People have been trying to make the perfect travel pillow for a long time now so there is a bewildering amount of choice now. You can go for the traditional foam pillow, or microbeads, or inflatable neck pillows, or inflatable body pillows, or even sleep scarfs with stiff inserts for support. There’s a lot of choice.

To help you through this bewildering list of options, we’ve summarised the key things to know about the best travel pillows below.

*All prices listed below are in USD and were as at the latest date the post was last reviewed 

  1. Travelrest inflatable pillow

The Travelrest inflatable pillow has a unique shape with the pillow eschewing the usual wrapped around the neck travel pillow design. This design makes it much more flexible if you’re not a fan of having your neck wrapped up and allows you to use several different options. There is string attached that allows you to fix it in position attached to your seat. We found it perfect for sleeping on planes.

Price – $23.95

Buy the Travelrest inflatable pillow here on Amazon

 2. Cabeau Travel evolution neck pillow

This is the classic style of neck pillow but it is the most comfortable version we’ve used. It’s made with memory foam that is super comfortable and although it isn’t as portable as an inflatable pillow, it comes with a bag and drawstring that can be used to compress the bag to a small enough size it won’t bother you.

Price – $39.99

Buy the Cabeau travel pillow here on Amazon

3. Microbeads Pillow

The microbeads pillow option is good for moulding the pillow to whatever shape you need. It can be used like a neck pillow but equally, you can use it as a normal pillow and arrange it however you prefer. Personally, I find it marginally less comfortable that the Cabeau style neck pillow. Though the general tube style is more flexible and more useful around the house though when not traveling, there are also neck pillow style microbeads options like this one too:

Price – $23.92

Buy the Microbeads Pillow here on Amazon


4. TRTL Sleepscarf

This is one of the more innovative options around. As the name suggests, the sleepscarf looks like a scarf but can be manipulated into a soft but rigid support for your neck. Structured foam and polyester fleece are used to hold your neck a more ergonomic shape than more basic neck pillow options

At only 148 grams, this is one of the best options if you’re short on space and just need some extra neck support when sleeping on a plane.

Price – $29.99

Buy the TRTL Sleepscarf here on Amazon

5. J-Pillow Travel Pillow

British invention of the year in 2013, this is another creative solution to help you get some quality sleep when on the road. The key difference is the J shape fits around your neck snugly to let you lean to your side and sleep without waking up to a stiff neck.

Slightly bulkier to carry around given it isn’t an inflatable option, it does still come with a snap-loop that lets you attach it to your bag when it’s not being used. Another useful feature is that the whole pillow can be thrown in the wash to be cleaned when needed.

Price – $29.95

Buy the J-Pillow on Amazon here 

6. Purefly Travel Pillow Luxuriously Soft Inflatable Neck Pillow

This is another inflatable option but has a few quirks that make it stand out. It has a unique method of inflation (the easy press of a button), a soft, velvet-y cover (machine washable), and a shape that provides further neck support than the straight U shaped varieties.

Price – $19.95

Buy the Purefly travel pillow on Amazon here

So what’s our favourite option?

Currently a toss up between the Travelrest pillow and the J-Pillow but it really does depend on how you are most comfortable sleeping. Wherever possible, try and borrow someone else’s and check if it works for you first before buying.