How to Make Your Own Travel Pillow that Really Works!

The journey of an entrepreneur is paved with wonderful learning experiences but also with challenges which sometimes cause minor setbacks. We were hoping to have the Paggle Packable Travel pillow available for travelers for the holiday season but have run into some inevitable delays in refining the pattern and manufacturing. The good news is that the first run of Paggles are finished! They are going through final inspection and will be available for purchase at the beginning of 2020.

I know many of you are preparing for winter travels so I wanted to share an idea that I had long ago for making my own, very simple travel pillow. When I started traveling by myself in my 20’s, I wanted to be sure that I was alert and sharp when I arrived at my destination. I also traveled on a tight budget and had very little money to spend on travel accessories. Thus, I crafted my own travel pillow when travel pillows were much less common than they are now.

I truly wish I still had my first hand-made travel pillow. I used it for years with great success. I made it from a tube sock, some velcro, and a piece of foam. I stuffed the foam into the middle of the tube sock, sewed some seams around it, and wrapped it around my neck, anchoring it with a couple of pieces of velcro. The design would not have won any elegance awards but it was easy to make and effective at supporting the jaw and preventing chin bob. As an added bonus, it resembled a medical neck brace so I was well cared for on flights.

Tube socks are not as ubiquitous as they once were. We now recognize that shapeless socks that bunch at the ankles are not such a great idea. Instead of a tube sock, this new and improved DIY travel pillow is made from a scarf. Like the Paggle, it is stuffed with your own clothes. Here’s how it works:

  1. You wear layers of clothes on the plane to minimize your carryon or check-in baggage. You wear a modified scarf as an accessory.
  2. At your seat, you take off one layer and stuff it into your scarf and use it as a travel pillow.
  3. You sleep soundly and wake-up refreshed at your destination.

The scarf requires only minimal sewing to be used effectively (only two seams!). Truly, most of your time will be spent finding appropriate thread and clearing a space to bring out your machine if you are not a regular home sewer. A sewing machine is preferred but you can hand sew the required seams with just a needle and thread. Please see the tutorial below.

The scarf travel pillow can support your head by itself or provide extra cushion if you lean next to the window. You can use a summer scarf or a winter scarf, depending on when you are traveling.  If you are lucky to get a complimentary pillow on a long flight, just stuff it into the scarf so it is more hygienic and better stabilized on your shoulder.

The scarf travel pillow can’t be used as a pack at your destination like the Paggle but it is a great alternative for the budget traveler (and when there are delays in manufacturing!). I would love to receive feedback from people who use this. I have found it very helpful. I will be coming out with more DIY travel accessory ideas on my YouTube channel, PaggleTravel. Stay tuned and have safe holiday travels.