Do you suffer from motion sickness when you go on long road trips?
I used to.
Not the kind that made my parents stop every 10 minutes so I could bare my guts to the entire world (thank goodness), but the kind that left me feeling greener than green until we finally reached our destination.
The good news is that I’ve gotten much better with traveling as I’ve gotten older, especially now that I’m a mom, and I rarely (if ever?) experience motion sickness when we travel. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve grown out of it, I’ve gotten good at preventing it, or because motherhood simply doesn’t leave me much time to think about myself anymore, but since I know so many people (particularly small children) suffer so terribly from the queasies when they travel, I decided to share 10 of my best tips for preventing motion sickness in cars.
1. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
If long car rides make you feel sick, you probably already know the importance of keeping a little bit of food in your system to keep stomach acids to a minimum, and that eating something heavy right before your departure is a recipe for disaster, but did you know that the kind of food you eat can make a difference, too?
Try to avoid foods that can cause bloating, cramps, and/or heartburn, and that leave a strong aftertaste in your mouth (think: garlic and onions), and limit dairy as much as possible as you never know how it’s going to sit in your stomach.
2. WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES
While it’s not always practical to change into your pajamas before a long car ride, try to avoid wearing clothing that is restrictive, especially around the neck, tummy, and abdomen. And if you are known to up-chuck while traveling, make sure to pack a change (or three!) of clothes just in case.
3. SIT IN THE FRONT
I rarely (if ever) sit in the back of a car, but on occasions where sitting in the front isn’t an option, I always make sure to sit in the middle so I can still see out the front of the car. And if I’m in a van or on a big bus, I try to position myself as close to the front as possible.
4. STARE STRAIGHT AHEAD…
…and focus on something OUTSIDE of the car. That means no reading, no movies, no texting on your iPhone, and, at the risk of seeming rude, no turning to talk to the person sitting beside you or behind you.
The less you move your head, the better.
5. STAY COOL
This drives my husband nuts, but whenever we’re on a long car ride and he refuses to let me drive (which always seems to happen, for some reason…), I keep our car at subzero temperatures, particularly when the sun is beating through the windows. I have no idea what it is, but I find the colder I am, the less queasy I feel.
6. GET SOME AIR
My mum got severely car sick when she was a kid, and the ONLY thing that made her feel better was when my grandfather pulled the car over and let her get out to walk around. She’s not sure if it was because she was away from the movement, or in the fresh air, but it worked every single time.
(It must’ve taken them ages to drive anywhere…)
7. PACK THE RIGHT SNACKS
Admittedly, I never spent a lot of time researching foods that are easy on a queasy stomach until I was pregnant with my daughter, but after getting myself through the first 16+ weeks of constant nausea, I’ve learned that lemon drops, peppermints, saltine crackers, water, and anything with ginger in it (preferably ginger snap cookies and ginger ale, but that’s just me…) go a long way in settling an upset tummy.
When I was 12-years-old, my mum and I spent a weekend on one of the thousand islands of Indonesia, and on the boat ride back to Jakarta after our 3-day getaway, the water was really rough. In fact, EVERYONE on the boat felt sick, and after about an hour of all of us trying not to throw up as we stared ahead at the horizon, someone suggested we sing. She’d heard it helped with motion sickness, and we all felt so terrible by that point that we were willing to try anything. And guess what? It TOTALLY worked. I’m not kidding. So crank your favorite tunes and sing along!
9. APPLY PRESSURE
Did you know you can alleviate nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness by applying pressure to the ‘Nei Kuan’ acupressure point that is located 3 finger widths below your wrist on the inside of your arm? It’s true! And thanks to an awesome wrist-band called Sea-Band, you can keep constant pressure on this pressure point to help make your travels more bearable without the side effects of medications. Oh, and they come in 2 sizes – one for children and one for adults!
10. BUST OUT THE MEDS
I personally don’t like taking motion sickness meds because I find they make me drowsy and unable to sleep at the same time, which ends up making me feel worse. But sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, so if you (or your child) are unlucky enough to suffer really badly from motion sickness, talk to your doctor about different medication options. Because traveling shouldn’t be that horrible, you know?