December 7, 2022

Just like the pillow you use at home on your bed, the best travel pillow is the one that makes you feel the most comfortable and allows you to relax, rest and ultimately sleep. You also want to make sure you wake up without a literal pain in the neck caused by dozing while in the air, on a train or as a passenger in the car. Supporting your neck and avoiding the bobblehead – or the head falling forward – is your best chance at a pain-free slumber.

Another element of deciding on the best travel pillow is the external and internal material itself. Memory foam pillows tend to offer more firm support, while those filled with microbeads mold more to the neck and head. Inflatable pillows can be personally adjusted for firmness and comfort by how much air you use to blow them up.

Regardless of interior material, the exterior cover should be soft enough to the touch to make you feel cozy. It can be velour or some other type of soft cover that offers a cuddling feel without making you feel overheated. The material is also important when it comes to being able to keep it clean. Some travel pillows can be thrown entirely into the washing machine, others come with a removable cover that is machine-washable and some pillows may be spot clean or hand-washed only.

Beyond comfort for your travel pillow, you need to think about its size and how easy it is to take on the go. Many travel pillows can be latched onto the exterior of your luggage or you can wear it around your neck as you board the plane or train. Other pillows can be folded and packed into an included travel bag. Inflatable pillows can easily fold to a compact size once the air is removed and placed into an often included travel pack.

U.S. News compiled this list of top travel neck pillows recommended by experts and consumers. Whether you’ve got a long-haul flight to Europe, a cross-country road trip or a weekend getaway planned, there are a range of options to meet individual traveler needs. Read on to learn more about the top travel neck pillow picks from U.S. News.

Aeris Travel Pillow: A traditional U-shaped travel neck pillow, the Aeris Travel Pillow is made of memory foam for comfort and support to hold your head up while you doze. It is packaged as a set with such extras as an eye mask and earplugs to encourage the utmost rest during your flight. Travelers love the support of the pillow and the way it compacts to fit in the included travel bag, so it takes up minimal space in your carry-on luggage. The outer removable pillow cover is made with soft velour and is machine-washable. Choose from various color options.

[Aeris Travel Pillow: $24.90 or less. View deal.]

(Courtesy of BCOZZY)

BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow: Travelers like the design of the patented BCOZZY ergonomic pillows, which keep the chin up as a way of supporting the neck and keeping the head from falling forward. Overlapping pillow arms wrap around the neck under the chin and can be tightened based on the level of support you wish. Side sleepers can fold the pillow in half, double up the sides and place it on your shoulder, leaning your head to the side. An elevated side option allows you to overlap the pillow arms on top of each other and rotate it 90 degrees to the side for double support for the neck and chin. It is available in many colors and patterns to show off your sense of style. A snap strap attaches the included travel bag to the luggage. The entire pillow is machine-washable.

[BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow: $49.97 or less. View deal.]

Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow: The Cabeau Evolution S3 is made of premium memory foam for spine and head alignment. Travelers like the patented seat strap system that attaches the pillow to your seat or chair headrest to prevent head dropping, while the slim flattened back does not push the head forward. A handy storage compartment allows you to keep your earbuds or other small items at a quick reach for easy access. The pillow comes with a carry bag that condenses it to half its size and includes a clasp that attaches to luggage. It has a machine-washable removable pillow cover and comes in different colors.

[Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow: $39.99 or less. View deal.]

Genuine Picks Luxury Memory Foam Neck Travel Pillow with Hoodie: With a memory foam pillow attached to a hoodie, the Genuine Picks Luxury Memory Foam Neck Travel Pillow helps travelers remain comfortable and protected from the cold and heat. Wearing the hoodie, you can also cover your eyes and ears for a more undisturbed sleep. The soft velvet cover zips off for washing. The memory foam is a good choice for those with allergies, as the company boasts that it is “resistant to all kinds of fungus, mites and mold and bacteria and even odor-causing microorganisms.” Travelers like that it is super comfy. A waterproof carry bag makes it easy to take on trips.

[Genuine Picks Luxury Memory Foam Neck Travel Pillow with Hoodie: $29.99 or less. View deal.]

J-Pillow Travel Pillow: This J-shaped memory foam pillow, created by a former flight attendant, is designed with three-way support for your head, neck and chin. It is placed between your head and shoulders to keep the head elevated and upright. The bottom part of the pillow tucks under your chin to support the head from the front and stop it from falling forward. A compression carry bag with a snap-loop fastener attaches to luggage for hands-free carrying. The entire pillow is machine-washable. An inflatable version is also available.

[J-Pillow Travel Pillow: $39.95 or less. View deal.]

Ostrichpillow Light Travel Pillow: For another option that is a bit different, the circular Ostrichpillow Light can be placed around your neck, and travelers like it over their eyes to rest their head and block the light. It is handmade with viscose and elastomer material with coated microbead filling. It has an elastic cord adjuster to make it the most comfortable for you. The pillow is reversible with a choice of two colors and is hand-washable for spot cleaning. It is headphone and earphone compatible so you can listen to your favorite tunes and nod off.

[Ostrichpillow Light Travel Pillow: $44.99 or less. View deal.]

TRAVELREST Therapeutic Memory Foam Travel & Neck Pillow: Despite it being an inexpensive option, the TRAVELREST Therapeutic features special thermal sensitive memory foam touted as originally developed by NASA. The result is a design offering top support for the neck, shoulders and head. Travelers like the adjustable drawstring, which allows them to customize the fit and keep the pillow in place. You can also use the drawstring to attach the pillow to the luggage. The removable soft microfiber cover is machine washable.

[TRAVELREST Therapeutic Memory Foam Travel & Neck Pillow: $14.95 or less. View deal.]

TRAVELREST Nest Memory Foam Travel Pillow: The same special thermal sensitive memory foam developed originally by NASA as TRAVELREST’s Therapeutic Memory Foam Travel & Neck Pillow can be found in this patented step up with optimal support for the neck, shoulders and head. There is a strap and non-slip backing to keep the pillow in place. Travelers like the included drawstring pouch that allows the pillow to be compressed to a quarter of its size and attaches to luggage. As a bonus, this model includes a free pair of earplugs. This pillow is available in blue or gray and the removable velour cover is machine-washable.

[TRAVELREST Nest Memory Foam Travel Pillow: $39.99 or less. View deal.]

(Courtesy of Trtl)

Trtl Pillow: This patented design features a hidden internal neck support surrounded by soft, hypoallergenic fleece and plush padding to hold your head and neck comfortable so you can achieve a good sleep. Wrap it around your neck like a scarf, secure it in place with the soft-touch fastener and rest your head on the support. Travelers appreciate that they can remove the inner support and that it is machine-washable. A step up gets you the Trtl Pillow Plus, which is height adjustable and comes with a waterproof travel bag. Taller people should opt for the Trtl Pillow Plus.

Twist Memory Foam Pillow: With this style, you can twist the pillow into any shape (including the traditional U) and position it the way you want to best support your neck, head, back, shoulder or cervical spine, which makes travelers happy. The removable cotton cover is machine-washable. With a snap closure, the pillow can be attached to luggage. It is available in multiple color options, including blue, black and gray.

[Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow: $24.99 or less. View deal.]

Inflatable Travel Pillows

(Courtesy of AirComfy)

AirComfy Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow: The adjustable AirComfy Ease Travel Pillow allows you to inflate it to be firmer or softer. With interior foam and a design to keep your head upright, the pillow also offers neck support. A back strap allows you to secure it to your headrest to keep it right where you need it. Alternately, the pillow can be used for lumbar back support. The removable velvet cover is washable. Travelers like that it is lightweight and that the pillow easily compresses into its included packsack with carabiner to click onto luggage.

[AirComfy Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow: $19.99 or less. View deal.]

Eagle Creek Exhale Travel Neck Pillow: Inflate with a few breaths into the valve for custom support of the ergonomic Eagle Creek Exhale. The ultra-light pillow from the luggage and travel accessory company offers a soft fleece cover that is removable for hand-washing. Travelers like that it is compact when deflated and that the pillow can be placed in a small carrying sac until their next trip. It is available in gray and blue.

[Eagle Creek Exhale Travel Neck Pillow: $27.95 or less. View deal.]

HoodiePillow: This U-shaped pillow is attached to a hoodie made of premium sweatshirt material and two drawstrings for adjustability. The cozy design can be spot-cleaned. Travelers love this design, because the hood allows them to get comfortable, block out light and get a bit of privacy from others.

Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow: Switch up your sleeping with the Sunany Inflatable, which is designed for front positioning (by placing it on the airplane or train tray table) with a choice of spots to rest your head. Compact and lightweight for ease of transport, it includes a drawstring storage bag that can be attached to luggage. Add to your sleep experience with the included eye mask and earplugs. The pillow is hand-wash only; it is recommended you wash it before first use to remove the PVC smell.

[Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow: $17.69 or less. View deal.]

Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow with Soft Velour Cover: Travelers appreciate the H-shape of this Sunany pillow because it allows for use in many directions. It supports both sides of your head and neck and features a flat back. The bonus of the removable hood encourages a cozy feel and prevents cold drafts from too much air conditioning, and the adjustable strap keeps it in place. A pocket for your cell phone provides convenient access for listening to music. The pillow is made with a removable velvet cover that is machine-washable. It also comes with an eye mask and earplugs for truly blocking out the rest of the world. The lightweight inflatable pillow can be stored in the included waterproof drawstring bag that can be attached to luggage. For optimal comfort, it is recommended to inflate the pillow 80% to 90%. This travel neck pillow is available in black, gray and blue.

[Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow with Soft Velour Cover: $25.99 or less. View deal.]

(Courtesy of Travelrest)

TRAVELREST Ultimate Travel Pillow & Neck Pillow: Get full lateral support for the upper body with the uniquely designed TRAVELREST Ultimate Travel Pillow. The ergonomic-patented design helps to ensure proper head, neck and cervical alignment, along with keeping your head from falling forward. It can be used in two ways to induce a cozy sleep. Either hook the strap over the headrest and place it over your shoulder or wear it like a messenger bag. Travelers love how easily and quickly the pillow inflates and deflates for compact storage, and many appreciate that it can be worn across the torso or down the side. It is hand-wash only.

[TRAVELREST Ultimate Travel Pillow & Neck Pillow: $29.95 or less. View deal.]

Urophylla Inflatable Travel Pillow: You decide if you want your Urophylla Inflatable to be soft, medium or firm, based on adding or decreasing air. With a raised back for more support, it is ergonomically designed to prevent neck tilts. It is made of a PVC material liner and soft velvet fabric. The removable anti-sweat cover is machine washable. Travelers like that the pillow is easy to take on the go, thanks to its small size once it is deflated and stored in a handy carrying case. It is available in blue and gray.

[Urophylla Inflatable Travel Pillow: $13.99 or less. View deal.]

Travel Pillows for Kids

Don’t forget the youngest travelers who also require neck and head support when on the road. If you are traveling with children, they need travel pillows that are designed specifically for them. The choices below are not only smaller in size for better comfort, but also come in fun designs to make kids feel like they have a cozy friend to accompany them on their travel adventures.

(Courtesy of BCOZZY)

BCOZZY Kids Neck Pillow: Similar to its adult counterpart but designed specifically for kids, the BCOZZY Kids Neck Pillow ensures your child’s head and neck are comfy. It is available in small for 3- to 7-year-olds and medium for 8- to 12-year-olds. The curved custom-made system with overlapping arms offers customizable support, and is like wrapping your kids in a big hug. Featuring a fabric shell of microfleece and cool microsuede, the pillow is filled with a soft down alternative. Parents appreciate that the lightweight traveling buddy comes with a carrying case featuring a snap lock in the back of the pillow that can easily be clipped to luggage or backpacks. And you won’t have to worry about keeping this pillow clean, just throw it into the washing machine after each trip. Children can choose from many colors and kid-friendly designs.

[BCOZZY Kids Neck Pillow: $44.97 or less. View deal.]

COOLBEBE Kids Neck Travel Pillow: This U-shaped travel neck pillow comes in a choice of three animal shapes including ladybugs, monkeys and smiling deer. Kids will want to cuddle with their new friends, while parents like that their children are receiving 360-degree head and neck support. Designed for ages 1 to 12, it is made of cotton pique fabric and comes with an adjustable snap button. The pillow is completely machine washable to keep it fresh for every flight or drive.

[COOLBEBE Kids Neck Travel Pillow: $14.99 or less. View deal.] MSRP: $14.99.

Critter Piller Kids Travel Buddy and Comfort Pillow: This cute little brown pup is the perfect travel pal for kids ages 3 and older. The U-shaped Critter Piller Kids Travel Buddy and Comfort Pillow feature a smiling huggable dog with floppy ears. Parents like the soft cover. It provides comfy and gentle support for kids’ heads while traveling. Made with hypoallergenic fiber-filled from recycled materials, it is machine-washable to keep your child’s pal clean and ready for your next family adventure.

[Critter Piller Kids Travel Buddy and Comfort Pillow: $11.99 or less. View deal.]

Infanzia Kids Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow: Promising support of the head, neck and chin, Infanzia Kids Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow is designed with a thin back to prevent the child’s head from being pushed forward. Parents appreciate the support of the pillow. The child’s head is able to rest against their car seat providing more comfort. An adjustable snap button can be hung on the luggage for toting around. The honeycomb cloth is washable and the pillow is available in many different colors and animal designs.

[Infanzia Kids Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow: $19.99 or less. View deal.]

Nido Nest Travel Friendz Kids Travel Neck Pillow: Less stiff than memory foam, the Nido Nest Travel Friendz Kids Travel Neck Pillow is made with microbeads so it can easily mold and support children’s heads. The U-shaped pillows are both cute and comfortable in animal shapes, including pig, frog, ladybug, owl and bumblebee, which both parents and kids like. The removable cover makes it easy to clean, and a handy snap allows you to attach it to luggage.

[Nido Nest Travel Friendz Kids Travel Neck Pillow: $16.95 or less. View deal.]

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https://www.usnews.com/features/the-top-travel-pillows