Travel Pillow Review

I just completed a round the world trip with my partner and all within about 4 weeks. What ensued was an uncomfortable amount of time spent cooped up in Economy class on various budget airlines. Well aware of this inevitable discomfort, I decided to spend a bit of time looking in to travel pillows to alleviate the upcoming discomfort.

While most people do not bother with travel pillows but for those that do, it can dramatically change your enjoyment of travelling long haul. That bit of extra support in the right place or a soft welcoming pillow for your heavy head takes on new meaning in this age of increasingly smaller air plane seats and diminished legroom.

In my experience there are two main types of travel pillow, inflatable or foam filled. The inflatable travel pillows I have tried to date fit atop your shoulders for you head to rest on but never seem to be quite long enough for my neck or they deflate making them quite frustrating. The foam pillows hold their shape much better but are usually bulky which is a big turn off for me and I assume others that are repelled by the idea of adding more weight and dimensions to their luggage. Thus, I did not bother with looking at any more foam pillows.

 

Instead I purchased several alternatives and all three are very different to each other. I purchased them from a combination of Amazon and Kickstarter.

 

The Trtl cost be just under £25 on Amazon and came with free delivery which was rapid. The premise is a bit of cloth you wrap around your neck with solid structure within it that acts as a scaffolding around your neck, thereby taking the weight of your head. This folded in to nothing and despite having a long neck, it did provide me with a decent level of support but nowhere near enough to put help me relax and go to sleep.

Picture1After a few minutes of use, I noticed I had to relax with a straight back to receive the head support advertised and when I slumped to the side (which always happens before I fall asleep in a seat) the support was not there which was disappointing. I also felt that the stuffiness that accompanies long haul flights meant that this type of product quickly became too stifling to wear for too long.

 

The second product I purchased was the Travel Rest from Amazon which cost me £19.98. This is a cross body inflatable that gives me support for my upper body, neck and head. It also comes with a string that you can tie round your shoulder or waist to hold it in place. While simple, this pillow was much more effective at providing support to me in the plane seat than the Trtl, particularly over the 10 hour flight to Hawaii!

20171014_113940It is easy to inflate, deflate and packs in to much less than the Trtl when fully deflated. Overall, I was very impressed with this product.

 

The third product I purchased was the Power Siesta, made in Puerto Rico and funded on Indiegogo. It is available to buy on Kickstarter and Indiegogo still but not sure where else. The cost is circa $25 and this item and as it is shipping from North America, the shipping is high at $15. That said, I expect this to be available on Amazon in the not so distant future where I expect the shipping costs to be reduced.

 

I am a fan of this travel product as it folds flat in to nothing and helps me sleep much easier than the other two products. When lying in bed, I hardly ever fall asleep on my back but find it much easier on my side or front.

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This product provides a structured (when unfolded) that you place on the stow away table and rest on it directly or one can place a pillow or jumper at the top for a softer landing. This was the only product that helped me sleep relatively comfortably on the plane and while I am adamant that the comfort or support one can get from these products is subjective and individual, this product felt like a real step forward from the traditional travel pillows I have tried.

 

Overall I would have to say that my favourite was the Travel Rest.  It is surprisingly supportive, for being something that packs so flat, and is useful for any seat on the plane!

 

Bookmark this page as we review and add more travel pillows!

 

 

 

Trip of a Lifetime: Day 23 – Bangkok to Cologne to Amsterdam

Our original plan was to fly from Bangkok to Cologne on a 08:05 plane, arrive into Cologne at 15:25 and take a 17:00 train to Amsterdam.

Bae not happy about leaving Asia

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Since Eurowings changed our flight time, to depart at 12:05, arriving at 19:25, we realised that we had about 1 hour 20 minutes to get from the plane to the train station – it was going to be tight. I was stressing about it the whole time.  BKK Airport is pretty efficient, although make sure you have a paper boarding pass – they won’t let you through without one.  I managed to see a nice Thai dance performance in the airport before we boarded our 12 hour flight.

Not this – this is just a cool sculpture as you go through security at BKK

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Eurowings is a low cost airline, so I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food and the size of the seats. Considering we paid £164 per person for this flight I was very happy.  You can order food and data and movies from your screen and the pilot got us there about 30 minutes early (love German efficiency!)

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We arrived in Cologne airport and since it is such a small airport, it took us about 20 minutes to get out of the plane, get through immigration and pick up our bags – amazing!

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We hailed a taxi and it took about 15 minutes to get to the Cologne station – enough time to grab a coffee and take a rest break.

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The train journey was not great for me, but only because I was supremely tired. Luckily I got an hour or so, and even though I was like a zombie when we got to Centraal station – the brisk cold of the Amsterdam evening was enough to shock me into a pleasant state – ahhh how I missed the essence of a cool breeze!

We booked a really pretty little apartment in Jordaan and very trendy and arty neighbourhood (although most of Amsterdam can be described as such!)

We took a 7 minute tram ride then a 5 minute walk to our apartment – getting in at just past midnight.

We were also ravenous. Decided to leave our stuff and go for a quick walk.  Found a little coffee shop and they guy there recommended a Turkish kebab shop nearby.

OMG I thought I had nice kebabs before, maybe it was the long journey, or the lack of sleep, or weird meal times, but this was the most delicious kebab I have ever had.

Happy and full, we hit the sack early.

 

Tune in Tomorrow!

 

 

Trip of a Lifetime: Day 11 – Kauai to Tokyo

Today we leave America and head to Asia and we hot the road early as Bae is keen to take the Mustang for a last fast ride before we have reluctantly give it back to Thrifty Car Rental. All in, it came in at about $200 for three days and it was worth it – the roads and scenery there deserve it…but more importantly, you deserve it 😉20170526_075149

Our flight to Honolulu is midmorning, so we decide to find a place to grab some breakfast before heading in. We were keen to try the famous Hawaiian Loco Moco – a Hawaiian speciality (basically rice, gravy, fried egg and a hamburger patty, topped with spring onions) – got the mini Loco and it was pretty good – very hearty.  Not something I could eat every day though!

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Bae went for pancakes (he always goes for pancakes lol)

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We arrived in Honolulu with about 3 hours to spare until our next flight to Tokyo (!)  I was a bit peckish (again!) so we got a quesadilla and ordered some bloody Marys to help wile away the time.

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We had an 8 hour trip, we would leave Kauai at 13:15 on Friday and arrive in Tokyo 17:00 on Saturday thereby losing a whole day.  Weirdly though, since the time difference is so significant, the jetlag should be minimal!

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Luckily the flight went well -also good to note, China Airlines economy has simple but tasty food! (for an airline).

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Tune in Tomorrow!

Trip of a Lifetime: Day 5 – L.A to Kauai

Today….Hawaii!!  I have wanted to visit Hawaii for the longest time and have been excited about this day since I found out my brother was planning on getting married there.  He and his wife chose Kauai, one of the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, it is also the wettest and most lush of the islands due in part to its geology.

I will say that these tickets were probably the most expensive that we bought for the whole trip.  There is no getting around the fact that Hawaii is  a LONG way from the US mainland!  It is a 5.5-6 hour trip from Los Angeles.

We took an indirect flight via Honolulu because of the price and also because we only lost about 1-2 hours by doing so.  Since the flight from Oahu to Lihue is only 40 minutes, we didn’t mind the stop.

20170520_064746Time to fly to paradise!

After a long flight to Honolulu we had a 3 hour layover before we were taken to Kauai.  It was my first time in Honolulu airport and I had read not so good reviews about things to do or eat at the airport.  However, upon arrival we managed to find a lovely set of gardens in the airport.

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Though the weather didn’t offer too much respite, we got a preview of the beautiful foliage that would be awaiting us in Kauai at the Hawaiian garden, then sat and contemplated life (and for me, questioning how people can live in this heat – not the first time I would do that this holiday) We board a MUCH smaller plane to head on the 35 minute flight to Kauai and I must say that it was one of the more scenic landings we have seen the entire trip

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We are excited! (and a bit crazy!)

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Did I mention super silly?

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We jumped in a cab (you cannot get Uber from the airport, although you can use it on the island) and it cost about $40 going from Lihue to Poipu on the South shore. Our driver was a lovely guy who shared several things of interest specific to this island– that the centre of the island is one of the top three wettest places on planet Earth; that there is literally no crime there; there are thousands of chickens running around the island as they have no natural predators, ever since some escaped a farm in the 70’s.

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It’s pronounced Li Hoo EE (with Hawaiian words, pronouncing every vowel separately is a good start)

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We arrived at our apartment and met my sister and her husband. Took about an hour to get settled into our VRBO rental (hotels are more expensive per night, esp. if you are staying with 4 people or more.  One thing I like about Hawaii is that everywhere has a lanai (balcony/patio/outdoor space) and nearly every vista here is breath taking.

The gorgeous view from our vacation rental – only $1600 for the week! (3 bed, 3 bath)

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We were in Kauai for my brother’s wedding and tonight we had a casual meet and greet where we got to get to know the rest of the wedding party.

The dinner was held at Keoki’s Paradise, a semi casual restaurant in Poipu that makes amazing drinks – I had a minty flavoured pineapple colada served in a pineapple – what a nice way to start our Hawaii time!

Bae is trying to have some of my amazing drink here, hence the look!

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The wedding party getting to know eachother

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Sisters together again! Ready for our brother’s wedding in a couple of days!

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Tune in tomorrow!

Day 1: London to LA

So excited I can’t sleep!

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We have been planning this trip for the last year and a bit and the day has finally arrived for take off!

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Thankfully our flight is at a very civilised 1pm which gives us plenty of time to get to the airport and get some breakfast although Bae still got tetchy and picked up a speeding ticket on the Hangar Lane.  Note to self get him one of those speed camera detector for Christmas!

 

Arrived at Gatwick with time to take down a delicious Nando’s grilled chicken meal before braving the long haul airplane food.

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I love to get the wing roulette – living dangerously at lunch

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Mentally preparing for 11 hours 15 minutes sitting in a big flying tube crammed full of my fellow human being…Bae has his eyes open but he is already asleep

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I love these airplane maps…helps to know progress is being made even while I stare at the back of a seat inches from my face

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Possibly the longest flight I have ever been on (that I can remember)

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Benefit of a Samsung S7 camera – taking shots like these from a tiny airplane window

England’s green pastures and pleasant lands…Bae said I started humming Jerusalem

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Getting higher above the ether

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Food:

We were on a Norwegian Airline flight (It was £200 for our LON-LA trip) and as it is considered a lower cost airline,  I didn’t have very high expectations for our food.

The salad was an oriental salad with a bit too much vinegar, but still edible if you are hungry (we were not – in case you missed the Nandos pics),  a sweet and sour chicken with beans and mashed potatoes – hearty and bit on the sweet side but would eat again, and an apple cinnamon pie which I didn’t touch as cinnamon and I are sworn enemies.  Bae said the pastry was more bready and lots of cinnamon, but overall satisfying

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Bae opted for a Kosher meal, which we had heard were supposed to be tastier than the average airplane meal.  Salad was smoked salmon, then a pulses and veggie chilli (bit salty) followed by a piece of cake AND fruit salad.  I recommend doing this if you want more food – like what the planes USED to serve before portion sizes decreased.

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Must be going over Iceland at this point – I love the fact you can see a blue glow over the horizon – is that the ozone layer?

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Bae bought us an array of neck supports, being long necked humans he had to do some research. In this one we have the Trtl which was purchased for about £20 on Amazon which wraps round the neck and has a brace on one side to support the weight of your head. Bae liked the support but found it hot and not quite as helpful as the Travelrest pillow (red coloured to the left of the shot) which we both used a lot and which work on a different principle. Once you inflate it, you get support all up once side from the waist to your head kind of like when you hug a pillow in bed. Both cost about £20 but the Travelrest is much easier to fold away once it is deflated!

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The reason for the blue tint is because Norweigan has a very cool button on their windows instead of a shutter you close.  Simply press the button (there are 4 options) and it will shade the window from light to completely black – very cool!

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Some more gorgeous pictures of the mountains

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I think this range is maybe the Rockies?

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Approaching Los Angeles!

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Not sure – Is that Big Sur?  Let us know in the comment if you know!

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The one thing I really hate about LA – the traffic and the roads (dangerous – have never seen so many bad and distracted drivers).

Driving back to El Sorreno where my brother and fiancé live after they pick us up from the airport.

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I love these beautiful trees!  My brother said they are Jacaranda trees. Lucky we got to see them in season!

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As the sign says…

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Getting hungry!

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Everywhere in LA is a LONG drive away and traffic (we would realise) can be awful

After being picked up my brother and fiancé who saw how we debilitated we looked after our long haul flight, they took us to a Baby Blues BBQ for a pick me up American-style with massive portions of smoked meat.

Cool ladies bathroom

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Baby Blues BBQ Menu – prices aren’t bad, but food could have been a bit better

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My brother and his beautiful fiancé (now wife and sister to me)!

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A cool looking place to eat with typically large, salty portions, not matched in quality unfortunately. We also tried their mac and cheese which Bae thought was tasteless.  The sweet potato fries were good though.

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After a long day of travelling, we get an early night in preparation for our first real day of holiday!

Tune in tomorrow!