I spent years thinking neck pillows were pointless, until I found the perfect one. Now, I can’t sleep on planes without it.

I used to hate neck pillows, until I found this one.

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I used to hate neck pillows, until I found this one.
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Sophie-Claire Hoeller/Insider
  • I spent years avoiding neck pillows, thinking them lame and amateurish, akin to traveling with a bucket hat and Birkenstocks.
  • Desperate to get some sleep on a red-eye flight, however, I caved and picked up a neck pillow at the airport, choosing the Cabeau Evolution Classic memory foam neck pillow ($29.99).
  • Wearing the pillow, I felt somewhere between a newborn being swaddled and a post-op dog in a cone.
  • It has since changed how I travel, and has given me hours of deep slumber on planes.
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I boarded my first flight at the tender age of four weeks, and have traveled pretty consistently ever since. Heck, I’m a travel correspondent.

Still, I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of traveler – one who has no rhyme or reason to her packing, which is generally done at the last minute, and one who arrives at the airport sweating and late.

So I’ve always sneered at those meticulous travelers with their being on time and their silly neck pillows.

Neck pillows, could there be anything lamer? Is there a single product that screams uptight more than a neck pillow?

Well, I take it all back.

I spent years avoiding neck pillows, thinking them lame and amateurish.

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I spent years avoiding neck pillows, thinking them lame and amateurish.
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Casaguru/Getty Images

On a recent-ish flight from New York City to Lima, one which left around midnight and arrived at 8 a.m., I went and bought myself a neck pillow. I desperately wanted to sleep on this flight in order to not waste the precious next day, and so I caved.

The airport’s Hudson News sold two travel pillows: one with a bean bag-type filling for $20, and a memory foam one that, at the time, cost $40 (it’s now $29.99).

Of course, I reached for the $20 one, but decided to try it on before committing to becoming one of those travelers. My head immediately flopped to the side, as unsupported as it would be by my own, tired neck.

Wary, I reached for the inordinately expensive one, which looked like one of those things you might wear when trying to win a court case after a fender bender.

It was heinously ugly, enormous, and smelled bad (you know, that typical memory foam smell), but once it hugged my neck, comfortably propping up my head, I knew I could never go back.

The pillow has pull strings so you can adjust it to fit just right.

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The pillow has pull strings so you can adjust it to fit just right.
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Sophie-Claire Hoeller/Insider

Wearing the pillow – which has pull strings so you can adjust it to fit around your neck – I felt somewhere between a newborn being swaddled and a post-op dog in a cone, but, let me tell you, it’s amazing.

I have now brought my neck pillow (which conveniently rolls up into its own little baggie) on dozens of flights, and I haven’t been awake for more than a few minutes on any of them.

So, if you were once a hater like me, you have got to let it go. Swallow your pride, let your dignity take a back seat, and forget how stupid you look – because once you go neck pillow, you never go back.