They sure are weird-looking.

By Danica Lo /
November 10, 2016
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Embarrassing Travel Pillows
Credit: © Studio Banana

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It's the holy grail of long haul travel: A good sleep in on a red-eye flight or a long drive while sitting up straight. Over the years, we've seen countless inventions—both high and low-tech—that claim they help travelers get the rest they need. Efficacy aside, most of these sleep aids tend to be pretty weird looking—begging the question: How stupid are you willing to look in public in order to catch a few hours of sleep on a red-eye? Would you wear any of these kooky-looking contraptions?

Embarrassing Travel Pillows
Credit: © The NodPod

The NodPod—which has been all over the internet recently—was invented by Paula Blankenship of Heirloom Traditions Paint in Kentucky. A hammock for your head, the NodPod is made with soft memory foam and is currently in Kickstarter mode, where it's already raised more than $235,000.

Remember the SkyRest Travel Pillow from SkyMall catalogs? Well, the in-flight catalog may not exist anymore, but you can still score a blow-up sleep wedge for $15 on Amazon. The product description explains that the pillow comes with a "large, removable inflation valve makes inflation and deflation a snap," but since we've never actually seen anyone use a giant inflatable wedge on a plane, we have no further insight as to whether the valve inflates automatically, or whether you'll have to huff and puff it to life before zonking out for a nap.

At some point in 2013, soft sleeping contraptions became all the rage, and a company called Studio Banana created an entire collection of sleep aids that were both widely mocked in media and wildly popular on crowdfunding platforms. Remember the OstrichPillow, that sleeping bag for your head that served as a pillow and also blocked out sound and light? It's now available for $99 in a choice of three colors (blue, gray, or orange). There's also a headband version (which looks only every-so-slightly less stupid).

Embarrassing Travel Pillows
Credit: © Studio Banana

Something a bit more subtle that serves the dual purpose of making a cross-body seat belt less uncomfortable by turning it into a cushy pillow, there's this well-reviewed TravelRest Inflatable Travel Pillow, $30, which will probably only work in cars, not on planes.

The JetComfy travel pillow is definitely not as wild and wacky as some of the other items on this list, but it's definitely, uh, odd. The soft brick looks something like a blackboard eraser and features a two-inch memory foam pillow along with (now this is where it gets kooky) a built-in 3,000mAh power pack for charging your electronic devices, a pen, stylus, light, and pointer, and an attached luggage or armrest strap.

Embarrassing Travel Pillows
Credit: ©

How far would you go—and how much would you pay—for a good night's sleep on a plane or on the road?