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Travel pillows have become an important aspect of a comfortable trip. Whether you’re taking a flight or simply hitting the road, you’ll find them handy for catching some sleep in otherwise awkward positions.

But with so many travel pillows on the market, finding the perfect one for you can be cumbersome. Because not all travel pillows are created equally – there are many different designs created to suit the needs of different travelers, and they come in many different shapes, sizes, weights, and filling.

With so many things to consider when choosing a travel pillow, we’ve put together five tips to help you find the best one for you.

5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Travel Pillow

Choose the Type of Travel Pillow You Want

When choosing a travel pillow, it’s important to figure out which type you want. There are three main types of travel pillow, as follows:

Inflatable travel pillows are usually u-shaped. Inflate them to a desired firmness or deflate and fold them to a small, compact and lightweight size for light packing when going for long road trips or flights. Inflatable pillows offer convenience and support budget travelers.

Microbead travel pillows are filled with tiny polystyrene beads, are u-shaped and lightweight. The pillows change shape to provide comfort and neck support, though they generally provide the least amount of comfort and aren’t ideal for light packers because they’re the least portable.

Memory foam travel pillows are the firmest on the market, and offer the most consistent support for the neck. They can be compressed and clipped for compact packing, and are generally recommended as the most comfortable travel pillow as they mould to your neck’s shape. Although the most expensive, memory foam is one of the best travel pillows for frequent flyers.

You’ll also find neck braces in the form of wrap-around scarves and designs for travelers who tend to lean forward while sleeping.

Neck Support

How do you sleep while traveling? Do you lean forward or backwards while sleeping? Have you ever woken up on a car ride or flight and found your neck was aching?

One of the most important considerations when choosing a travel pillow should be neck support. An inflatable pillow or memory foam is ideal for neck support. If you tend to lean forward while sleeping during your travels, neck braces can provide the kind of support you need.

Consider how you usually sleep, and the type of pillow which will offer the best neck support for your most common neck positions.

One of the most important considerations when choosing a travel pillow should be neck support.Click To Tweet


Travelers have a tendency to overlook fabric when choosing a neck pillow, but this is an important factor for ensuring your comfort. Many people find that plastic inflatable pillows irritate their skin, so it’s important to choose a fabric that is comfortable even in hot weather.

Consider whether your travels often take you into hot or cold climates. Cotton and smooth plastic are ideal for hot climates while fleece is perfect for cold climates or flights.

If you’re going for winter adventures or traveling in a chilly flight, you won’t go wrong with travel pillows made from fleece.

Size & Weight

Travel pillows range in size and weight, so it’s important to chose one which fits with your travel style.

Opt for small, lightweight pillows if you want to travel light. Memory foam and inflatable pillows are also ideal for light travel as you can size them down.

However, microbead pillows can be bulky, so it’s important to make sure there is enough space in your carryon if you decide to go this route. Most travel pillows are made light anyway, but it’s still an important consideration.


It’s also important to find a durable travel pillow, especially if you’re a frequent traveler. This ensures that you don’t have to buy a new pillow each time you travel.

There are many different cost points on the market, so it’s important to decide what you’re willing to pay, with durability and value for money in mind. If you do travel frequently, it may be a better investment to spend more on one you won’t have to constantly replace.

Finding a pillow with a washable zip cover is a great idea in this sense, and obviously, make sure you read reviews of various pillows online before opting for one.

Pro Tip: Now that you’ve found the best travel pillow, time to find the cheapest flights! Sign up for free emails from Cheap Fly Club for the cheapest possible flights this summer. is for anyone who wants free notifications on stupidly cheap flights.


Velvet Inflatable Travel Neck Pillow

Travelmate Memory Foam Neck Pillow

J-pillow Travel Pillow: Head, Chin & Neck Support


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. I finally found one that works Meg! A memory travel pillow did the trick, finding my neck and head contours, doing a smash up job.

    All prior pillows made me feel stiff after a long flight, literally pulling my shoulders and neck into my head it seemed. Not good. Memory is the way to go for me. Fab experience using it short term during recent trips. I am just so shocked it works because I usually hate using pillows.


    • Awesome Ryan! I’ve also found memory foam to be the best. Like you, I have tried a lot of inflatable, cheap pillows in the past but nothing’s been great, then we discovered the Tempur travel pillow and it’s been incredible. Can actually sleep!

      Awesome to hear that memory foam has been a success 🙂

  2. I have a blowup pillow with a nice velour coating that doesn’t irritate. I cannot understand people who seem to pride themselves on packing light and then who cart a huge pillow through the airport because of one long flight.
    Alternatively, I roll my pashmina and wrap it around my neck. Usually I’m so cold on planes that the pashmina is wrapped around me.
    The point of the pillows is mostly to keep your head from lolling over so far that it wakes you up (or you slide onto your seatmate).

    • Haha I know, I see a lot of people in airport carrying their carry-on in one hand, and their pillow in the other. I’ve got the Tempur travel pillow, and while it’s larger than others on the market, it still fits inside my backpack.

      Rolling up a pashmina is a great idea, I get pretty cold on flights too. Love that this has a dual purpose 🙂

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