Well, this post certainly won’t win any awards for being the sexiest travel topic to discuss. Not by a long shot. But it’s something that I deal with in my travels and in life in general. And I know I’m not alone in dealing with the struggle of motion sickness—including car sickness and sea sickness and all of those fun things—and their symptoms. As I have traveled more and more as an adult, I have learned ways to deal with the symptoms and ways to help me avoid motion sickness altogether. Here are some tips and tricks for fighting motion sickness that I have learned over the years on my frequent trips.
Motion sickness is something that I have dealt with much if not all of my life. As a kid, when we went on road trips, I couldn’t read in the car without getting headaches. And to this day I try not to read on planes for the same reason. I remember getting sick on small boats even as recently as several years ago. And we won’t even discuss the “Haleakala Debacle” as I call it…when we had to stop numerous times on the way back down the famed volcano on Maui because I was sick. It’s not a great feeling.
But through the years, I have learned ways to help avoid the symptoms in the first place and if I am starting to feel sick, to nip it in the bud before running into issues.
Meds, Of Course
Dramamine is bae. Point blank period. I literally have a full bottle on me at all times when I travel. They even have the natural version now, which is also helpful and non-drowsy.
But honestly, if it meant I was drowsy but not sick, I would still take the Dramamine. Carrying medications that you take before you do an activity that could lead to motion sickness is key when you are trying to enjoy your trip. I try to take Drammy an hour before I do any activity that could lead to issues. That even includes tours that will be in a van or big bus. And I learned that if you forget to take it ahead of time and start feeling sick to take it immediately at the point because it will still work to ease the symptoms. And oftentimes, as a precursor to my illness, I start getting a headache or migraine. So I always have migraine medication on me as well.
When I am going to be on a cruise I definitely get the patch (or two) to ensure that I’ll be okay on the high seas. They also have bracelets now and other medicinal remedies, but keeping medicine on deck is definitely something I do to help myself.
Peppermint and Other Essential Oils
What also helps me with motion sickness is making sure I avoid getting a migraine, and essential oils helps with this. Peppermint oil is key to eliminating headaches both while traveling and at home, especially while I wait for my migraine medication to kick in. But peppermint essential oils not only help migraines/ headaches, but it also helps with nausea as well.
Another essential oil that is good for tummy troubles is oregano oil and can definitely help clear up any nausea you are experiencing due to motion sickness or otherwise when traveling. Check out the post I wrote on most important essential oils for travelers for more ideas.
Be Mindful of Activities You Choose
Well, this one sucks unfortunately, but it is reality of the situation. The idea that sometimes, you just can’t do everything because of motion sickness is kind of depressing but it’s the reality. For example, I live in LA and people like to do the Hollywood celebrity tours when they come to town for the first time. I did this once with a friend and I literally wanted to throw up 20 minutes in. The winding streets and high center of gravity of the van totally caught me off guard.
Now, I bow out of those types of activities and reconnect with friends later. It’s just something I have to do, like how I probably won’t try to do the Road to Hana in Maui and why I have no inclination to ever drive up Mount Haleakala again despite how pretty it is. Motion sickness probably one of the biggest reasons I can never see myself living in the Hollywood Hills (windy, narrow roads). I’ve learned my weaknesses and how not to exacerbate them if I don’t want to be miserable. That’s the reality.
Open the Airplane Vent
I regularly fly to and from Vegas, and everyone knows when the weather is hot, so too is the turbulence on descent into the city. It can make for a bumpy landing. I’ve had my fair share of turbulence and this is a prime opportunity for air sickness. But on one particularly bad final descent, a flight attendant, realizing many people were getting dizzy and sick, came over the intercom and told the plane that if we were feeling nauseous to open our air vents because the flowing air would help. Immediately numerous hands shot up to open the vent, including my own. And you know what? She was right. Having air blowing directly on your face and taking deep breaths somehow helps the sickness and eases my nausea in turbulence. I thank that flight attendant because I learned something new that day that I have employed ever since.
Put Down the Phone
Reading—and scrolling Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and all that jazz—makes motion sickness worse. So put down the phone, stop concentrating, and look out at the horizon to steady yourself to help avoid motion sickness symptoms.
Sit in the Front or by the Window
When I am on a tour in a bus or big van, I always try to sit by the window and towards the front, if not in the front seat. Not just because I’m tall, but because sitting in the front helps with not feeling so motion or car sick.
When on trains in Europe (or anywhere) or in airplane seats that may have both front and back facing seats, I ALWAYS try to face front. Riding backwards for an extended period of time is a disaster waiting to happen. When booking assigned seats I try to check the orientation to figure out which seats are front facing so I don’t run into a surprise when I board. It hasn’t been full proof but for the most part I’ve been able to avoid flying or riding backwards, and that really helps.
Avoid Strong Odors
This can be tricky when traveling, but certain odors can definitely exacerbate your motion sickness and make you more nauseous. While you can’t always control the smells you encounter while traveling, I try to avoid super smelly foods, and I also carry a scarf to cover my nose in the event that something on the plane starts causing me to feel sicker.
Listen to Your Body to Avoid Motion Sickness
Above all else, listen to your body. If you aren’t feeling a particular activity, don’t do it. If you think you need to take some medication, take it early and often. Above all else take care of yourself because carsickness, airsickness, and just motion sickness in general can quickly ruin a vacation or getaway. There are several steps you can take to minimize and avoid motion sickness while traveling.