Exploring the world is wonderful — till a stiff neck pops its head out of nowhere and derails your elaborate plans. Whether you're on the road long hours or flying frequently, the bad news is it will plague you at some point — likely accompanied by a sore back and an aching head. The good news is, it's entirely avoidable if you add this one travel necessity to your backpack: the neck pillow. So we sourced a comprehensive list for you after taking into consideration our team members' personal recommendations combined with thousands of user reviews from across the world. Have a look.
The Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Neck Pillow
Why we chose it: With 600+ user reviews and a 4.5 star rating, it's safe to say the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Neck Pillow is a crowd-pleaser. The foam wraps comfortably around the neck, and the flat back lets you recline with ease. It has a washable cover and can be compressed to half its size to fit in a handy travel bag. Even neck pillow detractors claim it's “easily the most functional neck pillow I've ever used.”
What users say: “It's the best I've used, and I've used the blow up ones, foam ones, and filled ones. It's the most comfortable for me. I'm tall, so I had no difficulty wearing the pillow and having my Bose Headphones on at the same time. I rarely sleep on a plane, but I'm actually falling asleep while wearing the Cabeau. I'm buying a second one for my son.”
The Travelrest Memory Foam Neck Pillow
Why we chose it: With 700+ user reviews and a 4-star rating, the Travelrest Memory Foam Neck Pillow is a close contender. It's made of temperature-sensitive memory foam that provides neck, shoulder and head support. Comes with a zipped cover and is machine-washable. Needless to say, you can use it extra-travel purposes too, like when you're chilling on the couch, but really need to pamper that neck.
What users say: “… I love it so much. I love it so much that I will sleep with it almost every night. It's honestly one of the best neck pillows I've ever owned.”
The Push-Button Inflatable Daydreamer Neck Pillow
Why we chose it: If you're looking for compact options, this one's a great pick. The Push-Button Inflatable Daydreamer Neck Pillow comes with a built-in pump that works in 30-60 seconds. Its size can be adjusted in accordance with your preferred level of inflation, and it comes with a washable pillowcase for a germ-free slumber.
What users say: “Great product. As someone who normally can't sleep on a plane, I purchased this before a 12 hour longhaul flight and it made a huge difference - I got 7 hours of (nearly) uninterrupted sleep. I looked around before making this purchase and was attracted to the Daydreamer due to the easy inflation and I glad I did as there was no awkward blowing required but rather an easy-to-use pump like mechanism.”
The Travelon Deluxe Wrap-n-Rest
Why we chose it: With 59 user reviews and a 4-star rating, the Travelon Deluxe Wrap-n-Rest looks serpentine, but it won't strangle you. Its soft, interlocking ends help minimise neck strain and keep your head from falling forward. Some grudges users have are that it's a bit bulky, and things can get a bit warm with a neck that's fully wrapped, but the overall verdict stays positive.
What users say: “This is great for long flights, easy to carry. This is the second that I have purchased.”
The Trtl Neck Pillow
Why we chose it: An unconventional alternative to the traditional pillow, the Trtl (pronounced “turtle”, you're welcome) Pillow looks like a piece of cloth, but is really a nifty wrap that holds your neck in place with sufficient, super-soft cushioning. It's machine washable and half the size of a regular pillow which makes it very easy to carry.
What users say: “Love it!”
The Aeris Memory Foam Neck Pillow + Sleeping Kit
Why we chose it: With 1400+ customer reviews and a 4.5 star rating, the Aeris Memory Foam Neck Pillow + Sleeping Kit will make burning a hole in your pocket worth it. This piece comes with a sleep mask, foam earplugs, a carry bag and adjustable toggles.
What users say: “I've had this pillow now for two years and multiple flights and I have to say that is a magnificent travel companion for two reasons. First, it is very comfortable and very flexible. It will mesh with your neck just fine no matter how you sleep. Second, it folds up nice and small in its travel pouch which means it will not take up a lot of room in your carry own so you don't have to walk with it around your neck as you would some other pillows. Finally, the travel pouch comes with a Velcro strap which allows you to hang the bag off your luggage rather than place it in for quick retrieval upon boarding your flight. All in all, WELL worth the cost.”