I am no stranger to long days and nights spent on the road travelling between destinations and have no issues with being on the road and roughing it out. On the other hand, my body, like many others out there, begs to differ. Most people experience motion sickness under extreme conditions but for the unlucky handful like me who are hypersensitive to motion, it can basically ruin your entire day and leave you exhausted. I have avoided sea travels/activities for most of my life as even a half hour drive through rocky terrains can leave me feeling queasy let alone swaying around in the middle of the ocean. Of course I have also gotten my hands on every possible remedy and now am well prepared for any kind of travels. Here’s a compilation of common remedies most of which I have tried and tested.
1. Sea Band
Sea Band is basically an acupressure wrist band that prevents nausea and vomiting by pressing on an acupoint located on your wrist. It may be used not only for motion induced nausea but for morning sickness as well. The sea band is relatively cheap and can be used repeatedly and washed as needed. It comes as a pair in a small box that makes it easy to keep the bands and carry them around with you when you travel. I have bought a pair myself and found that they are most useful for less extreme conditions like road travels and is best worn before the symptoms appear. While it is easy to use and has no side effects, it does cause some discomfort when wearing as it is meant to fit tightly around your wrist to press against the acupoint. The tightness and material may also cause some itching if you have sensitive skin or if the weather is hot and humid.
2. Dimenhydrinate (Novomin, Dramamine, Gravol)
Novomin, Dramamine and Gravol are basically branded dimenhydrinate but they are the same drug in the same dosage just marketed differently. While I have not bought Dramamine and Gravol before, I did purchase Novomin as a set of 10 pills in a cartoony blue box that costs about $7.95 from my local pharmacy. It can be found in most pharmacies and is one of the most common brands of motion sickness medications. It also comes in syrup form for children that experience motion sickness.
Another type of dimenhydrinate I have tried and swear my life on is the yellow dimenhydrinate that can be found in Thailand. These pills come at a much cheaper price of only 10 baht for a set of 10 pills. A point to note is that dimenhydrinate may cause drowsiness in some people though I did not feel any drowsiness at all when taking this medication. The recommended use for dimenhydrinate is to consume 50 mg of dimenhydrinate (1 pill) at least 30 mins to 1 hour prior to travel. As for myself, before a diving trip I will consume 100 mg of dimenhydrinate (2 pills) the night before and then another 50 mg in the morning before getting on the boat. I got this tip from a diving instructor who suffered from an extreme case of motion sickness himself and it has proven to be the most effective way for me to keep motion sickness at bay in choppy waters.
3. Inhaler (Quease Ease)
I chanced upon this inhaler as it was given free to me when I signed up for a diving trip and is said to calm queasiness using an all-natural, non-drowsy fragrance that can provide immediate relief. The inhaler comes as a small and handy lipstick like tube that can be easily kept in the bag or pocket for easy use. However, I find that although the smell is pleasant, it hardly provides any form of relief when I am experiencing a bad bout of motion sickness. It costs about $18 on Amazon which is a hefty sum compared to the other more effective motion sickness remedies available. I still keep it with me and do use it together with other motion sickness remedies but definitely would not purchase one to use on its own.
4. Motion sickness patch (Scopolamine, MQ)
There are two kinds of patches that are commonly used for motion sickness and both kinds are small little dot stickers meant to be pasted at the back of your ears or at the navel. The first kind, the Scopolamine patch, requires you to go to a doctor to get a prescription for it. This is one form of remedy that I have not tried as I have heard that there may be a high chance of experiencing severe side effects or withdrawals upon removal of the patch. Some of this side effects include blurred vision, dilated pupils, dizziness, rash from the adhesive, vomiting after removal etc. If you would still like to try it, a tip would be to leave the patch on even when you do not need it anymore to let the effect wear off slowly and avoid serious withdrawal symptoms. The second kind, is a herbal all-natural patch from MQ that is said to last 1-3 days and has no side effects as compared to the prescription patch. It can be found on Amazon at $7.99 for a set of 10 patches has relatively good reviews. Even if the patch does not work, it does not cause any serious side effects and is worth trying! A tip for this herbal patch is to make sure that you are able to smell the patch for it to be effective, if you have the wind blowing the scent away from your face it might not work.
5. Citrus & Ginger
These are the most natural and organic methods of dealing with motion sickness and I swear by its effectiveness. Citrus fruits like lemon and oranges work wonders on a queasy stomach by calming the mind and alkalizing the stomach to relieve nausea. Try mixing some lemon juice with lukewarm water and a little honey and sip on it as you go to help relieve motion sickness. Alternatively you can bring along some fresh oranges or orange peel to snack on during your trip. Ginger also serves as a great natural remedy to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness. There are plenty of ways to consume ginger (best would be to suck on a small slice of raw ginger if you don’t mind the spice and smell) but always be sure to check the ingredients to make sure that there is sufficient ginger inside to actually help you feel better. I personally love the smell and taste of ginger and would bring along some ginger tea (my favorite is Gingen Tea!)with me to calm my tummy if it is convenient.
Alternatively, ginger capsules in regular intervals about 24-48 hours before and during your trip works wonders as well. I recommend Blackmores Travel Calm Ginger (a well-known Australian health brand!) that can be found on Amazon for $20 for 45 capsules for those that would prefer a capsule form. While I love these all-natural remedies, I personally feel that they work best as either a preventive measure, for less extreme conditions or coupled with other motion sickness remedies.
While there are plenty of remedies out there that work differently for different people, I find the most effective would still be Dimenhydrinate. Of course, consuming medication too regularly may not be good thus using natural remedies like the Seaband, Citrus/Ginger or a herbal patch may be chosen over Dimenhydrinate under less extreme conditions.
Do comment on which works best for you or if there are any other secret remedies you know that work; help a fellow traveler out! 😉