Whether it happens during a joyride through the winding roads of Malibu Canyon or a seven hour drive to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, motion sickness stinks. Those who are cursed with susceptibility to carsickness can’t entertain themselves on long road trips with reading and, sometimes, even chatting. Symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and (if you’re really lucky) massive headaches are caused by an imbalance in the body between the vestibular system—the nerves and fluids in the inner ear that help the brain decipher motion and balance—and vision. If the body feels motion, but doesn’t see it, the nervous system gets, well, very nervous, and assumes the body has been poisoned. That’s where the barf comes in.
Luckily, thanks to modern science and websites like WikiHow, those of us plagued by carsickness can avoid those symptoms in relatively easy ways. Here are some of the most tried and true tips on how to chase away the hurls:
Claim the front seat and focus on the horizon. Remember that you are letting your brain know that your body is moving forward at 60 m.p.h., so don’t look out the side window at the scenery rushing by—it’s too confusing for your senses. It might sound weird, but if things get gnarly, pretend like you are driving. Pushing on fake pedals and turning a fake steering wheel tricks your nervous system into concentrating on something other than upchucking.
2. Pills ‘n’ Patches
Preventative pills like Dramamine work wonders. Take one half an hour before hitting the dusty trail, and you may avoid the urge to ralph altogether. However, one of Dramamine’s most common side effects is super-napping, so don’t pop these if you are on deck to take a shift driving. Another option is the Transderm Scōp patch, which sticks to you like a temporary tattoo and has less of a chance of making you drowsy. Before taking any medicine (even over-the-counter), check in with your doctor.
3. Breathe Like A Yogi
Sometimes the anxiety of nausea can cause you to breathe irregularly, which can make you feel even worse. Try breathing in through your nose for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, and exhale for eight counts. Counting is a calming distraction and your body will be thankful for the oxygen. YouTube provides a huge library of different breathing techniques, any of which could provide an escape from car heebie-jeebies.
4. Unexpected Methods
Sure, some of these sound bonkers, but for those who have suffered from carsickness their entire lives, natural cures are heaven sent. Here are some of our favorites:
Chew peppermint gum.
Eat green olives.
Eat small slices of ginger.
Eat a dill pickle right before departure.
Avoid alcohol at all costs.
Keep your head in contact with a window no matter what.
Sniff the bottom of a closed window if you want fresh air without a cold breeze.
Create blinders for yourself by cupping your hands around your eyes.
What is your favorite way to avoid a carsickness slump? Tweet it to us: @lamag_driver, and, as always, travel safely.