Traveling Tips for the Motion-Sick Traveler

Brittany Chen
September 2, 2018

A little background about me: generally, I get airsick on the landing of airplanes (yes, I’ve tried chewing gum, blowing my nose, drinking water – no, it did not work), seasick in certain conditions (usually when a boat is really turbulent), and motion sick in conditions where elevation changes (i.e. winding mountain roads) or I’m not facing the direction of motion/motion doesn’t correspond with what I’m seeing (ex. 4D rides, movies, even just staring at my phone for too long and not looking up while I’m on a car). The above conditions are worse when I smell/eat/walk by food while I have symptoms of motion sickness.

I’m writing this post after having gotten airsick on the airplane to France, lightly motion sick on a boat and a bus, and motion sick on the TGV. Below are some of my tips accumulated from previous experience with airsickness, seasickness, or other motion sickness, as well as my experiences thus far in France.

  • Try to get a seat in the direction of motion or closer to the front. This can help immensely to prevent motion-sickness!
  • Take necessary precautions and medication! I know from experience that I get motion sick, especially on the landing of planes, so I packed in my carry-on an easily accessible container of Dramamine. I also wasn’t sure if I would be able to find my preferred brand/type of motion-sickness medication in France, so to avoid any issues, I just brought it with me.
    • BONUS: In addition, I know the specific circumstance when I get airsick, so I try to time when I take my medication so it’s more effective right before the landing. Also, whenever I board a plane, I always check in front of me if there’s a hygiene bag for the worst-case scenario. Additionally, I try to pack a small disposable plastic bag with me in case I’m unsure if I’ll be motion sick or not.
  • Forgive and take care of yourself. This may mean taking extra time to rest and get reoriented when you’re back on the ground or spacing out your travel. Unfortunately, it may also mean spending extra money and taking a taxi/Uber (if possible), especially if you don’t have the physical energy to figure out public transportation in a new place/language. Therefore, it is useful to keep your schedule (and/or budget) a little more flexible to accommodate for your well-being and comfort. Ultimately, try to plan ahead and take the necessary precautions, but also allow plenty of time just in case the worst happens.
  • Do what you gotta do. Not so glamorous, but sometimes at the end of the day, I just feel better after throwing up. ¯\_()_/¯
    • ADDITIONAL BONUS: Use your experience to better plan for future incidents! This is definitely not an immediate tip, but at the end of the day, the experience will better inform you of the conditions that you are motion sick and how to better take care of yourself next time.

Best of luck, and safe, comfortable travels!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Brittany Chen

<p>Brittany Chen is a Cognitive Science major and French minor at Pomona College. She enjoys singing in choir, eating dessert, playing board games and card games with friends, learning about linguistics, and making/appreciating puns. She hopes to work in education or become the voice of public transit or commercials in the future.</p>

Home University:
Pomona College
Irvine, CA
Cognitive Science
French Language
Explore Blogs