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The Best Tips To Avoid Motion Sickness

Does motion or travel sickness keep you from enjoying road trips over mountains, boat excursions, and maybe even cruises? Andie here, and I can totally relate. I used to be so nervous to get on a boat, because I was convinced I would be spending the entire time with my head in a bag. The typical advice just didn’t work for me: stare at the horizon, sit in the front of the vehicle, stay hydrated. I tried them all, and I would still be miserable. 

If you’ve seen our vlogs from Alaska or the Galapagos, you’re thinking to yourself that I’m either lying or I must have found a way to conquer it. Neither is true! I am being completely honest when I tell you that I still feel (more than) occasional motion sickness. I’ve just found a way to manage it, to the point where it rarely stops me. These are the best tips – and 3 products I won’t leave home without – to avoid motion sickness and get out there and enjoy travel to the fullest!

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Prepare Your Body

Hydration is key. Honestly,  I don’t know why. NOAA, the CDC, and a number of other sites far more scientific than this one advise hydration, without really explaining the reason why it helps. But it’s always a good policy to stay hydrated, so start drinking that water with electrolytes before you even begin your journey. I’ve found that hydration alone doesn’t really help prevent travel sickness, though, so read on for what else does.

Eat some food. You might be inclined to avoid food before going on that whale watch. After all, if no food goes in, there’s nothing to come out if your stomach turns, right? I used to think so, too, but that never really seemed to help. Turns out that eating a normal meal before your trip can help you avoid feeling sick in the first place. And then if you eat frequent small snacks throughout the excursion, you’re even less likely to feel nauseated. Just avoid fried, highly fatty, and spicy foods.

Drink. Some people may be surprised that I would recommend this step, but I’m just being real with you. IF you are of age and can healthfully enjoy an alcoholic beverage, it might be the solution for you. It was recommended to me by a fellow traveler before I went on a cruise, and although I don’t usually drink much myself, I did find that when I indulged in a fun cocktail, I had zero travel sickness symptoms. Coincidence? Maybe. But I tested it a couple of different times when the water got choppy, and the results were consistent. You don’t need to overdo it (nor should you) – just one drink should be enough to take the edge off. 

a man looks out over the water from inside a small tour boat in St. Thomas.

Be A Quitter

There’s no shame in sitting it out. Every once in a while, despite preparing for a trip, I just end up feeling awful. The best thing I can do when that happens is to trust my body and just give myself a break:

Get some fresh air. If you’re on a boat and can safely step outside, a light breeze and cool air can really help. In a vehicle with windows? Crack one or two and get that air circulation going. If that does’t work…

Stop. If you’re in a car and can easily and safely pull over, or take a small detour to a parking space, stop and take some time. There’s no need to suffer through a drive just to be tough. Walk around, stretch your legs, get some deep breaths in, and wait for your stomach to settle before continuing on. Then move to the next step.

Take the wheel. I find I’m far less likely to feel ill if I’m the one in the driver’s seat, so I’ll often drive the more winding or hilly legs of our trips, and then I let Stephen drive the smoother, straighter runs.

Lay down. If stopping and/or driving yourself aren’t options, try laying down and closing your eyes. I”ve been told more times than I can count that fixing my eyes on the horizon should help ease the nausea. It doesn’t work for me. But laying down, or even just slouching low in my seat and closing my eyes, works tremendously. It’s not the way you dream of spending your boat ride to that fabulous snorkel spot, but at least you can keep your stomach settled enough to enjoy the water activities when you get there. 

3 Products I Swear By To Avoid Or Relieve Motion Sickness

In addition to making sure that I’m fed and hydrated before going out, I keep these 3 items handy. I’m happy to report that I rarely even feel more than a twinge of nausea most of the time, and if it does pop up, product #3 usually nips it in the bud! Let us know in the comments if these work well for you:


a package of Bonine medicine for motion sickness

Of the over-the-counter options, I prefer Bonine because it doesn’t make me feel drowsy. I take 1 tab about an hour before a road or boat trip, and I’m usually in great shape for the rest of the day! *It should go without saying, but please consult a doctor before taking any medication. 

Acupressure Wristbands

package of Sea-Band Anti Nausea Wristbands and a graphic explaining how they work.

I wear these as added peace of mind on boats, where I tend to be most sensitive. Honestly, I can’t say if acupressure wristbands work for real or because I think they do. I haven’t tested them, because I’m afraid to skip wearing them and discover that I truly needed them. But given that they are drug-free, easy, and only cost a few bucks, I’m happy to include donning them in my pre-sail prep. 

Ginger Candies

My favorite is Gin Gins, because they taste delicious, come in small, easy to carry, individually wrapped packets, and – most importantly – they contain real, fresh ginger. Sometimes I’ll chew on one preemptively, just cuz they’re good and it can’t hurt. But if at any moment I start to feel queasy, eating one of these candies helps settle me within minutes. If I had to limit myself to a single one of these tips and products, this would be the one.  

My secret: I’m also a sucker for a company with a strong social commitment or mission.

Are You Ready To Go?

Feeling confident to try that cruise or road trip now? I sure hope so. Here’s some inspo for your upcoming travels:


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