Travel Sickness


Overview of Travel Sickness

Motion sickness which is also referred to as travel sickness is a very common disturbance of your inner ear. It is caused due to repetitive motion from a vehicle or by any other movements that are disturbing your inner ear.

The common symptoms experienced by many people are nausea and vomiting when they are riding in an aeroplane, automobile, or are in an amusement park. Few others even experience the same kind of sickness when riding a boat or a ship, and this type of a disorder is commonly referred to as seasickness.

Causes of Motion Sickness

Any motion that passes through your body is sensed by your brain through different pathways of the nervous system which includes your inner ear, eyes, and the tissues of the body surface.

For example, when you are walking, the input from all of the pathways are coordinated by your brain. The symptoms of motion sickness appear when your central nervous system starts receiving conflicting messages from sensory systems such as your inner ear, eyes, skin, muscle, and joint sensory receptors.

To explain in precise, if you are sitting on a boat or in a car, and not looking out of the window, your inner ears sense some sort of movement up and down, left and right, but your eyes at a static position, not moving at all. You feel as if you are hypnotized because of the conflict of the inputs which is responsible for motion sickness.

Who might get motion sickness?

According to research, an estimated 1 in every 3 people get motion sickness at some point or the other. Women and children aged between two to twelve years are at risk. Still, the condition can affect anyone, who has:

  • Any family history of motion sickness.
  • Inner ear disorders.
  • Hormonal birth control.
  • Migraines.
  • Menstrual periods.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms of Motion/Travel Sickness 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Short breath
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Increased saliva
  • Pale skin
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Gulping for fresh air

Other common signs are:

  • Sweating
  • The general feeling of discomfort
  • Having mild symptoms such as yawning, headache, and uneasiness.

How is Travel Sickness Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you to describe your symptoms and based on the symptoms, your healthcare provider shall perform a physical examination of your ears and eyes.

Remedies to Treat Travel Sickness!

The motion sickness symptoms stop when the motion causing it ceases. There are a few people who suffer symptoms even after a few days after the trip is over. The following remedies can help manage your motion sickness:

  • Keeping your eyes closed and taking a nap – When you are travelling in a car in the night or on a ship without windows, the best remedy to help relieve motion sickness is by simply closing your eyes. This way the input conflict between your eyes and the inner ear can be resolved.
  • Gazing towards the horizon – When in a moving vehicle, simply looking out of the window and gazing towards the horizon in the direction of travel, can help reorient the inner sense of balance of motion.
  • Fresh air – Breathing in fresh cool air can help relieve motion sickness slightly. It is better if you can avoid foul odours, as it can worsen nausea.
  • Chewing gum – If you want to relieve yourself immediately from mild sickness, then chewing is the best option. Chewing gum has unreal effectiveness that can reduce motion sickness when affected. However, chewing gum is not the only thing that is effective in reducing your motion sickness, but just chewing in general terms also reduces the adverse effects of the conflict between your vision and balance.
  • Ginger – Ginger is an effective remedy in reducing motion sickness. You can either consume it raw or in the form of a tablet, to help yourself relieve symptoms.
  • Acupressure – Some points used in acupuncture helps stimulate the healing sites with finger pressure, rather than inserting fine needles on the pressure points. Some studies suggest that acupressure helps relieve motion sickness symptoms.

Preventive Measures to Help Relieve from Travel Sickness

Here are some important preventive tips that can help you relieve from travel/motion sickness:

  • Always sit in a position where your eyes can maintain the same motion that your body and inner ear can feel.
  • If you are sitting in a car, then sit in the front seat and look at the distant scenery.
  • If you are travelling in a boat, then go up on the deck and watch the motion of the horizon.
  • If you are in an aeroplane, then sit by the window and look outside. While you are inside a plane, choose a seat that is over the wings where the motion is minimized.
  • It is advisable not to read while travelling or do not sit in a seat that is facing backwards. It might enhance your motion sickness feeling.
  • This may sound funny! Do not talk to another traveller or a co-passenger who is having travel sickness.
  • Avoid eating strong or spicy foods immediately before or during your travel.
  • Recline, while travelling, if possible and close your eyes. 

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If your travel sickness is severe, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication. Your doctor may prescribe you with:

  • Antiemetics
  • Doxylamine
  • Vitamin B6 supplements


Drop a message and tell us how you are managing your travel sickness!