What to Do When Feeling Nauseous During Car Travel

Car travel can be a convenient and enjoyable way to get from one place to another. However, for some people, the experience can be unpleasant due to feelings of nausea and vomiting. Motion sickness can affect anyone, regardless of age or experience with travel. But, what can you do to prevent and alleviate these symptoms?

Causes of Motion Sickness

Motion sickness, also known as travel sickness, is a condition that occurs when the brain receives conflicting information from the eyes and inner ears. These two systems help the body maintain balance and determine spatial orientation. When they send different signals, the brain can’t process the information correctly, and the result can be feelings of nausea, dizziness, and vomiting.

There are several causes of motion sickness, including:

  • Movement: When you’re in a moving vehicle, your eyes and inner ears are telling your brain that your body is moving, but your skin and muscles are not receiving the same sensory information. This disconnect can cause confusion and lead to motion sickness.
  • Anxiety and Stress: Anxiety and stress can make motion sickness worse, as they increase the production of adrenaline, which can contribute to feelings of nausea and vomiting.
  • Food and Drink: Consuming heavy or greasy meals, spicy or acidic foods, and alcohol before traveling can increase the risk of motion sickness.

Symptoms of Motion Sickness

The most common symptoms of motion sickness include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Salivation
  • Burping

Who is More Likely to Experience Motion Sickness

Motion sickness can affect anyone, but some people are more susceptible than others. These include:

  • Children between the ages of 2 and 12
  • Women, especially during menstruation and pregnancy
  • People with a history of migraines
  • People with inner ear disorders

Preventing Motion Sickness Before Traveling

Motion sickness can be a debilitating condition that affects many people while traveling by car. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent motion sickness before you hit the road. Prevention is key when it comes to motion sickness, and here are some tips to help you prepare for a more comfortable car ride:

Avoid heavy meals and drinks

Consuming heavy, greasy, or spicy meals, and alcohol before traveling can increase the risk of motion sickness symptoms. Instead, opt for light, bland foods that are easy to digest. Eating light, bland foods like crackers, bread, or cereal can help prevent motion sickness symptoms.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration can make motion sickness symptoms worse. Drinking plenty of water before and during the trip can help prevent dehydration.

Get enough rest

Fatigue can exacerbate motion sickness symptoms. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before traveling to help reduce the risk of motion sickness symptoms.

Avoid stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can also make motion sickness symptoms worse. Try to stay calm and relaxed before and during the trip. Meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques can help reduce anxiety and stress levels.

Sit in the front seat

Sitting in the front seat can help reduce motion sickness symptoms, as you’ll have a clearer view of the road ahead. Sitting in the back seat or in the middle seat of a car can make motion sickness symptoms worse.

Look out the window

Looking out the window and focusing on the horizon can help reorient your brain and reduce feelings of nausea. It’s important to avoid reading or looking at screens while in the car, as this can increase the risk of motion sickness symptoms.

Avoid heavy, greasy, or spicy foods

Heavy, greasy, or spicy foods can increase the risk of motion sickness symptoms, as they take longer to digest. It’s best to stick with light, bland foods before and during the trip.

Drink ginger tea

Ginger tea has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm the stomach and reduce motion sickness symptoms. Drinking ginger tea before or during the trip can be an effective way to prevent motion sickness symptoms.

In addition to these tips, medications can also be effective in preventing motion sickness symptoms. Here are some commonly used medications for motion sickness:

1. Antihistamines

Antihistamines like dimenhydrinate and diphenhydramine can help reduce motion sickness symptoms by blocking histamine receptors in the brain. They are available over-the-counter and can be taken before or during the trip.

2. Scopolamine

Scopolamine is a medication that can help prevent motion sickness by blocking signals in the inner ear that cause nausea. It is available in a patch that can be applied behind the ear before the trip.

By taking these steps, you can prevent motion sickness symptoms and enjoy a more comfortable car ride.


  1. What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness is a condition characterized by nausea, dizziness, and vomiting caused by a disturbance in the inner ear, often from motion or movement.

  1. Why do some people get motion sickness more easily than others?

Some people are more susceptible to motion sickness due to factors such as genetics, age, and overall health.

  1. Can children get motion sickness?

Yes, children can experience motion sickness, and it’s a common problem for kids between the ages of 2 and 12.

  1. What are some natural remedies for motion sickness?

Natural remedies for motion sickness include ginger tea, peppermint oil, and eating light, bland foods.

  1. Can medications for motion sickness cause side effects?

Yes, medications for motion sickness can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and blurred vision. It’s important to talk to your doctor before using any medications to prevent motion sickness.


Feeling nauseous during car travel can be a frustrating experience, but there are many ways to prevent or alleviate motion sickness symptoms. Choosing the right seat, focusing on a fixed point, eating and drinking light foods, avoiding strong smells, keeping fresh air flowing, and using medications can all be effective ways to reduce the risk of motion sickness. By following these tips, you can enjoy a comfortable and nausea-free car ride.

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