If you’re a frequent traveler, then you know that having a good travel pillow is the key to comfort on planes, trains, and busses. Without it, you’re likely to sleep poorly and wake up with neck problems. But there are so many options out there, how do you know which pillow to choose?
The travel experts over at Travel & Leisure recently put 17 travel pillows to the test and rated them based on some of the most important factors and have found a winner. During testing, they used four categories and gave each pillow a rating between one and five for the categories. One represented poor performance, five represented perfection.
What are the four essential aspects of a travel pillow that were rated? First was support – does the pillow hold your head up or is it flimsy? Second was comfort – is the design of pillow functional and is the material soft? Third was portability – is the pillow easily packable or too much of a burden to bring on travels? Last was the pillow’s public shame potential – is it going to envoke jealousy from other passengers or make them laugh at you?
The final score for each pillow was also calculated by weighing the most important categories – comfort and support – as 35% of the score, portability as 20%, and embarrassment potential as 10%. So, what were the best and worst of the bunch?
The lowest-rated pillow was the Cloudz EZ-inflate Cloud Sleeper. A Travel & Leisure employee tested it on the roughly 8-hour drive from New York City to Pittsburgh. While it earned a 5 on support and a solid 3 on comfort, it got only a 1 in portability and public shame potential. The tester said that while it supported him well, with a hole to put arms through and a pocket for his face, it gave off some massage table vibes.
It was also not easy to deflate and fit back into the original storage sleeve. The strange design would also definitely attract some unwanted attention on a plane. Our advice? Avoid this one at all costs
As for the best, it doesn’t get better than the AirComfy Ease Travel Pillow. This one was tested on the flight from New York To Barcelona, a 7.5-hour flight. This one earned a 5 in all four categories! Being inflatable, the support can easily be adjusted and the velvet comfort makes it great to sleep on. After deflating, this one is easy to roll up and stuff bak into the sack. As for the shame factor, this pillow only draws jealousy from other passengers.
We could spend our entire day hauling a metal detector across the beach, but more often than not, it is the person taking a casual stroll that stumbles across the coolest stuff. From a Viking sword to ancient appliances, the most incredible discoveries on our list were found when people accidentally happened upon them, and every one of these unexpected finds has a story behind it.
Back in 1978, two kids were playing in their backyard in Los Angeles and digging in the ground when they suddenly stumbled upon a car. The children had no idea that what they found was a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS. Eventually, the police came and excavated the vehicle, and determined it had must have been stolen.
Why else would someone bury such an expensive car? The theft and the burial were most probably an insurance scam. The Ferrari was passed on to the insurance company and then sold at auction.
This photo is an incredibly stunning leaf that looks like a delicate glass leaf decoration piece. How does something like this even happen? Well, the leaf is slowly decomposing through a process called partial decomposition.
The easily decomposable ‘soft’ tissues of the leaf have become mainly translucent, then eventually transparent, before completely disappearing, while the veins take longer. As decomposition continues, some organic compounds are broken down more rapidly, resulting in the release of inorganic substances in a process termed mineralization.
The Night Sky
Now, this is a sight we don’t want to see when we’re all alone looking up at the sky at night. Though we’re bound to see some strange things if we always keep your eyes on the skies, this is an unfamiliar color and shape to behold, especially as it’s otherwise a clear sky.
For those who want to know more, this was a chemical cloud from the rocket launch of the space shuttle Antares on May 21st, 2018.
Once a tree has been cut or felled, the remnant or tree stump is usually the remaining portion of the tree with the roots still attached to the ground. These stumps all have a clear pattern that defines the age of a tree in the form of rings.
The rings are more visible in trees that have grown in temperate and mild climates, where the seasons differ more markedly. But we’re not sure what caused this interesting cloverleaf pattern.
These small glass bottles were found while digging up a lawn in Ireland. Whoever found them was probably wondering, “What was in them?” As it turns out, these little things were pretty useful back in the day. The narrow bottles were used to carry special oil for batteries and accumulators.
Thomas Edison invented a nickel-iron accumulator that was later used for the automatic railroad crossing guards. The oil was poured onto electrolytes and created a unique protective cover. Unnecessary bottles were thrown away.
Granny’s Favorite Souvenir
This old piece of wood found on a shelf in grandma’s house might not have the use we may think it does… Though this looks like it’s an innocent table leg or some kind of artisan-crafted wood, the purpose for this device is a much more sinister.
After some research, it turns out that this is actually a replica of an old-fashioned cannibal fork, used in the distant Fijian islands. It was intended for spiritual, war-related rituals amongst indigenous tribes there.
We are all familiar with hedges that are trimmed to resemble something else, whether we’ve seen it in movies or photos or over in our neighbors garden. Many people go for the more traditional shapes, but others like something more unique, like this car.
The gardening practice of training plants by clipping and trimming the greenery and twigs of trees, shrubs, and bushes to create and maintain clearly defined shapes are called Topiary. It’s seen as an art form, a type of living sculpture.
Such a Scenic Hike
We don’t expect to see something weird like this when we’re out hiking! Although you may see some unusual animals while you’re out in the mountains, you don’t usually expect to see a weird metal device like this.
As it turns out, it’s called a Gazex, and these things are actually avalanche breakers that are installed in mountainous areas for hikers’ safety. It’s used to start avalanches so they can control when and where they happen. Who would have guessed?
With all the hype around Area 51, maybe they’ve decided to move the good stuff! At least that’s what it seems like, could it be that this truck is transporting some kind of alien spaceship?
The biggest thing we’ve seen being carried on the back of a truck on the highway is probably a mobile home or construction materials being shipped to another site. Still, the truck in this photo is towing something a much more significant—it’s actually an F-35 fighter plane and not an alien spaceship.
If you’ve ever been to New York City lately, you might have seen this strange monstrosity of a building at some point. Even though most of the things on this list are small little trinkets that somebody found in a garage or their garden, sometimes people come across something that’s a little larger in scale.
But we couldn’t leave this one out, this large building is called “The Vessel,” and it’s a climbable sculpture located in Hudson Yards, New York.
Ever go out fishing and catch one of these bizarre-looking things? No? Ok, well, neither have we—but that doesn’t mean we don’t know what this thing is. As it turns out, this is actually a sea lily, an aquatic creature that’s closely related to sea urchins and starfish.
In case you didn’t know, this family of animals is known as crinoids and are some of the oldest creatures on Earth. By the way, you can find up to five species of sea lilies in certain countries.
Since the beginning of time, the egg is a source of inspiration for philosophers and artists, but who would need an egg-shaped marble thing like this? Of all the unexpected items on our list, this is one of the more practical ones.
If you’ve ever been working outside or near a breeze with a stack of papers, you know just how easy it is to have them all blown away. That’s why you might use one of these paperweights to hold your stuff in place.
Photo Floating in the Ocean
Someone found this picture floating in the ocean while snorkeling. As anyone with experience would know, photographs quickly deteriorate when left in water for too long and they will usually begin to show signs of water damage in just 48 hours.
Any time beyond that will result in permanent staining and damage, the photographs themselves can be cleaned but that usually requires a decent amount of work. But this photo is still in good condition, which means it wasn’t lost too long before it was found.
Magic Brain Calculator
This ancient calculator was found by someone in their great grandmother’s attic. Wow, it’s a good thing this came with an instruction manual! We’re not sure that there are too many people alive that even remember how to use this.
If we need an illustration of the accelerating speed of technological change, we can just look at our electronic calculators that do the most complex sum instantly and that you hold in the palm of your hand. When we compare it to this calculator, we appreciate how far we’ve come.
The pattern in this cucumber matches experiments done on the sound vibrations in fluids. We may think the almost identical design between these separate entities is entirely random, but nature is filled with these kinds of sequences, called Fractals.
Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are similar across many different kinds of scales. They are manifested throughout nature, from branching patterns in trees to river networks, as well as spiral patterns in seashells and pine cones. Now, isn’t that amazing?
Out of Unexpected Places
The world never fails to amaze us in terms of its natural beauty. Many of us fall short of words when coming across such incredible finds that naturally occur around us. This is a rare instance that one may come across, cemented and bricked spaces that give rise to small trees or shrubs growing from within them.
We can take it as a good sign, proving to us that even in the most unexpected places, there is life, and where there is life, there is hope.
Diary from 1941
If you love anything to do with history, then you’ll absolutely adore this blast from the past! This diary from 1941 was found in a recycling facility. It even has the original pencil! It’s an incredible find but really could do with a little dusting.
The diary documents birthdays, some wartime stuff, and has a list of old fighter jets. This kind of journal could be seen as an artifact and should be taken to the local museum for preservation.
An Island of Quartz
This massive quartz was found in Arkansas, and it’s worth a staggering $4 million! The lucky finder said of his discovery, “I live in Arkansas, and these rock minerals are almost everywhere.”
“I found this island full of rose quartz while we were visiting the lake a few weeks ago. There’s also another place to go digging for diamonds as well. You get to keep what you find.” So what are we waiting for? Let’s go digging in Arkansas!
This old coin was found by a lucky passerby, who upon doing some research found out that it is the Lincoln cent (sometimes called the Lincoln penny) and it is a one-cent coin that has been struck by the United States Mint since 1909.
The obverse or heads side was designed by Victor David Brenner, as was the original reverse, depicting two stalks of wheat. That means this coin is over 110 years old! Because this is the original edition penny from 1909, it can have significant collectible value.
This satisfying pebble was found on the beach, and as we can see, it’s almost entirely round and smooth all over, it’s nearly a perfect sphere. Perfect shapes like this can be found in a handful of places around the world, amid rocky or sandy landscapes.
Some are so superbly round they appear to defy nature and these curious orbs have been confounding onlookers for centuries. But it’s the constant abrasion found in nature that causes rocks to grind down and become so sphere-like.
This Phone Rocks…
Considering that this Nokia looks like a fossil, could this be proof that time travel is possible? Although they’re the great survivors of the mobile phone world, like cockroaches in a nuclear attack, Nokias aren’t that old to have been fossilized, but something similar has obviously happened to this one.
Here we have a photo of Nokia’s famously indestructible phone, and we only have one question, does it still work? Maybe once it has been extracted and cleaned up a bit…
Now That’s One Lucky Pearl
About ten years ago, a Filipino fisherman made a fantastic discovery in the sea off the coast of the Palawan Island, Philippines: a two-foot-long or 26 inches to be exact, pearl inside a giant clam. He took it home and kept it under his bed – keeping it as a lucky charm.
Recently, the man’s home burned down, but this lucky pearl survived. The pearl has been verified by officials as measuring 26 inches in length, 12 inches in width, and weighing nearly 75 pounds. The pearl is worth $100 million!
Who knows what anyone is bound to find while digging in their backyard? It might be valuable jewelry or even a child’s time capsule, and we don’t know what’s more precious. Some folks might recognize the snake plastic snake from their childhood.
Sadly, this goes to show how lousy plastic really is for the environment. It came out unscathed, while everything else looks corroded. It looks like the note might read, “congratulations on finding my time capsule” or similar. Note to self: use rust-proof containers for things buried in the ground.
When Nature Takes Over
As human beings, we like to think that we’re leaving our mark on Earth, but we would do well to remember that our life here is only temporary. Over time, Mother Nature reclaims its lost territories, and there’s not much we can do about it.
This guy parked his truck at his parents’ house around ten years ago; now, it has a tree growing from behind the bumper. This instance just goes to show that we shouldn’t leave any of our belongings abandoned anywhere.
Message in a Bottle
It’s been done for centuries, and still, messages in bottles continue to intrigue us. They even loom large in popular culture, such as the Police song, “Message in a Bottle,” the Nicholas Sparks book, and the movie starring Robin Wright and Kevin Costner.
This specific message in a bottle was found on Floreana Island in the Galapagos, it’s a nearly century-old message in a bottle from the sailor Hugh Craggs, discovered by 26-year-old Toronto student Grant Peters.
This medieval-looking device was found under the floorboards of an 1800’s era house. It may look like an instrument for torture, but this contraption’s real purpose is less evil than it seems. You’re supposed to use it to cut the tops of shells off of hard-boiled eggs.
Of course, nowadays our appliances and utensils look less archaic and more modern. Who doesn’t need a hand when preparing food? Anything that helps eliminate messy cooking in the kitchen is always a welcome addition.
A little patch of clover in a bottle, it looks like a natural terrarium, as much as we’d like to take it home, it will be difficult to remove. We can freely admit that we were counting the leaves to see to see how many of those are lucky four-leaf clovers!
According to traditional superstition, four-leaf clovers bring good luck, though it is not clear when or how this superstition began. It is claimed that there are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clover.
This little tiny ball is a piece of pine sap that someone found on a pallet at work. The sap is a fluid transported in xylem cells (vessel elements or tracheids) or phloem sieve tube elements of a plant. These cells carry water and nutrients throughout the plant.
And there are many different types of sap, for example, maple syrup is made from reduced sugar maple xylem sap, and specific palm tree sap can be used to make palm syrup.
All grasshoppers may bring good luck. But they’re not all green. As one family learned while gardening on the weekend, grasshoppers can also come in a striking shade of pink. Pink grasshoppers are the outcome of a genetic mutation called erythrism, which affects a recessive gene similar to the one that causes albinism.
Pink grasshoppers are believed to be a recessive trait, hence its rarity. Some experts, however, think that it was once a dominant trait that was eliminated mainly because these grasshoppers’ pink hue makes them easier for predators to spot.
Into the Wild
A couple of friends went hiking and ended up finding a boot. As it would turn out, that boot is the one Reese Witherspoon threw off a cliff while filming a scene for the movie Wild.
Though it’s an unexpectedly cool find, it also means that the film crew didn’t bother taking responsibility for it, and littered on the mountain. We would expect a little bit more from Hollywood, especially since we know how successful a movie it was.
Back in 2017, Einar Åmbakk and two of his friends were hiking high in the mountains of Oppland County, in Southern Norway. Eventually, Åmbakk happened to look down and discovered something that caught his eye–lying in between the rocks was a 1,200-year-old Viking sword, and considering its age it was in good condition.
The handle and blade were covered with bits of rust but were all in one piece. Any coverings that had once adorned the handgrip were gone. The constant cold, dry air, and heavy snow may have helped to keep it preserved.
This vintage locket was found under the ground, and what a special find it is. These kinds of lockets are a pendant that opens to reveal a space used for storing a photograph or other small items such as a lock of hair.
Lockets were usually given to loved ones on holidays such as Valentine’s Day and occasions such as christenings, weddings, and, most noticeably during the Victorian Age. Historically, they often opened to reveal a miniature portrait. Nowadays we only see them in movies or old photographs.
Tiny Glass Planet
Many spectacles of the underwater world aren’t even native to the big blue, from unusual geological formations and natural phenomena to creatures that defy imagination. Like this beautiful little aquamarine ball that was found in Hawaii, and it carries a very lively small ecosystem!
One user on Reddit claims that it was most likely from a float that got away from a Japanese fisherman some 70 odd years ago. Glass was used before plastic, and aluminum floats were even made.
A Ticket to See the Beatles
This ticket was from someone’s first Beatles concert in 1964. Back then, the Beatles were at the top of the charts in the U.K. and had just started attracting audiences overseas with songs from their first two albums. A broad marketing campaign in the U.S. and constant radio airplay drove up record sales and enormous enthusiasm among new fans.
Their sound was something new and exciting, and they were coming to America, setting off on tours in 1964, starting in Europe and later visiting the United States.
A married couple was walking their dog in 2013 when they found buried treasure. They discovered an old rusty box sticking out from the ground and, upon further inspection, found gold coins inside. There were eight more boxes around, and all were full of minted coins from 1847 to 1894.
Their nominal value was $27,980. The coins were perfectly preserved, and the couple sold most of the coinage at an auction. Still, no one knows how those boxes happened to be so close to their backyard. Their lucky find was valued at about $10 million.
Old Dollar Bill
Someone found a 94-year-old dollar on the ground, and after all this time, George Washington’s face hasn’t aged a day. Needless to say, the real value of this dollar lies in its history.
It is important to remember that while a $1 bill was worth considerably more in 1860 than it is today. We can’t help but wonder how many hands and lives has this single bill touched over the years.
Amethyst in the Gravel
A piece of Amethyst was found in a gravel driveway. Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz and is a semiprecious stone often used in jewelry. Until the 18th century, Amethyst was included in the cardinal, or most valuable, gemstones, along with diamonds, sapphire, ruby, and emerald.
The best part is that this piece has some dark purple, as the deeper and darker purple colors sell for a higher price other than the paler lilacs as collectors look for depth of color.
What a Journey
Two guys from Boston set out on a journey into the Andes and found the Black Box of Eastern Flight 980 that crashed there, killing everyone onboard 31 years ago.
A statement was released that what had been found was the cockpit voice recorder rack and the flight data recorder pressurized container assembly. Both of these were external pieces of the flight recorders that enclose the data recording mechanisms in both devices but do not hold data themselves.