Travel

Do or Don’t: Travel Pillows

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

Do you bring a pillow gizmo with you on an airplane? I prefer to tough it out upright — even on a long overnight flight — and stay awake watching Tom Hanks movies. But I’ve always been curious about what I might be missing. So, in preparation for summer travel, I started checking out my options, and what I found was kind of mind-blowing…

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

The traditional U-shaped travel pillow has always been a crowd favorite, but much of what’s out there now is more newfangled. For example, the SkySiesta, which supports your head like giant hot dog buns. Bonus: It comes with a matching eye mask.

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

Then there’s the bestselling Trtl. Apparently it helps you fall asleep so quickly there isn’t even time for vowels.

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

Travelrest’s pillow is designed to help side sleepers feel comfortable sleeping not at all on their sides. It looks like a big in-flight hug.

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

The Voyage pillow weighs only 2.5 ounces (less than a phone!) and is both a microbead pillow and eye mask in one.

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

If you’re a “please turn my tray table into a bed” person, the Daydreamer face pillow is for you.

The FaceCradle wins for best tagline: “Upgrade to sleeping class.” Made of deep memory foam, it promises to lull even the most resistant airplane sleeper to rest.

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

Huzi’s Infinity Pillow looks really soft and cozy, and at 18 inches long you could even share it with your travel mate.

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

The OstrichPillow (my personal favorite) is equipped with openings around your nose/mouth and ears so you can still hear and BREATHE.

The Best Travel Pillows for Airplanes

And, finally, if you don’t like the feeling of your head jerking forward (and who does?), the NodPod has you covered.

What do you think? Would you chose any of these? I asked Travel & Leisure editor Richelle Szypulski for her take on travel pillows, and she loves the Trtl: “It looks like a scarf, but it has a sneaky internal support for that just-right amount of head tilt. It takes up less room, keeps me warm in cool cabins, and though I would never, ever drool in public, those who do can just toss it right in the laundry.”

All I can say is I hope my next flight offers an entire Tom Hanks channel.

P.S. 10 tips for flying with a baby, and how to plan a great vacation.

(Top photo from Bridesmaids.)

  1. I’ve tried a ton of neck pillows because of the amount of travel I do for work. Most do not work as mentioned in the article. The one pillow that is always my go-to is the J-pillow, but works best if you are in a window seat. I had a midseat, but was able to make it work and I acuatlly got some decent rest on the plane.

    https://www.thetop5reviews.com/home//top-5-neck-pillow-for-travel

  2. meli says...

    i was waiting for the “this post was brought to you by skymall” hehee lolll ?

  3. I’ve always been really doubtful of travel pillows, but I travel so much and never sleep on flights so I finally gave them a try! Definitely worth it.. especially for the 15-20 hour flights where you feel like you’re a zombie stuck in an eternal time warp that you CAN NEVER ESCAPE. They still aren’t perfect, but if I can get at least an hour of sleep, I’m happy! I’m also an aisle seat lover.. nothing worse than being trapped in the window seat beside two snoring grandmas and having to pee like a racehorse. #claustrophobic
    The trtl looks intriguing! definitely easier to carry than the neck pillow.

    • Jo did an awesome job showing the variety of comfortable head rests that are out there, however, there’s one more option that Jo may not even know about. Check out my favorite beach product http://www.instagram.com/originalheadhammock :) it’s a head rest made for relaxing at the bach!

  4. i have an inflatable neck pillow which i will now turn around and wear backwards, thanks to the tip, b/c i am for sure a head bobbler! i always think, fly at night, when you are supposed to sleep, but it is the worst for me. i must fly during the day or else i am that one person still awake watching movies and head bobbling. at least no one can see, b/c they’re asleep!
    b

  5. Heather says...

    this post is cracking me up. I did not realize so many options existed!

    I have a typical U-shaped travel pillow which I did NOT bring on a quick flight to visit my sister this past weekend. And even with an easy 2 hour flight, I did wish I had it. They really do make a difference for me!

  6. Funny but true. comfy pillow to sleep all the way to my destination

  7. Kimberly says...

    Welp, I Amazon Primed a Trtl for my Saturday cross-country flight. So long, inflatable u-shape pillow; hello, no neck cramps!

    • Caryn says...

      Hi Kimberly – did you like the Trtl? Considering ordering for an upcoming international trip. Thanks!

  8. Cate says...

    I swear by the SkyRest (yes, those strange blue cubes in the Skymall catalog!). I once flew from Heathrow to San Francisco on my way back from Sri Lanka, and I was so discombobulated but slept the. ENTIRE. way. back, although I woke up three times for the Virgin Atlantic snack cart and promptly went back to sleep. I still daydream about that flight sometimes.

  9. becs says...

    Most of these are hilariously ridiculous, but WOW do I want a Trtl!! And I’m not even flying anywhere (without children, that is). Someday I’ll nap on a plane… ;)

  10. “there isn’t even time for vowels”!! Love it!!!!!

  11. Laura says...

    I have the Trtl and love it! It’s not quite as packable as I’d like (there’s a rigid interior piece) but it’s still easy to loop around the outside of a bag.

  12. liz says...

    Ironically the only thing that got me through my last flight was watching Melissa McCarthy movies! Laughing till I cried kept me from moaning in terror.

    • Robin says...

      Just saw this the other day and wondered if it might be worth it for the long flight back to North America. Sold!

  13. I love my inflatable u-pillow – similar to this one: http://amzn.to/2u38HxM Being able to adjust the amount of air makes it easier to adapt to resting positions beyond upright. And, it packs flat. I once forgot it for a long flight and ended up buying one of those bulky microbead pillows in the airport. It was reasonably comfortable, but such a pain to tote around.

  14. Evie says...

    This is the MOST hilarious post of cup of jo ever. And I’m a long time reader :)

  15. Nicole says...

    This post is informative, but more importantly it’s so funny! The pictures that accompany these pillows are hilarious. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Zoe says...

    I have a coworker that take lots of long-haul flights and she swears by the TRTL – no achy neck upon arrival!

  17. Nancy says...

    MUJI! They make a comfortable not so nerdy neck pillow, I never travel without it!

  18. Catherine says...

    This post blew my mind! I really had no idea!
    I can’t stop thinking about the designers who come up with these (the ostrich????? Brilliant!)

  19. Kat says...

    This really made me laugh! So funny. The ostrich!

  20. Layne says...

    The trick to using u-shaped pillows is to turn them around backwards. That way your head can rest all the way against the seat without the pillow pushing your neck forward and if your head nods forward, the pillow is there to catch you.

  21. Shawna says...

    I recently bought a Trtl for a longish flight to Iceland and I really liked it! It kept me warm and felt cozy. It helped me sleep, but I even enjoyed wearing it when I was reading a book. I recommend it! Bonus: it was smaller and easier to store in my carry-on than a traditional neck pillow.

  22. lori doran says...

    The SKysiesta is being ordered! I slept with a u-shaped on a plane today but definitely did not use it conventionally as it pushes your head forward.

  23. Jess says...

    This is great! I have so many travel pillows, including the travel hoodie and the travelrest ones. I don’t LOVE love either of them, so just ordered the Trtl and the foot rest thing. Maybe that’ll do it. Otherwise I might have to cave and get that Ostrich thing.

    For fearful flyers, I’m one of you, and given that I have to travel internationally a lot for work it’s important to me to sleep as much as I can, in order to avoid being awake and terrified the whole time, and wrecked when I land. Wine helps. Another thing, in addition to a fleece blanket and noise cancelling headphones, is Lisa Eldridge’s Long Haul Flight beauty routine. It might just be psychological, but I find that being busy beautifying when I sit down really soothes me. And then you arrive looking lovely and refreshed, win-win. People do stare sometimes though!

    http://www.lisaeldridge.com/video/23653/my-beauty-regime-on-long-haul-flights/#.WVRV1neZPBI

    • Fiona says...

      Thank you for this, I HATE flying and also fly all the time for work – I’m going to try the beauty routine for sure – i also found stupid games or puzzles to be really helpful (easy sudoku, or dots on my phone) keep my head occupied enough to allow me to relax a little on flights – i also found keeping my hands busy (finger weaving, coloring) made a huge difference – good luck!

  24. I love this post. I can never sleep on planes. I’m enjoying reading what’s working for people in the comments.

  25. jaclyn says...

    DO! I love mine. I never travel without it.

    • jaclyn says...

      ANNNDDDD i just use the crappy U ones. I also bring a large blanket scarf (BLARF) for either keeping warm or rolling into a ball for extra support if im by the window. AND I SLEEP LIKE A TINY PUPPY BABY. No RX required.

  26. Sandy says...

    I bought and tried the TRTL with great anticipation—I found it tight and claustrophobic, the velcro was loud and snaggled my scarf in my bag. Not for me I guess…still on the hunt!

  27. Christina Harger says...

    I love my Trtl! That + a Xanax + an aisle seat and I’m all set! :)

  28. Mamie says...

    My husband and I purchased two “Daydreamers” for a recent trip to Europe and neither one of us slept a wink on both intercontinental flights. I even medicated myself and didn’t sleep. I would have been better off sitting straight up in my seat, mouth agape.

  29. I only bring travel pillows on especially long flights, I have one kind of like the hot dog one except mine still snaps in front of my face. I really like it because it gives much more neck support than the traditional travel pillow.

  30. Diana McNeill says...

    I love my Huzi!

  31. Amy says...

    The real trick for me is a window seat! Lean against the wall, curl my feet up and wedge them against the side of the plane…and sleep from pre-take off to landing. If I’m feeling really off and need more comfort-I always bring a scarf and use it as a pillow against the wall of the plane.

  32. These are hilarious – that ostrich looks like some kind of video game character or something! I JUST gave my travel pillow away yesterday – it was a traditional smushy neck pillow and it wasn’t really helping me on trips, only adding to my neck pain. Will have to check out some of these other solutions!

  33. Cazmina says...

    Oh my goodness that Ostrich pillow is hilarious! It reminds me of those old-school diving helmets.
    I like to travel light, so I have an inflatable U-shaped pillow; you can get them for about $5 on Amazon. It’s not world-changing, but it helps and it only takes a few seconds to inflate and deflate.
    I’ve travelled some looong trips (20+ hours) and I always choose an aisle seat, so that I can get up to pee or stretch whenever I want because I get restless. The problem is I have more than once found myself flopped over into the aisle before, saliva dribbling down my chin. Flight attendants must see the funniest stuff.

    • Taylor says...

      I have the same style. I like that it doesn’t take up any space in my carry on. I usually go for a window seat though- I hate having to get up for other people to go pee once I’m asleep, plus I’m terrible at hydrating and rarely need to pee. We did a flight from the Midwest-Australia and that pillow was great. That and an ambient 8-9hrs before touchdown in Melbourne:)

  34. Twyla says...

    I have a cool little trick using my hoodie that I discovered out of desperation on a 19 hour bus trip in Peru. I take the hood part and put it behind my head – the weight of my head sort of keeps it up against the headrest. Then the rest of the hoodie lays over one shoulder and onto my chest/stomach. I cross my arms over it keeping it tight against me, then the fabric goes taught against my cheek – creating sort of a sling for my head. It works well if your seat is slightly reclined and you don’t move around too much.

  35. Megan says...

    A few years ago (pre-children) my husband and I flew to Japan. I was dreading the uncomfortable and very long flight. We purchased neck braces in advance, like the ones people wear after a car accident. We looked completely ridiculous but they worked wonderfully and they were very inexpensive. I still have them packed away for a future adventure.

  36. aga says...

    So funny! The last one actually seems quite practical! and looks sooooo cool!
    I never take one because i never to have enough room in my carry-on. Since I live in Toronto and usually travel in the winter, I always just fashion a head support contraption out of all the layers I have with me – sweaters, scarf, hat… and coat serves as a blanket!

  37. Eleanor says...

    This is my go-to: http://www.sleeperscarf.com/about/. So nice to wear it as a scarf as I always get cold on planes so it’s a neck pillow/blanket/stylish scarf all in one.

  38. Andrea says...

    I’m not a fan of travel pillow, but I will never, ever fly without my SEA BANDS! I typically will feel queasy just reading a book title in the car but not with sea bands. You have to put them on before you’re queasy for them to work so I wear them preemptively in case of turbulence.

  39. Oh my gosh, the facecradle is the one that seems like it could actually work for me (I never feel securely leaned enough against something, or jerk awake) but I would be WAY too embarrassed to use it ? I have a hard time sleeping on planes and even on a 17 hour direct flight will usually only get a little nap.

  40. Laurel says...

    If I saw anyone using some of the strange pillows like the daydreamer or ostrich, they would definitely be fodder for Instagram shenanigans!

  41. judy says...

    No time for vowels–bahahahaha!

    • Talia says...

      I laughed out loud!

  42. Naomi says...

    Love this post! I just traveled to Tokyo and I also bought an inflatable foot rest so that my short legs wouldn’t cramp up from not touching the ground!

  43. NO WAY! Get out of my brain — I was just ordering myself a TRTL yesterday because if I get on one more plane unprepared for a nap I am going to be so disappointed in myself!

  44. Heather says...

    I need to get that ostrich pillow for my toddlers. They always fall asleep in their bike seats and I worry about their little heads flopping around while I’m biking.

    • judy says...

      Please post photos :-)

    • Robin says...

      Omg how great would that be. So tempted to get one for my son! I can’t imagine being able to talk him into wearing it though ;(

  45. Scarlett says...

    The ostrich is just cracking me up. I always thought that the people who turned their tray tables into a pillow were so smart! What a great idea! Until I tried it and realized I’m too tall to do it, I just don’t fit :(

  46. Laura says...

    I was also a “tough it out” traveler until this year when we traveled to South Africa. A 15 hour flight demands sleep at some point. We brought both the Trtl and a neck pillow with a little lip on the top that lets you put your face down onto it on top of the table. Both worked great — my husband swears by the Trtl and I loved having a way to lay forward on the table. (Plus bleach wipes to clean it first :-) ). The FaceCradle also looks like my jam, and I would totally consider it for a future super long flight!

  47. I think that ostrich pillow works like the table top pillow as well? Not sure. I bring my super soft scarf. I can catnap but never sleep for long stretches. I try, but I’m too excited to get where I’m going. I always read a book or two!

    • Andrea says...

      Yes, if you lay (lie?) your head on a table you put your hands in those holes at the top. Don’t own one but I saw it advertised a couple years ago.

  48. I was nodding along, wondering if I was missing something…Until I got to the OstrichPillow (reminds me of one of those old-school diving helmets) and the Nod Pod (looks oddly similar to head gear). LOL.

  49. Anne says...

    If the original ostrich pillow looks a bit much (it did to me at least!), I’d recommend the ostrich pillow light. It’s cheaper, super light and soft, and (bonus!) doubles as an eye mask. I’ve used it for several years now and love it. I can’t travel without it!

  50. Kristiana says...

    Literally, this post MADE my day. Could not. stop. laughing. Even screenshot and sent to a few people. Loved this post.

  51. txilibrin says...

    I have to honestly tell you trtl are the best! It takes no space in the bag, and the fleece is super soft. It might seem too tight, but given that the planes are usually cold, you no longer need to bring a scarf (which I used to do!).
    Go for it!!!!!!!!! (And no, I don’t get paid for saying this!)

  52. Heidi says...

    Is it weird that I want my entire body supported on both sides like a giant hot dog? This post is hilarious. Also, that first photo of Melissa McCarthy is so perfect.

  53. Sarah says...

    I think I’ll try the Trtl! I needed a new eye mask anyway since I left mine in my hotel on my last business trip, might as well try a new neck pillow too. Any recommendations for cozy wrap/cardigans for airplane travel, too? I remember seeing one a while ago that looked so cozy, maybe it was cashmere? But I can’t seem to find it now.

    • Taylor says...

      White and Warren cashmere travel scarfs- I splurged on one 6yrs ago and still travel with it. It’s part of my ‘travel uniform’. Cuyana has some great wraps I’ve been eyeing but haven’t pulled trigger. Good luck!

  54. Wow! I’ve never seen these other ones. I always feel so bad for the person who tries to make their tray table a bed without a pillow. The Pilates teacher inside me cringes at the shape your spine has to make.

    My fiancé and I swear by the
    https://www.target.com/p/cabeau-memory-foam-travel-pillow/-/A-23941474

    Its like the traditional neck pillow but higher edges so when your head falls to the side it supports it, and it has clasps in the front to keep it snug. My fiancé is the type that falls asleep before the attendants start their talk. I on the other hand truly struggle to find a comfortable spot. This pillow has made it a little easier.

    But man, that ostrich pillow, I love it!

    • molly says...

      also a cabeau fan!

  55. Christina says...

    So funny. We just bought Muji’s travel pillows for our flight from Tokyo to Boston. The kids are getting our cast offs.

  56. I love these – I can;t sleep on the plane without one. xxx

  57. eliot says...

    In preparation for a trip to India this summer (in India right now actually), I purchased Travelrest’s pillow. It was fantastic for my 28 hour journey. You can secure it to your seat so it doesn’t move around and when you’re finished sleeping, simply deflate it and it takes up very little room in your carry-on. Highly recommended!

  58. I regularly fly from Melbourne to Montreal (that’s at least 22 hours in the air!) and have started bringing my favourite pillow from home. I seal it up in a space bag (and suck out all the air with my vacuum cleaner) so it fits in my carry-on through security, unpack it when I first board, and lean against the window (I always get a window seat). When you fly for huge stretches of time, you develop little routines and tricks that make it bearable!

  59. Ilaria says...

    I love the ostrich pillow!

  60. For trips under 8 hours, no way.
    When I go to the U.S., it takes a minimum of 24 hours, involving 1.5 hours in the car to get to the airport, plus three flights with layovers that can last who knows how long. I use only blow-up pillows that I can fold away. No walking around like a toddler with a lovey.
    The pillows are useful for holding your head straight so it doesn’t fall down and jerk you awake or leave you with a stiff neck. Also good for passengers on long car trips.

  61. Lo says...

    I always like the IDEA of neck pillows but have never found one tall enough to actually support my head – I end up stacking two on top of each other, which looks just as silly as the Ostrich one! Therefore, I tend to rely on balled up jackets or my hubby’s shoulder.

    Lo
    http://www.themixtures.com

  62. keri says...

    I am completely sold on the Trtl

  63. Some of those pillows look like they would annoy the people sitting behind you like the face cradle. I know that if someone had straps wrapped around my screen stopping me from watching all the free movies I want, I would be seriously annoyed!!!

  64. Travelrest gets my vote! lol.

  65. Thank you for sharing this :) I don’t really use a travel pillow but, I’m honestly so shocked by all the different variations!! It’s crazy – Who knew there’s so many versions of a travel pillow. I like the look of the Ostrich pillow, it looks like the cosiest and it kinda makes your sleeping private. I’ll definitely be investing for my next flight :)

    Have a great week!

    Chloe @ https://girllgonerogue.blogspot.co.uk/

  66. Anna says...

    The ostrich pillow is hilarious! Really made me laugh.

    My husband, son and I decided to try the travel pillow (finally) on a long long multi-leg trip from Quebec City back to Sydney a couple of years ago. We got micro-bead traditional U-shaped ones, but sadly none of us found them very comfortable.

    That said, I’m really intrigued by the one that looks like a big hug!

  67. Rose says...

    I’m a flight attendant and recently just had a passenger in my first row use that “facecradle”. It was the first time any of us on the crew had ever seen it and we had to pause the safety demo several times because we couldn’t stop laughing. It looked like a toilet seat! Very inventive however!

  68. I bought the Therm-a-Rest from a recommendation from the Hippie in Heels blog, and I have to say, it is pretty amazing!! It rolls up nice and tight so saves room but when you take it out it fluffs up so much.

    I have used it on several overnight flights and it’s my best friend. I will never buy those U-shaped pillows ever again!

    That OstrichPillow gave me a laugh ;)

    • Tracey says...

      What size Therm-a-Rest pillow would you recommend for travel?

  69. Tracy says...

    I giggled when I saw the Ostrichpillow, but I laughed much harder imagining multiple people wearing them at once. I want to wear one on Halloween when I give out candy. I travel very frequently for work and I’m not someone who can sleep on a plane, but I’ll be hoping to see these. Thank you!

  70. Glenn says...

    I’m a head-bobber. U-shaped pillows never worked for me; the pillow would either fall off or my head would find its way to the opening. I found a Re-Leaf in a travel store – it looks like a neck brace. But no more bobbing followed by a sore neck.

    I might be willing to try a trtl to see if it has enough support. Otherwise, after attempting to install a Cares travel harness (which has a part that goes over the seat) for my 2 yr old, I decided anything that attaches to the seat requires way too much negotiation with surrounding passengers and, of course, is never as easy to install as the instructions make it seem.

  71. Van says...

    Travel pillow is a must! The headrest on planes are awfully designed so I can never find the right head position.
    My go to is the microbead pillow from Muji. It’s flexible and can be molded to your sleep position // can also be a mini body pillow since it’s long (you turn it into the u-shape with the clip). It also has a removable, washable cover and is super light.
    Didn’t mean to advertise this pillow but it’s so good. I’ve turned my entire (extended) family into users.

  72. Nicole says...

    The Ostrich Pillow set off a full-blown giggle fit over here. ) I can’t stop.) That is truly incredible. As someone who has a fear of flying though, I completely agree with the “whatever works” approach. If that monstrosity works, more power to the brave soul who dons it in public!

    For other commenters who have a fear of flying, I recently managed a flight from LA to Tokyo (and then back again) by way of the following formula: First, begin watching a movie BEFORE take-off for ultimate distraction. Then, post-movie, noise-cancelling headphones + Calm app (set to the “home screen” for ambient noise) + eye mask + Huzi Infinity Pillow. I know every case of anxiety is completely different, but blocking out noise and light worked really well for me, so I just wanted to share in case that’s helpful at all to anyone else who struggles with flying.

    • Kristiana says...

      I had a full on LAUGH fest going on, Nicole! Towards the ostrich pillow. Dying over here!

  73. Gretchy says...

    I travel (10+ hour flights) at least once per year and have gotten into the habit of always wearing a scarf (more versatile than an eye mask to cover my face) and my favorite pillow from my bed. My husband still rolls his eyes when I grab my pillow before a long trip… anywhere.

  74. I just travel with three little kids. That way I don’t get to rest at all, and voila! No need to pack a pesky travel pillow ?

    Seriously, though, my three year old has a terrible time sleeping on car trips because his neck hurts. Anyone have travel pillow suggestions for kids? Cramming stuffed animals next to his head didn’t help. Ha.

    • Capucine says...

      Yes! This! Travel with small children and you’ll never need a travel pillow again!

      That said, in all our long long loooong flights, I’ve never seen anyone using any of these.

      Ostrich pillow for the win. My kids would love to see THAT next to them.

    • Van says...

      Check you the Microbead pillows from Muji. You can use it as a u-shape pillow when clipped or as a long, mini body pillow when unclipped. Also has a removable, washable cover.

    • Sara says...

      We found some pretty cute travel pillows on Etsy for our kids! And when our daughter wasn’t using it for snoozing, she’s put in on her lap to hold up her book!

    • I got these for road trips with our 3 and 5 year old and they worked pretty well–we always drive through the night to make it a little quicker. They weren’t hard to install, but it was kinda tricky to get them fitted just right. Worth the trouble though! I made them eye masks and put lavender oil on them, and they pretty much sleep the whole night. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J242BLK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s01?ie=UTF8&th=1

  75. Jill Sergison says...

    I flew over 100 hrs (coach) over 4 weeks this spring (consecutive trips to India and Kenya) and it doesn’t seem like any of these would have helped.
    I would have loved that ostrich one though bc the flight attendants (or your seat mates) would definitely leave you alone!

  76. Gretchen says...

    AMAZING POST! Hahaha

  77. Em says...

    I do quite a few overnight travels and almost always bring a U-shaped pillow. If I could choose any of the above, though, I’d definitely get the ostrich. I have zero shame when it comes to comfort on public transport. I’m that person curled up under a blanket with a pillow, surrounded by snacks. The ostrich would just take it to the next level.

  78. Pierce says...

    this is TOO MUCH lol. Unless you are flying more than 5 hrs, no need. get a crappy inflatable one on amazon for six dollars.

  79. Hima says...

    I bought my husband and myself inflatable travel pillows for a vacation to Thailand. They were awesome and so convenient as they packed easily into our backpacks, easy to inflate, and comfortable. We pack them now for all of our flights. http://amzn.to/2rZQAr1

  80. Rachel Simmons says...

    That ostrich pillow INSTANTLY made me feel claustrophobic!

  81. Jessica says...

    I have the Trtl! I’m a lifetime never-sleeper on planes, but I actually got some good sleep with the Trtl. I forgot it on the next trip I went on and was VERY annoyed.

  82. Kate says...

    Lexi I’m dying over here – this was a hilarious (and very informative!) post. “Supports your head like a giant hot dog”, “…doesn’t even have time for vowels”, hahahaha. Can’t say I’m looking to add any of them to my Amazon cart but still a very funny read :)

  83. Em says...

    I used to travel without anything and just do the window lean because all pillows I found were embarrassing and bulky. Check out the Bullrest, it’s tiny and comfortable.

  84. Katie says...

    I love my neck pillow so much I sleep with it in my bed at home! Definitely not cute, but I sleep like a rock.

  85. B says...

    That ostrich pillow! Too funny. Would you ever consider doing a post on fear of flying? I am in that boat, sadly, and I’d love to know what has worked for other people! Thanks for all of the work that you do. So many ladies I know, myself included, love this blog!

  86. Vanessa says...

    Tip for droolers: bring a surgical mask. You’ll look at worst a germ-phobe (and at best, a really considerate person with flu) and bonus: you don’t get that dry throat feeling that comes with too much air conditioning. I have a cloth face mask that I throw into the wash after.

  87. This is soooo hilarious! I am a terrible flyer – I mean, gripping-the-armrest-and-praying-terrible. So when my husband and I went on our honeymoon overseas (a 15 hour flight!!!) I absolutely bought one of those expensive memory foam Cabeau pillows and it saved my life… Now my recipe for any flights over 4 hours is: an eye mask, neck pillow, relaxing playlist, shoes off and Dramamine. I look like a deranged person on the flight and I always miss the in-flight drink but I give zero CRAPS because it’s better than motion sickness and a sore neck!

  88. katie says...

    I’m a huge travel pillow connoisseur. I had (and my H sadly lost) the TravelRest and we both loved it. I just bought the Trtl for a very long trip (about 48 hours flying time total) and liked it, but didn’t love it. It keeps you warm and is good if you’re in a middle or aisle seat, but overall I’d prefer the TravelRest, even though it has a very phallic shape when inflated, haha.

  89. Cait says...

    As someone who travels a lot to Africa for work, I have come up with my perfect formula for surviving epic flights in ecomomy class (when I lived in Rwanda it would take me 27+ hours to get back to the US).

    1. Neck pillow, I currently use a fleece u-shaped one that unzips and unrolls into a fleece blanket (too small to really be useful as a blanket, but I like that it is washable). I’m eagerly awaiting an Ostrich Pillow Go that I ordered off Kickstarter.
    2. Bucky 40 blinks eye mask (lovingly referred to in my family as the eye bra)
    3. Simply Sleep OTC sleep aid (essentially Tylenol PM without the Tylenol)
    4. Bose noise cancelling earbuds (best Christmas gift I ever received)
    5. Refillable waterbottle so I can rehydrate when I wake up.

    If I’m flying on Ethiopian airlines where they wake you up every 2 hours to feed you a lousy meal, then I also have some adhesive nametags and a marker so that I can stick a do not disturb note on my headrest.

    My goal is to sleep through as much of the flight as possible, so I have a chance of feeling human on arrival. I am fully aware that I look totally insane, but I couldn’t care less. I’ve actually had people comment on how envious they are that I could get so much sleep.

    • i have what my boyfriend refers to as the face bra, i’m pretty sure it’s the same as your eye bra. but is that thing not amazing? nary a speck of light gets in, and that’s all that matters!
      b

  90. Zoe says...

    I actually own and use the Ostrich pillow. I received it as a White Elephant gift and on my last oversees trip I thought “Why not try it, if I hate it I toss it.” and…I freakin’ loved it. The Ostrich pillow is a blanket, eyeshield and a 360 degree pillow all in one. My mom borrowed it last month for her trip to France and she loved it so much she bought her own. Sure I get looks and people comment but I sleep in total comfort so I don’t care.

  91. Paige says...

    I LOLed at the FaceCradle, then LLLOOOLLLLLed at the Ostrich.

    I hope I get to see these on a plane soon.

  92. Katie says...

    Some of these are hilarious. I have always been in the “tough it out” category but maybe I should rethink that. On a long flight once I woke up to the stranger next to me putting her rolled up airplane blanket around my neck — I thought she was strangling me! I must have been bobbing my neck around awkwardly in my sleep…

    • Rachel Simmons says...

      L.O.L.!!!!!

    • Savannah says...

      Hysterical. Kind stranger but an odd thing to do.

    • Rucha says...

      “I thought she was strangling me” Hahahahaha!
      I laughed out loud at work when I am supposed to be working on a code ;)

      Thanks for the laugh Katie!

    • Scarlett says...

      That’s actually pretty cute… other than the initial fear of getting strangled. x)

  93. Kara says...

    People who can sleep on a plane without some sort of pillow (my husband of course) should consider themselves BLESSED and refrain from judging those who need them! (You’re probably also those people who fall asleep within minutes of your head hitting the pillow…) There’s no way I’m getting any sleep with nothing or a scrunched up sweatshirt or pashmina that constantly comes un-scrunched.

    I did inflatable for awhile, and though I appreciated the small size, it was never very comfortable. I have the Trtl now. It’s definitely better than the traditional u-shaped pillow but still not the perfect solution for me. The Travelrest and Daydreamer are intriguing–I wish there was some way I could rent to try!

  94. I really like the My Pillow travel pillow. It rolls up easily and fits into the bottom of my backpack and can be puffed and flattened a million different ways to suit various sleeping positions. Not to mention, the whole thing can be easily washed and dried! I have even used it to supplement flat pillows at hotels and airBnBs.

    Infomercial product for the win!

  95. Amy says...

    “Apparently [the Trtl] helps you fall asleep so quickly there isn’t even time for vowels.” – hahaha

    I think I’d try the Sky Siesta, if anything. I’ve only been on one flight longer than four hours, and I was 19 and didn’t know what it was like to feel sore yet ;)

  96. LO -freekin L….so funny

  97. M says...

    I am a deeply uncomfortable flyer. I bought a neck pillow but it was not good. I took two Sominex — also not good. I slept poorly and looked like a zombie afterward. Ugh.

  98. Maggie says...

    I used to make fun of people who used travel pillows, until my brother gave me one. It’s purple and in the shape of a cat–ridiculous as it gets. BUT I LOVE IT. I take it everywhere. The best part is when the tail brushes my neighbor.

    • Rachel says...

      Hahahaha!

    • Kristiana says...

      DEAD.

  99. Irina says...

    Some of these pillows are hilarious! We have a traditional U-shaped pillow don’t use it often because we rarely fly and when we do, we always have too much carry-on stuff so the pillow stays home. In fact, the last time I used it was not on a plane but on a long car ride. It probably wouldn’t be a good option for the driver as they would not be able to move their head quickly enough to keep an eye on the road with the pillow around their neck, but it was sure nice to use it as a passenger. As for sleeping on the plane, I am lucky to be small enough that I can actually lay my head on my tray table, on top of my folded arms – that is, if the person in front of me does not recline their seatback. As someone who normally sleeps on my belly, it’s pretty much the only way I can fall asleep on a plane.

  100. Amanda W. says...

    I have the Travelrest pillow and used it for an overnight trip to London. I thought it was great, and would definitely use it again. I was able to get comfortable enough to catch a little shut-eye. It folds up easily into a bag so you’re not carrying a large pillow around the airport, and blows up quickly once you’re in your seat. I highly recommend it.

  101. Steph F. says...

    OMG! I bought the Travelrest pillow years ago for an 18hr flight to South Africa and have used it on every international flight since!! You may look funny at first but I promise you you’ll be the envy of everyone around you (mocking fiance’s included) when you’re sleeping soundly! I also pair it with the Travelrest 4-in-1 travel blanket and could not be happier!!!

  102. Tyler says...

    Tried the trtl on a long haul flight and it didn’t really work for me. It wasn’t angled enough. I did purchase a foot rest however that hangs off your tray table and that helped me sleep immensely. I hate trying to sleep with my feet just dangling on the floor, elevating them feels cozier.

    • Ana says...

      I’m short and have the same problem. I can’t sleep because my feet aren’t solidly on the ground. So I use my under-the-seat bag as a footrest! I’ve found a small piece of luggage that’s the perfect height to rest my feet on and fits under the seat and it helps me sleep SO MUCH

    • Stephanie says...

      Can you share details of your footrest gizmo? I’ve been searching for one! Thank you!

  103. Laura says...

    I use a traditional U-shaped foam pillow and I like it. I could be persuaded to try the Trtl, though. I would want to escape from the ostrich pillow.

  104. shannon says...

    As a side sleeper and someone who travels light, the Travelrest pillow looks like a winner! I like the idea of a pillow that inflates so it doesn’t take up tons of space in the carry-on. But let’s be honest…I’ll probably just keep using my scrunched-up sweater.

  105. hahahaha can you IMAGINE strapping yourself into some of these?! if i looked over and saw someone’s head in a sling, i would be concerned! and the ostrich…why?!?! who would wear that in public!? i’m seriously dying over here. i feel like i’m being punk’d.
    anyway, real talk. i never had a travel pillow and always thought they made you instantly look like a midwest tourist (the midwest isn’t bad–i’m from there–but you know what i’m talking about: bright white sneakers, too-big suitcase, fanny pack). finally though, i found one at muji i thought was cute (http://sleep.muji.net/) and i’ve found it so useful outside of just sleeping. i can unclip it and make it into a pseudo body pillow, or i can use it as lower back support. plus i can take the cover off and wash it. i really like it. sometimes i even use it at home!

    • Angela says...

      I am cackling over this. I’m also from the Midwest and traveled once with some (considerably older) friends and my then-fiancé to Eastern Europe, and my fiancé and I were like, “We cannot be seen near them. We are going to get mugged.” Lol So touristy!

    • OMG YES about the bright white sneakers hahahahaha!!! I am from Missouri and I always notice people wearing white chunky sneakers at the airport. Whhhhhy??

      Also, I have that exact same Muji pillow! I use it on the airplane and at the hotel, Airbnb, etc. It doesn’t really help me sleep on the plane, but it is very versatile and comfy.

  106. Maura says...

    Your opening Bridesmaids image makes me so, so, so happy. :)
    And I’m tempted to try the Trtl—I recently bumped into an ad for it and love how inconspicuous it is!

  107. shahnnen elizabeth-head says...

    Trtl! I travel a lot and love it! Cannot recommend it enough!

  108. Jessica Hitchcock says...

    This post made me laugh! Now I’m waiting for comments from readers who have actually tried them. I secretly want someone to say the ostrich pillow is the way to go. Because nothing would give me more joy than to see the proliferation of ostrich pillows on my next redeye.

  109. I’m the awkward, tuck-my-knees-up-to-my-face, cozy-up-to-the-window-or-the-person-next-to-me (God forbid I don’t get a window seat), borrow-my-husband’s-jacket, sleep-until-I-jump-myself-awake kind of traveler. People just love flying with me.

  110. Suzy says...

    I’m a fan of the Trtl! I’d never owned a travel pillow but decided to try it for flights to and from Europe last summer and while my husband was mildly embarrassed to sit next to me, I do think it helped me sleep. We traveled with carry-on backpacks only and I never had a problem fitting it in my bag, even with the plastic insert.

  111. Kate says...

    Some of those are hilarious but would be annoying on a long flight! Especially sitting next to someone with that ostrich thing! Lol. I can not fly long haul – 12+ hours – without my travel pillow, but it has to be inflatable so I don’t have to carry that thing around.

  112. Lily says...

    Laughing through this whole post! The pillows are good solutions but lord I would feel shy wearing some of them!

  113. Ashley says...

    I actually just bought a traditional u-shaped neck pillow for a vacation I went on and I have to say, I will never travel without it going forward! From all of my in-transit sleeping experiences I will say it is way more comfortable than a balled up jacket, sweater, travel companion, etc..

  114. I stopped doing a travel pillow because I didn’t know where to put it while going through the airport! But I did start traveling with a fleece blanket. I can roll it up and use it for my neck or lower back or just when I get cold and can stash it in my backpack pretty easily.

  115. Jade says...

    Living in Australia – to Fly pretty much anywhere you end up in transit for a miserable amount of hours ( earlier this year I flew to Florida and was in transit for 30 hours – in August im headed to the UK and will be travelling door to door for around 32 hours) Last year I invested in the travel rest pillow and it is just like a hug. As a side sleeper/pillow hugger it is the most comfy travel pillow I’ve tried and rolls up to be tiny!

  116. Jenny says...

    I just wear a floral zippy sweatshirt with a hood and stuff it with a rolled up pashmina. It doesn’t look especially insane, I can wear the component parts in my travels, and I didn’t have to buy anything. Eye mask and earbuds mandatory for an overnight! I also take off all of my makeup, wash my face before boarding, and put on lots of moisturizer. When I wake up, I spritz with Keihl’s cactus flower and tibetan ginseng mist (in the bathroom, so I don’t foist my scent on others) and brush my teeth.

    • Mrs Z says...

      The water on the plains is very bacteria infected, I’ve read don’t brush your teeth on the flight & don’t even wash your hands – use the wipes

  117. This is too funny. I’ve never been one for a travel pillow, but I have been known to take my king sized, feather pillow from my bed at home onto flights… it’s nice to have to have a big squishy soft thing that you can jam into the uncomfortable parts of the seat… and then if the seat next to you is vacant, you’re dreaming :-)

  118. Meg says...

    I think I would pee my pants laughing if I saw someone wearing an OstrichPillow on my next flight. SAY IT AIN’T SO!

    • Ellen says...

      Agreed! That said, I could almost see my 16 year old son going for it in part for that reason.

  119. Lo says...

    I love the Comfy Commuter pillow. It was designed by women (with an actual airplane chair), and it has a little “shelf” for your head so you don’t nod forward. It sort of locks you in, but it keeps your head upright, so it’s the best option I’ve tried. Also made in USA!

  120. Alisa says...

    For a moment, I thought this post was an April’s Fool prank, but it’s June so…. I guess it’s real? WTF is that FaceCradle? Anyway. I just returned from Asia and I saw my fair share of travel pillows, but I just could not justify lugging one around with me (I was travelling light; carry on only!). I made do by scrunching up my hoodie and scarf.

    • Jillian says...

      I thought the same thing! “What’s the date today?”
      I thought the ostrich was hilarious, but then I saw the smile on the lady in the sling and I completely lost it. She can’t possibly be that happy. So funny, ladies. Thanks!

    • Kristiana says...

      Alisa – literally had every same reaction you did.
      Laughing still!

  121. Stella Hildebrandt says...

    No I don’t… I fly transatlantic a few times a year with my toddler in tow and I prefer to travel light. That ostrich pillow gives me claustrophobic feelings, ugh!

  122. Mimi says...

    I have wasted my money on so many travel pillows having left them all around the world in hotel rooms or airport lounges that I finally gave up and now just use a balled up sweater or my boyfriend’s arm. Works just the same.

  123. Allyson says...

    I used to be a devout anti-travel pillow person but I bit the bullet and bought a super-soft INFLATABLE travel pillow. The inflatability (I think I just made up a word?) means you can discreetly carry it around in your bag until it’s socially acceptable to use it (aka when the lights dim on the plane) and also let’s you adjust the firmness. It’s life-changing for someone who finds herself on overnight flights more than once a year.

    • Di says...

      I agree. An inflatable pillow makes all the difference. Much easier to carry!

  124. Isabelle says...

    The Trtl pillow is kind of bouncy, really like it, but the Infinite pillow is just a dream, you can wrap it around different ways

  125. Louise says...

    On my most recent Delta flight, the headrest was maneuverable to make customized in seat head support. No toting your own travel pillow! Such a genius idea, and i wondered why no one had thought of this any sooner!

    • Jen says...

      The majority of seats on commercial planes have moveable headrests in two ways: first the headrest can usually slide up a few inches if you’re taller and then those side pieces can pull in a little closer to lean on while you snooze.

      On older plans and depending on the design it can be nearly impossible to see that they do this unless you already know (or spy someone else moving their’s around). I first saw it about 10 years ago on a United Flight and since then every flight I’ve been on with the exception of those small express planes) do it! It should be listed more on those “things you never knew you never knew” posts.

  126. Oh my gosh. I could not stop laughing. I know all these pillows probably make people so much more comfortable during flights, but THE OSTRICH PILLOW! THE NOD POD! THE DAYDREAMER! I can’t handle it…

    • Sabrina Izaguirre says...

      Too funny! Best post ever…