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Getting to and from your destination contributes much to the overall experience of your dream trip. If you’re traveling long-term and will be moving around a lot, you want to make each plane, train, bus, and ferry ride as comfortable as possible.
As much as we would all like to enjoy the comforts of business and first-class when traveling, it’s not always possible (your wallet often says no!). That’s why we put together this list of nifty travel gadgets to help you get so comfortable in economy class that you might even get some sleep!
For years, travel neck pillows have received a lot of flak for being basically useless. You look silly carrying them, you don’t really understand how it’s supposed to fit around your neck and even using it, you still have a stiff neck afterward!
Thankfully, so much research and development has been done that they now come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit every budget and sleeping position.
Woollip Travel Pillow
If you’re the type to sleep face down on your pillow, the Woollip travel pillow might be the right one for you. It’s an inflatable pillow made with soft, comfortable material, and it is designed to enable you to find your ideal position when sleeping upright. The armholes secure the pillow’s position and let your arms and shoulders relax.
A friend of ours recently used this pillow and loved it, and actually got a full eight hours sleep! Interestingly enough, she preferred it a little bit deflated as it was easier to lean into.
Trtl Pillow Plus
Another innovative design is the Trtl Pillow Plus, a fully adjustable travel pillow that fits any neck height, and keeps your head and neck in an ergonomic position. It is like a scarf with support to comfortably keep your head upright while sitting up. The fleece is soft and also washable, and the Trtl comes with its own waterproof carry-bag.
One downside: because only one side offers support, you’re forced to choose which side you want to lean toward.
If you’re after something closer to a more traditional travel pillow, but with a better form, check out the Infinity Pillow. This pillow is designed in the Möbius shape and comes in six colors; it’s definitely an eye-catching option.
It’s a bit bulkier than the first two pillows, but it’s an actual pillow that you can take with you traveling, or use when you’re at home or at the office.
Travelrest i-lene Travel Pillow
The Travelrest i-lene Travel Pillow is less compact than others but has a number of great features. It has straps so you can secure it to your headrest, and it acts as additional padding on the headrest “wings” for comfort.
And, if your seat doesn’t have a headrest, you can wear the strap across your body so the pillow stays firmly on your shoulder to lean on.
The straps also allow for easy-carrying, like a small bag, or attached to your luggage. Plus, the cover is removable and washable, so you can get rid of all the airport and airplane cooties when you get home.
Knidos Travel Pillow
If you’re tired of having your head bobbing about when you’re traveling, this pillow might be the solution. The Knidos Travel Pillow can be strapped around your neck or the seat’s headrest to secure it in place.
Its unique structure keeps your head propped up, so you don’t wake up with a sore neck. And it’s not just for travel; you can use it as a pillow for a power nap at work, or as additional lumbar support on your office chair.
Travelrest All-In-One Travel and Neck Pillow
As far as compact size and portability goes, the Travelrest All-in-one Travel and Neck Pillow has everyone beat. This inflatable travel pillow gives you full lateral support and lets you mimic having the same sleeping position as if you’re sleeping on a bed. It prevents your head from lolling about while sleeping, and it has a removable, washable cover as well.
Footrests & Legrests
Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can cause deep vein thrombosis. This can be prevented by standing up and walking around the cabin, but if you’re sitting in a window seat, this can be annoying for your seatmate.
Elevating your feet by placing them on footrests can help ease the pressure on your legs and feet. However, airplane designs and people vary greatly, and not all seatbacks have footrests that are comfortable for all people heights. As a result, some passengers have taken to bringing their own footrests.
FlyPal Inflatable Footrest
One option you can look into is the FlyPal Inflatable Footrest, which is comprised of two different sized cushions so you can adjust the height as needed. You can make a footrest, leg rest, or even a travel bed.
Sleepy Ride Airplane Footrest
If a footrest is too bulky for your tastes, why not try a foot hammock instead? The Sleepy Ride Airplane Footrest is made with lightweight, memory foam material and adjustable straps that hook easily to the tray table handle. This gadget can be used whether your tray table is stowed, or laid down.
We recommend double-checking with your airline ahead of time to see if this foot hammock is allowed; some airlines prohibit accessories that are attached to the airplane in any way.
The FlyLegsUp combines the features of our first two items: it’s a hammock that you tie to the tray table handles, and you pack it in with inflatable footrests to the height that is comfortable for you. Because it is fully adjustable, the same system can be used by either kids or adults.
This is another product that is up to the discretion of the flight attendants whether they will allow you to use this while onboard the aircraft.
Econo High Portable Footrest
If you don’t want to be huffing and puffing just to inflate your footrest, the Econo High Portable Footrest is a no-nonsense product. The footrest can support up to 100 lbs, and stands at 5 inches (1 inch when folded). It has self-locking legs designed to stay locked while in use and is fully retractable when folded.
While it’s not the cheapest option, it’s definitely the most durable and ready-to-use one.
Eyemasks come in all sizes, shapes, and designs, all promising a more restful sleep. Here are a few options that you might want to consider for your next long-haul flight.
Jersey Slumber Eye Mask
The Jersey Slumber Eye Mask is 100% top-quality silk that is breathable, lightweight, and will not rub harshly on your face as you slumber. It promises to block out light and increase REM sleep, thus improving your mood and energy.
Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask
The Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask is also lightweight and breathable, but its contoured design means it is more effective at blocking out light than some other eye masks. Since it is contoured, you will also be able to blink while wearing the mask and not feel like your movements are hampered.
Manta SLIM Mask
The Manta SLIM Mask may look bulky, but it is actually a sleek and slim mask with a barely-there feel. The above-the-ear strap ensures maximum comfort while boasting a durable, anti-stretch elastic that will last. The donut-like pads sit tenderly over your eyes, promising zero pressure on your eyelids or lashes, and 100% blackout for a better and deeper sleep.
Noise-Canceling Earbuds and Headphones
Whether you want to listen to an audiobook, follow along with a guided meditation, lose yourself in your favorite tunes, or just prefer to not hear to the din of the cabin, earbuds and headphones are a lifesaver (or better yet, a sanity-saver).
Vislla Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds
The Vislla Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds give you freedom from tangling wires while serving great sound quality and up to about 80% noise cancellation. Fully charged, they have enough power to give you up to 8 hours of listening time. These are actually quite a steal for the features.
TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones
If you’re more comfortable with headphones, the TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones are a worthy contender. Though they look bulky, they are foldable and come with their own carrying case.
They are unique in that they can be used as either wireless or wired headphones. The built-in batteries can give you up to 40 hours of listening time, while the USB-C type connector allows up to 2 hours playtime with only a 5-minute charge.
Gadgets That Give You Extra Space
Space is something that’s slowly disappearing inside airplane cabins. Some enterprising individuals recognized every passenger’s need for space and came up with these ingenious products.
spAIRTray Travel Shelf
The spAIRTray Travel Shelf promises to give you up to 33% more space in your window seat. Just slide the tray into the airplane’s window shade track, and you have an instant shelf for your things.
Of course, you have to be sitting on a window seat for this, and the plane must have a window slot that can fit this contraption (say goodbye to the Boeing 787 flights), for you to be able to enjoy the benefits this shelf offers.
Soarigami Airplane Portable Armrest Extender/Divider
Tired of battling for the armrest with your seatmate? Check out the Soarigami Airplane Portable Armrest Extender/Divider. This nifty little gadget can be slotted on the armrest and it will neatly divide the space, giving you and your seatmate your own armrest.
Airhook & Crossbar
As airfares go down, so does the number of amenities airlines provide. Often one of the first to go is inflight entertainment. This is no biggie since most of us travel with our smartphones and tablets.
However, it does get tiring holding our gadgets up to watch, and it is nearly impossible to prop up devices on the tray table when the passenger in front reclines their seat.
The solution? Airhook. It’s a device designed to be attached to a stowed tray table and it holds your phone or tablet securely in place. It even has a built-in cup holder, so you can enjoy your shows and not have to worry about spilling your drink.
In addition to the Airhook, you can also buy the Crossbar, a device that lets you use your Airhook on a car’s headrest and luggage handlebars, so you can really watch your shows wherever you may be.
Flight Flap Phone & Tablet Holder
The Airhook does require some tinkering before use, so if you find that daunting, the Flight Flap Phone & Tablet Holder might be a better option. It’s a flat piece of aluminum core, wrapped in soft neoprene, that you can shape and mold to fit your gadget and the seatback or tray table.
Other Ways to Get Comfortable
The Stokke Jetkids is a clever gadget that aims to make travel with your kids easier and is also a type of footrest/convertible bed for them. It is essentially hard case luggage that your kids can sit and ride on, making it easier for you to get around the airport.
However, the storage space inside the luggage is limited, so use it to store items that you might need to get comfortable on board. Inside the plane, take out the things that you may need from inside the case, and then use the seat extender so your kids can sit and even lay down comfortably while flying.
Do check with your airline that it will be allowed, as a few have banned it; some airlines are concerned it could block a pathway during an emergency evacuation.
World’s Best Cozy-Soft Microfleece Travel Blanket
Airplane cabins, buses, and trains can get quite cold, especially in the winter or when traveling long distances at night. If you get cold easily, you might bring your own blanket to keep you warm. World’s Best Cozy-Soft Microfleece Travel Blanket is made of 100% polyester fleece knit that keeps you warm, yet is lightweight and compact, perfect for packing!
Dr. Scholl’s Travel Knee Socks
It has long been advised to use compression socks while flying to avoid deep vein thrombosis. Dr. Scholl’s Travel Knee Socks have a mild compression level, with more pressure on the ankles and easing up as they go up the legs. These are good not just for long flights and car rides, but also if you are on your feet the whole day.
Non-Disposable Travel Slippers
If you’re the type to remove your shoes on the plane, but do not want the hassle of putting them back on every time you need to go to the toilet, consider these Non-Disposable Travel Slippers. These slippers are portable, come in their own carrying case, and are soft, yet have a non-slip leather sole.
Cocoon Women’s SeaCell Traveler’s Tree Travel Pajamas
Want to look fresh after a long flight? Do as you do at home, and slip into comfortable pajamas for your flight! The Cocoon Women’s SeaCell Traveler’s Tree Travel Pajamas are not only comfortable but also pack very compactly into their own carrying case.
Why are they good? They’re made with a unique fabric blend of silk, Egyptian cotton, and SeaCell, which is derived from seaweeds. They keep you warm when it’s cool and cools you down when the temperatures rise.
- You can also work on creating your perfect plane outfit instead.
Can’t be bothered with the effort to change into pajamas inside a cramped airplane lavatory? Then start your trip right with comfortable clothes. These Yogipace pants have a wide and comfortable waistband that won’t dig into your skin and a fashionable flared leg, so they are chic outside the yoga studio as well.
- Read about why yoga pants are a versatile article of travel clothing.
Carry-On Cocktail Kit
If you want to truly amp up your experience, why not take a cocktail kit? This Carry-On Cocktail Kit from W&P is perfect for when you want an Old Fashioned while soaring at 38,000 feet.
There are several other variants available, including margarita, gin & tonic, Moscow mule, and a hot toddy. Just order the liquor from your flight crew and mix it up!