How To Prevent Motion Sickness: The Struggle Is Real!

I have always been very sensitive to motion, especially the rocking motion of water (after snorkeling or during a cruise). I get so dizzy, my head feels heavy and sometimes experience cold sweats! Just thinking about this makes me nauseous! I also experience motion sickness in cars especially when traveling on windy roads.

I know I am not alone in this, which is why I decided to write some tricks and tips I have learned from experience and from asking friends. Hopefully, it helps a fellow sufferer out there.

1. Let’s start with the obvious – motion sickness medicine. There are several name brands. They are over the counter. Dramamine, Bonine, Antivert, Meclizine, etc. Ask your pharmacist. I know some of them says non-drowsy, but I still get drowsy when taking some of them (I have tried many), so be careful. Know the effects of the medicine to you first before doing anything that requires attention/concentration.

Tip: try the 24-hour motion sickness meds. What my friend Kerryn did when she went on a cruise to Alaska was take the medicine at night before going to bed. This minimized the drowsiness during daytime.

2. Motion sickness patch – when I was cruising in the Galapagos, an Australian couple gave me a patch that I put behind my ear. It was the best thing! No motion sickness on a small sailboat out in the open ocean. Ever since then, I have been looking for that patch. I don’t believe they sell it in the United States. I also looked for it when I traveled to Australia, but no success. If you can get a hold of one, I suggest you try it and see how it affects you.  Here are some pictures of this patch, so you know what I am talking about. Click here.

Horizon - Motion


3. Looking out the horizon – my friend Sarah suggested this.  This is one trick I definitely use as well. If there is a steady point (ex. land) in the horizon, I do pick one point and stare at it, so I get the sense of stability. I am faking my mind that I am on stable ground.

pressure band
Pressure Band

4. Pressure point bands – I would say this is hit or miss. I bought one of these during a 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera (I don’t know why I keep going on cruises when I know I just get sick!). You basically wear them around both your wrist. It has a button-like knob on the inside that presses down on your inside wrist. The pressure should minimize the motion sickness. Yeah, it didn’t work on me, but it might work on you!

5. Though it is hard to avoid especially during vacation, watch your alcohol intake. You don’t want to be drunk on top of your motion sickness! It may also help not to eat fatty foods or any foods that may cause you stomach queasiness. I will feel sorry for your roommate.

6. Eat apples – I have not personally tried this, but my friend Lana suggested that the Pectin in apples helps with wooziness. Hey, an apple cannot hurt anyone, right? If you try this out, let me know if it helped you.


Motion - Car sick

7. Sit strategically – if you are traveling by plane, make sure you reserve a seat close to the wings and towards the middle of the plane. It is usually more stable there.

If you are traveling by cruise ships, stay in lower the decks. The higher the deck, the more motion you will experience when the ship rocks.

If traveling by car, sit in front. Sitting in front gives you the whole view of what’s ahead. You feel less tossed around because you get to mentally prepare yourself every time the car makes a turn. It gives you more “control” of the situation.

If traveling by train, do not sit backwards! I experienced this during a train ride in New Zealand. The only seats available were those facing backwards. I had a neck ache trying to look backwards, so I can be facing the same direction the train was moving. I ended up hanging out in the café of the train where there were extra seats facing forward.


Minha coleção de Perfumes/Google Images
Minha coleção de Perfumes/Google Images

8. Ask your friends in advance not to wear perfume/cologne or eat anything with strong odors around you on the day of the travel. Tell them they will be thankful. They should consider it fair warning.

9. During a class 10 storm in Antarctica, my roommate was reading a book. Huh? Don’t try to read anything or play with your iphone while in motion. Don’t do anything that will trigger motion sickness, especially if you know you are prone to it. I heard that people with migraines are more prone to motion sickness.

10. If possible, get a cabin with windows, so you can stick your head out and breathe some fresh air if you are feeling sick; or open the car/bus window. For some reason, wind on your face and fresh air lessens motion sickness. This one really helps me.


Barf Bag of Air New Zealand
Barf Bag of Air New Zealand

11. Lastly, if your motion sickness is really bad, I suggest that you carry a plastic bag or a barf bag with you! The experience will be less embarrassing.

Don’t let motion sickness discourage you from exploring the world. We always get over it somehow. Have a safe stable travel!
(If you have any tips to prevent motion sickness, comment below and I can possibly add to the list!)
And for added reading: here is one of my worst experience with motion sickness! My cruise down to Antarctica: “Crossing The Drake Passage During A Storm

Featured image by Patricia Bedard/Flick

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