Choosing a good travel pillow will significantly impact the quality of your long-haul air and ground travels. This compact and affordable accessory is a must-have on your travel equipment list.
A travel pillow is undoubtedly one of those items that should be included in your “travel equipment list.” Whether traveling by air or land or covering a long distance to reach your destination, selecting a good travel pillow will enhance the quality of your sleep. A good night’s sleep is essential for a successful journey. So, join Nabtrip Travel magazine as we guide you in choosing the best travel pillow.
Why should we buy a travel pillow?
Having a comfortable travel pillow is essential if you’re planning to travel, whether by land or air, in a personal car, or an airplane. Of course, we’re referring to long-haul journeys where you have to spend many hours on planes, trains, buses, or cars.
A travel pillow is a good support for your head, neck, and shoulders, reducing the chances of experiencing headaches during flights caused by pressure and tension.
Although many trains and flights provide pillows upon request, even for flights shorter than four hours, the demand can be high, and the supply is limited. Therefore, choosing an affordable, compact, lightweight, soft, and comfortable travel pillow for yourself and experiencing restful sleep by placing it around your neck throughout the journey is better.
Types of Travel Pillows
Choosing the best travel pillow is not a difficult task. It’s enough to examine the available models, compare them regarding various factors, and then make a buying decision. Below, we introduce some of the most popular models of travel pillows:
1. Neck Pillow
The best neck pillow that is suitable for all types of transportation. There are various colors of this type of pillow available in the market. This pillow keeps your neck in a perfect position. Especially when sitting in the middle seat, it helps prevent your neck from leaning on the shoulder of the person next to you.
This pillow is very lightweight, compact, and comfortable. However, the foam inside can cause sweating, so placing a fabric cover inside is better before using it.
Recently, a highly advanced model of this pillow, known as the Trtl pillow, has been designed and produced. This pillow, one of the best neck travel pillows, has a mesh fabric in its center that prevents heat and sweating and provides excellent support for your head and neck during sleep.
The height of the Trtl pillow is adjustable, and its lightweight design and washable features are among its advantages.
2. J-Shaped Travel Pillow
This pillow resembles the letter “J” and slightly differs from U-shaped pillows. It offers high standards, comfort, lightweight design, and washable features. However, it occupies a larger volume, requiring you to hold it in your hand or hang it from your bag with a short strap.
The best time to use a J-shaped pillow is when seated by an airplane, train, or bus window, as it provides better support and comfort.
3. Neck Pillow with Ventilation
This travel pillow is more expensive than usual but is of high quality. It is made of contouring foam with air vents between the layers to prevent sweating. It is lightweight and comes with a washable cover.
This neck pillow is placed around the neck and is very comfortable, protecting your neck throughout sleep.
4. Foam Neck Pillow
Foam neck pillows are an ideal choice for those who prefer U-shaped pillows. This type of pillow effectively supports your head and neck, is made of foam, and has a washable cover. It usually has vents on its surface to prevent sweating and often comes with a carrying case for easy transportation. It has a medium weight and can also be used in cars.
5. U-Shaped Pillow
U-shaped pillows are among the best types available in the market. These pillows provide excellent support for your head and neck during travel or relaxation. This pillow suits you if your head tends to tilt forward when sleeping. You can place it under your cheek and lean on it, use it like a sling bag on your shoulder and rest your head on it, or position it between the seatback and your neck to protect your head.
The weight of this travel pillow is medium. It is made of foam and usually has a washable cover.
6. Dual-Purpose Inflatable Pillow
This type of inflatable pillow usually has a cover made of soft and comfortable fabric that addresses the issue of sweating. You can also use this pillow as a footrest. It is lightweight and does not take up much space, as it can be easily deflated. This travel pillow is usually produced in two sizes, large and small, allowing you to choose based on your body size.
7. Bean Pillow
Bean pillows have applications during travel, at home, and even in the office, but their main drawback is their weight, as they can be slightly heavy. Tiny plastic beads in this pillow ensure good protection for your head and neck.
8. Inflatable Body Pillow
If you want to use these body pillows, you should pack fewer items in your suitcase because this type of pillow takes up more space, even when deflated. Using these pillows is much more comfortable than neck pillows, and they are available in various sizes, with some matching the length and width of the body.
9. Medical Travel Pillow
The medical travel pillow is made of high-quality crescent-shaped foam that perfectly conforms to the ergonomics of the head and neck area. The foam used in making this pillow is fully elastic and compatible with the shape of the neck area. Additionally, the cover of this pillow is washable. It is recommended to use it to prevent head and neck problems.
10. Inflatable Neck Pillow
Inflatable neck pillows are considered one of the best travel pillows due to their small size and minimal space occupation. This pillow can be easily inflated and is relatively inexpensive. However, the plastic used in its construction may cause sweating, which can be resolved by placing a fabric cover on its inner surface.
This pillow provides excellent support for your neck and reduces pressure on the neck. It is portable, comfortable, and elastic, which are the advantages of an inflatable neck pillow. Its most important feature is its compact size. When deflated, it is about a palm size and can easily fit in your bag.
This pillow’s valve is designed so that the air does not escape during use and can be easily deflated by applying a little pressure. It is recommended to use this pillow for travel by airplane, train, bus, and personal car.
Points to consider when buying a travel pillow
You should consider various factors to choose and purchase the best travel pillow. Paying attention to the most minor details in selecting a pillow helps you spend your money wisely and experience comfortable sleep during your travels.
1. Pay attention to different shapes of travel pillows:
Travel pillows are designed and produced in various shapes and colors: U-shaped pillows, J-shaped pillows (commonly known as neck pillows), triangular pillows, cylindrical pillows, cushions, and more.
Among them, neck pillows receive more attention from travelers. U-shaped pillows surround the neck with a small gap between the chin and the neck, while J-shaped pads provide support under the chin, keeping the neck in place and preventing the head from falling forward.
Cushion-shaped pillows, which are also found in all coupe trains, serve as a good support for the back and spine. Cylindrical pillows fill the neck hollow and prevent pressure on the neck and spine.
2. Material of travel pillows:
After selecting the shape of a travel pillow, research the material used in its construction. Inflatable neck pillows, for example, can cause sweating due to the materials used. You may need to wrap a fabric around it before use.
Foam travel pillows are more comfortable and provide adequate support for your head and neck. However, it’s essential to check the quality of the foam, as some may be firmer than others. Remember that memory foam pillows may be comfortable but can cause sweating.
Some decorative pillows are filled with tiny beads or microfiber but still support your head and neck. These types of pillows have more weight, and the beads used in the cover may irritate your facial skin and neck.
Fur pillows are also very lightweight but may not sufficiently support your head and neck.
Two other options for travel pillows are polyester and wool. Both are affordable and lightweight, making them good choices.
3. Price of travel pillows:
The price of a travel pillow is also significant when purchasing. Sometimes, an inexpensive inflatable neck pillow is more effective than a fancy embroidered cushion. Consider your travel frequency when determining how much you’re willing to spend.
If you are a frequent traveler and spend a lot of time on airplanes and trains, it is recommended to invest in a quality travel pillow and not worry too much about the cost. You can even place two or three comfortable neck pillows in the backseat of your car.
4. Longevity of a good travel pillow:
Please consider the product description when purchasing a travel pillow to determine its lifespan. If you travel extensively or suffer from head and neck issues, consider buying a high-quality pillow with a longer lifespan. The higher the quality, the longer it will last. However, an inexpensive inflatable neck pillow will suffice if you only travel once a year.
5. Size of travel pillows:
It is advisable to consider the size and space a travel pillow occupies. An inflatable neck pillow occupies minimal space. You can even place it in your handbag and inflate it when needed. However, the choice of pillow ultimately depends on your personal preference.
6. Travel pillows for children:
If you are traveling with your child, it is best to provide them with a specially designed travel pillow for children. The buffer size should be suitable for children to protect their heads and necks. The design of these pillows can also be appealing to children.
In general, when choosing a travel pillow, consider all these factors. Do you prioritize lightweight options or compact size? Does comfort and sweat resistance matter to you? Take all these aspects into consideration.
7. Where to buy travel pillows?
To purchase a travel neck pillow or any travel pillow, you can visit medical supply stores, large pharmacies, and online retailers specializing in travel accessories. Some individuals with artistic skills may prefer to make their travel pillows. However, for buying a travel neck pillow, we recommend reputable online retail websites with licenses for online sales and guarantee the authenticity of their products.
How to use a travel pillow?
Choosing the right travel pillow can significantly enhance the quality of your sleep during long journeys. Now that you have successfully purchased a suitable travel pillow, it’s time to familiarize yourself with how to use it:
1. Test your pillow:
It is recommended to test your pillow before your trip. The best way to ensure comfort is to try it out. It would be best not to tilt your neck too far back when using U-shaped pillows, as it can cause discomfort. The materials inside the pad should not irritate your neck, and the fabric should not cause itching or skin irritation.
2. Inflate it before use:
If your pillow is an inflatable neck pillow, inflate it before use and place the cap in its designated spot to prevent air leakage. Inflate the pillow to a level that feels firm and supportive.
Some pillows do not require inflation and only need to be rotated to allow air to enter. The pad will gradually inflate. However, if your place does not have this feature, refer to the instructions manual to learn how to grow it properly.
Pillows made of foam or filled with excellent plastic particles tend to be more comfortable but occupy more space.
3. Cover your pillow with a scarf or cloth:
Some inexpensive travel pillows are made of plastic materials and can cause sweating. To prevent sweating, cover the inner surface of the pad with a scarf, cloth, or thin fabric.
4. Place the pillow around your neck:
Now, it’s time to place the pillow around your neck. Some U-shaped pillows have a fastening mechanism in the front that secures the pad around your neck when closed. If your pillow is J-shaped, position it between your head and shoulder.
5. Lean back the seat and use an eye mask:
Lean back the seat slightly to put your head and neck in a better position. We recommend using an eye mask to promote better sleep and block out disturbing lights.
6. Rotate the pillow in different directions:
If your journey is long, rotate the pillow in different directions and occasionally lean to the side to allow your head and neck to rest in different positions. This helps prevent the feeling of fatigue in the head and neck area.
7. Place the pillow on the airplane tray table and sleep forward:
Some people prefer to sleep on their stomachs rather than leaning back on the seat. If you’re one of those people, you can place the pillow on the tray table during air travel and sleep forward. If your pillow is U-shaped, you can easily position your face in its opening and sleep comfortably.
8. Wear comfortable clothing:
The recommendation to wear comfortable clothing during the journey is not only related to using a pillow. Comfortable clothing allows more oxygen to reach your skin and reduces sweating. It also provides a broader range of movement and reduces fatigue.
It’s also better to wear comfortable attire when using tall pillows. Since these pillows cover your shoulders and legs, you may feel warmth and sweat.
9. Attach your pillow to the seat with a seatbelt:
Some tall pillows are connected to the seatbelt, while others are attached to the back. Therefore, pay attention when purchasing these pillows to determine which is better for you. If the pad is connected to the seatbelt, move it slightly upward to rest your head comfortably. If it is attached to the back of the seat, lean back as far as you are comfortable and place your head on the pillow.
10. Leaning forward or sideways:
Most body pillows are designed to allow you to easily lean your body forward or sideways and distribute your weight onto the pad. Lean against the pillow comfortably, then place your neck on the pad as much as possible.
Your pillow may have two J-shaped curves on each side, with one typically more significant than the other. The enormous curve usually rests beneath one of your shoulders, while the smaller angle helps secure the pillow.
Some pillows are designed to be placed on your thighs or the tray table, and while leaning forward, they support the upper part of your body.