Travel sickness is a health problem that can have an impact on lives all year round, but as many of us prepare to head off on our late summer holidays, the thought of travelling by car, plane, coach or train may already be making some people feel queasy!
Wherever you’re going, our tips for treating travel sickness should help your journey to pass a little more smoothly. Here are our five top tips for keeping travel sickness at a distance.
Don’t look down
Travel sickness, also known as motion sickness, is caused by a disconnection between what your eyes see, what the balance mechanism in your ears senses, and the way your brain processes the information.
Unable to connect the conflicting information, your brain gets confused and what comes next are the familiar symptoms of travel sickness: dizziness, nausea and even vomiting.
If you’re feeling unwell, looking at a fixed object can help your brain register your pattern of movement more accurately. So, instead of looking down, try looking at the horizon and giving yourself time to adjust. If this doesn’t work, try and stay calm, close your eyes and relax as much as you can.
Plan suitable snacks
If you or a member of your family has a tendency to suffer from travel sickness it helps to factor this in when planning activities and travel.
Drinking alcohol and eating large, rich or heavy foods could exacerbate the problem. If possible, avoid eating bigger meals before travelling. Eating smaller snacks throughout the day could help - try packing a few ginger biscuits to take with you on journeys, as many people find that ginger has a calming effect on their digestive system, and the sugar in the snacks can help restore energy if one of your party is unlucky enough to be sick.
If someone does vomit, it’s important to stay hydrated so ensure you have plenty of water.
Distract yourself from the symptoms
While playing on electronic tablets, phones or reading is likely to make motion sickness worse, distracting yourself from your symptoms is a good idea.
Open a window to get some fresh air, try listening to music and keep still. Use a pillow or headrest to help you get into a comfortable position if you need to and hopefully you’ll focus less on your symptoms.
Volunteer to drive
This tip might not work so well if you’re travelling by air or sea, but could help you plan better for car journeys! You may find you feel perfectly fine when driving in your own car, but are prone to sickness when you are a passenger in others.
This is in part because our bodies can respond differently in other vehicles, and also because being in control of the vehicle can help you to feel more relaxed or to adjust to the movement quicker. This means if you’re planning to travel by car and are prone to travel sickness, you may want to volunteer to be the driver.
Pack travel sickness treatments
Travel sickness tends to strike children aged between two and 12 in particular, with many individuals growing out of the problem once they reach their teenage years. However, it’s quite common among adults too and if you’re worried about travel sickness ruining a trip or holiday for you, you can take a proactive approach to travel sickness treatment.
Over-the-counter travel sickness tablets such as Kwells are designed to take before you travel, as they work by blocking messages to the stomach that trigger the vomiting reflex. This means they are more effective before the signal reaches the stomach and your symptoms of sickness or nausea appear. Even better, they can start to work in around 15 minutes.
Kwells can make some people feel drowsy, so you should not take them if you are planning to drive, but this side effect does not impact everyone. Antihistamines taken the night before travel can also help to ease the symptoms of motion sickness.
Take a look at our travel sickness treatments range to see our full selection of over-the-counter medicines for adults, as well as travel sickness tablets for children such as Kwells Kids. You’ll also find additional helpful information and tips about motion sickness in our Advice Centre.