How I Manage To Travel Despite Suffering Travel Sickness
The Professional Traveller • Jul 27, 2020
Tips from a Lifelong Travel Sickness Sufferer
I get travel sick, which might seem odd given I have spent 30 years of my life getting paid to travel. Infact I get the full house when it comes to travel sickness – car sick, coach sick, sea sick and I really don’t like flying. The only modes of transport that don’t make me feel sick are walking and train travel.
If you haven’t experienced travel sickness it really is an awful feeling. I have had it since I was a child, infact at one point it seemed like all our family had it, even our dogs were sick but that was probably down to a Rover with a very soft suspension – even the sight of one now brings on a feeling of nausea.
I won’t dwell on flying here because I have already written about how I got over my fear of flying.
For now I will concentrate on what helps me with my other forms of travel sickness.
Driving is usually one of the main ways that I avoid being car sick. However, if I do have to be a passenger for any reason then sitting in the front helps. I can’t look at maps or anything when I am travelling as a passenger so instead I focus on the view. Temperature can also play a major part in whether I am feeling sick or not and being cooler is preferable to being too hot.
I have had some very rough experiences on boats and sea sickness is the worst of them all. I try and avoid boats where possible. However, if I can’t I find that being outside often helps, particularly if it is cold. Also being in the centre of the boat can help as this is where it seems to be more stable. Again I would use ginger tablets and travel bands for this but also music playing in headphones seems to help for me for sea sickness.
I was once told by someone working in the truckers cafe on an Irish ferry that the best way to stop sick coming up was to keep eating and things going down, I can advise that wasn’t particularly helpful.
Once I also tried sitting in a swivel chair and that really wasn’t a good idea either.
Laying down seems to be the only thing to make it more bearable when things get bumpy but that isn’t always possible – particularly on a smaller boat!
- I spend a great deal of time on coaches, usually sat on a very uncomfortable seat in the front (called the jump seat) and with a microphone in my hand. Sometimes I do have to sit elsewhere, for example when on a study trip or similar. I have found that the following seats on a coach help to reduce sickness;
- Sitting ahead of the front axles – towards the front of the coach
- If there is a middle door then the seat right behind the middle door on the same side as the door. This generally means there is more window and room infront but beware because sometimes these seats have a bit less legroom. This seat only works for me if there is no toilet on the coach or it is not being used, otherwise there can be a bit of a toilet smell.
- The middle seat in the very back row because it has a view right down the centre of the coach.
- If I know I am going to be travelling on twisty roads on a coach then I will generally have some ginger sweets with me, and/or drink some ginger tea. This seems to help reduce feelings of sickness. There is a brand of ginger sweets called Gin Gins – they are great but beware some of them are so strong they can be overpowering.
I have used travel bands on occasion. These are little elastic bands with a small button which goes on a pulse point on your wrist. They seem to help but only if the sickness is quite mild.
Temperature is also another factor that I find affects sickness on a coach. Sitting at the front of the coach right by the big front window can, on hot and sunny days, be like sitting in a greenhouse. Some of the coaches have lots of air conditioning for passengers but not very much for the driver and guide so I often take a little rechargeable fan with me. I use one that has a USB cable and this means I can plug it into the coach. This seems to really help minimise sickness.
Travel Sickness FAQs
How do you stop travel sickness?
In my lifetime of travelling I have never been able to stop travel sickness, just minimise the effects. It seems that you either suffer from it or you don’t – unfair as that is.
Travel Sickness Tablets
I have never had success with travel sickness tablets and many of my guests have had issues with them too. The problem seems to be that if the travel sickness isn’t too bad the tablets can make you feel worse than the travel sickness does. This is a problem I have experienced and I have lost count of the number of travellers who have felt dizzy and disorientated as a result of taking travel sickness tablets. As such I never take them with me when I travel, preferring other approaches as detailed above instead.
Travel Sickness Bands
I have used these and I’m not sure whether they really help or that I just believe they help. Either way given they are about £3 for 2 pairs they are probably worth trying. They are little bands that sit around your wrist. There is a little button on one side which you line up with a pressure point on your wrist and that helps allieviate sickness. I see quite a lot of coach holiday guests using these and reporting they help.
Travel Sickness Tablets
I haven’t had any success with travel tablets and most of the travellers I meet who experience travel sickness report issues too. The tablets themselves can cause nausea or drowsiness – neither of which is ideal when travelling.
However, I have had success with ginger capsules. These can sometimes give longer lasting relief than just using ginger sweets and I have used these when I’ve had to take boat trips for example and they have worked really well.
Another Ginger Sweet Option!
Rechargeable USB Fan
This is the folding fan I have. It is very small but very powerful. I have worked on a number of coaches with no fan for the Tour Manager so stick this on the dash and it keeps me nice and cool.
This Looks Great
Really like the idea of a fan around my neck. My nephew uses this as he feels the heat so I am going to do likewise.