If the mere thought of flying sends your stomach into a spin, you’re not alone. Airsickness is one of the most common travel complaints, but there’s no need to let it ruin your trip. Ensuring a safe and stress-free holiday can be difficult, especially with ongoing delays worldwide, and this can be intensified for those who suffer from air sickness on planes.
As we head into the busy holiday season for air travel, the experts at Travel Lens have shared their top tips for avoiding airsickness. So whether you’re jetting off for an autumn getaway or just traveling for work, follow these tips, and you’ll feel right as rain in no time.
What Causes Airsickness
Airsickness, otherwise known as motion sickness, is caused when the body receives conflicting information from the eyes, ears, and muscles in regard to movement. This confuses the brain, which can cause nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.
Cleveland Clinic reports that an estimated one in three people suffers from motion sickness at some point, while women and children under the age of 12 are most susceptible.
There are a few things that can be done in preparation before and during a flight to help combat sickness while in the air.
A spokesperson for Travel Lens said: “Air sickness is very common and with plenty of holidays still to come this year, it’s important that people can enjoy them fully without the added stress of feeling ill on the plane.
“For some people, sickness may be a persistent problem when traveling, but there are certain things that can be implemented to help ease any symptoms.
“Getting adequate rest, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced meal can help to put you in the best position before flying, especially on longer journeys.
“While on the plane, it’s important to stay as calm as possible, and by making small adjustments, you can reduce the effects of airsickness.”
Pick a Seat Carefully
Typically the middle, the wing, and closer to the front of the plane are the best places to sit as this is where the journey feels most stable. Avoid the back of the plane as seats here can be subject to more turbulence. If you’re flying economy, try and book an aisle seat so you can take regular breaks to walk around the cabin. If you’re feeling queasy, stand up in the aisle to help your body feel more balanced.
Switch on the Air
Fresh air can help to ease feelings of dizziness and nausea, so it’s important to utilize the air vents above the seats to keep the air circulating. Take deliberate, slow breaths to regulate your breathing. This will help you use the part of your neurological system that relaxes you.
Put the Book Down
Reading books can usually be relaxing; however, it can be quite the opposite for sufferers of motion sickness. When you read, your eyes have to adjust more frequently to the movement of the pages or screen, which can worsen symptoms. The best thing to do instead of reading is to try to relax and focus on breathing. If you feel the need to read, try and keep your eyes on the page so that your focus is not interrupted.
Fix Your Gaze
Focusing on a fixed horizontal line will help the body to make sense of the confusing array of movements. The more stability the brain has, the less likely airsickness symptoms will occur. Try to find a horizon out the window or if you’re sitting in the middle of the cabin, focus on the back of the chair in front.
Alcohol can dehydrate the body quickly, exacerbating symptoms, so it may be best to opt for a soda. Wait until symptoms have completely subsided before you consider having a drink, or a better option is to wait until you land.
Similarly to a book, staring at a phone, tablet, or laptop screen may feel comforting, but it can add to the brain’s confusion. Therefore, when experiencing airsickness, it’s best to limit the amount of moving stimuli in order to give the body the best chance of feeling relaxed.
Choose Food Wisely
Although it’s a good idea to eat a good meal before flying, make sure to choose your food wisely. Before traveling, consuming low-fat, bland, starchy foods can help avoid airsickness. Likewise, steer clear of greasy and spicy foods, as these can unsettle an already nervous stomach, and always avoid flying on an empty stomach.
Some airlines have seats that can recline, which will help to relax the body as opposed to sitting completely upright. Also, consider taking a travel pillow to ease the strain on the neck throughout the flight and put any unnecessary items in the overhead storage to ensure the most comfortable environment for dealing with any sickness symptoms.
Some studies have suggested that consuming ginger before heading off on a flight can help to stop feelings of nausea. Whether it’s taken as a supplement, in raw form, or even as a can of ginger beer, it’s definitely worth a try. If you’re looking for a drink to settle your stomach but don’t have ginger ale, club soda or diet soda are good options. Just be careful not to drink them too quickly – the bubbles could make your stomach feel worse.
So, if you’re feeling a little queasy just thinking about your upcoming flight, don’t worry – help is at hand. While there is no foolproof way to avoid airsickness, following these tips can help make your journey a lot smoother. If you’re prepared and take some preventative steps, you’ll be able to have a safe and enjoyable journey. Bon voyage!
Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and the co-owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more.
You can follow her travel adventures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.