8 Tips for Surviving Road Trip Motion Sickness

Car Trip Motion Sickness Tips

by guest blogger Andeep Singh, documentarian and television and Web video producer

Summer is ubiquitous with vacations. And none is more iconic than the summer time road trip; piling into the family station wagon, hands flying in the wind, rest stops to unknown locales meeting random, well-intentioned strangers.

Of course, Hollywood is no stranger to this. From Easy Rider to Thelma & Louise, the road trip is as American as Frito pie.

But as much as I want to buy into the romance of it all, the idea of traveling by road makes me sick—like literally stomach-churning sick. For as long as I can remember, road trips and I have not mixed.

Many years ago I saw a terrible film staring Penelope Cruz called Woman on

Top about a woman who suffered from such extreme motion sickness that even during sex, she literally, had to be on top. (A metaphor, if ever there was.) And here’s the rub, I too can deal with long stretches of car travel, if I’m the one driving. But who wants that kind of responsibility when you’re on vacation? Especially on long road trips?

So here are my top 8 suggestions for tolerating motion car sickness (without the drugs):

  1. Get some fresh air. Opening the window, resting my head on the doorframe and letting the wind hit my face has always been a quick fix. The bugs hitting your face and the annoying whir of freeway traffic, not so much. So sometimes I make do with sticking my face directly into the AC vent. It’s super attractive, I know.
  1. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Put away the books and the electronics and keeping your gaze straight ahead is a good way to stave off the churn. Sometimes even blocking out your peripheral vision with your hands can help.
  1. Sit in the front seat. The only way to keep your eyes on the horizon is to get a coveted spot up front. No need to call shotgun anymore. Threaten them with vomit. It wins every time. The back seat is a prime spot for shakes and bumps, so avoid it if at all possible.
  1. Eat ginger anything. Ginger ale and ginger candies are a good way to settle the stomach. I like to believe that ginger cookies also work, but I think that may be a bit of wishful thinking.
  1. Close your eyes. It defeats the purpose of going on a road trip, but closing your eyes and falling asleep is a sure fire way of avoiding the sick and having to drive!
  1. Avoid the empty stomach or too-full stomach. Now here’s a balancing act, if ever there was. Try to avoid traveling on an empty stomach, but also try to avoid eating too much on the road.
  1. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is a time killer, what with all those resulting pit stops, but keeping hydrated is key to avoiding sickness.

And if all else fails:

  1. Grab your “Just in case” kit. This should include:
  • Large Ziploc baggies. Forget plastic grocery bags as the first line of defense, they’re too flimsy and hence unpredictable. Save those for the second layer. The solution: Ziploc bags. They seal, they’re heavy duty and they’re portable Downside: Ziploc bags are clear. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Napkins/tissues. No explanation needed.
  • Water. For the swish and rinse. Yes, I went there.
  • Hand sanitizer. Forget the drug store variety, make your own natural hand sanitizer with witch hazel, aloe and tea tree oil.
  • Gum or mints. Your travel partners will thank you!

AndeepSinghAndeep Singh works at the Rodale Video Network and has produced nonfiction television, film, and digital video content for some of the biggest networks in the country, including ABC, NBC, PBS, CBC, and A&E. She recently completed producing her first feature documentary film, titled Living the Fantasy, which follows the lives of six high-stakes fantasy football players. Originally from the Great White North, Andeep has a serious case of wanderlust, is afflicted with perpetual food envy, and is mildly obsessed with the Vancouver Canucks hockey team.


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