are 12 destinations to try this year — without crowds.

Cheap flights: Follow our best advice for scoring low airfare , including setting flight price alerts and subscribing to deal newsletters. If you’re set on an expensive getaway, here’s a plan to save up without straining your credit limit.

Airport chaos: We’ve got advice for every scenario , from canceled flights to lost luggage . Stuck at the rental car counter? These tips can speed up the process. And following these 52 rules of flying should make the experience better for everyone.

Expert advice: Our By The Way Concierge solves readers’ dilemmas , including whether it’s okay to ditch a partner at security, or what happens if you get caught flying with weed . Submit your question here . Or you could look to the gurus: Lonely Planet and Rick Steves .

travel pillow for neck problems

The 9 Best Pillows for Neck Pain, Tested by Editors

A sleep medicine professor also shares what bedding features to look for.

best pillows for neck pain

Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site. Why Trust Us?

Tempur-Neck Pillow

Best Overall

Tempur-pedic tempur-neck pillow.

Luxury Side Sleeper Pillow

Best For Side Sleepers

Sleep artisan luxury side sleeper pillow.

Original Loft Bed Pillow

Most Versatile Pillow

Coop home goods original loft bed pillow.

Experts we spoke with say that neck pain can rob you of quality shut-eye. “ Pillows provide optimal support from the shoulders up, and they play an important role in proper spinal alignment and comfort while you’re sleeping,” says Peter Polos, M.D. , an associate professor of sleep medicine at Hackensack JFK Medical Center in New Jersey and sleep expert for Sleep Number. “They also help open your airways and reduce snoring at night. If you have neck discomfort and find yourself waking up because of it, you might want to consider trying a new pillow.

But, of course, shopping for bedding —and neck pain-relief pillows, in particular—can be confusing. That's why we reviewed some of the top-selling, best-reviewed models available. We’ve selected nine of the best pillows for neck pain to help you make your decision. (And just in case you need to complete your bedroom setup, we also pulled together the best sleep products in our 2023 Men's Health Sleep Awards —check those out as you shop for your next snooze.)

With its contoured shape and supportive memory foam, the Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Neck Pillow promises to keep your neck aligned all night long. It comes in three sizes, customizable to your body shape and sleeping style, and it's completely hypoallergenic.

Like virtually every Tempur-Pedic product we've tested, the Tempur-Neck Pillow delivers on its promise of keeping your neck properly aligned and supported. The unique contoured design might seem weird at first, but trust us if you suffer from neck pain (or even if you don't), it's a game-changer in keeping your whole body aligned while you sleep. It's best for side and back sleepers who need a bit of extra support. Just grab the size that matches your neck-to-shoulder distance, and you'll be good to go. Bonus: It's great at keeping your head and neck cool, too.

It's a little pricey at around $120 (retail), but that's actually surprisingly affordable for a Tempur-Pedic branded product. Plus, we regularly see it on sale for less than $80. Tempur throws in free shipping (on this and all its accessories), and a five-year warranty, too.

There’s a lot to like about the Sleep Artisan Luxury Side Sleeper Pillow. It’s filled with natural latex and microfiber, which keeps it cool and hypoallergenic, and it’s adjustable for any sleeper, whether back, stomach, or side. But we like it for side sleepers, in particular.

The unique cut-out shape leaves room for your shoulders to lay in a neutral position, so side sleepers can sleep more naturally with their head, neck, and spine properly aligned. With an adjustable fill, it's easy to dial in your preferred pillow height. Latex is a great down alternative and something of a natural miracle fiber, too. The airy design of this pillow ensures that it helps draw away heat, plus it's resistant to odors, dust, mildew, and common household allergens.

With more than 1,000 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, it's clear this is a favorite among verified buyers, too. Plus, we dig that it's priced at right under $100, making this neck pain pillow feel like a steal.

We've been fans of Coop Home Goods' bedding for years, and its OG Original Loft Bed Pillow is no exception. Filled with shredded memory foam, this pillow is adjustable to every sleep style—whether you're a back, side, or stomach sleeper—while still being supportive for those with neck pain.

This is one of the most versatile neck pain pillows on the market. The key is the shredded memory foam fill that allows you to add or remove as much as you want to customize the pillow to your personal perfect height. Every Coop pillow includes a bag of Extra Oomph Memory Blend Fill, allowing you to bring your pillow all the way down to the mattress (for stomach sleepers) or overstuff it (best for side sleepers who need extra head support). It’s also derived from natural bamboo, which is hypoallergenic and cooling to regulate your body temperature so you sleep more comfortably in any weather.

The best part about this pillow? The price. At $75 (for a queen-sized version) with free shipping and returns , it's arguably the best value neck pillow on the market. Plus, you can opt for crescent or cut-out-shaped models if that's your thing.

Epabo Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Contour Memory Foam Pillow

While most contoured pillows simply offer a cut-out for your neck, this alternative from EPABO relies on a gentle, ergonomic slope to cradle your neck and head. It's perfect for keeping your head, neck, and back aligned to minimize neck pain (and other common aches).

The contour is designed to be "just right" for all types of sleepers, but we would most recommend it for anyone who likes to snooze on their side or, to a lesser degree, their back. Like many of the best memory foam pillows, this model is hypoallergenic and includes a free pillowcase that's removable and machine-washable. We like that it's available in three different sizes: Standard, Queen, and "Near King" (that's a new one on us).

With more than 27,000 Amazon reviews—including 16,000 five-star ratings—this is one of the best neck pain pillows on Amazon. Some reviews note the typical "memory foam chemical smell" immediately after opening the package. But, for less than $50, we think this model is worth a look for any neck pain sufferer.

Belly Sleep Belly Pillow for Stomach & Back Sleepers

Belly Pillow for Stomach & Back Sleepers

As we’ve said before, stomach sleepers have unique needs—namely, thinner pillows that don’t strain the neck during the night. The Belly Sleep Gel Infused Memory Foam Pillow is thin but supportive, with a cooling gel that’ll keep you from overheating while facedown in it.

While it lacks the defined cutout or crescent shape of other neck-support pillows, this option instead offers a 2.5-inch, low-profile design. It's the perfect height for back and stomach sleepers who need a little less support in a way that doesn't force their head into an awkward position too far away from their mattress. This pillow is stuffed with a polyurethane foam infused with a cooling gel designed to draw heat away from the body and regulate your temperature throughout the night.

The thinner design is versatile for hybrid sleepers (those who like more than one sleep position), too. One Amazon reviewer recommends folding it up if you switch positions during the night, as many stomach sleepers do. Bonus: It's surprisingly well-priced at just under $50 with a free cover, and Belly Sleep even throws in a "forever" lifetime warranty to boot.

Core Products D-Core Cervical Spine Support Pillow

D-Core Cervical Spine Support Pillow

Like stomach sleepers, back sleepers need special consideration when it comes to neck pain. For back sleepers with neck pain, Core Products' D-Core Cervical Support Pillow offers a supportive cradle—almost like a medical neck pillow—that keeps the head stable and properly aligned overnight.

The unique, divot-like design is unlike any other in our roundup. But this is no ordinary neck pillow. It's designed for maximum support to alleviate neck pain. One side of the pillow features a larger neck roll, while the other is smaller, so dialing in your preferred comfort level is just a matter of rotating the bedding. It's a solid option for chronic neck pain sufferers or anyone who lives with neck spasms, tension headaches, and more. With two available sizes (Full and Midsize), it's easier to opt for the pillow that's just the right size and shape to fit your body type.

It may take time to adjust, but the shape can offer serious relief for back sleepers when traditional pillows aren’t cutting it. Plus, at around $40, it's more budget-friendly than almost any other neck pain pillow in our roundup. The only real downside? No warranty.

Layla Kapok Pillow

Kapok Pillow

Yes, we said fill material doesn’t matter. And that’s generally true—for relieving neck pain, support is what matters most. But Layla’s pillow combines kapok (a light and airy natural fiber) with memory foam to provide adjustable support that’s also extremely breathable, as well as keeping your head cool.

Like most of the bedding in Layla's catalog, the Kapok Pillow looks and feels like a premium product. It's plush, airy, and lofty (trust us, that's a thing). The hybrid fill provides a "best of both worlds" construction with the pressure-relieving support of memory foam and the cooling, temperature-regulating bliss of kapok. It's arguably the best cooling neck pain relief pillow on our list, too. The polyester/viscose blend cover is super soft, and we especially love the unique hexagon pattern stitching that sets it apart from every other pillow.

At north of $100, this is a premium pillow option. But it's still more affordable than the most luxurious pillows we've seen this year, which can cost more than $250. Plus, Layla frequently offers BOGO (buy one, get one free) pricing, so you can score a set of two for closer to $50 each.

Purple The Purple Pillow

The Purple Pillow

We do love us some Purple bedding. From its mattresses to its sheets to its pillows, it's all good. The OG Purple Pillow is still among our favorites for just about any sleep style, but it's especially good for neck support and neck pain sufferers, too.

The secret sauce with this pillow is in the GelFlex Grid, a gel foam that's designed to be infinitely adaptable to your body shape and sleep position, so it literally moves and flexes with you throughout the night. This makes it great for supporting your head and neck, and alleviating chronic neck pain too. It's firmer than traditional pillows, so it doesn't feel "fluffy" like a traditional pillow, either. But if you're looking for maximum neck support, that's a good thing. Plus, the included mesh cover is washable, breathable, and cooling to boot.

We love everything about this pillow. But there's no getting around the fact that it is pricey . At roughly $250 (retail), it's among the most expensive pillows—for neck pain or otherwise—that we tested this year. Still, if you're a chronic neck pain sufferer and only the best will do, this gets our stamp of approval.

Therapeutica Cervical Orthopedic Foam Sleeping Pillow

Cervical Orthopedic Foam Sleeping Pillow

People with neck pain who like a firmer pillow should consider the many memory foam options. But if you want something even more firm and supportive, the Therapeutica pillow is worth considering. It might look weird, but the unique shape is designed to cradle your head whether you’re a side or back sleeper.

We get it: This pillow probably doesn't look super comfortable at first glance. But trust us, this one is purpose-built for serious neck support. The molded foam construction is much firmer than traditional memory foam, making this more like a hospital-worthy sleep aid than an "ordinary" neck support pillow. The central cavity gently cradles your head, providing neutral spinal alignment and preventing the "wobble" you might find in lesser pillows. Plus, the elevated sides accommodate your shoulders, too, ensuring they're properly supported to prevent arm numbness. This neck pain pillow is available in four distinct sizes, from Petite to X-Large, so you can find the right one to fit your body (and neck/head) shape. All sizes include a removable cotton/poly cover, making washing and maintenance a breeze. Plus, it's priced right at just under $100, which seems like a bargain for a pillow that promises maximum neck support.

How to Find the Best Neck Pain Pillow for You

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If you're a chronic neck pain sufferer, finding the right supportive pillow can be a game-changer for your sleep health. But, as with most bedding, there are tons of options on the market, so it's hard to know where to start.

Finding the right one for your neck pain depends on your sleep style. Don’t worry too much about the material; as long as it provides enough support, it doesn’t matter whether your pillow is memory foam, bamboo, or something else—though down tends to be too fluffy to help. “There is no one-size-fits-all pillow; it’s important to choose one that is supportive and comfortable for your sleep needs,” Polos says.

If you're looking for one pillow to help you finally find those elusive pain-free mornings, here are the most important considerations.

Sleep position

Your preferred sleep position is one of the most important factors in finding the right pillow (or mattress or mattress topper, for that matter). "Look for a pillow that aligns your neck and spine properly, as a pillow that’s too high or too low can cause neck discomfort,” advises Polos.

If you're a side sleeper , consider a neck pain pillow that's a bit thicker, firmer, or both to cradle your head and neck while keeping your spine aligned. Contoured pillows or those with a specific cut-out can also help provide extra support. Back sleepers will probably want a medium-loft pillow (not to thin and not too tall) that conforms to the natural curve of the neck without pushing the head too far up off the mattress. Finally, stomach sleepers should opt for a thinner pillow that won't hyperextend the neck.

Material and pillow fill

A memory foam pillow will be the right choice for many neck pain sufferers. It conforms well to the body and provides solid pressure relief for any sleep position. Likewise, latex offers many of the same benefits as memory foam, plus it tends to be cooler and more breathable. Buckwheat and down pillows are two other options. However, these are often softer and fluffier and may not be good choices for neck pain sufferers.

Other features

Neck pain pillows tend to offer more features than traditional pillows. Consider one with a cervical contour, for example, with a raised center that's designed to support the natural curve of the neck. Some models offer built-in cooling tech via gel inserts or extra-breathable fabrics designed to help regulate your temperature. If you're sensitive to allergens, consider a pillow that's hypoallergenic and/or designed to inhibit mold, mildew, and other common allergens. Finally, most neck pillows worth buying include a removable, washable cover. Double-check any models you're considering, though, as you'll want to make washing and caring for your new pillow as easy as possible.

A new pillow is one of the most budget-friendly changes you can make to upgrade your sleep situation. Decent neck support pillows are available for less than $50, while midrange options are usually in the $100-$200 range. The very best neck pillows (from makers like Purple) can run more than $200 retail.

How Does a Neck Pain Pillow Help with Neck Pain?

The right pillow, whether you’re a side, stomach, or back sleeper, keeps your neck in a neutral position, aligned with your spine in a way that doesn’t cause stress. It’s basic ergonomics, really—along with the right mattress, the right pillow supports your head, leaving your muscles relaxed and tension-free while you sleep.

Can a Neck Pillow Really Help with Neck Pain?

Absolutely! Investing in a good pillow is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to alleviate chronic neck pain. The best neck support pillows cradle your head and neck in a natural position to help better align your spine while you sleep. This can reduce tension and muscle strain which both contribute to neck pain.

Memory foam and hybrid memory foam neck pillows conform to your head, neck, and body. This helps distribute your weight more evenly, which reduces pressure points on the neck and shoulders. This can be doubly beneficial if you suffer from arthritis or other chronic pain conditions.

Some neck pain pillows—especially contoured models and those designed with bolsters—can also encourage you to sleep in a more natural position to minimize neck pain.

Just keep in mind that no pillow is going to be a cure-all. Even the best pillows for neck pain can help, but they may only be one piece of the puzzle. If you're suffering from chronic pain, you may need to consult your doctor or physical therapist to see what your options are.

How We Selected the Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Our staff here at Men's Health are proud "sleep enthusiasts." For this roundup, we researched and evaluated neck pain pillows from bargain brands on Amazon, premium bedding makers like Purple and Tempur-Pedic, and everything in between. We compared the support, comfort, durability, buyer reviews, cooling capabilities, and price of every model. In the end, we agreed on the above nine as our picks for the best neck pain pillows worth buying in 2024.

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The 15+ Best Sleep Travel Products for Flights, From Ergonomic Pillows to Comfy Noise-Cancelling Headphones

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, The Hollywood Reporter may receive an affiliate commission.

Flying is often an uncomfortable, crowded experience. When you’ve got the sounds of the plane, the noise from other passengers and staff, the blasting cold air, light streaming in from the windows and a cramped economy seat, sleeping seems near-impossible. While the wisdom of the internet mostly suggests weed gummies or a prescription from your doctor to help you sleep on long-haul flights, those options aren’t always available. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best sleep products for travel you can shop now.

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We’ve found top-rated neck pillows, blankets, and other in-flight essentials make flying not only tolerable but, dare we say, comfortable. Plenty of these products — including nourishing skincare items, highly-rated eye masks and noise-canceling headphones — are also useful once you land, too. You never know when you’ll find yourself needing to tune out the sounds of neighboring hotel rooms, or block out the light when it comes shining into the window at 5:30 a.m.

We’ve scoured tons of reviews to bring you these highly-rated finds that make any flight, vacation or visit to your parents’ house more enjoyable. Here are our picks for the best sleep products any frequent flyer should have on hand before their next long-haul flight .

BEST TRAVEL PILLOW

Travelrest Ultimate Travel, Neck & Body Pillow

$29.95 $39.99 25% off

Buy at Amazon

This unique pillow was recently featured in a TikTok from The Bachelor ’s Matt James , who shared a video of his girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell inflating and using this unusually shaped pillow on an airplane. Once inflated, it tucks in between your shoulder and neck to provide support, even if you’re in the dreaded middle seat. Amazon reviews suggest there’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you’ve found the arrangement that works for you, you’ll be able to sleep peacefully. Plus, it rolls up compactly once deflated and can be tossed in a bag, unlike bulkier pillows that can be annoying to carry during travel.

BEST SLEEP MASK

3D Sleep Mask for Side Sleepers

$13.99 $19.99 30% off

Some airlines pass out sleep masks, but they’re often flimsy and don’t block out all the light. A mask with contoured eye cups solves that problem. This 3D sleep mask from Amazon is made with soft memory foam and has an adjustable strap. According to reviewers, it really does block out 100 percent of the light and is well worth the money. Some reviewers also mention that this doesn’t press on your eyelashes, so you don’t have to worry about your mask ruining your lash extensions or eye makeup while you snooze. As far as travel sleep products go, this is one of the more inexpensive ones to try out.

BEST NOISE-CANCELLING EARBUDS

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

$179.00 $279.00 36% off

THR has previously recommended these Bose QuietComfort II earbuds as some of the best ones for everyday use. They’re also some of the best noise-canceling earbuds for traveling because they’re comfortable to wear and have a long battery life. Several reviews on Amazon also note that the noise-canceling feature does an impressive job of blocking out airplane noise. If you’re the type that needs even more silence, consider Bose’s QuietComfort Ultra earbuds that customizes and adapts noise cancellation for your ears.

BEST HEADPHONES

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

$429 at Amazon

If you find over-ear headphones more comfortable, consider Bose’s QuietComfort Ultra noise-cancelling headphones . They offer up to 24 hours of battery life, spatial audio and personalized sound tuned specifically for your ears. Reviewers also affirm that the noise-canceling capabilities on these headphones are top-tier, with several glowing reviews specifically mentioning how well they block the noise of jet engines.

MOST COMFORTABLE EARPLUGS

Loop Switch Multi-Mode Noise-Reducing Earplugs

$65 at Amazon

If you want to block out the hum of the plane or the passenger next to you chewing pretzels, but you don’t want to shell out for expensive noise-canceling headphones, consider these earplugs by Loop . We like the three-in-one design that lets you choose your level of noise reduction by 11 to 16 decibels. Whether you want to keep a quiet bubble while traveling or studying, soak up live music while protecting your ears or simply turn down the volume in social settings, there’s a comfortable mode for everyone.

BEST MEMORY FOAM NECK PILLOW

MLVOC Travel Pillow with 3D Contour Eye Mask and Ear Plugs

$23.99 $29.99 20% off

When a product has nearly 20,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and a price tag this low, it’s worth considering. The unique contours of this memory foam pillow are designed to support your neck while you sleep. One reviewer shared that this is a must-have for flying. “I’m still amazed at how comfortable it is and how well it keeps my head in position so I can sleep,” they wrote. The set also comes with an eye mask, earplugs, and a carrying case for all of it.

BEST PANTS FOR TRAVEL

Quince Flowknit Wide Leg Pants

$40 at quince

Comfy clothing is also essential for getting good sleep (no distracting waistbands here!) Quince’s super-soft Flowknit wide leg pants are made of moisture-wicking recycled polyester and spandex and feature a drawstring band. (The direct-to-consumer brand’s four-way-stretch Flowkit pieces are also available in men’s styles and sizes .) Related: The Best Women’s Pants for Traveling

BEST TRAVEL BLANKET

EverSnug 2-in-1 Travel Blanket and Pillow

$29.95 $34.45 13% off

This blanket and pillow combo should make it easier to catch some sleep on your next flight. It’s lightweight and made with a soft fleece fabric that’s sure to keep you cozy. Use it within the soft case as a pillow, or unfurl it to use as a blanket. One especially handy feature is the luggage sleeve, which attaches it to the handle of your carry-on when it’s in the pillowcase. Plus, if you get to your destination and find an undesirable pillow or blanket situation, you’re already prepared with this set.

OLLY Sleep Gummy, Occasional Sleep Support

$12.88 $14.99 14% off

If you need some extra help getting to snoozeland, you might want to mix melatonin — a hormone produced by the brain to regulate circadian rhythm — into your approach. We’re fans of Olly’s blackberry-flavored Sleep gummies , which boast nearly 31,000 five-star ratings. They contain three milligrams of melatonin, plus L-theanine, chamomile and other natural sleep aids. (For those who need a bit more, Olly offers the 5mg Extra Strength and 10mg Ultra Strength options.) We’d recommend only using these on long flights since the effects can last several hours. Talk to your doctor before taking melatonin, as it isn’t recommended for people with health concerns including pregnancy, auto-immune conditions, seizure disorders and other conditions. If you’re cleared, you should give these a test drive at home before popping one pre-flight, since some people experience nightmares while taking melatonin.

BEST COMPRESSION SOCKS

Comrad Set of 2 Cozy Knee-High Compression Socks

$15 $42 64% off

$28 at Amazon

Buy at Comrad $21

While compression socks aren’t necessarily a sleep product, they can make you more comfortable, which might help you catch some sleep on your flight. In addition to reducing uncomfortable swelling around your feet and legs, Comrad’s comfy knee-high compression socks can also reduce the likelihood of a blood clot . They’re also great for post-workout recovery and the contoured design and stretch make them easy to put on and take off. (Brie Larson and Karlie Kloss have reportedly worn the brand.)

BEST FOOT SLING FOR TRAVEL

Basic Concepts Airplane Foot Hammock

$13.85 $14.99 8% off

Basic Concepts’ memory foam foot hammock can make your legs and feet more comfortable when you’re on a long flight. The straps attach around your tray table and allow your feet to rest in the sling, which can help reduce stiffness upon landing. Reviews suggest that this is more useful for short people than tall ones, and it may not work on every plane — but we’d still say it’s worth a shot if you often find yourself suffering from lower back pain on flights.

BEST INFLATABLE TRAVEL PILLOW

Sunany Travel Pillow

$23.99 $28.99 17% off

Sunany’s inflatable neck pillow might earn you a sideways glance from the passenger next to you, but you should try this out anyway — especially if you’re a person who leans over the tray table to sleep. This unique design supports your neck at different angles while you lean forward, plus it has holes for your arms to go through.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rose Water

$12.95 $14.00 8% off

Buy Now On Amazon

$8 at Sephora

There’s very little humidity in the air inside a plane cabin, meaning you might wake up from your peaceful sleep with your skin feeling dry and dull. Luckily, there’s a solution. Spritz a little bit of Mario Badescu’s cult-favorite facial spray on your visage before you doze off and wake up with skin that still feels nice and dewy.

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

$72 at Amazon

Even if you don’t manage to sleep on the plane, Shiseido’s Benefiance WrinkleResist24 smoothing eye masks will help you fake being well-rested when you arrive. One reviewer on Sephora shares, “I take these with me on every long flight! Not only do they make you look awake and refreshed, but the benefits last for a day or two until your jet-lag goes! Worth every penny.”

BEST SLEEP TEA

Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Extra, 16 Tea Bags

$5 at Amazon

Skip the glass of wine, since alcohol can actually interfere with your sleep. Instead, ask a flight attendant for some hot water so you can sip on Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night tea while you settle in. It’s made with an herbal blend to help you relax, and tons of reviewers on Amazon say this helps them sleep, even when they’re traveling.

BEST GEL TRAVEL PILLOW

Honeydew Scrumptious Travel Pillow

$150 at Amazon

If you prefer to recreate your bed on the plane, try Honeydew’s ergonomic travel pillow that features a curved shape that supports your neck and shoulders. It’s made with a copper-infused gel fill that stays cool all night, and all of the materials are Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified.

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3 Best Travel Pillows For Neck Pain & Problems

Best Travel Pillows For Neck Pain & Problems

I hope you love the products I've recommended below, just a heads up that as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I may earn commissions on products bought via links on this page.

Best Travel Pillows For Neck Pain & Problems

A supportive neck pillow can mean the difference between being able to greet your guests, family,colleagues the next day or in the worse case; not being able to turn your head at all. So for the expense of a few bucks, the relief a high quality neck pillow can offer is well worth the investment.

The problem is, some neck pillows are not good for people with neck pain. They can in some cases make the pain more intense. Because it’s not possible to travel with our neck inspired orthopedic pillows , it’s important to have some proper support when sitting in a vertical position for a long period.

So whether you currently have neck problems or have never had pain in the neck before, these travel pillows below are fantastic ways to prevent any further neck pain. Some of these neck travel pillows can be used on a daily basis to improve spinal alignment and comfort while doing activities like watching TV, working on the computer etc. When you have frequent neck pain, being armed with devices to relieve pain is critical to a healthier lifestyle.

Quick Links To Info On This Page

  • 1 The Best Travel Neck Pillow For Kids & Adults
  • 2.1 Is Sleeping On Your Side An Option?
  • 2.2 Overall Opinion Of The BCozzy Travel Pillow For Neck Problems
  • 3 Best Travel Neck Support Pillow For The Aisle Seat
  • 4 Top Rated Neck Travel Pillow For Long Airplane Flights
  • 5 Pros & Cons For The Trtl Travel Pillow
  • 6 My Top 3 Neck Travel Pillows For Relieving Neck Pain

The Best Travel Neck Pillow For Kids & Adults

travel pillow for neck problems

Sleeping with your head tilted forward like this for long trips is bad for your neck. Especially worse if you have existing neck problems. Up until know, I haven’t found anything good that really prevents this from happening.

Introducing the BCozzy multi position chin supporting neck pillow. I LOVE this pillow for many reasons. For one, they come in kids and adult sizes. Now the kids never have to borrow my pillow on the way to Grandads. Plus they come in multiple colors that are suitable for both kids and adults.

What Makes This Good For Neck Pain Sufferers

The biggest selling point to the BCozzy is the fact it prevents the head from tilting forward while you are asleep. When you have existing neck problems, doing this for many hours can cause more harm than good. But even if you don’t have previous neck problems, facing forward with your head down can cause stiffness in the neck very quickly. Then you will need to whip out the portable neck massager to rectify the stiff neck. Not the ideal situation when on a plane or train.

With the BCozzy, your head shouldn’t tilt forward due to the patented design. This pillow extends around and wraps under the chin. This provides soft gentle support for your head to rest on while not facing the ground. The soft polyester fiber cushions the head in a 360° manner. So your head stays in the correct sitting position so you don’t wake up to a stiff neck.

The other problem many neck pillows have is that the cushioned area behind the neck pushes your head forward. This is becasue the neck pillow is curved which therefor tilts your head slightly forward. But with the BCozzy, it has a thinner flat back. This means the neck pillow sits perpendicular with the chair back rest behind your head. Not a bulky cushion pushing the head forward.

Is Sleeping On Your Side An Option?

Another common issue people have with travel neck pillows is that they are great for sleeping on your back, but not so great when you want to sleep on your side. Imagine crawling up into the seat with your head rested against the seat. Notice how the gap between head and seat back rest is greater then if you were to sleep with your back on the rest?.

The BCozzy fixes this potential stiff neck disaster by being a multiple position travel pillow. Simply fold the pillow in half which essentially doubles the padding width. Put the pillow between the side of your face and the seat. Presto, comfort without breaking the neck.

Overall Opinion Of The BCozzy Travel Pillow For Neck Problems

In my opinion there is none better when it comes to providing complete support from a travel pillow. IT keeps the chin up and head in the correct position. Being able to transform this pillow into a side sleep is ingenious. It stores away very compact and even has a strap for people that like to strap their gear to back packs, suitcases etc.

If I had to complain about anything, it would be the temperature. When wearing the BCozzy in humid and hot temperatures, this fleece material really heats up. As it surrounds the neck it can get quite warm under the collar. But in air con, its great. Highly recommend this to anyone that isn’t taking a camel in the desert.

travel pillow for neck problems

Best Travel Neck Support Pillow For The Aisle Seat

Best Travel Neck Support Pillow For The Aisle Seat

That is unless you are lucky enough to own one of the greatest inventions in the travel pillow industry. The Daisy Travel Pillow.  This is one of the best travel pillows for 2018 which  has opened up the opportunity for anyone to sleep like they had the window seat. What it does is creates a neck support pillow to one side. This allows you to rest the side of your face into a soft plush polyester filled pillow. This pillow can be adjusted to either side of the face. So if you prefer to face left when sleeping, then just switch the side sleeping pillow to the left.

So it covers side sleepers, what about when sleeping face forwards?. Like the above BCozzy pillow, the Daisy Pillow has a patented design which offers chin and behind the head support. So while you are sleeping face forwards or on your side, the chin support pillow keeps your face up and not in your lap. The padding behind the neck is soft and plush so that its not too firm and pushing the head forwards.

As I am a little claustrophobic (I emphasis ‘ little’) I don’t like being too restricted. The design of the Daisy Travel Pillow is good for this as it doesn’t constrict the whole neck. There is an opening in which you can slide the neck out from. The pillow doesn’t fall out either, even with this opening to one side. The shape of the pillows act as arms I would describe it as. They grip onto your neck to provide a non slipping pillow experience while not being too tight that you can’t breathe.

Overall, it really is hard to fault the unique design of the Daisy pillow. I have tried  J and horseshoe design in the past to no avail. Having the side pillow for resting the face is one of the best travel accessory inventions in a long time. Highly recommended for aisle and middle seat passengers.

travel pillow for neck problems

Top Rated Neck Travel Pillow For Long Airplane Flights

Top Rated Neck Travel Pillow For Long Airplane Flights

So what is the Trtl head pillow rest thingy?. It’s probably like something you have never seen before. It’s a fashion statement as well as being one heck of a good neck support pillow. It works by wrapping around your neck, kind of like a scarf. Inside the soft, breathable and very lightweight micro fleece is a flexible head support frame. Shaped like a ‘L’. The bottom part of the ‘L’ rests on your shoulder while the taller vertical part of the ‘L’ is where you rest your head. The fleece material is stretched from these points to create a hammock like surface for resting your head on.

The frame inside the material has a bit of give to it. So your head doesn’t sit exactly vertical, the weight of your head naturally pushes the frame down a bit. But not too much that you head is laying on your shoulder and you wake up with neck cramps. In fact, the frame inside is ribbed for extra strength for this reason. It holds your head up and chin up in a great position for sleeping.

Meanwhile the soft micro fleece material is providing comfort to your skin and also serves an additional purpose. That is it can act like a mouth/nose guard or scarf. Some people like to have their mouth covered while sleeping in public due to hygiene and the all to embarrassing drool. With the Trtl you can wrap the material over your mouth and nose if you wish to hide from the world.

Pros & Cons For The Trtl Travel Pillow

The positives:.

  • Very comfortable material to sleep on.
  • One of the best for ergonomic neck and chin support. The internal frame system keeps the chin well elevated.
  • Doesn’t push your head forward like some other U shaped travel pillows do.
  • Comes in some stylish colors that make this thing quite fashionable while serving a very beneficial service to your neck.
  • Extremely lightweight and compact compared to other travel pillows
  • Completely machine washable which is much appreciated during warmer months when you sweat more.
  • One size suits all.
  • The velcro included in the Trtl doesn’t stick to as many materials or attract fur like typical Velcro does.
  • Can you the scarf part as a way to block unwanted smells commonly found on an airplane. Or to hide drool.
  • Most of all, is amazing at preventing neck pain, cramps strains etc.

What I Didn’t Like Too Much

  • The whole concept was a little ‘weird’ for me. So I found it hard to adjust to suit my head and shoulders initially. Took some practice to get it just right.
  • It only works on one side of the head at a time. So if you roll your head during the sleep you loose the support.
  • It doesn’t compact down to a flat shape. It stays as a flexible ‘L’ shape. Which for packing in a backpack can be annoying. But can easily be affixed to the backpack, suitcase or handbag etc.
  • Can get quite warm in summer. However Trtl have recently introduced a lighter and more breathable material to counter balance the warmth.

travel pillow for neck problems

My Top 3 Neck Travel Pillows For Relieving Neck Pain

Well there are my highly recommended neck pillows suitable for people that experience neck pain, stiffness, aches etc from long flights. I kept it to a best 3 list as I believe that having a top 10 or more can confuse people more. These three products I highly support for supporting the neck and shoulders to reduce neck pain cause from prolonged sitting.

While there are many ‘other’ pillows available to buy, many of them don’t actually help to relieve neck pain. Some can make it worse as they force your head to tilt forwards which causes a lot of pressure and stress on the back of the neck. So be sure to look for the things that make a neck pillow good for neck and shoulder pain sufferers. Make sure the back of the pillow is flat and not rounded, be sure there is adequate chin support and most of all, make sure it is comfortable. The neck is a very important part of the body, learn the best way to sleep with neck pain and seek the relief you deserve.

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5 travel pillows to take with you on your next flight

Sleep comfortably on your next plane journey with these travel pillows

Travel pillows

If you’ve ever woken up during a flight and found your neck lolling to the side at an uncomfortable angle, then you need to invest in a travel pillow.

Sleeping on a plane isn’t particularly comfortable, and while they’re perfect for your bed, the best pillows don’t make the best travel companions. The last thing you want when you arrive at your holiday destination is to have a sore neck and head from sleeping in an unsupported position, so before you board a plane this summer, here are five travel pillows you should take with you on your next flight.

1. Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Neck Pillow

Travel pillows: Cabeau Evolution S3

The best travel pillow overall

The best travel pillow you can buy today is the Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Neck Pillow (£39.99). Made from ergonomic memory foam, the Cabeau Evolution S3 provides comfortable 360° support that protects and aligns your neck and back while reducing any strains and kinks. What makes the Cabeau Evolution S3 perfect for plane or train travel is its many different straps, including a chinstrap for supporting your head and seat traps to attach to your chair.

2. Trtl Travel Neck Pillow

Travel pillows: Trtl Travel Neck Pillow

The best travel pillow for neck support

If you prefer a travel pillow that’s less inflated or poofy, the Trtl Travel Neck Pillow (£49.99) is the best choice for neck support while travelling. It looks more like a scarf than a pillow, but the Trtl Travel Neck Pillow offers complete head and neck support in the form of a soft and breathable fabric. Available in a range of colours, the Trtl Travel Neck Pillow is great for people sitting in the middle seat, and it’s incredibly lightweight and easy to tuck away into your best carry-on luggage .

3. Ostrichpillow Original Travel Pillow

Travel pillows: Ostrichpillow Original Travel Pillow

The best travel pillow for blocking out everything

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The Ostrichpillow Original Travel Pillow (£99) is probably the weirdest looking pillow on the market, but it blocks out absolutely everything so you can have a long sleep or a quick power nap from anyone. It fits completely over your head to block out light and noise, and it has two holes at the top for you to fit your arms through. You might get some strange looks when you wear it but you’ll be blissfully asleep by then and probably won’t care!

4. BCOZZY Neck Pillow

Travel pillows: BCOZZY Neck Pillow

The best travel pillow for head support

The BCOZZY Neck Pillow (£39.97) is a super cosy pillow that offers double support to the head, neck and chin. It can be used in multiple ways by placing the overlapping pillow arms in different positions around the neck for front, side and front-and-side support. It’s great for side sleepers and helps prevent your head from hanging and lolling while you sleep upright in a seat.

5. flintronic Inflatable Travel Pillow

Travel pillows: flintronic Inflatable Travel Pillow

The best inflatable travel pillow

Designed for travelling and camping, the flintronic Inflatable Travel Pillow (£8.99) has a curved ergonomic design that fits to the curves of your head and neck for extra support. It’s ideal for all types of sleepers, and as it can inflate and deflate, it takes up hardly any space in your luggage – it’s even smaller than a water bottle when deflated. At £8.99, the flintronic Inflatable Travel Pillow is incredibly affordable and the cheapest option in this guide.

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!

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travel pillow for neck problems

Round-Up: Travel Neck Pillows For Better Sleep and a More Comfortable Flight

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I once received a great question from a reader named Debbie asking: "Can you recommend a travel neck pillow that is actually comfortable? I hated the one I used on our trip to Africa and looking to upgrade for an upcoming trip. Thanks for any recommendations you may have.” RELATED: My Favorite Travel Eye Mask of All Time

As I told Debbie, there are a lot of choices and variables when it comes to neck pillows. You’ve probably seen some of them in airports and I’m not talking about the ones in the stores. I’m referring to the ones around people’s necks, which you see plenty of.

Speaking of airports, you probably don’t want to wait to buy a neck pillow in an airport store since they’re likely basic, way overpriced or worse, sold out.

A great neck pillow really can make the difference between getting a good night’s sleep and not, and rest is imperative on long-haul or redeye flights. It’s also a safety issue, especially if you’re planning on renting a car when you land.

Fortunately these days, there are so many options, travelers really need to figure out what's comfortable for them. My advice is to go find a solid travel store in your area or airport that has a variety of neck pillows. It’s worth taking the time to try some on (if they allow it) and then pricing them out on Amazon.com . If you find one that feels good and it’s not that much more money compared to online, then grab it.

But before you do go spending money, read this post because there’s a chance you’ve been using your standard neck pillow wrong.

TIP: How to sleep on a plane

Pre-pandemic, I used to fly over 150,000 miles a year and I’ve seen all kinds of methods and contraptions that passengers use to try and sleep better on airplanes. Everyone is different but flying as much as I do, I know what works. Here are 10 ways to help you sleep better on a plane .

So, when it comes to travel neck pillows, here are some choices:

Feather Soft Microfiber Neck Pillow

If you're looking for a standard option that's pretty tried and true and won't cost a lot, check out the . It's made with hypoallergenic materials for both the shell and the lining and is washable. Buy here .

Tempur-Pedic All-Purpose Pillow

Unlike your typical travel neck pillow, this one has a peanut shape making it less cumbersome to carry and use. You can use it as a travel pillow, neck roll, lumbar cushion, leg spacer, or curling up with a book. Buy here .

Evolution Pillow

The Evolution Pillow by Cabeau has a patented ergonomic design and exclusive vertical side panel. It’s made with responsive memory foam and supports your neck without awkward positioning or discomfort. It also has 360-degree support, which is perfect for sleeping since it won’t matter if your head leans left/right or falls forward. And it has a flattened rear cushion so it fits all seats. Airline, bus and train travelers will love that it includes a removable and washable cover, making cleaning a breeze and eliminating all those nasty germs easily. Buy here .

Evolution Cool

Cabeau’s other award-winning travel pillow, the Evolution Cool, is crafted from dual-density memory foam, offers superior head and neck support, and features innovative air vent technology that keeps the neck and head cool to ensure a unique cooling comfort. It’s available in four colorful shades. It too has a removable cover making it easy to wash and keep clean for your next vacation. Buy here .

Trtl NapScarf

The Trtl NapScarf might be the most unique one yet. The Trtl NapScarf is billed as a next generation travel pillow as it’s less than half the size of a traditional travel pillow and weighs just 5.2 ounces (148 grams). It supposedly holds the head in a better ergonomic position than a traditional memory foam U-shaped travel pillow does, and it’s soft, comfortable and designed for economy class long-haul flyers. It’s made in the United Kingdom. Buy here .

I’ve seen a lot of unique travel pillows but the FaceCradle may take the cake. It started out as a Kickstarter where, at the time, it became the biggest-selling travel accessory in Kickstarter’s history. It raised more than $1 million! After that, the Australian company behind it opened a U.S. headquarters for marketing and faster order fulfillment. I haven’t seen a FaceCradle on a plane yet but I did test it out at the Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas once. If you can overlook the fact that your seatmates will definitely get a chuckle when you bust it out, you might just get better sleep while traveling. Buy here .

Ostrich Pillow

If this is not one of the craziest travel contraptions then I don’t know what is. The Ostrich Pillow will make you look like a new Muppett character, but it could be worth it if it does what’s it’s billed to do, which is “offer a micro environment in which to take a warm and comfortable power nap at ease. It is neither a pillow, nor cushion, bed or garment, but a bit of each all at the same time. It’s soothing cave-like interior shelters and isolates both your head and hands, perfect for a power nap. You can use the Ostrich Pillow at your desk, on a bench, on the train or while you wait at the airport.” Buy here .

Ostrich Pillow Go

Also by Ostrich is this unique but not so ridiculous looking one. It’s a luxury travel pillow with memory foam. Buy here .

And for one final option, The New York Times just ran a story titled, Pluto Pod Travel Pillow: A First-Class Sleep Experience in Economy. The pillow is a whopping $150 and looks ridiculous but I bet it is indeed incredibly comfortable.

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Looking for a new travel neck pillow? The right one can help you sleep better and have a more comfortable flight. Here are some options.

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