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The 14 Best Travel Neck Pillows [2023 Buyer’s Guide]

Erin Miller's image
Erin Miller
Erin Miller's image

Erin Miller

Content Contributor

188 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 26U.S. States Visited: 28

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publicat...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

38 Published Articles 3337 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Have you ever nodded off in your seat only to jerk your head up in alarm, wondering if your neighbor saw that drool on your chin? Or been frustrated because you needed that inflight shuteye, but you just couldn’t get comfy as hard as you tried?

Yep — sometimes traveling can be downright uncomfortable. But is there anything you can do to snuggle up a little easier in the air? You bet there is.

Gone are the neck pillows of the past with their uniform U-shape, little to no support, and shoddy quality (well… they’re not literally gone, unfortunately, but you know what we mean!).

Today we’re breaking down 14 of the best travel pillows on the market to help you nab your greatest inflight z’s yet.

What To Look for in a Travel Neck Pillow

Material

Neck pillow material
Some neck pillows have removable covers to machine wash. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Material is one of the most important factors when choosing the right travel neck pillow as it will be cradling your neck, and often, touching your face. Some fleece materials can be super soft and comforting but may cause your neck to get too hot and sweaty, so you’ll want to make sure the material is breathable as well.

Carting your neck pillow through airports and on airplanes can mean that it won’t stay as fresh and clean as it once was, so a machine washable neck pillow is ideal, or at least a removable cover that you can wash regularly.

Support

Molded neck pillow
Some neck pillows can be molded in different shapes for support. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Support is another vital element of a neck pillow as you’re not always going to have a wall or window to lean against. Choose a pillow that keeps your head in an upright position (with your nose and chin inline) using padding or an internal frame. That way, you won’t arrive at your destination with an achy neck or annoy your neighbor by accidentally resting on their shoulder.

Size and Portability

Neck pillow size
Some neck pillows can be attached to your carry-on. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

As your neck pillow will need to fit into or attach to your carry-on, you should look for something that isn’t too bulky or that compresses into a storage pouch. Although sometimes not as comfortable, inflatable neck pillows are still a popular choice as they’re small and lightweight to carry and can be inflated and deflated in seconds.

If you’re a frequent long-haul or red-eye flyer, you’ll want to consider something more cushioned and comfortable, such as a memory foam pillow.

The 14 Best Travel Neck Pillows

Neck pillows can significantly improve your comfort on a long flight, car, or train journey. Here are some of the best neck pillows on the market.

1. The Non-Traditional “Pillow” Everyone’s Talking About 

trtl Pillow

The trtl Pillow looks more like a scarf or wrap than an actual pillow. This inventive new design comes from 2 mechanical engineers who were looking to create something superior to the traditional U-shaped pillow.

Simply place the ribs (this device’s hidden, internal support) up against your head and neck, then wrap the fabric portion around and Velcro in place.

The velvety fleece (which is hypo-allergenic and machine washable) creates a type of hammock to cradle your head and neck, so there’s no need to lean against a window… or your unsuspecting neighbor. At 0.29 pounds, it’s extremely lightweight, and it folds up to half the size of a traditional travel pillow.

You can start to see why this product is causing such a stir!

What We Like

  • Can be positioned for support on either side of your head

What We Don’t Like

  • The material can make your neck warm

2. The Most Positively-Reviewed Memory Foam Pillow

Check on Walmart

Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow

The Cabeau Evolution is one of the most positively-reviewed travel pillows on the market. You may think it looks a lot like the traditional U-pillow, but we encourage you to dig a little deeper into the design.

This pillow is built with a responsive memory foam core in a patented ergonomic design that provides 360 degrees of support for your head and neck. Whether you tend to bobble sideways, backward, or forward, you’re covered all the way around. The adjustable toggles also help provide the optimal level of support.

Additionally, the pillow’s flat back prevents the shape from pushing your head forward into an uncomfortable position. It’s a bit larger than some others on the list, but it rolls up to a quarter of its full size for transport (carrying bag included).

The soft, washable cover includes a “media pouch” for your device, and Cabeau also throws in a pair of memory foam earplugs to boot. Oh, and it comes with a 2-year satisfaction warranty.

You may remember seeing this item featured on our list of Carry-on Travel Essentials for Short and Long Flights. This pillow certainly tops the list for a couple of bobble-headed sleepers here at Upgraded Points!

What We Like

  • Can be attached to any seat using the strap

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s quite large and bulky

3. The Best Design for the Hot and Sweaty Traveler

Cabeau Evolution Cool Neck Support Pillow

Some people are simply hot-natured by design, so things can get a bit sticky (literally) when you’re on a plane full of people stalled at the gate without A/C for what feels like hours.

Once you’re finally airborne, the air comes on, but it’s too late — by that point, you’re already sweating profusely, and the thought of donning a poly-cotton neck pillow makes you want to cry. Behold the Cabeau Evolution Cool.

This pillow has all the perks of the standard Evolution Pillow (memory foam core, flat back, 360-degree support, adjustable toggles, washable cover) but also includes a center portion of cooling air circulation vents to keep you refreshed.

Additionally, it rolls down to half its full size to fit in its deluxe travel case for convenient packing. You get a pair of memory foam earplugs included with this one, too, as well as the 2-year satisfaction warranty.

What We Like

  • Has breathable vents to keep your neck cool

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be too tight for some people

4. The Chin Support You’ve Been Longing For

BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

The BCOZZY also garners tons of great reviews on Amazon. This lightweight wrap-around pillow allows for adjustable chin support to prevent drooping.

While BCOZZY doesn’t quite elaborate on what the pillow itself is made of, it boasts a “breathable soft cover” with “bounce-back filling,” advertising a “flexible but solid structure” to use in a variety of seating positions.

The entire pillow is machine washable, and it comes with a small loop and snap on the back to attach it to your travel bags. Plus, it comes in a child-size* with fun, bright patterns and cute character bags.

What We Like

  • Doesn’t push the head forward

What We Don’t Like

  • Needs frequent adjustment

5. A Bendy Pillow With a Customizable Shape

Check on Walmart

Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow for Neck, Chin, Lumbar and Leg Support

The Twist Travel Pillow has a neat little design that allows you to bend the roll into just about any shape you’d like to cradle your head and lull you into a sweet slumber.

While Dot&Dot doesn’t readily disclose what the main mechanism is that allows for the bend, it does state that there’s a luxury memory foam core that’s covered in a machine washable cotton cover.

It encourages travelers to also try the Twist Pillow as lumbar support or to relieve other pressure points while flying. Additionally, note the snap closure that allows you to secure the pillow around your neck, or attach it to your purse or carry-on while in transit.

This pillow is great for Goldilocks-types — those who can’t sleep until the support is juuuust right.

What We Like

  • Has a removable, machine-washable cover

What We Don’t Like

  • The snap closure can sometimes come undone

6. The “A Bit Confusing, but Figure It Out and You’re Golden” Pillow

J-Pillow (Blue) Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

The J-Pillow is another funny-looking pillow that appears as if the standard U-shape has sprouted an arm. It also comes with instructions… for a travel pillow… because apparently, this one can get a bit confusing.

The idea is for the J to support your head from under the chin. However, the alternative uses pictured mean that whichever way you cuddle up to this awkward little guy, it’ll likely make you more comfortable.

The J-Pillow is made from “high-quality 3D filling,” and has a “plush” cover. One downside to the cover is that it’s not removable and therefore is not machine washable. It does have a snap for quick on-the-go travel and compacts into a tight ball.

What We Like

  • Comes with a compression bag for easy transportation

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t work as well when not leaning against something

7. The Best Comfy-Cozy Travel Pillow We’ve Seen

Huzi Infinity Pillow

The Huzi Infinity Pillow is the coziest travel pillow on the market. Just look at it — doesn’t this want to make you snuggle up and snooze for days?

This pillow balances softness and support, with a cutting-edge microfiber fill that expands and intertwines to form air pockets. Its outer cover is a bamboo fabric designed for breathability and temperature regulation, which allows you to stay cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool.

Plus, due to its unique shape, you can also use it for lumbar support, tray table sleep, snuggling, etc.

While it’s a bit bulkier than some other options on this list, there’s no denying its cushy nature is worth the space it takes to pack (or wear as a plush “scarf” around the airport). The entire pillow is machine washable — just make sure to line dry.

What We Like

  • It’s adaptable for many positions

What We Don’t Like

  • Quite a large travel pillow

8. The Pillow That Looks Ridiculous but Is Pretty Comfortable

Check on Walmart

TRAVELREST Premium Travel, Neck & Body Pillow

Yes, the TRAVELREST Premium may look strange, but it gets rave reviews. When deflated, this pillow insert (and cover) roll up tight to save loads of space when packing. When you’re ready to snooze, just give it a few puffs to inflate and then secure it with the strap to keep it in place!

The whole thing deflates in a matter of seconds, so you can roll it back up and pop it in your carry-on for a quick getaway. The machine washable cover is a soft microfleece, and it comes with memory foam inserts for added comfort.

Hot Tip: TRAVELREST also sells the original TRAVELREST and the cover separately on Amazon, so be careful when you purchase! If you think you’ve found a major sale, be sure it’s the right selection if you want the 2 pieces to come packaged together. Alternatively, it is nice that you can buy another pillow or cover alone if the need arises.

What We Like

  • Deflates and rolls up for compact transportation

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be quite large for an economy seat

9. The Low-Key Inflatable Pillow Option

AirComfy Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow with Luxuriously Soft Washable Cover

The Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow from AirComfy is a great option for travelers who feel a bit claustrophobic with other pillows that secure around the neck. The Ease’s unique butterfly shape is designed to cradle the arch around the back of your neck to provide support where you need it.

How much support? That’s up to you  — it’s easy to inflate, and you can adjust the level with the valve at the top. There’s also some inner foam to help the pillow feel more substantial with less of that inflatable “bounce.”

The Ease is also nice for those who want something slightly smaller than the traditional U (or any of the larger pillows above). It comes with a soft, removable, machine washable cover, in addition to an elastic band you can use to secure it in place around a headrest.

Lastly, AirComfy encourages travelers to try this pillow out as lumbar support, too, since you can easily adjust the inflation for optimal support in this use as well.

What We Like

  • Very easy to inflate

What We Don’t Like

  • Air can sometimes leak out

10. The Best Travel Pillow for Minimalists

2 in 1 Travel Pillow and Eye Mask

The 2-in-1 Travel Pillow and Eye Mask is your go-to if you’re more of a minimalist and you want some versatility. If you want something smaller than the traditional U, this little pillow can be worn in several different ways — even doubling as an eye mask when necessary.

The band itself is a poly/spandex blend, and the pillow portion is filled with soft polyester. This allows the pillow to more or less sculpt to your preferred sleeping position so you can sink in and zone out.

While it doesn’t hold your head up completely, it still does a pretty good job of helping you get comfortable. Plus, it’s a lot less eye-catching than several other options on this list.

What We Like

  • Compact and lightweight for your carry-on

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t provide any neck support

11. The Best Tray Table Sleep of Your Life (If You Can Stomach the Embarrassment)

JefDiee Inflatable Travel Pillow

This inflatable tray table pillow’s design is mirrored after a massage chair — you know, where you sit down and place your head in the cradle. Via the holes in the side, you can slip your arms through to up the comfort level… essentially giving your new pillow a big hug.

JefDiee claims this pillow can be inflated in seconds with just 5 breaths Plus, you can easily adjust the fill to accommodate your height and firmness preference. In turn, it deflates in seconds and can be folded up to “book-size” for packing.

The PVC flocking material is strong, soft and machine washable, and doesn’t smell of plastic. Yay!

What We Like

  • Quick and easy to inflate and deflate

What We Don’t Like

  • Can sit too low for tall people

12. A Versatile Option That Takes You From Plane Z’s to Hotel Z’s

VISCO LOVE ProComf Travel Memory Foam Pillow

With the VISCO LOVE ProComf Memory Foam Pillow, you sink into slumber as if you’re resting on a cloud. The material has microcapsules with a special thermic coating to create the optimal temperature for sleeping and to avoid any sweating — so this really isn’t your average memory foam.

Plus, this pillow allows for the perfect balance of soft yet springy support, and it’s guaranteed to last. It can even help alleviate and prevent back and neck pain by proving the right support.

Although slightly bulkier than your average neck pillow, it weighs less than half a liter of water, so it is pretty portable. In addition, it’s certainly better to use if you’ve got a window seat … so you may be starting to wonder why it’s even a contender here.

By bringing it along, you’ll likely catch some sweeter z’s on the flight, and you can bet your bottom dollar it’s better than 99% of the hotel pillows out there. Basically, 2 birds, 1 stone, people (plus, you can also use it as a luxe lumbar support … so more like 3 birds)!

What We Like

  • Great for sleeping in warm environments

What We Don’t Like

  • The firm support won’t suit everyone

13. A Travel Pillow Your Kiddos Will LOVE

Cloudz Plush Animal Neck Pillows

Cloudz Plush’s bright, fun pillows are perfect for your little adventurer’s enjoyment! Available in 19 cute animal designs, these soft pillows will support and comfort your child’s head* on journeys short or long.

This traditional U-shape pillow is filled with cushy poly fill, and both this and the soft fleece covering are hypoallergenic. You don’t need to worry about your little one spilling or drooling on the pillow as it’s machine washable and will soon be as good as new.

What We Like

  • Machine washable

What We Don’t Like

  • No clasp to attach to your carry-on

14. The 3-in-1 Travel Pillow

Omni Pillow | 3-in-1 Travel Pillow

This pillow feels built for adventurers, but of course, it could be extremely useful for just about any traveler. Whether you need it as a neck pillow, double pillow, or pillow topper, the certified Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class I Fulfilled memory foam is sure to comfort you.

Those are some big words, but suffice it to say that means it’s serious quality — this pillow is built for compression resistance, durability, and support. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic and CFC/HCFC-free.

The pillowcase is made from material used in high-performance sportswear: it’s machine washable, light, yet durable, and won’t pill over time. It’s also got a built-in sleeve for your device and a cord hole for your headphones.

Also, the outer shell is soft yet sturdy AND it’s waterproof. Go-go-gadget pillow, anyone?

What We Like

  • Folds up into a super-small carry case

What We Don’t Like

  • Sits a bit low when used as a neck pillow

Final Thoughts

Neck pillows now come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s wise to do your research before buying. If portability is your priority, you may want to opt for an inflatable neck pillow that’s easy to carry and ready to use with just a few puffs of air.

If you’re a regular traveler, it’s likely you’ll want to consider something soft and supportive, so that you arrive fresh for your business meeting or ready to sightsee on arrival.

Did we miss your favorite travel pillow?  Give us a shout in the comments and let us know why it should have made the list!


Looking for more fantastic travel products to improve your adventures? Check out these other posts for inspiration!


*Upgraded Points does not recommend any product for use within a child’s car seat without first verifying the product’s safety standards with the original manufacturer. Upgraded Points assumes no responsibility for the improper use of these products. In no event shall Upgraded Points be held liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential injury or any injury whatsoever related to improper use of the products listed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most positively-reviewed memory foam travel pillow?

The most positively reviewed memory foam travel pillow is the Cabeau Evolution® Memory Foam Travel Pillow.

What are the benefits of travel neck pillow?

Choose a pillow that keeps your head in an upright position (with your nose and chin inline) using padding or an internal frame. That way, you won’t arrive at your destination with an achy neck or annoy your neighbor by accidentally resting on their shoulder.

Are neck pillows allowed on planes?

Neck pillows can be brought onto an airplane to help you sleep more comfortably. These can be packed inside your carry-on or are usually permitted by many airlines to be hooked to the outside of your carry-on bag.

How do you wear a neck pillow on a plane?

How you wear a neck pillow depends on the type of pillow you have. Some are U-shaped that you hook around your neck, while others wrap completely around your neck for full support or can simply cushion your head against a wall or window.

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About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.

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