The 13 Best Travel Pillows of 2021

These top picks will make it feel like you're sleeping on a cloud

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Trtl Travel Pillow at Amazon

"It’s machine washable, looks like a scarf while you’re wearing it, and weighs less than a pound."

Best Wrap Design: Infinity Travel Infinity Pillow – Travel Pillow at infinitypillow.co

"If supporting any specific area of your head isn’t a focus for you, the versatility of this wrap design is fantastic."

Best Memory Foam: Cabeau Evolution Cool Neck Pillow at Amazon

"This pick is designed with mesh vents to help distribute heat and has a great shape for supporting all types of head-bobbers."

Best Neck Support: Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Airplane Travel Pillow Kit at Amazon

"You can control how tightly the pillow nestles up against your neck and how much support you’re getting."

Best for the Car: Dot&Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow at Amazon

"You can mold this pillow into any shape around car seats, chairs, armrests, and more."

Best for Airplanes: Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow at Amazon

"The soft, velour cover on this classic, doughnut-shaped travel pillow is a luxury you didn’t know you needed."

Best for Lower Back: Trekology Inflatable Pillow at Amazon

"The best part of this pillow is how packable it is."

Best for Camping: Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow at Amazon

"This durable pillow packs down into a bag smaller than a water bottle."

Best Budget: AirComfy Daydreamer Push-Button Inflatable Pillow at Amazon

"This affordable pick has a built-in air pump, so all you have to do is give it a couple of pushes, and it will inflate in no time."

Best Splurge: Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow at Amazon

"This wrap cushion connects with a bit of Velcro, making it easy to adjust for all body sizes."

Find the perfect neck pillow, and you'll never step off an airplane feeling utterly sleepless again. But the task is much harder than it sounds since it depends so much on your personal sleeping habits. As you can imagine, designing a one-size-fits-all travel pillow is pretty out of the question. Don’t let this discourage you! There are a few things you can do before facing the overwhelming options when it comes to buying a travel pillow.

First, consider how you sleep in your own bed. Are you a side sleeper? Do you need extra support around your neck or the back of your head? Do you get sweaty even under the lightest of blankets? There are travel pillows out there targeted toward each of these sleeping situations—you just have to know what you’re looking for. Below, we broke down the best travel pillows on the market for side sleepers, memory foam fans, campers, and more.

Read on for the best travel pillows.

Best Overall: Trtl Travel Pillow

4.8
What We Like
  • Machine washable

  • Lightweight

  • Supportive

What We Don't Like
  • Can be hard to put on

Walk through an airport terminal, and you’ll not only see this travel pillow supporting sleeping heads, but you may even hear the whispers of real-time recommendations filling the air. The Trtl Travel Pillow looks nothing like a pillow with its sleek, almost tablet-sized design, which is part of the appeal. “As someone who always falls asleep on planes, even the shortest of flights, I have tried a lot of travel pillows,” says frequent traveler Katie Henwood. “The Trtl is by far the best I’ve owned—[the inner structure] keeps my neck propped upright, so I don’t end up snoozing on my seatmate’s shoulder, and it has a slim profile, so I can easily pack it when I embark on my trip (without a stiff neck!).”

It does take some getting used to as it’s not a “slip-on-and-go” pillow-like the more common design that sits around your neck. But once you’re all wrapped into this travel pillow, your neck will thank you. Other perks: It’s machine washable and weighs less than a pound.

Best Wrap Design: Infinity Travel Infinity Pillow – Travel Pillow

Infinity Pillow

Courtesy of Infinity Pillow

What We Like
  • Soft

  • Versatile

What We Don't Like
  • A bit bulky

This neck pillow could be described as a scarf made of pillows, and it’s just as comfortable as it sounds. The beauty of this pillow is that it fits so many situations. The wrap design allows you to wear it as a scarf to catch some sleep on an airplane, fold it into a lumbar support pillow, or bunch it together to use as a wedge between you and the car window. If supporting any specific area of your head isn’t a focus for you, the versatility with this design is fantastic.

Best Memory Foam: Cabeau Evolution Cool Neck Pillow

What We Like
  • Keeps you cool

  • Lightweight

  • Comes in various colors

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Memory foam is a great material for hot sleepers—not only does it help release heat and keep you cool, but it also forms to the natural shape of your body. The result is a lot of support without feeling weighed down, claustrophobic, or sweaty. This travel pillow from Cabeau is designed with mesh vents to help distribute heat and has a great shape for supporting all types of head bobbers.

Best Neck Support: Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Airplane Travel Pillow Kit

What We Like
  • Adjustable support

  • Includes earplugs and eye mask

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • A bit bulky

Sometimes the most classic designs provide the best results. This neck pillow sits on top of the shoulders, but it’s the adjustable toggle that makes all the difference: You can control how tightly the pillow nestles up against your neck and how much support you’re getting. Made of memory foam and packaged with earplugs and an eye mask, it’s a complete kit for sleeping literally anywhere. It comes in five different colors, including royal blue and wine red.

Best for the Car: Dot¨ Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Machine washable

What We Don't Like
  • May feel hard spine inside it

There isn’t a shape you can’t mold this travel pillow into—and that’s the best part. “I love this pillow because you can bend it into whatever shape you need: neck pillow, lumbar support, or just a cushion against a hard armrest,” says frequent traveler Brea DeCamp. “I even use it at home if I need extra support during a good TV binge.” The memory foam pillow is covered with a machine-washable cotton pillowcase, and it has a snap closure that makes it easy to attach to a suitcase or carry-on.

Best for Airplanes: Aeris Memory Foam Travel Pillow

3
What We Like
  • Adjustable support

  • Includes earplugs and eye mask

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Single sleeping position

The soft, velour cover on this classic, doughnut-shaped travel pillow is a luxury you didn’t know you needed. An adjustable cord allows you to increase or decrease the amount of neck support you’re getting, and you can wear the pillow with the opening at the back of your neck—great for those whose chins tend to droop when snoozing. Plus, the pillow comes with a travel kit that includes an eye mask, earplugs, and a travel bag that your cushion can pack down into.

Best for Lower Back: Trekology Inflatable Pillow

What We Like
  • Soft

  • Packs down well

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as other options

Travel pillows don’t have to be worn strictly around your neck, like this inflatable pillow from Trekology. It's designed with a soft, quilted cover, making it just as comfortable to lean your face into. The best part is how packable it is: When inflated, it measures 19.5 x 12 x 3.5 inches, though it folds down to 7 x 3 inches.

Best for Camping: Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Soft

  • Packs down well

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

This lightweight, inflatable pillow from the camping gear brand Sea to Summit is designed with a contoured TPU air bladder, giving back and side sleepers a comfortable night's sleep. Reviewers note that the 50D polyester knit exterior is soft and keeps the pillow from crinkling in the night. Plus, it packs down into a bag smaller than a water bottle.

Best Budget: AirComfy Daydreamer Push-Button Inflatable Pillow

1.8
What We Like
  • Built-in air pump

  • Soft

  • Machine washable

What We Don't Like
  • Squeaks when inflating

If the idea of manually blowing air into a travel pillow is the last thing you want to do, this one from AirComfy will make you (and your wallet) happy. There's an air pump built-in, so all you have to do is give it a couple of pushes, and it will inflate in no time. Even more, it's super soft to touch, thanks to the machine-washable, micro-velvet pillowcase.

Best Splurge: Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

What We Like
  • Comes in various colors

  • Packs down well

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

You may have heard of the Ostrichpillow brand, thanks to their somewhat unusual original design. For those looking for something sleeker, the Go Neck Pillow will fit the bill. Made of memory foam, this wrap cushion connects with a bit of Velcro, so you can adjust it according to your size. The pillow also packs down into a bag half its size, making it easy to toss into your carry-on, personal item, or tote bag.

Best for Side Sleepers: Travelrest The Ultimate Travel Pillow - Inflatable Pillow

What We Like
  • Adjustable tension

  • Can be worn two ways

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it could be softer

If you can only get some shut-eye by sleeping on your side, give the Travelrest inflatable pillow a try. Its shape is similar to a padded seat belt and can be worn in two ways: looped around the headrest on your airplane seat or wrapped around your body like a messenger bag or guitar. Adjusting the tension of the pillow is easy—all you have to do is pull the strap tighter toward the bottom of the pillow.

Best Microbead: Samsonite Microbead 3-in-1 Neck Pillow

What We Like
  • Soft

  • Versatile

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it has a chemical smell

For those who find memory foam to be too structured, consider going with a microbead travel pillow. This option from Samsonite is filled with thousands of microbeads that can be bunched up to add support. You can wear it around your neck, or undo the clasp to use it as a huggable body pillow instead.

Best for Comfort: Volprivé LUNA Luxury Travel Pillow

Volprivé LUNA Luxury Travel Pillow

Courtesy of Volprivé

What We Like
  • Soft

  • Machine washable

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The pillowcase really makes a difference in this category. Some of the less expensive options are made of plastic, which can smell a bit off and get a bit stuffy. The LUNA travel pillow from Volprivé has the softest cover—and your face will love it. “It’s made out of merino wool, so it’s really soft and comfortable, but not too stiff,” says Toronto-based travel writer Caleigh Alleyne. “Their eye mask is amazing, too; it’s slightly weighted, so it’s really soothing and makes it easier to relax.”

Final Verdict

It may not look like much, but the Trtl Travel Pillow is a workhorse. It checks all of the boxes: slight design and easily packable, incredible support, and a washable cover. Plus, its scarf-like design will keep you warm in chilly airplane cabins.

What to Look for When Buying a Travel Pillow

Price

It’s possible to drop a lot of money on a travel pillow, and those made with more luxe materials like merino wool and silk will cost much more. But more often than not, you’re going to find options spanning $20 to $50. If you require a bit more neck support, do some research and make a larger investment. Memory foam also tends to run a bit more than microbeads or plastic inflatable options.

Style

Chances are you’ve seen the classic doughnut-shaped travel pillows in airport terminal shops. While these are highly popular, there are other options out there: scarf-like wrap pillows, cross-body pillows, and freeform pillows that can be bunched up as lumbar support. In addition to overall shape, you will likely find three types of travel pillows: inflatable, memory foam, and microbead.

Fit

This all comes down to personal preference but consider your needs, whether that's a pillow that provides comfort for your lower back, or a pillow that keeps your head upright if you tend to head-bob when you sleep sitting up. There are design solutions for every kind of sleeper, so take note of your common sleep positions before making a purchase.

FAQs

How do I clean my travel pillow?

Many pillows come with machine-washable covers, but make sure to read the manufacturer’s washing suggestions before tossing it in with the laundry. Inflatable pillows—especially if they’re plastic—are often best spot-cleaned with a damp cloth.

Do travel pillows actually make sleeping easier?

Definitely. If anything, these pillows add support to keep your head from bobbing around to the tune of turbulence or a few seat-back kicks. If you still find it hard to sleep with a travel pillow, add a sleep mask. These two accessories combined will get you as close to a bedroom in the sky without shelling out the big bucks for a private business class seat.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Erika Owen is a frequent traveler who has tested an uncountable number of travel pillows in her career (her favorite is also the Trtl pillow). She also reached out to frequent travelers to gather their recommendations.

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