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Which Material is Best for a Travel Pillow?

Whether you’re set to travel on a long-haul flight, or you have a lengthy car journey ahead, there are some elements of travelling that can result in discomfort. From cabin air pressure to high noise levels and lack of comfortable support on airplanes, it’s easy to see why, among other holiday necessities, travel pillows are quickly becoming a popular travel essential. Helping to prevent the strain on your neck while travelling, the correct travel pillow should provide support to all areas of this part of your body, reducing the chance of neck ache. Ultimately, a suitable option will keep you comfortable, well-rested and free from neck pain. 

However, there are many shapes and materials on the market, which can make it a challenging task to find the best neck pillow for travelling. This is because there are different styles of pillow made to suit the varying requirements of different travellers. To help you decide on the most suitable pillow, read on as we discuss the different travel pillow materials, the main properties to look out for, and how to use your pillow. 

What is the best neck pillow for travel?

When you’re deciding on the most suitable travel pillow for your journey, we recommend choosing a style that will meet your desired level of support to help you stay comfortable through the duration of the journey and feel refreshed when you arrive at your destination. The best neck pillow for your travels depends entirely on your own preferences, but to help you choose, we’ve listed the features of the most popular types of travel pillow.

  • Microbead Travel Pillows - These are filled with small polystyrene beads and, as a result, provide a lightweight option for your travels, making this a good choice if you’re travelling light. These pillows are soft and can easily change shape, meaning they are more suited to travellers who don’t mind having less neck support. However, they tend to be less durable, losing their shape over time. Unlike the two options below, although lightweight, microbead pillows can’t be compressed or deflated. This means they can take up more bag space than the other options.
  • Memory Foam Travel Pillows - A popular material for mattresses due to its firm but comfortable properties, a memory foam travel pillow provides a firm base that moulds to the shape of your neck, offering consistent support throughout the journey. This can also be compressed to fit inside your hand luggage and will expand back to its original size when needed, meaning that it takes up minimal packing space. Though the most expensive option of the three, memory foam travel pillows are high in quality and are able to provide long-lasting support to frequent travellers. 
  • Inflatable Travel Pillows - Versatile in nature, these can be inflated to your liking, giving you complete freedom over your desired level of support. When it comes to packing these away, they can be deflated and folded up tightly, providing ample space for your other personal belongings.

What to look for in a travel pillow?

If you’re still unsure about the style or material of the travel pillow you would like to purchase, there are a number of things that we recommend looking out for when you’re in the process of considering all the different options available. The main properties to look out for in a good travel pillow are the following:

  • Shape - Despite U-shaped, or contoured, neck pillows being the most common and preferred type, there are other shapes of travel pillows available. For example, the other two popular choices include a roll shape travel pillow, or one that comes in a wrap shape. However, we would recommend the U-shaped pillow, as this is the most sturdy and can support all parts of your neck.
  • Longevity - If you’re a frequent traveller, it’s likely that longevity is an important factor when you’re searching for a suitable travel pillow. The pillow will need to maintain its shape and level of support over a long period of time. This means that it might be worth spending more on a higher quality pillow that you are confident will last for longer compared to a more budget-friendly option.
  • Portability - Whether you’re backpacking or heading on a short-term getaway, as mentioned above, we recommend choosing a travel pillow that can be compressed or deflated to ensure you have plenty of remaining storage space for your other belongings. After all, the last thing you would want is a travel pillow that takes up all the room in your bag, leaving limited storage space for travel souvenirs and other essentials. It may also be best to avoid carrying a travel pillow separately or attaching it to your suitcase handle as there is the potential for it to gather bacteria or become dirty as it’s being carried through the airport.
  • Neck support - A common but unpleasant feeling, an aching neck is the last thing you want when you first get off the plane and want to start enjoying your holiday. To prevent this, we would recommend choosing a firm travel pillow that is able to offer you a strong level of neck support. 
  • Fabric - One of the most important considerations when purchasing a travel pillow is the exterior, as this is the area that the surface of your skin will come into contact with. Particularly important if you’re heading on a long-haul or overnight flight, we recommend making sure that the cover of your travel neck pillow is made from a soft material that won’t cause any irritation to your skin. 

  • Silk Travel Neck Pillow - Pink & Ivory Stripe - £65.00

    Whether you’re heading on a long car journey or a long-haul flight, our luxurious silk memory foam pillow helps to prevent any discomfort. Designed with a contoured shape for optimum support on all parts of your neck, the firm memory foam filling makes this travel neck pillow the perfect choice for keen travellers. Wrapped in 100% mulberry silk, the pillow is gentle on the surface of your skin and offers natural

    antibacterial properties. This reduces the chance of it gathering germs when placed on different surfaces or when in the plane cabin. Additionally, cabin air can dry out the skin, but the natural properties of silk work to ensure that your skin is kept hydrated and healthy during your journey.

    Silk Travel Pillow - Navy - £95.00

    If a contoured travel pillow isn’t for you, our alternative silk travel pillow comes in a standard shape and is best for using in more reclined positions, or using as an alternative to hotel pillows once you’ve arrived at your destination. The mulberry silk filling and exterior offers a soft and supportive feel that also features numerous beauty benefits. This includes a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and the ability to keep your hair in a good condition. If you suffer from allergies, which can be worsened when travelling, the hypoallergenic properties of this silk pillow makes it perfect for travellers with allergies or sensitive skin.

    How to use a travel neck pillow

    Though there are other travel pillow options, as discussed, the most common type of travel neck pillow is a U-shaped, also known as a contoured travel pillow. These can be placed over your head, with the back offering support to the back of your neck. Meanwhile, the opening of this should cover your throat area. 

    Similar to our Gingerlily silk travel neck pillow, some options have straps at the front to keep it secured when in use. This means it will be less likely to move around while you rest. Once you’ve arrived at your destination and the time comes to pack your travel pillow away, if this is made from memory foam, it can be easily compressed into your hand luggage. If you choose to carry our Gingerlily neck pillow separately to your hand luggage, we recommend carrying this in a silk laundry bag which can help keep it cleaner for longer.

    Silk Laundry Bag - Pink & Ivory Stripe - £50.00

    Silk Travel Pillows at Gingerlily

    Choose from our navy and pink travel pillows or neck pillows and travel in comfort and style, no matter how long or short the journey. If you’re looking for additional travel accessories before you head on your travels, our luxurious silk travel accessories feature soft silk eye masks that block out the light and are gentle on the delicate skin around your eyes, as well as multi-use laundry bags to transport your pillow. 

    The full travel set, including silk travel pillow, neck pillow and eye mask can all be purchased together for the ultimate experience in luxury travel. We’ll also add the silk laundry bag for free, saving you £50 on this additional accessory, so you can transport and care for your collection with ease.

    Complete Silk Travel Collection - £200