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Ways to Quell Travel Sickness (and How to Avoid It)

Travel Sickness

Despite wanting to visit new places, many of us cannot handle long journeys without feeling mentally and physically drained. This is known as travel sickness and it can strike in two forms—motion and home.

Causes of and Solutions for Motion Sickness

Motion sickness results from a miscommunication between our eyes and vestibular systems. The vestibular system is a network formed in the inner ear that senses motion and balance. When uncoordinated with our visual input, the brain gets confused and produces the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Dizziness,
  • Pale skin and cold sweating.

To mitigate the effects of motion sickness, adopt the following strategies when travelling.

  1. Sit in a place experiencing minimal motion. The middle of an airplane, the lower levels of a boat and the front seat of a vehicle are all favourable areas for individuals sensitive to motion.
  2. Stare at stable things. Keep your eyes on the horizon or on some other far away object. Activities like reading can worsen the effects of motion sickness because the object lies inside the vessel and is also sensitive to motion.​
  3. Open a window or stop for fresh air. Stuffiness can exacerbate the symptoms of motion sickness.​
  4. Relax and distract yourself from the motion. Listening to music and napping can re-coordinate your eyes and vestibular system.​
  5. Wear an acupressure wristband. Many stores now sell anti-nausea bands that press acupressure points on the wrist to subdue the aforesaid symptoms.​
  6. Watch how much you eat or drink. Eating or drinking in excess—especially alcohol—can make you feel ill without motion.

Causes of and Solutions for Home Sickness

Long trips from home can cause feelings of anxiety, depression and general displacement. People adjust differently to new environments and routines, so we’ve identified some ways to transition positively.

  • Shop for souvenirs. Collecting gifts for friends and families back home can remind you of the people you miss and when you will see them next.​
  • Experience the local culture. If you immerse yourself in the locale, you will distract yourself from thoughts of home.​
  • Cut communications and sign offline. Sometimes, keeping touch on vacation can heighten the feelings of home sickness. If you distance yourself, you can work on building personal experiences.​
  • Make friends wherever you go. Being with other people can stop you from feeling isolated.​
  • Exercise often and get outsideExercise can clear your mind and boost your mood. If you find yourself settling into a slump, get outdoors to reinvigorate your mind.