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The 10 Best Travel Pillows of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Sleep and relax comfortably on the go with these top travel pillows

Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure where she tests, researches, and writes about travel products. Since living overseas in 2018, Anna has been a travel writer and began reviewing products in 2021.

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In This Article

Jump to a Section

  • Our top picks
  • Others We Liked

Our Testing Process

  • Tips for Buying
  • Why Trust T+L

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

Travel + Leisure

Sitting upright for hours on end can be incredibly uncomfortable, but a travel pillow can make your trip a lot more tolerable. Whether embarking on a red-eye flight or taking the train, the best travel pillows will be comfy, supportive, and portable. 

We tested 24 travel pillows based on traits like comfort, durability, portability, and quality. We narrowed down the best options while using the accessory for road trips, long-haul flights, and train rides. Our top pick for the best travel pillow overall is Cabeau The Neck's Evolution S3. We love that this pillow folded down into its own, compact carrying case and comes with a washable cover to keep it fresh between trips. We also found the best pillow choices for travelers who like a softer or firmer pillow along with styles that are perfect for middle seats and budget-conscious travelers, too. 

Best Overall

Cabeau tne s3 travel pillow.

  • Comfort 4.5 /5
  • Quality 4.8 /5
  • Portability 5 /5
  • Durability 5 /5

The seat strap system keeps the pillow in place and prevents painful neck cramps.

It can feel stiff at first and takes some getting used to.

This soft and supportive travel pillow is the perfect accessory for long trips, whether you're in the car or in the air. The pillow itself can attach to any headrest with adjustable straps to prevent your head from sagging or falling into uncomfortable positions while sleeping. There's also an adjustable chin strap for added comfort and security. The pillow's exterior fabric is soft and cozy, yet breathable so you don't feel too hot or constricted although it can take some time to find your perfect position.

We also love that the pillow case is machine washable. We tested this pillow on a long international trip where it really got tossed around on planes, trains, and buses, so it felt great to wash the cover at the end of the trip, making it good as new. Despite its fairly large size, the pillow is also quite portable as it rolls up into a compact carrying case that can attach to a bag's exterior or slip into larger backpacks and totes.

The Details:  Polyester, microsuede, foam   | Portable case | Machine-washable

Best Overall, Runner-up

Cushion lab ergonomic travel neck pillow.

  • Comfort 4 /5
  • Quality 5 /5

The pillow has an asymmetrical design that allows travelers to adjust the amount of support needed.

It can have a snug fit.

The Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow can make your trip much more comfortable, whether in the middle seat of a plane or a car. With an ergonomic design, one side of the pillow is larger than the other to support the chin if your head tilts while sleeping, and the back has a cushion that is contoured to keep the head in an upright position. During testing, the neck pillow provided a comfortable rest for the chin, and we didn’t feel too hot while wearing it. Although the cushion fits snugly around the neck, it didn’t take long to get used to it, and we could nap comfortably during a train and car ride. The buckled strap was easy to adjust, and we liked having the ability to spin the pillow around to use the asymmetrical sides and back to find the most comfortable position for sleeping in the window and middle seats. With a soft, recycled polyester exterior and Cushion Lab’s extra-dense memory foam, the quality of the travel pillow is luxurious and sturdy, and it folds into a small ball to fit inside a carrying bag that can clip onto a backpack or a suitcase.

The Details:  Polyester, Hyperfoam   | Portable case | Machine-washable

Travel + Leisure / Alessandra Amodio

Best Budget

Cloudz microbead travel neck pillow.

  • Comfort 5 /5
  • Quality 4 /5

It molds to the shape of your neck to prevent bobbing.

The cover can't be removed and washed.

The Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow is a no-frills option that offers generous neck support for a budget-friendly price. It is filled with tiny microbeads that quickly mold to the shape of your neck and prevent your head from bobbing around while sleeping. We appreciated its lightweight but sturdy feel, and that there were no signs of damage after using the neck pillow or when clipping it onto a suitcase to transport. Although the cover can’t be removed, we noted that the fabric is easy to touch up with instructions to spot clean the surface as necessary. Cozy and breathable, the travel pillow did a solid job of regulating temperature and keeping the neck warm during cold flights and cool during hot flights.

The Details: Polyester, microbeads | No portable case | Machine-washable

Best Splurge

Ostrich pillow go neck pillow.

The pillow has an asymmetrical design that can accommodate neck, chin, and head support preferences.

It might warm your neck if you run hot while sleeping.

The Ostrich Pillow Go Neck Pillow feels like sleeping on a cloud. This travel pillow provided the perfect amount of neck support and comfort, allowing us to get more rest on a flight than usual. The plush memory foam filling and asymmetric design can be easily adjusted to support the neck, chin, or head with the taller or shorter sides. The materials appear high-quality and luxurious, and it rolls up to fit in a compact drawstring sack. The pillow holds its shape despite being in the bag for long periods, which leads us to believe that it will hold up well with prolonged use. The pillow cover is removable and can be machine-washed, but we air-dried it to ensure it didn’t shrink (and had no issues putting it back on the pillow). A must-have for those with higher budgets, this pillow allowed for better sleep and more comfort on flights.

The Details: Viscosa, memory foam | Portable case | Machine-washable

Travel + Leisure / Susan Brickell

Best Cooling

Cabeau evolution cool pillow.

  • Quality 4.5 /5

The mesh air vents make the pillow breathable. 

It’s made of firm memory foam.

The Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow is a great pick for travelers that get warm quickly. The pillow is designed to prevent heat from building up as you wear it as mesh vents in between two layers of cushiony memory foam filter in the air. We liked the breathability feature and moisture-wicking fabric, and said we didn’t feel overheated while using it on an airplane or road trip. While it took a moment to get situated, once the pillow was in the most comfortable position, it was extremely supportive and firm without feeling too hard. We especially liked the portability of the already lightweight pillow (thanks to its durable-feeling carrying case), and the mesh pocket for storing small accessories. This pillow quickly unfolds to its original shape despite being rolled up and going in and out of the compact case as well.

The Details: Memory foam | Portable case | Machine-washable

Best Sustainable

Therm-a-rest compressible pillow.

  • Portability 4 /5

It’s made of recycled and upcycled materials that are comfortable and breathable.

It doesn’t offer neck support like a regular travel pillow.

If you’re not a fan of the typical U-shaped travel pillow, the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is a great alternative. It resembles the rectangular style of a traditional pillow, and it compresses down to be easily transported whether you’re flying or camping. The recycled polyester fabric is light and breathable, and the foam filling — made from extra polyurethane foam left over after producing REI’s sleeping pads — provides a soft cushion for your head. We also loved how durable it is, especially for various uses like camping, flying, or taking a nap at home. While the pillow doesn’t come with a carrying bag, it has a toggle strap to compress it into a smaller size and a built-in cover that you fold the pillow into for protection while traveling.

The Details: Recycled polyester, polyurethane foam fill | No portable case | Machine-washable

Best for Window Seats

J-pillow chin-supporting neck pillow.

It’s easy and intuitive to use for resting your chin and head.

It could be more supportive when you’re leaning against a window.

The J-Pillow Chin-supporting Neck Pillow has a J-shape that wraps around the neck to support the chin and the front, back, and one side of the head. Despite the different design than a typical U-shaped travel pillow, it is easy to use and fits securely while sleeping or resting during travels. The pillow comes with a compact case that can be attached to a piece of luggage to make traveling with it effortless. After being folded up in the carrying case for some time, the J-shape didn’t falter, and remained supportive and soft. We think the J-Pillow is ideal for any type of traveler since it's very portable and lightweight.

The Details: Polyester, memory foam | Portable case | Machine-washable

Travel + Leisure / Jennifer May

Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow

  • Durability 4.5 /5

It’s supportive without feeling too stiff. 

This would be best for travelers who know they prefer a firm travel pillow.

We love the comfortable and supportive Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow for travelers that like a firmer neck pillow. The buckle strap adjusts accordingly to fit around your neck, and offers 360-degree support on the chin, jaw, and back. We loved how you can lean back in the car or plane, and the back of the neck doesn't fall backward. In addition to having exceptional support, the Aeris travel pillow folds into a small ball and easily fits into the circular carrying case that can clip onto a backpack or suitcase without being a noticeable nuisance. The holder also has a frontal slip pocket for storing the earplugs and eye mask that are included with the travel pillow. After a trip, the carrying case can be unzipped and machine-washed, although we recommend air-drying it to prevent any possibility of shrinkage.

The Details: Velour, polyester, memory foam | Portable case | Machine-washable

Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp

Best Side Support

Cabeau evolution s3 travel pillow.

  • Durability 4 /5

This pillow is soft and durable.

The suede-like outer material has a tendency to pick up lint.

This travel pillow was designed to keep your head and neck supported for even the longest of flights. Not only is the semicircular pillow adjustable, so you can get the shape perfect for you, it also features and adjustable seat strap to prevent your head from dropping while you rest. Right out of the box, we loved the high-quality of the memory foam, which makes it supportive and soft, and the cover material feels great against the skin. It gives users a great balance of softness and support. To keep your pillow protected and prevent any risk that it will end up getting dragged across the airport floor, this also comes with a compact carrying case that compresses down to fit into carry-on luggage.

The Details: Polyester, microsuede, memory foam | Portable case | Machine-washable

Travel + Leisure / Erin Johnson

Gingerlily Silk Travel Pillow

  • Portability 3 /5
  • Value 3.5 /5

To protect your hair and skin throughout your travels, a silk pillow is the way to go.

It's 12 x 16 inches, so make sure you have plenty of room to pack it.

For those who love sleeping on silk pillowcases at home, this mini version for travel is an absolute must. Yes, it can be pricey to buy silk travel accessories , but it's also expensive to ruin a blowout and have to find a salon on vacation (and there's no price to be put on fresh, clean skin). This silk pillow is smaller than a standard pillow at 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, but can still be used in bed in a pinch and is perfect for trains, planes, and cars — just make sure you have the space in your carry-on bag. After using this pillow for multiple long trips, it shows no signs of loose stitches, fraying, or pilling. Rather, the pillow feels like it will last without ever going limp or flat.

The Details: Mulberry silk, cotton sateen, polyester

Travel + Leisure / Morgan Ashley Parker

TripSavvy / Morgan Ashley Parker

Other Travel Pillows We Liked

While we were able to narrow down the travel pillows for our best list, there were some that almost made the cut but didn’t due to a few weaknesses noted by our testers. 

Hest Pillow : This standard pillow is on the softer side yet still provides support and comfort while laying on it, but the fabric is slightly itchy, and it’s bulky to carry around, even when compressed.

Gingerlily Silk Travel Neck Pillow : We love that this pillow is high-quality and made with luxurious material, but it doesn't come with a carrying case, which we think you would need to keep this pillow protected.

Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Neck Pillow : While the memory foam is the perfect balance of firm and soft, we found this pillow to be just a bit too bulky for frequent travel.

Travel + Leisure / Daniela Galvez

We sent out 24 travel pillows to our testing experts to use during their upcoming trips. To thoughtfully curate this list, we researched popular options to fit a variety of comfort preferences, including pillows made of memory foam and microbeads, and tested different shapes, too. 

On a scale of one to five, our testers rated the pillows based on comfort, quality, durability, and portability. The pillows with the best comfort scores met or exceeded our expectations for special features, including cooling, firmness, softness, or other claims by the manufacturer. Our testers used the pillows for several hours at a time, if not longer, to see how comfy they were while sleeping, reading, or watching a movie while traveling. We asked our testers to note if they were able to sleep with the pillow on, if it caused any neck pain or discomfort, and how warm or cool the pillow felt around the neck. To check for quality and durability, our testers examined the build of the pillow to feel how well-made it appeared. After using the pillows during trips, they judged durability based on their functionality after several uses. The pillows with the highest score for portability were able to compress down into carrying bags that allow travelers to transport the pillow with exceptional ease. The best pillows also kept their shape after being tucked away into a case and always sprang back into their original form with no signs of damage. 

Tips for Buying a Travel Pillow

Prioritize neck support.

When it comes to sleeping in planes, trains, or cars, you should focus on your neck and head support. When your head drops during sleep, it restricts your breathing and can leave you with a sore neck or even a headache. Your travel pillow should be supportive enough that your neck stays securely upright without feeling as though you're being squeezed.

Portability is key 

Whether you pack light or over-pack, a travel pillow that compacts into a small carrying case is ideal for bringing along on trips. Of course, some travel pillows don’t compress, but they should still be easy to clip onto a suitcase and not bump into too many things if you’re traversing an airport or train station.  

Consider the filling material 

Travelers who like a more firm pillow should opt for a memory foam filling that can offer more support than an inflatable alternative. Microbead pillows can be just as supportive as memory foam ones, but they tend to be on the softer side and more suited to travelers that like a little less structure while sleeping. 

Generally, washing instructions will be included with the purchase of a travel pillow or on its tag. Removable covers can usually go through a machine wash, but many of our testers opted to air-dry the cover to prevent any shrinkage that could happen in a dryer. If a pillow doesn’t have a removable cover, you can spot clean the pillow by using a wet cloth or rag dipped into soapy water.

Most standard travel pillows have a semicircular shape that wraps around the neck to support the neck, head, and chin. These U-shaped pillows often have memory foam or microbead filling, but there are also inflatable neck pillows. In addition, standard pillows make great travel pillows, and plenty of rectangular-styled pillows compress down for better portability. Finally, while traditional pillows might be better suited for a traveler in the window seat, there are unique J-shaped travel pillows that are perfect for supporting the neck and head of someone sitting in the middle or aisle seat.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure , where she writes and reviews travel products. She has been travel writing since 2018 and product testing since 2021. Anna participated in this real-world product test and worked with travel editors to determine the results for the best travel pillows based on a series of tests completed during trips taken by plane, car, and train this summer.

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The 9 Best Travel Pillows for Sound Sleep On-the-Go

Say goodbye to that sore neck.

best travel pillows

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Why Trust Us?

What to Look for in a Travel Pillow

How we selected these travel pillows, pick the perfect travel pillow following these tips from expert chris meehan..

So, how to make the time in the air (or car or train) more relaxing? The right travel pillow may be the ticket the next time you take off somewhere. It's a basic travel accessory that ranks right up there with great luggage and noise-cancelling headphones .

In its U-shaped form, the travel pillow dates back to 1929 when the design was first patented. Its original intent was for use to recline in the bathtub. Since then, its look and feel has changed with modern versions configured in unique shapes to address all different kinds of travelers: long-haul fliers, restless sleepers, window-seat passengers, and more.

A decent travel pillow includes a soft cover using fabrics like brushed polyester, nylon, or microfiber, while the cushioning (or fill) inside should be supportive and comfortable yet structured enough for your head and neck. The fill types commonly used are assorted types of foam, microbeads, and polyester fiber, in addition to those kinds of pillows with an inflatable bladder

Whether you’re a side slumper, leaner on the seat-back, or nose-to-the sky snoozer, there is a pillow here for you. In our review and testing of travel pillows, we’ve found options in a variety of designs, weights, and shapes from under $20 to well over $60. Read on to find the best one for you!

Best Travel Pillows

  • Best Overall Travel Pillow: Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow
  • Best Hot-Sleeper Travel Pillow: Cabeau Evolution S3 Memory Foam
  • Best Bargain Travel Pillow: Cloudz Dual Comfort Microbead Travel Neck Pillow
  • Best Splurge Travel Pillow: Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow
  • Best Side-Sleeper Travel Pillow: Trtl Pillow Plus
The Expert: Taking multiple plane, train, and bus rides every year, I’m familiar with necessary on-the-go accessories like a travel pillow. For instance, I am based in Colorado and last year I flew to Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. My car travels included a road trip to Zion National Park with a buddy. My average trip takes about seven hours between the trains to and from the airport and the plane ride itself. After using quite a few travel pillows, I’ve found that I enjoy a side-sleeping pillow like the J-Pillow for plane rides since I tend to loll off to one side, and I like the traditionally shaped rectangular pillow, the NEMO Fillo, for other types of excursions like bus and car rides as well as car camping. Its combination of padding and inflate-ability make it versatile for many types of trips.

Many of the travel pillows below don’t look like the traditional U-shaped ones with microbeads—and for good reason. The U-shape doesn't work for everyone as it has a tendency to push the neck forward. Also, if the cushioning isn’t high enough on each side, it may cause your head to flop from left to right instead providing a stationary space. Any neck wobble may result in kinks, stiffness, and soreness.

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Those designs that are squared or have flat cushioning behind the neck with more coverage under the chin help keep the head upright. Contoured areas to accommodate the shoulders and help keep the pillows properly aligned.

Depending on how you prefer to rest, the right pillows will ensure some shut-eye on the plane, in the car, or on the train. Here are some factors to consider.

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While many are compact, this will be a factor depending on how light you like to travel. The most compact of all neck pillows is one that’s inflatable. These can deflate to a size smaller than a baseball. Bulkier memory foam pillows, on the other hand, will compress down to about the size of a football.

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Most travel pillows weigh under 1 pound, so they’re manageable enough to bring along and to use without putting downward pressure on your shoulders.

U-shape is most common, but it’s not the only form factor out there. Some travel pillows are mini-sized traditionally shaped pillows. Others are coil or donut-shaped to allow for better chin support for slumping sleepers, and at least a few, like the J-Pillow, are designed to offer extra head support for those of us who love to sleep with our head against the wall of a plane or train.

Just like your pillow at home, travel pillows have a range of different fills. Microbeads are likely the stiffest and least compressible while memory foam offers solid support and adjusts to the shape of your head. Inflatable pillows also offer customized cushioning but are sometimes cheaper in design.

Most travel pillows have a soft, fleecy fabric made of polyester, nylon or micro fleece that’s designed for comfort against the face. The fabric of the pillow can also go a long way to describe its washability. Some have covers that are easy to take off and wash. Even some with integrated covers are still machine washable.

The recommendations below are based on my own travel experiences in the air, car, bus, and train. I also looked at customer reviews to gauge what pillows have performed well for most people. Additionally, I considered the work of Paige Szmodis , who investigated pillow options for the previous version of this article.

Overall, these pillows made their way onto red-eye flights, along for road trips (in cars and buses), camping, and even lounging on the couch. Neck support and comfort were factored in as well as portability, durability, washability, and usage. I also considered if pillows came with a storage bag, how well each pillow retained its shape, and what the packed dimensions were versus overall size.

These pillows represent the top options for travelers who go by car, plane, bus, train, or even those who need a good lightweight pillow for laying horizontal in the airport while waiting for their next flight.

Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

With limited space for a bulky pillow when on-the-go, packability is key. The Travelrest Nest packs an amazing amount of memory-foam cushioning into the smallest stuff sack. Even after being compressed in its bag for over a week, the pillow immediately puffed right back into its original shape.

While compact, it doesn’t compromise on support. With 5-inches of thermo-sensitive memory foam on all sides, it conforms to the shape of your neck and shoulders and keeps your head in place no matter if you tend to loll to the front, back, or sides. Unlike many U-shaped pillows, its angled back sits flush against any seat surface without pushing your head forward. Bonu: the nonslip panel helps prevent it from sliding off airplane seats.

At a reasonable price—Travelrest even throws in a travel bag and memory foam earplugs to sweeten the deal—its removable cover retains its velvety softness after cycles in the washer and dryer, though it’s a bit of a tight fit to pull the cover back on over the foam’s contours. The dense foam also makes it a little challenging to fold up into its bag, but once you get it in there, it can compress down to a quarter of its original size. On the down side, its high cushioning could pinch earrings or interfere with larger headphones.

Cabeau Evolution S3 Memory Foam

Evolution S3 Memory Foam

The Cabeau Evolution S3, which has many of the same top features as our Best Overall, is ideal if you sleep a bit on the hot side. Its breathable, moisture-wicking fabric helps to keep you cool and comfortable.

With its U-shaped design, this memory foam pillow prevents lateral movement—your head falling to either side—and features a slimmed flat back so it won’t push your head forward. While the back surface isn’t angled and grippy like the Travelrest, the Cabeau comes with straps to loop around your headrest to keep it in place. Note: These straps may not be compatible with all seat designs and might possibly disturb the person behind you on a flight. Also, with its thick cushioning, the Evolution's height may interfere with certain headphones.

The dense memory foam will take a few seconds to roll up into the travel case but it will hold its shape well after packing away many times. Plus, the polyester cover was easy to slip on and off to wash and dry. A bonus is the travel case which can easily be clipped onto the outside of your bags and luggage.

Cloudz Dual Comfort Microbead Travel Neck Pillow

Dual Comfort Microbead Travel Neck Pillow

One of the most well-known neck pillows out there, Cloudz is the one you’re most likely to find in an airport. It’s inexpensive and will do the trick for most flights and other travel, but isn’t as comfortable or as well designed as some of the other picks in our roundup.

The spandex fabric on one side allows the pillow to conform to your shoulders and keeps you cool, while the cozy plush on the other side helps you drift off to sleep. The snap in front keeps the pillow properly oriented while traveling. It’s not machine washable, and over time the small polystyrene beads will compress, ultimately reducing cushioning. As such, it’ll do in a pinch but won't have the durability as some of the other choices here.

Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

Go Neck Pillow

The makers of the Ostrichpillow Go believe resting shouldn’t require any effort, which is why they pride themselves on designs that are minimalist and easy to use as well as sustainably made. The ergonomic and sleek Go neck pillow promotes 360-degree comfort with a memory foam core, yet it packs down into a stuff sack just over half of its original size. Even after being stored away for a week, it easily expanded back to its circular shape.

While other options may compress into slightly smaller packs, I like this pillow's dense memory foam padding and the Velcro fastener, which allows for a custom fit. Since its cushion height is higher on one side than the other, the taller side may interfere with headphones. For comfort, the cover is luxuriously soft and holds up after machine washing.

Trtl Pillow Plus

Pillow Plus

Trtl might have the most unconventional looking travel pillow—loop, wrap and nap, as the company says—but plenty of people—especially side sleepers—swear by it. Inside the fleece fabric that gets wrapped around your neck is a cushioned plastic brace that rests on one shoulder and props your head up. Some may find the fleece gets a little too warm, but if you’re always cold on the plane, this could work for you. The fleece wrap also detaches easily from the plastic brace for washing.

While the Trtl Plus is expensive (the costliest of the ones recommended here), it does offer a custom fit courtesy of two plastic knobs that adjust both sides of the plastic panel. It comes with a travel bag which is handy if you don’t want to lug it around on the outside of your bag when traveling.

If you’re still intrigued, but put off by the price, the original Trtl costs about $40 less and is a bit more subtle in styling than the Plus. It looks more like a fleece scarf than a neck brace. There’s no case but it folds almost flat with a Velcro latch, to about the size of a large book, so you can fit it in your bag.

Bcozzy Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow

Chin Supporting Travel Neck Pillow

If your head tends to fall forward when you try to sleep upright, the Bcozzy keeps your head up by curling around your whole neck with the ends overlapping under the chin. There are also a few more ways you can wear it, such as folded in half to elevate just one side of your head.

The Bcozzy, available in children's and extra-large sizing, doesn’t come with a removable cover, but the whole pillow is machine washable. A travel case is included.

Sunany Inflatable Neck Pillow

Inflatable Neck Pillow

According to some studies, passengers shift positions on a plane every 15 minutes, so this travel pillow is ideal for anyone who changes it up frequently on a flight. It works for forward slumpers, side sleepers, and even couples who want to position it between themselves. It's also perfect for those who want to read or watch a program in privacy.

To make the most of this unique pillow, you'll need a tray table to rest it on. The Sunany pillow can be used at either 19.6- or 11.8-inches high depending on how it is oriented. One downside, considering its inflated size is so large, is that it can be cumbersome to reposition.

AirComfy Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow

Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow

This dog bone-shaped, inflatable travel pillow is as ideal for the skies as it is for the roads. Take it in the plane or the car since its adjustable strap easily fits around most headrests, and thanks to its basic shape and adjustability via inflation, you can customize how soft or firm it is depending on your needs.

The foam backed bladder helps reduce the balloon-like feel of some inflatable travel pillows. Use it behind the neck and shoulder or behind the lower back for lumbar support. Extra points for the plush cover that is machine washable.

Fillo

With so many travel specific pillows and U-shaped design styles, why pick a traditional rectangle option as the most versatile? It’s simple—you can’t reinvent the wheel. With foam and an inflatable bladder, travelers can adjust its firmness, roll it up for neck support on a plane, press it against a wall or window, use it as a normal pillow, or take it along for car travel or camping.

This is the versatile pillow I bring on trips when I am doing multiple types of adventure and know I will need a pillow that can handle the travel itself and anything after. I appreciate the use of both the foam and the air bladder, which means I can adjust the cushioning and the support. With NEMO’s combination, it creates a pillow that doesn’t feel like you’re sleeping on a balloon like some inflatable pillows do. It also easily stuffs down into a sack—about the size of a big Chipotle burrito—that’s integrated into the removable, machine washable cover.

J-Pillow Travel Pillow

Travel Pillow

The J-Pillow diverges from the traditional U-shape, co-opting another letter for its design. The curve of the “J” cradles your chin while the rest of the pillow supports one side of your head.

While this design is best-suited for passengers at a window seat, I found the J-Pillow didn’t slip off my shoulder even when I wasn't leaning against a window. There is plenty of cushioning, so it's comfortable, but its biggest flaw is its slightly awkward and bulky shape.

Though it comes with a travel sack, it doesn’t compress nearly as much as other travel pillows. Because it didn’t fit into my backpack, I had to carry it separately—not exactly ideal for frequent fliers—though you could use its snap loop to attach to luggage or tie the bag’s drawstring to a gear loop.

best travel pillows

What is typically the best way to clean a travel pillow? Should I look for one that is machine-washable?

Always follow the manufacturers’ recommendations. Many inflatable and foam pillows aren’t designed for machine washing and can get damaged in the process. Some of my favorite travel pillows have removable covers that are machine washable.

If given the choice of an inflatable, microbead, or memory foam travel pillow, what do you prefer and why?

If I'm not worried about packing space and my travel plans include a flight, I like memory foam since it cradles the head softly. If you’re traveling and doing multiple things while away, an inflatable pillow might be best since it takes up less space while packed and can be customized for different types of resting.

How do you know if a travel pillow is the right fit?

Think about how you rest while traveling and look for a pillow that fits those needs. You’ll want one with enough support to cradle your head as you nod off, whether that’s off to the side, straight back, or slumping forward.

Headshot of Chris Meehan

Chris Meehan is an internationally published writer, author, and editor with more than two decades of professional experience. He has authored multiple adventure guidebooks with Falcon Guides and his work focusses primarily on the nexus between sustainability and outdoor adventure. He is an experienced gear reviewer, tester, and travel writer who has explored multiple continents. 

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Best travel pillows for long-haul flights in 2024, from memory foam to inflatable options

Whether you’re camping, flying or on a long car journey, ensure you’re well rested with one of these, article bookmarked.

Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile

Soft materials, inflation valves and memory foam cores will help you get some proper shut-eye

Vango Shangri-La memory foam pillow

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In the past decade, the humble travel pillow has undergone a major transformation. Yes, the sausage-style travel pillow still reigns supreme, although it’s now a much more crowded market, with travel pillows coming in a multitude of shapes, sizes and materials.

Whether you need to catch your forty winks on a painfully long train ride or a cramped long haul flight, there’s a choice of butterfly-shaped pillows , C-shaped and supersized options to wade through when searching for the perfect place to rest your head. To help you find the best travel pillows for your upcoming trip, we’ve waded through them all to find the best.

Our advice? Take a moment to think about your sleeping style. If you’re a light sleeper, crank up the comfort with softer materials, recessed inflation valves and memory foam cores. If you’re looking for a pillow which can be used in a range of cramped places (not just planes), consider one with a forgiving shape such as a butterfly-shaped pillow.

Finally, don’t underestimate what we refer to as the “stashability” factor. In other words, pillows which come in their own carry cases, can be easily packed away into the smallest of spaces and can be quickly inflated and deflated (ideally with two dedicated valves).

Related stories

How we tested.

This wasn’t the most strenuous of tasks, admittedly. It involved a lot of sleeping – on aeroplanes, but also in a range of other cramped environments, such as trains, hostels and tents. We slept squashed against plane windows, on tiny boats thrashing their way across Asian oceans and on painfully long car journeys. The result? Although the best travel pillows below all have features which make them more or less suitable for different types of sleepers, they’ve all got one thing in common – comfort, quality and value for money.

The best travel pillows for 2024 are:

  • Best travel pillow overall – Vango Shangri-La memory foam pillow: £31.75, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best budget travel pillow – Lifeventure inflatable pillow: £14.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for children – Marks and Spencer dinosaur travel pillow and eye mask set: £15, Marksandspencer.com
  • Best for lumbar support – Go Travel memory dreamer travel pillow: £19.99, Go.travel

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Vango Shangri-La memory foam pillow

best travel pillows

  • Best : Travel pillow overall
  • Materials : Memory foam and an air pocket
  • Dimensions : 36cm x 11.0cm
  • Weight : 450g
  • Superior comfort
  • Soft fabric

We loved everything about this pillow, which has a precision-engineered ergonomic shape and is covered by some of the softest fabric we’ve come across. The memory foam provided the optimal amount of cushioning, and a colleague who borrowed it for a few moments described his experience as “similar to sleeping on a cloud”. What that actually feels like is anybody’s guess, but we reckon that’s a pretty good endorsement.

The secret to the superior comfort lies in its design, which comprises an outer layer of memory foam and a central air pocket. The result? The mouldability of memory foam and the support which comes courtesy of the air pocket – AKA the ultimate double act, we reckon.

Lifeventure inflatable pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : Budget travel pillow
  • Materials and filling : Polyester and TPU fabric, inflatable
  • Dimensions : 36cm x 51cm x 10cm
  • Weight : 77g
  • Ergonomic shape provides support

This is the travel pillow which has the most similarities to a traditional pillow from this review. An ergonomic shape provided just the right amount of support (including all-important lumbar support) and the deep grooves aided airflow during a particularly hot, sticky night on a cramped red-eye flight. It’s got enough flexibility to use on planes and trains, and the combination of polyester and TPU fabric makes for an extremely durable pillow. The carry case, made from ripstop fabric, is equally rugged.

Exped air pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : For durability
  • Materials : Fabric made from 20D polyester and TPU polyether film laminate, inflatable
  • Dimensions : 46cm × 30cm × 12 cm
  • Weight : 60g
  • Easy to adjust rigidness
  • Quick to inflate

Another pillow with an unusual shape – in this case, a semi-rectangular profile – the Exped air pillow isn’t the softest of travel accessories, but it’s ridiculously quick to inflate and wonderfully easy to adjust when it comes to rigidity. It took five short breaths to inflate it fully, and the presence of separate, dedicated inflation and deflation valves cranks up the efficiency. An internal flap in the intake valve means a minimal chance of leaks, too.

Go Travel memory dreamer travel pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : For lumbar support
  • Materials : Memory foam
  • Dimensions : 26cm x 25.5cm x 12.5cm
  • Weight : 355g
  • Memory foam core provides great lumbar support
  • Thick lining
  • No hook to hang it off backpacks

A memory foam core provides great lumbar support along with cushioning for the head and shoulders, and the lining has a surprising thickness – one which suggests that the memory dreamer is more than capable of standing up to some serious wear and tear. There’s no hook to hang it off backpacks, but we loved the buckle-style clip, which meant we could quickly and easily tweak the fit (something which press studs don’t allow).

Tripp Accessories travel pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : For extra padding
  • Materials : Polyester with micro bead filling
  • Dimensions : 30cm x 28cm x 10cm
  • Weight : 200g
  • One of the thickest travel pillows

This is a seriously beefy travel pillow – it’s thicker than most of the ones we tested, and although its microbead filling doesn’t have quite the same “bounce back” qualities as memory foam, it’s still ridiculously comfortable, and a great option for travellers needing a little extra support. The fabric is snooze-inducingly soft, and we appreciated the addition of a hook on the rear which you can use to attach the pillow to your backpack.

Snugpak butterfly neck pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : For smaller spaces
  • Materials : Soft touch fabric, inflatable
  • Dimensions : Not specified
  • Weight : 100g
  • Can bend and flex when used in cramped quarters
  • Tough fabric

We admit it, we’re huge followers of the motto “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and we were initially sceptical about the butterfly profile of this pillow. However, we’re now converted. For us, the beauty of this pillow’s unusual shape is the way in which it can bend and flex when used in cramped quarters – when seated by the plane’s window, for example, we could wrangle the pillow so that it cushioned both our shoulders and our head. Made with seventy-denier soft-touch nylon, the material is both luxurious and tough too.

Outwell dream boat ergo pillow

best travel pillows neck flights support memory foam

  • Best : Multipurpose travel pillow
  • Materials : Polyester cover and memory foam filling
  • Dimensions : 50cm x 29cm x 10 cm
  • Weight : 300g
  • Large makes it versatile
  • Top-quality memory foam construction
  • Provides great support

This pillow is one of the largest we’ve tested, but we can confirm it’s still perfectly suitable for plane journeys, thanks to its amazing squishiness. The upside to its supersized design is that it can be used for camping holidays too, and its versatility is ramped up due to a number of factors.

Firstly, the low-flat valves, which are easy to inflate but won’t snag when the pillow is squashed into small spaces or stashed into backpacks. Add a top-quality memory foam construction, super soft fabric and a shape designed to support not just the head but the back and shoulders too, and you’ve got a one-way ticket to the land of nod.

The verdict: Travel pillows

We never slept well on planes until we came across the Vango Shangri-La memory foam pillow , which provides the kind of cushioning we associate with the full-sized versions we use at home. Lifeventure’s inflatable pillow is a brilliant budget-friendly option which doesn’t compromise on comfort, and Exped’s air pillow is a fantastic option for those who like additional padding, and (even more so, given its slightly larger size) we were amazed at how easily it stashes into the smallest of spaces.

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The Best Travel Pillow

Our four neck pillow picks.

Short of scoring a row of empty seats—dream on!—your best bet for getting at least a little sleep while flying is a travel pillow.

After asking 10 panelists to try on eight travel pillows and after taking four cross-country red-eyes in window, aisle, and middle seats, we think the comfortable and easy-to-pack  Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow is the best travel pillow for most people.

Everything we recommend

boots travel neck support

Travelrest Nest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

The best travel pillow.

Its tall memory-foam walls let it offer more support than any other pillow we tested. It’s also shaped to sit flush against a headrest, and it compresses to a manageable size.

Buying Options

boots travel neck support

Cabeau Evolution Classic Pillow

A travel pillow available at airports.

This memory-foam neck-support pillow is highly adjustable, but without a contoured back, it can’t quite sit flush with the headrest. It’s available at many airport stores, though.

boots travel neck support

Trtl Pillow

A pillow for one-sided neck support only.

It’s a fleece scarf with a built-in plastic brace—like a one-sided neck brace, but softer and cozier. However, it’s not so great if you tend to shift position while you sleep, and it costs more than the other pillows we recommend.

boots travel neck support

Bcozzy Pillow

Great with large headphones.

Featuring an adjustable design that accommodates over-the-ear headphones, the Bcozzy is an excellent chin-support pillow for people who nod forward as they sleep.

The uniquely angled back on the Travelrest Ultimate sets it apart from other travel pillows because it can lay flat against the seat back. Most other pillows have a rounded back, which pushes your head away from the headrest. The Travelrest also has rubber grip dots to prevent slipping while sleeping. This pillow’s spongy memory foam cushions the entire circumference of your neck, preventing your head from leaning far in any direction, and its adjustable Velcro strap ensures it can fit most necks. The pillow’s cozy velour exterior is removable and machine-washable. Although it doesn’t pack flat, the Travelrest weighs less than a pound and compresses to a quarter of its size when rolled into its Velcro-strapped carrying case.

Our only complaint is that the Travelrest’s high walls, while supportive, can push over-ear headphones off of the ears of people with shorter necks. While the memory foam feels plush, it’s also quite firm; this offers excellent support, but not much give. It also doesn’t let you adjust the fit, like our two wrappable picks: the Turtl and the BCozzy . If the Travelrest fits your neck, it’s an excellent pillow. If your neck is much longer or shorter than this pillow’s 5-inch wall, though, you might prefer the fit of one of our other pillow picks.

If our top pick sells out, or if you find yourself pillowless past security, the Cabeau Evolution Classic Pillow is almost as good a pillow. It lacks the Travelrest’s angled, lay-flat back, but its U-shape, contoured memory-foam core and machine-washable velour cover still provide comparable levels of comfort. Its adjustable string closure also means that you can fit the pillow much tighter around your neck than you can with the Travelrest, making it a good choice for people with smaller necks or people who prefer a more constricted fit. Additionally, it’s the only one of our picks that we’ve regularly seen in stores located behind the security checkpoint at many airports.

If you typically lean to the same side while sleeping, the Trtl Pillow’s fleece-covered plastic frame provides unshakeable support to one side of your neck while remaining comfortable to wear. It’s basically a one-sided neck brace. The pillow’s cozy wraparound fleece will also keep your neck warm, making it a good choice for anyone who gets cold while flying (and a poor choice for those who sleep hot). But the Trtl’s winning quality is its tiny, packable size. Unlike any of our other picks, the Trtl does not need to be compressed or stuffed into a carrying case. It will always take up about as much space as a PB&J sandwich. (It costs a lot more than one, though.)

The Bcozzy , a variation on the hemi-doughnut theme, is our pick for anyone who wears large over-the-ear headphones on a flight or tends to nod forward while they sleep. The pillow’s overlapping ends form a snug cushion that holds your chin in place far better than do the Trtl’s plastic frame or the Travelrest and Cabeau’s chin-facing gap. While the pillow does not provide great support to either side of your neck, if paired with a large pair of headphones, the Bcozzy holds a head in place perfectly. While not as compressible as our other picks, the pillow has a small loop that can be clipped to the outside of most bags so it doesn’t have to take up space inside your bag.

The research

Why you should trust us, who this is for, how we picked our best travel pillow finalists, how we tested travel pillows, our pick for the best travel pillow: travelrest nest ultimate memory foam travel pillow, runner-up for the best travel pillow: cabeau evolution classic pillow, also great for portability: trtl pillow, also-great chin-support pillow for forward-nodders: bcozzy pillow, other good travel pillows, the competition.

I am a frequent flyer who often takes red-eyes from coast to coast—I now live in Brooklyn but fly home to San Francisco to visit my parents. I’m also an insomniac, so falling asleep on planes has never been easy for me. While writing this article, I tested eight travel pillows on two five-hour flights and slept with our four picks on two more cross-country flights. I also spoke with Rebecca Robbins, a postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Center for Healthful Behavior Change at the time of the interview, to see what she looks for in a travel pillow.

In addition, my Wirecutter colleagues as a whole are an exceptionally mobile group. We’ve worked remotely from every continent except Antarctica, so I asked some folks on staff which pillows they like and use regularly. (They’ve also since contributed some additional testing.)

A pile of neck pillows on a wood table. We looked for the best neck pillow available.

Boarding a red-eye without a travel pillow in your bag is like choosing to sleep on the floor when there’s a perfectly good futon nearby. Sure, it’s no bed, but it’s a hell of a lot better than hardwood. In an interview she did in 2017 with The Atlantic reporter Kelly Conaboy, Dr. Mary O’Connor, then the director of Yale’s Center for Musculoskeletal Care, said that despite a lack of clinical studies that support the efficacy of travel pillows, “Many of us who travel have experienced falling asleep with our neck in a weird position and it bothering us thereafter. So, I think they can be helpful, but that depends on how they’re used and whether they support the neck.” In other words, using a supportive pillow may decrease the chances you wake up with an unwanted crick. It certainly has in our experience.

However, not all travel pillows are the same, and if you also happen to have a zealous hatred of your travel pillow, you probably have a bad one. So even if you have a generic pillow you picked up at some airport a few years ago, consider upgrading to one of our picks. And of course, these pillows work well on buses and trains, too.

So how can you tell if a pillow is likely to actually support your head? Rebecca Robbins, a postdoctoral fellow studying sleep at the time of our interview, says the best travel pillows will keep your head elevated and in alignment with your spine: “Look for something that would really be supportive. My one gripe with most travel pillows is that they’re too soft and not too full—you want something that will be supportive as you try to get comfortable in your limited space.” Robbins also recommends finding a pillow that can keep you cozy but not too hot, as she says it’s easier to sleep with a lower body temperature.

Our recommended best travel pillows: The Cabeau and Travelrest pillows are in stuff sacks; the Trtl and Bcozzy pillows are collapsed and lying flat on a table.

Robbins does her best to avoid one common travel situation. “My number one sleep tip is to not take a red-eye if you can avoid it,” she said. “If the flight is five hours, you’re going to only have three hours of true rest, because all the announcements—‘lower your window,’ ‘raise your window.’ Those can be significant distractions.”

We also looked at existing editorial reviews for guidance. Ethan Green , founder of the sleep resource blog No Sleepless Nights, compiled an extensive comparative review of popular travel pillows that we found helpful when deciding what models to test.

For people who want a travel pillow that will ease some of the discomfort of sleeping upright on a bumpy plane ride, we’ve identified the following key features:

  • Comfort and support: The pillow should offer ample support for the weight of your neck and head but not restrict your movements or feel too tight.
  • Portable (but not inflatable): You don’t want your travel pillow to take up so much space in your carry-on that you can’t bring other things you need, so it should compress to a smaller size. Barring that, there should at least be a way to clip it to the outside of your bag or luggage. Inflatable pillows are easy to pack but should be avoided. They inevitably spring a leak, often sooner rather than later.
  • Soft: The material should feel plush against your skin but not trap so much heat that it’s uncomfortable to wear.
  • Universal fit (or as close as possible): The pillow should allow space for people to sleep with a ponytail or accommodate bigger hair, as well as a whole variety of head shapes and sizes and neck lengths.
  • Sleeping styles: It should also accommodate people who move their head in any direction while they sleep. It should also work in a window, a middle, or an aisle seat.
  • Speed of compression/decompression: In case you need to quickly stow your pillow before exiting the plane, or if you want to catch some shut-eye in a moment’s notice, it shouldn’t take too long to stuff the pillow into its carrying case or unfold it to full size.
  • Weight: Ideally, the pillow shouldn’t add undue burden to your carry-on. While inflatable pillows will always be the lightest option, memory-foam pillows don’t weigh much more and can offer significantly more comfort.
  • Grip/traction: Your head will likely move around a bit while sleeping on a plane, especially if there’s turbulence. So any kind of grip or traction around the bottom of the pillow will help it stay in place and keep you snoozing.
  • Machine washable: As you might expect from a vessel that ferries hundreds of people back and forth across the sky on a daily basis, planes can be filthy. So you’ll want to be able to wash the whole pillow—or at least its cover—before you take it on your next trip.

We researched more than 40 travel pillows—which ranged from variations on a hemi-doughnut to inscrutable crowdfunded designs—and after comparing hundreds of glowing and enraged Amazon reviews, we decided to test eight. We asked a panel of 10 people to try each of the pillows in a chair pushed against the wall of a conference room (the closest we could come to airline conditions in our office) and surveyed them on the fit, comfort, and support of each pillow. The panelists all had a variety of neck lengths and jaw sizes, and one even had a substantial beard. We also ran all of the pillows or their detachable pillowcases through a washing machine as instructed to see how well each stood up to a spin cycle and tumble dry.

And because simulations are rarely enough, I brought eight travel pillows on two cross-country flights to see how the pillows felt in the specific back design of an airplane seat. As I was lucky enough to have unnecessarily kind and understanding neighbors (thank you, Mike and Deborah!), I wore each of these pillows in a window, a middle, and an aisle seat to see if they felt comfortable in each configuration. I also tried on Deborah’s Muji travel pillow (as she offered), but determined it had much less support than our picks. I also carried all of our picks on two more cross-country flights on a different airline to ensure the pillows did just as well in different seat designs.

The Travelrest Ultimate pillow, a firm donut-shaped neck pillow, resting on a blanket. The recommended best travel pillow.

The Travelrest Ultimate remains our top pick after several years because its plush but firm memory-foam core offers more support to your neck than that of any other pillow. It’s also one of the few pillows we tested that felt specifically designed for an airline seat, with an angled, grippy back that aligns perfectly to both upright and reclined positions and ensures the pillow won’t slide down as you nod off. The velvety-soft pillow supports heads and necks of all sizes and can be fitted with an adjustable cord and clasp. In the tried-but-true shape of a hemi-doughnut—imagine a doughnut with a bite taken out—the Travelrest Ultimate may look like other pillows, but a number of thoughtful details make it a softer, more supportive pillow than all the rest.

The author, demonstrating how the Travelrest Ultimate allows your head to lie flat back against a seat.

The Travelrest offers better all-around support than any other pillow we tested. Its broad, marshmallowy walls hug the whole circumference of your neck. It feels supportive but not stifling. The easy-to-fasten Velcro strap means it can be adjusted to a snug fit for necks of many sizes. There’s even a small crevice for curlier hair or a ponytail.

In addition to fitting your neck, the Travelrest’s back tapers up to a point to fit flat against an airline seat back. Most neck pillows lack this tapering on the back and the excess padding can push your neck away from the headrest, causing your neck to droop forward. Additionally, the Travelrest has grippy dots on the back that prevent it from slipping.

The best travel pillow, the Travelrest Ultimate, showing the grippy back side.

In addition to its excellent support, the Travelrest is very comfortable and cozy to wear. Its memory-foam core is wrapped in velour, which kept my neck warm without overheating it. The Travelrest’s velour also felt softer and smoother against my skin than similar coverings on other pillows, such as the Cabeau Evolution. It’s also easy to clean: The Travelrest’s cover is easily unzipped and machine-washable. The velour retained its softness after going through a wash and dry cycle.

While the Travelrest isn’t inflatable, it packs down to the size of a roll of toilet paper in its carrying case. Once you fold it cinnamon-roll style and it’s small enough to fit inside the bag, a Velcro strap on the pouch helps you compress it even further. If there’s still not enough space for it in your bag, you can always clip its drawstring to any exterior loop.

A pair of hands opening the Travelrest's zip closure to show the foam under the cover.

All of these thoughtful details were not lost on our testing panel. They gave the Travelrest the highest marks of any pillow in comfort and neck support, and two-thirds of our testers picked it as their favorite pillow.

How the Travelrest has held up

After over a year of use, this pillow had lost none of its supportiveness. The memory foam was just as firm and springy as it was when we bought it. Its velcro strap was still easy to secure. If it fits you, this is a pillow that stays secure and comfortable on your neck for the duration of a long flight. However, we’ve also heard from multiple travelers that this pillow doesn’t fit them. The memory foam is quite firm, which offers excellent support, but not much give. If a pillow of up to 5 inches doesn’t fit comfortably on your neck, we think you’ll be happier trying one of our other picks.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Travelrest Ultimate will never compress to the thin, flat size of a tiny pillow like the Trtl. But its unparalleled, cushiony support can still pack down to a reasonable size, and its 13 ounces won’t make your carry-on noticeably heavier. And if saving space is your highest concern, we think the Trtl provides space-conscious support without the spit-filled fuss of an inflatable pillow.

While the Travelrest’s voluminous plush can support all heads that lean left, back, or right, the pillow may not hold up the chins of people with smaller faces. When my head bobbed forward, my small face sank into the gap between the pillow closure and my neck. You can adjust the Velcro strap for a tighter fit, but the short strap cannot be pulled as tight as the Cabeau’s adjustable strings.

The Travelrest Ultimate’s unbeatable support is in part due to the height of its sides, designed to come up to the jaw of the wearer. This means the pillow may be incompatible with larger over-the-ear headphones for people with shorter necks. For instance, when I tried to wear the Travelrest Ultimate with my noise-cancelling Bose headphones , the pillow pushed the headset uncomfortably far up on my head, taking my earlobes with it. However, my editor, who has a longer neck, didn’t have this problem.

The donut-shaped Cabeau neck pillow resting on a blanket.

If you want a tighter, more adjustable fit, the Cabeau Evolution Classic  (which used to be called just the Evolution) is the way to go. Its contoured memory-foam design offers almost as much neck support as our main pick does, albeit without some of the Travelrest’s luxurious height. But the Cabeau’s adjustable clasp allows a far greater range of cinching than the Travelrest. In other words, the pillow can fit as tightly as you like.

The author modeling the Cabeau pillow--tightened, it fits snugly to her chin.

Like the Travelrest, the Cabeau’s hemi-doughnut shape offers 360 degrees of support for anyone wearing it. It also boasts a cushioned memory-foam core and a contoured top that will keep your neck upright and head in place. But unlike the Travelrest’s gently arched bottom, the Cabeau’s flat bottom won’t sit as securely on your shoulders and may move around during your sleep. The Cabeau also lacks the Travelrest’s smartly tapered, grippy back that helps keep the pillow in place during flight. The Cabeau’s velour cover is also machine-washable, but it feels less soft than the Travelrest’s.

The Cabeau's cover comes off the foam core with a zipper.

Although the Cabeau’s fit and shape aren’t quite as good as the Travelrest’s, this pillow is more adjustable. It can be tightened or loosened with two adjustable strings that clip together, which results in a far more adjustable range than the Travelrest’s short strip of Velcro. If you have a smaller neck and know you find a tighter grip on your neck comforting, the Cabeau may be the way to go.

Like the Travelrest, the Cabeau also packs down to a quarter of its size, thanks to an adjustable strap bisecting its carrying case. But at 15.2 ounces, it’s a bit heavier than the Travelrest.

Unlike any of our other picks, the Cabeau Evolution is sold in many of those ubiquitous news stores inside airports. So if you find yourself lacing up your shoes after security and wishing you had bought one of our picks before your flight, look for the Cabeau’s contoured shape among the novelty hemi-doughnuts dangling off the travel pillow racks. It’s the best pillow you can buy at an airport. But if you have the chance to order online, the Travelrest offers more support.

There is a newer model of the Evolution Classic, the S3 , which has straps to hook onto a seat’s headrest. We think it’s a good choice if the Classic version is out of stock or otherwise unavailable. It’s still supportive and comfortable, but not as thick or soft as the Classic.

The Trtl is less a pillow and more a plush neck brace.

The Trtl Pillow , though odd-looking and unconventional, won a contingent of ardent fans with its firm support and slim, packable size. But it’s not our top pick because it works on only one side, and its warmth-trapping fleece can cause your neck to overheat. It’s also the most expensive of our picks. The Trtl consists of an arched plastic skeleton inside of a soft, fleece scarf that wraps once around your neck and then closes with Velcro to hold the pillow in place. You just lean your head against the convex end of the bendy frame, wrap the pillow around your neck, and your head has a soft but firm pedestal on which to rest while you sleep. It sounds weird, but it’s not that different from a neck brace—only it’s one-sided and softer.

The author, demonstrating the Trtl's support by leaning her head down to her left.

Because the Trtl Pillow is little more than a scarf with a plastic plate in it, it packs down to the size of a sandwich and can lay flat against the back of your bag. This is the smallest travel pillow we tested and also requires none of the squashing or awkward cinching it takes to stuff the Travelrest or Cabeau into their holding bags, which are also easy to lose. Unlike any of the other pillows we’ve seen, the Trtl is small enough to fit inside a briefcase or handbag, making it the best option for people who don’t normally travel with backpacks. And at a featherweight 5 ounces, the Trtl is the lightest pillow we tested.

Though the Trtl can support your head from only one side, the tall, bendy plastic frame inside offered more support on that one side than either the Travelrest or Cabeau. Yet even with its soft, wraparound design, it lacks the all-around support provided by our top and runner-up picks. If you are an asymmetrical sleeper (if you prefer sleeping with your head leaning to one side), the Trtl may be a good choice. However, it’s not a good choice for people who nod forward—the plastic insert is too stiff. If that’s you, we prefer the Bcozzy, which we talk more about below .

A closeup of a hand holding the Trtl's cover open to show the lightweight frame inside.

Some testers found the Trtl’s quasi-corseted-turtleneck design off-putting. But then again, no one looks cool wearing any travel pillow. And on that note, the Trtl’s cozy fleece will keep your neck toasty. So if you know you run hot, the Trtl may not be the pillow for you.

Wirecutter’s Ganda Suthivarakom swears by the Trtl: “It packs almost flat, weighs next to nothing, and can be helpful for sleeping even when you are stuck in a middle seat. As someone who is always cold on the plane, I don't mind the whole fleece scarf design, either.”

Trtl has a more padded version of the pillow that claims to be more adjustable; one of our longer-necked staffers tried it and reported that it is indeed more comfortable for him than the original Trtl was. However, the same limitations of the original apply to the new version.

The Bcozzy is another donut-type pillow, but it's longer and thinner, enabling a more coiled configuration.

The Bcozzy is a snakelike spin on the traditional hemi-doughnut that’s perfect for anyone traveling with large headphones or people who tend to nod forward while sleeping and wake themselves up. It lacks the tall, supportive sides of our other picks, but the overlapping front is the perfect height to keep your chin from nodding forward as you doze off. It’s not as supportive on the sides, but this leaves ample room for big headphones.

The Bcozzy’s best advantage is its overlapping circular design, which allows you to adjust the pillow to degrees of personal preference. You can place the overlapping ends of the pillow around any point of your neck (though it only really makes sense in the front or on the sides), and wear the pillow as loose or as tight as you’d like. We think it’s most comfortable when the ends meet right under your neck—and in that position, it cushions your chin better than any other pillow we tested.

The longer, leaner Bcozzy lacks the plush, ensconcing neck support of the Travelrest Ultimate or Cabeau Evolution. It lays so low on your shoulders that it might not even touch your jaw. But this makes the pillow perfect for anyone who likes to wear over-the-ear headphones along with a travel pillow while they sleep on the flight. I personally like to fall asleep to music and drown out the dull roar of an airplane, so the Bcozzy works perfectly for me.

We still think the Travelrest Ultimate is a superior overall hemi-doughnut pillow, but the Bcozzy is an excellent choice if you plan to wear big headphones or know the feeling of that sharp, waking drop when your head falls forward on a plane.

The author demonstrated the Bcozzy's chin support by nodding forward, her chin supported by its top coil

The Bcozzy is also one of the least packable pillows, as it doesn’t come with a carrying case and does not compress particularly well. But its 7.4 ounces is around half the weight of the Travelrest or Cabeau, and it does comes with a little loop that clips onto the outside of a backpack or duffel. And even when squished down at the bottom of a bag, it doesn’t take up that much more space than the Travelrest Ultimate or Cabeau.

If you’re a back sleeper who can fall sleep sitting upright in your seat, facing forward, and not need to curl up or lean your head on the airplane window: You may want to try the Posture+ Travel Pillow, which is a U-shaped neck cushion, padded with memory foam, that looks like the back half of a cervical collar. When testing it, we slept surprisingly well, but it won’t suit all (or even most) sleep styles. It’s also not machine-washable, and it is pricy.

If you have a shorter neck and tend to run hot on planes and would prefer a pillow designed to keep you cool: Consider the ventilated Cabeau Evolution Cool —the combination of a silky polyester cover (similar to spandex) and vented design did feel mildly cooler against our necks. And we liked the pillow’s silky feel, packable size, zippered carrying case. But it was significantly smaller than the standard Cabeau Evolution and the Travelrest Ultimate, and it left the chins of long-necked testers totally unsupported. It’s also more expensive—now about $20 more than the Travelrest.

If you always lean to the same side when sleeping: Consider Travelrest’s All-in-One , which has a novel across-the-shoulder design that could be comfortable in such a situation. It has a similar fabric to the company’s winning Ultimate Memory Foam Neck Pillow, but in our tests its bulky inflated tube offered no structured head support, which could pose a problem in bumpy conditions.

If you tend to be a forward-falling head bobber: Consider the Caldera Releaf , which is less travel pillow and more neck brace. It does offer superior neck support, but it constricted the throat too much for our comfort.

The Trtl Pillow Plus , a later addition to the Trtl lineup, is more height-adjustable and has more padding than its older sibling . Our self-described “giraffe-necked” tester said that it did indeed fit him better than the original Trtl had. However, it still supports your head from only one side, making it not a great choice for sleepers who nod forward. It’s also bulkier than the original and costs nearly twice as much.

The Cabeau Evolution S3 is a newer version of our runner-up pick , the Evolution Classic. We liked it, and we think it’s a solid choice if the original Evolution isn’t available. It has added straps that you can hook onto a headrest to keep your head from falling forward while you sleep, but our runner-up pick is softer and slightly thicker, which offers a bit more support. We did find the S3 to be easier to roll up into its carrying case, however.

Intrigued by one of the stranger innovations that we’ve seen in travel pillow design, we tested the Huzi Design Infinity , but we can’t recommend it. Instead of cinching or clasping at the front, it is designed to be looped several times around the wearer’s neck like an infinity scarf. But the pillow failed to support our testers’ necks. Regardless of who tried it, testers found that looping it twice was too loose and thrice was too tight. It was also the largest and least compressible pillow we tested.

The J-Pillow offered a singular, three-pronged design that proved impossible for anyone to figure out without instructions. After some explanation, our testers could wear the pillow correctly, but they still felt that its squishy stuffing offered insufficient support, and only to one side of the head. It’s also impossible to pack away efficiently due to its pyramidal shape. If you want a one-sided pillow, skip this and go for the Trtl instead.

We tested the inexpensive Travelrest Curl because we loved its plush and contoured big cousin, the Travelrest Ultimate. But while the Curl contains the same luxurious memory-foam filling as the Ultimate, the pillow is so small that many testers found that it didn’t even come up to their jaws when worn. It does have an attractive price, but its skimpy size and unsupportive design could support only the shortest of necks.

We found the air-filled Sea to Summit Aeros Traveller Pillow to be similarly lacking. We liked how easy it was to fill—its dual-valve inflation mechanism means it won’t let air out between breaths—and we appreciated that it weighed only about a fifth as much as the Travelrest, but the Travelrest’s 360-degree support made it too hard to go back to an open-ring design that offers no support in the front. Also, one of our former freelance writers recently reported that when she pulled her pillow out of storage, after a few years of not using it, its internal bladder disintegrated in her hands.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

Rebecca Robbins, postdoctoral fellow at the NYU Center for Healthful Behavior Change , phone interview , October 20, 2017

Meet your guide

boots travel neck support

Sabrina Imbler

Sabrina Imbler is a former staff writer for Wirecutter, where they covered kitchen tools and HVAC.

Further reading

The Trtl travel pillow.

The Silly-Looking Trtl Travel Pillow Is the Only Way I Can Sleep on Flights

by Elissa Sanci

You might look funny while wearing the one-sided Trtl travel pillow in flight, but you won’t care when you land at your destination bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Hundreds of people waiting in a congested airport security check area.

Air Travel Is Chaos. This Gear Will Help Get You Through the Exasperating Delays.

These things don’t make your flight take off any faster, but they can make the wait a little more tolerable.

A selection of our favorite gifts for travelers, including Aesop travel cosmetics, a book on national parks, an eye mask, and more.

The 32 Best Gifts for Frequent Travelers

by Samantha Schoech and Dorie Chevlen

Here we present practical and whimsical finds to delight any intrepid traveler.

Various travel gear items laid out on a yellow background.

The Best Gear for Travel

by Wirecutter Staff

We put in another year and tens of thousands more miles of travel to test the best travel gear—and we stand by last year’s choices alongside a few new picks.

Protect Your Trip »

The 8 best neck pillows for travel.

Avoid a literal pain in the neck with these expert-approved travel pillows.

The Best Neck Pillows for Travel

Woman using red Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow in window seat of plane.

(Courtesy of Cabeau)

The Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow is one of the best neck pillows for travel.

Just like the pillow you use at home , the best neck pillow for travel is the one that makes you feel most comfortable, allowing you to relax, rest and ultimately fall asleep on the go. The difference, however, is that a travel pillow is typically used when sitting up, which means it needs to provide enough support to keep your head from bobbing.

Based on recommendations from travel experts and advice from physicians, these are the best neck pillows for travel.

Best Overall: Cabeau Evolution S3

Best affordable: mvloc travel pillow, best for long flights: trtl travel pillow, best multipurpose: huzi infinity pillow, best inflatable: sunany inflatable travel pillow, best silk: slip jet setter travel pillow, best for backpacking: marchway ultralight inflatable camping pillow, best for kids: bcozzy double support neck pillow.

Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow in gray and infographic against white background.

Frequent travelers praise the design of the Cabeau Evolution S3, which is made of a special dual-density memory foam. "My pillow at home is made with memory foam so it's like bringing a piece of home on my travels," says travel blogger Jasmine Cheng of The Wandering Girl . "The sides are also raised, which prevents my head from moving when I'm sleeping." Travelers also appreciate the patented seat strap system that attaches the pillow to a seat or chair headrest as well as the slim flattened back, both of which prevent the head from bobbing.

A handy storage pouch on the side of the pillow allows you to keep your earbuds or other small items close by, and the pillow comes with a clasp that attaches to carry-on luggage . The removable pillow cover, which comes in a variety of colors, is machine-washable. What's more, this travel pillow can be stored in an included carry bag that condenses it to half its size.

Price: $39.99 or less Shop now: Amazon | Cabeau

Travelers appreciate the support (and the price tag) of this memory foam travel pillow. An adjustable rope lock allows you to secure the pillow to your neck for maximum support and comfort. The breathable and machine-washable cloth exterior prevents overheating. This travel pillow also comes with earplugs and an eye mask for ultimate relaxation.

Price: $29.99 or less Shop now: Amazon

Trtl Travel Pillow in gray against neutral background.

(Courtesy of Trtl)

The patented design of the Trtl Travel Pillow – with a hidden internal neck support surrounded by soft, hypoallergenic fleece – makes it a favorite among travelers, particularly for long flights. "Something about it just hits right in a travel accessory category where nothing previously worked for me," explains Meaghan Clawsie, luxury travel advisor at Elated Escapes . "I no longer have any back or neck pain when resting on long-haul flights." Simply wrap the pillow around your neck like a scarf, secure it in place with its built-in fastener and rest your head on the support.

If you tend to overheat easily, there's also the Trtl Pillow Cool , made with Tencel fibers to keep you at a comfortable temperature; a mesh panel makes the pillow particularly breathable as well. Both pillows are machine-washable.

Price: $59.99 or less Shop now: Amazon | Trtl

boots travel neck support

Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Twisted Huzi Infinity Pillow in blue against cream background.

(Courtesy of Huzi Design)

If you're not sold on the classic U-shaped neck pillows for travel, consider this snake-like option instead. Able to be twisted into a variety of positions, the versatile Huzi Infinity Pillow provides whatever support feels best – even if that means resting your head on the tray table for a bit. You can also wear it around your neck like a scarf for neck and back comfort (even when you're not snoozing), use it as an eye mask, or drape it over your head if you get cold or want to block out noise.

Travelers love the pillow's bamboo fabric, describing it as soft, smooth and cool. Since it's filled with polyester, the whole pillow can be tossed in the washing machine , unlike its memory foam counterparts. The Infinity Pillow is available in nearly a dozen different colors, including gray, navy and pink.

Price: $45 or less Shop now: Amazon | Infinity Pillow

Read:  What to Pack in Your Carry-on Bag

Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow in blue against white background.

(Courtesy of Sunany)

Travelers love the H-shaped design of this inflatable pillow because it allows for use in multiple directions and supports both sides of the head and neck with a flat back. A removable hood on the pillow is a bonus: It encourages a cozy feel and prevents cold drafts from too much air conditioning. For optimal comfort, it is recommended to inflate the pillow about 80% to 90%.

A pocket for your earbud case on this travel pillow provides convenient access for listening to music, and the removable velour cover is machine-washable. The lightweight inflatable pillow can be stored in the included waterproof drawstring bag, which can also be attached to luggage. This travel neck pillow is available in black, gray and blue.

Slip Jet Setter Travel Pillow in pink against white background.

(Courtesy of Slip)

Travel pillows don't get softer than this luxurious new option by Slip. The Jet Setter Travel Pillow is made with the highest-grade long fiber mulberry silk, which helps to prevent skin creases and bedhead. It also comes with a carrying case with handles. The Jet Setter Travel Pillow is available in three prints and a pretty solid blush color.

Price: $99 or less Shop now: Amazon | Slip

While you can often bring your pillow from home for tent camping, backpacking requires something more lightweight, such as this inflatable option by Marchway. "An inflatable pillow is a game-changer when it comes to backpacking, and an ultralight pillow can't be beat," says Leilani Osmundson , digital producer for travel at U.S. News. "The Marchway pillow fits the bill: It's comfortable, packable and extremely lightweight." This pillow is designed for both back and side sleepers, and doubles as a lumbar support for everyday travels and needs. Once it's deflated, you can machine-wash the cover before folding the pillow into an included drawstring bag.

Price: $13.99 or less Shop now: Amazon

BCOZZY Double Support Neck Pillow in pink with blue hearts design against white background.

(Courtesy of BCOZZY)

The BCOZZY neck pillow is ideal for all travelers – including kids, with small sizes for youngsters between 3 and 7 years old, and medium options for ages 8 and 12. Travelers like the ergonomic design of the patented pillow, which supports the head and neck by propping the chin up. Overlapping pillow arms, which wrap around the neck and under the chin, can be tightened based on the level of support you need.

If you or your child is a side sleeper, 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.

This travel pillow is available in a variety of colors and patterns, including light blue and pink hearts. A snap strap attaches the included travel bag to your child's luggage , and you can throw the pillow in the washing machine after your trip.

Price: $44.97 or less Shop now: Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Experts agree a supportive pillow is essential for travel. "The biggest issue many travelers experience when sleeping on a plane is that the seats don't recline enough," explains Dr. Alex Dimitriu, a sleep/wake and performance specialist who is dual board certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine. "This often results in the head being just on the brink of tipping forward – which is not a comfortable sleeping position. Because of this insufficient recline, it is important to keep padding behind the head and neck minimal to reduce the tendency for the head to tip forward."

Most travel pillows are designed to be worn around the neck, providing enough support to prevent the head from tipping forward.

When shopping for a neck pillow for travel, experts recommend considering the following factors:

Proper head support:  What's most important is ensuring your head is supported in the right places by your travel pillow – and, in particular, not being pushed forward by excessive padding. "A good pillow would provide support for side sleeping, rather than a lot of padding behind the head, which just pushes the head forward too much," says Dimitriu.

Material: Consider both the external and internal material of the pillow:

External: Chiropractic physician Eric Smith advises to make sure the material of your travel pillow is breathable and won't subject you to an overheated sleep, since one of the main reasons for moving around a lot as you sleep is getting too hot. "When your face gets too hot on one side, even if you're sleeping, you're going to move from it because it's too warm," Smith explains.

There's no real consensus on which material is best for a cool, comfy sleep – and different people will have different preferences – so Smith's advice is to try before you fly (and don't hesitate to request a refund if your chosen pillow isn't working out).

  • Internal: Memory foam pillows tend to offer more firm support – something Smith recommends for anyone, but especially older travelers. "The majority of patients I have that get older, we actually need a more firm pillow, we need a more firm bed, we need more support," Smith says. Pillows filled with microbeads mold more to the neck and head, while inflatable pillows can be adjusted to your preferences based on how much air you use to blow them up.

A travel pillow for your neck isn't considered a carry-on or personal item (and the same generally goes for small, loose items like jackets and umbrellas). That said, it's always best to review your airline's carry-on luggage size restrictions before traveling.

A good neck pillow for travel isn't the only key to achieving a decent sleep while in transit. "From the standpoint of evolution, we're kind of hardwired to be a little bit more on high alert in those situations," explains Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and scientist at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. "We're a little bit more in fight or flight mode; our brain is subconsciously scanning the environment for threats and there are new sounds and new smells."

She recommends finding elements that are relaxing to you, which might include some of the following:

  • Travel blanket: Look for something lightweight, such as the EverSnug Travel Blanket on Amazon. This blanket comes with a carrying case, which can double as a pillow when the blanket is stored inside.
  • Essential or aromatherapy oils: Scents like lavender and peppermint can be especially calming.
  • Earplugs: Choose headphones that block some or all external noise. The Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Headphones are especially well rated.
  • White noise app: There are a variety of free apps, or you can try a paid option like Calm (which offers a free trial).
  • Eye mask: An eye mask like this cotton option on Amazon helps to block out the bright light on planes.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Compression Socks for Travel
  • The Top Walking Shoes for Travel
  • The Top Carry-on Backpacks
  • Can I Use My Own Airplane Seat Belt Extender?
  • The Best Travel Medical Insurance Plans

Tags: Travel , Travel Gear

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

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The 9 Very Best Travel Pillows

“it lets you sleep decently even if you’re in the middle seat.”.

Portrait of Rachael Griffiths

In this article

Best travel pillow overall.

  • Best less-expensive
  • Best memory-foam
  • Best inflatable
  • Best for specific seats
  • Best for sleeping on the tray table
  • Best for traveling with kids

Before I became a travel writer , I thought that travel pillows were simply inflatable, half-donut-shaped options that you buy at the airport for $20. And while those pillows still have their virtues — in a pinch, I’d much rather be with one than without — travel pillows have truly evolved beyond those designs. On the 11 flights I took last year, I put several of those new pillows to the test.

My criteria was simple: I wanted to get a proper rest onboard, and I wanted to be able to pack the pillow into my bag (without eating too much into my carry-on allowance ). The pillows that passed that test came in all shapes and sizes. There were pillows that didn’t look like the classic donut (great for people who never get onboard with the U shape), as well as several that smartly upgraded that donut shape (either with luxurious materials or handily placed headrest straps which meant I didn’t jolt myself awake mid-flight.) I also tested travel pillows designed specifically for which seat I traveled in, from cushy pillows designed to slope against the window, ones for the tray table, and even — when I ended up in the dreaded middle seat — ones that slot over the seatbelt.

Read on for my guide to the best travel pillows I’ve tested. As I only get so much annual leave, I’ve also included recommendations from travel experts who log more miles than I do — as well as chiropractors who explain the science behind them. And once you’ve sorted your travel pillow, make sure to read my guides on the best carry-on luggage and other travel essentials to make your trip as smooth as possible.

What we’re looking for

First, consider the type of travel pillow you’re interested in: U-shaped versions that go around the neck or traditional flat pillows that have been shrunken down for portability are most common. U-shaped pillows are designed to prevent lateral bending in the neck — “it’s that move to sort of pinch the cellphone between [your] shoulder and ear,” says Dr. Carla Fischer , the director of quality and patient safety at NYU Langone Spine Center. That bending to the side she says is the most important thing to prevent, but not everyone sleeps in the same position or has the same concerns, so I’ve included several styles in this story.

Below you’ll find pillows made with memory foam, filled with beads, or just air if they’re inflatable — each of which has its own pros. Dr. Claire Fitzpatrick, founder of Bed Stuy Chiropractic, believes that memory foam is the most “accommodating” when it comes to travel. When I asked her what she meant, she explained that “if you get a medium to medium-firm memory-foam sort of pillow, it accommodates you, but it doesn’t let you dig into it too much.”

When it comes to thickness “the sides should come up to the height of your earlobes,” says Wainani Arnold , founder of the Wainani Wellness Center and in-flight wellness expert for Hawaiian Airlines. “The back of the neck pillow should be flat or only as thick as the distance between the back of your neck to the back of your head (one to two inches). If it is too thick in the back, the pillow will push your neck forward from the chair too much and will potentially dump your head back, which is not ideal for your neck.”

Easy to pack

Between a carry-on and a personal item, both stuffed to the brim, finding room for something as large as a pillow can be cumbersome. The most packable among travel pillows are the inflatable ones. Others filled with memory foam or cotton are a little trickier to deal — but are likely more comfortable. This is a trade-off, depending on how long your flight is. And often, neck pillows often have a snap closure at the front which can easily be used to secure it to the handle of your suitcase.

Trtl Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: No fill | Thickness: Thin | Easy to pack

This travel neck pillow is not the traditional U-shape; it has no fill and is very thin, but it still takes the top spot on my list. It had the most recommendations from our experts, which is what gave me the confidence to test it out during a 12-hour flight to Seoul. I was a bit perplexed by its appearance initially, but writer Lauren Schwartzberg explained that it achieves the main goal of a neck pillow — which is to prevent lateral bending in the neck — thanks to the plastic brace stowed inside a padded scarf. The brace is only in one part of the pillow, but you can adjust it “so you’ll have to choose which side you prefer nodding off toward,” Schwartzberg explains.

The first time I tested out the Trtl, I was out like a light. The brace’s angle hits just right: There is no sloping so much that your neck bends unnaturally, but it’s supportive enough for you to relax into a decent sleep. Editor at Pack Hacker Lauren Maternowski’s promise that I would be able to “fully lean against the seat’s headrest,” was completely true. Former Strategist staffer Rosie Percy also found that with the adjustable Trtl she was “able to sleep through a flight for the first time in my adult life, touching down feeling refreshed and without a crick in my neck.” And the Points Guy’s travel editor, Madison Blancaflor , told me, “It’s the only way I can survive long-haul flights in economy.” Scott Keyes of Going (formerly known as Scott’s Cheap Flights) also echoes their praise: “What I like about it is its versatility. It lets you sleep decently even if you’re in the middle seat, and this one is small enough to easily tuck into your backpack.”

Thanks to the fact that it helped me sleep so well, even in economy, as well as the fact that it’s easy to pack, I’m firmly naming the Trtl the best travel pillow overall.

Best less-expensive travel pillow

Samsonite Magic 2-in-1 Travel Pillow with Pocket in Charcoal

Shape: Neck and lumbar pillow | Fill: Not listed | Thickness: 2 inches | Average packability

If you aren’t exactly sure if you’ll need neck support or lumbar support, a convertible pillow like this might be your best bet. This neck pillow folds up into a square-shaped pillow that can then be used on your lower back or up against a window. It can also be rolled up into the built-in pocket for storage — which is great for saving space, and also shielding the pillow from any germs in the airport. Taryn White of The Trip Wish List also tells me that it has teeny pockets for earbuds, gum, and mints, a big pro if you usually find yourself rummaging around to find your essentials mid-flight. It has a less convenient hook (compared to a strap) to secure it to your luggage, but the snaps that close the front of the pillow provide another option for strapping it on. I couldn’t track down the fill used in this pillow, but the general consensus from reviewers is that it was “firm but not [too] hard for me & my aching neck,” (according to one reviewer on the Bed, Bath & Beyond website.)

Best memory-foam travel neck pillow

Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: Memory foam | Thickness: 5 inches | Easy to pack

This pillow is an improvement on the half-donut. It’s a U shape, but with slightly raised sides to stop your head from slumping (and supports your jaw to prevent open mouth breathing, says travel blogger Carmen Sognovi .) It’s made from memory foam, and it has a flattened back, which allows it to be flush with the chair. This helps your spine align with the chair, for more comfort (according to Dr. Fitzpatrick). But the best feature is the adjustable strap that fastens the travel pillow to a headrest — which prevents you from flopping forwards once you’re sound asleep. Unfortunately the Cabeau takes up more space than the Trtl, but it is still fairly easy to carry — it comes with a bag that compresses it to half its size, and you can use the bag’s strap to fasten the pillow to your carry-on .

Best inflatable travel neck pillow

Cabeau Air Evolution Inflatable Pillow

The same brand also makes an inflatable version of their travel pillow — and though I generally don’t like inflatable pillows, this one is a good option. It inflates to five inches thick, but is just the size of a soda can when deflated. Just like the memory-foam pillow, this one has a flat back to help keep your neck in line with the seat, and it has a neck strap to keep your head super-stable. “They are a bit higher than most neck pillows and have a special toggle you can connect and tighten so the pillow doesn’t fall off,” says Jennifer Lachs of Digital Nomad Girls . Lachs admits that the memory-foam pillow above is “even more comfortable,” but the inflatable is better if you want to travel light. (Initially I thought that inflatable was synonymous with adjustable — the more air you put in the taller it will be and less air will make it less firm — but Dr. Fischer said it’s a bad idea to not fill up these pillows all the way, as that’s not how they were designed to be used.)

Best inflatable travel lumbar pillow

Healthy Back Travel Pal

Shape: Lumbar pillow | Fill: Inflatable | Thickness: 2 inches | Easy to pack

The Travel Pal is a different type of travel pillow — it’s designed for lumbar (rather than neck) support. As a WFH-er who’s rather particular about ergonomic office chairs , I notice the lack of lumbar support on airport seats whether it’s long- or short-haul flights. “In a proper chair, the lumbar part should actually push out to support that curve in your low back, but they don’t do that on planes because if they did, it would affect their seating, so a lot of them curve in,” says Dr. Jared Hoffman of Williamsburg Chiropractic . His recommended solution is this pillow which inflates to two inches thick, and reduces stress on the joints and discs of your low back by supporting that lower-back curve. Dr. Hoffman not only recommends it to patients, but says “this I have used personally and I think it’s one of the best products I’ve come across.” And as it’s inflatable, it’s super easy to travel with — just deflate and roll into your bag once you disembark.

Best travel pillow for the middle seat

Travelrest Ultimate Travel Neck Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: Inflatable | Thickness: 3.5 inches | Easy to Pack

On a recent flight to Italy, I chose the dreaded middle seat on purpose to see how well the Travelrest really works. The inflatable pillow is worn like a sash, and it gives you something to loll your head against (apart from the person sitting next to you.)  “I’m obsessed with this hideous inflatable golf club,” says travel writer Teddy Minford, who first told us about the unique travel pillow. “It creates something to lean against, even if you’re in the middle seat.” After testing it, I agree with Minford that the pillow gives you something to rest your head against — and I successfully managed to get a few hours of sleep on my early flight. However, I’m not a middle-seat convert just yet. I still felt myself sloping a little towards the side I was resting on. I was overall impressed with how much the pillow improved the usually uncomfortable experience of middle seating, though, and it was super easy to transport: When deflated, it rolls up to the size of an iPhone.

Best travel pillow for the window seat

J-Pillow

Shape: Head and neck pillow | Fill: Polyester filling | Thickness: 3 inches | Average packability

Mercedes Arielle is a window-seat person and says the J-Pillow is best at cradling her head, shoulder, and chin on flights. As someone who favors the window seat myself, I knew I had to try it. It’s almost claw shaped, with a main body that supports the crook of your neck and a cushion extending below the chin to stop your head sliding forward. For Arielle, that three-pronged support is essential “because I rest my head against the window so I can maximize every inch of my window seat.” I particularly liked how the chin cushion didn’t extend too far around the neck (as I mentioned above, the usual doughnut-shaped pillows make me feel as though I’m being choked), and the main body of the pillow opened up in a V-shape so I could really wedge my head inside. The material felt more luxurious than the average travel pillow too — it had a fleecy lining that you can nuzzle down into. Although I love my Trtl, the J-Pillow has become my go-to for train journeys. It’s so cushy that it absorbs the vibrations and rattles that usually keep me awake during a train journey — meaning I can properly snooze. It’s also rather handy: You can compress the pillow to half its size in a carry bag, then use its loops to attach it to your luggage.

Best travel pillow for tray-table sleeping

Ostrich Pillow Original Napping Pillow

Shape: Head pillow  | Fill: Polystyrene microbeads | Thickness: Not listed | Not easy to pack

I know that mid-overnight flight, the tray table can begin to look very tempting — but it’s often hard, and all of the vibrations from the airplane can make you feel like there’s a rattling in your brain. To combat that discomfort, Dr. Fitzpatrick told me about this pillow that’s more like a helmet. It covers all sides, including the forehead, so it can be used in a number of situations. There is a hole for your mouth so you can breathe, but otherwise it’s a pillow, eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones all in one. Once out of the box, however, there is no indication that this pillow will compress again, meaning it could be cumbersome to travel with.

Best pillow for traveling with kids

Huzi Infinity Pillow

Shape: Neck pillow | Fill: Polyester filling | Thickness: Not listed | Easy to pack

I’ve always wondered how parents can get their little ones to settle on a bustling flight — and writer and mum-of-one Chantel Tattoli told me that this Huzi pillow is her foolproof method. She says it has an an almost mystical effect on her daughter on long flights. “Generally, she seems to accord a magical ‘fairy-ring’ quality to this fluffy circle, as if once she’s thrown it over her, she’s staked some space in which things are pretty good,” she says. The pillow, like an extremely plush scarf, can wrap around your neck or lower back — or even both at the same time — to create a highly customized, optimum sleeping position. For this reason, it’s a great pick for those with scoliosis , too. “Even mild scoliosis can affect your comfortable position in a tight seat,” says Fitzpatrick. “The adjustable lemniscate-type pillows can be good for this.” Wearing it through the airport like a scarf also makes it easy to carry, but if you’d rather throw it in your bag, it rolls up neatly into a little ball.

Some more travel pillows we’ve written about

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow

Our experts

• Mercedes Arielle, fashion and travel blogger at Calculated Opulence • Wainani Arnold, founder of the Wainani Wellness Center and in-flight wellness expert for Hawaiian Airlines • Dr. Carla Fischer, director of quality and patient safety at NYU Langone Spine Center • Dr. Claire Fitzpatrick, founder of Bed-Stuy Chiropractic • Dr. Jared Hoffman, Williamsburg Chiropractic • Scott Keyes, Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) • Jennifer Lachs, founder of  Digital Nomad Girls • Kat Lopez, freelance writer • Lauren Maternowski, editor at Pack Hacker • Teddy Minford, travel writer • Rosie Percy, former Strategist associate director of e-commerce-audience-development strategy • Dr. Rebecca Robbins , sleep specialist and Harvard Medical School instructor • Stella Shon, writer at The Points Guy • Carmen Sognovi , travel blogger • Chantel Tattoli , freelance writer • Taryn White, founder of The Trip Wish List

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments , rolling luggage , pillows for side sleepers , natural anxiety remedies , and bath towels . We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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Baleaf Freeleaf Yoga Leggings

The Best Travel Pillows for Long-Haul Flights

By Lauren Burvill

Shot of a passenger sleeping on the bus

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you travel regularly you’ve probably learnt to spot the difference between a frequent flier and a rookie—the most obvious tell-tale sign being a bulky travel pillow, typically carried by an inexperienced flier, hanging from a backpack or being worn (wrongly) around the back of their neck before they even get on the plane. Many of us are guilty of buying one of these beanbag worms from the airport duty-free shop, only to realize that they’re more trouble than they’re actually worth.

Do a little research though—as we’ve done for you here— and you might be pleasantly surprised to find that the humble travel pillow has upped its game recently. Specialized brands like  Trtl  and  BCozzy  have entered the market, while pillows that range in shape and materials have popped up on Amazon.

So which ones are actually worth taking on a flight ? We asked our frequent flying editors to test out the most reviewed styles.

How we choose the best travel pillows

Every pillow on this list has been independently tested and reviewed by our editors. When testing, we consider quality, price, unique design features, as well as overall function and visual appeal.

Our top picks:

  • Best overall travel pillow: Cabeau Evolution S3 travel pillow
  • Best for neck support: Trtl travel pillow
  • Best for side sleepers: BCozzy neck pillow
  • Best budget buy: Dot & Dot Twist memory foam travel pillow

boots travel neck support

Best travel pillow for: overall comfort

If you're looking for an upgrade to a basic does-the-job travel pillow or suffer from neck or back pain, Cabeau's Evolution S3 travel pillow is the best we've tested so far. The memory foam style has considered everything, from an adjustable toggle clasp to secure the pillow comfortably around your neck, to a handy side pocket—ideal for storing headphones or earplugs. What really sets this pillow apart from the rest are the velcro straps on the back, designed to loop around a plane seat's headrest, helping to keep your head upright and take any pressure off your neck.

Why we love it:  “The foam in this pillow is extremely comfortable, but what I love most is that the back of the pillow is flat, so you can sit right up against your seat, unlike the typical travel pillow styles which tend to be round and tilt your neck down slightly. The straps are a great idea, but if you're short it might not be possible to secure to the headrest, so keep that in mind. It also comes in a sleek cylindrical bag that, when clipped onto your carry-on , you’d never even know there was a travel pillow inside." — Sarah Allard , digital editor, Condè Nast Traveller UK

boots travel neck support

Best travel pillow for: neck support

Less a pillow and more a supportive wrap for your neck, this unique design from Trtl is ideal if you're short on space and weight in your carry-on luggage—it weighs only 4.5 ounces. The pillow is designed to look like a scarf and features a clever curved U-shaped neck support stand that sits under your jaw and is then secured in place by wrapping the fabric around your neck and connecting the velcro.

Why we love it:  “I often feel like most typical travel pillows are too bulky and hard to get comfortably on, so I was keen to try this style. It's perfect for keeping your neck upright and avoiding any of the nodding that can happen while asleep. I'll admit, it feels a little strange at first to put it on, but the hypoallergenic fleece is soft and warm. It's a great option not just for plane travel, but also long road trips or train journeys.” — Sarah James , deputy digital editor, Condè Nast Traveller UK

boots travel neck support

Best travel pillow for: upper body support

This clever crossbody-sling pillow offers neck and head support while allowing you to truly relax and lean to one side to fall asleep. The pillow comes with a cord at the top that can be secured in place by looping over your seat’s headrest. You can wear the pillow on either side across your body, or down one side, creating more of a barrier between you and the person next to you. The pillow is inflatable, too, so it takes up hardly any room in your luggage.

Why we love it:  “I really love the shape of this pillow, as it cradles not just your neck, but your whole upper body. Although I usually don’t like inflatable pillows, the rigidity of this style works to make you feel secure while sitting upright.” — Lauren Burvill , senior commerce editor, Condè Nast Traveller UK

Best travel pillow for: red-eye flights

More than just a neck pillow, the Pluto Pod boasts a lightly structured and padded hood, as well as a pull-down eye mask. Do you resemble a bobble-headed, 1950s-style alien when you wear it? Yes, you do. Is it, by far, one of the best travel pillows we've tested? Absolutely.

Why we love it : “The pillow has helped me cut down on my sleeping tools. With the Pod, I can eschew ear plugs and an eye mask because the padded hood dampens noise and the flip-down eye mask blocks almost all light. Sleeping with one is like being inside a mini sensory deprivation tank, except you don’t have to worry about getting wet.” — Juliet Izon , contributor

Read a full review here .

boots travel neck support

Best travel pillow for: flexibility

Made of memory foam, this twist style pillow can be bent and contoured to almost any shape. Its flexibility means it can be worn in several ways, from around the neck to under your head, shoulders, or even lower back.

Why we love it:  “I often toss and turn a lot when trying to get to sleep, so I find I’m particularly wriggly when trying to get comfortable on a flight. This kind of flexible twist style of the pillow was perfect for me, as I was able to shape it to exactly where I needed it to be. I ended up settling with it half behind my neck and half under my chin, so I could lie on my side and get a couple of hours of precious sleep.” —L.B.

boots travel neck support

Best travel pillow for: side sleepers

Similar to the Trtl pillow but padded with soft microfleece and covered with microsuede, BCozzy's wrap-around design offers plenty of flexibility in terms of how you wear it. The pillow comes in two sizes and when wrapped around the neck offers double the support for your head, neck, and chin. The real standout of this design is the flat back, which is not only great for maintaining a healthy posture, but also means you can fold the pillow in half and wear it on one side.

Why we love it:  “Even on a plane, I'm a side sleeper. My go-to way to snooze is angling the side headrest as far as it can go so I can rest my head in the corner. Headrests can be very hit-and-miss on planes though, so being able to fold the BCozzy pillow in half is ideal as it can prop my neck and chin up on one side without it feeling too suffocating.” —L.B.

boots travel neck support

Best for: warmth

This squishy infinity-style pillow is all about the soft and breathable bamboo fabric it’s made from. Coming in one large loop, the pillow is worn by wrapping around the neck twice and adjusting and scrunching accordingly depending on the level of comfort you’re looking for.

Why we love it:  “I’d say this pillow is less about neck support and more about soft and cozy scarf–meets–pillow hybrid. It feels like a sleeping bag for your neck—ideal if you get cold easily and are looking for something that’s more snuggly rather than stiff.” —L.B.

boots travel neck support

Best travel pillow for : Versatility

Slip this microbead-filled cap over your head and you’ll completely redefine the experience of sleeping on the go. From the outside, the wacky-shaped headpiece may feel a tad like a Teletubbies costume, but once you pull your head through the 27.5-inch opening, any place you find yourself in—no matter how bright or how loud—can turn into a sleep zone.

Why we love it: “And there’s no right or wrong way to use it: On a plane, use it to lean against the wall of the window seat, lie head down on the tray table of the middle seat, or tilt backward on the headrest of the seat.” — Rachel Chang , contributor

This article was originally published on Condé Nast Traveller UK .

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The best travel pillows for taking on a long flight

By Lauren Burvill and Charley Ward

Best travel pillows 2024 tested by our editors

If you travel regularly you’ve probably learnt to spot the difference between a frequent flyer and a rookie – the most obvious tell-tale sign being a bulky travel pillow, typically carried by an inexperienced flyer, hanging from a backpack or being worn around the back of their neck before they even get on the plane. Many of us are guilty of buying one of these beanbag worms from the airport duty-free shop, only to realise that they’re more trouble than they’re actually worth.

Do a little research though – as we’ve done for you here – and you might be pleasantly surprised to find that the humble travel pillow has upped its game recently. Specialised brands like  trtl  and  BCozzy  have entered the market, while neck pillows that range in shape and materials have popped up on Amazon.

So which ones are actually worth taking on a flight ? We asked our frequent flying editors to test out the most reviewed styles.

The best travel pillow to buy in 2023 at a glance

  • Best overall: Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow
  • Best for neck support: Trtl travel pillow
  • Best for side sleepers: BCozzy neck pillow and Travelrest pillow
  • Best for price: Ecosafeter portable travel pillow
  • Best lie flat pillow: Mini Snoooze travel pillow

best travel pillows

How we tested the best travel pillows

Every travel neck pillow on this list has been independently tested and reviewed in our office by our editors Charley Ward and Lauren Burvill . Each pillow is then passed on to a member of the wider team to take with them on a flight to further test when travelling. When testing, we look for quality, design features and value for money, as well as overall function and visual appeal.

What are the different types of travel pillow?

There’s a variety of shapes on offer, so think about your personal needs and preferences before making your choice. The main kinds are:

  • Memory foam travel pillows. These mould to your body in a way that’s far superior to the traditional beanbag styles on offer at the airport. Cabeau Evolution and Kierain do these very well, and Ecosafeter’s version also has a slight hump at the back to help relax your spine.
  • Body slings. These styles are great for side sleepers, offering full upper body support that you can lean against while you drift off. Travelrest’s inflatable travel pillow is our favourite, which can be worn cross-body or to your side to create a firmer separation between yourself and your neighbour. Dot & Dot does a similar version that can be twisted however suits, so you can use it around your neck, shoulders or even tucked below your lower back, helping to ease whichever area is most achey.
  • Wraparound neck pillows. These twist around the neck like a scarf, offering double the support of U-shaped designs. They also tend to be cosier as a result. Bcozzy’s has a flat back, to help you keep a better posture, while Huzi’s infinity neck pillow is comfy, soft and scrunchy, allowing you to bunch it up where it suits best.
  • Neck supports. Travel brand Trtl has been upping the ante lately. The brand's signature fleecy wraparound scarf cleverly hides an internal neck and chin support structure that keeps your neck in the optimum upright sleeping position, even in the middle seat or aisle seat. There’s now an adjustable version, as well, providing extra support for those on the taller side. They come with a carry bag that attaches to your rucksack.
  • Mini classic pillows . Perfect for adding a bit more comfort when sitting in first or business class seats – and when in your hotel room too. Snoooze does our favourite, which is 100% machine washable and rolls up into a carry bag just 30 by 11cm, so it’ll tuck nicely in your hand luggage when not in use.

See below for our full take on each of the best travel neck pillows available to buy now.

Cabeau Evolution's S3 travel pillow

Best travel pillow for: overall comfort

If you're looking for a basic does-the-job travel pillow, the one below from Kierain is the ideal buy. But if you're looking for a step above in terms of design and comfort, or suffer from neck or back pain, Cabeau's pillow is the best we've tested so far. The memory foam style has considered everything, from an adjustable toggle clasp to secure the pillow comfortably around your neck, to a handy side pocket – ideal for storing headphones or earplugs. What really sets this pillow apart from the rest though are the velcro straps at the back, designed to loop around a plane seat's headrest, helping to keep your head upright and take any pressure off your neck.

Why we like it:  “I tested this pillow when I flew to Mexico City. The foam in it is extremely comfortable, but what I love most is that the back of the pillow is flat, so you can sit right up against your seat, unlike the typical travel pillow styles which tend to be round and tilt your neck down slightly. The straps are a great idea, but if you're short it might not be possible to secure to the headrest, so keep that in mind. It also comes in a sleek cylindrical bag that, when clipped onto your carry-on luggage , you’d never even know there was a travel pillow inside." Sarah Allard, digital editor

Kierain’s travel pillow

Best travel pillow for: overall value

Kierain has one of the top-rated and best selling  travel pillows on Amazon , and it’s easy to see why. A step above the standard microbead styles, this travel pillow is 100 per cent memory foam with a soft velour cover, plus has an easy-to-use snap closure, making it simple to secure and stay in place.

Why we like it:  “The bag it comes in is surprisingly small (about the size of a small wash bag), so it hardly takes up any room in your  carry on luggage , which is a real plus. The best part though is the plush and squidgy memory foam. I often find the traditional neck pillows too stiff and constricting, but this one was soft while still giving good support.” Sarah James, deputy digital editor

best travel pillow

trtl's original pillow

Best travel pillow for: neck support

Less a pillow and more a supportive wrap for your neck, this unique design from trtl is ideal if you're short on space and weight in your carry-on luggage – it weighs only 148 grams. The pillow is designed to look like a scarf and features a clever curved u-shaped neck support stand that sits under your jaw and is then secured in place by wrapping the fabric around your neck and connecting the velcro.

Why we like it:  “I often feel like most typical travel pillows are too bulky and hard to get comfortable on, so I was keen to try this style when I flew to Vancouver. It's perfect for keeping your neck upright and avoiding any of the nodding that can happen while asleep. I'll admit, it feels a little strange at first to put it on, but the hypoallergenic fleece is soft and warm. It's a great option not just for plane travel, but also long road trips or train journeys.” Sarah James, deputy digital editor

Trtl Travel Pillow Plus

Best travel pillow for: customised support for your exact requirements

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Trtl has revamped its clever wrap-style neck pillow to accommodate people of all heights more comfortably. The latest iteration is adjustable, to better suit your particular requirements, and the pillow section itself has been given a high-density foam makeover. Trtl’s offering is a lot smaller than standard U-shaped pillows, and weighs a petite 225 grams, so it won’t take up precious space in your hand luggage – or you could use the included clip to attach it to your rucksack .

Why we like it: “I tried both the original and the revamped Trtl pillows on a flight to Japan, and this one definitely proved a more comfortable fit. It does take a bit of fiddling to get it to sit properly, and the fleece wrap is certainly cosy – even a bit too warm at points. Reviews are mixed online, but I think it’s worth taking the time to adjust it correctly as, once I did, it made for a far more comfortable experience than using standard U-shaped neck pillows. For long haul flights in coach, it’s certainly worth a try; I had no neck pain at all when I finally disembarked from the plane.” Charley Ward, commerce writer

boots travel neck support

Travelrest pillow

Best travel pillow for: upper body support

This clever across-body-sling pillow offers neck and head support while allowing you to truly relax and lean to one side to fall asleep. The pillow comes with a cord at the top that can be secured in place by looping over your seat’s headrest. You can wear the pillow on either side across your body, or down one side, creating more of a barrier between you and the person next to you. The pillow is inflatable too, so it takes up hardly any room in your luggage

Our verdict:  “This pillow came in handy on a flight to Australia. I really love the shape of this style, as it cradles not just your neck, but your whole upper body. Although I usually don’t like inflatable pillows, the rigidity of this style works to make you feel secure while sitting upright.” Lauren Burvill, commerce editor

best travel pillows

Dot&Dot’s twist travel pillow

Best travel pillow for: flexibility

Made of memory foam, this twist style pillow can be bent and contoured to almost any shape. Its flexibility means it can be worn in several ways, from around the neck to under your head, shoulders or even lower back.

Why we like it:  “I often toss and turn a lot when trying to get to sleep, so I find I’m particularly wriggly when trying to get comfortable on a flight. This kind of flexible twist style of the pillow was perfect for me, as I was able to shape it to exactly where I needed it to be. I ended up settling with it half behind my neck and half under my chin, so I could lie on my side and get a couple of hours of precious sleep.” Lauren Burvill, commerce editor

best travel pillows

Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

Best travel pillow for: ergonomic design with a luxurious feel

Ostrichpillow has a number of interesting travel pillows (are you brave enough to try this napping aid ?), including a genius padded headband -come-eye mask that makes quickly grabbing some shut-eye while leaning against the window actually comfortable. The Go pillow, however, is the brand’s most traditional offering. It has a memory foam core with a velcro closure to ensure a snug fit, no matter the shape or size of your neck. It compresses down impressively small when stored in the included drawstring travel bag, making it easy to bring along in even the smallest cases. It has a removable and washable cover as well.

Why we like it: “It’s really, really soft, and satisfyingly squishy at the same time; the memory foam filling is clearly high-quality. In fact, out of all the travel pillows I’ve tried, this one feels the most luxurious when in use. It kept my neck at a good angle to avoid aches and pains – it was surprisingly supportive, in fact. It’s easy to adjust and I like that the cover can be slung straight in the washing machine, so it’s ready to go for your next trip.” Charley Ward, commerce writer

boots travel neck support

Ecosafeter’s portable travel pillow

Best travel pillow for: price

The Ecosafeter travel pillow is a memory foam style with a slight “hump” shape that’s designed to help relax the Cervical spine. The design is particularly great for sleeping upright, especially if you suffer from back or neck pain, with added neck support as well as a soft and flexible feel.

Why we like it:  “I find it super difficult to sleep upright, which is why I loved the high back and firm cushioned support on this pillow. I took it with me on an overbooked flight with a 2am takeoff and did manage to get some sleep, admittedly in and out, but that’s better than my usual long haul wide-eyed experience.” Sophie Knight, visuals editor

best travel pillows

BCozzy's neck pillow

Best travel pillow for: side sleepers

Similar to the trtl pillow but padded with soft microfleece and covered with microsuede, BCozzy's wrap-around design offers plenty of flexibility in terms of how you wear it. The pillow comes in two sizes and when wrapped around the neck offers double the support for your head, neck and chin. The real standout of this design is the flat back, which is not only great for maintaining a healthy posture but also means you can fold the pillow in half and wear it on one side.

Why we like it:  “Even on a plane, I'm a side sleeper. My go-to way to snooze is angling the side headrest as far as it can go so I can rest my head in the corner. Headrests can be very hit-and-miss on planes though, so being able to fold the BCozzy pillow in half is ideal as it can prop my neck and chin up on one side without feeling too suffocating." Lauren Burvill, commerce editor

boots travel neck support

Huzi infinity pillow

Best for: warmth

This squishy infinity-style pillow is all about the soft and breathable bamboo fabric it’s made from. Coming in one large loop, the pillow is worn by wrapping around the neck twice and adjusting and scrunching accordingly depending on the level of comfort you’re looking for.

Our verdict:  “I’d say this pillow is less about neck support and more about soft and cosy scarf–meets–pillow hybrid. It feels like a sleeping bag for your neck, ideal if you get cold easily and are looking for something that’s more snuggly rather than stiff.” Lauren Burvill, commerce editor

boots travel neck support

Snoooze travel pillow

Best travel pillow for:  lying flat

One for not just the plane but also the hotel, this flat pillow from Snoooze is particularly suited to business or first class passengers flying in a flatbed. Danish designer Ann Sjogreen Sanger worked with scientists, sleep experts and leading UK manufacturers to create the two travel pillows – a full size and mini option. Both are machine washable, come with a soft 100 per cent cotton pillow case and roll up into compact travel bags – the mini fits into a cylindrical bag that’s 30cm by 11cm.

Why we like it:  “This pillow feels surprisingly full and thick compared to how compact it can be stored. I always struggle with hotel pillows (they’re often too big and fluffy), but the Snoooze feels firm yet squidgy and helped me get proper deep sleep during a hotel stay in Greece recently. I tested the full size, but think the mini can do the same job if you’re short on carry-on space or would prefer to use a flat pillow to get some sleep in economy.”

best travel pillows

Lifeventure inflatable travel pillow

Best travel pillow for: space-saving

You won’t find any bells and whistles with Lifeventure’s inflatable travel pillow, but at £12.99, the price is hard to beat for your standard u-shaped travel pillow. It packs down into a remarkably bijou carrying case and weighs in at just 54 grams. A dual valve makes it easy to blow up very quickly – I inflated it by mouth in two minutes.

Why we like it: “I wasn’t convinced by the idea of an inflatable polyester travel pillow, especially not in comparison to some of the super-soft memory foam numbers I’ve tried (Ostrichpillow cinches it for me in the cosiness stakes). However, I was pleasantly surprised on test. The material is clearly good quality and it provides decent enough neck support when fully inflated. But really, the main plus point of this pillow is how compact and lightweight it is when deflated. It folds down smaller than your average purse. If you have back or neck issues, avoid this one. But if you’re off backpacking, or space in your bag is an especially hot commodity, then this pillow is the one to buy.” Charley Ward, commerce writer

boots travel neck support

Travel Fashion Girl

Best Travel Pillow Styles to Support Your Neck and Head for Better Sleep

Packing , Packing Tips , Travel Accessories

best-neck-pillow

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When it comes to long plane rides, bus rides, train rides, or even car rides, you’ll want to have the best travel pillow. They provide head and neck support, helping you stay comfortable. There are many styles, depending on your needs. Our readers offer their favorite neck pillow so you’re sure to find the perfect fit.

Best Travel Pillow

Table of contents.

Travel Fashion Girl help! A reader asks:

What is your favorite brand for a travel pillow?

A travel pillow is an essential accessory for many travelers, especially for long flights. Don’t make the mistake of picking up any random neck pillow for travel at the airport. Take the time to research which travels pillow will fit your needs and sleep preferences. There are many options, and you’ll want to check out our reader recommendations below to find which pillow is best for you!

Here are what our readers recommend as the best travel neck pillow

best-travel-pillow

Cabeau Memory Foam “Evolution Pillow”

Best All-Around Travel Pillow

With the Cabeau plane pillow , you can adjust for perfect 360-degree support, whether your head leans left, right, or tends to fall forward. With a flattened rear cushion, it is perfect for all seats, making it the best travel neck pillow for long haul flights. Several of our readers swear by this headrest pillow!

One says, “Accept no other substitutes. My husband and I just got back from Fiji, and my husband actually slept, no head bobbing. This was a first, he’s never been able to sleep on long hauls. Now, we swear by this pillow, compression socks, and noise-canceling headphones for long hauls.”

Whether you’re heading out on a road trip or flying to your next vacation destination, the Cabeau Evolution pillow will allow comfort and stability for the entirety of your travels. Read our review of the Cabeau Air Evolution pillow !

best-travel-pillow

Lewis N. Clark On Air Adjustable Pillow

Best Inflatable Travel Pillow

Lewis N. Clark is a popular travel brand, so it’s no surprise the company offers an amazing inflatable travel pillow . This inflatable pillow has a unique valve that makes it the easiest and fastest travel pillow to inflate and deflate. Inflate with just two breaths, deflate instantly.

One reader says, “The trick for me is to only inflate it about two-thirds or three-quarters full. If it’s fully inflated, the part behind the neck is too firm and pushes my head forward. If I don’t fully inflate it, the back squishes, so my head stays in a normal position but the wings are firm enough to keep my head upright.” Great tip to try!

best-travel-pillow

Trtl Travel Pillow

Most Unique Travel Pillow

The Trtl pi l low isn’t exactly a headrest pillow in the traditional sense. It’s more of a wrap that offers neck support.

As one reader explains, “Here’s the deal with the Trtl — it’s really not a ‘pillow.’ When I stopped thinking of it as one, it made more sense. You don’t rest your head on it. What it does is it keeps your head from dropping, snapping, or bobbing forward when you fall asleep.”

A lot of times, staying asleep is harder than falling asleep because your head keeps falling or shifting, and your neck starts to ache. The best pillow for a neck, Trtl is designed to hold you in an ergonomic position for long periods of time.

Read our review of the Trtl pillow !

best-travel-pillow

J-pillow Travel Pillow

Best Travel Pillow for Window Seats

The winner of the British Invention of the Year in 2013, the J-Pillow travel pillow’s unique shape was created for window seat sleeping. Along with traveling, it’s also perfect for relaxing at home, whether on the couch or reading in bed.

One reader says, “I have used this one and really like it!” Not only is it easy to carry, but it’s also hygienic. You can put the whole pillow in the washing machine, and it’ll be like new again!

Need help packing light? Get my e-book, Pack Light Stylishly to learn my tips and tricks for traveling carry-on only.

best-travel-pillow

Travelmate Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Best Affordable Travel Pillow

The Travelmate travel pillow is unlike anything on the market. This patent pending, newly released and improved version has a built-in removable insert so you can adjust the thickness of the pillow based on your personal preference and sitting positions, helping to support your neck and head in perfect alignment.

One reader calls it a “classic,” saying, “It’s my go-to neck pillow for travel.” You now can sleep soundly even if you are sitting up with this airplane pillow!

Use packing cubes to help you organize and even compress your belongings to maximize your space.

best-travel-pillow

Crafty World Deluxe Comfort Master Pillow

Best Supportive Travel Pillow

Sleep peacefully all throughout your flight or journey with the Crafty World Pillow . It’s the perfect companion for those traveling in planes, cars, trains, buses, and more. This comfortable travel pillow provides optimal neck and shoulder support to give you a more relaxing trip.

One reviewer says, “I have bought every neck pillow under the sun. This pillow is easily the best travel neck pillow I have ever used. I used this pillow for an eight-hour flight, and I arrived at my destination feeling well rested and pain-free.” Music to our ears, and comfort to our necks!

best-travel-pillow

World’s Best Feather Soft Microfiber Neck Pillow

Best Hypoallergenic Travel Pillow

The World’s Travel Pillow offers superior neck support and ultra-plush comfort, all at a budget-friendly cost. Filled with feather-soft microfiber, this pillow offers a hypoallergenic and machine washable alternative to down-filled pillows. It’s perfect for travel, lounging at home, or therapeutic neck support.

Take it from one reviewer who says, “I used this on a 36-hour bus ride (vertical the whole trip, no beds!) from Kansas to Washington, D.C., and it was great. I was a little nervous it’d be too firm or overstuffed, but even as someone with a short neck, I got a solid night’s sleep every night (I tended to flip it around rather than use it behind my head).”

best-travel-pillow

U-Shaped Cordless Electric Travel Pillow

Best Massage Travel Pillow

This U-Shaped Cordless Electric travel pillow provides great head, neck, and shoulder support for maximum comfort. It has four massage nodes that replicate a real-life massage. Get ready for some serious kneading, pressing, or rubbing techniques for continuous, personalized comfort.

Its dense memory cotton gives support of the head and neck, accommodating both seated and reclined passengers in airplanes, trains, and autos. It reduces aches, pains, and the awkward sleep positions of travel. Best of all, the long-lasting battery means you don’t need to plug it in when using.

As one reviewer says, “This one is perfect, fit, and comfortable. The fabric is so smooth, and it is a rechargeable product, so it’s convenient for travel too.”

best-travel-pillow

Huzi Infinity Pillow Scarf

Best Dual Purpose Travel Pillow

Although this isn’t technically a travel pillow, many of our readers named Huzi pillow scarf as favorite. Invented by a massage therapist, this scarf provides upper-body support and counterbalance for the arms, neck, and head for relaxation.

One reader tells us, “The Huzi scarf worked great for me on our three-week trip to the British Isles, in planes, trains, buses, and a ferry. I used the new pillow insert for it. Cradled my neck perfectly.” Another says, “I swear by the Huzi scarf. Keeps me aligned (need to have the insert in) and I have neck disc issues.”

best-travel-pillow

BCOZZY Travel Neck Pillow with Chin Support

Best Comfort Travel Pillow

The BCOZZY Chin Supporting Home Neck Brace Pillow relieves pressure and reduces tiredness as it greatly improves the quality of sleep. It also stimulates blood circulation, eliminates muscle tension, and reduces restlessness while you sleep. It can be used on planes, trains, buses, or cars, whether you’re working on your laptop or taking a nap.

One reader says, “I love this one! And it rolls up neatly into its own pouch.”

best-travel-pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Inflatable Neck Pillow

Best Lightweight Travel Pillow

The Sea to Summit Aeros is a featherweight, easy option that’s only 1.8 ounces! It’s ergonomically designed to support the neck but the more narrow center also allows room to fit against a headrest without pitching your head forward. Made of comfy fabric, it’s easy to inflate in only a few breaths! One reviewer says, “ This is the best travel pillow I’ve ever had. So lightweight! I use it for napping when my wrecked neck bothers me. The support is great, never jacking your head or neck forward, and so easy to inflate and deflate.”

Best Travel Pillow Product Comparison Chart

Here’s a comparison chart for the best travel pillow:

best-travel-pillow

What is a Travel Pillow?

A travel pillow, in the simplest sense, is a compact pillow that you can use to rest more comfortably on planes, trains, or in cars. They can be made from a variety of materials, such as plush or cotton, and be in different shapes, from doughnuts and U-shapes to standard rectangles and squares.

What are the Different Types of Travel Pillows?

There are two main types of travel pillows — inflatable and non-inflatable. I always keep my inflatable air pillow in my day bag on travel days. I can inflate it when needed, and it is easy to store when not in use. It doesn’t take up any space at all and is feather light. After a trip (or during a long one) just throw the cover in the washer and hang to dry.

The only cons when it comes to inflatable neck pillows is that they pop easily.

What Are the Best Travel Pillows to Buy?

There are a number of brands and styles of airplane neck pillows, from popular travel brands like Lewis N. Clark to the famous Trtl . Most of the time, it’s best to look for a style of travel pillow you like versus buying based on a brand.

What do you think is the best travel pillow? Comment below!

Check out these related articles on other travel accessories!

  • Best Noise-Canceling Headphones
  • Best Reading Device for Travel
  • Best Travel Water Bottles
  • Essentials You Need to Take on an Airplane

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Cathy Lee

I don’t rest well on the planes in general. I bought a feet sling and liked it. Now I want to try the Trtl pillow or the Huzi Infinity pillow scarf. Both look comfortable.

Susan

I just bought the Cabeau Evolution Cooling Travel Pillow, similar to the one pictured, but mine has “vents” on the side. I super excited to try it out on my long flight I’m taking in November. It was a little pricey, but I think it will be worth it. Also, if you register the pillow on their site and if you lose your pillow, they will send you another one for free!

Julia D

Somehow, I’ve never tried a travel pillow before, but I think I’ll need one for an upcoming trip. I have high hopes for the Trtl but will possibly try some others!

Marina

Thanks for the recommendations! I tried the cabeau on a recent trip and loved it!

MaumauLuna

I like this one. Found it at TKMaxx for about 10 euros. The first use is a bit tricky. But after this die it is really great.

Travel Fashion Girl

Wow that’s awesome 🙂 It adds extra support which is super important!

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15 Best Travel Pillow 2023 Memory Foam Inflatable and Neck Supporting

The 15 best travel pillows for first-class snoozing

By Aaron Toumazou and Esat Dedezade

Say no to middle seat mayhem and heads propped against plane windows; our pick of the best travel pillows is a one-way ticket to comfortable travel

Ladies and gentlemen, GQ Airlines welcomes you to our edit of the best travel pillows . We request your full attention as we demonstrate the value of packing a travel pillow on your next trip.

Before we begin, we'd like to draw your attention to the comfort a travel pillow provides your head and neck, especially important on long flights, train journeys and car trips where headrests are far from optimal. Designed to be portable and easy to carry, you can take a travel pillow with you wherever you go, and most are easily packed in a suitcase or backpack thanks to handy luggage clips.

In the unlikely event you forget to pack a travel pillow, overpriced and less comfortable options are probably available if you're desperate, but we'd always suggest being well-prepared. Consequences of your negligence may include accidentally dozing off on a stranger's shoulder and spending the first few days of your holiday with a crick in your neck.

A variety of options are available, including memory foam , inflatable, microbead and wrap-around travel pillows catering to various different sleeping preferences and budgets. Thank you for your attention. We hope you have a pleasant read.

What’s the best travel pillow to buy 2023?

boots travel neck support

Ostrich Go Neck Pillow

By offering 360-degree support care of a velcro closure that engulfs the front of the neck, Ostrich’s Go neck pillow will keep you propped up and pain-free.

boots travel neck support

Go Travel 2 Memory Dreamer Pillow

A £20 memory foam pillow that can be easily adjusted to different travel scenarios, this might just be the most cost-effective travel hack you’ll ever come across.

boots travel neck support

Trtl Pillow

Comfortable, compact and supportive, the Trtl has it all. This wraparound travel pillow will serve you well for the long haul.

  • Best overall travel pillow : Trtl Pillow. £54.99. At amazon.co.uk
  • Best travel pillow for support:  Ostrich Go Neck Pillow. £55. At amazon.co.uk
  • Best inflatable travel pillow: Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow. 41.99. At amazon.co.uk
  • Best travel pillow for the middle seat: Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow. £25.54. At amazon.co.uk
  • Best luxury travel pillow: Slip Travel Set. £150. At sephora.co.uk
  • Best memory foam travel pillow: Tempur Transit Pillow. £85. At tempur.com
  • Best budget travel pillow: Life Hall Travel Pillow. £.99. At amazon.co.uk
  • Best travel pillow for restless sleepers: Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow. £28.49. At amazon.co.uk

When should you pack a travel pillow?

More like when  shouldn’t you pack a travel pillow? Part of the beauty of a travel pillow is its compactness, so there’s a strong case for travelling with one in your everyday  backpack . Need to grab an extra 30 minutes of shut-eye on your morning commute? Pack a travel pillow. Taking the passenger seat on a road trip? Pack a travel pillow. Secured tickets to Glastonbury this year? Pack a travel pillow.

When it comes to flying, where these cosy companions really come into their own, there’s no minimum flight time that negates the need to bring a travel pillow. In fact, the designs of short-haul air carriers tend to be less comfortable than larger vessels, so you could argue that there’s even more of a need to keep one in your carry-on for journeys under three hours. It should go without saying that a travel pillow will make longer journeys all the more manageable, too, especially on overnight flights where onward travel plans depend on you being well-rested.

What types of travel pillows are available?

There are several types of travel pillows, with differences that factor into both their cost and the comfort they’ll provide. Here’s a rundown of the main four:

  • Memory foam travel pillows: Like their bed-bound brethren, memory foam travel pillows conform to the neck and head and are considered to be the most comfortable and supportive option.
  • Inflatable travel pillows : Admittedly not always the comfiest option, but because they’re the most lightweight and compact, they’re the easiest to factor into your packing. You can also adjust the firmness by tweaking the inflation.
  • Microbead travel pillows : The tiny beads in these pillows mould around the shape of your neck and head and make for a softer surface than memory foam, though at the expense of some support.
  • Wrap-around travel pillows : These pillows go beyond just the neck and head by also providing chin support, saving you the embarrassing jolt when you wake yourself up from a forward head nod.

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Shop GQ's edit of the best travel pillows 2023…

Reasons to buy Affordable | Different colour options   Material Memory foam  Chin support Yes  Carry case No  A...

Go Travel 2 Memory Dreamer

Reasons to buy: Affordable | Different colour options

  • Material: Memory foam
  • Chin support: Yes
  • Carry case: No

A dependable memory foam travel pillow that won’t break the bank, the Go Travel 2 Memory Dreamer combines high-quality materials with an adaptable design that can be tweaked to various sleeping positions. The malleable foam folds to provide support in different modes of travel, or to switch things up between window, middle and aisle seats.

The fact it comes with a convenient carrying pouch means it's easy to keep clean and organised while you’re away, while a removable, washable cover will appease those who go hard on airport/aircraft hygiene. Plus, at £20, it provides more support and versatility for your buck than any other travel pillow in our edit. £19.99 At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Compact size | Can be used as an actual pillow   Material Memory foam  Chin support No  Carry case Yes ...

Cabin Max Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Reasons to buy: Compact size | Can be used as an actual pillow

  • Chin support: No
  • Carry case: Yes

If you’re after something more along the lines of an actual pillow rather than a U-shaped neck-supporting affair, then Cabin Max’s miniature memory foam pillow should fit the bill rather nicely.

Easily packable once rolled up and stored in the accompanying travel bag, you can use it to cradle and support your head while travelling, as well as using it as your main pillow if you’re camping, or looking to bolster the ones your hotel has already provided. £14.95. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Very light | Clever neck support frame   Material Fleece  Chin support Yes  Carry case No  This unique...

Reasons to buy: Very light | Clever neck support frame

  • Material: Fleece

This unique wrap-around travel pillow amps up the comfort factor with its ultra-soft fleece material. While it may take on the appearance of fashion’s greatest antihero, the snood, beneath its cosy exterior is a flexible internal support structure that moulds to your neck and will prevent you from waking up on the person next to you’s shoulder.

As compact and lightweight as any inflatable travel pillow, one of the major selling points of this design is that it doesn’t have to be blown up before use. As it’s machine washable, it’s easy to maintain and also comes with a handy travel bag to keep those aeroplane germs away from the contents of your suitcase. £54.99. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Very light | Clever neck support frame   Material Soft bamboo fabric  Chin support Yes  Carry case No ...

Huzi Infinity Pillow

  • Material: Soft bamboo fabric

This rather unusual travel pillow is, in essence, a loop of soft, comforting, supportive goodness, letting you lie/rest on it any which way you see fit. From wrapping it around your neck to using it as a window/desk pillow, the only limit is your imagination (and the potentially curious glances from your fellow passengers)

Available in a variety of colours and with soft, luxurious bamboo and microfibre, the fact that it can be chucked in the washing machine for a freshen up is a welcome bonus. £45.99 £39.99. At amazon.co.uk

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Reasons to buy Affordable | Hood for warmthlight blocking   Material Memory foam  Chin support No  Carry case Yes  You...

Jiancrate Hooded Travel Pillow

Reasons to buy: Affordable | Hood for warmth/light blocking

You might be on the receiving end of a few odd looks if you pull this travel pillow’s built-in hood over your head and eyes, but who cares when it’s keeping you warm while blocking out harsh cabin light in the process?

With a washable outer cover and all manner of funky patterned designs to choose from, it’s as bold and vibrant, as it is versatile. It even comes with a pair of earbuds and a travel case for an added dash of convenience. £15.99. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Very light | Compact when deflated   Material Polyester  Chin support No  Carry case No  Inflatable...

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow

Reasons to buy: Very light | Compact when deflated

  • Material: Polyester

Inflatable travel pillows can often feel like a last-ditch attempt to provide basic comfort on the go, hence why you’ll often see cheap takes hanging near the checkouts of an airport store. This is far from the case with Sea to Summit’s Aeros premium traveller pillow, which is built to last with high-quality materials.

Going further than simply propping your head up, it has a soft, comfortable surface for resting on, while ergonomic bulbous side arms and a thin centre guarantee support in all the right places. Inflating and deflating is a faff-free undertaking thanks to a unique, multi-function valve, which also makes it easy to adjust the firmness to exactly how you like it. £41.99. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Luxurious silk | Includes accessories   Material Silk cover  Chin support Yes  Carry case Yes  Giving...

Slip Travel Set

Reasons to buy: Luxurious silk | Includes accessories

  • Material: Silk cover

Giving your in-flight relaxation a first-class upgrade, Slip’s luxurious travel set goes beyond the memo by factoring in its market-leading silk eye and face masks for a peaceful travel experience that spans the senses. Made from high-quality silk, all three are soft to the touch, while the travel pillow employs the same hair and skin benefits as the enduringly popular  silk pillowcase , so you can really catch some beauty sleep on your travels.

Another major pro of silk travel pillows is that the fabric is naturally hypoallergenic and machine washable, so you can easily keep it fresh and clean throughout your travels. £150. At slipsilkpillowcase.co.uk and sephora.co.uk

Reasons to buy Attractive design | Chin and neck support   Material Memory foam  Chin support Yes  Carry case No  Unlike...

Reasons to buy: Attractive design | Chin and neck support

Unlike traditional travel pillows which wrap around just the back and sides of the neck, the Ostrich Go neck pillow offers 360-degree support thanks to a memory foam core and ergonomic design that wraps all the way around. Also noteworthy of its shape is the differentiation of each side, one being slightly more bulbous than the other to give a greater variety of sleeping positions.

A selection of colourways means you can match your travel pillow to other essential  travel accessories , and its Velcro fastening makes it easy to fasten around the satellite handles of a suitcase when not in use. If you’d rather transport it more discreetly, it also compresses to 60 per cent of its usable size, neatly stowed in an accompanying travel pouch. £55. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Comfortable Tempur material | Threeyear guarantee   Material Tempur memory foam  Chin support No  Carry...

Tempur Transit Pillow

Reasons to buy: Comfortable Tempur material | Three-year guarantee

  • Material: Tempur memory foam

For those who are always on the road, investing a little bit more in top-notch travel support is worth considering. You can put your faith in mattress brand Tempur to keep you supported in the best possible way as you clock up those air miles. Using the same signature memory foam that goes into its  mattresses and  pillows , the high-quality material offers its wearer personalised support and incorporates a raised edge that goes beyond most travel pillows to also prevent the head from dropping forward.

Frequent flyers will also appreciate its lightness and compactness, plus a cover that’s easily removed and thrown in the wash. In short, no in-flight entertainment system is going to take precedence over good kip with this in your travel armoury. £85. At tempur.com and wayfair.com

Reasons to buy Innovative crossbody design | Excellent neck support   Material Flocked PVC  Chin support No  Carry case...

Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow

Reasons to buy: Innovative cross-body design | Excellent neck support

  • Material: Flocked PVC

This inflatable travel pillow does things a little differently by strapping to your seat, rather than around your neck. As a result, it’s one of the only travel pillows out there that provides full lateral support to the upper body, making it easier to relax and stay asleep for longer.

It’s especially handy when you’re allocated the middle seat on a flight, with its sash-like form providing more of a base to lean into. It’s on the larger side when inflated, but when not in use it takes up barely any room at all in your luggage. £25.54. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Affordable | Different colours available   Material Memory foam  Chin support No  Carry case Yes  If as...

Life Hall Travel Pillow

Reasons to buy: Affordable | Different colours available

If, as with additional cabin luggage and allocated seating, you’re not willing to pay the premium for a high-end travel pillow, this Life Hall option is the best of the budget haul. While the memory foam isn’t quite as high-tech as others in this list, we can’t knock it for comfort, which is also bolstered by a raised lobe design for neck tilt support and a plush velour cover.

A rope at each end means that you can both tighten it to adjust for comfort and easily fasten it around the handle of your bag, while the choice of neutral and vibrant colourways means you can tailor your investment for business or pleasure. £14.99 £9.99. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Innovative flexible design | Easily adjustable   Material Memory foam  Chin support No  Carry case No  A...

Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Reasons to buy: Innovative, flexible design | Easily adjustable

A travel pillow with a twist, quite literally. Dot&Dot’s take on trusty on-the-go sleep support can be contorted into so many different shapes you could probably find comfort in the boot of a Mercedes S-Class. Besides being one of the most ergonomically adjustable travel cushions out there, though, it also negates some of the stuffiness that comes with having both sides of the neck engulfed, amplified further still by the breathability of its removable cover.

Outside the confines of a 500-tonne titanium tube in the sky, the Twist’s shapeshifting capabilities will provide additional lumbar support on your  office chair and can even make lazy Sunday afternoon binge-watching on the sofa that bit more comfortable. £28.49. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Unique design | Headwarming hood   Material Memory foam  Chin support Yes  Carry case Yes  Plane cabins...

Sunany Inflatable Travel Pillow

Reasons to buy: Unique design | Head-warming hood

Plane cabins are fickle beasts. More often than not, they're either too hot or too cold, and packing the right layers can be a bit of a gamble. This inflatable neck pillow helps alleviate some of the stress, by providing a handy built-in velvet hood to cover your head.

Fending off the worst of the chilly overhead aircon blasts while saving you from overheating with a hoodie, it also comes with a drawstring bag for storage, and an eye mask to block out sleep-depriving light. £30.99. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Affordable | Generous accessories   Material Memory foam  Chin support No  Carry case Yes  An ergonomic...

Eono Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Reasons to buy: Affordable | Generous accessories

An ergonomic memory foam pillow for less than the price of a round in a London pub? Yes, please.

Well-padded with snappy elasticity to help retain its shape, this neck pillow's breathable polyester covering should help you keep cool in troublesome hotspots, while a velvet finish should help you drift off in luxury. With a handy bag thrown in to help compress and minimise storage space, you can't really go wrong at this price. £17.99. At amazon.co.uk

Reasons to buy Reversible design | Compact storage   Material Memory foam  Chin support Yes  Carry case Yes  Snugl by...

Snugl Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Reasons to buy: Reversible design | Compact storage

Snugl by name, snuggle by nature, this cleverly designed memory foam neck pillow aims to mould to your individual shape, to help reduce aches and pains with appropriate support.

Its reversible design lets you experiment with different levels of sleeping positions, while dual adjustable straps help you dial in the perfect fit. Roll it up tight enough, and you can reduce its unfolded footprint by around 70 per cent, making compact storage a breeze. £34.95 £29.95 At amazon.co.uk

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The best travel pillows for long haul flights so you can *actually* sleep well on planes

boots travel neck support

By Ali Pantony

12 Best Travel Pillows For Long Haul Flights To Help You Sleep

We all know what it's like if you board a long haul flight without one of the best travel pillows in your carry-on luggage . You spend the next 8+ hours desperately trying to get comfortable enough to sleep, pressed up against the window, head bobbing like a nodding dog, or accidentally getting cosy on a stranger's shoulder. Awkward.

Thanks to the far from optimal headrests, a travel pillow is really the only way you're going to get a good snooze on a plane (as well as earplugs for sleeping , of course), and luckily, there are plenty of advanced, scientifically-tested versions on the market nowadays – from inflatable U-shaped travel pillows and wrap-around pillows to space-saving designs that keep your head in a comfortable, ergonomic position. Plus, most are so lightweight and portable you'll barely notice them clipped to your luggage or stuffed – sorry, “neatly packed” – into your backpack .

Heed this frequent flyer's advice, and don't head on another long haul flight without one of these ultra-comfy travel cushions.

Modern luxury with authentic Portuguese charm. 

By Deborah Joseph

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Best pillows for travelling at a glance:

  • Best inflatable travel pillow: Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow, £47.98, Amazon
  • Best memory foam travel pillow: Travel Deluxe Pillow, £25, Boots
  • Best travel pillow for side sleepers: Bcozzy Travel Pillow, £39.97, Amazon
  • Best ergonomic travel pillow: Trtl Travel Pillow, £54.99, Amazon
  • Best affordable travel pillow: Travel Pillow, £6, Dunelm

We've also got your other holiday packing essentials covered, from the best packing cubes and the best fashion luggage brands , to the best crinkle swimsuits , airport outfits and after sun lotions .

These are our top picks of the best travel pillows you need for your next trip…

Trtl Travel Pillow 54.99 Amazon  Made from Hypoallergenic fleece and foam. Dimensions 19 x 19 x 9.5cm Weight 138g Why we...

1. Best ergonomic travel pillow

Trtl Travel Pillow, £54.99, Amazon

Made from: Hypoallergenic fleece and foam. Dimensions: 19 x 19 x 9.5cm Weight: 138g Why we love it: You've probably seen the Trtl pillow popping up on your social media feeds, hailed as a gamechanging neck pillow that looks more like a scarf than a pillow. We can attest, it works. Designed with internal support to keep the head upright while asleep, the pillow keeps your head in a more comfortable, ergonomic position. It's compact, lightweight and made from machine washable, cosy hypoallergenic fleece. Our favourite new travel companion.

Bcozzy Travel Pillow 39.97 Amazon  Made from Polyester microfleece Dimensionsnbsp24.99 x 27.99 x 11.99 cm Weightnbsp210g...

2. Best travel pillow for side sleepers

Bcozzy Travel Pillow, £39.97, Amazon

Made from: Polyester, microfleece Dimensions:  24.99 x 27.99 x 11.99 cm Weight:  210g Why we love it: With almost 25,000 ratings and an average score of 4.2, there's a reason the Bcozzy travel neck pillow is so highly searched for. Choose between kids and adults sizes (small for children aged 3-7, medium for children aged 8-12, and either large or extra large for adults) and a variety of fun colourways, from light purple to leopard print . The flat back design prevents your head from being pushed forward, with three different ergonomic positions for double support to your head, neck and chin: for front sleepers, by placing the overlapping pillow arms under the chin for double chin support; for side sleepers, by folding the pillow in half, placing it on your shoulder and leaning your head to the side; or for those whose head falls to the front and the side, by sliding the overlapping arms 90 degrees to the side for double support to the neck and chin. A must for your next flight, road trip, or even just a comfy head rest for chilling out at home.

Huzi Infinity Pillow 39.99 Amazon  Made from Breathable bamboo fabric Dimensionsnbsp‎35 x 14 x 20cm Weightnbsp458g Why...

3. Best infinity travel pillow

Huzi Infinity Pillow, £39.99, Amazon

Made from: Breathable bamboo fabric Dimensions:   ‎ 35 x 14 x 20cm Weight:  458g Why we love it: As well as the bang-on-trend colour options (from pine green to peachy pink ), the Huzi pillow is a gamechanger in the travel accessories game. The fully adjustable shape means it provides 360° support – whether you're on the window seat or the middle seat – providing neck, chin, head and lumbar support. The super-soft bamboo fabric is three times more breathable than standard cotton, so no more stuffy plane naps. You can even wrap the pillow around your ears to help cancel out noise, and it's easy to clean – simply throw it in the washing machine and it'll come out fresh and fluffy.

Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow 72.99 65.99 Amazon  Made from‎ Polyester and memory foam Dimensions 24.13 x 25.4 x...

4. Best travel pillow with seat strap

Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow, £72.99 £65.99, Amazon

Made from :‎ Polyester and memory foam Dimensions: 24.13 x 25.4 x 12.7cm Weight: 329g Why we love it: The Cabeau Evolution S3 pillow claims to be the only travel pillow on the market that straps to your actual seat for optimal head support both from the sides and the front, by stopping your head from dropping forward. The pillow has a front opening which allows heat to escape, and a moisture-wicking polyester cover, to help regulate your temperature as you sleep and stop you from overheating and waking up in a pool of sweat mid-flight. The memory foam moulds to your shape and the adjustable clasp offers valuable chin support. A must for frequent flyers.

Memory Foam Travel Pillow 15 Marks  Spencer  Made from Polyester and memory foam Dimensionsnbsp31 x 30 x 9cm Why we love...

5. Best contoured travel pillow

Memory Foam Travel Pillow, £15, Marks & Spencer

Made from: Polyester and memory foam Dimensions:  31 x 30 x 9cm Why we love it: A classic travel pillow from M&S, this memory foam pillow is designed with a contoured back that provides a resting position for ultimate comfort. The pillow fastens at the front which stops your head from falling forward, and it's machine washable and safe for the tumble dryer too.

Travel Pillow 6 Dunelm  Made from Polyester Dimensions 27cm x 29cm x 8cm Why we love it Because it's only 6 making it...

6. Best affordable travel pillow

Travel Pillow, £6, Dunelm

Made from: Polyester Dimensions: 27cm x 29cm x 8cm Why we love it: Because it's only £6, making it one of the most affordable travel pillows on the market, and comes in cute colourways – like turquoise, royal blue and tangerine orange – instead of the standard black and grey you so often see on neck pillows. It's lightweight, super soft and the ergonomic design ensures head and neck support, with a handy velcro fastening at the front.

Travel Deluxe Pillow 25 Boots  Made from Memory foam Why we love it The 360degree support the machine washable cover ...

7. Best memory foam travel pillow

Travel Deluxe Pillow, £25, Boots

Made from: Memory foam Why we love it: The 360-degree support, the machine washable cover (and pouch), the memory foam that moulds to the contours of your neck, the toggle closure that keeps everything perfectly in place, the Boots Advantage Card points – need we say more?

SLIP Jet Setter Travel Pillow Portofino 99 Sephora  Made from Polyurethane silk Dimensionsnbsp25 x 25 x 12.5cm...

8. Best silk travel pillow

SLIP Jet Setter Travel Pillow Portofino, £99, Sephora

Made from: Polyurethane, silk Dimensions:  25 x 25 x 12.5cm Weight:   Why we love it: To turn your in-flight sleep into a seriously luxe, self-care session, turn to Slip, whose pure silk products are designed for ultimate shine and softness. Not only that, but they were scientifically developed to help retain skin's moisture and reduce hair tangling – which we could all do with on a long-haul flight. The cover is removable and machine washable and comes with a carry-on bag with woven handles.

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Ostrichpillow Light Travel Pillow 39 Amazon  Made from Viscose elastomer microbead filling Dimensionsnbsp35 x 15.24 x...

9. Best travel pillow and eye mask

Ostrichpillow Light Travel Pillow, £39, Amazon

Made from: Viscose, elastomer, microbead filling Dimensions:  35 x 15.24 x 8.38 cm Weight:  290g Why we love it: For a lightweight pillow with serious versatility, Ostrichpillow is the one. This clever travel pillow can be used around your neck for guaranteed shut-eye, or over your eyes as a soft, light-blocking eye mask. There's an integrated fit adjuster and it's hand washable – just spot clean with soap and water.

Go Travel Hybrid Memory Foam Pillow 19.99 John Lewis  Made from Cotton elastane polyester PVC viscose Dimensionsnbsp2.5...

10. Best lightweight travel pillow

Go Travel Hybrid Memory Foam Pillow, £19.99, John Lewis

Made from: Cotton, elastane, polyester, PVC, viscose Dimensions:  2.5 x 32 x 30.5cm Why we love it: Go Travel know how to do a seriously comfy travel pillow. The memory foam filling is impossibly plush and soft, while the U-shape will keep your neck and head supported in any sleeping position. The lightweight Go Travel also comes with a pocket-size carry bag for easy transport. Neck pain, be gone.

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow 47.98 Amazon  Made from Polyester polyamide Dimensionsnbsp38 x 29 x 10cm...

11. Best inflatable travel pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow, £47.98, Amazon

Made from: Polyester, polyamide Dimensions:  38 x 29 x 10cm Weight:  93g Why we love it: This inflatable travel pillow is one of the most lightweight options out there. It's easy to inflate in just a couple of breaths, you can adjust the firmness using the fine-tune button, and with rapid deflate, it's very easy to fit back into its travel bag upon landing.

Little Coco Unicorn Travel Pillow 24.99 Etsy  Made from Polyester Dimensionsnbsp29 x 30 x 15cm Weightnbsp170g Why we...

12. Best travel pillow for kids

Little Coco Unicorn Travel Pillow, £24.99, Etsy

Made from: Polyester Dimensions:  29 x 30 x 15cm Weight:  170g Why we love it: An adorable gift for travel lovers, kids heading off on their family holiday, or just to add something cute to your airport attire, this plush neck cushion comes in a unicorn or dinosaur-shaped carrying case, and come packaged in a pretty gift box. Each pillow is hand steamed to ensure the perfect shape, fluffiness and cleanliness. Our inner child would have a seriously hard time giving this gift away.

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boots travel neck support

Moscow parks – leisure, nature and historical

Moscow is the most green megapolis in the world. There are over a hundred parks and green spaces like gardens, squares and boulevards. You will definitely bump into a few of them wherever you go. Whether you are interested in memorial, historic parks, parks of wildlife or you just want to have a calm break from the speedy city life – city parks have something special for everyone.

Moscow leisure parks

The leisure Moscow parks are undoubtedly the most popular and famous with the locals and travelers. Today such parks provide a great number of exciting entertainments for Muscovites and city guests, adults and children.

The Gorky Park

The Gorky Park

Gorky Park opened in 1928 and was the first holiday park in the Soviet Union with playgrounds, a sports stadium, exhibition halls and attractions for kids. Today it has a fresh, vibrant appearance. The park features bike rental stations, a comfortable business area with Wi-Fi, an outdoor movie theatre and a greenhouse where you can buy fresh greens such as basil and lettuce. To contemplate the sky and the stars, go to the observatory and look through the telescope while listening to fascinating stories from astronomers. Enjoy many sports in the park: volleyball, handball, football or a peaceful jog around the beautiful surroundings.

Zaryadye Park

Zaryadye Park

Opened in September 2017, Zaryadye is the youngest on our list. Located just a few minutes away from Red Square, it includes various activities like the floating bridge with its thin V-form extension, an ice cave, also concert hall and an amphitheater. The entire territory of the park was divided into four zones of Russia: forest, steppe, tundra, and the floodplains.

Neskuchny Sad

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By walking along the Moskva River’s bank from the Gorky Park towards Vorobievy Gory (Sparrow Hills) you’ll reach Neskuchny Sad («Not Boring» garden), a wonderful place in the Moscow center, one of Moscow’s oldest parks, charming slice of wildlife. The park mostly consists of pristine forest, dotted with old summer pavilions, ponds and quaint little stone bridges. There are a lot of opportunities for different activities lots of children playground, a ping-pong and chess clubs, football fields and tennis courts, horse riding, tree climbing and having rest in one of the nice cafes.

Museon Park

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Hermitage Garden

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Hermitage Garden has always been known as an amusement, entertainment center with theatres, shows, cafes, summer pavilions, pergolas since 1830. Shalyapin, Sobinov, Nezhdanova – great Russian opera singers starred on the garden stage. Famous Russian composer Rakhmaninov conducted the orchestra. Sara Bernar, Maria Yermolova, outstanding actresses, played in the open air performances. Tolstoy and Lenin had a stroll in the garden. So lots of celebrities from different epoques liked it a lot and spent their time in Hermitage Garden. You can find here three theatres in the garden: Hermitage, Sphere and New Opera. During winter an ice rink works here and in summer a musical stage is assembled to host jazz and brass band festivals.

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In Sokolniki Park visitors can play billiard, chess or draughts, table tennis, as well as go cycling, roller blading and swimming in the summer and ice skating or skiing in winter. Each season is highlighted by special memorable and bright events, for example, Summer Jazz Festival or Baby Fest (for future mums), open air beach disco parties, Ice Cream Day, International Clown Festival and many other shows and exhibitions. The park has an observatory, kids center and a co-working zone with free Wi-Fi which is really nice for spending high quality work time there.

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Moscow nature parks

The nature parks are national reserves with the amazing forestry and incredible variety of animals and plants there. The breath of wildlife and the chance to be closer to the virgin nature excites both children and grownups. Hundreds of different species of animals can be found in Moscow nature parks. The richest woodlands with old and even ancient trees, like a 200 years pine-tree in the Elk Island National Nature Park, are the point of passionate interest for visitors.

Aptekarsky Ogorod

Aptekarsky Ogorod (Apothecary Garden)

Aptekarsky Ogorod (Apothecary Garden)

Aptekarsky Ogorod (Apothecary Garden) is one of the oldest gardens in Moscow. It was founded in the XVIII century by Peter the First (great Russian emperor). A larch that he planted himself still grows in the garden, so it’s more than 250 years old. At the time of its foundation, it was a garden with herbs and medicinal plants and was used as an educational center for doctors. Today there are the orangery with its tropical palms, the carp pond, and the immense trees that dot the landscape and turn wonderful golden shades in the autumn. Several restaurants and cafes work here making it a very nice spot for relaxation no matter what season it is. You can book a special tour or join the guided excursion group.

Losiny Ostrov

Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island Park)

Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island Park)

Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island Park) is located at the north of Moscow. It covers 22 km from the west to the east and 10 km from the north to the south and it’s one of the most beautiful national parks in Moscow. Two rivers, Yausa and Pechorka begin here. You can find lots of fields, ponds, meadows, streams in the park as well as elks. Here you can enjoy guided tours, available in English. You can choose a guided tour about flora and fauna of the area, you’ll learn why elks are there, which animals are their neighbors. Or enjoy another excursion, which is totally devoted to historical past of ancient tribes once lived there, you’ll know about old Russian mythology, rituals and traditions.

Serebyany Bor

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Serebyany Bor (Silver Forest)

Serebyany Bor (Silver Forest) is a famous pine forest in the west of Moscow. The park has 230 forms of plant life, and is also home to watersports complex, providing a lot of activities for visitors. The layout of Serebryany Bor is unusual, as it is located on an artificial island between a meander in the Moscow River and a channel. There is an artificial lake, the Deep Gulf and picturesque Bezdonnoe (Bottomless) Lake in the depths of the forest. Serebryany Bor’s beaches are the cleanest in the city and very popular among Muscovites. On weekends it is difficult to find a free spot here, especially because a whole range of services are offered to visitors, from simple deckchairs to catamaran and yacht rides. Driving is prohibited on the territory of the island so be ready to use trolleybus to reach the entrance.

Botanichesky Sad

Greenhouse of Botanical Garden

Greenhouse of Botanical Garden

Main Botanical Garden of The Russian Academy of Sciences is the largest and most famous is Moscow. The garden is a real museum of nature with a very rich (more than 18000 types) collection of plants. The park was founded in 1945 at the place of the 17th century Apothecaries’ Gardens. The garden’s collection is turned into botanical expositions, made with use of modern receptions of landscape architecture. Here you can see a tree nursery, a shadow garden, hothouse complex, collection of flowers, a rosary, exposition of coastal plants, garden of continuous blossoming, Japanese garden and expositions of cultural plants and natural flora plants. The biggest part of Garden is the Tree nursery occupying the space of 75 hectares. About 2 thousand wood plants grow here. Another big exposition of the Garden is nature Flora, divided into six botanic-geographical collections: European part of Russia, Caucuses, Central Asia, Siberia and Far East. Pride of the Main Botanical Garden is the collection of tropical, coastal and water plants, which is considered as the best in Europe. The Japanese garden, a great model of Japanese landscape gardening art has a 13-level stone pagoda of the 18th century, stone Japanese lamps, ponds, falls and streams, tea lodges and more than 100 species of the most character Japan plants. It is especially decorative in spring, during Oriental cherry blossoming and in fall, when foliage blazes in crimson colors.

Moscow historic parks

Historic nature parks and estates once were the mansions of the Moscow aristocracy. At that far times the estates were outside the Moscow city limits, but after the city expansion and urbanization, they became easily accessible.

Kolomenskoye

Kolomenskoe

Kolomenskoye Museum and Park

The chief attraction of the park is undoubtedly the stone Church of the Ascension of the Lord. It was constructed in 1532 by order of Tsar Vasily III to commemorate the birth of his son and heir, Ivan the Terrible. But there is a lot more to see in the park: the pretty Church of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan – with its bright azure domes and plenty of gold. Further into the park there is a charming Church of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, built by Ivan the Terrible to mark his coronation.

Kuskovo

Kuskovo Park

Kuskovo Park is one of the oldest country estates in Moscow. It was given to General Sheremetev by Peter the Great in 1715, but was left to fall into neglect before being plundered by Napoleon’s troops in 1812. Nowadays the estate has been restored to its former glory and is a good example of Russian 18th Century imperial architecture. The palace is a fine and rare example of wooden neoclassicism. It was completed in 1775, and the rich interiors remain unchanged since 1779. It includes a room hung with exclusive exquisite Flemish tapestries, an abundance of silk wallpaper and an impressive collection of 18th century European and Russian paintings. The palace looks onto the lake, which is surrounded by smaller pavilions: pretty Italian, Dutch and Swiss Cottages, Blank’s Hermitage and the old Orangery, where the State Ceramics Museum is located now, an extensive and absorbing collection of porcelain from the 18th century to the present day. On the other side of the lake is a large wood popular with local cyclists and joggers.

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My City on a Plate | Vladimir Mukhin on Moscow, Rye Bread, and Russian Stereotypes

The man behind moscow's best restaurant shows us the city through his eyes.

In this series, we speak to some of the most talented, bold, and creative chefs on the planet about the cities they hold closest, and the sounds, smells, and flavours that characterise them.

This week, we speak to Vladimir Mukhin, chef-proprietor of White Rabbit (pictured above) – arguably Moscow’s best restaurant , and this year’s no. 15 in the prestigious World’s 50 Best list. A fifth-generation chef, Mukhin is both a fearless reinventor, and tireless protector, of Russian cuisine, travelling the length and breadth of the world’s largest nation to discover old methods, dishes and ingredients. As such, his cooking stands alone on the global stage for its wit, originality, and sense of heritage and preservation.

Born in the Caucasus, but now settled in Moscow , Mukhin is a chef entirely comfortable with leading the vanguard of his national cuisine. With us, he spoke of his love of Russian stereotypes, pickle brine, honey cake, and everything that makes Moscow a sprawling, enigmatic, and misunderstood city.

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All Russians are forced to smile at the stereotypes foreigners have about Moscow. People think that there are bears walking around in the streets, or that a typical Russian is a huge man in a fur hat who drinks vodka. Everyone thinks that it is winter in Moscow all the time – tomorrow it’s 30ºC! But that’s not to say that a huge man won’t be strolling around with a bottle of vodka and a bear in tow.

When I’m away from Moscow, I miss the basics – bread, lard, pickled cucumber. However, I never let my melancholy get in the way of invention. I remember one time: I was cooking dinner on the tropical islands of Richard Branson, and I realized that my menu was missing pickles. The difficulty was that in that moment, I was sailing from one island to the other, and the boat did not have enough salt reserves. So I did what I had to do, and salted cucumbers in sea water.

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The dream of any chef is to successfully capture the tastes of his childhood. For me, I was forged by my grandmother’s cooking – I still remember her honey cake so clearly. At the restaurant, we have reinvented her honey cake into something completely different, akin to the cuisine of White Rabbit. But alongside it, we serve my grandmother’s honey cake exactly as I remember it: multilayered, dense, sweet.

Moscow is a city of many scents. In the late summer, it’s the aroma of apples from the neighboring Kolomensky garden; in the market, where my working day often begins, it’s the aroma of seasonal fruits and berries. In the centre of the city, it’s the smell of bread, coffee, and cigarette smoke. I think even the smoke smells like bread – it’s a very Russian smell. The unmistakable scent of wheat with nutty notes, and the sour aroma of rye, just like the dense Borodinsky bread we are so famed for.

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If you’re after a true foodie experience in Moscow, go to Nikolskaya Street. That’s where you’ll find our gastro-market, Volkug Sveta, and a wide range of places to eat – from Hawaiian, to Thai, to Turkish. Volkug Sveta has turned Nikolskaya Street into Moscow’s main tourist area almost single-handedly. Walking through it in the morning is one of my favourite things to do in Moscow ; it recharges my batteries, and puts me in a good mood for the whole day – I would recommend that you do the same.

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My interpretation of Moscow on a plate is my Bread with Birch Bast course. A bast is a soft layer of wood between the bark and the trunk of a tree. Previously, it would be dried in a stove, ground and added to the bread flour, out of poverty and necessity. But I tried it and realized that it’s surprisingly delicious – unusual, but delicious. To me, the course is the taste of Moscow: lush, rosy, with a thin bitterness. Another such course would be our Okroshka, served with cucumber brine and white grapes – it’s a mixed-up, sharp, unique dish, just like Moscow.

Vladimir Mukhin is the head chef of White Rabbit in Moscow. Find out more about what he’s up to on their website .

For more chef’s perspectives on the cities that inspire them, check out the rest of our My City on a Plate series.

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  1. Best Neck Pillow for Traveling

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  2. The Best Neck Pillows for Every Kind of Traveler

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  4. BCOZZY Cuscino da Viaggio con Supporto per il Mento

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  5. Southeast Memory Foam Travel Neck Pillow

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  6. Beste Nackenkissen Mit Kinnstütze

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COMMENTS

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    The best neck pillows for travel can make a big difference when it comes to catching shut-eye on grueling flights—especially when you're flying economy.

  11. 9 Best Travel Pillows 2024

    U-shaped pillows are designed to prevent lateral bending in the neck — "it's that move to sort of pinch the cellphone between [your] shoulder and ear," says Dr. Carla Fischer, the director of...

  12. Boots Travel Pillow

    Inflate in seconds to your personal comfort preference; the horseshoe shape is designed to provide excellent neck support. Important info Made in China Delivery options Click & Collect £1.50 or free if you spend £15 or more from your choice of 2,200 stores. Standard Delivery £3.95 or free when you spend £25 or more. Next Day Delivery

  13. 8 Best Travel Pillows for Long-Haul Flights (2023)

    Best overall travel pillow: Cabeau Evolution S3 travel pillow. Best for neck support: Trtl travel pillow. Best for side sleepers: BCozzy neck pillow. Best budget buy: Dot & Dot Twist memory foam ...

  14. Best travel pillows 2024: tested by our editors

    The best travel pillow to buy in 2023 at a glance. Best overall: Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow. Best for neck support: Trtl travel pillow. Best for side sleepers: BCozzy neck pillow and Travelrest pillow. Best for price: Ecosafeter portable travel pillow. Best lie flat pillow: Mini Snoooze travel pillow.

  15. Best Travel Pillow Supports Neck and Head for Better Sleep

    Cabeau Memory Foam "Evolution Pillow" Best All-Around Travel Pillow . With the Cabeau plane pillow, you can adjust for perfect 360-degree support, whether your head leans left, right, or tends to fall forward.With a flattened rear cushion, it is perfect for all seats, making it the best travel neck pillow for long haul flights.

  16. 15 Best Travel Pillow 2023: Memory Foam, Inflatable, and Neck

    Best travel pillow for support: Ostrich Go Neck Pillow. Ostrich Go Neck Pillow. £55. Amazon. By offering 360-degree support care of a velcro closure that engulfs the front of the neck, Ostrich ...

  17. 12 Best Travel Pillows For Long Haul Flights To Help You Sleep

    1. Best ergonomic travel pillow Trtl Travel Pillow, £54.99, Amazon Made from: Hypoallergenic fleece and foam. Dimensions: 19 x 19 x 9.5cm Weight: 138g Why we love it: You've probably seen the Trtl pillow popping up on your social media feeds, hailed as a gamechanging neck pillow that looks more like a scarf than a pillow. We can attest, it works.

  18. Amazon.com: Travel Neck Support

    1-48 of over 3,000 results for "travel neck support" Results Price and other details may vary based on product size and color. Overall Pick +6 napfun Neck Pillow for Traveling, Upgraded Travel Neck Pillow for Airplane 100% Pure Memory Foam Travel Pillow for Flight Headrest Sleep, Portable Plane Accessories, Light Grey 12,969

  19. Transfer help SVO to Moscow city

    Let me see if the readers of our Travel->Russia forum can help with your question. Please follow the thread as it moves there. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz. Reply. Aug 26, 08, 1:37 pm #3 eheinz . Join Date: Dec 2005. Location: CDG / ORY. Programs: DL DM & 2MM. Posts: 310 I really like the train to get out from Moscow TO SVO-2 at times when ...

  20. Moscow parks

    Losiny Ostrov. Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island Park) Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island Park) is located at the north of Moscow. It covers 22 km from the west to the east and 10 km from the north to the south and it's one of the most beautiful national parks in Moscow. Two rivers, Yausa and Pechorka begin here.

  21. Boots Travel Deluxe Pillow

    Product details 360 support Memory foam gently moulds for comfort Securing closure for customised comfort Includes carry pouch How to use Place Travel Deluxe Pillow around neck and use securing closure to secure for comfort. After use, the pillow can be rolled up and placed into the carry pouch Hazards and Cautions Machine washable cover and pouch

  22. My City on a Plate

    Bread made with Birch bast: "lush, rosy, with a thin bitterness.". Photo: Courtesy of White Rabbit. My interpretation of Moscow on a plate is my Bread with Birch Bast course. A bast is a soft layer of wood between the bark and the trunk of a tree. Previously, it would be dried in a stove, ground and added to the bread flour, out of poverty ...

  23. Burrata is the most popular dish in Moscow this summer

    So why burrata? My theory is simple: in Moscow, it's all about the cream. It's not just the sushi rolls with cream cheese. It's also the mayonnaise and cream cheese salads for New Years, the endless creamy desserts served from Red Square to the suburbs—tiramisu, cheesecake, creme brulee and panna cotta.