Travel Beautifully · Perform Confidently
Travel Beautifully · Perform Confidently

Is there such a thing as a good travel pillow?

In an ideal world we would all be able to fly first class and get eight hours of sleep before we reach our destination. The reality? We are sat bolt upright for 8 hours whilst we repeatedly jolt awake with an armrest in our backs and our necks welded to our shoulders. However there is help. There are now a host of comfort-inducing travel pillows available that might take the sting out of long haul flights and save your neck at the same time. 

Here are our favourite travel pillows: 

The Trtle Travel pillow 

This award-winning piece of kit provides proper technical neck support that’s ergonomically shaped into the curve of your neck and chin and it acts almost like you’re resting on an invisible hand.  All wrapped in a hypoallergenic fleece lining , it wraps around your neck like a scarf in order to support your head and neck in a comfortable position when sleeping. Half the weight of traditional U-shaped neck pillows, it is also small enough to fit into your hand luggage. At $30.85 it’s a small price to pay for a sleep on the go. Go to uk.trtltravel.com or amazon.com 

The Kallysleep Travel pillow 

If you’ve ever tried a memory foam mattress, you will understand how this pillow supports and moulds itself around your body. The Travel Memory Foam Pillow designed by Kally Sleep (who specialise in sleep related problems and pillows) has an ergonomic design, with a soft, jersey cover.  Designed to support around the chin, neck and base of the head, it wraps around firmly and tucks into itself around the front of your neck providing 360 degree softness and support in cramped flying conditions. It also rolls up into a ball and comes in its own bag to make transportation easier $37.08 www.kallysleep.com 

good travel pillows kally sleep
Kally Sleep Travel Pillow
Huzi Inifinity Pillow 

Described as ‘the best travel pillow ever made’, the Huzi infinity pillow is a long snake-like looped pillow (hence the word Infinity). It’s this shape that makes it multi-functional: you can wrap it around your neck a few times like a scarf to fully support your head and neck (no other support required); you can contort it to fit any space if you are next to the window on plane; you can wrap it around yourself to support your back and you can even twist it around your ears and eyes to cancel noise and light.  $43.27 www.infinitypillow.co 

good travel pillows huzi infinity
The Huzi Infinity Pillow
The Thermarest Down Pillow 

Thermarest specialise in sleep enhancing products for everyone from car campers to international travellers. With pillow foam sourced from upcycled foam from some of their other products, the result is a filling that packs up really small yet expands big and then rolls away very tightly to tuck into your hand luggage. Perfect for planes, trains or camping under the stars, it can also be used as a proper pillow if you don’t like the look of the ones your hotel has to offer. With various washable pillow covers to choose from it is also available in small (12 x 18”), medium (14 x 18”) and large (16 x 23”) and x large (16.5 x 27”). $19.47-$55.64 Amazon.com 

The environmentally friendly Thermarest travel Pillow
The environmentally friendly Thermarest Pillow
The J Pillow 

Awarded British Invention of the Year, the J Pillow is the brainchild of Gemma Jensen a former flight attendant who sure knows a thing or two about sleeping on the go. Filled with 3D polyester fibre, it’s supportive but soft –  the top of the J wraps around your neck or head depending on how or where you are resting  – whilst the downstroke of the J supports down the neck and wraps under your chin . Covered in soft, velveteen, washable material, it can be used anywhere from planes to reading in bed. With its own bag and a loop fastener it can also be attached to your luggage so won’t risk losing it on the go. $35.79  Jpillow.co.uk

Can Yoga Help with Jetlag?

Yoga can benefit us both mentally and physically when travelling. Our new columnist, yoga teacher Sara Quiriconi (aka @livefreewarrior) gives her complete guide to the ways in which yoga can counteract the effects of flying.

Plane Posture

Firstly, let’s talk about plane seats and posture. When we’re seated for long periods of time in the same, small, cramped position, our muscles get tight, short and lose their flexibility. We need this flexibility in order to stay healthy and mobile in our daily lives and normal movement, and in order to prevent injury and increase our longevity. Combined with dehydration in the air, being sedentary for so long sets us up for injury, low energy and poor performance when we land. However, moving our bodies in stretches gets the energy and fluids moving more effectively throughout your body, reopening those tight, still muscles once again.

Sara Quiriconi is our resident yoga expert
Sara Quiriconi is our resident yoga expert
Say yes to post-flight Yoga

For long haul flights, jumping time zones throws off our natural circadian rhythms, or, our internal clocks. When we stretch, do yoga, breathe and move in sync, this can help us reconnect to our bodies and our natural cycles again. If you’re looking to wind down when you reach your destination and you can find a practice, it will help you to sleep better, and calm your nerves. Alternatively, if you’ve just landed and need a boost of energy, I would recommend having a video sequence ready to go that will revive you.

Stay Cool

When travelling I would recommend staying away from heated yoga, or Bikram. You’re already dehydrated from your flight and it’s better to recoup and keep those liquids in your body to balance and restore your system.  If you’re incredibly low on energy, check in with your body first to discover what it really needs to feel good again. Maybe opt for a 60 minute flow rather than the 90-minute power vinyasa. Yoga is about self-awareness and connecting your mind and body, not over working it.

Hourly Hydration

In addition to doing yoga, every hour you’re flying, drink a glass of water. This will help to counter the dehydration you experience from dry, circulated air in planes.

Landing Strip

While you don’t necessarily need a yoga mat in order to practice when you travel, it can become very handy for an airport floor or local studio and you know it’s relatively clean.

If you’re seeking a travel mat that does it all, I highly recommend you invest in the Manduka Pro Travel Yoga Mat $71.71. This mat is foldable to fit in your carry-on and grippy enough to hold you in a downward facing dog. Weight tops in at a light 1.1 kg but it still has a 2.5 mm thickness to protect your knees in a lunge.

yoga for jet lag manduka pro travel mat
The Manduka Pro Travel mat is lightweight but super grippy.

Here are five Yoga postures to do post flight that can help you feel vaguely normal again.

Downward Facing Dog

Why?

This pose helps to extend your spine  after a cramped flight and improves posture in the upper back (your thoracic spine). Simultaneously, downward facing dog awakens and stretches the entire back side of your body, including the hamstrings which may have become tight having been so sedentary for so long.

How to

Placing your hands shoulder’s distance apart on your mat, making an upside-down “V” with your body, and add a slight bend in your knees if it helps to lengthen your entire spine. Focus on extending your spine, and pedal the legs out one side at a time , synchronizing with your breath.

Why?

Lunges are a backbend, and help to open up the hip flexors, which lie at the front of our legs, connecting to our hip joints. These muscles, the hip flexors, become very short and tight from being seated for long hours. In addition, as mentioned earlier in this article, our upper backs suffer from the poor posture in airplanes. Lunges help to counter both of those problem areas.

Low Lunge

How to

Step your right foot forward, placing the knee over the ankle. Lower the left knee down gently to the floor. Reach your arms up overhead, lifting the chest bone higher towards the ceiling with each inhale. Gaze directly out in front of you, or slightly up if it feels OK on your cervical spine. Breathe, 5-10 breaths, then, switch legs and repeat.

Sara Quiriconi yoga for jetlag
Sara aka @livefreewarrior demonstrating Low Lunge

Happy Baby Pose

Why?

Happy baby opens up your inner hips and releases your spine back to its natural positioning. In addition, it’s a playful and relaxing pose, so it can bring a smile if you find yourself feeling stressed by travelling or when you really need that emotional release.

How to

Lie on your back and bend your knees, keeping your shoulders and head relaxed and connected to the ground beneath you. Place your hands to the back of your legs or, grab the soles of your feet with your hands so that your feet are directly above you. Rock, gently, back and forth, releasing the inner hips. Keep your feet flexed, which stretches your calves simultaneously.

Reclining Hamstring stretch

Why?

The main focus is our hamstrings in this posture, which get cramped and tight from being shortened when we sit in a bent knee position. Stretching your hamstrings and calves is crucial for circulation in the ankles and legs, which get severely compromised with air travel.

How to

Lie on your back place the soles of both feet towards the floor with knees bent. One leg at a time, grab the back of the right quad while extending the right foot towards the sky. Depending on your flexibility, you may be able to extend your leg all the way, or if you are very bendy you could grab the sole of your foot with your hands.

The important aspect here is to keep the spine and head connected to the mat, without straining the neck, and stretching the hamstring. Hold and breathe for 5-10 breaths, then switch sides. If you are flexible, stretch the bottom leg out along the floor instead of keeping it bent.

Reclining Spinal Twist

Why?

Neutralizing the spine with twisting is a beautiful follow up to the reclining hamstring stretch. Twists can help to reset the spine and realign, releasing all of the muscles that run up and down the support of our spinal column.

How to

Lie down and extend both legs out in front of you. Draw your right knee in towards your chest, take an inhale, and on the exhale bring your knee across your body to the left side. The knee does not have to touch the floor, but it is important to keep the shoulders connected to the mat. Extend your right arm towards the right side, and look up or over towards the right fingertips with your gaze. Breathe, 5-10 breathes, then switch sides.

Follow Sara @livefreewarrior

Jen Rubio, Co-Founder of Away

The luggage entrepreneur talks in-flight facials, the benefits of aisle seats, and jet lag breakfasts.With Jen Rubio, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer, Away

The luggage entrepreneur talks inflight facials, creativity in the air and jet lag breakfasts.

PART ONE

PRO TRAVEL TIPS
What luggage and hand luggage do you travel with? Why do you like it?

“I’m usually reaching for Away’s Bigger Carry-On in Navy paired with The Everywhere Bag in Black Leather. I avoid checking my bags whenever possible, so this is the perfect duo. I’m able to pack for nearly two weeks of travel and comfortably carry everything I need.”

jen rubio away luggage
The Away Bigger Carry-on in Navy, $245
What’s your approach to skincare when travelling and flying? Which beauty products do you take?

“Packing the skin care products I love eliminates some of the stress that inevitably comes along with shaking up my routine while on the road, so I always pack travel-sized minis of my must-haves. My favorites are Aesop’s Fabulous Face Cleanser, $49.00, Glycelene Seatox Face Mist $70, IGK Dry Shampoo, and Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum $216.37.

I also always have a reusable water bottle—hydration is always crucial, but even more so when you’re travelling.”

How do you approach your wardrobe on the road?

“I’m usually traveling for both business and fun out of one carry-on, so I tend to gravitate towards items that are comfortable and versatile, can easily be dressed up or down, and in neutral tones that I can easily mix and match.

For me, that’s a black slip dress, my Chanel loafers, stretchy yet tailored trousers, woven tops and sweaters that won’t wrinkle in transit, and a vintage leather jacket. I keep accessories to a minimum so that they’re one less thing to think about, and only bring my most cherished jewellery.”

What’s in your carry-on / hand luggage that you never leave home without?

“I never fly without my noise-cancelling headphones and a Slip silk eye mask. They’re the two things that guarantee I can comfortably get some rest on long flights.”

jen rubio slip silk eye mask
Jen is never without her Slip Eyemask, $61.82
Do you have any in-flight routines? Are you a nervous flier?

“Luckily, I’ve never been a nervous flier. I actually enjoy my time in the air the most – it’s when I’m completely unplugged from the world that I’m able to do some of my most creative and concentrated thinking.”

What do you read, listen to and/or watch in flight?

“Usually I’ll use flights to catch up on my favorite podcasts or journal about some of the ideas my team and I have for Away.”

“I also love doing a mini inflight facial—I’ve gotten some strange looks while wearing a facial mask on the plane, but the air inside the cabin is so dehydrating so I’ll sacrifice some dignity if it means I can land with skin that’s glowing. Lately I’ve been loving the Estee Lauder Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask $85.”

What is your seat preference and why? 

“I’m always in the aisle seat. I like to be able to get up and stretch my legs during a long flight to keep the circulation going without disturbing my seatmates, so you’ll rarely catch me with a window seat.”

PART TWO

KEEPING UP WITH LIFE ON THE GO
What is the best experience you have had travelling for work and where was it?

“We recently launched Away in Australia, and to introduce the brand, we hosted Origin: Away, a campaign and experiential pop-up in Sydney to celebrate the country’s love of travel and its entrepreneurial spirit. It was all about highlighting local entrepreneurs whose travels had led them to build successful businesses abroad, and we brought them back home to Sydney to share their stories with the local community. I always love hearing how travel has transformed the way people live their lives, so it was such an incredible and fulfilling experience.”

What was a terrible travel experience that wasn’t funny then, but is now?

“It’s so ironic because it was awful at the time but it’s also what sparked the genesis of Away – my suitcase broke at the airport while I was traveling, and I literally had to use duct tape to get it back together before my flight. My clothes were everywhere. It was so embarrassing.

I was determined to find the perfect suitcase so that something like that would never happen again, but it turns out the perfect suitcase didn’t exist, so we created it.”

What do you do before a trip to ensure life at home runs smoothly whilst you are away?

“I’m on the road more often than I’m home these days, so I start by embracing the things won’t always run smoothly and I can’t control the inevitable bumps that will come up. Instead, I try to focus on the fact that everything will be okay.”

“I have a packing routine that makes last-minute trips feel less daunting, and an incredibly talented team that I trust to make great decisions for Away and our community while I’m not in the office. I know the company is in great hands even when I’m traveling or completely off the grid.”

How do you keep connected to loved ones whilst on the road?

“I make it a point to call at least one person I love before I go to bed. It’s a little routine I adopted years ago when I started traveling more often, and it’s something small that makes me feel grounded after a long day, and grateful for all the great people in my life.”

How do you make your hotel room feel like home?

“I travel with a few items from home that make any hotel or Airbnb instantly feel familiar and warm—that’s usually a sound machine to drown out any unfamiliar noises and help me fall (and stay!) asleep, and a travel-size candle in the same scent that I burn at home (Cire Trudon’s Balmoral is my favorite).”

hotel room candle cire trudon
How do you manage your wellbeing when away? 

I use apps like Glo so I can take a yoga class no matter where I am in the world, and I try to go for lots of walks to explore and unwind while I’m traveling rather than opting for a car. They’re small, easy ways for me to carve out time for myself that also keep me active and in the mindset for being truly present.”

“I’m also really mindful about eating nutritious meals when I’m travelling. Sometimes I find myself working straight through lunch, so I’ll make sure I have a big breakfast, like porridge with bananas and almonds, or eggs on avocado toast.”

“Being on-the-go can wreak havoc on your immune system, but staying active and eating well are things you can control.”

What are your tips for combating jet lag?

“Keep moving and eat breakfast. Once I arrive at my hotel, I’ll head outside for a walk or do a short yoga session at the hotel – something to keep my energy going before I can properly rest. And eating breakfast (or whatever meal is associated with the local time when you land) is a small but effective way to signal to your body that you’re shifting to a new time zone.”

Awaytravel.com