The 15 Best Travel Pillows for Every Type of Seat Sleeper
Full disclosure: I am gifted with the ability to fall asleep anywhere. At any time, with any light or noise conditions, and in any imaginable variety of train, plane, or car seat, I can fold my body into some semblance of comfort and be totally out for the count within minutes.
I don't say this to brag; there are downsides. For one, my friends have lovingly captured multiple photos of me fast asleep in the passenger's seat, drooling onto the seat belt that's somehow strapped across my face. And while this hurts my pride, it's the least of my worries when it comes to pain. Because although falling asleep is no problem, waking up at the end of the trip with a stiff neck, numb-ish lower back, or a delightful headache almost certainly will be.
Enter: the wonderful world of travel pillows. There are endless products out there to provide the plushy reinforcements you need to sleep better while traveling and feel better once you've reached your destination. My go to? The Trtl Pillow Plus — it's compact, it's versatile, and it helps you log those precious Zs wherever you're headed.
If you need more options for your on-the-go comfort, I've rounded up a few of other favorites from T+L editors, from discreet neck pillows that could pass for scarves to inflatable sleep support devices that require superhuman levels of self-esteem, but are so, so worth it.
These are the best travel pillows to buy:
- Best Overall: Trtl Pillow Plus at Trtl Travel
- Best Overall, Runner-up: Trtl Pillow at Amazon
- Best for the Can't-get-comfortable Traveler: Huzi Design Infinity Pillow at Amazon
- Best for Saving Space: AirComfy Ease Pillow at Amazon
- Best for Shameless Shut-eye: Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow at Amazon
- Best for Serious Do-not-disturb Signals: Mlvoc Travel Neck Pillow Set at Amazon
- Best No-frills Packable Pillow: Teton Travel Pillow at Amazon
- Best for the Bobblehead Sleeper: GoSleep Eye Mask and Memory Foam Pillow Travel Kit at Amazon
- Best for Travelers Who Get Too Hot: Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow at Amazon
- Best for Sensitive Sleepers: Ostrich Pillow Light Versatile at Ostrich Pillow
- Best for Kids: BCozzy Kids Chin-supporting Travel Pillow at Amazon
- Best for the Window Seat: J Pillow at Amazon
- Best for Travelers Who Get Too Cold: Vera Bradley Convertible Travel Blanket at Amazon
- Best for Forward Folders: Cloudz EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper at Amazon
- Best for Neck Support: Ostrich Pillow Go at Amazon
Best for Overall: Trtl Pillow Plus
Why We Love It: It has a cushioned foam section that you can adjust to be anywhere around your neck, whether you like to fall asleep forward or to the side.
What to Consider: Some travelers don't love the neck wrap style of pillow. If that's you, keep reading for other styles.
Any gripes that users of the original Trtl Pillow may have had (our runner-up option) — the fleece wrap can get a bit warm; the support angle isn't quite right for every neck — are left on the tarmac with the launch of the Trtl Plus. The new version has adjustable neck support which allows for Goldilocks-style comfort and the fabric wrap is vented with a breathable mesh. It also comes with a carrying case to keep it clean and separate from your other belongings (aka your shoes or dirty laundry post-trip). The price point is higher, but we firmly believe good sleep is priceless.
Weight: 0.5 pounds | Care: Machine washable
To buy: trtltravel.com, $70
Best Overall, Runner-up: Trtl Pillow
Why We Love It: It's sturdy, but not stiff, and the fleece lining and extra cushioning enhance the comfort.
What to Consider: It can take some adjusting to get it in the ideal position.
If you've found that U-shaped neck pillows don't provide the support you need to doze off, the scarf-like, fleece Trtl Pillow — pronounced "turtle" — will be your sleep savior. It packs a strengthened inner rib that contours to any neck, jaw, or shoulder shape. It's half the size of a traditional neck pillow, and in the unfortunate case of deep-sleep drool, it's machine-washable.
Weight: 0.5 pounds | Care: Machine washable
Best for the Can’t-get-comfortable Traveler: Huzi Design Infinity Pillow
Why We Love It: It can be transformed and configured in multiple ways to accommodate any preferred sleeping position.
What to Consider: Although it's lightweight, it's a little bulky to pack.
Weight: 1.04 pounds | Care: Mashine washable
Best for Saving Space: AirComfy Ease Pillow
Why We Love It: It inflates and deflates easily, so you're comfortable in just a minute or two.
What to Consider: It comes with a strap that you can secure to a headrest, which we like, but is impractical for flights as it would sit overtop the TV of the person behind you. That feature is best for road trips.
The AirComfy Ease is the only pillow that got a perfect score when our editors reviewed 17 travel pillows. It's designed to provide either lumbar support or neck support, with an elastic band to secure it to your headrest. Just inflate it to the firmness you prefer for use and pack it flat or back into its pouch when you've reached your destination.
Weight: 6.2 ounces | Care: Machine washable
To buy: amazon.com, $20
Best for Shameless Shut-eye: Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow
Why We Love It: It rolls into a very compact shape that secures with a snap button — perfect for packing.
What to Consider: It's most comfortable if you're a side sleeper. If your head lolls forward, this likely isn't the best pick for you.
What the Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in comfort. When inflated, it's shaped like a long apostrophe that tucks right above your shoulder and across your body or down your side, with a strap that can sling around your body like a guitar to keep it stable. Upon arrival, it easily deflates into a small roll designed to snap right onto your carry-on's handle.
Weight: 5.6 ounces | Care: Not specified
To buy: amazon.com, $29
Best for Serious Do-not-disturb Signals: Mlvoc Travel Neck Pillow Set
Why We Love It: The memory form is comfortable, plus it comes with a sleep kit of earplugs and an eye mask.
What to Consider: The grooves in the shape somewhat force your head to fall into those dips — meaning it doesn't allow for a variety of positions.
The Mlvoc Travel Neck Pillow was made for the light sleeper. Travelers love that the memory foam molds to the contours of their neck and has a sweat-resistant cover, and also that the pillow is flat at the back, so it lays comfortably against their seat. What's more, the pillow compactly folds up into a convenient carry case, and it comes in a set with a molded sleep mask and a pair of foam earplugs.
Weight: 0.6 pounds | Care: Machine washable
To buy: amazon.com, $22
Best No-frills Packable Pillow: Teton Travel Pillow
Why We Love It: Because it's basically just a regular pillow but smaller, this can be used for any trip, such as flying, camping, road trips, and more.
What to Consider: Again, it's a simple pillow, so it doesn't have any special features to support your neck, keep you upright on a plane, etc. It's best used when you can lie down, even a little.
If you want something that you can also use while camping or while sleeping in a non-upright position on your trip, this poly fiber-filled pillow might be just what you're looking for. Shoppers say the Teton Travel Pillow gives you just enough window-seat support, and its poly-flannel cover is incredibly soft against your skin. It's also machine-washable, making it super easy to clean.
Weight: 0.8 pounds | Care: Machine washable
To buy: amazon.com, $16
Best for the Bobblehead Sleeper: GoSleep Eye Mask and Memory Foam Pillow Travel Kit
Why We Love It: While both products are great, you could also use the eye mask on its own to keep you upright if you don't want all the padding of the pillow.
What to Consider: Attaching it to the headrest might be more difficult on some planes than others, depending on the size and adjustability of the headrest.
If you're literally nodding as you attempt to nod off, the GoSleep Pillow Travel Kit will ensure your head stays cradled securely in place. The eye mask attaches to the back of your headrest with an adjustable elastic cord, but keep in mind this feature may only be useful when there's not a screen on your seat back.
Weight: 10.4 ounces | Care: Not listed
Best for Travelers Who Get Too Hot: Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow
Why We Love It: It's slimmer than the average neck pillow, making it easy to pack.
What to Consider: It may feel more like a neck brace than a pillow to some travelers.
If you overheat just thinking about a thick, fluffy pillow wrapped around your neck, the Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow is for you. The sporty design pairs memory foam with cooling air circulation vents and sweat-wicking fabric for when the tiny air conditioning vent above you is in "does this even work?" mode.
Weight: 12.7 ounces | Care: Outer shell is machine washable, memory foam may be spot cleaned
To buy: amazon.com, $40 (originally $43)
Best for Sensitive Sleepers: Ostrich Pillow Light
Why We Love It: It's worn around the head rather than the neck, so you're less likely to overheat when using it.
What to Consider: It doesn't offer neck support.
If bright lights and rowdy neighbors are just as annoying as fumbling around with an eye mask and earplugs, you'll love the Ostrich Pillow Light (and you can see our editors try it out here). This adjustable ringed pillow is filled with silicon-covered microbeads for sound reduction, setting you up for a sleep so deep, you won't even need these brilliant ways to cure jet lag.
Weight: 10.2 ounces | Care: Spot cleaning only
To buy: ostrichpillow.com, $45
Best for Kids: BCozzy Kids Chin-supporting Travel Pillow
Why We Love It: Because it's adjustable, it provides the perfect fit for kids who have trouble getting comfortable.
What to Consider: It's pretty small, so it may not work for older kids.
The super-snug BCozzy pillow provides a just-right amount of support for tiny travelers on long plane, train, and car rides. It wraps beneath the chin, stabilizing the neck, and the brand makes some more fun styles like leopard print, too. P.S. The adult version is also excellent, especially if you're wearing a pair of over-the-ear headphones. I also love that the back is slim enough that it doesn't push your head outward and away from the headrest.
Weight: 4.2 ounces | Care: Machine washable
To buy: amazon.com, $26 (Originally $45)
Best for the Window Seat: J Pillow
Why We Love It: Unlike many travel pillows, it offers chin support.
What to Consider: It's made with stuffing rather than memory foam, so it may "deflate" with use.
Even though it slightly resembles a whale tail, you'll be far more restful than Captain Ahab with this J-shaped travel pillow. It's specifically designed to cradle your head, neck, and chin, and we think it works best when you can rest it against the wall of the plane.
Weight: 7.5 ounces | Care: Machine washable
To buy: amazon.com, $29 (originally $40)
Best for Travelers Who Get Too Cold: Vera Bradley Convertible Travel Blanket
Why We Love It: It's both a plush pillow and a cozy blanket it one.
What to Consider: Folding and unfolding it while in transit can be bothersome to both you and those around you.
The fleecy Vera Bradley Travel Blanket is lightweight to pack but plenty big enough (40" x 60") to keep you warm in a chilly airplane cabin. It folds into a pillow with a built-in trolley sleeve that easily slides over the handle of your suitcase.
Weight: 12.5 ounces | Care: Machine washable
Best for Forward Folders: Cloudz EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper
Why We Love It: It's one of the only travel pillows that supports the whole upper body, as opposed to just the neck.
What to Consider: It's large and a bit silly looking.
PSA: Do not put your face anywhere near your tray table. A 2011 study confirmed they're almost 10 times more germ-covered than the airplane bathrooms. Though, if downward-facing drool is your preferred sleeping position, check out the EZ-Inflate Cloud Sleeper by Cloudz, the maker of the OG microbead neck pillow. If you've got the space to pack it, this frontal pillow truly is easy to inflate — just three or four breaths will bring the face-hugging feel of a massage chair to your tray table or lap.
Weight: 15.7 ounces | Care: Headrest cover is machine washable, inflatable body may be spot cleaned
To buy: amazon.com, $17 (originally $20)
Best for Neck Support: Ostrich Pillow Go
Why We Love It: It uses extra-firm memory foam, which adds more comfort, support, and durability than the average neck pillow.
What to Consider: It's bulky.
The Ostrich Pillow Go is a popular option on Amazon because it offers ample neck support. The ergonomically designed pillow boasts a customizable fit and two different heights, so you can easily find a comfortable sleeping position. The pillow's cover is ultra-soft against the skin and is removable and machine-washable. What's more, the travel accessory can compress by 60 percent to fit inside its corresponding travel bag, making it super easy to pack.
Weight: 14.8 ounces | Care: Removable sleeve is machine washable, memory foam may be spot cleaned
To buy: amazon.com, $60
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you wear a travel pillow?
It depends on the type of pillow you're using. While many simply sit around your neck with the opening in the front, others are made to be worn differently. Wrap pillows, like the options from Trtl, are swaddled around the neck like scarves and fastened with velcro, while circular pillows, like the Ostrich Pillow Light, can be pulled down over your head.
Does a travel pillow count as a personal item?
Sometimes, but not usually. If you enter the TSA line or the plane carrying your neck pillow in hand, some airlines may count it as a personal item. However, if you board the plane wearing it around your neck, or if you keep it tucked into your carry-on until you're seated, it most likely will not count as a personal item.
Can you wash a travel pillow?
Some travel pillows are machine washable while others are not. You can usually find out what type of care your pillow needs by checking its tag. If the pillow is machine washable, you'll want to use warm water and your washer's delicate cycle. If the pillow is not machine washable, make sure to spot clean by hand or have it dry cleaned by a professional.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
For this article, author Richelle Szypulski compiled the top picks of travel pillows from editors at T+L, who have logged thousands of miles — for business and pleasure — on the go from planes to trains to road trips. She made sure to include an option for every type of seat sleeper to make sure you're comfortable no matter where you're headed.
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