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How to Prevent Motion Sickness

prevent motion sickness traveling

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I’m one of those people that can’t even think about a long car journey without feeling sick. A travel blogger who gets travel sick is pretty ridiculous, but I’m afraid I can’t even look down when I’m in a car without wanting to hurl. 

Long journeys through winding roads are my idea of hell but over the years I’ve found a few great ways to make the trip more bearable.

Travel sickness, or motion sickness, usually leaves you feeling queasy and dizzy with extreme cases resulting in vomiting. It occurs when your brain gets confused because it has sent mixed signals from the eyes and the ears. 

It has all to do with perceived movement and balance (something I’m not even going to pretend to understand) and, thankfully, most people grow out of it by their early teens.

If you’re like me and you never managed to grow out of motion sickness, then keep reading to find some great ways to prevent it.

Acupressure Wristbands

sea-band acupressure wristbands
Sea-Band acupressure wristbands for motion sickness, Amazon

Acupressure wristbands contain a nodule that puts pressure on the P6 Point on your wrist, which is said to relieve nausea and vomiting. One should be worn on each wrist at the same time to fully work, and they can be worn as long as needed.

Lucy explained that acupressure wristbands are her one little thing. They came in handy especially when on a choppy boat ride in Bali. Everyone else on the ride was suffering, but her acupressure wristbands kept her tummy calm.

ViBan Eyewear

viban eyewear for motion sickness
Viban Eyewear for motion sickness, Amazon

ViBan is similar to a visor but is worn lower down so it blocks your view of anything other than what is directly in front of you. 

The theory behind this is that if you can’t see the motion, your brain won’t get so mixed up and you won’t feel sick.

This is a great little device if you want to read, write, or play games while inside a vehicle. These are the kind of activities that make a lot of people feel ill while in a car and solves the motion sickness problem immediately. 

You will look like a bit of an idiot but it’s brilliant for car journeys with friends and family but you might feel silly on a coach full of people.

Travel sickness medication

dramamine for motion sickness
Good ol’ Dramamine motion sickness medication, Amazon

This is an obvious one but with travel sickness medication there is one thing you have to remember: Prevention is better than a cure.

Take the tablets at least half an hour before leaving and the tablets will stop you feeling ill once the journey begins. It’s too late to take them once you start to feel ill because they won’t work.

I always find that travel sickness tablets make me very thirsty but chugging on water during a journey isn’t always an option, especially if you don’t have a toilet onboard, so try eating juicy sweets or chewing gum instead. 

If you do need to drink, opt for drinks that are high in electrolytes.

Choose your seat wisely

aisle seats mean less motion sickness
Choosing an aisle seat may help alleviate motion sickness.

Apparently you’re less likely to suffer from motion sickness if you sit in the middle of the vehicle. 

The vehicle is steadiest in the middle but you’re also less likely to see the movement outside and seeing it is just as bad as feeling it.

If you’re traveling in a car, try to sit in the front instead of the rear.

The middle aisle on an airplane or the middle cabin of a boat should help, as will the aisle seat on a bus. If you’re on a small boat, I would always recommend sitting at the back of the boat.

If you’re feeling ill it can be tempting to sit in your cabin or stay close to the toilet but being in a small, confined space is the worst. Get outside in the fresh air and maybe keep a paper bag handy!

Eating and drinking

light snacks

I’ve read conflicting reviews about what you should do when it comes to food and drink when you’re suffering from motion sickness. 

A lot of people say you should eat a small meal, sip on water, and avoid alcohol. I’m going to be controversial here and say the complete opposite.

I spent six months working on a small island in Australia and the only way to get to the supermarket and back to civilization was a 30-minute ride on a tiny boat. 

At first, it was hell but eventually, I figured out a few tricks to make the journey more bearable.

  • In my experience, eating a large, stodgy meal before getting on the boat is the best.
  • Sipping water makes me feel worse and I’d rather sip something sweet like a fizzy drink or juice.
  • If I’m feeling awful, alcohol is a complete no-no, but if I’m just a little queasy, then alcohol actually helps. I don’t know if it just takes my mind off the motion sickness or it counteracts the swaying, but either way, a small beer or a refreshing G&T works wonders.

Ginger & Lemon

ginger and lemon can help alleviate motion sickness

Ginger is a traditional remedy for travel sickness and many people still swear by it today. The best ways to take it are in the form of a tablet or ginger tea but I’m also partial to a few ginger biscuits and a cup of tea.

There may not be so much scientific research to back up lemon as a treatment for motion sickness but a lot of people find it to be a great cure once they’re feeling sick. 

Slice up some lemons before your trip and every time you have a wave of nausea, suck on a slice of lemon to banish the sickness.

Wind Down

Many who experience motion sickness do so when they are reading while in the car or fiddling around with their mobile devices.

If you can, take this time to give your eyes (and mind) a rest by putting down your book and your gadgets. Enjoy the scenery outside or catch up on much-needed sleep, so you arrive at your destination refreshed.

When all else fails…

It can sometimes be best to get it over and done with and just be sick. A lot of people feel better immediately after being sick and continue the rest of their journey nausea-free.



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Written by Monica

Monica is a London based travel addict who loves nothing more than exploring new places and meeting new people. Her first big trip lasted almost two years as she backpacked through SE Asia and drove all the way around Australia in a campervan. She recently qualified as a multimedia journalist and is spending as much time as possible exploring Europe. You can find Monica at The Travel Hack.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. George says

    Great tips. I normally wear those pressure bands but they don’t always work. I think it may be a bit psychosomatic.

    On my flight back from India I literally vomited every 20 minutes. I don’t know whether it was motion sickness or I just wasn’t very well.

  2. Jodie Louise says

    Tried and tested most of these, – sitting in the middle of a bus is key!

    But the best thing I ever found were Pressure Point bands, I wear them on any form of transport and as long as I put them on BEFORE I get on, I never have any problems. But forget to put them on and start feeling sick in the middle of a journey and I find nothing will work!

    I have suffered with motion sickness since I was tiny and its never gotten better, but I have to say travelling on roads in other countries, where the traffic isn’t so heavy and the roads are straighter helps!

    Great post and some Great advice!

  3. Jeanette says

    I can’t believe “Sea-band” isn’t included!! I suffer from motion sickness very much, and sea-band is the best remedy I’ve found. Its a simple wrist band with a ball that presses on your wrist acupuncture point. Works like magic, reducing motion sickness, and works even for pregnant ladies who get morning sickness! “Sea-band” is not the only one that makes the wrist band, please check them out!! 🙂

  4. Sylvia says

    Monica, I’m wondering if you have personally used the ViBan eyewear. if so, did you find it worked in a car, plane, train? I don’t want to invest without some reassurance that they have worked well for someone else. Thanks.

  5. Tracy says

    One time on a really windy bus in Laos, I was so motion sick that I had to spew and didn’t know what to do (usually I get sick but never actually throw up, so I was surprised)….. so I ran to the front of the bus to try to get him to stop, but it was too late and I threw up everywhere in front of everyone! hahaha. Brilliant. Those ViBans look ridiculous but I’m so getting them. Thanks.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Motion sickness and nausea can be eased by ingesting ginger, typically in the crystallized form. Chamomile tea and peppermint can also calm the digestive tract. Another cure for stomach and muscle pains is heat. You can fill your plastic water bottle (like those from Nalgene) with boiling water to apply to the source. And help prevent stomach bugs by ingesting 100% grape juice with a dash of apple cider vinegar. […]

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