How to avoid getting sick while traveling

Love to travel, but afraid you may get sick en route? Don’t be. Enjoy the journey with these tips.

Taking the train

  1. Sit face forward. When you’re seated against the direction of travel, you could have motion sickness. Motion sickness is when one part of your balance-sensing system (your inner ear, eyes, and sensory nerves) sense that your body is moving, but the other parts don’t. This can cause you to feel dizzy or nauseous. If all the forward-facing seats are taken, ask someone to swap with you. You can also ask the train conductor for help.
  2. Look ahead. Try to look forward along the length of the train as much as possible. It may also help if you close your eyes and try to move with the motion of the train. Just be careful you don’t miss your stop!
  3. Stay in your seat. Walking through and between the carriages can bring on nausea. Stay seated until you reach your destination.
  4. Open a window. Fresh air can keep sickness at bay. You can also stand by the train doors at station stops for a bit of fresh air.
  5. Tune out. Plug in your headphones and listen to some soothing music. This may help take your mind off getting sick.

If you become nauseous and can’t bear to stay in your seat, get off at the next station and wait for the next train to arrive. Hopefully you’ll feel better by then.

Boarding a bus

  1. Sit right in front, as close to the driver as possible. Engine fumes are the worst at the back of the bus, and may cause nausea.
  2. Watch your gaze. Stay seated face forward, looking out through the front windshield. Follow the route with your eyes, anticipating any bends and bus stops in the road.
  3. Have a mint. When you feel ill, suck on a mint candy or chew a piece of mint gum. Mint naturally soothes the stomach and helps relieve symptoms of nausea.
  4. Air it out. Open a nearby window, if possible. If the bus has air vents, turn it to direct the air onto your face.
  5. Don’t read. Reading may trigger sickness.
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Keep a paper bag handy for when you simply can’t control your nausea and need to vomit.

Flying

  1. Sit near the front. The back of the plane gives the bumpiest ride. Book a seat towards the front. If you couldn’t manage to get a front seat, ask someone to switch or get the airline staff to help.
  2. Drink up. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times, and sip it regularly. Make use of the drinks service. Order cold drinks like ginger ale or tonic water. Ginger can help stop nausea, and tonic water can fight stomach pain, cramps and dizziness. Skip the alcohol and drinks with caffeine as these will just dehydrate you further and make you feel worse.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes. Anything constricting, especially around the throat or waist may make you feel uncomfortable. Go for loose-fitting clothing made from breathable material like cotton.
  4. Rest up. Get enough sleep before and during your flight. Put your head against the headrest and use the footrest to help you settle and relax. Being tired, stressed or anxious can lead to air sickness.
  5. Bring snacks. Airline food isn’t always the best. In case you can’t stand anything the airline serves, bring your own nibbles on board.

If you aren’t feeling well, don’t panic. There should be air waste bags and paper towels on hand for cleaning up. If all else fails, ask the airline staff to help. They are usually obliging and sympathetic.

For more info on why you get motion sickness, see: Why do I get motion sickness?

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