Is it Worth Buying a Travel Neck Pillow?

I’m sure you’ve all seen them numerous times in airports, Neck Pillows. Usually expertly placed so you pass them just before your flight. Or perhaps you’ve seen a neck pillow attached to a travellers backpack, and wondered, ‘hmm, are they really that comfortable, worth carrying around, and looking a little bit silly for?…’. Well I’m here to answer those questions.

For a long time I was a doubter, as I honestly did think they looked a bit silly and seemed like a massive pain to take everywhere travelling. But believe it or not, I’m now a bold travel pillow advocate. However, finding a decent one can be a bit of a minefield, and I’ve personally owned no fewer than 3 different travel pillows in my time as well as sampling and trying out many. So in this post I’m going to discuss if it’s really worth buying a travel pillow, and if so, what kind of travel pillow should you get?

What is a travel neck pillow?

So firstly, I’m not even sure that ‘travel neck pillow’ is the official name for them… ‘Travel pillow’ or ‘neck pillow’ are probably official names and both more snappy but the way I’ve described it hopefully clearly identifies what I mean so I’ll stick with it for this post. They are the pillows designed in a horse-shoe shape, to sit around your neck to provide support and comfort making sleeping more easy.

My travel neck pillow experiences…

The inflatable one…

After many flights without a travel pillow in my possesion, I decided to buy my first travel pillow and give them a go. I bought a cheap inflatable one for around $15, as I thought with it being inflatable this will mean it can be deflated and easily carried around. This actually served me quite well on a few flights and the fleecy coating was a nice snuggly bonus. It was definitely a decent and convenient option, if not for the fact comfort wasn’t fantastic.

The hooded one…

I also tried one with a hood (yes they do make these) that I bought from a travel store (not an airport), as the hood could be pulled over my eyes and also provide some comfort and warmth around my neck. The price of around $40 however was too much for the product, and the novelty of having a hood on a neck pillow was ultimately pointless… I’d either already be wearing a hoody or if not, it was too hot for a hood anyway and I’d just use an eye mask if I wanted some shut eye. Not to mention the biggest issue was that everytime I used it, firmness dissapeared, which made the pillow ultimately useless. I’m not saying all hooded options will do this, but some travel pillows with foam bead fillings will cause this problem of getting less firm over time.

The premium one…

Now ‘ultimate’, is a word usually used to describe something like a fighting championship, not a pillow… So when I discovered the ‘Design Go Ultimate Memory Pillow’, my expectations were set high from the outset. It claimed to have an ergonomic design made of memory foam, feature straps at the front to support your chin, have a rear grip to help secure it to a headrest, and even came with a carry bag… Some very nice features I must say. And after trying and using this pillow, I can honestly say it’s the most comfortable travel pillow I’ve used. It provides thorough support all around, is very comfortable, and the feature of a front strap really makes a big difference. Added onto this, for a ‘premium’ option it’s actually priced pretty reasonably around $30 (this is online where I bought mine after trying one in an airport, they will likely be more expensive in the airport).

So should you buy a travel neck pillow?

In all my travel neck pillow experiences, from the good to the bad, in ALL cases I’ve been so much more comfortable with one. Having the ability to sleep upright on different modes of transport over long journeys, or even a portable pillow is so valuable when you travel. There will be times when you’re on a flight and hating life, wishing you could just GET SOME SLEEP, and they go a long way to making this possible.

A travel neck pillow is a pretty affordable way to make sleeping on long travel journeys much more achievable, with most ranging between $10-50. Also now that companies have noticed their increasing popularity the quality and range available is increasing. So simply, if you’re a bit unsure then give them a try on your next long travel trip, you won’t regret it.

If you’ve made it this far reading my post about neck pillows then go you, I’m pleasantly surprised. If you’re looking for some general comfort improving strategies, I’ve written this post on how to survive long haul flights as well, which might also be up your street. If you’ve tried any travel pillows not mentioned here (the new ‘wrap around’ style ones for example I keep seeing advertised), then I’d love to hear your experience as I’m always on the hunt for a better travel pillow.

4 Replies to “Is it Worth Buying a Travel Neck Pillow?”

  • I bought one of those pillows for the first time on an airport no less… that was the most expensive bad decision I’d ever made… it looked really comfy on the shelf… begged me to “choose me…choose me”. It had a fancy look…grey and velvety… came with a pouch and everything… it was the first time I’d traveled for so many hours so I figured I’d be prepared on my way back. Boy was I wrong…! The trip back was worst than it was going….🙈🙈🙈🙈 nice write up…if I didn’t have that experience you probably would have convinced me to purchase one… hahaha…

    • Well I’m sorry to hear that… it really is a minefield though and hard to find out which ones actually work well until you use them over a period of time. This is one of the reasons I wrote this post as actually finding one that’s not terrible is pretty hard!! Well I hope you find a solution to flight comfort in the future, there’s lots of new types coming out and of course like anything it’s personal preference.

  • Just bought a travel neck pillow (just the cheap one) right before I read your post. Will try it on my next trip. Hope I don’t lose it, not used to bringing anything extra apart from my handcarry or check in luggage.

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