When you travel long distances, one of the first things you’d want to prioritize is your comfort. If your flight will take at least 8 hours, it’ll be nice if you can squeeze in some sleep during so that you don’t have to spend your time of arrival in your hotel room catching up on sleep. However, as expected, sleeping while traveling can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re not flying business class. Because you stay upright, using a neck pillow is a great idea.

A neck pillow can provide enough cushion and support to allow for a comfortable sleep and prevent your neck from any pain as you wake up. Plenty of companies like PineTales provide high-quality travel pillows. Before getting one though, it’s advisable to learn what it is essentially, so you know what to look for when buying and what to do in terms of maintenance.

Neck Pillow For Traveling: Shopping Guide

If you’ve already been eyeing to purchase a neck pillow, reading some quick shopping guides can help you get the best of the best. The last thing you’d want is buying something that costs hundreds of dollars, only to find out that it doesn’t suit your style, forcing you to buy another one. This can be pretty inconvenient and a waste of money, especially if you’re a frequent traveler. To prevent such a mishap, this article lists some valuable tips on how to buy a neck pillow for traveling:

Check The Shape

A travel pillow comes in different shapes and sizes. What most people think of when looking for a travel pillow is a U-shaped cushion that they can wrap around their neck. There are actually more types of pillows that can provide comfort. By knowing the shape options of neck pillows, you can better decide which best fits your travel needs.


Of course, the U-shaped travel pillow is the most popular pillow you’ve seen at airports and train stations. It’s a must-have during road trips. As mentioned above, this type of pillow is something you wrap around your neck and can provide you with needed support from your sides and back. This way, you can easily switch your head position and still get the comfort that your body needs.

Depending on the brand, some can offer them on a stable flat surface, while some can provide more ergonomic support for the back and side, allowing for a more comfortable sleep.  Moreover, plenty of shops offer U-shape pillows in novelty designs, making them adorable and useful at the same time.

Compact Rectangle

Using a compact rectangle or square pillow is the best option if you like things plain and simple. Rectangle cushions like the PineTales neck pillow can be perfect for your travel needs, helping you sleep properly and avoid having a stiff neck during the trip. With this, you won’t need more space or bother other people with a large pillow as you can easily put it on your side or back to comfortably lay your head or support your neck. It can provide you with the prop and ease your body needs—a great option if you plan to travel light while prioritizing relaxation during your journey.


A roll is typically a small cylinder pillow that goes over your neck to provide your body with the right support and maintain a proper posture as you sleep. However, you cannot use this during your flights, as you can only comfortably use the roll when you lay your body flat on any surface. Nonetheless, it’s still a great travel pillow; it’s light and compact, so it doesn’t consume too much space. Just don’t expect any support or comfort to your head seeing that its purpose is to prevent your neck from being in an odd position and keep your body aligned.


If you’re planning to go on a road trip, it’ll be a great idea to use a headrest as your next travel pillow. All you have to do is attach the pillow to the back of your seat, which should help support your head and back during your entire trip. You can attach this to your plane or train seats if they have enough space to tuck them in between. However, this only limits you to lying your head on the back because you won’t have support for the sides of your head.

The neck pillow’s shape is an important role in your travel, as it affects how comfortable and convenient your entire trip can be.

Consider The Portability

Since you’re using a pillow for travel, it’ll be great if it can be as compact and portable as possible. The last thing you want during your trip is to feel inconvenienced for bringing a large travel pillow along with your luggage.

Some U-shaped pillows may offer a strap-on between the neck, so you can easily attach it to your bag. However, this may risk exposure to the public air, which can harbor bacteria. The other options, such as a compact rectangle and roll, are something you can easily snug inside your bag for maximum convenience. You no longer have to worry about carrying your pillow because it’s tucked nicely inside your bag.

Ponder About The Weight

Because you bring your neck pillow with you, it’ll be nice if they are lightweight while still providing the support you need. You wouldn’t want to feel frustrated with how heavy your things are, even if most of them are already checked in. Hence, choosing a lightweight pillow is a great idea. Although the weight shouldn’t be an issue if you plan to keep the travel pillow inside your car.

Inspect The Filling

Of course, just like with any other pillow, the fillings used for neck pillow vary. There are plenty of materials that can provide you with the comfort and support that your neck and head need. You can choose from the following options:

Buckwheat Hulls

Using buckwheat hulls as your travel pillow material is getting more popular each day, as it can provide travelers with plenty of amazing benefits. For starters, a buckwheat pillow allows for adjustable firmness, making it customizable to your needs. It can also last long, so it’s a cost-efficient purchase. Plus, buckwheat hulls have a distinct smell that can help to provide relaxation. You can check out this video for an example of a buckwheat travel pillow:

Memory Foam

Similar to regular pillows and mattresses, memory foam is another popular filling for neck pillows as it’s firm and can provide maximum support to your neck, shoulders, and head. It can provide great support for your entire neck, as it won’t let your head sink down to your shoulders. This allows you to experience good spine support during your entire trip.

Polystyrene Beads

If you’re a fan of bean bags, then you’ll probably love using polystyrene beads as your neck pillow material. It uses small beads that move around, allowing the pillow to match your head shape. However, they’re not eco-friendly, as they’re non-biodegradable and, thus, can cause harm to the environment in the future.


The best way to save space is by using an air neck pillow. This way, you can inflate and deflate your pillow as needed and fold them when you no longer need them for the day. Moreover, you’ll have control over the pillow’s firmness because you decide how much air you’ll put inside, allowing for customized comfort during your entire trip.

When deciding what material you’re going with, see to it that it can still provide you the comfort you need. While some might look good and comfortable in text and photos, trying them out yourself might bring a different experience. Therefore, it’s highly advisable that you try the neck pillow before adding them to your cart.

Assess The Cover Material

Apart from what the neck pillow is made of, another thing you need to consider is the cover material of the neck pillow. Since this’ll be the one that touches against your skin, it should use high-quality materials to avoid allergies and other mishaps. Moreover, since the cover has high risk of exposure to environmental factors, they should be durable enough for wear and tear.


There are plenty of cover materials that you can choose for your neck pillow. The best material you could probably use is bamboo. Aside from being extremely breathable, this material has antibacterial properties, making it a great option for travel. With this cover, you can ensure that your pillow is safe and harm-free.


Another type of pillow that’s cool and breathable is cotton. However, ensure that you get 100% cotton since cotton with polyblends can hold more sweat and aren’t as comfortable around your skin.


If you like to travel in luxury, silk is the way to go. It has a luscious touch that’ll surely be cool and comforting against your skin. Although it can be quite expensive, this might let you somehow experience traveling in first class even if you’re sitting in economy.


A more affordable and widely available material cover is polyester. However, it traps heat, making it uncomfortable during your trip. It’s also not as smooth and cozy compared with other materials.

Checking the cover material allows you to decide what kind of sensation you’d like to feel while using your pillow. Would you like to go with comfort or luxury?

Check The Firmness

If you’re shopping online, you might notice that not every website indicates how firm their neck pillows are compared with regular house pillows. The pillow’s firmness determines how comfortable you’ll be in your sleep. If the website doesn’t include a pillow’s firmness levels, you can ask the company directly or rely on honest customer reviews and see how firm it is.

Neck Pillow For Traveling: Maintenance Guide

After purchasing your neck pillow, it’s a must that you don’t waste your investment by using it for as long as possible. After purchasing your neck pillow, you should immediately educate yourself on how you can maintain it and keep them in shape. Below are some tips regarding maintenance.

Read The Care Instructions

For starters, you should begin reading the care instructions for the neck pillow, as it usually includes how you should wash, clean, and maintain your pillow. You’ll be given specific directions regarding the washing temperature as well as how to dry the entire item.

In most cases, you can wash your pillow with a machine using a cold setting and dry it on low heat. However, if you suspect that your pillow is prone to lose its shape during the process, try to hand wash the item instead or put in some blankets or towels inside the machine to prevent it from bumping into the corners of the tub. It’ll also be helpful if you use mild detergent soaps.

Wash After Every Trip

If your neck pillow has a removable cover, it’ll be great if you wash them after every trip to guarantee its cleanliness. Since you bring your pillow outside, you’ll never know what environmental factors you expose your pillows with. To keep them clean, wash them after every trip.

Store In A Pillow Bag

During your trip, it’s best to store your pillow inside its own bag for hygienic purposes. If you’re using a U-shaped pillow, you can understand how it feels impossible to keep them inside your bag as they take up too much space. But before you decide to hang them on the straps of your bag, put them inside a pillow bag first to protect them from environmental factors, including smoke, cough, bugs, and other sources of dirt and diseases. Don’t forget to wash your pillow bag cover regularly as this is what you’re exposing to the outdoors.

Knowing how to care for and maintain your neck pillow ensures that you make the most out of your purchase and enjoy a comfortable trip. While it might take extra effort, it’ll prevent you from buying a replacement so soon.


When you decide to use a neck pillow for traveling, it’ll be great if you rely on a shopping and maintenance guide so you’ll know the things you need to look for and how you can make the pillow last longer during your trips. With thorough research and care, you should be able to find the best pillow that suits your needs and comfort while ensuring that you’re not wasting money, as it’ll last long under your care. It might take a while to find the perfect pillow, but all the effort you put into it will make everything worth it.