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packing a pillow

Does anyone bring a pillow? Would be uncomfortable if the hotel pillows are bad. Would like to take mine but seems like it would take up a lot of room in my suitcase. Ideas?

Posted by
6543 posts

The only pillow I bring is an inflatable one for the airplane ride. It's a great thing to have on a 10 hr. plane ride.

European hotels have very good pillows, and most have even more pillows on their beds than hotels "back home." If you happen to stay somewhere with insufficient pillows, just ask for more pillows at the front desk.

Posted by
7736 posts

I pack a small travel size pillow, primarily for the plane but have used it as a bed pillow too. I find the pillows in Italy and Paris flat and hard.

Previously I packed it in a compression bag and slid it into an outer zip pocket of my RS bag. This time I realized I could use a gallon ziplock bag. You have to use the kind with the regular seal not the slider top as they seem to allow air in. It will squadh down pretty flat.

I'm in England now and the pillows have been good.

Make sure you use a bright pillowcase so it doesn't get lost in bedding!!

Posted by
660 posts

I had asked a similar question so you might want to check out the answers here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/packable-travel-pillows-but-not-the-u-shaped-neck-kind
I decided to buy and take one of the little pillows that has chunks of foam in it and rolls up into itself. It was wonderful to have on the plane. At times I attached it to my backpack and other times I put it into my carryon bag all squished up into a shrink bag which made it very thin and compact. Thus far, we haven't really needed them for sleeping throughout our England/Scotland trip (where we are at the moment). If you do take an inflatable, make sure it inflates at home! We also have inflatable neck pillows and when I inflated it on the plane, it disappointedly had a hole in it.

Posted by
2447 posts

I pack a couple of small blow-up travel pillows. In general I find most British and European hotels to a really good pillows but in some countries like Italy,Czech republic and other former Soviet Bloc countries to had really soft flat pillows that I just don't like.

Posted by
2319 posts

Not necessary unless you are staying at hostels, or have medical issues requiring special pillows. All hotels I've seen, including budget hotels and apartments/airbnb, have several pillows per bed, and all are fine. If it's a hotel, the desk should be able to get you a new pillow if there's a problem or if you need an additional one. Do you bring a pillow when you travel in the US? Europe should really be no different.

Posted by
39 posts

I admit that I pack a small hypoallergenic pillow for my head. The hotels have always had great pillows that I use as a body pillow. Sometimes the pillow doesn't make it back home if I purchased more that I expected on my trip. I am not a super light packer but at least it's light enough that I can always manage my own luggage. As the replies above suggest, the pillows in Europe are fine so no actual need to bring along a pillow.

Posted by
516 posts

Some people need a certain type of pillow due to neck/back conditions. If this is you then it might be worth the bulk of packing. Not being well rested could really compromise your trip.

Posted by
5122 posts

Buy one there. Too much precious space in your luggage. Never found an inflatable one that was more comfortable than a hotel pillow.

Posted by
345 posts

I do not take (not "bring") a pillow to Europe but my husband does. He just likes his own pillow.

On the other hand, while I have been OK with most of the pillows, I do not like the square ones that I have experienced in some hotels. I am used to oblong pillows so it is harder for me to get comfortable with a square one.

If I do have a problem, I get a towel and fold or roll it so it works for me.

Bottom line, it doesn't make any difference what others do...do what you want! It is your trip!

Posted by
6 posts

I went to Target and bought a full size pillow for the flight. I paid under $5 for it. I also bought a "spacebag" vacuum bag that does not need a vacuum (you roll from one end to the other). I
put the pillow in my carry-on and took it out after I got on board. Fits real nice between the seat and bulkhead if you have a window seat. It can be used for your whole trip without the space issues.

Posted by
491 posts

I'm thinking of getting this, as recommended by someone in that other thread:
Inflatable Pillow

But would someone please tell me how a pillow can be self-inflating?
(I know, I know--I need to get out more).

Posted by
5122 posts

SandraL, the self-inflating mattress pads (for camping) I have, are full of a foam material. There is a valve which you open to let air in, and the foam expands on its own. Then you roll it up, squeezing the air out, and close the valve.

Posted by
491 posts

Thank you! I'm largely unfamiliar with a lot of this stuff. I guess I'm learning as I go!

Posted by
3455 posts

I just purchased a pillow on Amazon and I LOVE it. I'm a stomach sleeper and most hotel pillows in the US are too thick. It's an "Extra Soft Down Pillow, and I bought the travel size which is half the square inches of a regular pillow. It packs down to nothing on top of my clothes. I travel very light & never thought I'd consider bringing a pillow or having room for it!

Posted by
3455 posts

Just an update on the travel pillow I use in the hotels. I've been traveling for work for 3 of the last 4 weeks. Even packing for a 2-week work trip, I was able to place the down pillow on the top of my clothes to carry-on my suitcase. I LOVE this pillow! I first heard about it from a link on this website of Sarah Murdoch, one of the travel guides.

Posted by
1854 posts

Like Jean, I take a tiny, down travel pillow. It's just the right sleeping size and squashes "down" to nothing. Fits wonderfully in my carry on.

Posted by
1 posts

For my last long flight to Europe I bought a full sized pillow at IKEA. They're rolled and shrink wrapped and are about the size of a loaf of bread. Easily fit in a carry on. Best part...$1.99 Cdn!
First time I've slept on a plane.