A travel neck pillow is a pillow which is designed to create support for the head and neck while someone is traveling. In addition to reducing the risk of injury, these pillows can also increase comfort and safety. There are several different ways in which a travel neck pillow can be used, along with a wide array of designs and styles which can be obtained at travel stores and directly through suppliers of travel products.
The classic neck pillow for traveling is a U-shaped pillow which is designed to be looped around the neck. This design prevents the head from falling too far to the side or back, providing firm support. Contoured pillows which cradle the head and neck are also available, along with small rectangular pillows which provide basic support for the neck. In all cases, the pillow tends to be firm, and it may come with a removable slipcover which can be washed for hygienic reasons.
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In the car, a travel neck pillow can be used to provide support to a driver or a passenger, ensuring that the head and neck do not tire on a long drive. For drivers, using proper neck support can reduce the development of fatigue, making driving much safer in addition to more comfortable. Passengers can also adjust the pillow for comfortable sleep. Travel neck pillows may be used for this purpose on planes, with the pillow supporting a passenger's head or neck while awake, and providing comfort for sleep.
Other travel neck pillows are designed to provide support when someone sleeps in a strange bed. For people with established neck and back problems, these pillows can reduce the risk of injury and discomfort while traveling. Individuals without existing problems may also benefit from carrying their own neck pillow for comfort, familiarity, and security. Since the pillow offerings in guest rooms and hotels can be quite variable, carrying a travel neck pillow can ensure that the head will be properly supported during sleep.
There are some interesting variations on the basic travel neck pillow design. Some are designed to be heated, cooled, or both to provide relief for a sore or tired neck. A few companies make neck pillows which are inflatable, so that the pillow can be packed down when it is not needed. Designs customized for people with specific neck and head issues can also be obtained through doctors and chiropractors.