Car sickness is quite common in adults and children.

It makes me feel slightly nauseous just writing about it. Travel sickness really is rubbish. I never used to suffer from it as a child, it has only been in recent years that my body has decided to rebel again motion.

Fortunately, mine is quite mild and I can control it. I know to not read anything in the car, not even on my phone, the slightest reading or concentration on text makes me feel queasy. Map reading is out, although based on previous detours, I think that is possibly a plus point.

Unfortunately my middle son, Max, suffers quite badly. It has got to the stage where he dreads going in the car, even for short journeys. He has been physically sick in the car on a few trips, one being on a long car journey back from France one year. I think he was just 3 at the time. He still remembers it and as a result dreads even the thought of a long journey.

Which isn't great. You kind of need a car to go camping with. In fact we are off on a 4 hour trip tomorrow, so I'm busy getting all our remedies together.

Why Do We Get Car Sick?

Why some people get carsick and others don't is not entirely clear. Getting car sick isn't necessarily to do with the car, it's more to do with the senses. Your senses are all sending messages to your brain that your body is moving forward. However, if the child (or adult) is reading, looking down rather than up, your brain is getting pretty confused with these mixed messages. Your balance and motion in your ear are telling your brain that you're moving but your eyes are contradicting those senses by saying you are sitting still and reading a book.

This argument between the senses confuses your brain and that is when you start to feel sick.

Travel Sickness Remedies for a Car Journey

We have tried most of these remedies to help Max in the car. I recommend you try them in turn and see which ones work best for you or your child. Everyone is different and as such there isn't a one solution fits all scenario.

Eat Before You Leave

Travelling on an empty tummy can make some people feel quite nauseous. I know it does for me. Of course don't fill up on a 3 course feast just before getting in a car, eat in plenty of time, and just before you leave home have a light snack such as a cracker.

Don't Read - Anything!

I sometimes think I can get away with catching up on a few emails while I'm in the car (obviously when I am a passenger!) but it always gets me. After about 10 minutes I start to get that queasy sensation. It's really not worth the risk. It's a shame because a car journey is an ideal time to read a book or do some colouring but it's just not going to work for someone who is prone to car sickness.

Eyes on the horizon

If you can, keep looking up and keep looking straight in front of you. This is a good remedy for sea sickness too. Keep watching the horizon in front of you.

Keep unnecessary smells out of the car!

Ok, I didn't actually mean those kind of smells but yeah, try and keep it fresh in there! Try to avoid smelly foods in the car and for obvious reasons don't smoke in the car. Be careful even with strong smelling car fresheners as these can make some people feel sick. Make sure the car has been cleaned out too. With kids eating in the car they will inevitably spill stuff which starts to smell, especially for the more smell sensitive people out there.

Make sure the car is well ventilated

It helps to let fresh air circulate around the car. You only need to have a window open a crack if you want, it just helps eliminate that stuffy smell.

Distract Children in the Car

We try to play games and listen to music, all things that don't involve him (or me!) looking down. We have played endless classics such as eye spy, counting games, spotting games (spot a Mini, Beetle, Caravan etc) I have just bought what looks like a good set of games from Amazon 50 Things to Do on a Car Journey (Usborne Activity Cards) which on first glance looks promising. If anything it'll give me some sanity after hours of eye spy...

Another one I've just though of are audio cds. I think when we go on another journey I might invest in some of these, it'll mix it up a bit from just listening to music.

I will mention this one but I'm not sure it will work well for everyone so bare that in mind. We have found the little mini televisions work for Max. I guess it is the distraction and the fact he is forced to look straight ahead. Unfortunately I have to deal with Alvin and the Chipmunks screeching in my ear but I guess that is preferable to vomit. We don't like them to to watch it too much so try to limit it to one film.

Natural Travel Sickness Remedies for Children

Travel Sickness Bands


These are available from pharmacies and online. We bought some for Max and I think they worked, but only alongside the above suggestions. He couldn't for example wear them and then read a book. These don't cure car sickness, they just help keep it at bay.

Sea-Band For Children (Various Colours) on Amazon >>

Homeopathic Travel Sickness Remedies

We have just bought this today for Max to try on the journey tomorrow. These appeal to me as a parent as they are completely natural and not filled with chemicals. They are non drowsy and apparently have little or no taste.

You either suck on them or chew them. You take 2 tablets every hour for 2 hours before the journey and then if necessary 2 tablets hourly during the journey.

There have been mixed reviews on Amazon, mainly positive ones. Like I said before, everyone's level of car sickness varies so what works for some may not for others.

UPDATE: The Nelson Travella Tablets worked fantastically. A whole 5 hours on the car each way and not a sign of any car sickness! Hooray 🙂

See Nelsons Travella 72 Tablets on Amazon >>

Essential Oils for Travel Sickness Prevention

Essential Oils for Travel Sickness

We didn't use this exact brand (we bought ours from Boots but I couldn't find it just now) but it has the same oils in it; Lavender Oil, Peppermint Oil, Ginger Oil and Spearmint Oil. For our one you dab it on your temples, back of the neck and wrists. I think we'll probably invest in this one for the next big road trip.

Quease Ease for Anti Nausea, Travel Sickness (Car, Sea, Plane) Morning Sickness


ginger for travel sickness

This is a well known remedy against nausea and can be taken in many different forms. It works by neutralizing stomach acid and helps to relax your stomach muscles. So far we have only tried it in the form of shop bought ginger biscuits. I have a recipe to make our own ginger biscuits which I will dig out and post here another day. Another option is to put an apple (golden delicious is best) and a slice of raw ginger in a juicer and drink a shot of it before you get in the car. Or you can try ginger tea and ginger ale.

What should you do if you or your child is actually sick?

Hopefully it won't come to this but if it does then stop the car when it is safe to do so and get out. Lie down and once the nausea has passed drink some cool water and try and have a light snack. It's not great to have to get back in the car if you have actually been sick but it may be your only option. For this reason I would recommend carrying some sick bags and decent cleaning wipes should you need to use them.

Unfortunately being car sick once can sometimes develop into a mind over matter situation. You always expect to be sick in a car and can sometimes make yourself feel sick when perhaps you wouldn't have been. This is why using these remedies are a really good idea, even if they are a placebo. They are all natural and will do no harm.

If things get really bad and you or your child are always being really sick in a car I would recommend a visit to your doctor for advice.

Do you have any remedies or tips for avoiding car sickness?




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