I boarded my first flight at the tender age of four weeks, and have travelled pretty consistently ever since.
Heck, I’m a travel editor.
Still, I’m somewhat of a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of traveller — 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 travellers 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 them?
Well, I take it all back.
On a recent flight from New York City to Lima, one which left around midnight and arrived at 8am, I went and bought myself a neck pillow. I desperately wanted to sleep on this flight in order not to waste the precious next day, and so I caved.
Hudson News sold two kinds — a $20 one with a bean bag-type filling, and a $40 memory foam one.
Of course I reached for the $20 one, but decided to try it on before committing to becoming one of those travellers. My head immediately flopped to the side, as unsupported as by my own, tired neck.
OK, so what’s the point of these things?
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.
I would describe the feeling as somewhere between swaddled like a newborn child and post-op dog in cone, but let me tell you, it’s amazing.
I have now brought along my $40 neck pillow (which rolls up into its own little baggie) on four 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.
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