The 9 Best Travel Pillows of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

Our top pick is the supportive Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow.

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beat travel pillows neck pillows for the plane
Courtesy of Amazon and eBags

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 had our expert testers evaluate 20 travel pillows based on traits like comfort, durability, portability, and quality. Our testers 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 the Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow. This option impressed us with its unique asymmetrical design that allows passengers to adjust and spin the cushion to support their neck, chin, and head with the different raised sections of the pillow. We also like that the cover is an eco-conscious recycled polyester fabric. In addition to that one, we found the best choices for travelers who like a softer or firmer pillow along with styles that are perfect for middle seats and budget-friendly travelers, too. 

Here are the best travel pillows for any type of sleeper.

Best Overall: Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow

4.8
Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow

Courtesy of Cushion Lab

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: The pillow has an asymmetrical design that allows travelers to adjust the amount of support needed.

What to Consider: 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 our tester’s chin, and they didn’t feel too hot while wearing it. Although the cushion fits snugly around the neck, our tester said it didn’t take long to get used to it, and they could nap comfortably during a train and car ride. The buckled strap was easy to adjust, and our tester 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. 

Price at time of publish: $58

Materials: Polyester, Hyperfoam | Portable case: Yes

Cushion Lab Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow

Travel + Leisure / Alessandra Amodio

Best Overall, Runner-up: Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Pillow

4.8
Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Pillow

Courtesy of Cabeau

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Quality
    4.5/5
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: The memory foam is the perfect balance of firm and soft.

What to Consider: It’s slightly bulky.

According to one tester, the Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Pillow was reminiscent of “those memory foam mattresses you can try out at the mall, except more comfortable.” It is made of plush memory foam and provides complete neck support without feeling too stiff or soft. The tester appreciated the exceptionally responsive memory foam that molds to the shape of your neck and head whether you’re sleeping, reading, or watching a movie. You can adjust the tightness of the pillow around your neck with the toggle strings in the front, and it has raised sides to support the head if it bobbles while sleeping. The foam returns to its original shape and feels sturdy, and the materials appear to last for a long time. Although the pillow doesn’t come with a carrying case, it easily clasps onto a suitcase or backpack and isn’t a nuisance, according to our tester, who usually doesn’t bring a neck pillow since it can be cumbersome to transport.  

Price at time of publish: $30

Materials: Polyester, memory foam | Portable case: No

Cabeau Evolution Classic Travel Pillow

Travel + Leisure / Daniela Galvez

Best Budget: Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow

4.8
Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: It molds to the shape of your neck to prevent bobbing.

What to Consider: 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. Our tester 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, this tester 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 our tester’s neck warm during cold flights and cool during hot flights. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Materials: Polyester, microbeads | Portable case: No

Best Splurge: Ostrich Pillow Go Neck Pillow

5
Ostrich Pillow Go Neck Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: The pillow has an asymmetrical design that can accommodate neck, chin, and head support preferences. 

What to Consider: It might warm your neck if you run hot while sleeping.

The Ostrich Pillow Go Neck Pillow “feels like wrapping a marshmallow around your neck or like sleeping on a cloud,” according to one tester. This travel pillow provided the perfect amount of neck support and comfort, allowing our tester to get more rest on a flight than they usually would. 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 our tester 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, our expert travel product tester said, “I can say that this pillow allowed for me to sleep better and more comfortably on my flights, and I wouldn't travel without it at this point.”

Price at time of publish: $60

Materials: Viscosa, memory foam | Portable case: Yes

Ostrich Pillow Go Neck Pillow

Travel & Leisure / Susan Brickell

Best Cooling: Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow

4.7
Cabeau Evolution Cool Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Quality
    4.5/5
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: The mesh air vents make the pillow breathable. 

What to Consider: 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. Our tester, who runs hot while sleeping, liked the breathability feature and moisture-wicking fabric, and said they 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.” The tester 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. 

Price at time of publish: $60

Materials: Memory foam | Portable case: Yes

Best Sustainable: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

4.8
Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

Courtesy of REI

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: It’s made of recycled and upcycled materials that are comfortable and breathable. 

What to Consider: 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. According to this tester, 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. Our tester also raved about 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. 

Price at time of publish: $30

Materials: Recycled polyester, polyurethane foam fill | Portable case: No

Best for Window Seats: J-Pillow Chin-Supporting Neck Pillow

5
J-Pillow Chin-Supporting Neck Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: It’s easy and intuitive to use for resting your chin and head.

What to Consider: 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. This tester spent several hours using the pillow to prop their head up so they could nap without waking up to pesky neck pains since there wasn’t a window to lean on during a 19-hour road trip. In addition, 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, with our tester noting that “it's very portable and lightweight — anyone would be happy to use this.” 

Price at time of publish: $50

Materials: Polyester, memory foam | Portable case: Yes

J-Pillow Chin-supporting Neck Pillow

Travel & Leisure / Jennifer May

Best Soft: Away The Travel Neck Pillow

4.7
Away The Travel Neck Pillow

Courtesy of Away

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4.8/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Portability
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: The interior foam is cushiony and lightweight. 

What to Consider: It’s not as compact as we would have liked.

Soft but supportive, Away’s The Travel Neck Pillow impressed our tester with a plush foam interior and cozy, antimicrobial fabric cover. Although it’s on the more expensive side, its simple design and durability make it a solid choice. It can be buckled and tightened to be worn as a traditional travel pillow with broad neck support and your desired level of chin support. Alternatively, you can keep the adjustable drawstring toggles undone and use it as a long pillow to lean against a plane or window seat while resting your head. Our tester wished this pillow was slightly more compact, but it still folds nicely into the carrying bag and there’s a clip to attach to a backpack for hands-free traveling, too.

Price at time of publish: $55

Materials: Polyester, elastane | Portable case: Yes

Best Firm: Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow

4.8
Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Durability
    4.5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: It’s supportive without feeling too stiff. 

What to Consider: It 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. Our tester, who used the pillow on a road trip and cross-country flight, said, “I loved how I could lean back in the car and plane, and the back of my neck didn't touch the headrest, which was nice on the plane for taking a nap with my head falling 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 traveling, the carrying case can be unzipped and machine-washed, although we recommend air-drying it to prevent any possibility of shrinkage. 

Price at time of publish: $26

Materials: Velour, polyester, memory foam | Portable case: Yes

Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Travel & Leisure / Anna Popp

Other Travel Pillows We Tested

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

Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Travel Pillow: This is a very supportive neck pillow with a soft cover, but it might be too firm and stiff for some travelers. 

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.

Our Testing Process

We sent out 20 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 pads 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 sprung back into their original form with no signs of damage. 

Tips for Buying a Travel Pillow

Portability is key 

Whether you’re a light- or over-packer, 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. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I wash a travel pillow?

    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.

  • What are the different types of travel pillows?

    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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