Motion sickness, car sickness, seasickness – it all boils down to the same thing: tiredness, headaches, irritability, dizziness, and nausea. Vomiting doesn’t relieve the symptoms. This affliction makes you feel downright miserable and can completely ruin a car excursion or cruise.

Children are more prone to motion sickness than adults. The years between 2 and 12 are the worst. However, many adults suffer as well – often to the point of complete incapacitation.

Motion sickness is caused by confusion between the brain and the middle ear. When the eyes perceive that you are motionless (as below decks in a ship) but the fluid in the middle ear is rocking and churning, the brain reacts with bewilderment.

Fortunately, the symptoms can be partially prevented or alleviated.

1. Proper Diet

Avoid eating excessively salty or fatty foods and dairy products for 24 hours prior to travel. Just before your trip, have a nutritious meal high in complex carbohydrates. Carbs help to absorb excess stomach acid and tend to be easy on the digestive system. Don’t forget to maintain good nutrition before and during travel with a balanced diet and your usual vitamins, if you normally take them.

2. Psychological Preparation

Motion sickness is aggravated by anxiety and stress. Pack some soothing music and a personal MP3 player. Active noise-cancellation headphones help to reduce stress caused by loud sounds. Some people also report excellent results with self-hypnosis audio products.

3. Physical Preparation

If you are tired, stressed, or ill, motion sickness will be more severe. Try to get enough sleep before you travel. Do not put everything off until the last minute. Advance practice on a trampoline, riding in a car, or riding up and down in an elevator seems to help some seasickness-prone individuals.

4. Accupressure Bands

Sold under many names, wristbands that apply pressure to a specific accupressure point may be helpful. They come packaged in pairs – one for each wrist. You can even buy battery-powered models with supplementary electrical stimulation.

5. Forget the Gravol

Conventional nausea medications do not target the root cause of motion sickness. However, a behind-the-ear scopolamine patch often works very effectively. A ‘scop-patch’ must be applied at least 4 hours prior to travel. It is absolutely essential to wash your hands before and after applying. If you forget and touch your eyes, you can quickly develop itchiness, burning, and blurred vision. These patches adhere well and stay on for days. Scuba divers use them on diving liveaboards. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor for more information.

6. Nature’s Answer

Ginger has long been used as a folk remedy for motion sickness. It tastes good – and it probably won’t do any damage – so it’s worth a try. You can purchase sweetened ginger products or gel-caps.

7. Bookworms Beware!

The reading of books, maps, or computer screens will aggravate motion sickness. Forget about catching up on your reading or spreadsheets. Instead, relax and have a conversation with a fellow passenger.

8. Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon

If your eyes send the same message to the brain that it gets from the inner ear, you are less likely to experience nausea. Watch something stationary in the direction of travel whenever possible. If you are in a ship’s cabin, close your eyes and try to nap. The nap will relax you, and the brain will only receive one set of signals. This tends to make the nausea subside as well.

9. Back on Land

Scenario: You have just spent a couple of days onboard ship, and have adjusted quite nicely to the roll of the ocean. You debark for a land tour – and suddenly you are overcome by more nausea. Don’t despair! It is likely your body readjusting to the lack of motion. Unless you have picked up a case of ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’ the nausea will subside.

Knowledge is power. Now that you have a few facts, boldly step out where you haven’t gone before and enjoy your vacation!

┬ęCopyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author’s note below (with active links) are included.

Kathy Steinemann