What Are The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes?

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If you’ve ever tried sleeping on an airplane (or in a car, for that matter) you’ll know how uncomfortable and difficult it can be.

One of the travel secrets of the experts is to bring a travel pillow along with you.

The problem is that it’s not always as simple as that – some travel pillows are better than others, and some are just plain bad (no pun intended!)

10,000 feet up in the air is no place to discover your travel pillow isn’t comfortable and supportive. So how do you know what makes a good (or a bad) travel pillow? Let’s take a look…

Different Types of Travel Pillow

There are two types of travel pillow: Filled pillows and inflatable pillows. Let’s take a look at both:

Filled Travel Pillows
Travel pillowTravel pillows can be stuffed with all kinds of fillings, from wool and cotton to latex and goose down.

In my experience, wool-filled pillows are extremely comfortable and supportive (as are most filled pillows I’ve seen).

Note also that travel pillows filled with water are available.

Although these can be comfortable (and cooling on a warm head), they are pretty heavy, and they’re not the kind of thing you’ll want to lug around in your backpack.

Inflatable Travel Pillows
Inflatable pillows are a favorite amongst many travelers as they’re extremely compact (when deflated), making them a convenient addition to your luggage rather than a feature that you have to make room for.

Inflatable travel pillows are typically made from a suede-like material, giving it a soft feel.

Another benefit of inflatable pillows is that they’re often the cheapest of the lot (since they have no filling).

Features to Look for in a Travel Pillow

Apart from choosing whether you want a filled pillow or an inflatable one, there are a couple of other factors to consider:

Travel PillowsTravel pillows come in all different shapes and sizes, from rectangular ones to U-shaped ergonomic ones.

If you’re unsure which kind you like best (and which kind you find the most comfortable), test out a couple in the store to see which suits you.

Note that some inflatable travel pillows will have multiple air chambers, meaning you can inflate one side more than the other (in a bid to improve comfort).

Some stuffed travel pillows can also be altered in this way; if they have a zip on the side you can take some of the filling out to change the shape of the pillow.

Does it Need to Be Washable?
If you use your travel pillow regularly (which you probably will if you travel a lot) it’s bound to pick up dirt and sweat after a while.

At this point it’s a good idea to wash it, so make sure to buy a travel pillow that is washable (and preferably machine washable).

Some travel pillows have an outer cover that can be unzipped and removed, allow you to wash it (and not the rest of the pillow). This is a great way of doing things, and it’s worth looking for pillows that allow this.

Finding the right travel pillow for you is simply about knowing what’s out there and matching it with your needs. Remember – the best travel pillows for airplanes are the ones that are comfortable and supportive. If you have any tips or insights about buying travel pillows, feel free to leave a comment below!

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