When you travel long distances, it can get extremely uncomfortable to sit in a tiny chair sandwiched in between strange people. But, if you manage to fall asleep, the road will seem shorter and you’ll barely notice that your neighbor likes to invade your side of the hand rest.
However, falling asleep can be difficult because you’re not laying down and your head keeps bobbing side to side or front to back. To improve your traveling conditions, I recommend a travel pillow, but you need to get the best to catch Zzz’s before the craziness starts.
I had my fair share of travel pillows, so I know what makes them go from meh to the best pillow. Below I listed some of the most important features such a pillow should have, so have a look and let me know what you think.
Know the Type you Like
There are three basic types of travel pillows:
• With microbeads;
• Made of memory foam.
If you don’t have too much space in your bag or you simply want to keep the pillow close, I recommend going with the inflatable one. This design is lighter in weight and is easy to regulate its firmness as needed.
The microbeads design is filled with polystyrene beads, is lightweight, but occupy a lot of space. Also, you don’t want to rip the fabric encasing the beads and leave a sea of white polystyrene behind! In my opinion, these are the least comfortable travel pillows on the market!
Finally, the memory foam design provides the best neck support out of the three and can be compressed in a smaller package. They’re a bit more expensive, but the unique adaptivity of memory foam will be worth it!
Finally, there is a third type of pillow (more of a neck brace) that wraps around the neck and supports you from the front. These are fantastic for people who tend to lean forward when sleeping in a chair.
Select the Right Shape
Most of you are probably picturing a U-shaped pillow, that wraps around the neck and can be used to support it. But there are other shapes to consider.
I like the ones that look like a seatbelt, and provide support to the cheek, neck, chest, and hip area. They are a bit more comfortable than the standard U-shape and keep you in one position in the seat. You can also hug them and roll over them, which definitely improves the journey!
Finally, if you know sitting in one uncomfortable chair for hours may end up in back pain, use a wedge pillow. These should be wedged in between the back of your seat and the lower back, providing lumbar support.
Since the fabric usually gets in touch with the skin of your face and neck, you should be careful in selecting the right type. I recommend a soft surface, like fleece, suede, velveteen, cotton, or smooth plastic, but you should also make sure it doesn’t overheat and makes your sweat.
It’s also a good idea to get a removable cover that can be washed, especially if you’re going to be using the pillow a lot. If not, make sure the entire pillow can be washed, otherwise, you’ll have to buy a new one every few trips.
Overall, the features that make a travel pillow impressive, are the ones the respond to your needs. So, if you need something that’s lightweight and easy to pack, go with an inflatable design, but if you truly need neck and back support, you may want to make some room in your bags!
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