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As a sufferer of motion sickness, buses & ferries are my weakness. Very ironic as I’ve always had a desire to travel. But I was not going to let this get in my way from conquering the world. Growing up, I have always suffered from motion sickness, however, I have had to learn to deal with it if I wanted to travel. My biggest and most obvious tip is to be prepared.
My worst experience was on the ferry from Penang to Langkawi and of course, it was self-inflicted. I was not prepared in the slightest for what was in store for me. It had been great weather all week but obviously, on this particular day the heavens opened and a tropical storm emerged. I can only describe it as something out of the Exorcist movie. It did, however, make me feel better than other people on the ferry were also in the same position as me. I arrived in Langkawi looking like one of the Simpson characters. So take it from someone who’s been there. If you know you suffer from motion sickness preparation is key. I can’t even begin to think the number of hours spent on traveling from one destination to another via public transport in South East Asia but all I can say is WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! I have definitely learned the hard way! Hopefully, these tips will help you prepare for those notorious twisty roads and bumpy ferry journeys and avoid a stomach-turning nightmare.
This is my ‘go-to’ over the counter drug before any bus or ferry journey. This drug will help prevent nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. I usually take this at least an hour prior to my journey. Obviously, this drug is not for everyone but after trying out most alternatives, this one seems to tick all the boxes for me personally.
Another method that a lot of travelers use is travel bands. These bands use pressure, electricity or both to stimulate our pressure point. It has been proven that pressure on the P6 acupressure point relieves nausea and vomiting. Everyone has different experiences when using these and after speaking to others there seem to be mixed reviews. However, you’re not going to know if they work for you unless you try it yourself.
Carry a Plastic/Paper Bag
This is definitely one of those, it’s better to be safe than sorry situations. Usually, on ferry’s and bus routes that are notoriously known to cause motion sickness, plastic bags are provided. However, motion sickness can be very unpredictable. The last thing you want to be doing is throwing up in your hat because you didn’t have the initiative to carry a plastic bag with you.
For some, a long bus journey is a great opportunity to indulge in a new book to pass the time, for others (myself included) it is an absolute nightmare. If I do have to read anything (travel guide) I take breaks and look out the window to the scenery for a while. It does seem to help but as for a novel, I wouldn’t even attempt it.
Sit facing forward
If you’re on a train or ferry, get a forward-facing seat. If you’re in a car, then sit in the front seat. In a boat or ferry, it’s best to stay in the middle where it’s less rocky. For a bus or train get a window seat so you can admire the scenery.
Listen to music to distract you
I found that this was a great distraction for me and made me feel more comfortable and helped suppress symptoms.
Avoid alcohol the night before
I discovered hangovers & traveling don’t mix well together! As I mentioned before, I had to learn this the hard way and it really put a downer on my day once we arrived. The last thing you feel like doing after throwing your guts up is going sightseeing. Take my advice DON’T DO IT TO YOURSELF.
Ginger gum/ginger sweets/ginger ale
Herbal remedies like ginger is a traditional remedy for nausea, however, there does seem to be conflict when it comes to motion sickness. For me personally, I found that ginger ale did help settle my stomach but again you won’t know if it works for you unless you try it.
Another herbal remedy that sometimes works for me is motioneaze. A blend of herbal oils that you apply behind your ear and quickly relieves symptoms within five minutes.
Don’t travel on an empty stomach
Eat small frequent meals but avoid greasy, spicy or fatty meals. It’s also best to avoid caffeine and anything salty. Dehydration is a major trigger of motion sickness so be sure to drink plenty of water. It’s best to stick to high protein foods and dried crackers or bland food making you less likely to vomit.
Invest some face wipes
These are an absolute lifesaver and if you have had the boat journey from hell, you’ll feel a little bit better once you’ve freshened up and they always come in handy if there’s no toilet roll.
Get a nevasic app
Invest in the nevasic app. I have personally never used this app but a travel buddy of mine that was using it for every boat/ferry journey and was an essential investment for her. It is designed to help stop nausea by sending certain sounds to your ears and brains. The app is very popular amongst pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness and has been clinically tested.
Lastly, get some air. Any kind of fumes or smells can trigger your motion sickness. It can make you feel very hot and sweaty. If you’re on a boat, step outside on the deck for a few minutes and it will also wake you up a little if your feeling drained.
To give you a heads up, from my South East Asia trip, these would definitely be my top 3 worst road journeys by bus for motion sickness sufferers. The windy roads and bends really did put these tips to the tests. It definitely doesn’t help that the drivers are complete maniacs so be prepared for some rapid swerving and some speedy overtaking around the sharpest bends. Other than that, it’s all part of your traveling experience.