7 Best Travel Pillows Compared

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This is an overview of the best travel pillows for car and plane travel, along with staying in hotels. Keep reading to learn more.

As a frequent traveler, I’ve experimented with various travel pillows. That inspired me to write this guide on finding the best pillows available.

Travel pillows are suitable for your neck, depending on how manufacturers design their pillows. As long as you purchase the best type of travel pillow that suits the way you sleep.

Usually, when you think of a U-shaped travel pillow, you’d assume to have the bulky part resting against the back of your neck. However, a TikTok user sparked controversy by swapping the chubby part to the front [1].

Why does this make sense?

Because when sleeping upright, usually you will lean forward. The bulky part of the pillow in the front ensures that you have the best neck support.

Best Pillows for Traveling Compared

  • TRTL Travel Pillow: Top pick
  • Cabeau Evolution S3: Best for long-haul flights
  • TRAVELREST: Best inflatable pillow
  • AirComfy Daydreamer: Most lightweight
  • ComfyDown Goose Down: Best for hotel stays
  • AirComfy Ease: Best for car travel
  • J Pillow: Best pillow, UK

Best Travel Pillows Compared

The following sections will compare all the best travel pillows for digital nomads, expats, and adventurers visiting different places. I’ll cover each pillow’s pros, cons, weight, materials, shape, and other important information.

Let’s dive in.

Best Overall

1. TRTL Travel Pillow

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Weight0.28 lbs
MaterialsFoam & fleece


    • Hypoallergenic.
    • Machine washable.
    • Lightweight.


    • Not ideal for tall people.
    • Not adjustable.
    • Not suitable for children.

The TRTL Travel Pillow is best for anyone who sleeps upright and is tired of having a sore neck after their flight.

It’s hypoallergenic. Making it a fantastic pick for anyone who typically has allergies when using other travel pillows. And during your travels, you’ll likely get allergens on the pillow (e.g., pollen).

Throw it in the washer and dryer and those allergens are gone.


It’s not ideal for tall folks—anyone taller than 5’11”—due to its insufficient surface for longer necks. It’s also unsuitable for kids under 8 years old since it’s too long for their necks. And unfortunately with this pillow, you can’t adjust its height.

TRTL has the Pillow Plus for tall people and works better since it’s height adjustable. I covered this one since it’s good for most groups of people.

Otherwise, the pillow’s lightweight. It’s a great choice for anyone traveling who doesn’t want to lug more weight than necessary.

Are you tall and looking for a pillow? Consider the next pick.

Best Travel Neck Pillow for Long Flights

2. Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow

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Weight11.6 oz
MaterialsMemory foam


    • Excellent side support.
    • Easy to clean.
    • Good for tall people.


    • Doesn’t work for folks w/ headphones or low-hanging ear buds.
    • Only good for headrests with extendable wings.
    • Less chin support.

The Cabeau pillow works best for anyone who’s looking for an open-neck pillow that’ll still allow them to sleep with their head to the side.

It’s also not height adjustable, but it has the style of a traditional travel pillow and will work well for folks with longer necks. Meanwhile, it has a strap system to prevent you from falling forward when sleeping.

Due to the raised sides, it isn’t an ideal pick for anyone who uses headphones or low-hanging earbuds. Since the raised sides will mash into your headphones or earbuds.

This pillow will work with any seat, but it’ll work best with seats that have headrests that’ll hold your pillow into place. And you can’t control whether your plane, bus, or train seat has extendable wings.

The Cabeau also doesn’t have the greatest chin support due to the opening in the front. If you typically fall asleep with your head forward, this pillow isn’t for you.

Consider the next pick if you’re looking for something that’ll support your neck.

Best Inflatable Travel Pillow

3. TRAVELREST All-in-One Travel

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Weight12.8 oz
MaterialsMemory foam


    • Compact.
    • Good for folks who have trouble falling asleep upright.


    • No lumbar support.
    • Not ideal for tall people.

The TRAVELREST pillow works perfectly for anyone who wants to feel like they’re sleeping on a bed (sort of) without being on a bed.

That’s thanks to its J-shape. You roll this thing over your shoulder, then rest on it like a body pillow. But first you need to inflate it, which is another perk to this thing. Since it’s much more portable than its counterparts.

It doesn’t come with a travel bag, which means you’ll need to shove it in your backpack.

This thing isn’t ideal for tall people, since it’s a few feet tall. Though, it could technically work for taller people if you just use the upper-half of it. And it doesn’t have lumbar support, which most travel pillows don’t have, anyway.

Do you want an inflatable pillow without a J-shape? Consider the next pick.

Best Lightweight Travel Pillow

4. AirComfy Daydreamer

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Weight6 oz
MaterialsMemory foam


    • Inflation by button.
    • More practical for preventing head rolling.


    • Stiff support for neck.
    • Squeaks when inflating.

The AirComfy Daydreamer is best for anyone who wants a lightweight and affordable inflatable pillow that includes a pack sack.

Instead of getting your mouth dirty by pressing it against a hole you blow into, you press a button to inflate it. However, it’ll squeak when doing so. Consider inflating the pillow when you first get into your plane seat to avoid waking anyone up.

And to avoid awkwardly breaking silences.

This pillow’s great at preventing head rolling due to the raised back, but it doesn’t provide the greatest support for necks since a portion is raised.

I’d also recommend replacing the included carabiner clip with a more durable one to prevent you from accidentally losing your pillow. As the included carabiner isn’t the highest quality.

None of the pillows I’ve covered so far are great for hotels. That’ll change with the next pick.

Best Travel Pillow for Hotels

5. ComfyDown Goose Down

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Weight1.01 lbs
MaterialsGoose down & cotton cover


    • Machine washable.
    • Fits in luggage.


    • Not compact.
    • Not ideal for plane or car travel.

The USA-made ComfyDown Goose Down travel pillow is best for anyone in business class on a plane or for sleeping in a hotel.

Since it’s not a traditional travel pillow, it’s not ideal for anyone sleeping in an upright position. Only for those sleeping on a fully reclined seat or a bed.

Due to the pillow’s size, I wouldn’t try to shove it in a backpack. It works better for checked or carry-on luggage.

The ComfyDown is washable in machines, but on the delicate setting. Great for folks who have allergies and want to wash away potential allergens.

There’s not much to say about this pillow otherwise. It’s shaped like a normal pillow and a comfortable alternative for folks who hate pillows in hotels.

Let’s get back to pillows that work best for vehicle travel.

Best Travel Pillow for Car Travel

6. AirComfy Ease

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Weight9.5 oz
MaterialsMemory foam


    • Compact.
    • Can strap to seat.


    • Weak carabiner.
    • No side support.

The inflatable AirComfy Ease is the best pillow for anyone traveling in a car, bus, or train and needs neck support, but not something to sleep with. Unless you’re sleeping on your back on a reclined seat.

That’s because you can strap the pillow to your seat, which will prevent it from slipping away.

Based on my experience, I wouldn’t recommend using this pillow to sleep on your side. It doesn’t have raised sides; nor is it J-shaped. Making it not ideal for neck support or to accommodate for head rolling.

It includes a travel pack, which makes it a perfect companion to strap to your backpack. So long as you don’t use the included carabiner. It’s cheaply made and could snap at any time.

Looking for something with more head, neck, and chin support? Check out our last pick.

Best Neck Travel Pillow, UK

7. J Pillow Travel Pillow

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Weight0.51 lbs
MaterialsPolyester & fleece


    • Comes with convenient bag.
    • Chin, neck, & head support.


    • May slip frequently.
    • A bit pricey for what it is.

The J Pillow works best for folks in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the rest of the world due to its support for necks, chins, and heads.

It looks like a worm wrapping around your neck, but it’ll prevent your head from rolling forward or to the side. Something that frequently happens to me during air travel. And you don’t need to use it strictly for traveling.

Use it while lounging at home or if you need to take a nap in your car.

Despite my praise, it’s a tad bit pricey for what you’re getting. But it’s worth the price.

It’ll also frequently slip, which could cause you to wake up. However, I’m sure you’re smart enough to figure out a contraption to prevent it from doing so. Though, the manufacturer should have included straps or tinkered with the design a bit.

And it comes with a travel bag, which makes it a great companion for anyone who doesn’t want to stuff their bags with more crap.

That’s all for recommendations. Learn how to choose the best pillow.

How to Choose the Best Travel Pillow: Buying Guide

Consider these factors when shopping for a travel pillow:

PortabilityWhether it will fit in bags.
ShapeContours to your body in different ways.
WeightDetermines weight of what you can carry.
Soft vs. firmWhether it’s comfortable.
PriceWhat you’re willing to spend.
MaterialsDetermines cost & comfortability.

The following sections will talk about all the factors to consider when shopping for a travel pillow. Use the information I provide to create your own criterion.

1. Pillow Portability

The point of a travel pillow is to have a cushion that you can take around the world. However, not all manufacturers make their pillows equally.

Some allow you to roll their pillows to fit in convenient travel pouches. Others make you carry an exposed pillow that someone at the airport could cough on.

2. Pillow Shape

As mentioned above, you have at least five options to choose from with the shapes of travel pillows. Each shape impacts your body differently. Some shapes and who they’re ideal for include:

The following are the different types of travel pillows:

  1. Wrap: Wrap it around your neck like a scarf to prevent your head from tilting
  2. Rectangular: Appear as traditional bed pillows; however, they’re lightweight & compact
  3. J-shape: Loops around a shoulder & crosses your body, which adds a lot of bulk to these pillows
  4. U-Shape: Most common type of neck pillow that supports all sides of your neck
  5. Hourglass: Best for neck support because you can tuck them under your neck

For instance, Wrap styles prevent your head from tilting. In contrast, a U-Shape is the most common and offers support to almost all sides of your neck.

3. Pillow Weight

Travel neck pillows don’t usually weigh much. However, if you’re trying to shave as much weight as possible from your overall luggage, aim for travel pillows that weigh less.

4. Soft vs. Firm Travel Pillows

Soft travel pillows are comfortable and can provide good neck support for side sleepers. However, they may not be as supportive for back sleepers. Soft travel pillows are also more likely to lose their shape over time.

Firm travel pillows provide more support for back sleepers. They can also be helpful for people with neck pain. However, firm travel pillows may not be as comfortable for side sleepers.

5. Price

Prices around travel pillows vary. You could find yourself paying $10–$100. It all depends on what quality materials you’re after and how long you want your pillow to last.

6. Materials

Companies design their pillows with different materials that serve other purposes. Here are some examples:

Memory foamConforms to the shape of your neck & head, provides good support.Can be hot to sleep on.
InflatableLightweight & easy to pack.Can be uncomfortable if overinflated.
MicrobeadSoft & comfortable, can mold to fit your neck.Not as supportive as memory foam.
GelCool & comfortable.Can be bulky & difficult to pack.
DownSoft & comfortable.Difficult to pack.
FeatherProvides good support.Difficult to pack & bulky.
Bamboo fiberHypoallergenic, breathable, & soft.More expensive than other materials.
SilkProvides good temperature regulation.Expensive.

Microbead vs. Memory Foam Travel Pillow

FeatureMicrobeadMemory Foam
ComfortSoft & comfortable, can be molded to fit your neck.Conforms to the shape of your neck & head, provides good support.
SupportNot as supportive as memory foam.Provides good support.
CompressibilityCan be compressed to a smaller size for packing.Can be compressed to a smaller size for packing.
PriceMore affordable.More expensive.
Noise levelCan be noisy if the beads shift around.More quiet.
DurabilityLess durable than memory foam.More durable than microbead.
HypoallergenicNot hypoallergenic.Can be hypoallergenic.

FAQs: Travel Pillows

Save yourself time from exploring Google by reading these frequently asked questions about pillows meant for traveling.

Who Should Use a Travel Pillow?

Travel pillows aren’t strictly for traveling. The primary purpose of neck pillows is to provide support for your head and neck when sleeping in an upright position. Because of this, if you’re in an office and on a break, you could use a travel pillow to take a nap.

Our Verdict

Here are our top picks summarized:

  1. TRTL Travel Pillow: Fantastic neck support.
  2. Cabeau Evolutions S3: Great for tall people.
  3. TRAVELREST All-in-one: Ideal for people sleeping upright.

I chose the TRTL as the best pillow because it has fantastic neck support at a reasonable price. Making it an exceptional choice for most travelers. Kids under 8 and tall people will want to consider other options, though.

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About Theo

Theodore began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Theo