I love travelling, I honestly do, but if you ask anyone who has taken a road trip with me, they’ll just laugh and say that I’m terrible at it. It seems like I spend each road trip either breathing heavily with my head back and eyes closed or just plainly asleep like a log. It’s hard to enjoy a trip that way you see. The reason is I have an awful, awful car sickness. I’ve had it since I was little and it hasn’t got better with time. If you aren’t familiar with car sickness (you lucky bastard!) this is a particularly annoying type of motion sickness. It comes with a set of symptoms such as nausea (even vomiting), headache, pale skin, dizziness, fatigue etc. Aren’t those a nice company for a road trip!
What causes car sickness?
Car sickness and motion sickness symptoms occur every time you’re moving on some sort of vehicle – car, boat, train, bus etc. Experts say these adorable sensations are caused by the difference in what our body feels and what our eyes see. For example, when you’re riding in the car, especially when you’re in the back seat, your inner ear, one of the main parts of your vestibular system, tells you you are moving, but your line of sight is blocked by the front seat and your eyes tell you you are in fact standing still. This discrepancy confuses the brain and it unleashes those nasty symptoms.
How to beat it?
Fortunately, there are things you can do to cope with car sickness. There are several medication you can use and if you decide to go with western medicine you should definitely check with your doctor or pharmacist before choosing the best one for you. I used to take pretty heavy medications before travelling, cause I would get really terribly car sick, and as a result I would spent each and every trip asleep. But when I got pregnant and afterwards, when I was still breastfeeding these medications were no longer an option for me. So I turned to alternative medicine.
DIY car sickness remedies and tips
After a bit of research I was so relieved to find out there were things I could do to ease my car sickness symptoms and that I won’t be grounded till I wean off my baby boy. Yeyy! So here’s a few tips and natural DIY car sickness remedies you could use to spare yourself the hell of this motion sickness symptoms.
1. Hydrate (and carbonate)
“Drink your water!” – that’s an advice given so often that we start to ignore it as white noise, right? But the truth is that drinking water, especially if it’s *carbonated* can ease car sickness symptoms really effectively. If you’re wandering how much water is enough, the general rule of thumb is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses each day, and in case you’re traveling, maybe a bit more than usual. The added bonus is that if you really take this to heart you’ll probably need a few extra bathroom breaks so you’ll have the chance to step out of the car or just take a walk if you’re in the train or plain etc.
2. Chew gum
This one is really effective for me. Before each trip I make sure I have a few packets of peppermint gum in my pockets and usually I stuff my mouth full of them 5 minutes in the ride (I’m childish like that sometimes). There’s just something about the chewing that puts my inner ear at peace and really eases my car sickness.
3. Let the fresh air in
Opening the window and letting the cool air from outside brush against my face always makes things better when I’m car sick. So next time you feel nauseous in the car unleash the puppy in you – open the window and let the wind mess up your coat. If you don’t have the chance to open the window, or if you’re on the highway and the speed is too high, direct the air conditioning towards your face – it also helps, although not that much as having some fresh air. If that’s also not an option, you could carry some wet wipes, moisten your face with one and then use a hand fan to induce some airflow towards your face. This will cool you off and will relieve your car sickness symptoms.
4. Use the power of peppermint
Peppermint has been known for centuries as an effective remedy for nausea and stomach problems. You can make a peppermint tea at home and pack it to go – hot or cold, I find it delicious either way; you can chew some peppermint gum, suck on peppermint candies (or candy canes if the season calls for it) or you can use a portable essential oil diffuser and aromatherapy the hell out of that road trip with peppermint essential oil. If this is too much out there for you there are some gorgeous essential oil diffuser pendants out there. This one is my personal favorite – as it looks so stylish and organic, plus it really is all natural, cause it’s made out of lava stone.
5. Turn to acupressure for a quick relief
I’ve used acupuncture before in order to relieve a very disturbing back pain I had and it worked like a charm, honestly, cause I had a very skilled professional perform it on me. But I was even more surprised to learn that I can do some acupressure myself and ease my car sickness. There is an acupressure point called Nei Guan, 3 fingers below your wrist, that if applied pressure on for 5 seconds really does wanders to your nausea. The good people from BioBands made it even easier to use this tip – they created an awesome, easy to position and most importantly effective bracelet, that you just have to put on before the trip to make sure you will feel much less nauseated the entire time. Works great for nausea caused not only by motion sickness, but also due to pregnancy, so it’s definitely one of my must haves.
6. Put salt on your belly button
I know, this one is weeeeeeird! And I have absolutely no scientific data to explain why this helps with relieving car sickness symptoms, but it does for me, so here it is. Before a trip I pour some salt on my belly button and then put a band aid over it to keep it from spilling. I don’t feel it during the trip, it doesn’t cause me any discomfort and, surprisingly, it does keep me from getting nauseated, so I use it. That’s it.
7. Sing your heart out
This tip has also proven to be super effective for me since my childhood years. Whenever we were on a family trip and me or my sister started to get nauseated we would just pick a song and start singing our hearts out – and the whole family would join. It would immediately stop the nausea and plus it made the trip all the more fun. The reason singing helps with the car sickness symptoms is that 1) it provides a distraction, which is always good and 2) I think somehow it puts to peace my inner ear (not sure about that one, though, but who cares anyway, it works!).
Here are a few additional tips, that may make your trip easier:
- If in a car, take the front seat
- Keep your eyes focused on the horizon or on a relatively slow moving object in front of you
- Don’t read or play games on your phone during the trip
- Keep the conversation going
- Listen to music you really enjoy
Hope these natural DIY remedies for car sickness will make your next trip far more enjoyable and will make you less reluctant to plan the next one.
Cause as T.S. Eliot put it
The journey not the arrival matters.
So make the most of it.