Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights – Buying Guide for the Best Neck Pillow

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The best travel pillows for long-haul flights can make a huge difference in your journey. That’s why we’ve researched the market to give you this up-to-date list of best neck pillows for travel with. 

Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights - Buying Guide Best Neck Pillow cover (1)

Best Travel Pillows for Long-Haul Flights

Sleeping is very important for your health — whether you’re traveling or not. In fact, the unfortunate truth is that for most people, it’s hard to get meaningful sleep on a plane. That’s why having one of the best travel pillows for long-haul flights can help. Sometimes getting just a little more comfortable makes a huge difference.

Today’s Travel Pillow Designs

Today’s travel pillows come in many designs and materials. In addition to the conventional inflatable neck pillows, you’ll also find designs a variety of shapes and functions. Some are made from memory foam, while others use varying materials and inner structures for support. Whichever you choose, neck pillows for travel aren’t only useful on airplanes. In fact, you can use a great travel pillow on trains, cars, and buses. They’re also handy at home or for a short nap in the office.

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Overview: Best Travel Pillows for Long-Haul Flights

Let’s face it: that clump of fluff that flight attendants hand you in Economy Class is not the best travel pillow for long-haul flights. It’s better than nothing, but the best neck pillow for travel it is not. Now consider Low-Cost Carriers (LCC) such as AirAsia, Spirit Air, or Ryanair. We fly them sometimes, but they are bare-bones when it comes to amenities. You shouldn’t expect extras here. Forget the best travel pillow for long-haul flights — you may not get a pillow at all. Sleeping comfortably is hard on long flights. The same could be said for trains, buses, boats, and cars. We’ve done them all, and we can tell you.

How to Sleep on a Long-Haul Flight

What’s our trick to get comfortable enough to sleep while in transit? The right neck pillow is an important component, but there are others. Here are a few items we bring on all international flights:

Having the best neck pillow for travel certainly helps you sleep more comfortably, but it also helps you avoid cramped muscles. Let me tell you: jetlag and a stiff neck are a bad combo. Looking for a gift for travel-minded family and friends? Consider the travel pillow. They’re affordable and genuinely useful.

No Perfect Pillow for All

Now here’s the rub: my favorite travel pillow for long-haul flights may not be the best for you. There are a number of travel pillow designs today, and each has its advocates. Some people prefer inflatable neck pillows. Others prefer a travel pillow made from memory foam. Some people place a priority on neck support, while others prefer cushioning or blocking light and sound. I’ll run through a few examples of each travel neck pillow here, but only you can decide what’s best for you. Which do you think is the best travel pillow for long-haul flights?

The Best Travel Pillow Styles

Are you traveling mostly by train, bus, or airplane? If mostly by car, then you might as well just bring a pillow from your own bed. However, for this post, I’d like to focus on travelers who would like to carry the best neck pillows for air travel. That goes for any travel method where you must sit up or are otherwise confined. These travel pillow designs are meant for you. The best travel pillow for long-haul flights works just as well on long train rides, crowded buses, and small boat ferries.

When I started traveling in the ’90s, most travel pillow designs were inflatable, U-shaped and made of plastic.  Nowadays, travel pillows come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials.  When choosing your travel pillow, consider where you’ll use it. For example, if you plan to use your travel pillow on buses in tropical areas, consider carefully. Some styles keep you warm, which can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on where you are. For example, Mexico and Malaysia are hot, but the buses are often freezing. Then again, we traveled a lot in southern Vietnam where it’s hot and muggy most of the year and there was no air conditioning on long-haul trains and buses we took.

Inflatable Neck Pillows: Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights

The inflatable pillow is one of the most commonly-used travel pillows for flights. They’re light and easy to carry. They’re also often made of plastic so I recommend having a towel or some cloth to place over them. Otherwise, your skin will sweat wherever it makes contact. You can wash and change the towel, but may not be able to wash the travel pillow itself.

Memory Foam Travel Pillows: Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights

Another great travel pillow material. Memory foam travel pillows are great. They’re also easy to carry, but bulkier to travel with than inflatable pillows since they cannot fit into smaller spaces.

Wrap-Around Neck Pillows: Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights

Wrap-Around Travel Pillows are an increasingly popular travel pillow design worth considering. Unlike U-shaped neck pillows, which could often slide around and change position as you sleep, the wrap-around neck pillow design stays on your neck. Because of this, it supports your head more reliably at the point where you want it to stay. 

Depending on the way you travel (airplanes, trains, buses, cars, boats, etc) and how you prefer to sleep, you may want to try several types of neck pillows until you choose the best travel pillow for long-haul flights design for you. 

Travel Pillows for Kids?

Don’t buy the same travel pillows for adults thinking they’ll always work with the kids, too. The best travel pillow for you may be too big or uncomfortable for your child’s body shape. There are many recommended travel pillows specifically designed for children. Some even have brighter colors or fun prints. But do they need a travel pillow for long-haul flights? It depends on their size. If they’re still small, then one might not be needed. 

Are Travel Pillows for Flights Expensive?

How much do you want to spend on the best travel pillow for you? It’s your call. In general, most of the best travel pillow for long-haul flights are relatively inexpensive. However, just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s the best travel pillow for you. Sometimes you get what you pay for. How valuable is a well-rested you? Imagine this. Without the best neck pillows on the market, you could hurt your neck or shoulders resulting in cramps. This leads to massage therapy or the doctor’s office. With only US$20-35, you’ll sleep much better on the flight with less neck and shoulder pain later.

Our List of Best Travel Pillows for Air Travel

Ok, now let’s get into the best travel pillows on the market today. Remember: Your best travel pillow for long-haul flights might not be the best travel pillow for someone else. Which one will you choose?

Cabeau Evolution Travel Neck Pillows

Cabeau Evolution Travel Neck Pillows - Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights

This is the best travel pillow with memory foam. Cabeau Evolution Travel Pillows support the entire neck, making it one of the best neck pillows for sleep on long flights. Like many of the best neck pillow designs today, the Cabeau has a flat back that provides a more comfortable position that doesn’t awkwardly push your head forwards. Cabeau Evolution travel pillows include a washable cover and a carry-on bag to carry that compresses it into a quarter of its size. The result: less more storage space in your bag. 

Check Prices: Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Cabeau Evolution Cool Travel Pillow Series

Cabeau Evolution Cool Travel Pillow Series - Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights

Then there is the Cabeau Cool Series of Travel Neck Pillows. These have all the benefits of the regular Evolution memory foam pillows. But it also has the additional benefit of side air vents to keep you cool when needed. Remember that some travel pillows are like giant neck warmers — if you easily get overheated, then Cabeau Cool series is a great choice. 

Check Prices: Cabeau Evolution Cool

BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow - best Neck pillows for travel

The BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow is another of the best travel pillows for long-haul flights. It’s a soft, solid pillow that helps support your head and chin to keep them in a comfortable position while you sleep in a sitting position during long-haul flights. This neck pillow for travel is filled with lightweight hollow conjugated siliconized polyester fiber and is fully machine washable. The backside of the BCOZZY Travel Pillow is flatter. Therefore, your head won’t be pushed forward as you lean back against the seat. There’s also a snap strap attached so that it’s easy to hook it to luggage or a backpack.

Check Prices: BCOZZY Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

Comfort Master Travel Pillow

Comfort Master Travel Pillow - Neck pillows for travel

Expect your typical U-shaped travel pillow but with thermosensitive memory foam that molds to your neck comfortably. Its cover is made from soft velour that’s both removable and washable. That’s important if you use it a lot. The best travel pillow for long-haul flights is easy to keep clean and fresh all the time. You also get a special elastic strap that makes it easy to attach to your carry on luggage or a backpack. There are no strings or adjustable toggles. The manufacturer offers a five-year manufacturer money-back guarantee with this neck pillow. With that in mind, if you haven’t used any travel neck pillow before, this simple travel pillow from Crafty World might be the best travel neck pillow to try first.

Check Prices: Comfort Master Travel Pillow

Juning Travel Pillow Memory Foam

Juning Travel Pillow Memory Foam Neck Pillow - Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights

The Juning Travel Pillow is a U-shaped neck pillow best used on flights and long rides in a car or train. Even in your home or office for naps. The memory foam used in the Juning Travel Pillow is resilient and extra dense in order to hold your neck position. This neck pillow comes with a machine-washable soft microfiber pillowcase that helps you keep it clean easily. There are two strings attached to the cover, making it easy to adjust how tight the pillow fits around your neck. All the qualities of the best travel pillow for long-haul flights.

Check Prices: Juning Travel Pillow Memory Foam

Daydreamer Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow

Daydreamer Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow - Best Travel Pillow for Long-Haul Flights

The Daydreamer Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow from AirComfy is somewhat different from the typical inflatable neck pillows on the market. What makes this one of the best inflatable travel pillow designs? You can inflate it using a built-in inflation pump. No more huffing and puffing. Simply press on the pump and it fills itself. No more head rushes from blowing up the pillow. It also makes it easier (and more sanitary) to share the pillow with someone else.

This inflatable neck pillow comes with a soft, machine-washable micro-velvet pillowcase. It may look like a solid memory foam neck pillow in the picture, but it’s actually an inflatable travel pillow. The result: more spaces in your luggage when you deflate it. Its exterior and easy-to-inflate design make it one of the best travel pillows for long-haul flights.

Check Prices: Daydreamer Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow

Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow/Neck Pillow

Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow/Neck Pillow - best inflatable travel pillows

And now for something completely different. The Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow is one of the best and most unique neck pillow designs. It inflates into a long J-shape for you to lean your head against when you sleep. Unlike U-shaped or wrap-around neck pillows, this supports your neck without actually having something around your neck. A thin strap can be tied around the back to keep it in place. It inflates effortlessly and can be easily adjusted to how soft or hard you want it to be. It’s an inflatable neck pillow, so once deflated it fits easily in your backpack or attaches quickly to carry on luggage. The Travelrest Travel Pillow might be the best neck travel pillow design for people like my wife, Keiko, who doesn’t like anything against their neck.

Check Prices: Travelrest Ultimate Travel Pillow/Neck Pillow

J-Pillow Travel Pillow

J-Pillow Travel Pillow - Memory foam neck pillows

The travel pillow from J-Pillow is another unconventional travel neck pillow design best utilized on flights. Do you sleep on your side? Or do you prefer the window seat to the aisle? If so, then this might be the best travel pillow for you. The J-Pillow supports your neck and keeps your chin from dropping. If you sit next to a window — on a plane, car, bus or other vehicles — this travel pillow design gives you comfy, cushioned support. What I like best about the J-Pillow is that it’s machine washable. The entire thing. That means a fresh pillow whenever you travel. It also has a snap loop for you to attach it to a carry on luggage. Easy cleaning and useful design make it one of the best travel pillows for long-haul flights.

Check Prices: J Pillow Travel Pillow

Trtl Travel Pillow

Trtl Travel Pillow - Neck pillows for travel

The Trtle Travel Pillow is a wrap-around style neck pillow made from super soft fleece that is machine washable. Compared to solid memory foam pillows, the Trtle Pillow is more lightweight and easy to carry. Its size and compact design make it one of the best travel pillows for long-haul flights since it folds up so small. Reinforced ribs comfortable fleece pillow help support your neck so you can sleep better in an airplane seat. It’s a snug fit with breathable fleece. If you’re usually cold in airplanes, then the Trtle Pillow is the best neck pillow to stay warm and sleep in an upright position.

Check Prices: Trtl Pillow

Cute Travel Pillows for Kids

We like these cute travel pillows for kids from Chibiya. The neck pillow part is made from microbeads, but then they have a soft plush hoodie attached for warmth and to cover the eyes for a nap. They make great travel gifts for kids.

chibiya neck pillow - travel pillows for kids

Check Prices: SLOTH Hooded Animal Travel Neck Pillow

chibiya panda neck pillow - Travel pillows for kids

Check Prices: PANDA Hooded Animal Travel Neck Pillow

What’s the Best Travel Pillow for You?

Do you have an opinion on the best travel pillows for long-haul flights? Tell me what you usually use as a neck pillow. How long have you had your travel pillow? What’s the best travel pillow design for your needs? Do you use it at home as well? What other tips do you have to sleep comfortably on long-haul flights, trains, buses, and cars? What do you consider the best travel pillow features? Please comment below so we can learn more.

Further Reading:

Plan Your Travel Efficiently

Find The Cheapest on Kiwi.com Flight Search

Book The Best Hotels in Your Destinations

Don’t Forget to Get Travel Insurance

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