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My travel mate has a big problem when we are traveling together. He gets travel sick very fast. Obviously there are medicament which you can take to avoid it, but aren't there any other ways to avoid getting travel sick?

On a boat I know that it is good to focus on a thing that is not moving like to boat, but on the ocean, where you can only see water, it is kind of difficult. On the train you can try to sit in the direction of motion, but this does not always help. In the car it helps to sit in the front, or drive by yourself, but is also not always possible. In a plane I don't know any useful tip.

So my question is, what are useful tricks and tips to avoid getting travel sick in various vehicles, such as planes, trains, ships, cars, coaches or even elephants or camels.

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See – Kate Gregory Aug 29 '11 at 13:59
Yes that gives some hints, but I´m also interested in avoiding nausea in other vehicles, and especially simple techniques and no medicaments to avoid it. – RoflcoptrException Aug 29 '11 at 17:35
Just curious, what do you have against the medicines? They do work really well. – AtlasRN Aug 30 '11 at 1:38
Has your friend tried sleeping while traveling? – AtlasRN Aug 30 '11 at 1:42
@AtlasRN Yes, but it is difficult to sleep if you have nausea. It is necessary to take a lot of medicines, if there would be simple techniques to avoid using medicines, it would be great. – RoflcoptrException Aug 30 '11 at 7:16
up vote 14 down vote accepted

Motion sickness comes about as a result of a disconnect between movement which you think you're seeing and the movement your body feels. Eg on a plane it looks like you're still, but your body can feel bumps and jumps. Or in a car when you're reading, the page stays still or maybe moves up and down with bumps, but you're going around corners and the like.

According to Wiki, over-the-counter and prescription medications are readily available, such as Dramamine (dimenhydrinate), Stugeron (cinnarizine), and Bonine/Antivert (meclozine). Scopolamine is effective and is sometimes used in the form of transdermal patches (1.5 mg) or as a newer tablet form (0.4 mg). The selection of a transdermal patch or scopolamine tablet is determined by a doctor after consideration of the patient's age, weight, and length of treatment time required.

Ginger root is a natural alternative you can try as well.

But funnily, one of the simplest solutions is to close your eyes. It's counterintuitive (to me at least) but by doing so you remove any conflict in perceived movement between your eyes and body, and your brain switches to just listening to felt movement. As a result, the confusion ceases and your body starts to recover.

Hope that helps!

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+1 Thanks, very elaborate answer. – RoflcoptrException Aug 30 '11 at 13:12
Mark, I tried to edit the spelling of Meclizine. It wouldn't let me. If you wouldn't mind fixing that. Thanks! – AtlasRN Aug 30 '11 at 13:59
It's the correct spelling: (Meclizine is acceptable too) – Mark Mayo Aug 30 '11 at 14:06
+1 Closing my eyes is the most efficient way I found to avoid motion sickness on planes. – mouviciel Sep 2 '11 at 13:41
My experience was exactly the opposite: watching the horizon was the best prevention and the best cure. I guess if you are in a vehicle where you cannot see the outside (steerage? a cargo plane? the trunk of a car?), then closing your eyes is the next best way to relieve the conflict. – Malvolio Sep 13 '11 at 1:00

Since anti-nausea medicine (anti-emetic) isn't too common on the road, if you are traveling and in the need of drugs because of motion sickness, a large dose of antihistamine (e.g. Benadryl) can help with symptoms.

If you are trying to avoid drugs all together, some remedies that have worked for me are:

  1. Eat something. It's counter-intuitive when you feel like vomiting, but having a fuller stomach eases the nausea. Salty snacks that are light on oil seem to work particularly well.
  2. Ginger ale, the more ginger content the better.
  3. Carbonated drinks, preferably sugar-free. The bubbles can induce burping, which alleviates some of the nausea.
  4. Sit where there is the least amount of motion in whatever vehicle you are on. In road vehicles, that is generally in the front; on planes, over the wings; on boats, near the bow; etc.
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On old buses in underdeveloped countries I always aim to sit mid-way between the front and rear axles. – hippietrail Nov 22 '11 at 11:16

I got sick sometimes in mini-buses going very fast on windy mountain roads. It helped switching into the front seat next to the driver and watching the road ahead rather then looking out through the side window. I think I never got sick in the front seat.

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Yes that's a good hint but unfortunately there is only 1 front seat ;) – RoflcoptrException Nov 21 '11 at 12:31
And sometimes the view in the front seat can invoke worse fear than the lack of view invokes motion sickness. In chicken buses in Mexico and Central America I learned to prefer a spot halfway between the front and rear axles. More balanced bumpiness and more blissful ignorance of what the driver was doing. – hippietrail Nov 21 '11 at 14:29
1 front seat? In many countries there are usually two if not three people in the front plus the driver. – Peter Hahndorf Nov 21 '11 at 15:55

I used to have a major problem with motion sickness when I was a kid and I almost always ended throwing up when travelling by car (strangely, never on a plane or trains though). Often took medicines to combat motion sickness, eventually grew out of it. Mark's answer has summed up the causes which lead to motion sickness so I won't repeat them. Since you asked for a solution other than medicines, here's what helped me (your mileage may vary):

  • I felt suffocated every time I sat inside a car; keeping a window cracked open helped.
  • Not eating meals right before travelling, if I could.
  • Mints (not gum or chewy mints though). When I used to get motion sickness, I would get a vile taste in my mouth which often led to vomitting. Mints helped, for some reason.
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