Don't let motion sickness deter you from travelling and seeing the world

Motion sickness (sometimes known as travel sickness) is caused when your visual input—what you’re seeing—doesn’t match your inner ear’s sense of movement. This misalignment in signals causes uncomfortable symptoms, which typically include nausea, sweating, headaches and dizziness. As someone who is sensitive to motion sickness, I do everything I can while travelling to avoid and alleviate my discomfort.

Here are my top tips for preventing motion sickness on your next car, bus or boat ride...


1. Pick your seat carefully

1Pexels/SkitterphotoAlways select a front-facing seat. On some tourist shuttles, for example, there are the dreaded backwards-facing chairs. I try to arrive early for my departure so I never have to sit in those ones (and never have). If possible, sit beside a window so you can look out at the moving landscape. Even better, you can also ask to sit in the front passenger seat beside the driver.


2. Don’t read

1Pexels/BurstAlthough it can be tempting to read on your phone or flip through a magazine on a long ride, don’t do it. When your eyes are focused on something stationary, it conflicts with the signals from your inner ear which senses the motion of the vehicle. Instead, listen to music or a podcast. Research has suggested that distracting your brain with audio signals can reduce your sensitivity to motion sickness.


3. Try wearing anti-nausea wristbands

1London DrugsAnti-nausea wristbands are specially designed elastic cuffs with a small ball that pushes on a pressure point between two veins in your wrist. Although initially intended for seasickness, the acupressure science is also supposed to help with nausea prevention for other forms of travel too. I always carry a pair with me in my wallet, just in case! Anti-nausea wristbands are readily available for purchase at most drugstores and pharmacies in British Columbia.


4. Minimize the chit-chat

1Pexels/Split ShireWhen we chit-chat with our fellow passengers, our head naturally turns to the side to look at the person we are talking to. The forward motion of the vehicle doesn’t match with our visual glances to the side—a sure cause for motion sickness. Minimize the conversation on your next car ride and plug in your headphones instead.


5. Eat right

1Nathan CowleyEating a greasy meal or too much junk food on any given day can make you feel a bit sick—so definitely don’t do it before a long car ride. On the other hand, having nothing in your stomach can also make you feel nauseous. Eat a light meal before your ride. For the commute itself, ginger is known to settle the stomach. Try ginger chews, a travel mug of ginger tea or small sips of ginger ale to help ease the symptoms of motion sickness.


6. Take a snooze

1Pexels/Leah KelleyWhenever I begin feeling queasy on a car ride, I naturally close my eyes, which usually leads to me falling asleep. This makes the ride pass by much quicker, and by the time I wake up, I’ve usually arrived at my destination.


7. Seek alternative modes of transportation

1Pexels/SkitterphotoCan you fly? Can you take a train? Alternative modes of transportation, which are more stable than a car ride, are less likely to cause motion sickness and will usually get you to your destination quicker than driving.


8. Be the driver

1Pexels/Jeshoots.comIf you are on a road trip, offer to be the driver rather than a passenger. Drivers are less likely to get motion sickness, because they are in sync with the movements of the vehicle.


9. Take medication

1Pexels/Jeshoots.comIn general, I prefer more natural remedies when it comes to relieving the symptoms of motion sickness. However, for longer car or bus rides, my last resort is to take medication like Gravol. It has always worked for me, but the downside is that it can make you feel drowsy and groggy for the rest of the day.


Do you have an upcoming car or bus ride in your travel plans? We hope these motion sickness prevention tips will allow you to have the best journey possible. Good luck and safe travels!