Combatting Motion Sickness on Road Trips


Nothing can change a road trip from awesome to awful like a bout of motion sickness. Even the most seasoned of road warriors has likely encountered this miserable feeling, personally or with a passenger.

From curvy roads to lack of fresh air, pregnancy, or general malaise, here are some tips and tricks we’ve used over many years and across many miles.

Carry Motion Sickness Bands

First, always have at least one pack of motion sickness bands in your glove box. We like the generic blue sea band variety intended for cruises and boating excursions. If you are heading out on a particularly windy road, pass these out ahead of time.

Have a Vomit Collection Bag or Bucket with a Lid!

Always have a vomit collection pail/bag within reach. We strongly recommend a solution with a lid. We have used plastic ice cream pails in the past, but something designed to eliminate odor is a bonus. Don’t get too attached to this item; it’s best if you can dump it out, rinse it out, or throw it away.

Limit Books, Electronic Gadgets, and DVDs

For kids prone to motion sickness, encourage looking out the window and limit reading and the use of electronic devices. We once had a rental car with a DVD player and learned the hard way our youngest couldn’t handle the combination of the movie and the back seat (worst air circulation).

Fresh Air is Key

Make sure all passengers are receiving plenty of fresh, circulating, air and have a water bottle or clear soda and crackers handy. Many people recommend ginger or a product like Gin Gins for anyone feeling particularly nauseous. I used Gin Gins when I was pregnant and they helped take the edge off my first-trimester morning sickness during long road trips.

When Necessary, Take Medicine

Last, over-the counter product like Meclizine are a necessity for people who know they cannot survive a long road trip without total motion sickness misery. Make sure and read the contraindications with medications; Meclizine can make you drowsy (make sure this adult passenger is sitting in the front seat, but not behind the wheel).

Take Breaks

In general, sitting in the car for hours on end is hard on the body, bladder, and the stomach! Listen to your body and your kids (Are we there yet?!?) and pull off for rest stops as they pop up along the interstate.

Do you have advice for combatting or controlling motion sickness on a road trip? Leave a comment below.

Happy trails! 

Main feature photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nrg_crisis


About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.