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Being an expat often means regular to-ing and fro-ing from one country to another, and all that travel time can be tiring.
Cue you needing the best travel pillows to catch some zzzs.
It’s important to grab some good sleep whenever you can get it — but bumpy rides on planes, trains and buses in cramped spaces next to total strangers do not make for the best sleep experience.
Lack of sleep and lack of comfort can leave you feeling exhausted and mentally ill prepared for the next step of your journey, and the results for your body — fatigue, numb limbs, headaches, backaches and neck pains — can be pretty unpleasant too.
So, what to do?
The best way to make the most of your sleep when traveling is to invest in the best travel pillow.
It’s sure to give you that extra comfort you need and enable you to drift off to sleep regardless of your surroundings, plus it will keep your body in better health.
What Makes A Good Travel Pillow?
There are a ton of travel pillow products out there, and it can be tricky to choose between them.
The best travel pillows to help you sleep better while travelling are soft to touch and squishy enough to be comfortable, yet provide — and maintain — correct support for the neck and head so as you won’t be waking up with a whole bunch of aches and pains.
Ideally travel pillows should be able to be used in a variety of different sleeping positions so you can find the one that is comfiest for you.
Travel pillows can get pretty grubby when being frequently transported from place to place, so a pillow that can be easily washed is another big plus point.
Also, the ability to pack it neatly away without it taking up too much valuable luggage space is an important thing to consider.
We’ve selected the two travel pillows that we think have something extra special — check out our top travel pillows below…
The first of these two innovative designs is the TravelRest travel pillow.
The rather curious slightly curved shape makes this pillow look a little like an enormous ergonomic apostrophe, but this unique shape means that it is long enough to give support for the whole upper body — ideal for back pain sufferers.
Adjustable cord ties attached to the pillow allow it to be firmly secured to a seat or headrest — or to yourself — and stopping it from slipping out of position while you sleep. This comes in very handy, as it is possible to use the TravelRest travel pillow in multiple different situations.
For maximum support wear it slung across the front of the body with the thickest part supporting your head, preventing neck strain — this is particularly useful for those who naturally like to sleep on their side.
This is an inflatable travel pillow, and it can be inflated quickly and with minimum effort — just a few puffs. The fact that it is inflatable also means there is also a little scope for adjusting how soft or hard you want it to be.
Once deflated it rolls up into a neat little 9 x 2 x 3.5 inch bundle which is designed to be easily attached to a bag strap or carry handle with stud fasteners, or it can simply be packed away in your luggage without it taking up lots of space.
The flocked PVC vinyl fabric is lightweight, durable and machine washable.
Choose your favorite colour from amongst blue, grey, red, or moss green.
A softer, lightly padded velour cover is available at additional cost too.
- Works equally well for children and adults
- Good for long haul flights
- Gives great back, neck and upper body support
- Compact and lightweight when deflated
- Good choice for back pain sufferers
- Effective tie attachments means it stays in position
- Marginally expensive
- Slight chemical odour upon first unpacking
This award winning travel pillow certainly has an imaginative design.
It’s the brainchild of an ex-flight attendant — someone who has racked up considerable travel time themselves.
The benefits of their experience are clear, as the unconventional design of the J-Pillow proves to be very comfortable and effective — particularly on long haul flights and other long journeys.
Firstly, the curved support prevents the head from drooping forwards which is very bad for the neck; secondly, the flatter side supports give excellent comfort while at the same time keeping the head in an upright position to keep the spine correctly aligned; thirdly, the rear support stops the head from slumping backwards (also very bad for the neck); and lastly, the design helps keep the pillow resting securely in place while you doze.
Plush and soft velour type fabric makes it a pleasure to snuggle up to the J-Pillow, and the fabric wins points for practicality too as it’s machine washable and dryable, as well as comfortable.
A high quality polyester 3D foam filling gives this travel pillow an excellent level of firmness and comfort.
At around 30cm in length, the J-Pillow is a little on the large side, but it can be scrunched up into a smaller ball shape. It also comes equipped with a little looped fastener to attach it to luggage straps so it doesn’t have to eat into your luggage space.
- Offers great neck and head support
- Great for side sleepers
- Versatile – also works well when lying down
- Easy to keep clean
- Soft and lightweight
- Feels luxurious
- Very comfortable
- Effective for sufferers of neck pain
- Less effective for middle seats than window seats
- A bit bulky – not great when traveling light
TravelRest vs J-Pillow
Both the TravelRest and the J-Pillow are excellent travel pillows for expats who need to travel regularly, and we recommend both designs — particularly if traveling long distances.
It’s difficult to choose between the two, but the soft cuddliness of the J-Pillow make it the more luxurious choice, and the high level of neck support makes it the better choice for travelers susceptible to neck pain.
The TravelRest on the other hand, is the better choice for overall upper body support – something that is a rare feature for a travel pillow. It also rolls up small, so it may be better for those looking to travel light.
Instead of choosing between them, why not invest in them both for maximum comfort? You’ll be sound asleep before you know it…
Which is your pick for the best travel pillows?