A small pillow can be difference between a relaxing jaunt or an uncomfortable journey —this you already know. But, which pads are perfect for you? We tested a slew of them and came up with four of the best travel pillows that get the job done, pack down well, and won’t make you look too awkward in transit.
Size: (inflated) 21″ x 11.5″ x 4″ (packed) about the same size of a Starbucks Grande iced coffee.
Weight: 12 oz.
Best For: Camping, brief backpacking, car, airplane
Why we love it: Comfort. Compact. Stout. All things a travel pillow should be. Under the microsuede cover, it has i-beam baffles that let you nuzzle and it’s base is made from memory foam so your head sinks in just like a regular pillow. Yes it inflates, and for over a year, ours has never leaked. Its pack bag is built into cover and the outer shell is completely machine washable. Our only complaint? The mouthpiece for inflation is pretty exposed so you may want some disinfecting wipes if you’re using it on an airplane.
Price: $44.95 to $49.95
Size (Medium) 19″ x 14″ x 5″ (large) 21″ x 17″ x 5″ (packed) about the size of a Red Bull can.
Weight: 5.1 oz. to 6.5 oz.
Best For: Airplanes, backpacking, camping, car
Why we love it: Germaphobes rejoice! When this pillow releases in January 2016, it will come with patent-pending technology that enables you to blow it up without ever having to put your mouth on a valve (or having to use a pump). How so? There’s a one way opening that looks like an oversized balloon opening (mouth goes inside, never touching the outside) and then seals like a dry bag. It’s not the most comfortable pillow we’ve tried, but if you leave it half full it’s a lot better than most, and yes, it holds the air. Bonus: It could easily become a floaty, should you land in water.
Size 10″ x 7″ x 4″ (packed) It doesn’t really pack down.
Weight: 12 oz.
Best For: Car, airplanes, camping
Why we love it: In a word: Style. But also because it’s made from a silky English fabric with a resilient synthetic filling (which makes it dry fast). It may not pack down, but its the smallest of our lot and we had no problem stuffing into our carry on.
Size: 9.5″ x 10″ in x 5″ (packed) 4.5″ x 5.5″
Weight: 11.6 oz.
Best For: Airplanes
Why we love it: It’s hideous to look at, but you’ll be the envy of everyone else, especially if you’re ever stuck in the middle seat. That’s because this is one of the only neck supporting pillows that actually works. The memory foam supports your neck and head no matter what direction you turn it. Plus, it actually packs down pretty well.