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It’s taken a while, but after years and years, I’ve learned the very best ways to prevent motion sickness during travel.
See, as much as I love to travel, I hate to actually travel. The worst part isn’t the potential for delays, long lines, or cranky passengers. Nope. More than anything else, I hate flying because I am soooooo prone to motion sickness.
It’s one of the worst feelings EVER, and can have the potential to ruin a travel day entirely!
Since travel is a big part of my life, I’ve tried countless things to prevent motion sickness – bracelets, eating, not eating, ginger ale, dramamine….you name it, I’ve tried it. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a few things that definitely work.
How to Prevent Motion Sickness
1. Eat something
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but eating something a couple of hours before I fly really helps to settle my stomach. I used to think that the less that was in my stomach, the better I’d feel – but that’s definitely not true! So even on those horrific 6am flights, I try to at least eat a protein bar on the way to the airport.
2. Check for essentials
This might go without saying, but when you get to your seat, double check that there’s an airsick bag in your seat pocket! There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re about to lose your lunch and then realizing that it has nowhere to go but your lap.
Also – make sure you have water and gum! Just in case the worst happens.
3. Stay cool
A very kind flight attendant taught me years ago that the worst part of feeling nauseous is the hot flash that you experience. I never even realized this was true until she put an ice-cold towel on the back of my neck, and cranked up my air vent to full blast. I immediately felt SO MUCH better. How had I been missing this?
These days, I use this tip proactively, and make sure that my air vent up above is set to HIGH for the entire flight. I might be freezing, but at least I’m not puking.
I also dress in layers, so that I can add or remove pieces according to the temperature on the plane. My lightest layer is almost always a camisole or t-shirt, so that I know I can, um, strip down if I need to.
4. Listen to music
I’m not sure if there is any connection to the inner ear here, but listening to music is like my LIFELINE when I fly. It really helps me focus on something else, and avoid feeling queasy.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve survived landings (the worst part for me) by totally rocking out to Jay Z.
5. Sit in a window seat
I’m sure you’ve heard that a big part of motion sickness happens when your brain can’t visually connect what you’re seeing with the motion that your inner ear is sensing.
Having a window seat really helps! In fact, I’m flat-out obsessed with having a window seat. Honestly, I’d rather be camped out in the last row by the bathroom in a window seat than in a first-class aisle seat.
6. Prescription Medicine
Worst case scenario – drug thyself.
My motion sickness is so severe that Dramamine does nothing for me, but there is a medicine called scopolamine that is a lifesaver.
It’s only available (as far as I know) with a prescription, so you’ll have to check with your doctor if you think it might be helpful, but I swear by it! You wear it as a patch behind your ear, and I’ve found that it works best if you put it on the night before. That stuff takes time to seep into your system.
Prevent Motion Sickness After a Flight
One more tip after you’ve successfully survived your flight.
Remember that airsick bag? Once you land, shove it in your purse. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone from plane to crazy cab ride, only to have the car ride re-activate the feeling of being sick to my stomach. Bad things can happen. Better to be prepared.
For more travel tips, check out my posts on getting over jet lag, and five ways to immerse yourself in a new culture! And if you’re worried about flying in general, these tips for first time flyers with anxiety will help give you peace of mind!
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