How to Prevent Travel Sickness 

Last update:

Motion Sickness

Travel sickness can ruin your trip. Motion sickness is a condition in which signals from the eyes are misinterpreted by the vestibular system’s sense of movement, affecting the area of the brain known as the vomiting centre. The result: yawning, dizziness, sweating, nausea, headaches and, yes, vomiting. Travel sickness can occur in any means of transport. The symptoms disappear once the feet are back on the mainland. Fortunately, there are plenty of remedies you can try to alleviate the symptoms.

Car sickness

Car sickness isn’t restricted to feeling sick when travelling by car. The symptoms can also appear when you are on a bus or train. Travel sickness can be largely prevented in the following ways:

If you are travelling by car, you should yourself if at all possible. When you’re in the driving seat, you can see approaching bends and hills and will know what movement you can expect.
If driving isn’t an option, try to sit at the front, so that you see the road ahead as much as possible.
Get as much fresh air as much as possible. Open the windows or turn on the air conditioning!
Choose a place on the bus, tram, train or metro that’s in a forward-facing position. If you choose a seat facing backwards or sideways, you’ll be more likely to get travel sickness.

Air sickness

Although this form of motion sickness is less common, it’s also possible to feel poorly during a flight. These tips from experienced pilots can help to reduce your symptoms:

Reserve a spot near the wing, as people here seem to suffer the least from air sickness.
Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours before the flight. Alcohol makes you light-headed, which increases the risk of motion sickness. You should also skip the alcoholic drinks on board.
Do not make quick head movements. Stay calm to spare the organ of balance as much as possible.
Use earplugs while ascending and landing to prevent ear pain. The change in air pressure can make your ears ‘pop’ and then ache. If the monotonous drone of the plane bothers you when flying, you can also use earplugs to block out the annoying sounds.


Seasickness is the most common type of travel sickness, probably because the constant fluctuations of the ocean waves are so easy for the vestibular system to misinterpret. If you want to prevent yourself from being sick at the bottom of the hold, keep the following tips in mind:

If possible, choose a spot on the aft deck, in the middle of the vessel.
Focus on a permanent spot on the horizon and try to concentrate on this.
Do not go on board with an empty stomach. Eat a small light meal before you leave home.

Medications against motion sickness

If the above tips aren’t working for you, then you might want to try a medication designed to prevent or reduce symptoms. Antihistamines will make you less affected by nausea and dizziness. Take the pills before your trip, even if you think it’s unlikely that you will get travel sick. The disadvantage is they can make you sleepy so do not use if you have to drive! There are also plasters with scopolamine available that you stick behind your ear. These patches work for a long time and are ideal for longer journeys. Keep medicine against motion sickness in your hand luggage so you always have it to hand, if you get sick on the way.

Other popular remedies in the UK are Kwells tablets that contain hyoscine hydrobromide believed to act on the balancing systems of the inner ear, and motion sickness wristbands that place a gentle pressure on certain acupuncture points to relieve nausea. Wear a band on each wrist for the maximum effect.


Back to top