I want to love the summer road trip adventure – top down, wind in my hair and rolling down the open road like Thelma and Louise. But, I don’t have a convertible and car trips often bring about the queasiness, dizziness and cold sweats of motion sickness. My experience with motion sickness usually occurs when I’m sitting in the backseat of a car, but it’s a common problem for many people when traveling by train, airplane and boat, too. The inner ear sends signals to the brain that conflict with other senses, which in turn throws off a sense of balance and equilibrium.
Since I certainly don’t want to ruin a fun trip with feeling nauseated, I’ll keep these tactics from the Travel Medicine team in mind for my next outing:
- Be up front — Sitting in the front seat or being the driver of the car helps. When flying, ask for a seat over the wing of the aircraft. And stay in a centrally-located cabin if taking a cruise.
- Have a light snack — Low-fat, starchy foods can help tame your stomach. A carbonated beverage, such as ginger ale, can soothe your stomach as well. However, foods that are spicy, pungent or greasy may have the opposite effect and aggravate your sickness.
- Get a breath of fresh air — Open a window, use the air vent or visit the top deck of a boat. Breathing the pleasant aromas of mint and lavender may also help.
- Save your reading for the beach — Reading may be helpful for travel boredom, but it often brings about motion sickness. When you’re reading, your inner ear senses motion, but your eyes cannot tell you are moving. Fixate your gaze onto the distant horizon instead of the pages of a book or magazine.
- Don’t get too cozy — Avoid close contact with another traveler who is having a bout of motion sickness. This can trigger you to feel sick, too.
I’ve also tried over-the-counter products, but they often make me sleepy and snoozing through the fun kind of defeats the purpose of an adventure.
How do you cope with motion sickness?