Smooth journey: 8 best travel pillows

Train, plane, car or bus. However you’re travelling this year, you will always need somewhere comfy to rest your head
  • @sally_newall

Travelling can leave you achy, not least with neck pain caused by dozing off at an awkward angle. That’s where a pillow can help.

Be it inflatable, filled with tension-easing beads , polystyrene or clever memory foam, a strategically-placed cushion can make a big difference to your comfort on a journey. We’ve tried and tested a range, starting with Matalan’s bargain u-shaped one, up to Plum and Ivory’s luxe cashmere version.

1. J Pillow and Sleep Mask Comfort Set, £16, amazon

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2. Cath Kidston Travel Pillow, £18, nichollscrickhowell

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3. Plum and Ivory Cashmere Travel Neck Cushion, £80, notonthehighstreet


OK, so we know it’s decadent, but this cashmere-covered u-shaped neck cushion cover feels so soft. It comes with an inflatable cushion so it won’t take up much space when deflated. Choose from fifty-fifty silk and cashmere mix or 100 per cent cashmere in a range of colours. We like this bright blue option. 

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4. Mr Men Mr Strong Reversible Cushion and Travel Pillow, £8, johnlewis


Kids will enjoy unpacking the u‑shaped travel pillow zipped up inside Mr Strong. When you’re back on home turf, it doubles up as a bright cushion for their bedroom. Also comes in Little Miss Giggles and Mr Happy designs. 

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5. M&S Luxury Neck Pillow, £12, marksandspencer


This u-shaped pillow has one fleecy side and one silky one, so you can avoid the sweat-factor you get with some pillows. And you can put the cover in the washing machine so it will feel fresh wherever you happen to be on your travels. 

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6. Snugpak Butterfly Neck Pillow, £15, amazon


Snugpak specialises in lightweight, compact sleeping bags. This pillow comes with a stuff sack and when you take it out it self-inflates. You can also add air manually. It’ll squash down into your rucksack and not weigh you down on an adventure.

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7. Motionperformance Essentials Comfort Memory Foam Neck Support, £10, amazon


This firm pillow filled with memory foam offers support and moulds to the shape of your neck. Use it when travelling or to relieve neck pain at home. The cover zips off so you can bung it in the washing machine. 

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8. Go Travel Pillow Duo, £13, amazon

This comfy, velour-covered bit of kit is actually two pillows in one. Use it as a horseshoe-shaped pillow while you’re sitting to support your neck, then unzip it and it converts to a rectangular one for when you want a bigger space to rest your head. 

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If you’re after a practical cushion for neck support on long journeys, M&S’s Luxury Neck Pillow is a good place to start; filled with polystyrene but firmer than others we tried, it’s the right mix of comfy and supportive. We also particularly like the fact you can wash the cover. Campers will like Snugpak’s lightweight, squashable pillow that will squeeze into a rucksack.  And if you’re buying for kids, the Mr Men range from John Lewis works for the car, plane, train and their bedroom.