Motion sickness gets the best of us sometimes. Often called 'car sickness' for those who experience it while in a moving vehicle, it might seem like it's unavoidable. The feelings of nausea, queasiness, wooziness, dizziness, and being unsteady on one's feet are more than uncomfortable - they can also potentially ruin a trip. The good news is this: there are ways to deal with and even prevent, this sick feeling.

For some, simply knowing the cause behind the feelings of motion sickness is enough. For others, simple changes in the car might be enough, while others might require more significant measures in order to keep their discomfort at bay. No matter which camp one finds themselves in, rest assured that these tips will be helpful, even slightly, in alleviating some of the symptoms that occur when that car starts lurching forward.


Know What Causes Motion Sickness While Traveling By Car

It's very easy to feel motion sick while one is in a moving car, and it's also not unusual for this feeling to ebb and flow depending on the road, vehicle type, and where one might be sitting. Sometimes, it's winding mountains roads that do it while other times, it's the act of sitting in the backseat, which can often exacerbate and worsen the feeling of conflicting motion. When our visual intake does not match the motion that our inner ear - vestibular system - senses, these feelings of dizzying nausea often arise.

The key is to know what causes these feelings, and from there, travelers can focus on a potential treatment for it.

If The Road Is The Problem...

If a person feels woozy on winding roads or at higher elevations but is completely fine on a flat, sea-level road, then chances are, the problem is the motion of the road itself. A good way to counteract this is to have the person feeling sick actually be the driver. This way, their gaze is constantly on the road and horizon line ahead, and there's less of a chance of them feeling like they don't know where to focus their gaze.

Additionally, if this woozy feeling arises when one is sitting in the backseat, then chances are, it's the position one is sitting in within the car itself. In this case, simply switching seats and moving to the passenger's seat is a fast fix to the problem. Sitting in the backseat can become disorienting because there's no direct line of sight to the horizon, and one is often looking out of the side window rather than forward, which is the same direction the car is going. This can be worse in smaller cars, where the windows are smaller and there's not as much space to look ahead.

If Reading Or Staring At One's Phone Is The Problem...

This, at least, is an easy fix! Staring at one's phone, especially with the constant scrolling motion that many of us are used to, can definitely make car sickness worse. Additionally, reading in the car can make things worse because our eyes are actively moving from side to side, while our bodies are moving forward, thus interrupting our equilibrium. The easy answer? Put the phone down.

In the event that a phone is needed for a GPS system, the best thing to do is to invest in a phone holder that clips onto an air vent or can stick to the dashboard. This way, it's not only hands-free but also easy to glance at without aggravating one's sense of motion even further.

Related: Kick Motion Sickness To The Curb When Flying With These Tips

If The Problem Isn't Either Of Those Things And Relief Still Has Yet To Be Found...

It could happen that relief isn't as easy as swapping seats or not staring at one's phone. Occasionally, car sickness can manifest as more severe in some than in others. In this case, there are some things one can try in order to alleviate symptoms before or after they start:

  • Roll down the window. Sometimes, fresh air is the key to feeling better simply because it alleviates the stuffy feeling of being trapped inside a vehicle. It's also a good distraction and can tap into one's sense of smell to distract them from their feelings of nausea.
  • Eat light snacks and drink water. Being dehydrated won't help in the slightest, and neither will having an empty stomach. It might feel counterintuitive but having something small in one's stomach can prevent queasiness due to having an empty stomach, on top of feeling motion sick.
  • Eat or drink some ginger. Ginger ale is a great way to get some ginger - which has been proven to aid in digestion and alleviate nausea - into one's system. Additionally, things such as ginger chews or ginger pills are a quick way to absolve any stomachaches.
  • Use essential oils. Peppermint, eucalyptus, or even lavender can have calming effects. Aromatherapy works for some and not for others, but roll-on sticks are the best, direct way to determine if it'll work at all.
  • Try pressure point bands. Wrist bands by brands such as Sea-Bands utilize a pressure point on the wrist to alleviate symptoms of motion sickness. Additionally, travelers can find patches that go on the stomach or behind the ear designed to alleviate sensations of motion sickness.
  • If all else fails, OTC medicines. Dramamine is one of the most popular OTC medicines created to help with motion sickness. However, it should be noted that this will cause symptoms of drowsiness and should not be taken by anyone driving or operating a vehicle.

Car sickness is unpleasant, but it can be helped. No one should need to miss out on the road trip of a lifetime because they can't stomach the drive, and these tips might just change that for the better.