The City Mattress Blog

linens & bedding

How to Choose the Best Travel Pillow


Woman packs neon green travel neck pillow into red hard-sided suitcase

You don't want to fall asleep on a plane, train, bus, or car and slump your head over the entire time. You'll wake up with serious neck pain! Before you leave for your next trip, invest in a supportive travel neck pillow. It’s the best way to stay comfortable as you snooze, no matter where you are or what position you’re resting in.

What to Consider when Purchasing a Travel Pillow

When choosing a travel pillow, it’s important to figure out which type you want. We have an entire section of our website dedicated to neck support travel pillows! You have a plethora of options, so be sure to look for:

Neck Support

Head and neck support is incredibly important for all pillows, but especially a travel pillow. If you fall asleep while sitting on, like in the car, without a support travel pillow, you’ll regret it as soon as you wake up. Neck pain, sore shoulders, and an achy back are going to ruin your vacation before it even begins! The best travel neck pillow, on the other hand, supports your neck, shoulders, head, and spine in the correct position. The Malouf Travel Zoned Dough Scented Pillow gives you the perfect combination of zoned support and comfort, in a size small enough to bring along for the trip. The Zoned Dough® memory foam both cradles your head and supports your neck. The breathable Tencel™ cover aids in obtaining the perfect sleeping temperature. Plus, it smells wonderful! You have a choice between three calming scents, Lavender, Chamomile, and Peppermint.

Fabric and Material

Just like with traditional pillows, you have your choice of several fabric and material options in your new travel pillow. Would you prefer a gel pillow designed specifically to keep you cool? After all, planes and trains can often be quite stuffy. The I Love My Pillow Snowflake Travel Pillow is for you if you want a memory foam travel pillow that has a cooling effect embedded in the fabric so it will always stay as cool, no matter how many times you take it with you. Would you prefer a memory foam neck pillow travel? We encourage you to look into Soft-Tex Conforming Memory Foam U-Neck Travel Pillow made from gel-infused memory foam. We have so many more options beyond these!

Size and Shape

The most commonly-thought of travel neck pillows are the ones shaped like a U. The ergonomic U-shaped design correctly supports the natural curves of your head, neck, and shoulders, providing ideal support so you can sleep in a relaxed position during your ride. For this option, we like to recommend the Malouf Travel Neck Gel Dough + Z Gel because the liquid Z® Gel lies on top of the pillow for a cool sleeping surface that will capture and dissipate your body heat. It’s not just about the neck pillow you’ll wear around your shoulder while you’re en route. Once you arrive, you’ll be at the mercy of the hotel, motel, or home you’re staying at whether they’ve provided you comfortable, supportive pillows or not. That’s why we also carry travel sized pillows of regular, traditional sized options. One of the options for a travel size pillow we like to recommend is the Soft-Tex Conforming Memory Foam Travel Pillow. With this travel size pillow, you can enjoy the same amazing benefits of a conforming memory foam pillow, in a convenient travel size. With multi-use positioning, this gel-infused memory foam travel pillow provides exceptional comfort, pressure-relief, and spinal alignment.


You don’t want your travel pillow to be one time use only! You want it to be durable, which means both the material itself can stand up to be taken on many trips and the pillow’s cover can be removed and machine washed. For instance, the Soft-Tex Conforming Memory Foam U Neck Travel Pillow listed above includes a removable, super-soft, circular-knit cover with zip closure that’s easily removed, washed, and put back on.

If you have any additional questions about which travel pillow would be best for you, reach out and ask! You can do so by speaking with a live Sleep Expert online. Simply click the red button at the bottom right corner that says “Chat with us.” You can also visit your nearest City Mattress location and chat in person about our fantastic options. The choice is yours, but hurry! Your Summer Vacation will be here before you know it!