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How to Avoid Getting Carsick

Road Trippin' Blues: Car Sickness

If your July entails squeezing in one last road trip, you might want to read up on motion sickness. It is actually quite common; about one third of the population experiences symptoms in relatively mild circumstances, like being on a boat in calm water. In fact, the word nausea means seasick in Greek. Motion sickness is basically a disagreement between your eyes and your inner ear. The inner ear recognizes motion, but the eyes don't, or vice versa, jumbling the brain, and nausea ensues. It is no fun for any passenger to endure.

For some tips for fending off car sickness,


  • Don't look down: Keeping your focus on the horizon can definitely help keep your eyes and your inner ear in agreement. If you happen to be traveling with little ones, play the "I spy" game to keep them looking up. Watching DVDs will increase the confusion between senses, so don't pull out movies to entertain them. Try a book on tape instead.
  • Breathe some fresh air: Roll down the windows if it is not too hot. The fresh air can be soothing. Heat makes the symptoms worse, so do run the AC if you can.
  • Food and hunger: When road tripping you should avoid spicy and greasy foods. However, hunger can make the symptoms of nausea worse. Keep a mild snack like crackers around to keep the unsettled stomach at bay. Clear sodas and sparkling water can help too.
  • Drive: Take over the wheel if you are prone to motion sickness. When you drive all your senses work together, avoiding the disconnect between your eyes and ears.
  • Ginger: Eating ginger has been shown to reduce symptoms of motion sickness. Take it in capsule form or sip some ginger ale.
  • Get out of the car: Walking on terra firma will certainly quiet the symptoms. Take stops as frequently as you can.
  • Medicine: You can try an over-the-counter medication, like Dramamine, or an alternative medicine treatment like the PSI Band that works the antinausea pressure point.

If you are prone to car sickness, please share how you prevent it in the comment section below. Happy travels!

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
MissSophia MissSophia 8 years
Oh Im the worst traveller ever. I get car sick, air sick, sea sick, train sick (if I sit backwards). Its eased as Ive gotten older but I find meds and food helps.
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 8 years
I dont usually get nausea too bad from riding in a car, but in an airplane OH GOD. I just flew a couple days ago to Los Angeles, and the turbulence was so bad, I almost vomited. I was so embarrassed because I was next to a stranger, so I tried to keep it in. On my way back to Austin, I popped 2 drammamine and felt 100 times better. That stuff really works, and helps you sleep.
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 8 years
AIR, AIR, AIR! I've always gotten car sick way too easily! If I don't have cool air we've got problems! The worst is in the summer time when its like 150 degrees in the car (no exaggeration) and someone else is driving and there isn't any cool. I'm usually fine if I drive though. Then there are boats... good God.... motion sickness times a million. Whenever i go on a boat on the sea, must have dramamine. Airplane, again all about the air!
hildystar hildystar 8 years
Bonine has saved me countless times. It's like Dramamine, but it doesn't seem to have any of the side effects, such as drowsiness, etc. It's also chewable, so I was able to take it as a kid. It also works for 24 hours
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
My husband has really bad motion, planes, buses, trains...and don't even mention the word boat. He takes dramamine and it conks him out for the trip but saves him from the motion sickness. When he gets motion sickness, it often induces anxiety in him, making it that much worse.
Lo-Lo291303 Lo-Lo291303 8 years
I am the world's worst car traveler, and have been since I was a kid. I always have to sit up front, because even 5 minutes in the backseat of a moving vehicle = major nausea for me. I prefer being the driver, but if I'm not, I'll pop a half a Gravol (the Canadian equivalent of Dramamine), and make sure to look towards the horizon for the entire drive.
2muchtv 2muchtv 8 years
Sleep, or pretend to sleep. That always helped me on plane trips to avoid nausea. I second the cold drinks and avoiding greasy foods. Snacking on fruits helps because it gives you sugar for energy and fills your stomach a bit. I didn't know to avoid spicy foods. My family puts chili in EVERYTHING. My parents were never so kind as to make frequent stops. They always made me travel with trash bags instead. I threw up in every car we ever owned until I was 15. Saves on clean-up though =) Driving technique helps. I get sicker with my Dad and sister driving, but not so much my mom (and obviously, never me). It also helps save gas, so that's a bonus for long car rides.
Jabbadoo Jabbadoo 8 years
Ugh. I can't even read billboards if I'm the passenger. If I can't be the driver, I need to be in the front seat, and even then that's sketchy if it's stop and go traffic. Yoga breathing helps.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
I get motion sickness all the time (can't live without my Dramamine). I'd like to point out that ginger ale doesn't actually have any ginger in it (at least most of the brands I've seen). I find what helps is eating peppermints (so my mouth tastes "clean"), cold cold water, toast or even those ginger chews all help a lot. Also, really weird, but eating really salty foods help me feel settled (I've had french fries and felt better, how bizarre).
telane telane 8 years
I get horrible motion sickness when in cars with specific people are driving, but no other times. One of those people is my mother - and I have told her that fact, and she refuses to believe it. Everyone else is afraid to tell her that she is a horrible driver! haha
sandrakay22 sandrakay22 8 years
I get car sick quite easily. Especially in stop and go traffic. And then getting out of the car or getting in the drivers seat doesn't help until after I've had something to eat. (I find it strange that I don't get motion sickness anywhere else though...?) Anyway, Dramamine is the only thing that seems to work for me. And it even allows me to read, which is never possible otherwise.
emily-violet emily-violet 8 years
I have found that reminding myself that I'm in a car and never ever trying to do anything like read or file my nails or anything that takes my focus away from my greater surroundings helps. If I can't drive, I usually get the front seat because my friends don't want me to puke.
Antioxidant Antioxidant 8 years
I wish I had had this guide while I was on my road trip last week. I felt like I was sitting in a shallow wave pools for days after I gotten home. Bleck! But I will save this because I just know it won't be my last roadtrip.
TrnSmleShiftRpt TrnSmleShiftRpt 8 years
The only thing that works for me is Dramamine or a medicine like that. I can actually still get car sick while driving and it is the absolute worst.
JulieJean JulieJean 8 years
I've had motion sickness since I was a little girl. Used to drive my dad nuts when we were on a long road trip because he had to stop pretty frequently. Nothing would help, not fresh air, definetly not reading (makes me sick instantly) or watching the horizon, except feeling the ground under my feet. It's worse in an airplane but thankfully I found Dramamine last year and I can relax and even do crossword puzzles now :)
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