Product Guides

What To Look For Before Buying A Travel Pillow

May 4, 2023   By Danielle Herrera

Frequent travellers know how essential a travel kit is. Can’t live without it. The items inside the kit will either make or break a flight, car ride, or train ride. So, more or less, everyone has the same core list of essentials. But do you have a travel pillow in yours? If not, then imagine how much more comfortable and relaxing your travels will be if you brought along one for the short or long haul.

Pun intended. A travel pillow helps you sleep like a baby on an otherwise uneasy ride. It supports your neck and relaxes your muscles for a quick but deep snooze. Yes, you can go on ahead without it, but are you sure you’ll be okay?

If you recline your plane seat backwards, your head could still fall to your side in an awkward and neck-breaking position for the rest of the long flight. Even worse, you could fall asleep on a stranger’s shoulder (unless you want that). If you’re going to unique Australian travel spots soon, you better bring along a travel neck pillow to make the hours bearable or even enjoyable.

Of course, you’ll have many options for pillows—some firm, some squishy, some just about average in give. Which one’s the right one for you? We’ll help you with that.

How to Find the Best Travel Pillow for You

To pick the best pillow for your needs, you just have to look at the kind of material used and consider the simple outline: N-F-S-D-W.

  1. N stands for neck support. A travel pillow needs to keep your head afloat and your neck in a comfortable position. Support will prevent you from feeling aches or pains once you wake up from a nap.
  2. F stands for fabric. The type of fabric used to cover the pillow affects your heat regulation. It also contributes to the durability of the pillow. Finally, based on your preferences, it will change how the pillow will feel to you.
  3. S stands for size and weight. You need a pillow to be portable and lightweight, one that could easily be carried in your luggage. It also needs to be accessible, so you can easily take it out or put back into your bag.
  4. D stands for durability. Along with the fabric, what the pillow is made from will tell you how long a pillow will likely last. This is important if you frequently travel. You’ll want one that will last you for years of car, train, and plane rides.
  5. W stands for Who Its For. Different types of travel pillows fit different types of travellers. Knowing what type of traveller you are will make it easier for you to identify what kind of travel pillow you’ll need.

Materials Used To Make Travel Pillows

Inflatable Materials

For the cheapest and most convenient option when you go travel, you have the inflatable travel pillow. It’s perfect for the budget traveller with its U-shaped form, like most other travel pillows. Just put it in your carry-on, pull it out when you need it, and inflate it. Easy!

Key Characteristics

  • Neck Support: Filled with air, the inflatable U-shaped pillow will give you just average support. Your head won’t stay up for long as air may blow out of the valve little by little due to prolonged use. Compared to an ergonomic pillow, this type will be enough in a pinch, but not for long-term use.
  • Fabric: Inflatables are made out of plastic, but sometimes a stretchable polyester material or removable cotton cover wraps the pillow. It’s supposed to exalt the feel of an affordable travel pillow.
  • Size and Weight: Because it’s main component is air, inflatables are the most lightweight option for a travel pillow. Deflate one of these, and you can pack it even inside the tightest of bags.
  • Durability: However, since the component is air, inflatable neck pillows are prone to wear and tear, especially from rough use. Sharp objects can easily pop it. This type, including that with chin support, could also be accidentally pulled because of its snap closure mechanism.
  • Who Its For: If you just need a travel pillow temporarily, an inflatable one will be enough for a few trips. At the same time, if you prefer affordability, minimalism, and convenience, then an inflatable neck cushion will be the best choice for you.


If you want premium softness, you can go with a microbead travel pillow. It contains tiny polystyrene balls for soft support to your neck and head. It’s basically a bean bag for your neck, which makes it the least portable of the options available. There’s no way to deflate or compress the beads. You either have to give it a big space in your carry bag or keep it around your neck wherever you go.

Key Characteristics

  • Neck Support: Because of the small individual beads inside, they could gather in places you don’t want them to. As a result, your head may dip, and your neck falls out of alignment with your spine. A microbead neck pillow is like carrying neck pain in your luggage. Give it a hard pass for a better support pillow.
  • Fabric: Microbead pillows can come in all sorts of non-removable covers. Ones designed for colder climates have fleece as the outer cover. But because of the nature of the pillow, the beads could push outward through constant use. Excessive pushing of the beads could then loosen the fabric and distort the shape of the pillow.
  • Size and Weight: The microbeads are generally lightweight, but the pillow may look and seem bulky for minimalist or budget travellers. Like what was said, the pillow will take a large amount of space in your carry on, taking away space for other items. You can get around this if you have an extra large carry bag.
  • Durability: A microbead pillow can last you a while, although durability will still depend on your use. In time, the fabric can stretch and the shape distort. Beads can even pop out, making it dangerous for kids.
  • Who Its For: A microbead travel pillow works best for those who want comfort and softness all day. The microbeads makes you feel like you’re floating, perfect for a deep comfortable nap, even better if paired with a sleeping mask. Plus, you can use the pillow for back support when you’re not sleeping. Two birds with one pillow.

Memory Foam

You can never go wrong with a memory foam travel pillow. It has more firmness than an inflatable pillow, and it has enough softness to compete with a microbead pillow. The density of the memory foam allows for medium to firm levels of support, while it retains the capability of being compressed for easier storage.

Key Characteristics

  • Neck Support: Now you have a pillow specifically made for head support and lumbar support. The ergonomic material moulds to the contours of your head and neck. Because it hugs you in the right pressure points, you’ll feel more comfortable and more support when you sleep. Say goodbye to sagging, drooping, and other pillow problems! Just put the pillow on your headrest, and the comfort will likely bring you a feeling of home.
  • Fabric: As you’ve read by now, the fabric cover ties into the durability of the pillow. A memory-foam travel neck pillow sometimes has a removable machine washable cover, like a pillow case. This makes the pillow easier to clean, allows the pillow to breathe when not in use, and helps the pillow last longer.
  • Size and weight: Some memory foam pillows retain their bulky shape, making them harder to bring on travels. But other memory foam travel pillows have compression capabilities. The Ecosa Pillow falls under the second category; it comes with two compression bags. You can then flatten it, and bring the pillow wherever you go.
  • Durability: The dense material of memory foam gives it considerable resistance to regular wear and tear. You can expect the pillow to remain a part of your travel accessories for quite a long time. Premium memory foam pillows like the Ecosa Pillow also come with a warranty. You can try it out for 100 nights, and if you don’t think it’s a good fit for you, you can return it for a full refund.
  • Who Its For: Memory foam gives the best of both worlds, so travellers who want comfort but firm head support will enjoy this kind of travel pillow. Due to its compression capability, it’s easier to carry as well. Whether you travel light or heavy, a memory foam travel pillow can work for you.

Why A Travel Pillow Is A Traveller’s Best Friend

Regardless of the type of material you choose, a travel pillow will provide you with much needed travel rest. When you’re on a train or plane with hours more to go before you reach your destination, a travel pillow will be your best friend. With any type of travel pillow fitting nicely in packing cubes, just pull the pillow out, pair it to an eye mask and earplugs if you have them, and snooze off.

When you wake up from your nap, you’ll be greeted with a pleasant feeling without cramps, aches, or pains. Sleeping on the go usually puts travellers in awkward, even painful, positions. A travel pillow can prevent any kind of contortion from happening. Your head, neck, and spine will be thankful for it.

Speaking of the spine, when your head and neck receive the support they deserve, your spine and the rest of your body align. This alignment brings rest and refreshment to your body, even if you can’t fully lie down on a plane or train seat. Yes, it’s possible even for travelling side sleepers. A good travel pillow will keep your spine and body in alignment for an enjoyable nap.

You can try one now for your next trip. The Ecosa Pillow comes with free delivery wherever in Australia and a 100-night free trial. You get two compression bags for easy packing, whether you’re travelling light or heavy. The machine washable pillow cover makes it easy to clean and maintain when you’re on the go. It’s a great choice for your travel needs.

Add a Travel Pillow to Your Kit

Travel can be a stressful time, especially on long haul rides. But with a travel neck pillow inside your bag, you can pass the time much faster by sleeping it off. Get comfortable, recline your seat, put your pillow in place, and head off to dreamland. You won’t find a better travel accessory than a handy, compact pillow right within reach.

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