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Best Travel Pillows of 2024 For Maximum Comfort

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Updated March 14, 2024

Traveling can be exhilarating and exhausting (often at the same time). The right travel pillow can help you catch some shut-eye while on the red-eye (or any other flight), train, bus, or car, so you can enjoy your destination when you arrive. Forget about using a rolled-up sweatshirt (the way I used to snooze while traveling in my youth) shoved against a window. These travel pillow picks are a step up for sleeping on the go.

What to consider when buying travel pillows

Packability 

The problem with any kind of travel accessory is stuffing it back into a carry-on bag after you have used it. Personally, I try to pack as lightly as possible, which means I want a small pillow if I’m using one at all. Thankfully, these days, travel pillows come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, and some are easier to wrangle than others. You can find that pillows deflate after use; others can snap onto the handle of your bag for easy carrying, and a few you may need to make room for. 

Travel pillows can also be used for relieving sore backs, like a travel-sized lumbar, which I’ve used on occasion for long car rides. However, if you’re carrying a pillow versus tossing it into the trunk of a car or a travel tote on arrival, consider how much space you want to designate for your travel pillow. 

Shape

U-shaped, flat mini-sized, and wrap-around are three of the most common shapes for a travel pillow, and all have pros and cons. These pros and cons depend on your sleep position (front versus side) while sitting upright, comfort level with having something around your neck, and if you prefer to lean against a more traditional flat pillow. A front sleeping position is when your chin drops forward as you sleep upright. The side position is just what it sounds like—your head falls to the side while sleeping upright. Some people find themselves using both.

Fill and cover

Like most, travel pillows have different fills including memory foam (some have shredded foam, others use a block), microbeads, or air (if the pillow is a blow-up). Make sure the cover will keep you warm but not overheated while traveling—microfiber and fleece are good options. If you’re allergic to latex or any other material, always check the label before purchasing. Some travel pillows call for hand wash and line drying, while others can be tossed into a washing machine. 

Our top picks for best travel pillows

Best travel pillow for large headphones and best for chin support: Bcozzy Neck Pillow

Best travel pillow for large headphones and best for chin support
Bcozzy Neck Pillow

This looks like a stuffed animal snake to me, but that's because it provides double ergonomic support designed to prevent neck pain and sore shoulders. I love that it’s adjustable, so you can sleep with your chin propped up if you’re a front sleeper or sleep with your head to the side or both because you can manipulate the pillow (it’s foldable). This travel pillow comes in two sizes, large and x-large making it perfect for many sized bodies. 

It has a snap loop and its own carry bag so you can attach it to your luggage or hang it up. You can also simply keep it wrapped around your neck as you traipse through the airport (although you might elicit stares and giggles). Throw it in the wash and air dry to keep it clean. It works great on an airplane, but you can use it anywhere you need to rest sitting up. 

Specifications

  • Fill and material: Polyester microfiber
  • Machine washable cover: Yes
  • Size: Up to 15 inches (large) over 15 inches (extra large)
  • Color: Multiple
  • Price on publish: $44.97

The bottom line: 

This wrap-around travel pillow is suitable for nearly every kind of upright sleeping position, but if you don’t like something wrapped around your neck, this isn’t for you. 

Get it here: Bcozzy Neck Pillow


Best lumbar support pillow for air travel: Tempur-Pedic Travel Lumbar Cushion

Best lumbar support pillow for air travel
Tempur-Pedic Travel Lumbar Cushion

Tempur-Pedic Travel Lumbar Cushion

Temper-Pedic makes excellent pillows to support your back and spine and this travel lumbar pillow made from memory foam is no exception. It’s made from the same materials as their award-winning mattresses, meaning it will conform to your middle and lower back as you sit upright on an airplane for hours at a time. The molded shape is designed to distribute your weight evenly and relieve pressure. It’s no fun (I speak from experience) to arrive at your destination in back spasms, and a lumbar pillow of this caliber may make all the difference for proper back support. 

You can keep it clean by throwing the case in the washing machine or spot clean it on the go. Plus, you don’t have to limit using it to travel; it works great for any situation (work or home) that calls for sitting upright for long periods of time. One downside: It weighs two pounds, which will add to your overall allowed carry-on weight, and you may need to put it on top of your bag or squash into the side. 

Specifications:

  • Fill and material: Memory foam and allergen-resistant cover
  • Machine washable cover: Yes
  • Size: 10 inches x 11 inches x 2 inches
  • Color: Navy
  • Price on publish: $59

The bottom line: 

A well-designed lumbar pillow from Tempur-Pedic memory foam that will help prevent back strain on long flights.

Get it here: Tempur-Pedic Travel Lumbar Cushion


Best compact travel pillow: DYNMC YOU Small Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Best compact travel pillow
DYNMC you Small Memory Foam Travel Pillow, Camping Pillow with Bag - Modern, Firm Memory Foam Pillow - Perfect Neck Support Pillow, Neck Pillow Travel, Car Pillow, Backpacking Pillow

DYNMC you Small Memory Foam Travel Pillow, Camping Pillow with Bag - Modern, Firm Memory Foam Pillow - Perfect Neck Support Pillow, Neck Pillow Travel, Car Pillow, Backpacking Pillow

This compact travel pillow made with memory foam is easy to tote and throw into your bag. It rolls up easily and stuffs into its one nylon bag that you can clip or tie onto your luggage. The pillow weighs only 1.3 pounds and fits easily into carry-on luggage. I like that it’s odorless and OEKO-TEX certified. 

Specifications:

  • Fill and materials: OEKO-TEX®-certified fabric (95% viscose from bamboo, 5% spandex) and memory foam
  • Machine washable cover: Yes
  • Size: 7 inches x 9.8 inches x 15.7 inches
  • Color: Gray
  • Price on publish: $27.00

The bottom line: 

A simple compact lightweight travel pillow made of memory foam that comes with a small nylon carrying case. 

Get it here: DYNMC YOU Small Memory Foam Travel Pillow


Best kid’s travel pillow: Trtl Pillow Junior

Best kid’s travel pillow
Trtl Pillow Junior

Trtl Pillow Junior

This is a kid-sized version of one of my (and hundreds of others’) favorite neck pillows that wraps around your child’s neck to keep their spine aligned on long trips. Suitable for ages eight and older, this wraparound travel pillow has built-in head and neck support due to its flexible ergonomic design—plus, it was co-designed with kids, for kids, according to the brand’s website. You wear it like a scarf or bandana, but it offers a flexible, strong structure to keep your child’s head comfortable. 

Weighing less than 4 ounces and being foldable means this travel pillow can come with you in a small travel backpack, purse, or carry-on without sacrificing space for anything else. This kid’s travel pillow pops off with its quick-fit and release action. It will also fit into your child’s carry-on or even your purse (or maybe even a pocket!), but it also has a loop, so you can simply clip it onto any piece of luggage, or even a travel stroller

Specifications:

  • Fill and material: Supersoft fleece and other materials
  • Machine washable cover: Yes but it’s advised to remove the inner support structure
  • Size: One (dimensions not available)
  • Color: Three pattern choices (aqua, zebra, blue camo)
  • Price on publish: $39.99

The bottom line: 

An extremely lightweight, simple, and scientifically engineered (for head and neck support) scarf-like travel pillow that helps kids snooze through the skies, especially during long-haul international travel. 

Get it here: Trtl Pillow Junior


 

Best silk travel pillow: Lunya Washable Silk Travel Pillow

Best silk travel pillow
Lunya Washable Silk Travel Pillow in Waning Night Size OS

Lunya Washable Silk Travel Pillow in Waning Night Size OS

If you love the feel of silk against your skin and don’t mind using a travel pillow without a lot of structure, this one from Lunya is a great choice. It’s made from washable silk and easily attaches to a suitcase or carry-on for maximum portability. Plus, it comes with extra filling so you can plump it up to the perfect size whether on a plane, train, or automobile, and its straps mean it will stay put without sliding off a headrest. Throw on your travel shoes and slip this silk pillow into your carry-on for maximum comfort. Shopping tip: If you’re looking to enjoy that luxurious feeling 24/7, check out our list of the best silk sheets.

Specifications

  • Fill and material: Recycled polyester and washable silk/spandex blend
  • Machine washable cover: Yes
  • Size: 17 inches x 11 inches x 5 inches 
  • Color: Navy or tan
  • Price on publish: $128

The bottom line: 

This washable silk travel pillow attaches to any regular sized headrest to provide soft support and has extra padding so you can decide how firm you need it to be. 

Get it here: Lunya Washable Silk Travel Pillow


Best travel pillow for long flights and best travel pillow for neck support: Trtl Travel Pillow for Neck Support

Best long flights and neck support
Trtl Travel Pillow for Neck Support

Trtl Travel Pillow for Neck Support

Yes, you bet the Trtl travel pillow comes in an adult size—why let kids have all the comfort during travel? This scarf-like travel pillow is extremely soft (thanks to the fleece) and its internal support system keeps your head and neck upright. It may look like a fashion statement, but there’s no need to wear it through the airport; it’s so light that you can toss it into your bag or simply clip it onto your purse. 

It's easy to wash the wrap by hand or in a machine, and it has over 19K five-star ratings on Amazon. Personally, my family will all be wearing ours (kids and adults) on a long-haul flight this summer for maximum sleep comfort that we can easily shove into a small carry-on. 

Specifications: 

  • Fill and material: Supersoft hypoallergenic fleece
  • Machine washable cover: Yes but it’s advised to remove the inner support structure
  • Size: One size (dimensions not available)
  • Color: Four colors (gray, black, red, coral)
  • Price on publish: $59.99

The bottom line:

 A scarf-like pillow that keeps your neck and head upright and aligned, easily fits into a carry-on or purse, and weighs less than half a pound. 

Get it here: Trtl Travel Pillow for Neck Support


Best inflatable travel pillow and best travel pillow for side sleepers: Travelrest All-in-One Travel, Neck & Body Pillow

My son said this looks like a blue banana, but I was reminded of a rolled-up yoga mat. This sling-like inflatable travel pillow attaches to the seat of an airplane or car (or, for that matter, could attach to a train or bus seat) and is worn like a sling across your body. 

This wins my vote for “best for side sleepers” as well, who need to lean their head to one side for maximum comfort while sleeping on a road trip or flying through the skies. The unusual shape provides lateral support to the upper body and allows you to lean into it while keeping your head and neck in alignment. Best of all, it inflates and deflates easily for portability—roll it up and snap it to the outside of your bag. It may not be the most attractive pillow on the market, but users swear by its comfort. Best of all, you can wash it by hand or on a gentle cycle and line dry while on the road. 

Specifications

  • Fill and material: Velour cover with memory foam
  • Machine washable cover: Yes
  • Size: 3.5 inches x 10 inches rolled up
  • Color: Blue or gray
  • Price on publish: $36.95

The bottom line: 

A soft sling-like pillow that inflates and deflates for easy packability, working extremely well for side sleepers with its lateral support for the upper body. 

Get it here: Travelrest All-in-One Travel, Neck & Body Pillow


Best travel and memory foam pillow for side sleepers: Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Inflatable Neck Pillow

Best travel and memory foam pillow for side sleepers
Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Inflatable Neck Pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Inflatable Neck Pillow

Side sleepers have somewhat of an advantage when it comes to sleeping upright because of many U-shaped travel pillow designs, and this one is no exception. Side sleepers can tilt their head to either side of this pillow while keeping their neck and spine in alignment. Plus, this highly-rated travel pillow deflates, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up too much space in your carry-on or purse. It has a narrow center to better fit airplane seats and headrests, too. 

Specifications

  • Fill and material: Air and brushed 50D polyester knit cover
  • Machine washable cover: No (hand wash only)
  • Size: 15.3 inches x 11.4 inches x 4.3 inches (inflated)
  • Color: Navy
  • Price on publish: $49.95

The bottom line: 

An ultra-soft cover on an inflatable and durable air-pillow with a traditional U-shaped opening that works well for airline travel if you don’t mind a firm headrest. 

Get it here: Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Inflatable Neck Pillow


Best memory foam and best U-shaped travel pillow: Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Neck Pillow Memory Foam Neck Support

Best memory foam and best U-shaped travel pillow
Evolution S3® Neck Pillow

Evolution S3® Neck Pillow

The Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Neck Pillow is a great U-shaped pillow design with a flat back that lays against your seat. The memory foam doesn't feel like a pillar of stone in density and it compresses down for an easy fit into its carry bag that you can clip onto your carry-on. The cover for this travel pillow is breathable, so you don't overheat, and it comes with an adjustable front strap and a seat strap. If you’re looking for a U-shaped memory foam travel pillow, this one comes highly recommended by users for its affordable price, neck and head support, and ability to squash down to half its size so you can pack it away. 

Specifications

  • Fill and material: Memory foam and moisture-wick fabric
  • Machine washable cover: Yes
  • Size: 10 inches x 9.5 inches
  • Color: Six choices (black, blue, gray, red, aqua, and a black snakeskin pattern)
  • Price on publish: $39.99

The bottom line: 

An affordable U-shaped, memory foam travel pillow that’s easy to carry on, and has thousands of positive ratings on Amazon.

Get it here: Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Neck Pillow Memory Foam Neck Support


Best travel pillow for car trips: Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

Best travel pillow for car trips
Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

Soft and flexible memory foam makes this a great choice as a passenger pillow in a car or in the air. It wraps like a neck brace providing ergonomic comfort and support to your head and neck, and the flat back allows you to rest without having your head jutting out, which could be uncomfortable for long periods of time. Instead, your head is cradled in a 360-degree upright position. 

This one is pricey, and for some, a car ride calls for your favorite bedroom pillow, not a special travel one, but if you can afford the splurge, it can make road trips more pleasurable when you are at rest. If you need to take it with you, pop it into its carrying case and clip it to your carry-on or luggage because it compresses down to 60% of its size. 

Specifications:

  • Fill and material: BASF memory foam core and OEKO-TEX® 95% viscose, 5% elastomer
  • Machine washable cover: Yes
  • Size: 9.8 inches x 6.7 inches x 2.7 inches
  • Color: Four color combos (soft gray and teal, soft gray and navy, and soft gray and black, dark gray and black)
  • Price on publish: $60

The bottom line: 

A soft, flexible memory foam pillow that keeps the head and neck in alignment for rest on the road (or skies) and compresses down for easy storage in its own sack that clips onto your carry-on. 

Get it here: Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow


How to maintain and clean travel pillows

Like all pillows, read and follow the label directions for cleaning. If you have a blow-up pillow, you may be able to simply wipe it down with a disinfectant cloth. Many travel pillows come with removable and washable covers that can be hand-washed with soap and air dried during your trip or thrown into a washing machine on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent if you have access to a laundry. 

Portability and storage solutions

When you travel, especially by air, keeping bags and things to a minimum may be at the top of your list of priorities—it’s definitely on mine. Travel pillows may come with their own case, but often that’s to help keep your travel pillow clean and secure, and unfortunately, it may just end up as another thing to schlep around with you. 

There are a few portability and storage solutions you can consider. Some travel pillows deflate and lay flat. Others can be squished into a compact ball you can stuff into your carry-on. A memory foam or cotton travel pillow may be stored in a vacuum-sealed or compression bag to minimize space. Other pillows have attachable clips that allow you to simply clip it to the exterior, often the handle of your bag. If you’re using a large travel pillow, consider stuffing it into a sling-style bag (if it will roll up, maybe a yoga bag) and wearing it as a cross-body. 

What are the different types of travel pillows available?

There are a few different types of travel pillows available on the market, including U-shaped ones that wrap around your head and neck, small bean-bag type pillows (usually filled with microbeads), and long lumbar pillows that can be used for travel. 

How we tested and selected the best travel pillows

I’ve personally used some of these or very similar travel pillows on air and road trips. I polled my friends and colleagues, researched many types of travel pillows at multiple price points, and conducted a deep dive into reviews of each product, including ratings by travel specialists. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Are memory foam travel pillows comfortable for long flights?

Yes, according to travelers I spoke with. And according to online reviews of various memory foam travel pillows, memory foam—either shredded or in a block—does work well on long flights. You can find many highly-rated memory foam travel pillows on the market—several are on my list! 

Are travel pillows suitable for use in cars or trains?

Yes! Travel pillows aren’t limited to airplane use. You can use a travel pillow any time you need to sleep during a trip. Some people like to use their travel pillows, depending on the shape and size of it, in a hotel room, too. 

Can travel pillows help prevent neck pain during travel?

The right travel pillow for you may help prevent neck pain during travel because your posture can take a hit when you fall asleep in an upright or semi-upright position like in an airplane seat. Of course, there is no guarantee that a travel pillow will save you from a stiff neck, but most quality ones are designed to protect you against neck pain or strain caused by long hours in a seated position. You can also look for a travel pillow that’s designed by, or recommended by, chiropractors.

Do travel pillows come in different sizes?

Absolutely! While most are on the smaller size, you can find larger ones. There’s a wide range of travel pillows on the market. If you want a large pillow, consider simply bringing one from your bedroom—these work fine, I’ve found, when taking a road trip and you just need to rest by squashing a pillow behind you (or depending on their tolerance, leaning it against a sibling or cousin, in my case). 

Do travel pillows come with carrying cases?

Yes. Many travel pillows (and most of the ones above) come with a carrying case that can help keep the pillow clean and separate from your other carry-on items. Of course, you don't have to use the case, if it takes up room, but if it is included, it’s nice to use.

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