Looking for the best travel pillows?
Long flights and car rides can quite literally be a pain in the neck. Sore necks and traveling practically go hand and hand.
That’s why we have travel pillows that help with those pains. But trying to find the perfect travel pillow can be a daunting task when there are so many options to choose from.
Don’t worry though because I personally tested out 5 different travel pillows and I'm here to help you find the best travel neck pillow for that long international flight or bus ride across the country.
Scroll down to read my detailed analysis of the top 5 travel pillows - and find out which one came out on top of our tests!
Disclosure: if you buy a travel neck pillow through the links on this site, Travel Lemming may receive a commission.
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You can also see a quick summary of the 5 travel pillows in the below table:
The 5 Best Travel Pillows Reviewed
1. Trtl Pillow - My Overall Top Travel Pillow
If I only had to buy one travel pillow (and, really, who needs more than one?) I'd pick this one.
My Review of the Trtl Neck Pillow:
The Trtl Pillow was surprisingly comfortable and supportive. Unlike the other pillows which have cushion and rounded shapes, the Trtl Pillow has an almost neck brace like shape.
It was a little difficult for me to figure out how to secure the pillow on my neck but eventually I got it and it was no problem.
This travel pillow is very light and compact compared to most other travel pillows so it’s easy to pack into a carry on bag or backpack.
The one downside to this pillow is that it isn’t too versatile - some of the other travel pillows reviewed here have more functions and can double up for other situations, where as there is only really one way to use the Trtl travel pillow.
2. BCOZZY Pillow - Best Travel Pillow for Kids and Families
One of the few travel neck pillows that comes in kids size
My Review of the BCOZZY Travel Pillow:
While not the best travel pillow, the B-Cozzy Pillow is overall a good travel pillow - especially if you're looking to buy for the whole family.
I like how it’s secure and has no chance of falling on the floor. I also really like the fact that this travel pillow is supportive around the whole neck, unlike U-shape travel pillows which don’t support the chin area.
However, the travel pillow does move around so sometimes the your neck may feel unbalanced on the BCOZZY travel pillow.
I wish there was way to secure the arms of the pillow in place so that the pillow would be more stable.
One last thing that I really like about this travel pillow is that it comes in different sizes, so even kids will have a travel pillow that fits their neck.
3. Everlasting Comfort Pillow - Best Large Travel Pillow Bigger Travelers
Can accommodate larger necks, but otherwise falls short in some key aspects
My Review of the Everlasting Comfort Pillow:
I had high hopes for the Everlasting Comfort Pillow but, while this travel pillow has its strong points, overall I was a bit disappointed for a couple of reasons.
While the material is soft, it can’t make up for the uncomfortable shape of the travel pillow. On the bottom side of the travel pillow, it has this rounded rectangular shape which feels uncomfortable around the neck.
This travel pillow is also so big that when I use it, I feel like I’m going to be swallowed. The pillow presses uncomfortably onto my jaw while giving no support on my neck. Moreover, that means that
Next, the drawstring does secure the travel pillow in place and there is no chance of it falling to the ground.
However, the drawstring can only tighten so much. I like my travel pillow snug around my neck but the drawstring just could not get tight enough.
Note that this travel pillow comes packaged with a bag, eye masks, and earplugs, meaning it's sold as a complete kit to help you sleep on a plane.
Overall, while a decent travel pillow, it's not my top choice.
With that said, this might make sense to buy if you are a large or tall person, as it accommodates a much larger neck than the other travel pillows I reviewed.
4. Dot & Dot Twist Memory Foam Pillow - Most Versatile Travel Neck Pillow
A travel neck pillow you can twist and shape every which way
My Review of the Dot & Dot Twist Memory Foam Pillow:
The Dot & Dot Pillow is very versatile in terms of the shapes you can create with it. I like that there is a pillow shape for every sleeping position.
But this travel pillow is definitely not air travel friendly. This travel pillow is huge and would be very hard to pack into a carry on bag, so you'll probably have to carry it along with you or attach it to the outside of your backpack which could be a bummer.
This travel pillow is also too soft. My head just sinks into the pillow and my neck starts to feel strained after just a few minutes.
The Dot & Dot pillow also does tend to move around the neck even when in the U-shape.
5. J-Pillow - The Most Unique Travel Pillow
A shape that seems especially designed for sleeping at window seats
My Review of the J-Pillow:
The J-Pillow has a unique shape. I believe this travel pillow is for a niche group of travelers, specifically travelers who frequently sit at window seats.
The only way for this travel pillow to really work is if you lean on it against a wall. When used properly this pillow is very comfortable and supportive.
But one thing I really don’t like about the J-Pillow is that the moment you move your head it will fall to the ground. There is no fastening on the pillow to prevent this from happening.
The J-Pillow also isn’t easy to pack. The pillow is quite large and can’t be squished down too easily.
And since there is no way of fastening the pillow, you can’t just keep it around your neck.
Needless to say this pillow is not versatile at all - you better be someone who plans to sleep at the window seat in order to use it properly!
The Final Verdict on Travel Neck Pillows
After reviewing all five of the travel pillows, I can say with certainty that the Trtl Pillow is the best one out of all of them.
The Trtl Pillow material is soft and provides unmatched, comfortable neck and head support. It also is very travel friendly given its light weight and small size.
There is also no need to worry about it falling to the ground since there is a velcro strip to keep it in place.
But in certain cases, one of the other four travel pillows may be a better choice for you. For example, the BCozzy Pillow would be a better choice for kids while the Dot & Dot Twist Pillow is a better choice for travelers who like a versatile pillow.
6 Things to Look for in Travel Neck Pillow
Need help sorting through all the travel neck pillow options out there?
Here are the 6 things I recommend comparing with shopping travel pillows:
1. Support and Comfort
Good support and comfort is definitely the most important point on this list, and critical when it comes to sleeping on planes.
Your travel pillow should be firm enough so that when you lean to one side, your head does not fall to an uncomfortable position.
You also want to make sure the pillow is hugging your neck in all the right places. This means that the pillow shouldn’t be digging into your neck or barely touching your neck either.
Personally I like it when my travel pillow is snug around my neck, so that the pillow doesn’t move around as much.
This way when my head leans to one side, I don’t have to worry about my head potentially slipping off the pillow and not feeling stable.
Also pay attention to the shape of the pillow, especially the areas that are touching your body.
You want to make sure that the pillow shape contours your neck and trapezius muscles well. Yes, your trapezius muscles.
A pillow that has a round shape all around will most likely be your best bet for comfort.
2. Material Quality and Comfort
Material is really up to personal preference. If you’re ordering online, figure out which materials you already like and find a travel pillow that uses your preferred materials.
But if you’re in a store, definitely test out the pillow if you can. Put the pillow around your neck and move your neck around.
The skin on your neck and face is more sensitive than the skin on your hands.
You don’t want to realize half way through your flight that your travel pillow is scratchy and gave you a rash.
3. How Easy is it to Pack the Pillow?
I’m all for anything that makes my traveling experience easier and smoother.
So when I’m flying, it’s nice to have a pillow that I can easily re-pack into my carry on bag.
Whether that means my travel pillow deflates or can be squished down, the smaller and lighter the pillow, the easier time it will be while traveling.
You don’t want to be the one holding up the line to get off of a flight just because you’re having trouble packing your travel pillow into your carry on bag.
4. Is the Pillow Secure on Your Neck?
I feel like secureness is an underrated characteristic that needs more attention to when it comes to travel pillows.
No one likes waking up to their pillow on the floor. I personally would not want to put my face on a pillow that has been on an airplane floor. It’s filthy down there!
If there is no way to secure your pillow around your neck, you will have to find a way to stuff it into your carry on bag when you’re not using it.
So having a way to secure the pillow around your neck can really be godsend in a time crunch, like when you’re trying to make it to a connecting flight on time.
It’s important to make sure the travel pillow you’re buying has a way of staying secure around your neck. Some features to look for include drawstrings, velcro, and clasps.
5. Is the Travel Pillow Easy to Clean?
Airplanes, airports, cars and public buses are probably going to be the primary places where you’ll be using your travel pillow. Let’s be real here, there is nothing clean or sanitary about these places.
Your travel pillow needs to be able to be cleaned repeatedly.
Look for travel pillows that are machine washable or have a cover that can be taken off to be washed.
6. How Versatile is the Pillow?
I like having options in my sleeping positions.
I don’t like staying in the same exact position when I sleep because my body might ache after a while.
I bet it’s the same story for you too.
So what if you want to use your tray table to sleep on or lean your head against the wall? Can your travel pillow keep up with these different environments?
Obviously not everyone needs to a travel pillow to be able to function in different settings, but having a travel pillow that can be versatile is certainly a plus.
Conclusion: Happy Travels!
You probably know by now that on long flights or car rides, a good travel pillow can make a huge difference in your travel experience.
And it might take some time and energy to find your perfect travel pillow but it will all be worth it! I hope I was able to help you find your perfect travel pillow and I wish you safe travels for wherever you’re off to next!
Oh, but before you go be sure to check out our other helpful articles to help you plan for that big trip:
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