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How to Prevent Motion Sickness While Traveling

Woman riding in car

Despite traveling so often, I still suffer from motion sickness a lot. You’d think that traveling a lot would help build up a tolerance to it, but no such luck. While I haven’t been able to get rid of my motion sickness completely, I have figured out ways to be more prepared and hopefully avoid it altogether.

If motion sickness is something you’re all too familiar with, then this article is for you. Motion sickness can ruin a much-anticipated vacation and is one of the most common reasons people avoid long trips.

But the good news is, motion sickness is preventable.

I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to preventing motion sickness so you don’t have to suffer any more! You’ll learn how to prevent motion sickness while traveling, along with tips to help you find relief if you’ve already fallen victim. Discover how to plan ahead, modify your environment, and take medication or natural remedies to prevent motion sickness and make your travels enjoyable again.

What Causes Your Motion Sickness?

Knowing what causes your motion sickness is the best first step in preparing for it. Motion sickness happens when your inner ear feels movement that your eyes don’t register — or the opposite as well, when your eyes register movement that your body doesn’t feel.

I tend to get most motion sick riding in a car or on a boat, and less frequently on a plane. For some people, one mode of transportation is more of a trigger than others.

Knowing what sets off your motion sickness is the quickest way to prevent it from happening in the future.

Person riding on a train

How to Prevent Motion Sickness Before Your Trip

Your first steps to preventing motion sickness begin before you even leave for your trip. Planning ahead of time can save you a lot of headache, and nausea, in the future.

Here are a few ways to prepare so your motion sickness doesn’t catch you completely by surprise:

Research your destination or excursion ahead of time.

If you want to take a trip that involves winding roads or a choppy boat ride, it’s better to know ahead of time.

You can come prepared with medications, or you may decide to skip that experience altogether. There’s no point taking a boat excursion if you’re going to be sick the whole time.

Choose your seat wisely.

If you have the option of booking a train or plane seat ahead of time, that’s going to help tremendously. You can ensure you have a seat that is less of a trigger for your motion sickness.

Seats that are facing forward on a train or bus are your best option, as well as seats over the plane’s wing because they are typically more stable.

Let your travel companions know in advance.

If the people traveling with you know about your condition, they’ll be able to help you out. They can switch seats with you, make frequent stops if needed, and help you prepare in general.

What to Pack to Prevent Motion Sickness

Come prepared on your trip for nausea to strike — and then hope that you don’t have to use any of it. Make sure you pack plenty of remedies for your entire trip.

Here are a few medications and natural remedies that are most useful in preventing and treating motion sickness:

  • Dramamine or other motion sickness medication. These may cause drowsiness, but they’re always my best defense against queasiness.
  • Sea-Bands. These acupuncture bands that you wear around your wrist apply pressure on a point of your arm that’s supposed to help relieve motion sickness.
  • Ginger chews. Ginger is a great natural remedy for nausea, and these chews are easy to carry on you while traveling.
  • Essential oils. Scents like ginger, peppermint, spearmint, and lavender can be a natural way to reduce nausea.
Person sticking their head and arm out of a car

Top Tips for Avoiding Motion Sickness

There are a few sure-fire ways to avoid motion sickness while traveling. I’ve also heard of some interesting wives-tale ways that I’ve tried out myself. If all of the medications and natural remedies aren’t cutting it, try out some of these tips for avoiding motion sickness on your trip.

Don’t read while in motion. Put the phone or the book away. Reading will always make your motion sickness worse.

Sit in the front seat of a vehicle in a forward-facing seat. Even better, drive yourself if you’re able. When have you ever been car sick when you were the one driving?

Eat a light meal of non-greasy foods before your trip. Heavy foods will only upset your stomach and make you more prone to getting sick.

Turn up the air flow to provide some relief. Face all the air vents you can at you, or open a window to provide some fresh air.

Sip ginger ale to sooth your stomach. Ginger is great for relieving digestive issues. But you don’t want to gulp down the bubbly ginger ale because that can upset your stomach more, so sip lightly.

Try sitting on a newspaper. This was the advice one of my brother’s coworkers gave after a bumpy ride to Cambridge. It was an old wives’ tale they’d heard, something about the friction between you and the seat. Not sure if it worked, but we sure did feel silly trying it, and that distracted us a little!

Preventing Motion Sickness

Take medicine in advance of your trip. If you know you’re getting on a boat or are feeling particularly queasy at the thought of a car ride, take Dramamine or other motion sickness medication ahead of your trip. Give it plenty of time to kick in before you go.

Powering Through

Unfortunately, these tips aren’t a cure-all for motion sickness while traveling, but they’re a good way to be prepared.

You can roll with the punches (or waves) and make the most out of your trip despite the sickness. Even through a particularly choppy boat ride, a snorkel adventure was one of my favorite excursions on a recent cruise despite the constant motion sickness.

Motion sickness is just one pitfall of traveling, but it doesn’t have to ruin all of your fun. The above tips can definitely help you be more prepared in avoiding it on your vacation.

More Travel Tips

Ready to take a vacation? Plan your trip with these tips.



How to Prevent Motion Sickness While Traveling

Do you suffer from motion sickness while traveling? What are your tips? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Whenever I site on the back seat of any bus or van I feel that I may vomit soon. Specially if the windows are closed. So you are right that sitting on front seat might be helpful and Thanks for sharing all helpful tips you mentioned in your articles.

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