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9 Best Travel Pillows That Prove In-Transit Comfort Has Come a Long Way

Flying coach? Bring these for first-class comfort.

woman using green travel pillow

Whether you're catching a red-eye flight or you're packing for a long car trip, make sure not to forget about the travel pillow. Even if every rest stop and airport bookstore sells them, you'll want to have your own on hand that's suited to your preferences.

The Best Travel Pillows

What to Consider

Even before thinking about the feel and texture of the pillow, the main consideration for buying a travel pillow is how much space you have for it.

If you are a total travel minimalist, the idea of a plush travel pillow dangling off of your carry-on or taking up precious space in your suitcase might be irritating enough to make you want to leave it at home. The solution here is an inflatable pillow that blows up when you need it and rolls up tidily in your suitcase when you don't. However, if you have slightly more space to spare, some travel pillow designs now give you the best of both worlds with their cushy feel and compressible material that you can squish flat when you're not using it. Many of the picks on our list even come with their own carrying case to help them transport and stow a little more easily.

A lot of travel pillows fit around the neck so that you can tilt your head slightly to feel cushioned by it. However, if sleep doesn't come easily to you — especially while traveling — there are also travel pillows that look and feel more like regular bed pillows, only smaller or differently shaped.

One final consideration that may differ from trip to trip is the seat that you'll be snoozing in. People who prefer the aisle seat (or get stuck in the middle seat) of a train or airplane may not want to get a travel pillow that works best when leaned against a flat surface. Even if you're hesitant to embrace the neck pillow, it may be the most versatile pillow option there is.

The best travel pillows are soft, supportive, washable, and are easy to carry with you from point A to point B. Here are nine of the best travel pillows you can buy online.

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Best Contoured Memory-Foam Neck Pillow
TALLGO Memory-Foam Travel Pillow
TALLGO amazon.com

This memory-foam travel pillow combines soft velour with smooth, breathable mesh. And yes, the cover unzips to launder. Its unique contoured shape is meant to give the wearer the most support, no matter which direction their head tilts. 

This pillow even comes with its own drawstring travel bag — to store, the user can roll it up as tightly as possible, helping it take up less space in the carry-on upon arrival.

More: The Smartest Things to Pack on Your Next Vacation

Best Budget Neck Pillow
World's Best Feather Soft Microfiber Neck Pillow
World's Best amazon.com

If all you want is a simple, traditional, and cheap travel pillow — this is it! This velvety soft neck pillow comes in 18 different colors, and each one is filled with a cushy down-alternative material. It doesn't have a carrying case, but the cover does zip off to wash. 

One other feature that reviewers like is that the internal fill is actually adjustable — you can unzip it to remove excess fiber if it's too lofty for your liking!

Best Memory-Foam Pillow
Wise Owl Outfitters Compressible Foam Camping Pillow
Wise Owl Outfitters amazon.com
$19.71 (14% off)

If you need a travel pillow that looks and feels like a regular bed pillow, this one from Wise Owl Outfitters is a great option. Made of memory foam with a microsuede cover, it feels very snuggly and soft. 

It comes in two sizes — 12x16 and 14x18 inches — and in three colors. It's even bundled with its own drawstring bag, and everything is machine-washable. We think the compressed pillow inside of its carrying case makes an excellent bolster, too.

Best Inflatable Pillow
Side-Sleeper Travel Pillow & Neck Pillow
TRAVELREST amazon.com

Ideal for people who love to spoon in their sleep, this travel pillow allows you to hold onto something while also supporting your neck. It's equipped with an adjustable strap that'll prevent the pillow from falling out of your grip while you're sleeping. It's also inflatable and rolls up neatly to stash nearly anywhere.

This pillow has a velvety exterior, but unfortunately, it also has a ridge bordering the exterior seam. In our experience with this pillow, this small design flaw is correctable with the use of some tape, but it's nonetheless irritating. This pillow is also washable, but we'd advise hand-washing only.

Best for Side Sleepers
The Original Pillow Cube
Pillow Cube pillowcube.com

You may not be able to sling the memory-foam Pillow Cube around your neck or compress it completely flat to easily carry, but if you're crashing on someone's couch or trying to get some shut-eye against a car window, it'll give your head a super cushy place to rest while you're away from home. 

The Pillow Cube is recommended for side sleepers, and after trying it ourselves, we can definitely see why. Its reactive bamboo-charcoal memory foam build has a lot of pushback, effectively cradling the head and neck but pushing a little too hard on the face when it comes to stomach-sleeping. Its cube shape also slots right between your head and shoulder.

You can order it in a 5- or 6-inch height, and the brand offers a free quiz for you to figure out which would best suit you. Its only drawbacks are its expensive price and scratchy cover — a softer pillowcase that's made specifically for it costs at least $15 more.

Easiest Memory-Foam Pillow to Carry
Chill-o Travel Pillow
Chill-o amazon.com

The Chill-o is another memory-foam pillow that eschews the C-shape for a more traditional silhouette. This pillow is made of one piece of perforated, gel-infused memory foam that helps with head support and airflow while also easily compressing to stow.

Its furry cover is made of a polyester blend that's not only washable but doubles as the pillow's carrying case. A drawstring and carabiner help it store compactly and attach to your carry-on.

Best Hybrid Travel Pillow
Ostrich Loop Eye Pillow
Ostrich ostrichpillow.com

The Ostrich Loop Eye Pillow is another interesting hybrid travel pillow — it's both a pillow and an eye mask. We say that it's basically a “do not disturb” sign for your face

As its name suggests, it is one big loop that you wrap around your head, place gently over your eyes, and secure at the back with Velcro. It's covered with stretchy viscose material and filled with lightweight microbeads that feel just a little bit grainier than sand. 

The piece is hand-wash only, and though it doesn't come with its own carrying case, it's small and light enough to tuck into any suitcase or bag without adding bulk.

Most Versatile Travel Pillow
Point2Points Travel Pillow Set
Point2Points amazon.com

For the traveler who likes options, this pillow provides plenty! This 25-inch-long cylindrical pillow has an internal rod covered with memory foam that can be bent in any direction. It's covered with a polyester-blend fabric that can also unzip from the pillow to wash.

While this construction does make it a little bulkier than others on this list, it does come with a drawstring carrying bag — and it even includes an eye mask and earplugs!

Best Contoured Inflatable Pillow
AirComfy Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow
AirComfy amazon.com

This travel pillow from AirComfy checks off nearly every box: It's inflatable, soft and fuzzy, contoured, washable, and comes with its own carrying case. To inflate, simply open the air valve and then pump repeatedly on the raised dot. Then, close the air valve when it's inflated to your liking.

Even if the inflated pillow isn't quite as cozy as a memory-foam or fiber-fill pillow, its shape helps keep the neck propped up in a more comfortable way.

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