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Travel pillows are important. Once you have your tickets and your visas, the next thing to pack is your travel pillow. I’ll tell you why.
Several years ago my mom and I were on transit from Kuala Lumpur. We had a connecting flight in Dubai. We got to Dubai International Airport, ready to catch the flight that would take us back home. But then, something horrible happened.
Now, though we had confirmed the flight from KL, somehow, we were told that our names were not on that flight. They asked us to wait for the next flight. And the next. A wait that was supposed to be for 5 hours turned into 3 days.
Three cold miserable days in the icy chill of the Dubai International Airport. Three days with nowhere to sleep, just those uncomfortable chairs that we couldn’t lay on. Three days, which travel pillows would have made a little more comfortable.
So, if there was one lesson I got from that experience, it was to always carry a travel pillow. Oh, and a warm wrap.
Why Travel Pillows Are Important
In case my experience at the Dubai International Airport did not convince you, there are other reasons to use a travel pillow. Basically, they help to hold up your head in a natural position. If you are using one for everyday use, it aids better sleep, relieves neck pain and can reduce snoring.
But, we are focusing more on using one on a plane or during an airport wait. Because this month we want you to get the wanderlust bug.
While some airports go the extra mile and provide places for their passengers to lie down, you won’t get that in every airport. I certainly didn’t. So if you have to sleep in a sitting position, a travel pillow will provide a padded headrest. Trust me, this can make the difference between a slight inconvenience and a horrible experience.
Think of travel pillows as the ultimate nap enhancing accessory.
Types of Travel Pillows
Travel pillows come in different shapes and sizes, and yes, there are travel pillows for kids too. But, the most common type is the U-shaped pillow. Now, Kelly Conaboy of The Atlantic has described the U-shape pillow in less than pleasant terms. Oh okay, she said they were crappy.
And yeah, I guess, if you had a neck like Nefertiti or like that of a Nubian queen, then yeah. The U-shaped travel pillow might seem like a demented person’s idea of a practical joke. But, I have used U-shaped travel pillows before and they were not bad. Even this Quora article says the U-shaped pillow is great.
But if you want to try something else, there are also travel pillows that provide added support like this one. And others that are a slight improvement on the U-shaped pillow, like this ultra-plush one.
Of course, not all pillows are made equal. The quality of the pillow will determine whether it contributes anything significant to your comfort or not. That said, here are our top 5 recommendations.
Top 5 Travel Pillows On Our Wish List
So, we’re sharing the list of our absolute favs. If you are going on a long haul trip, any one of these will make a great companion. Each of the pillows listed here has received high ratings because they are so comfortable. Here goes…
Travelmate Memory Foam Neck Pillow
Imagine that you are Goldie and you are looking for the perfect travel pillow. This neck pillow from Travelmate will be that pillow. Neither too soft nor too hard, it provides the perfect support for your head. If you are traveling long haul and have trouble sleeping on the plane, then you should try this. Best of all, you can also use it on a road trip.
- Built-in removable insert
- Plush velour cover
- Machine washable
- Elastic strap to easily attach to luggage
- Not plush, but feels solid
- The removable pad might slip around a bit
Crafty World Comfortable Travel Pillow
Looking for a pillow that is soft and offers amazing support? Then this pillow from the guys at Crafty World is what you need. It provides great support, yet it isn’t too stiff and lets you relax as you fall asleep.
Also, it remains cool even when you’ve been using it for some time, which is a huge plus. There’s nothing as irritating as waking up drenched in your own sweat. What’s more, it is easy to wash and long lasting.
- Soft, plush cover
- Maintains head and neck alignment
- Can be used at home or on a plane
- Machine washable
- Elastic strap to attach to luggage
- Don’t use if you need something ultra-soft
Travelrest Ultimate Inflatable Travel Pillow
If you are of the opinion that U-shaped pillows are crappy, then you’re just going to love this! Rated the ‘best travel pillow’ by The Wall Street Journal, it gives a new definition to travel pillows. This pillow can be worn like a messenger bag, across the body providing excellent support to the head and neck.
According to the makers, it is the only product that provides “FULL LATERAL SUPPORT for the upper body making it easier to relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep longer.” And most people who have used it agree.
We’re not sure if it is the unique shape or the quality of the memory foam that was used, but this travel pillow really delivers.
- Provides full lateral support
- Easy to inflate
- Loops over headrest in cars and planes easily
- Easy to adjust
- Takes up minimal space in your luggage
- Plush cover sold separately
- Might move around a bit when slung across a seat
Everlasting Comfort Neck Pillow
In the land of travel pillows, the everlasting comfort neck pillow is probably the coolest kid on the block. This is not your average U-shaped pillow.
Actually, calling it a U-shaped pillow is a disservice. It is ergonomically designed with orthopaedic raised lobes to give you added comfort. With this pillow, you can turn from one side to another and still maintain the same level of comfort.
But, the coolest thing about it is that it does what it says and comes with some really great accessories. So, with this pillow, you get a compact travel bag, ear plugs that are noise cancelling and a sleep mask. Oh, and there’s a handy cell phone pocket too. How cool is that?
- Ergonomic design
- Cell phone pocket
- Cool accessories (travel bag, earplugs, sleep mask)
- Easy to attach to luggage
- Adjustable straps
- Machine washable
- Comes with a user guide
- Takes up lots of room in your bag
- Might not sit well when using large headphones
- Not much forward neck support
Aeris Travel Pillow
If you need a pillow that is comfortable and provides great neck support, then the Aeris travel pillow is it. Soft, plush and comfy, it is flexible and moulds to fit your neck. Great for long flights or even several short ones, it is long lasting and easy to clean.
Also, it comes with a carrying bag that makes the pillow smaller to pack. This is a good thing because it is a rather bulky pillow and takes up a lot of space otherwise. Happily, the bag has a Velcro strap so it can easily be attached to your luggage.
Again, the extra accessories add a nice touch. Aside from the carrying bag, there’s an eye mask and an earplug.
But, the best of all is the lifetime guarantee. Seriously, if you have a problem, their awesome customer service simply replaces your pillow. That alone gives them a high score in our books.
- Soft and comfortable
- Handy carrying bag
- Cool accessories (eye mask and earplug)
- Easy to pack
- Great neck support
- Lifetime, no quibble guarantee
- The cover is not removable
- This is a bulky pillow so it might be a bit inconvenient to carry around
- Does not pack very well
So that’s it from us. Which one of these will you like to try?
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