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7 Best Travel Pillows to Pack for Your Next Long Flight or Car Ride

By Jane Sung

Jun 24, 2021

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Packability is key: The Ostrichpillow Go squishes down to almost half its size into an included pouch.

Courtesy of Ostrichpillow

Packability is key: The Ostrichpillow Go squishes down to almost half its size into an included pouch.

Finding the right travel pillow is a must for getting better sleep on the road.

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Some travelers are blessed with the ability to fall asleep in various modes of loud, cramped, or otherwise disruptive transport. Others struggle to catch zz’s outside of their own bed, unless the conditions are just right. Whether you consider yourself in the first category or the latter, you (and your neck) will certainly benefit from a high-quality travel pillow.

Soft, cozy, and supportive in all the right ways, these packable pillows are a must-have travel accessory for any efforts at getting some shut-eye at 40,000 feet. From memory foam versions to super-compact ones, here are the best travel pillows to bring on your next flight, train ride, or road trip. 

No neck slump here.

1. Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow

Buy Now: $60, ostrichpillow.com; amazon.com

Ergonomically designed to support the head and neck, this memory foam pillow features a Velcro band in the front that allows you to adjust the fit to support your chin just right—ideal for anyone who has experienced the dreaded forward head lurch while attempting to sleep sitting up. Encased in an easily removable and washable sleeve, the pillow compresses down to almost half its size into an included pouch for easy packability. 

This silk set makes for a luxurious gift.

2. Calpak Silk Neck Pillow and Eye Mask Set

Buy Now: $95, calpak.com

Swathed in hypoallergenic silk that’s removable and washable, this travel pillow is paired with a matching sleep mask with blackout lining for extra security against unwelcome lights and jet lag. It also comes in a transparent carry bag that slips effortlessly on to your suitcase handle, which beats letting it hang exposed off the side of your luggage.

This neck pillow is comfortable and sustainably made.

3. Coyuchi Organic Latex Travel Pillow

Buy Now: $48, coyuchi.com


This ecofriendly option is crafted in a naturally breathable GOLS-certified organic latex that’s resistant to mold, mildew, and dust mites, making it especially great for trips that involve unexpected changes in climate. In keeping with the bedding brand’s sustainable ethos, this travel pillow is also wrapped in a super-soft organic cotton velour that’s removable via a hidden zipper and washable.

The Trtl Travel Pillow has many fans at AFAR for its packability.

4. Trtl Travel Pillow

Buy Now: $30, trtltravel.com; amazon.com

Any qualms about looking silly instantly disappear as soon as you put this unique travel pillow to use. It’s ergonomically designed to maximize neck support using a genius combination of a strategically placed internal padded frame and a soft fleece wrap (that’s machine washable) to comfortably cradle your head. As an added bonus, it weighs only half a pound and folds up way more compactly than your standard U-shaped pillow to slip easily in any carry-on. Trtl also makes a kids’ version—because you’re never too young to appreciate a good car ride nap.

How a $30 Travel Pillow Can Help Anxious Fliers

For when you want a packable version of your regular pillow.

5. Coop Travel and Camping Pillow

Buy Now: $30, coophomegoods.com 

A shrunken down version of the signature adjustable pillow from bedding brand Coop, this portable pillow is ideal for camping and travel situations that allow for more reclined slumbering positions. It’s filled with a memory foam–microfiber blend that can be removed or added to fit your sleep-maximizing needs, and the removable cover is crafted in Coop’s proprietary Lulltra fabric that’s derived from ecoconscious bamboo. The whole thing is machine washable—just separate the cover from the inner pillow to wash either one. If you’re headed somewhere rainy, get the water- and dirt-resistant camping pillowcase for added protection against the elements.

Underneath the bamboo velour cover is a memory foam core with a cool-to-the-touch Z Gel outer layer.

6. Malouf Travel Neck Gel Dough + Z Gel Pillow

Buy Now: $50, maloufhome.com


This may look like an ordinary travel pillow, but hidden beneath the breathable bamboo velour cover (that’s also washable) are cleverly designed layers that regulate temperature while you snooze. The brand’s exclusive Dough memory foam core gives cushiony-soft support, while a cool-to-the-touch Z Gel outer layer provides optimal sleep conditions—crucial when dozing off in a middle seat on an overbooked flight.

It’s like a neck pillow and sleep mask in one.

7. HoodiePillow Inflatable Travel Hoodie Pillow

Buy Now: $25, hoodiepillow.com; amazon.com

Think of this as your go-to sweatshirt in travel pillow form. Available in five hues (we’re partial to classic heather gray), this inflatable pillow can almost blend in with your travel uniform while providing some much-needed sleep support. And once you’ve reached your final destination, simply deflate and pop it in your bag. Our favorite part is the cozy attached hood, which doubles as a subtle “do not disturb” sign that’s ideal for warding off chatty seatmates and piercing overhead lights alike.

>> Next: The 7 Best Sleep Masks for Frequent Travelers

Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.

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