How to stop travel sickness

Travel sickness can really be a downer on even the most exciting of trips and can lead to a pretty grim journey for everyone involved. Luckily, there are things you can do to send the travel sickness bug packing on a trip of its own.

What is travel sickness?

Travel sickness or motion sickness is a form of nausea when you travel by boat, car, plane or train. According to the NHS, it is caused when “the inner ear sends different signals to your brain from those your eyes are seeing. These confusing messages cause you to feel unwell.”

It can make the sufferer feel dizzy, nauseated and can even cause vomiting. Whilst we often consider travel sickness a common aliment for children and pregnant women, travel sickness can creep up on anyone.

How can you prevent it from ruining your journey?

There are several things that can be done to either stop travel sickness or minimise how unwell you feel.

Look for ways to minimise the motion – choose the most stable place to sit. This is usually in the front of a car, coach or bus or in the middle of a boat.

Focus on a fixed point. Ideally on the horizon ahead to give your brain a feeling of perspective. Reading books, looking at your phone or tablet or watching other moving objects can make travel sickness worse.

Distraction. When you feel unwell, it can feel like the only thing that you can think about. However, focusing on something else, listening to music, playing a game or singing songs can be an effective distraction, especially with children

Breathe. Wherever possible, try to find a source of fresh air, either by opening a window or sitting up on deck. Where this isn’t possible (on a plane for example), try to sit away from any strong or unpleasant smells.

You can also use slow, meditative breathing to help calm your stomach and mind. Try breathing in slowly and then exhaling at slightly slower rate. Do a few times, but make sure you don’t start to make yourself dizzy.

What remedies can help?

You can buy travel sickness tablets and patches from your pharmacy. Always make sure you ask for advice and check if they are suitable for children as well.

Homeopathic remedies include acupuncture travel sickness bands, ginger tea or biscuits and peppermint oil. These have mixed results in treating travel sickness and it’s always advisable to check with your GP that they won’t interfere with any other conditions or medication.

Be prepared!

With the best will in the world, there may still be trips which result in a bout of sickness. To make these journeys slightly more bearable for everyone concerned, make sure you have the following:

  • Water – to help keep travel sickness sufferers hydrated
  • Sick bags – not just in the car but within easy reach
  • Change of clothing – especially for little ones who may not be able to alert you in time.
  • Alternative routes – plan ahead with an alternative route in case you need to make a stop or choose an option with less winding roads

How do you manage to deal with travel sickness? If you’ve tried any of these remedies or have your own tried and tested solution let us know on the Sheilas' Wheels Facebook page.


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