Six Tips for Choosing a Travel Pillow
By Brian Acton
Travel pillows are an important accessory for any trip, but they’re frequently overlooked. Too often, you may find yourself frantically digging through your closet or stopping at the airport convenience shop when you realize you need one.
But choosing the wrong pillow can lead to poor sleep, neck pain, or back pain. Picking the right travel pillow requires some thought and consideration.
Here are six tips for choosing the right travel pillow.
- Define Your Needs
If you want a pillow to use as you sleep on the plane, train, or in the car, a neck pillow
is probably the right choice. But if you need a pillow for bed (hotels in particular have notoriously flat, unsupportive pillows) you’ll want a portable pillow
that recreates how you sleep at home. The right pillow for you depends on your specific needs.
- Use a Trusted Brand
Ideally, the pillow you use in your bed at home is comfortable and provides proper support to your head and neck. If you already have a brand of pillow you’re very happy with, you should check out that brand’s travel pillow products. There’s no guarantee you’ll love their travel pillow as much as their normal pillow, but at least you’ll be working with a brand that has a proven track record.
- Choose a Pillow You Can Wash
Traveling can be rough on your things. Choose a pillow with simple, easy washing instructions so you can give it a good cleaning when you get back from your trip.
- Choose the Right Material
Pillows come in all types of materials, but the most common options are foam and fiber. Foam pillows are firm and contour to the shape of your body, adjusting as you move during sleep. On the downside, foam pillows tend to retain heat and can get hot as you sleep.
Fiber pillows emulate down pillows, are often quite comfortable, and sleep cooler than foam pillows. However, they don’t contour to your body as well as foam.
Pay attention to the pillow’s material and pick the option that’s right for you.
Do Your Research
Know any frequent travelers? Get their opinions on the best pillows to buy. The Internet is also full of reviews for most pillow brands. If you’re really stuck, try some pillows out in the store.
- Check the Return Policy
It’s hard to gauge the quality and effectiveness of a pillow online or in the store. Make sure to pick a pillow with a solid return policy, as you’ll likely need some road testing to determine if it’s the right pillow for you. If you decide it’s not the best fit, you’ll be able to return it without any hassle.