My Tips to Prevent Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a very common problem among travelers. Asking around in my close group of friends and relatives I realized that we are not the only unlucky ones. Over the years, I’ve gone from dreading every single second on a bus (or car) to chewing ginger pills. But, suffice to say, that sickly feeling is staying away from yours truly nowadays.

What are my trips to prevent motion sickness? Read on!

Get some good sleep the night before the departure

It may help to be well rested before the departure. So get your eight (7-9) hours of sleep and, please, don’t party. The last thing you want is to be hangover.

Choose an early departure

This is especially true during summer. You don’t want to be in a stuffy bus – with air condition or not- when it’s hot outside. You just don’t. So, wake up for that 5 a.m. departure and suck it up. On the plus side, you’ll be sleepy enough to not care about the curves in road. True story!

Don’t eat

It may be a controversial approach, but I do fast before a bus (or car) ride. If it happens to be in the afternoon / evening, I fast for at least 4 hours before the departure. If I leave in the morning, the only thing I drink is black coffee (you cannot cure an addiction, seriously). You need to try and see what works for you. Some people do better with eating something dry an hour before travel.

Front row seat

Do whatever you can to snatch that seat on the right hand-side of the drive (or left, in UK, for example). You want to be able to look at the road in front of you.

Or back row seat … on ferries

High-speed ferries are a totally different animal than cars. You want to sit to the back where the “sway” is not as bad. Since they don’t allow you to stay outside or even have access to windows in front, you want to just try to minimize the discomfort if the sea is bad.

Focus on the horizon

Look ahead and focus on the horizon. Do not look to the sides. Do not follow the objects on the sides with your eyes.

If in the plane, sit over the wings

I love to pre-book my seats and sit right over the wings. It doesn’t get too bumpy and I don’t feel the movement so badly. I tried the front or the back and hated both, by the way.

Sit facing the direction of travel

Guess how I got sick in a bus in a city? Yup, I wasn’t facing the direction of travel. So, I know better. I apply this even for train rides.

Don’t read

I know it’s a hard one but just don’t. I used to be able to years ago but not anymore. I vividly remember a bus ride crossing mountains in Italy and I was reading off my tablet. Once I took my eyes from it and looked through the window, I felt my stomach wanted to empty its contents. Several deep breaths later and I spared the driver of surprises.

If you crave reading a book, the alternative is to listen to an audio book.

Don’t close your eyes

You read correctly. Closing your eyes only makes the symptoms worse.

Deep breaths

They don’t work for everyone but they do for me. With my new FitBit Charge 2 HR‘s Relax function, it’s even easier to focus for 2 minutes to take deep breaths.

Chew ginger

Or get some ginger pills. Read the instructions and take them accordingly. Of course, it depends on the person and they may not always work. Ginger is a traditional medicine for nausea but make sure to check with your doctor if you are pregnant or take blood thinners.

Chew mint

If I forget my ginger pills I pray I have some minty chewing gum handy. Ideally, chew on some mint leaves. It may interact with medications so check with your doctor before you much on it. You can even brew some mint tea and put it in your water bottle.

OTC motion sickness pills and patches

Dramamine is a well-known pill but it is known to make you sleepy. Motion sickness patches can also be an option. You have to try and see what works for you.

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26 thoughts on “My Tips to Prevent Motion Sickness

  1. Might have to look into the sickness patches I really suffer…. although a lot better thsn I was. Ginger sweets work well for me 😊

  2. Ugghhh!! Motion sickness. The word alone makes me sick. LOL. I just recently appreciated the tip on ‘sit facing the direction of the travel’. I’ve done that. Sat opposite the direction of the travel and it was nauseous! Learned it the hard way. Haha.. Thank you for the tips! Very helpful. 🙂

    • I’ve learned that way the exact same way. And even worse, I was right smack in the city, going through my texts on mobile. Double-trouble! Turned green…and not with envy haha

  3. I have so many problems with motion sickness, not funny anymore 😀 I used to fly a lot for work (in Europe) and sometimes when having a bumpy ride, I just tried everything, from looking at the horizon, drinking coke,… and people would feel so sorry for me, thinking I was scared because of the rough flight and thinking I was not used to flying. So funny.
    Anyway, what helps me is close my eyes and listen to music and if it’s really bad, I have to drink a bit of coke. And if necessary, I take some motion sickness pills :s

    • I have the exact opposite reaction when I close my eyes…Music works for me too, but, lesson learned, I pop the pill 1 h before traveling!
      Flying is not that bad for me, but buses…ayaya

  4. Hi Cristina,

    Great tips, I didn’t know about ginger and mint! At least it sounds better than giving your body medicines!
    Depending on the number of hours, but my rule is to eat but very basic food, nothing too fancy and definitely not a curry!! haha
    Oh yes NEVER chose the back seat! It’s the worse feeling.

    Telma @ Blank Canvas Voyage

    • I didn’t know about mint leaves until I researched but I did know about chewing gum. And I found out about ginger from the drug store (thankfully, we have a variety of plant-based options so you don’t need to pop chemicals in your body)

  5. I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m getting way more motion sickness than before lately…. I already try to face the road, etc. but I didn’t even know about ginger pills! I’m buying this for next trip. And mint. Better be prepared!!

    • Yeah, the bus is the big issue and , in one, you have to pay attention to get some fresh air (AC doesn’t always work) and never, ever, stay on a wheel!
      I went to the drug store and asked for something for motion sickness and they gave me a ginger-based pill which is 100% made of plants and roots.

  6. These are great tips! Focusing on the horizon helps for me, but I tend to take dramamine now to be safe, so it doesn’t ruin my day. Doesn’t make me sleepy so I am lucky.

  7. Great tips for a fellow sufferer. 🙂
    Been practicing most of them but didn’t know about the mint. Always good to have an extra trick in the battle against motion sickness!

  8. I personally don’t suffer from motion sickness, but recently I’ve had a few trips by bus and a few people were dealing with serious cases of it. These are some excellent tips and makes me want to carry around ginger pills just in case other passengers are dealing with it.

  9. Ughhh. I get motion sickness on boats a lot. Not on planes and cars as much. Thanks for the tips because there is nothing worse than feeling sick. I love chewing ginger. 🙂

    • I was in a boat in 2013 and didn’t get sick. Fingers crossed I won’t this year in Greece, either. Ginger rules!

  10. Luckily I have never had problems with motion sickness, and even when I do, it’s when I check my phone while sitting on the back seat in a car, and on curvy roads, never on highways. So, yeah, “don’t read” is the best one 😀 This is a good set of suggestions for people who have these problems more often, so I will keep it for suggestions on my future trips 🙂

    • Oh yeah, that’s how I found out I was actually not as motion sickness proof as I though: reading while traveling by bus! As a matter of fact, I haven’t had any problems until my 30s. But, the truth is, I wasn’t traveling that much before.

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  12. These are interesting tips and I would totally agree on the ginger one!.. ‘Don’t eat’ will definitely not work with a friend of mine who says that makes her more giddy! Interesting post btw 🙂

    • Thanks!
      Yes, eating / not eating depends on your body. I practice intermittent fasting anyway, so it’s super easy for me to stay trouble-free.

  13. Luckily I don’t get motion sickness much, but I am pretty sure the main thing that causes it is reading. Not reading is easier said then done, but I think it would probably solve my issues.

    • Oh yeah, I know the feeling. I can read (most of the times) in the train and always in the plane but never in the bus. And I have yet to make friends with audio books.

  14. These tips are really helpful and so true. I have really bad motion sickness and have tried all of these! (I also have anxiety which doesn’t help with the feelings of nausea…) I also fast before I travel on a bus/train/car/plane and must sit on the right side and facing the direction of travel (the one time I had to face backwards because there were no seats left I just about knocked myself out with Dramamine just so I wouldn’t get sick. I will have to try out the patches next time!

    • Oh yeah, I always choose the right-hand-side facing forward. I flew on the left-hand-side once and it was …weird. I wasn’t sick but def weird.
      For buses, I choose early trip so I am drowsy anyway lol (NOT a morning person!)

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