Book it yourself or use a Travel Consultant? - Ten things to consider!
It’s vacation time and you are hyped to get things underway to make your trip and all related plans a super memorable and positive event. So, what do you do to get things started? You've got your items-to-pack checklist naturally headed by packing your Pillowpacker inflatable travel pillow! One of the first things to consider is whether or not to use a travel consultant or take the DIY approach.
With every choice in life there are likely Pros and Cons and of all the things to consider about vacation or trip planning, this first step is probably the most important one you will make. Doing so with eyes wide open with awareness of potential (or probable) pitfalls is sage advice.
Here is a list of some of the most important things to consider when making this vital choice. Frankly this list could go on and on but according to Carole Gobeil, Travel Specialist with Far Horizons, these deserve particular attention:
As mentioned earlier, this list is not exhaustive but should whet the appetite of travellers who have come to this T-intersection in their planning stage. Let’s have a look at each point:
So, in summary, and as with most things in life, we are free to make choices and travel planning is increasingly offering the option to do it yourself. A healthy dose of skepticism about savings and benefits will serve any traveller well. Weighing the pros and cons of going it alone versus with the help of a travel expert based on the points outlined in this article should increase the odds for travellers having a more enjoyable vacation and prepare them better for future ones!
At Pillowpackers we pride ourselves on our personalized custom service, which we believe is pretty rare today, especially in online businesses. Garry, our Chief Pillow Officer, has often gone an extra mile to make sure customers have their pillows.
Last Friday I listened to a voicemail in between my appointments. “I want to buy one of your pillows...we are leaving tomorrow for an overseas trip... we live in Brockville!” Hmmm. I called Garry on his cell. No answer. I sent a text: “Urgent pillow order-check voicemail.” I left for my afternoon appointments.
By the time I returned, Garry had already packed the order -- one of our luxurious and highly packable Canadian-made microfiber inflatable travel pillows, arranged a meeting with the buyer’s friend who lived in delivered Ottawa and was on his way home in Friday afternoon traffic. The friend would deliver the product to the buyer at the airport before their flight the next day.
Garry told me that the couple was heading off on Saturday morning for a trip to Africa. The husband had chronic neck pain and he was concerned that lack of a good pillow would lessen his enjoyment of their trip. Their travel advisor, Carole Cobeil of Far Horizons, had suggested he buy a Pillowpacker Pillow but with all the details of preparation, he had forgotten to order one. Then it was the day before the trip. Hence the urgent phone call.
We do hope to hear from our newest pillowpacker on return from their trip. And thanks, Carole, for recommending Pillowpacker® Pillows!
The Internet has a lot of advice on selecting the right pillow because having the right pillow is essential in getting a good night’s sleep. Most doctors, physiotherapists and other sleep experts recommend selecting a pillow that provides the right level of support based on your sleeping position. Having the right pillow helps maintain the spine in “neutral alignment,” i.e., the same position of the head and spine as when standing with good posture. The neutral alignment in the side and back sleeping postures are illustrated in Figure 1.
People who sleep on their sides need more support than those who sleep on their back. Side sleepers need a pillow that fills the gap between the shoulders and the neck keeping the spine more or less parallel to the bed. Back sleepers generally need a pillow with extra loft in the bottom third of the pillow to cradle the neck in an unstrained manner. Stomach sleeping is not encouraged but if you do, you need a soft thin pillow to minimize pressure on the neck. If you are a multi-position sleeper, the best pillow for you might have softer and firmer sections, or be lower in the center for back sleeping and higher on the sides for side sleeping. For people who have neck problems or back pain experts might recommend contoured neck supports or knee pillows.
As for fillings, most experts recommend down or down and feather mixes because of their ability to reduce pressure points, mold to the sleeper’s needs, and their natural moisture wicking and heat regulating properties. If specific allergies are a concern a good quality polyester microfiber is an alternative but generally is not expected to last as long as good quality down and down/feather blends. Washability is important as experts also recommend regular pillow washing to reduce the build up of dead skin cells, mould, dust mites and other impurities.
Sleep experts also agree that sleeping away from home presents additional challenges due to unfamiliar surroundings. We at Pillowpackers don’t think travellers need to suffer unfamiliar and ill-fitting pillows at any time. With a Pillowpacker® Pillow you can have your own pillow, your own way, wherever you rest your head.
The small but powerful little Pillowpacker® Pillow is approximately half the size of a standard bedroom pillow at 29 by 14 inches (48 by 36 cm) but it does the job of a full size pillow. The reason the Pillowpacker® Pillow is so effective is because of the inflatable contoured inner pillow at its core (Figure 2). The inner pillow is made of tough but flexible polyurethane film. (Polyurethane film, not to be confused with polyurethane foam, is safe and is widely used in many medical and consumer applications.)
The Pillowpacker® Inflatable Travel Pillow is totally customizable to your needs. By adjusting the amount of air in the inner pillow you control the firmness and support. Side sleepers require the firmest support – but this does not mean hard. It is the amount of air sufficient to support your head in the neutral alignment illustrated in Figure 1a. If you are a back sleeper you will require less air. The lower contour of the pillow will gently support your head in its neutral curve as illustrated in Figure 1b. The front or stomach sleeper, probably would use no air at all and just benefit from the properties of their own clean soft pillow upon which to rest their head and face. A combination sleeper can experiment with different pressures and see which best suits.
Pillowpacker® Pillows also make great knee pillows. For back sleepers, placing a pillow under the knees can relieve back tension and allow the spine to rest in a neutral position. For side sleepers, a pillow between the knees reduced pressure on knee joints and prevents torsion of the hip and spine.
The inflatable inner pillow is nestled within an outer pillow, a zippered pouch made of a minimum of five ounces (150 grams) of the finest quality fillings. The purchaser has a choice of white goose down from the Hutterite communities of Alberta, duck down from Brome Lake, Quebec or Eco2 Suprelle Micro from Germany, in shells of 100% cotton. (For more information on our down, click here; for more information on Suprelle, click here.) All outer pillows are washable at 60 degrees centigrade, above the temperature necessary to kill dust mites. For washing instructions, click here.
The pillow when assembled fits inside its own home-style100% cotton pillowcase in a choice of fashion colours. See Figure 3. For travelling, the ensemble compresses to fit in its own nylon stuff sack.
Because the Pillowpacker® Pillow is different from any other travel pillow, we recommend that our customers experiment for several nights at home before heading out on a trip to allow time to find the right inflation to meet their needs and preferences. From feedback we have received from customers -- and our own personal experience -- Pillowpacker® Pillows allow us to take our pillows wherever we travel. In fact, for a number of us they have even become our primary bedroom pillows we love them so much!
If you Google “travel pillows” the variety of shapes, sizes, features and claims made have to make you laugh. The funniest products in my mind are the Sky Rest and the Ostrich. The former is an inflatable block-shape pillow roughly the size of a milk crate that sits on your lap or fold-out table and the Ostrich is a bean-filled hood that covers your entire head except for your nose and mouth so that you look like a giant eyeless teddy bear. Oooh, bad hair.
There are also innumerable reviews and comparisons to be found on the Web. The best one I found was in the Gear and Gadgets section of the Wall Street Journal, called “Desperately Seeking Slumber,” by Nancy Keates, updated Feb. 1, 2013.
In her article, Keates rated eight conservative choices (i.e., neither the inflatable crate or the teddy bear head was included) on four criteria: Embarrassment Factor, Sleep-Aid Help, Packability and Set-Up Hassle.
Although some of the neck support pillows provided reasonable relief for the middle seat, Keates recommends that travellers book a window seat and bring their own pillow with multiple pillowcases to ensure cleanliness on their journey.
The surfeit of novelty and gimmicks among travel pillows can make it difficult to find what you are really looking for—a versatile, comfortable and sanitary travel pillow that will serve you while on route and at your destination.
We think the Pillowpacker® Pillow is just the travel pillow Keates and you may be searching for! Adjustable firmness, built-in neck support, packable, easy to use, sanitary with extra pillowcases available, makes this pillow ideal for transportation and night-time sleeping away from home. And certainly, no one would feel embarrassed toting the world’s best home-style inflatable travel pillow in a choice of Canadian duck down, Hutterite goose down and Eco2 Suprelle Microfibre fillings in its tidy stuff sack.
Make the comparison for yourself. See the comparison chart to determine whether a Pillowpacker® Pillow is right for you.