The Best Travel Pillows to Help You Sleep and Prevent Neck Pain

published Aug 16, 2023
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There is one simple and affordable travel necessity that makes all your plane, train, and long-haul automobile trips much more bearable: a travel pillow. These portable pillows fit around your neck and are designed to let you sleep comfortably and safely while you’re stuck in a seat for hours (and hours) at a time. And whether you’re shopping for your first one or you’re looking to upgrade from a subpar pillow, we found excellent options that work for a range of budgets and sleeping styles.

Most travel neck pillows have a U-shaped design and are made with a dense foam that supports your head while you snooze. You can generally fit them in your luggage or strap them to the outside of a bag for easy carrying, but if you’re really worried about them taking up space, we found some high-quality inflatable and fillable models that fold down flat when not in use. Check out the best neck pillows for traveling below and get ready to experience more comfortable and relaxed trips — no matter how you travel.

1 / 10

You'll be able to sleep comfortably on any trip with this thick and supportive memory foam travel pillow. This pillow gets all the details right, which makes it a joy to use and something you'll always want to bring when you're traveling. It has a flattened back to let your head lie comfortably against your headrest, and it has an adjustable chin strap so you can make the fit as snug as you want.

2 / 10

This innovative travel pillow earned more than 16,000 5-star ratings on Amazon for its clever and compact design. Rather than a big, fluffy ring that sits around your head, this pillow fits around your neck like a sleeve and has a built-in support structure on one side to prop your head up. It works with all sleeping styles and takes up very little room in your bag.

3 / 10

Over-packers, rejoice! This refillable sleeve becomes a comfy travel pillow when you add clothes inside — so it's both a pillow and an extra piece of luggage. It holds up to three days' worth of clothes, so you never have to worry about running out of room in your suitcase for all the outfit options you want to pack.

4 / 10

If you're ready to invest a bit, choose this modern updated travel pillow from Pluto. Its hood-shaped design offers great neck support and a cozy head covering to keep you warm no matter where you need to nap. It also has helpful features such as a pull-down eye cover and straps to attach it to your luggage for hands-free carrying. Apartment Therapy's Best List editor, Britt, says "the Pluto Pod is the travel pillow I didn't know I needed!" She also called the eye mask "a total game-changer" because "it has great coverage and blocks the light so well that I've forgotten how long I've been on my flight."

5 / 10

For a pillow that supports different sleeping positions — such as in a window seat, aisle seat, or car seat — this adjustable travel pillow is ideal. Its snake-like design lets you wrap it up to create an extra-thick cushion on either side of your neck, or you can fold it over itself and use it as a pillow without putting it around your neck. It's also available in multiple sizes for kids, teenagers, and adults.

6 / 10

Most inflatable travel pillows leak air and end up being annoying to use. This ultra-durable inflatable travel pillow is an exception, and one of the most compact travel neck pillows you'll find. You can blow it up quickly and use the clasps in the front to keep it in place as you sleep. Plus, it includes a zippered storage bag to protect it in your luggage.

7 / 10

If traditional travel pillows don't work for you or you want one that offers more full-body support, go for this sling-style travel pillow. Its extended design gives you more pillow to relax with, and it can be a good option for children who either fidget in their sleep or who prefer to have a blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal to hold while napping.

8 / 10

Why limit yourself to one kind of travel pillow when you can get two in one? This convertible travel pillow can either sit around your neck, or you can use the zipper in the back to allow the bead filling to flow into a pouch that transforms the item into a compact rectangular pillow. It works as its name suggests: magically.

9 / 10

Remember that your head isn't the only thing that needs a little help while you're traveling. This inflatable travel pillow made by Therm-a-Rest (a trusted manufacturer of sleeping pads) goes behind your lower back to provide much-needed lumbar support. You can use it as a tiny sleeping pillow if you prefer, but once you see how comfortable this makes plane seats, you'll never let your back go without it.

10 / 10

This ergonomic travel pillow is made with super comfortable memory foam and has high sides that support your head all the way around. A cinch strap in the front helps it fit snugly (and prevents it from falling off), and its flat back shape lets your head sit more comfortably than other, rounded neck pillows.