Preventing and Curing Travel Sickness

motion sickness

Knowing you’ve got a long journey ahead of you can be a terrifying thought when either you or your little one suffers from travel sickness- especially when said journey involves being in an enclosed space, such as on a plane. However, there are solutions that can be really effective!

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What should you know about travel sickness?

– Travel sickness is caused when your eyes are unable to see what your body is feeling or vice versa. These conflicting messages confuse the brain, causing you to feel or be physically sick

– It’s best to stop travel sickness in its tracks before you set off, as once its begun, it’s difficult to get rid of the feeling until the motion stops

– Motion sickness most commonly affects children aged 2-12, pregnant women and people who suffer from migraines- if any of your travelling party fit into these categories, it is worth considering travel sickness remedies before you set out!

Sickness On Planes

– If you suddenly need to grab a sickness bag on a flight, its well worth being aware that these will only open in a certain direction– make a note of this before you take off, so if you do need to open one in a great haste, you can do so easily! (Unfortunately, I speak from experience…)

– Avoid eating greasy or heavy foods before takeoff- small portions of simple foods will help to settle your stomach

– Lots of people think that getting up and wandering around the plane will help with travel sickness- it won’t! Stay in your seat to avoid increased amounts of motion that could make you feel even worse

– If you can, try and choose a window seat, so that your eyes have a better chance of understanding the motion that your body feels. You could also try and get a seat over the wings of the plane, as this is where the centre of gravity is located, meaning less vibrations.

– Relax and distract! Trying to take your mind off feeling sick will help. You could try listening to some music or if you know your little one suffers from travel sickness, bring along some games and activities to preoccupy them from the moment you get on the plane.

 Sickness in Cars

– Make sure you don’t read or look at anything that is still- this will confuse your eyes and make you feel worse!

– Sit kids with car sickness in the middle of the back seat. Encouraging them to look out of the front window, rather than the sides, can help their eyes adjust to the motion of the journey

– Sitting in the front seat can also help as the front seat vibrates less than those at the back, and you’ll be able to see what your body is feeling

– Taking safety instructions into account, try to elevate car seats for children with car sickness. Often the standard height of these seats means little ones can’t see out of the windows, causing the feeling of nausea. One study even proved that taller children experienced less car sickness than smaller children, so it’s worth taking into consideration!

 Sickness on Ferries

–  If you’re booking a cabin, choose one that is based on a lower level and near the centre of the ship, as these experience less motion

– Head out on to the deck for some fresh air and try to focus on a fixed point, such as the horizon

– If other people on the ship are seasick then move away from them- hearing or seeing others experiencing motion sickness can actually sometimes make you feel ill yourself

– Try and stay away from the bow or stern of the boat, as these are the areas that experience the most motion

– Although it may sound a little grim, try and face downwind if you’re out on a blustery deck- if your little one is ill, much better that it gets blown out to sea than the alternative!

 Motion Sickness Packing List:

– Lollipops or sweets little ones can suck, especially those containing ginger or peppermint

– A change of clothing for little ones (and possibly you!)

– A large tub of wet wipes

– A cool face cloth or icepack can be really effective

– A large empty tupperware container with a cover (if your little one is ill several times on a long journey, you can rinse this out and re-use)

–  Motion sickness cures (may need to be taken before the journey, see below)

– You may also want to bring some specially designed sickness bags that are easy to access in haste-  Poorly Pouches work really well for kids!

– A bottle of Febreeze

Best Products For Kids (2+ years)

Dramamine Motion Sickness Relief for Kids

Get your child (aged 2-12) to take one of the chewy grape flavour doses half an hour before you leave. It’s one of the few medicated motion sickness products created especially for children and can do wonders for relieving symptoms such as dizziness or nausea.


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Queasy Drops and Pops

Made with natural ingredients designed to help settle poorly tummies, these travel sickness sweets come in a variety of fun flavours such as sour raspberry, ginger, banana, green tea with lemon and cola. You can even get ‘Preggie pops’ designed to help with morning sickness!

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Psi Wrist Bands

Coming in a variety of colourful prints, these adjustable acupressure bands are waterproof and reusable. Applying a slight pressure to the inside of the wrist, these are designed to help relieve nausea, without involving any medication.

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Joy Rides

These chewable tablets are suitable for kids aged 3+, and should be taken 30 minutes before you travel. They work by preventing the brain from sending messages to the stomach, which would otherwise cause the feeling of sickness.

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Sea Bands

These specially designed bands work really well for kids and come in a variety of 3 fun colours. They are also free of any medicines, so are suitable for younger children, although they must fit snugly in order to work properly.


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 Anti Motion Sickness Earplug

Coming in both child (2-12)  and adults varieties, the Lapponio Ltd earplug also counteracts motion sickness through non-medicine based methods. The plugs even have 18 different tunable settings and a stylish carry case.


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If your little one has ear trouble on flights, you can also get hold of the Kids EarPlanes ear plug pack which will help with any nasty popping or discomfort.


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Nevasic Audio CD

This is an audio programme that helps to reduce nausea and vomiting through playing sounds, pulses and frequencies that work with the narrated guidance to send signals to the brain through your hearing. Reports say this has been quite effective in a number of cases, so it could be worth a try!


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You will find that most products or cures are only suitable for children over 2 years old, as babies under this age rarely suffer from travel sickness in any severe way. If your little one does suffer badly and is not yet old enough to use products and cures, then try some behaviour- based changes (turning around car seats, keeping them hydrated, pulling down sun blinds etc.) and if that doesn’t work then seek advice from your doctor.

Medical Solutions

If you experience severe motion sickness then talk to your doctor- they may be able to prescribe effective medication. Below are some medicines and natural therapies commonly used to treat motion sickness:

Hyoscine/Scopolamine is one of the most commonly used treatments for motion sickness. You can get this over the counter, and have to take the treatment before you start travelling. However, it is worth noting that this treatment can cause side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness, so avoid taking it if you’re planning on driving. The treatment should also be used with caution for children, the elderly, or if you have other significant conditions such as epilepsy.

Antihistamines can also be used to help control the feeling of sickness. These are less effective than Hyoscine, but cause fewer side effects. You can usually get hold of them in tablet form to be taken 1-2 hours before you set off.

Ginger is a natural cure for sickness. Ginger supplements, crushed fresh ginger or even ginger biscuits/tea can help you feel less queasy, including for those suffering from morning sickness

Acupressure bands can be worn around the wrist, putting a slight pressure to a point inside your wrist. There are no side effects of using a band, but there is also little scientific evidence to prove that they do work. However, there have been lots of good reviews from users of pressure bands, and many parents swear by them, so they could be worth a try.

Peppermint and Black horehound are also traditional herbal remedies that can be used to alleviate sickness. They come in capsules, powders, teas or liquid extracts.

–  Dramamine is a great motion sickness-relieving option for kids aged 2+ and comes in a specific child-friendly variety

NOTE: Do not use motion sickness cures including hyoscine, meclizine, cyclizine or promethazine  for children

It’s also a good idea to test any medication you plan to use on your journey beforehand, so you can check that your little one doesn’t experience any side effects.

Tots to Travel do not own any of the images in this blog post.

Useful Links

Toddler Friendly Holidays

Pre-school Kids Holidays

Flying with a Baby – Ultimate Guide

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