When it comes to long-haul flights in economy, every traveller has their own strategy for getting comfortable.
Some people rely on Sudoku
and a paperback thriller. Others require a sleeping aid and an iPod. But
whatever the distraction, true comfort most often comes with finding the
perfect travel pillow. Since it’s not worth the neck cramps to try them all, we
asked some of the most insightful travellers we know to reveal their favourites.
Wendy Perrin, the director of consumer news and digital community at Conde Nast Traveler magazine, favours the
Kollar, which extends around your neck and fastens with a Velcro strap.
"Your head is
supported and your neck protected, no matter what weird position it gets
twisted into, especially if it's bent forward while you're reading or
dozing-off," she said.
Julia Cosgrove, the editor in chief of Afar magazine, takes a Microbead Neck Cushion by Japanese brand Muji on every
overnight flight. "It buckles into different shapes,” she said. “It works
as a neck pillow, a support for your lower back or a cushion on the tray
Luke Wroblewski has travelled from his home in
the San Francisco Bay Area to more than 60 cities worldwide to give talks on digital product design. He says the Thermarest Compressible Pillow is "hands down the
best travel pillow" he has ever used. "This little guy compresses
down to the size of a one-litre bottle then expands to an almost full-sized
pillow. The material inside can be moulded to all kinds of shapes, which means
you can use it to rest your head in many different positions. There are also
two sides: one is a soft, fleece-like material and the other is more like
pillow-case cotton. "
runs OneBag.com, the internet's most definitive and inspiring resource for tips on
packing light. Like many other travellers, he favours pillows that are
inflatable (unlike those filled with buckwheat hulls or foam pellets) because
they easily slim down for packing. On
trips of any length, his "go
to" travel pillow is the compact Hedbed
by Campmor because of its compact size and proven durability over many years of
use. "That said, travel pillows can be a very
personal thing. For instance, many people need, or at least want, more head
support when they sleep on planes and such, so they prefer pillows that
"wrap around" the neck more.... There's no ‘one size fits all’ in
On the other end of the spectrum, Mark P Orwoll,
the international editor of Travel + Leisure magazine, eschews bring-you-own pillows. "For flying I don't carry my own
pillow. I travel very light, and would hardly have room, even for an inflatable
one. I rely on whatever the airline has to offer, supplemented by a couple G
Sean O'Neill is the tech travel columnist for BBC Travel. His standby pillow is a Sandman Travel
Pillow from Eagle Creek because it endured near-daily inflation and
deflation for train commutes for 10 months.