Last updated: 16/10/2022

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These are cushions specially designed to be used in chairs, specifically those used for long journeys. They have a series of components that allow them to adapt either to the seat or to your neck. They are necessary to avoid developing muscular problems if you travel a lot.

We know what your needs are as a user of all kinds of items. To save you the time of having to do a lot of research on a product, we have compiled the best information for you to make the right choice.




Summary

  • A travel pillow is a sleeping product used during long journeys. They are necessary to prevent muscle problems of various kinds, as well as to keep you comfortable during the journey.
  • They come in two versions: those made as a cushion or neck pillows. The characteristics of each are relative, with the possibility of therapeutic and non-travel uses.
  • The design, weight and padding affect the comfort that the item can offer you. Additional accessories can help you fall asleep by making it easier for you not to pay attention to your surroundings through masks or earplugs.

The best Travel Pillow: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about a travel pillow

Modern life makes long-term travel increasingly necessary. Whether on business or on holiday, mobility is a commodity that has become universal and widely used. Considering you’re likely to need one of these travel pillows, here’s a guide to help you choose the one that’s right for you.

They are necessary for travel, especially by bus (Photo: dolgachov / 123rf.com)

What is a travel pillow?

A travel pillow is a cushion that is designed in a particular way to be used for long journeys. On flights, for example, they are useful for resting comfortably if the duration of the flight is too long. And on car journeys they are required even more.

This is because they can even last for days, if you plan to travel from one end of the country to the other. It can also happen during holidays, e.g. going to the country house or visiting relatives. It is important to have something to make the journey comfortable.

What are the advantages of a travel pillow?

Its advantages are not only related to the fact that it offers a specific comfort. Pillows and their proper use have a direct impact on a person’s health. If sleeping in the wrong position can have negative consequences on your muscles, sleeping while travelling is even worse.

In fact, some pillows of this type are not only used for travel purposes. They can be used for a number of well-known physiotherapies. This is because their shape, which surrounds the neck, helps to position the muscles correctly.

Advantages
  • Helps relieve muscle tension during travel
  • Avoids uncomfortable moments such as falling on other people”s shoulders
  • Prevents neck and back pain
  • They are comfortable and effective
  • They are long lasting
Disadvantages
  • If they are air cushions they can be punctured
  • There are some that are not versatile
  • If damaged they cannot be fixed
  • They are generally small
  • They are difficult to obtain for children”s use

Travel cushion or neck pillow – what should you look out for?

Neither version of this product is objectively better than the other. It depends on how you make your journeys and how you intend to continue making them. On the other hand, it’s worth saying that the features can be related, i.e. you can use one intended for one purpose for another. It depends on the design.

Cushion. These are those that are created following a model that requires a support in the seat. As a general rule, they do not have very complex shapes, resembling a cushion that simply has the particularity of sticking to the chair and of being much smaller than a normal pillow.

For the neck. In this sector there is more diversity. They are extremely mobile, especially if they are inflatable, as they can be retracted to such an extent that they become a kind of ball. To reuse them, they just need to be unwrapped.

Cushion Neck cushion
Therapeutic No Yes
Size Medium-small Large
Mobile No Yes
Materials Polyester, fabric Fabric

How much does a travel pillow cost?

This is a very inexpensive item that has a great virtue, and that is that the monetary value is not directly related to the quality of what you buy. In this way, you can find several that have extremely interesting features, even with additional accessories, at very favourable prices for the consumer.

The cheapest ones can be as low as MXN 177. Between 200 and 250 MXN you will find several U-shaped ones, including some that are air-filled. On the other hand, the costs can even extend up to 470 MXN, where there are various types of cushions and neck cushions.

Those that can be attached to the seat back are usually rectangular in shape (Photo: kasto / 123rf.com)

Purchasing criteria

It is important that you choose the pillow that best suits your requirements. If you make a bad purchase, it is difficult for you to return it or even be interested in doing so after the trip. It is therefore imperative that you know all the details that influence the adaptation of the product to your needs.

Here is a list of all the details that can be observed and that have a direct impact on the characteristics of travel cushions. Pay attention and, if possible, write them down before making your purchase.

Design

The design has two fundamental aspects: what shape the cushion is and what colour it is made in. Both points are directly related, but one of them, of course, is more important than the other. Keep in mind that how the cushion is designed is what can make it more or less comfortable for you.

Depending on its shape. There are many that can even be thematic. The points that most affect the shape are, for example, if you can tie it around the neck, or if it has straps to tie it to the seat, if it is a cushion type. The rest can add things like patterns, styles such as snake or giraffe designs, among others.

Depending on its colour. If you are talking about a baby item, this is more relevant. If it is a little one who will use it, it may be preferable to have one with blue colours if it is a boy or pink if it is a girl. In any case, it will always depend on the user’s taste.

Weight

It is directly related to the material it is made of, both internally and externally. And, although this may seem irrelevant, it should be considered that a product intended to guarantee sleep cannot, and should not, be heavy. Because, in this case, it hinders what is its main purpose: to sleep comfortably.

Almost all manufacturers include the weight of their article, either on the box or on the bag in which it is packaged. If not, it is wise to ask the seller about this section, or even take it in your hand and test it.

Filling

This item tends to have a more diverse range of fillings than other types of pillows. This is due to the fact that it is more complex to fit the user’s comfort when seated than when lying down. Some of the possible contents are as follows:

Balls. These can be made of anime or plastic. They are a very common form of filling, and one of the best. They allow the product to conform more easily to the body contours where the cushion is placed. Their disadvantage is that they are not easy to remove, to wash the cover, and they come out if there are any tears.

Rubber. Also quite well known, this filling is the least recommended. Although it is comfortable and not a nuisance, its disadvantage is that it does not adapt to any body area, it can be uncomfortable and insufficient, and those filled in this way are more rigid and less mobile.

Feathers. These are less and less frequently carried as they are an impractical material. They are needed in large quantities and are very difficult to extract. They are no longer used even in standard sleeping cushions. It is not recommended because it causes allergies.

Air. One of the most practical fillings of all. It is advisable for the user to properly check if the pillow has an automatic valve or if, on the contrary, the inflation must be done by the customer himself by blowing.

They can be used for therapeutic purposes if they completely surround the neck (Photo: Olena Hromova / 123rf.com)

Complementary accessories

It is not common for pillows of any kind to have additional items. But many have them, and they are a great support as some make it easier to rest, especially if it is during a trip. Some of the extras they may have are the following:

Sleeping mask. During flights or car journeys, transports usually have screens showing films or music. In addition, they often leave the lights on for those who need to go to the toilet. The best way to avoid being disturbed by this reality is to wear a mask.

Earplugs. Another annoying consequence of screens, as well as passengers having long conversations, is noise. By making use of these aids you avoid listening to what you are not interested in and you can dedicate yourself to rest without noise interruptions.

Stickers or buttons. The pillow may not specifically adapt to a certain body area depending on its design and filling. But if it has any stickers or buttons to help it stabilise itself on the seat, or to support your neck, it’s a great support.

(Featured image source: Heinteh/ 123rf.com)

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