Traveling is awesome.
But sleeping on pillows covered with cases that are questionably clean?
Well, not so much.
If you travel a lot, you probably stay at any number of different types of accommodations.
You may stay in hostels, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, with family, etc. You may even couch surf from time to time.
And if you travel light, you may not be carrying your own pillow.
That’s quite alright, because pillows are pretty easy to come by on-location.
But what if you end up with a pillow that isn’t as ‘clean’ as you would like it to be?
Never fear — there’s a solution for that:
The travel pillowcase.
In this guide, you’re going to learn everything you need to know to buy the perfect travel pillowcase for you.
This is the last travel pillowcase guide you’ll ever need.
Let’s get started.
The Purpose of a Travel pillowcase
Why buy a travel pillowcase?
This is the most obvious and pressing question, and it certainly calls for a straightforward answer.
In answering the question, you can also glean important information about how to make the best possible purchasing decision when the time comes to spend your hard-earned money on one.
At the core of the issue, there are four main reasons to consider carrying a travel pillowcase when you leave home and strike out to journey abroad.
This is the main reason for carrying a travel pillowcase.
See, the condition of the pillow absolutely affects sleep quality and comfort—but the condition of the pillowcase has an even greater effect on comfort than the condition of the pillow.
If you doubt this, try sleeping on a dirty pillowcase or a pillowcase made of flannel or some other non-breathable material.
Even if a pillow isn’t ‘the best’ in terms of comfort, a high-quality pillowcase can make it usable.
By contrast, a nice pillow with an awful pillowcase will still be highly uncomfortable.
Hygiene is another factor to consider.
Is the hotel’s dust-filled pillow going to clog your pores or cause incessant sweating in the middle of the night?
Bringing your own pillowcase can ensure a level of cleanliness that you just can’t count on otherwise.
3. Sleeping on a Material That’s Good for Your Skin
Some materials are just better for your skin than others.
For example, cotton linens (being highly absorbent) aren’t as good for your skin as a material like silk.
Because they capture moisture and oils from the skin as you sleep. In-so-doing, they end up drying it out, sticking to it and making it more likely that your skin will age and wrinkle.
4. Easier to Carry Than A Pillow
Carrying an entire pillow isn’t always practical when traveling.
Imagine the Fearless & Far YouTuber trying to carry his own pillow along with him while train-hopping along the West African Sahara.
It just wouldn’t work.
But he could, in theory, manage to carry a small pillowcase folded up neatly and stored in a corner pouch of his bag.
Buying A Travel pillowcase
Alright. Now that you know why some travelers choose to buy travel pillowcases, it’s time to talk about what to look for while shopping.
Why Not Buy a Regular pillowcase?
Obviously, buying a regular pillowcase (most likely a cotton/polyester blend) at your local department store is better than not taking any pillowcase with you on the trip.
But here’s the thing.
As a general rule, you want a pillowcase made from a fabric that’s going to deliver a lot of benefits with few downsides.
What to Look for When Buying a Travel pillowcase
There are six basic things to consider when shopping for a travel pillowcase.
For best results, buy a standard-sized travel pillowcase, as opposed to a smaller size.
A smaller size may not fit every pillow you come across — which pretty much undermines the entire point of bringing your own pillowcase.
2. A Material That’ll Keep You Cool
Materials that’ll keep you cool in hot weather are much better for your skin and overall comfort levels.
Silk and 100% pure satin are the best options for this.
3. A Soft, Smooth, Comfortable Material
You obviously want a material that’s as soft, smooth, and comfortable as possible.
Once again, silk and satin really shine in this department. They’re comfortable without pulling on your skin or sticking to it over the course of the night.
4. A Material That’s Good for Your Hair
Silk and satin are also better for your hair, especially if you have long, thick hair that tends to get ‘frizzed up’ while you sleep.
Materials like cotton and polyester, on the other hand, tend to tug at the hair and cause friction.
Silk is absolutely the best option for this and is actually recommended as the ‘pillowcase material of choice’ by professional hair care specialists.
You don’t want your pillow to trap allergens.
This means saying no to materials like cotton and polyester, and yes, once again, to materials like silk — which is naturally hypoallergenic.
As you’ve probably noticed, silk tends to stand out as the best material for a travel pillowcase.
But the downside is that it costs more.
Satin, or even a blend, may work better at first if you don’t have the extra money to spend on silk. Then, you can save up your money and eventually buy a 100% pure silk or satin pillowcase that’ll deliver maximum benefits.
What’s Generally the Best Type of Travel pillowcase?
As a general rule, 100% natural silk takes the top spot as the best material for a travel pillowcase, followed by 100% satin, with a silk/cotton blend trailing behind as a third distant option.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the benefits:
100% Silk Benefits
- Keeps you cool
- Keeps hair from frizzing
- Protects your skin
100% Satin Benefits
- Cheaper than silk
- Keeps you cool
- Mild protection for hair and skin
Silk/Cotton Blend Benefits
- Much cheaper than 100% silk or satin
- Much better than a polyester/synthetic blend
- Much better than a regular cotton pillowcase