Tue, September 11th, 2012 - By

Dealing with Sea, Air, and Car Sickness


Nothing can make a trip more miserable than a bout of sea, air, or car sickness – especially when said symptoms make their appearance at the start of a rather long journey! As a regular sufferer myself, here are some tips and suggestions for not letting it ruin your holiday.

Know Your Weakness

For example, I don’t get air sick, but I am very prone to car sickness. So, when long roadtrips are on the horizon, I make sure I’m watching what I eat to avoid any additional upset stomach problems, and avoid overdoing it on the alcohol. I also triple-check I have some paracetamol in the bag I will have easy access to during the trip.

That’s not to say you can rest care-free – I never had problems with boats but I do remember one terribly choppy Scottish isles crossing that left me reeling for the rest of the day. Phew.

Walk it Off

Over the years, I’ve only found one consistently effective cure for a bout of car or sea sickness:  walking. Taking a long way, even if it’s raining out, helps your brain get that equilibrium stored, and it also takes your mind off all those wobbly feelings. If you aren’t in a position to walk, how about the fitness room at the hotel? Even if it’s just a few laps around the block, I think this helps.

This goes for en route walking as well; for road trips, when there’s a stop, even if you don’t need to use the facilities, stretch your legs and walk around. Get up and walk around on the plane (however annoying it may be to the other passengers, I’m sure they’d rather you not be vomiting).

What’s on the horizon?

Part of the issue with this type of illness is that your brain is confused about the movement of your body against what it is expecting to be natural – for example, rough seas when it was expecting smooth sailing, or a bumpy road when those mountains in the distance look fine. I’ve been told many times to watch the horizon, and I have found in many cases for this to be a bit calming for me, especially on boats or winding car trips. For the boat, make sure you can see the horizon out the window (though careful if those splashing waves make you fearful), and for road trippers make sure you can see clearly out the front windshield.

When All Else Fails… Grab the Meds

I’m not a pill person – I hate taking medicine, fearful that the side effects will be worse than the original problem. But you know your body better than anyone else, so if a dose of Dramamine will do the trick, then do it. Suck down as many ginger candies as you can find (said to also  help). Being ill is not what you want on hols.

May I suggest that you be sure and slip a pack of Dramamine and some ginger chews into your case if you are planning on any rather long journey or enjoying a first: your first time on a cruise, your first time driving across the continent, your first time on a ferry to the Hebrides… 🙂

Please, share your suggestions in the comments – as a fellow sufferer, I’d love to hear them!

Photo by author.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 at 10:00
Category : Holiday Tips
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