Do you have someone in your family who suffers from motion sickness? Not only do they suffer, but it can complicate your travel plans! My husband is a pilot and my kids have inherited his cast-iron stomach, but I sometimes suffer from travel sickness.
I have created a list of tips that help me reduce my chances of experiencing motion sickness. Most of the tips are to help your eyes and your inner ears (which contains fluid that moves around in reaction to movement) send your brain the same message. It is believed that motion sickness occurs when your body’s balancing system gets overwhelmed by contradictory messages sent from the eyes and inner ears.
Tips to reduce motion sickness:
Choose to sit in an area that provides the smoothest ride. When I fly, I ask for a seat over a wing. On a train, bus or van, I sit as close to the front as a can. I always sit in the front seat of our car and truck when we go somewhere. I haven’t been on a cruise, but my husband has told me that a cabin towards the center of the ship is the best place to bunk – but he has only bunked on aircraft carriers, so ask for yourself when you book a cruise.
Once you have found a seat in the calmest area, stay sitting if possible. Trying to balance while moving sends more confusing messages to your brain.
Drive the car yourself. I usually drive the car on road trips. The combination of carefully watching the road and being in control of the speed and motion ensure that my eyes, inner ears, and muscles are all sending my brain the same motion message, so I never experience motion sickness when I drive. My husband says he never experiences motion sickness when he is flying a plane, even when he is doing rolls and dives, but if he is in the back seat while another pilot is performing those maneuvers he sometimes experiences motion sickness.
Face forward. Choose a seat that faces in the direction you are traveling, so that the forward motion your body feels will match what you see. The benefits of sitting at the front of a boat or train will be minimized if you don’t face forward.
Look at the horizon. Focus on a steady point away from the vehicle. If you can’t find an object to focus on, look at the horizon (where the sky meets the earth or water). This will allow your eyes to see that you are moving, so they will match the movement your body feels.
Leave your books, crossword puzzles, computers, and knitting in your luggage. It may be tempting to bring something to distract you from how you are feeling, but when you read or knit in a car or plane, your eyes stay fixed on the item you are holding, but your body feels the motion of the car. This creates the sensory contradiction which causes motion sickness.
Stay topside on boats if possible. While I haven’t bunked on a cruise ship or an aircraft carrier, I have ridden on boats. Stay on deck as much as possible to minimize motion sickness. If weather forces you to find shelter, try to find shelter in an enclosed area on the deck, preferably with windows that will allow you to look into the distance. This allows your eyes to confirm the movement that your body is feeling.
Eat an hour beforehand or don’t eat at all. Sometimes eating helps me, but I worry that I might get sick, so I try not to eat much. I usually eat something very bland an hour before I travel. If possible, I don’t eat again until I arrive at my destination. If I have to eat, I choose a bland item and eat just enough to feel satiated. However, some people find they have to avoid all food while traveling.
If you have to eat, avoid heavy foods. Sometimes on a long trip, I have to eat. Unfortunately, the smell of certain foods can prompt motion sickness – for me it is greasy food. I always try to stop and get out of the car to eat and I do not let anybody bring leftover food into my car. You can place leftover food, in a sealed container in the trunk, so you don’t smell it while you are moving.
Tips for dealing with the nausea:
If I have to eat, I brush my teeth very well afterwards.
I have found sucking on a peppermint helps with the nausea.
I have found that the Sea-Band Wristband actually helps reduce my nausea while traveling. I was skeptical, but a friend who is a doctor recommended them and they do work for me.
How do you find relief from motion sickness?