Best Ways to Beat Travel Sickness

06 Jun 2019 by Olga Brighton

Travel Information

Nothing puts a downer on your holiday like travel sickness. While your fellow travellers marvel eagerly at the vista from your plane, train or automobile, you focus every bone in your body on avoiding being sick.

So how do you avoid this unwelcome holiday-hanger-on?

If you, your children, or travel companions have ever suffered from travel sickness, you know how unbearable it can be. And you’re not alone. In fact it’s a problem for one in three of us.

Don't let your tummy, or inner-ear sabotage your next trip. As peak travel season approaches, we've gathered some of the best ways of avoiding travel sickness, or motion sickness.

What is travel sickness?

What is travel sickness

Travel sickness is feeling nauseous when travelling by car, coach, boat, plane or train. If you don't deal with it quickly, it can get progressively worse and eventually, you'll be giddy, vomiting and perhaps end up with dehydration and severe fatigue.

Read also: How Do I Pay for Medical Expenses If I Get Ill Abroad?

What causes travel sickness?

It happen when your brain receives a conflicting message about movement. For example, your balance-sensing system - like your inner ear may send a message saying that your body is moving, yet your eyes don’t see it. The different signals to your brain cause confusion and you start to feel unwell. Travel sickness is usually caused by repeated movements, like going up and down on a boat or round and round corners of a mountain road.

How do you prevent travel sickness?

How to prevent travel sickness


  • Try and reduce motion – opt for the front seat in a car, or the middle on a boat.
  • Focus ahead on a fixed, distant, point on the horizon.
  • Breathe slowly while focusing on your horizon point.
  • Get fresh air if possible – open your car window, or go on the boat deck.
  • Try and take regular stops to stretch, walk, get some air and drink water.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – soda water settles your stomach and water will rehydrate.
  • Try foods or drinks containing homeopathic remedies like ginger or peppermint.
  • Carry some plain snacks like crackers.
  • Eat a light meal before you travel (nothing too rich).
  • With children particularly, try distraction techniques like music, singing songs, or playing a family car game.
  • Try travel sickness remedies. Options include tablets to patches and wrist bands. Tablets usually contain Cinnarizine, a type of antihistamine, which treats the inner ear that may affect balance.
  • Sleep can act to reset your balance and get used to the movement. It also helps pass the time.
  • Have a cold pack, or cold flannel available to soothe an aching head.


  • Don’t eat spicy, rich or heavy meals or snacks before or during travel.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or during your journey.
  • Avoid reading, using electronic devices or watching films.
  • Don’t look at other objects that are moving, such as cars or waves.
  • Don’t carry on driving after an onset of travel sickness. Stop where it’s safe and take a walk and fresh air to help rebalance.
  • Don’t use transport that is guaranteed to disagree with you - try a train instead of a coach, or plane instead of a boat.
What causes travel sickness

Sometimes the act of proactively trying techniques to avoid travel sickness can help focus, relax and ground you and help avoid you feeling sick altogether. It’s certainly worth a try isn’t it?

If you are unlucky enough to have a bout of travel sickness, make sure you rehydrate. Drink plenty of water (slowly, not great gulps at a time). Try electrolyte tablets or drinks too. Some people find fizzy drinks helpful, or even a bag of salted crisps can help. Get plenty of rest and fresh air and seek medical advice if you have become severely dehydrated. Perhaps consider small rehydration sachets in your first-aid kit for such emergencies.

Wherever, or however you travel, these tips should help you stay well and enjoy the journey. Always get travel insurance before you travel, so that if you need a doctor or worse still, hospitalisation, your emergency medical expenses will be covered.

Always check FCO’s travel advice to help you stay safe abroad!

Read more: Top 7 Reasons for Travel Interruption & Trip Disruption

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