Full disclosure: I am gifted with the ability to fall asleep anywhere. At any time, with any light or noise conditions, and in any imaginable variety of train, plane, or car seat, I can fold my body into some semblance of comfort and be totally out for the count within minutes.
I don't say this to brag; there are downsides. For one, my friends have lovingly captured multiple photos of me fast asleep in the passenger's seat, drooling onto the seat belt that's somehow strapped across my face. And while this hurts my pride, it's the least of my worries when it comes to pain. Because falling asleep is no problem, waking up at the end of the trip with a stiff neck, numb-ish lower back, or a delightful headache almost certainly will be.
Enter: the wonderful world of travel pillows. There are endless products out there to provide the plushy reinforcements you need to sleep better while traveling and feel better once you've reached your destination. I've rounded up a few of our team's favorites, from discreet neck pillows that could pass for scarves — or are hidden away in the hood of a jacket! — to inflatable sleep support devices that require superhuman levels of self-esteem, but are so, so worth it.
These are the best travel pillows to shop:
- Best for Secret Support: Trtl Pillow
- Best for Frequent Overnight Fliers: Trtl Pillow Plus
- Best for the Can't-get-comfortable Traveler: Huzi Design Infinity Pillow
- Best for Saving Space: AirComfy Ease Pillow
- Best for Truly Shameless Shut-eye: Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow
- Best for Serious Do-not-disturb Signals: Saireider Travel Neck Pillow Kit
- Best No-frills Packable Pillow: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
- Best for the Bobblehead Sleeper: GoSleep Eye Mask and Memory Foam Pillow Travel Kit
- Best for Travelers Who Get Too Hot: Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow
- Best for Sensitive Sleepers: Ostrich Pillow Light
- Best for Kids: BCozzy Kids Chin-supporting Travel Pillow
- Best for the Window Seat: J Pillow
- Best for Travelers Who Get Too Cold: Vera Bradley Convertible Travel Blanket
- Best for Forward Folders: Cloudz EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper
- Best for Packing Purists: Tumi Pax Puffer Jacket
- Best for Neck Support: Ostrich Pillow Go
Best for Secret Support: Trtl Pillow
If you've found that U-shaped neck pillows don't provide the support you need to doze off, the scarf-like, fleece Trtl Pillow — pronounced "turtle" — will be your sleep savior. It packs a strengthened inner rib that contours to any neck, jaw, or shoulder shape. It's half the size of a traditional neck pillow, and in the unfortunate case of deep-sleep drool, it's machine-washable.
To buy: amazon.com and trtltravel.com, $30
Best for Frequent Overnight Fliers: Trtl Pillow Plus
Any gripes that users of the original Trtl Pillow may have had — the fleece wrap can get a bit warm; the support angle isn't quite right for every neck — are left on the tarmac with the launch of the Trtl Plus. The new version has adjustable neck support which allows for Goldilocks-style comfort and the fabric wrap is vented with a breathable mesh. The price point is higher, but we firmly believe good sleep is priceless.
To buy: amazon.com, $60
Best for the Can’t-get-comfortable Traveler: Huzi Design Infinity Pillow
The Infinity Pillow by Huzi Design is a game-changer. It has an infinity symbol shape that you can wrap in practically limitless ways. Its high-quality bamboo fabric is machine-washable, hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, and even boasts noise-cancelling abilities if worn over the ears.
To buy: amazon.com, $40
Best for Saving Space: AirComfy Ease Pillow
The AirComfy Ease is the only pillow that got a perfect score when our editors reviewed 17 travel pillows. It's designed to provide either lumbar support or neck support, with an elastic band to secure it to your headrest. Just inflate it to the firmness you prefer for use and pack it flat or back into its pouch when you've reached your destination.
To buy: amazon.com, $20
Best for Truly Shameless Shut-eye: Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow
What the Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in comfort. When inflated, it's shaped like a long apostrophe that tucks right above your shoulder and across your body or down your side, with a strap that can sling around your body like a guitar to keep it stable. Upon arrival, it easily deflates into a small roll designed to snap right onto your carry-on's handle.
To buy: amazon.com, $26
Best for Serious Do-not-disturb Signals: Saireider Travel Neck Pillow Kit
The Saireider Travel Neck Pillow Kit was made for the light sleeper. Shoppers love that the memory foam molds to the contours of their neck, but their favorite part seems to be the fact that the pillow is flat at the back, so it lays comfortably against their seat. Even better, the pillow folds up into a compact size to fit inside a convenient carry case, and the set also comes with a silk sleep mask and a pair of foam earplugs.
To buy: amazon.com, $15
Best No-frills Packable Pillow: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
If you want something that you can also use while camping or sleeping in a non-upright position on your trip, this soft, urethane foam–filled pillow packs to one-fifth its normal size and comes with a comfortable brushed polyester cover. A few minutes after you unroll the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow the foam really fills out, giving you just enough window-seat support. The small size is plenty big enough for plane sleeping, but the medium is manageable, too, if you want a little more pillow.
To buy: amazon.com, $25
Best for the Bobblehead Sleeper: GoSleep Eye Mask and Memory Foam Pillow Travel Kit
If you're literally nodding as you attempt to nod off, the GoSleep Pillow Travel Kit will ensure your head stays cradled securely in place. The eye mask attaches to the back of your headrest with an adjustable elastic cord, but keep in mind this feature may only be useful when there's not a screen on your seat back — avoid this one if you like flying JetBlue or Delta.
To buy: amazon.com, $40
Best for Travelers Who Get Too Hot: Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow
If you overheat just thinking about a thick, fluffy pillow wrapped around your neck, the Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow is for you. The sporty design pairs memory foam with cooling air circulation vents and sweat-wicking fabric for when the tiny air conditioning vent above you is in "does this even work?" mode.
To buy: amazon.com, $60
Best for Sensitive Sleepers: Ostrich Pillow Light
If bright lights and rowdy neighbors are just as annoying as fumbling around with an eye mask and earplugs, you'll love the Ostrich Pillow Light (and you can see our editors try it out here). This adjustable ringed pillow is filled with silicon-covered micro-beads for sound reduction, setting you up for a sleep so deep you won't even need these brilliant ways to cure jet lag.
To buy: amazon.com, $45
Best for Kids: BCozzy Kids Chin-supporting Travel Pillow
The super-snug BCozzy pillow provides a just-right amount of support for tiny travelers on long plane, train, and car rides. It wraps beneath the chin, stabilizing the neck, and the brand makes some more fun styles like leopard print, too. P.S. The adult version is also excellent, especially if you're wearing a pair of over-the-ear headphones. I also love that the back is slim enough that it doesn't push your head outward and away from the headrest.
To buy: amazon.com, $30 (Originally $45)
Best for the Window Seat: J Pillow
Even though it slightly resembles a whale tail, you'll be far more restful than Captain Ahab with this J-shaped travel pillow. It's specifically designed to cradle your head, neck, and chin and we think it works best when can you rest it against the wall of the plane.
To buy: amazon.com, $21
Best for Travelers Who Get Too Cold: Vera Bradley Convertible Travel Blanket
The fleecy Vera Bradley Travel Blanket is lightweight to pack but plenty big enough (40" x 60") to keep you warm in a chilly airplane cabin. It folds into a pillow with a built-in trolley sleeve that easily slides over the handle of your suitcase.
To buy: amazon.com, $39 (Originally $40)
Best for Forward Folders: Cloudz EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper
PSA: Do not put your face anywhere near your tray table. A 2011 study confirmed they're almost 10 times more germ-covered than the airplane bathrooms. Though, if downward-facing drool is your preferred sleeping position, check out the EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper by Cloudz, the maker of the OG microbead neck pillow. If you've got the space to pack it, this frontal pillow truly is easy to inflate — just three or four breaths will bring the face-hugging feel of a massage chair to your tray table or lap.
To buy: amazon.com, $15
Best for Packing Purists: Tumi Pax Puffer Jacket
For those who pride themselves on bringing only the necessities on a trip, the Tumi Pax Packable Jacket converts into a travel neck pillow by rolling itself into a hidden pouch at the collar. When worn as a jacket, it's both wind- and water-resistant with quilted duck down insulation.
To buy: (men's) tumi.com, (women's) tumi.com, $135 (Originally $195)
Best for Neck Support: Ostrich Pillow Go
The Ostrich Pillow Go is a popular option on Amazon because it offers ample neck support. The ergonomically designed pillow boasts a customizable fit and two different heights, so you can easily find a comfortable sleeping position. The pillow's cover is ultra-soft against the skin and is removable and machine-washable. What's more, the travel accessory can compress by 60 percent to fit inside its corresponding travel bag, making it super easy to pack.
To buy: amazon.com, $58
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