Direct Line magazine

Top tips to tackle travel sickness

Updated on: 30 March 2020

A passenger on a plane breathes into a paper bag.

There’s nothing worse than feeling green around the gills when taking to the open seas. Every wave can leave you reaching for a bucket. But it’s not just boats; winding journeys in cars and buses can also make even the most well-travelled passengers feel rough.

Travel sickness, or motion sickness as it is more accurately called, can strike on any mode of transport at any time. But what can you do to cure it?

Prepare your body

Stay off the booze! Don't set off on a trip with a hangover and little sleep – you’ll only increase your chances of becoming travel sick.

Prevention is better than cure

Most travel sickness medicines are mainly preventative, so don't store them away until you start feeling dodgy - it may be too late by then. Take a look at the packaging and follow the instructions.

Nature's helping hand

There are some fancy herbal remedies available that claim to counteract and even cure travel sickness. One mainstay of frequent travellers is spice ginger. Note that this doesn't mean a pile of gingersnaps washed down with a mug of milky tea! Ginger capsules are the way to go here.

Fishwives' tales sometimes ring true

It may sound unlikely, but sitting in the front of a car rather than the back can alleviate car sickness in some people. Some car sickness sufferers also report that driving the car can help — although don't try this if you're already feeling unwell.

Choose your seat

Not all seats are equal for people who suffer from motion sickness. On planes, seats over the wing tend have the least movement. On boats, sitting mid-ship is the best way to feel less of that rocking sensation.

Ditch the distractions

Many sufferers report that reading can trigger travel sickness, especially on the road. So, if you're the navigator, put away the map and rely on satnav. Tablets and laptops can have a similar effect, so be wary of this, especially with younger ones who will have a lower motion sickness tolerance.

Broaden your horizons

On a boat, rather than sit in a stuffy cabin, head up on deck if it's safe to do so, and grab some fresh air and look out to sea. Scanning the stable line of the horizon can help ease some of the balance problems thought to contribute to travel sickness, but avoid being distracted by moving objects.

Eat wisely on the road

If in doubt about your tummy it can be unwise to munch when travelling. If you do eat, steer away from fatty, oily food, dairy products and anything too acidic. A light meal will prove to be a much better idea than eating something heavy and then have it return to haunt you.

So there you have it, our top tips for the queasy traveller. And remember, if all else fails, make sure you carry around a pack of mints in your pocket — you know, just in case.

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