The best travel pillows of 2021 for a good night’s sleep in the air or on the road

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Falling asleep while traveling can be very difficult, but having the right travel pillow can help.
  • The Trtl pillow is our top pick because it is comfortable, portable, and affordable.
  • See Insider Reviews for more travel coverage.

Sleeping while traveling is an exercise in futility. For many people, long-haul travel – whether it’s by air, rail, or road – is one of life’s great discomforts, especially when they need to get some shuteye. Some can’t sleep a wink, while others wake up with sore necks and bodies. While they aren’t foolproof, the best way to get some sleep while traveling is with one of the best travel pillows.

There are innovative travel pillows today besides the classic U-shaped options. Some use memory foam that mold to your neck and body, while others are inflatable for easy storage. There are some that prevent heads from nodding forward, and there are some designed for full upper-body comfort. Even if sleep isn’t the intention, a travel pillow can help make the journey a bit more comfortable.

Here are the best travel pillows

The best travel pillow overall

trtl

Despite its unique scarf-like design, the Trtl offers huge support for your neck.

Pros: Comfortable, low profile, innovative design, soft, not too warm, easy to pack

Cons: Only offers support on one side, only comes in one size

At first glance, the Trtl pillow looks nothing like a pillow. It seems more like a scarf or blanket, and in some ways, that’s actually what it is. A soft, lightweight fleece wrap hides and cushions a plastic neck support on one side, which rests on either shoulder or your chest to keep your head in a comfortable position.

The neck support consists of a few stiff ribs on one end of the scarf. To use the Trtl, simply place the ribs in the position you find most comfortable, then wrap the scarf around your neck. Velcro on the other end of the ribs holds the wrap in place while you doze off. The ribs have a little bit of flexibility to eliminate any pressure points or discomfort.

It’s actually pretty ingenious, and, despite the weird design, surprisingly comfortable. The strengthened ribs almost look like one of those emergency neck braces, but since they only rest on one side, instead of both, it’s more comfortable and less restrictive. Trtl, which is based in Scotland, was founded by two mechanical engineers in 2010. The inventors claim that the design is based on scientific research into sleep positions and independent testing.

Because there’s no stuffing and the pillow is made of soft fleece — aside from the ribs — the Trtl is both lightweight and low profile, which makes it easy to stash in a bag on your way to and from the airport or train station.

The biggest downside to the pillow is that, since it only offers support on one side, you’re out of luck if you toss and turn or shift positions during the flight. Some buyers also report that the support is a bit too short for taller people — the pillow only comes in one size — but this was easily remedied by using a folded airline blanket. You can read our full review here for more details.

Read our full review of the Trtl Travel pillow on Insider Picks.

The best traditional travel pillow

cloudz pillow

The Clöudz pillow is a simple microbead travel pillow that works for just about everyone.

Pros: Snap closure, warm and cool sides, soft, affordable

Cons: Doesn’t shrink, fold or compress to fit in a bag

I’m personally a big fan of the Clöudz pillow. This is the first pillow that was comfortable enough to help me sleep during a trans-Atlantic red-eye flight. It’s simple and straightforward, which makes it a perfect solution for most people’s needs.

The design is mostly traditional — it’s exactly what comes to mind when you hear the words “travel pillow.” Shaped like a giant U, the pillow is designed to go around the back of your neck, supporting your head if you lean backward or to the side — although when I use it, I spin it around.

A helpful feature that makes this pillow stand out is the nifty snap at the ends. The strap is perfect for attaching the pillow to a bag handle or strap when you’re walking through the airport. When I use the pillow, I close the snap when the pillow is on my shoulders before turning it around. That way, it doesn’t fall off my neck when I lean forward.

Something that makes the Clöudz pillow stand out is the fact that it’s can accommodate people who tend to feel either too warm or too cool when they’re sleeping. The top side of the pillow is covered by a warm, cozy felt-like material, while the bottom has a cooler spandex fabric. It’s filled with tiny microbeads, which conform to your head and face as you lean on them. At the same time, though, they hold enough shape to stop the pillow from collapsing under you and falling flat.

The best memory foam travel pillow

cabeau

The Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow uses ergonomically-molded memory foam to keep your head supported in flight.

Pros: Ergonomic design, 360-degrees of coverage, comfortable

Cons: Can get warm and sweaty, no “cooler side”

The Cabeau looks similar to the Clöudz pillow because it’s the same traditional U shape. The pillow is designed to go around the back of your neck and rest on your shoulders. Like the Clöudz pillow, the Cabeau closes around on the front, but instead of snaps, it has a drawstring with a fastener that you can use to turn the U into an O. The biggest difference is that instead of microbeads, the pillow uses memory foam.

When you pull the drawstrings taut, it pulls the two ends of the U together, allowing for 360-degrees of coverage, so that if your head falls forward when you sleep, you don’t need to spin the pillow around. The back portion is a bit thinner and is designed to sit flat against the seat and conform to the back of your neck so that it doesn’t push your head forward.

Instead of a smooth tube-like shape bent into a U, the Cabeau pillow has an ergonomically designed hump running the length of the pillow to support your head more effectively. The cover is removable and machine washable. In reviews all around the web, buyers say the Cabeau is helpful and comfortable, even if they haven’t liked past travel pillows.

Some people will prefer memory foam to a bead-filled pillow, but there’s a big drawback. Some buyers report that the pillow can get pretty warm, which can make you sweaty and uncomfortable. Beyond that, the pillow is a bit less convenient to attach to the outside of a bag while you’re in transit — the workaround is that the pillow can be compressed to about 1/4 of its size for stowing in a bag. The company warns against compressing it for long-term storage so that the pillow doesn’t lose its shape.

The best inflatable travel pillow

Lewis_1

The inflatable Lewis N. Clark Pillow can fold up small to fit anywhere, and provides adjustable support. 

Pros: Fits just about anywhere when deflated, easy to adjust firmness, comfortable

Cons: Bulkier in the back than some other pillows

By nature, pillows are large and bulky. To provide the right amount of support, they need enough stuffing, and they need to be big enough to provide an adequate surface area. That’s fine when you’re leaving it on a bed or couch, but when you travel, there’s a big premium on storage space. You need to keep your luggage as small and light as possible so that you can deal with transiting, and a big pillow can take up more room than you can justify.

That’s why an inflatable travel pillow can be handy. When you’re in transit to an airport or your hotel, you can deflate the pillow, fold it up and shove it in a corner of your bag. When you’re ready to use it, it just takes a few breaths to fill it all the way.

Some inflatable pillows can be a bit uncomfortable, since the airtight material is, by its nature, not breathable. Lewis N. Clark solves that problem by covering the pillow with a comfortable jersey material, which is much nicer to have against your skin than plastic or vinyl. Because you control how full the pillow is, you can easily adjust it. If the pillow feels too firm or unyielding, you can use the well-designed release valve to deflate it a tiny bit at a time, while wearing it, until it feels right.

When it’s fully inflated, the Lewis N. Clark pillow forms a U-shape like many traditional travel pillows, although it has a slightly more squared profile. The back of the pillow is a little bit bulkier than pillows like the Cabeau, but most buyers agree that it’s a comfortable solution.

The best travel-friendly body pillow

Travelrest

The Travelrest Pillow is perfect for side sleepers, offering support to the entire side of your body.

Pros: Great for side sleepers, supportive, comfortable

Cons: Can fall out of place, can take a bit of effort to find the most comfortable position

The Travelrest has a completely different design from most travel pillows. Rather than going around your neck and just supporting your head, it goes across your entire torso like a sling, offering a totally different kind of support.

When seated, you wear the Travelrest pillow basically like a shoulder seatbelt. A bulkier portion rests on either shoulder, while the “tail” goes across your body. Alternatively, it can go down your side. Your head and the side of your body are supported, giving you a more bed-like feeling than most neck pillows can offer. A cord attached to the top of the pillow can loop around a plane or car seat headrest, keeping the pillow secure and in place while you rest.

The pillow is conspicuously bulkier than most other travel pillows, but fortunately, it’s inflatable. You can fold it up into a nice, small package and keep it near the top of your carry-on, inflating it to full-size once you’re ready to settle into your seat. If your seat doesn’t have a headrest, you can secure the pillow’s cord to its tail and wear it around yourself like a sling.

The pillow is covered with a soft velvet-like material, but you can purchase an optional cover that is a bit softer. The cover also has a memory foam pad at the top of the pillow to provide an extra soft place to rest your head.

The best rectangular compressible travel pillow

thermarest pillow

The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow rolls up into a tiny package and expands to a full, rectangular pillow.

Pros: Compresses to a travel-friendly size, normal-shaped pillow, many sizes and colors, affordable

Cons: Heavy for backpackers

If you want to bring a normal-shaped pillow with you on your travels, but you don’t want to waste space in your luggage, Therm-a-Rest’s compressible pillow is the one for you. It comes in a variety of sizes, but the small one is probably best for most travelers. 

The small pillow measures 12 x 16 x 4 inches when it’s open and 13 x 4 x 4 inches when it’s compressed. It weighs just 7 ounces, which is quite impressive. The foam filling is 4-inches thick and quite comfortable. Its polyester cover is relatively comfortable, and it comes in a few fun colors. The pillow is machine washable, which is nice.

When you’re done using the pillow in flight, you can roll it up and pop it in the drawstring pouch until you need to use it again at your hotel or campsite.

Experts from the Outdoor Gear Lab gave this pillow a great rating, and the reviewer’s only complaint is that it is a bit heavy for backpackers. However, if you’re just throwing it in your carry-on bag or purse for use on a plane, that’s probably not a huge deal.

The small size is ideal for travel, but if you think it is too small for you, the medium measures 14 x 18 x 4 inches expanded, 14 x 5 x 6 inches compressed and weighs 9 ounces; while the large measures 16 x 23 x 4 inches expanded, 16 x 7 x 7 inches compressed, and weighs 12 ounces. There’s also an XL version that measures 16.5 x 27 x 4 inches expanded, 18 x 7 x 7 inches compressed, and weighs 15 ounces. — Malarie Gokey

The best travel pillow for head bobbers

bcozzy travel pillow

If you tend to hang your head while you sleep and wake up with some serious neck pain, then the Bcozzy is the only travel pillow for you.

Pros: Great for folks who nod off frontward while sleeping, allows for the wearing of large, over-the-ear headphones, lightweight

Cons: Not much side support, can’t be compressed or deflated for easy storage

Plenty of travel pillows have attempted to support sleepers whose heads tend to roll to the left or to the right as they doze off. But far fewer have attempted to solve the challenge of the forward sleeper (unless, like David, you use a U-shaped pillow in reverse). For these people, the Bcozzy is a pillow designed to support the head, from the front.

The pillow’s design hinges on its overlapping ends, which create an extra level of support. Whereas most pillows have a gap where there ought to be a platform for your chin, the Bcozzy solves this problem by creating a sort of supportive collar that has some additional cushion at the front. The pillow is fully adjustable, which is to say that you can decide for yourself how much overlap and support you really want. 

Most other travel pillows will all but require you to use earbuds or other in-ear options, lest their high walls push off your headphones. But this presents no problem for the Bcozzy. Really, it’s almost as though this pillow realized that you wouldn’t need support on your sides — after all, that’s the job of your noise-canceling headphones.

The Bcozzy also comes with a small loop that lets you clip it to the outside of your backpack or another piece of luggage. So even though you can’t deflate it or roll it out, it’s still supremely portable. Plus, at just 7.4 ounces, you’ll hardly notice it’s there.

The best no-slip travel pillow

travelrest

Thanks to the Travelrest Ultimate’s ability to lay flat against your seat, your head will be well-supported without being pushed outward, which is key for long drives or flights.

Pros: Great support all-around your neck, no slipping, adjustable Velcro fits any seat as well as your neck

Cons: High walls make using over-the-head headphones difficult

The Travelrest Ultimate may look a lot like the traditional travel pillow you’re accustomed to, but a few key tweaks make it far better. Most notably, this pillow’s flat-back design allows it to lay flat against your seat, allowing you to rest your head comfortably during long journeys.

Though it’s inflatable, the Travelrest Ultimate doesn’t feel like it’s just full of air. Instead, the memory foam cushion keeps your entire neck comfortable while easing into a comfortable sleeping position. And even if your head tends to loll around quite a bit while you’re dreaming, the pillow will prop you up.

The Travelrest Ultimate has rubberized grips that ensure the pillow won’t slip, even if your head does. Thanks to the pillow’s adjustable Velcro strap, you can customize its size based on the seat you’re in. Whether you’re looking to get some repose on a plane, train, or automobile, the Ultimate will help.

One of my favorite things about the pillow is that its cover is removable and machine-washable. If you’re like me and are perennially perturbed by the potential for germs in various travel environments, rest assured that this is one travel pillow you can keep clean.

When you’re not using the Travelrest Ultimate, you can deflate it, and because it weighs less than a pound and can be rolled into its Velcro-secured carrying case, it’s about as portable as they come.

Check out our other buying guides for long-haul travel

carry on luggage plane
Read the original article on Business Insider

9 essentials for staying healthy while traveling, from a sterilizer wand to a muscle stimulator to improve circulation

  • Taking proper precautions while traveling is vital in helping prevent contracting a virus like COVID-19. 
  • Innovative tech like portable water filters or wand sterilizers can help make any trip a much safe experience.  
  • Below, we’ve rounded up 9 essentials everyone should pack in their suitcase or carry-on for healthy travel.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Travel isn’t what it used to be. Not only has the pandemic severely restricted what has become the world’s favorite pastime, but it’s also changed the way we do it. 

How fast COVID-19 spread across the world has completely opened our eyes to how easily we can catch deadly viruses. Now, the mere thought of sitting on an airplane, rubbing elbows with 50 other people in a small space, or talking to a maskless stranger up close is the surest way to experience some heavy travel anxiety. 

Luckily for jet setters like you and I, we have this wonderful, ever-evolving thing called technology – and there are some brilliant innovations designed to allow us to adapt to this new normal. Thanks to new gadgets that are just as portable as they are effective, there are more ways than ever to protect ourselves and stay healthy while traveling

With the world partly opening back up and people starting to travel again, even though COVID-19 is still very much alive and kicking, these gadgets are more important than ever. Whether you need to hop on a plane for work, go home for the holidays, or take a quick yet much-needed vacation in one of the very few countries that welcome Americans at the moment, they are now essential additions to your packing list.

And although the following collection of gear works well for trying to keep healthy during the pandemic, they’re not only intended for that purpose. Gadgets like LifeStraw’s water filter, the PowerDot Duo 2.0, or even portable humidifiers are essential items that any traveler can benefit from packing along, whether COVID-19 still poses a risk or not.

Here are our picks best healthy travel essentials:

Best sterilizer

Monos UV wand

The Monos CleanPod UVC Wand Sterilizer allows you to effectively disinfect public spaces so you can stop using wipes that are bad for the environment.

Pros: Uses UV-C light, very lightweight, very portable, no warming up time, USB to USB-C charging, sleek design

Cons: More expensive than other wands, it takes time (at least 30 seconds) to sanitize

These days, sterilizing your airline seat area or table at a restaurant yourself feels like a necessity, and many have resorted to packing disinfectant wipes. The problem is, they’re not exactly good for the environment. Most wipes block our sewage systems and pollute our oceans, and those eco-friendly alternatives could still increase your carbon footprint.

That’s why sterilizing wands have become so popular as they’re intended to be a more sustainable alternative to disinfecting. The problem is, many UV wands are either fake or ineffective because they don’t produce the right type of UV light.

The Monos CleanPod UVC Wand Sterilizer, on the other hand, utilizes UV-C (ultraviolet C) wavelength, the type of UV light that has been proven effective in destroying viruses and bacteria

Obviously, I don’t have the resources nor the experience to test just how effective it is. But, Monos released its own lab test result showing it kills 99% of Salmonella Typhimurium in just one minute. This wand is also very portable and lightweight – it almost feels like a toy when I hold it – as well as elegant-looking with a clean white chassis and gold-colored power switch. 

I found it a no-brainer to use as well. You only need to charge it, which takes about 2.5 hours, switch it on, then press the button to light up the LEDs and start sweeping. Best of all, there’s no warm-up time, which means no waiting time.

Best portable humidifier

Hey Dewy Humidifier

With a spill-proof water compartment, an angular spout, and quiet operation, the Hey Dewy Humidifier is the best portable humidifier out there.

Pros: Portable, container is spill-proof, angular nozzle, up to 10 hours of water capacity, has a night light, two spray modes, comes in three different colors

Cons: No battery, no hot steamer mode that would have been nice in cold weather situations

Humidifiers help reduce the risk of catching the flu – not only do many viruses and bacteria thrive in low humidity, but the cilia that help rid our sinuses of harmful pathogens aren’t as efficient when they dry out. A humidifier solves both of these problems, keeping the air around you and your nasal passages moist. Plus, they’re a godsend on long-haul flights and during winter when humidity drops to bothersome levels.

Unfortunately, most offerings aren’t exactly suitcase-ready. Fortunately, more portable humidifiers are starting to become available, giving travelers more on-the-go options. 

I’ve tested quite a few of these, being a regular globetrotter myself. None of them, however, measure up to the Hey Dewy Humidifier. Light, portable, and available in three colors (including blush for the fun factor), there are a few things I love about it.

The spill-proof water compartment is certainly a major plus. I’ve used this slouched on the sofa or lying in bed. I even turned it upside down to see if the nozzle would drip, and I haven’t experienced it spilling once. It’s probably not completely spill-free, but the fact that I have yet to get wet while using it is a great sign. 

The angular nozzle, which directs the mist towards you, is also a terrific detail, as is the up to 10 continuous hours of water capacity. The night light and two spray modes are nifty little extras next to those.

It isn’t battery-powered so you have to plug it in via USB, which is kind of inconvenient. However, with so many people owning power banks these days, and most planes, trains, and airports with easy access to power outlets, this isn’t such a deal-breaker.

Best travel air purifier

CleanLight Air

CleanLight Air keeps your air purified by using UV-C rays and a medical grade filter to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria. 

Pros: Uses medical grade H13 HEPA filter, uses UV-C light, covers 161 square feet, light and thin, portable enough to fit in a purse, has a USB charger for your phone

Cons: More than $100, can be loud even at low setting, not battery-powered

Air purifiers help minimize pollutants by removing harmful particles in the air like fungal spores, mold, bacteria, and viruses. Unfortunately, most air purifiers out there are too big to fit inside a suitcase. 

Luckily, there’s KeySmart’s CleanLight Air, which takes up a tiny space in your suitcase. It’s smaller and lighter than most water bottles out there. In fact, it’s smaller than the Hey Dewy Humidifier in diameter, and only about half an inch taller.

CleanLight Air uses a 360-degree H13 HEPA filter, which is considered medical grade, to trap 99.95% of particles that are 0.1 microns or bigger in diameter. It then sanitizes that filtered air with UV-C rays before it expels it back out into your space, eliminating any remaining pathogens. For something this light and small, that’s impressive. 

This FCC-certified air purifier is supposed to be powerful enough to purify up to 161 square feet of space. To put that into perspective, the average US hotel room today is still 330 square feet, which means it can certainly purify a sizable amount of immediate space you’re occupying.

Unfortunately, itI isn’t battery-powered, but I just plug it into my smartphone power bank and it works every time. There’s also the added perk that I can easily carry it around, whether I’m at the airport or, more likely these days, at the grocery store.

Just be forewarned, it’s loud enough that I keep thinking it’s my laptop that’s making the sound, even at the low setting. Those who like white noise might appreciate it, but it’s certainly bothered me enough to turn the device off when I know I’m about to fall asleep.

Best water-purifying bottle

LARQ Self Cleaning Bottle

The world’s first water purification system in a bottle, the LARQ Bottle Self-Cleaning Water Bottle reduces your use of single-use plastics while ensuring that the water you’re drinking is free of harmful contaminants.

Pros: Uses UV-C light, two purifying modes, up to 1 month of battery life, smart auto-purification, waterproof USB port, comes in five colors and two sizes, gorgeous design

Cons: Not going to be cheap, insulation could be better, not the lightest water bottle out there

People use a lot of single-use plastics when traveling. Unfortunately, not only are these disposable plastic containers one of the biggest enemies of marine animals and the environment, but a lot of bottled water sold in stores aren’t purified. This means you could be drinking contaminated water, anyway. And, that’s without mentioning the plastic particles you’ll find in a lot of them.

The easy solution is reusable water bottles, but you can’t always find clean water for consumption, especially when you’re traveling around other countries. And, these water bottles themselves can be a breeding ground for bacteria if not properly washed.

That’s why the LARQ Bottle Self-Cleaning Water Bottle is such an ingenious idea, and I cannot recommend it enough to fellow long-term travelers. Sleek and gorgeous-looking, they come in an attractive package. They even come in five different colors and two sizes. And, like most insulated water bottles out there, it can keep your water’s temperature – for up to 24 hours when chilled, up to 12 hours when hot.

The best part about them is that they purify your water at a press of a button and every 2 hours. It uses UV-C LED technology, the same type of UV wavelength that the CleanLight Air and CleanPod UVC Wand Sterilizer use, to purify the water inside, ensuring that you have clean drinking water anytime you need a swig.

It also has an Adventure Mode with extra purification power (killing up to 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.99% of viruses). So, when you run out of clean water while hiking, you can fill it up with water from a stream or a river, and it’ll be safe to drink within minutes – more specifically, three minutes on Adventure Mode and only one on Normal.

Another nice feature here is its battery life, which lasts up to a month so you don’t have to keep charging. I was worried at first about its micro USB port on the bottle cap where the UV-C LED  and battery are, but as it turns out, it’s thoughtfully waterproof so you can wash the outside without worrying about damaging it.

Best apparel with built-in filtration

G95 Bio gear

The innovative G95 Bio gear keeps you warm while warding off pollution, allergens, and bacteria at the same time.

Pros: Have filtration protection built-in, surprisingly affordable for their multi-functionality, minimalist and stylish, cold weather options are comfy and warm

Cons: Neutral shades might disappoint color lovers, BioScarf might take a bit of wrangling to put on right the first few times

The best apparel these days are the ones that clothe you, protect you, and make you look good at the same time. Masks, for example, have gone from being those blue and white disposable options to something reusable that comes in a variety of different colors and patterns.

Meanwhile, the folks at G95 have taken this idea to an entirely new level. What’s better than warm winter gear that protects you from the elements? G95’s line of Bio gear, that’s what. Each piece of clothing from this line has the company’s proprietary particulate filtration protection — essentially, three layers of filtration material that work together to keep out 99% of all airborne contaminants 0.1 microns and larger — built-in.

That makes them much more effective than most masks other clothing companies are selling right now. Incidentally, it does have masks, aptly called BioShield, which I really like because they’re light and spacious enough to let you breathe easier while still keeping you protected. They’re also made with a nice weaved top layer that looks premium and classy.

However, for staying toasty in cold weather situations, I absolutely love its scarves and gaiters, christened BioScarf and BioGaiter respectively. Both have the particulate filtration protection built-in so they already serve as your face protection when you’re in public places like airports and tourist areas, but the microfleece ones have kept me gloriously nice and comfy when it’s nippy outside.

The scarves are excellent if you want to be able to take them off easily at a moment’s notice, while the gaiters are a bit trickier to take off, especially if you want to keep your hair and make-up pristine. However, I do love how I can just put a BioGaiter on and not have to worry about adjusting it. And, it’s super easy to pull it off your face when face protection isn’t necessary and put it back on when it is.

Best yet, every single item in the G95 Bio line will look good on you. It even has a hoodie and a pullover with built-in face protections that minimalists will adore.

Best muscle stimulator for improved blood flow

PowerDot Duo

Whether it’s to speed up muscle recovery or get you through long-haul flights, the PowerDot 2.0 Duo is the perfect companion for helping your body feel its best.

Pros: Extremely portable, app is super easy to use, they really work, comes with a host of applications, fast and easy to set up, replacement pads are cheap

Cons: not cheap, you might need a mirror to set some programs up, pads need to be replaced after 25 uses

Deep vein thrombosis is real, and it can occur especially during long-haul flights when people are immobile for hours on end. People like me with a family history of blood clots are even more susceptible, which is why I always make it a point to stretch my legs every couple of hours when I’m on an 8-hour or more flight. And, that’s on top of the fact that I also have poor circulation, and not ambulating makes my legs feel tingly and extremely uncomfortable.

This is why when someone introduced the PowerDot 2.0 Duo to me, I immediately jumped at the chance to see what it can do. This smart muscle recovery and performance tool is actually designed to help your muscles warm up pre-workout, recover faster post-workout, and increase their strength and endurance. However, it also comes with a host of other benefits.

I’ve used this awesome little kit not only when I’m sore from a particularly tough workout session, but also to get rid of shoulder knots after a long day of hunching over my laptop. More importantly for frequent flyers out there, it can be used to improve blood circulation and get you through long-haul flights. In fact, it even has a “Long Haul Flight” option in the app, which you use to guide you through and control its electric muscle stimulation programs.

If you don’t know it already, better circulation leads to a healthier body and a more robust immune system, which in turn helps you fight off viruses and avoid potential diseases. Not to say, of course, that you shouldn’t ambulate, work out, and eat healthy, but this muscle stimulator takes over when you can’t – like when you’re stuck in an uncomfortable seat on an airplane for a 12-hour flight, for example.

Plus, it’ll get you ready for another exciting day of traveling. Put these on after a long day of exploring a city, and your legs, feet, and lower back will be back in tip-top shape the next day.

Best filtered mask you can sterilize

GIR Mask

Silicone kitchen tools master GIR is making masks, and their Reusable Face Mask 2.0 is tested to 99.7% BFE and 95% PFE, keeping most pathogens out better than most cloth masks.

Pros: Dishwasher, oven and microwave safe, filters are 99.7% BFE and 95% PFE, comes in different colors, comes in three sizes, adjustable with included clip, comfortable and breathable, cheaper than other stylish cloth masks

Cons: Silicon on your face might cause you to breakout if you’re super sensitive

During a pandemic, cloth masks are fine when you’re not in close proximity with other people. However, when you’re at the airport or worse, on an airplane with 50 other people for several hours, they’re not enough to keep the more harmful pathogens away. This is why so many people have upgraded their cloth masks to more robust, filtered ones. 

I’ve tested quite a few masks in the recent months, from cloth ones and cloth masks with filters to silicon masks. I even have a couple of silicon maks that are designed in a way where they have this suction effect to keep them in place on your face. 

However, it’s GIR’s Reusable Face Mask 2.0 that’s proven to be both comfortable and effective. If you’re like me who has a bit of a harder time breathing under face protection, you’ll appreciate the space this mask affords your nose and mouth. And, it comes in several different colors so you can buy a few, and mix and match with your wardrobe.

More importantly, however, this breathable mask is made of medical-grade, FDA- and LFGB-approved silicone that comes with a replaceable filter, which in turn is tested to be 99.7% and 95% effective in filtering out bacteria and particles respectively. That’s certainly much more effective than any leopard mask you’ve purchased at Anthropologie.

This mask can be sterilized in a dishwasher, oven, or microwave for convenience. And, since it’s made by GIR, you can count on these masks to not only last you a lifetime, but also be hypoallergenic as well as BPA and BPS free.

Best heating alternative

MightyBliss heated blanket

The Mighty Bliss Large Electric Heating Pad offers a quick heating solution in places where heating isn’t as effective.

Pros: auto shutoff, large size, cheap, made of plush material, has several heat settings, rollable for packing

Cons: required a power outlet, not battery operated

Although we’re used to central heating here in the US, space heaters are still the norm in other countries. I found this to be the case in places like New Zealand, as well as some areas in Europe. 

When staying in modern hotels, heating is certainly not going to be a problem. However, if you’re staying in AirBnbs, older hotels, and hostels, you’ll certainly run into a few that won’t heat up the rooms enough to be comfortable. You’re just expected to bundle up and hunker down, especially at night.

This type of situation might make you more susceptible to illnesses. Not only are some viruses more likely to spread during cold weather, but your immune system might not be as robust when your body temperature is lowered

Be ready with a portable heating pad if you’re traipsing around colder places in the winter months. Something like the Mighty Bliss Large Electric Heating Pad will not just keep you warm and toasty when you’re staying at a place where heating isn’t on hand. It’ll also soothe your tired muscles after you’ve been walking around all day. 

I use this particular one myself, and there are a few things I love about it. It’s got three heat levels to choose from, and a nifty auto shutoff that comes in handy when you’ve fallen asleep before turning it off. It’s also bigger than other regular heating pads, so it can cover more of your body. And, it has a soft, plush covering that’s nice to touch. 

Sadly, this isn’t dual voltage, so you can’t use it in Europe, but something like the MaxKare Heat Pad is a terrific 220V option.

Best water filter

lifestraw

Simply put, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a life-saving measure, and travelers shouldn’t go without one.

Pros: Cheap, lasts a few years, no moving parts, no batteries required, extremely portable, super long shelf life when stored properly

Cons: It’s a straw, not a water container, shorter shelf life in super warm regions

Backpackers and long-distance hikers swear by the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, so while it may not come with “smart” features and a fun little app, it deserves a place on this list just for being a life-saver. Indeed, this is your lifeline when there’s no clean drinking water anywhere, and your only option is to lap up that murky water from a nearby pond.

This nifty tool is said to remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites – not to mention, it filters particles 0.2 microns and larger. I’ve watched testers on YouTube fill it up with muddy water, and show how it delivers beautifully clear water on the other end, filtering out all the gunk and particles. That’s without using any type of electric-powered technology – just a simple microfiltration membrane.

You won’t even need to be out in the wilderness to use it. Even when you’re traveling in many parts of South America and Africa where clean drinking water is harder to come by, this is one emergency tool you shouldn’t go without. And, it’s extremely portable – several times thinner and lighter than most water bottles out there with a filtration system – so you can just quickly slide it in your backpack pocket or wear it around your neck.

What’s more, it won’t cost you more than $20 and filters up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters), which is much, MUCH more than what an average person drinks in a year, so you’re getting a whole lot of bang for your money.

Read our full review of the LifeStraw filter

Read the original article on Business Insider