Anyone can get travel sick but children aged 3 to 12 tend to be the most susceptible to it. It’s caused by a shift in perception between our body’s movements and what we can see. For example, if you read in the car then your body senses movement but your eyes don’t: the book in front of you is stationary. Flying (forward motion on top of changes in altitude) and driving on winding mountain roads can make travel sickness worse.
Travel sickness often causes stomach pain, nausea and a general sense of feeling unwell (loss of energy, loss of appetite etc.) that can result in vomiting.
The best way of handling travel sickness is usually prevention. First of all, avoid reading or looking at a screen whilst in motion: looking at the road decreases the shift in perception between the body’s movement and sight. If the person affected is big enough, let them sit in the front seat: being able to look straight ahead also decreases the sense of shift in perception.
Consider eating before you hit the road: nothing acidic or hard to digest – avoid fruit juice and soft drinks – but go for bread or bananas that fill you up. A full stomach is less sensitive to travel sickness. If you still feel nauseous then take a break if possible: stop at a service station for a few minutes so you can get out of the car and lie down on your back to make your stomach feel better.
- Travel sickness is often caused by a difference between what you can see and your body’s movement: looking outside the vehicle can ease the sensation.
- Avoid acidic food and drink before a trip but don’t leave on an empty stomach.
- If you feel nauseous, take a break and lie down to soothe your stomach before you set off again.