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This week, I received a great question from a reader named Debbie asking: “Can you recommend a travel neck pillow that is actually comfortable? I hated the one I used on our trip to Africa and looking to upgrade for an upcoming trip. Thanks for any recommendations you may have.”

As I told Debbie, there are a lot of choices and variables when it comes to neck pillows. You’ve probably seen some of them in airports and I’m not talking about the ones in the stores. I’m referring to the ones around people’s necks, which you see plenty of.

Speaking of airports, you probably don’t want to wait to buy a neck pillow in an airport store since they’re likely way overpriced or worse, sold out. A great neck pillow really can make the difference between getting a good night’s sleep and not, and rest is imperative on long-haul or redeye flights. It’s also a safety issue, especially if you’re planning on renting a car when you land.

Fortunately these days, there are so many options, travelers really need to figure out what’s comfortable for them. My advice is to go find a solid travel store in your area or airport that has a variety of neck pillows. It’s worth taking the time to try some on (if they allow it) and then pricing them out on Amazon.com. If you find one that feels good and it’s not that much more money compared to online, then grab it.

But before you do go spending money, read this post because there’s a chance you’ve been using your standard neck pillow wrong.

TIP: How to sleep on a plane
Pre-pandemic, I used to fly over 150,000 miles a year and I’ve seen all kinds of methods and contraptions that passengers use to try and sleep better on airplanes. Everyone is different but flying as much as I do, I know what works. Here are 10 ways to help you sleep better on a plane.

So, when it comes to travel neck pillows, here are some choices:

Feather Soft Microfiber Neck Pillow
If you’re looking for a standard option that’s pretty tried and true and won’t cost a lot, check out the . It’s made with hypoallergenic materials for both the shell and the lining and is washable. Buy here.

Tempur-Pedic All-Purpose Pillow
Unlike your typical travel neck pillow, this one has a peanut shape making it less cumbersome to carry and use. You can use it as a travel pillow, neck roll, lumbar cushion, leg spacer, or curling up with a book. Buy here.

Evolution Pillow
The Evolution Pillow by Cabeau has a patented ergonomic design and exclusive vertical side panel. It’s made with responsive memory foam and supports your neck without awkward positioning or discomfort. It also has 360-degree support, which is perfect for sleeping since it won’t matter if your head leans left/right or falls forward. And it has a flattened rear cushion so it fits all seats. Airline, bus and train travelers will love that it includes a removable and washable cover, making cleaning a breeze and eliminating all those nasty germs easily. Buy here.


Evolution Cool
Cabeau’s other award-winning travel pillow, the Evolution Cool, is crafted from dual-density memory foam, offers superior head and neck support, and features innovative air vent technology that keeps the neck and head cool to ensure a unique cooling comfort. It’s available in four colorful shades. It too has a removable cover making it easy to wash and keep clean for your next vacation. Buy here.

Trtl NapScarf
The Trtl NapScarf might be the most unique one yet. The Trtl NapScarf is billed as a next generation travel pillow as it’s less than half the size of a traditional travel pillow and weighs just 5.2 ounces (148 grams). It supposedly holds the head in a better ergonomic position than a traditional memory foam U-shaped travel pillow does, and it’s soft, comfortable and designed for economy class long-haul flyers. It’s made in the United Kingdom. Buy here.

FaceCradle
I’ve seen a lot of unique travel pillows but the FaceCradle may take the cake. It started out as a Kickstarter where, at the time, it became the biggest-selling travel accessory in Kickstarter’s history. It raised more than $1 million! After that, the Australian company behind it opened a U.S. headquarters for marketing and faster order fulfillment. I haven’t seen a FaceCradle on a plane yet but I did test it out at the Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas once. If you can overlook the fact that your seatmates will definitely get a chuckle when you bust it out, you might just get better sleep while traveling. Buy here.

Ostrich Pillow

If this is not one of the craziest travel contraptions then I don’t know what is. The Ostrich Pillow will make you look like a new Muppett character, but it could be worth it if it does what’s it’s billed to do, which is “offer a micro environment in which to take a warm and comfortable power nap at ease. It is neither a pillow, nor cushion, bed or garment, but a bit of each all at the same time. It’s soothing cave-like interior shelters and isolates both your head and hands, perfect for a power nap. You can use the Ostrich Pillow at your desk, on a bench, on the train or while you wait at the airport.” Buy here.

Ostrich Pillow Go
Also by Ostrich is this unique but not so ridiculous looking one. It’s a luxury travel pillow with memory foam. Buy here.

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