A travel pillow can seem so fussy, a vain attempt to salvage comfort from a cramped situation. Yet it can be worth a try: it can prevent a stiff neck during a long flight and it can make laying out on the beach or in the park even more relaxing. And since these pillows deflate, they hardly take up any room in your luggage.
Therm-a-Rest travel pillow
This pillow uses a similar design and materials as Therm-a-Rest's excellent self-inflating sleeping mats. The innards are made from memory foam, while the cover is made from a soft and smooth microfibre material. The pillow inflates by itself. It is very comfortable and, because of its horseshoe shape, offers excellent neck support. It weighs just 200g and deflates into a small bundle.
Available from www.amazon.com from US$24.95 (Dh92) plus shipping.
REI self-inflating travel pillow
At just over 100g, this pillow is a lightweight alternative to more cumbersome inflatable neck pillows. The shape a bit like a figure of eight or a bow tie - makes it versatile. It provides good neck support when sleeping sitting up, it works well as a traditional pillow lying down and it can also be used as a lumbar support. The polyester fabric feels soft and snug and a silicone strips on the back of the pillow help to stop it sliding around on surfaces such as travel mats.
Available from www.rei.com from $19.50 (Dh72) plus shipping.
Eagle Creek pillow
This pillow is a bit bulkier and heavier than the other ones, but it is very comfortable and the fleece cover can be removed to pack it up or to wash it. Inflating takes just a few big breaths and it is quick and easy to deflate. It is available in four colours and comes with lifetime warranty.
Available from www.amazon.com from $20 (Dh73) plus shipping.