Buyers guides

8 actually-comfortable travel neck pillows for every type of sleeper

From budget-friendly to splurge-worthy.

Just like a quality carryon bag, earplugs and eye masks, a travel neck pillow is a non-negotiable staple for many travellers on long-haul journeys.

Be your mode of transport a plane, coach bus, or train, this humble pillow makes a very handy companion when it comes to attempting shut eye.

Though, with so many different designs on the market these days, knowing which one to opt for can feel like a quest in itself.

How do I choose a neck pillow for travel?

When it comes to choosing a neck pillow for your travels, there are a few things to consider, such as:

Your sleeping position

Do you sleep on your back, side, or stomach? The Ostrich pillow is great for those who sleep forward on the tray-table or against the chair in front of them – while a classic U-shaped neck pillow works well for those who typically sleep on their backs or sides, for example. Different travel pillows are designed for different sleeping positions.

The type of travel you’re doing

If you’re planning on packing light with minimal luggage, you’ll want to choose a travel pillow that is compressible, lightweight and potentially, inflatable.

Neck support

One of the most important things to look for in a travel pillow is good neck support – the ideal pillow should keep your head and neck in a somewhat neutral position, even when you’re nodding off.

Durability and usability

The pillow should be made of a soft, breathable material, should be easy to adjust to your liking, and should be washable.

8 best travel neck pillows to shop in Australia

From travel neck pillows best for the window seat to the best inflatable neck travel pillow, we round up some of the best neck travel pillows currently on the market to help you snooze soundly up in the sky.

Best travel pillow for neck support

trtl-travel-pillow

Trtl travel pillow in grey, $65.69 (usually $72.99), Trtl

Sleeping soundly on any flight – whether that’s a red-eye or a short domestic flight – will make a world of difference to your travel experience. And that’s why finding a travel neck pillow that supports our neck while we sleep upright is high on the wishlist. This unique travel pillow from Trtl has 1,000,000+ fans and happy customers worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. 

The Trtl travel pillow features an internal support system hidden in its super-soft fleece casing. The strengthened ribs provide scientifically proven head and neck support, and the super-soft fleece and foam are stretched to create a comforting hammock effect. This unique patented design fits any neck shape to ensure the most comfortable sleep possible as you travel.

Key features:

  • Patented internal support system
  • Scientifically-proven head and neck support
  • Adjustable to most upright sleeping positions

Trtl is offering up to 30% off, sitewide until Dec 27.

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Best travel pillow for window seat

j pillow head neck travel pillow

J-Pillow head, chin and neck travel pillow, $100.54, Amazon

Great for sleeping upright, this innovative J-shape travel neck pillow is ideal for window, middle and aisle but particularly the former. A Prestigious British Invention of the Year winner with good reason.

Key features:

  • Chin support to keep head from falling forward
  • Conforms and twists in several positions
  • Handy snap-loop fastener attaching to luggage
  • Machine-washable

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Best memory foam travel neck pillow

globite-travel-neck-pillow

Globite memory foam neck pillow and mask set, $49.95, THE ICONIC

Featuring a limited-edition print, this memory foam neck pillow from Aussie heritage brand Globite brings an old-timey charm to the voyage.

Key features:

  • Contours to body
  • Firm support
  • Snap closure
  • Washable cover
  • Comes with matching reversible eye mask

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Best affordable travel neck pillow

milano travel neck pillow

Milano Decor memory foam travel neck pillow with clip cushion, $29.95 (usually $49), Myer

Retaining its shape while moulding to your neck, head and shoulders, this afforable memory foam travel neck pillow is plush and lightweight.

Key features:

  • Removable wash cover
  • Evenly distributes pressure
  • Comes with a clip
  • 12-month warranty

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Best travel pillow for the tray-table

ostrich travel pillow

Original Ostrich Pillow, $149, Hardtofind

A neck pillow currently doing the viral rounds, this is an immersive design great for long-haul flights and even power napping. A pillow, eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones all in one, it’s no wonder the Ostrich has gained cult-like status.

Key features:

  • Breathing hole
  • Good for stomach sleepers

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Best inflatable travel neck pillow

sea to summit aeros traveller pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros traveller pillow, $64.99, Amazon

Ideal for the backpacker, this neck pillow boasts a lightweight and inflatable design while still supporting the neck and head with its ergonomic shape.

Features:

  • Compact design when deflated
  • Narrowed centre for better fit with seats and headrests
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Adjustable neck closure
  • Soft and stretchy material

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Best convertible travel pillow

Huzi infinity pillow soft travel neck scarf

Huzi infinity pillow soft travel neck scarf, $83.41, Amazon

Perfect for all sleeping positions, this infinity travel pillow is fully adjustable and breathable. Use it for neck and chin support, or as a lumbar or desk pillow. It’s the true MVP of tossers-and-turners.

Key features:

  • Machine-washable
  • Comes in a variety of colourways

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Best bead-filled travel neck pillow

cloudz travel neck pillow

Cloudz microbread travel neck pillow, $42.61, Amazon

If air or memory foam isn’t your gig, a travel neck pillow with microbeads might just be for you.

Key features:

  • Filled with small polystyrene beads for support
  • Snap closure
  • Can be used for lumbar support

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Do travel neck pillows actually work?

Whether or not travel neck pillows work is a matter of personal opinion and individual needs. There is some scientific evidence to suggest that travel neck pillows can help to reduce neck pain and improve sleep quality during long flights but other studies have found that they may not be as effective. If you find that a travel neck pillow is not working for you, ditch it. There are other ways to stay comfortable while snoozing on-the-go, such as leaning against the window or using a regular pillow.

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Lead image: Maskot via Getty.

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