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How to Avoid Motion Sickness on a Charter Bus Trip

Tips to Keep the Road from Turning You Blue

There’s nothing worse when you’ve booked a special trip. You’re on a charter bus from, with plush accommodations, lots of room and all the modern amenities. You’re excited because you know you’ve done it right—there’s no better way to travel with a group than on a charter bus:

  • It’s the safest and most secure way to travel
  • It offers flexibility you won’t find in any other form of transportation
  • You know you’ll get where you want to go when you need to be there—the reliability of charter bus travel is second to none
  • You’ll actually get to be on vacation—no checking the map or your GPS, no need to look at your watch or try to find a parking space
  • You’ve chosen the most affordable way to travel with a group

Everything’s going right, but then, after a few miles on the road, you start to feel something in the pit of your stomach. As the miles mount up, it becomes obvious—you’re struggling with a bit of motion sickness. Surprisingly, that’s not all that uncommon—some studies show that as many as four out of every five people experience some form of motion sickness in their lifetimes. There can be a variety of causes and there are some strategies that you can employ to combat to queasiness that comes from the vibrations of the road.

What Is Motion Sickness?

Though it’s almost always a temporary condition, and though it’s also something that’s never going to cause serious medical problems (except some dehydration, if severe), it can ruin a trip, causing nausea and vomiting, excessive sweating and excruciating headaches. Fortunately, these symptoms typically subside pretty quickly when you are no longer exposed to the motion that causes your discomfort.

What Are the Different Causes of Motion Sickness?

Medically speaking, motion sickness occurs when your body’s internal balance sensing mechanisms are getting mixed signals. Your sense of balance comes from a number of different receptors—your ears, eyes and sensory nerves all play a part. When one of those internal balance detectors gets the message that your body is moving, but another one gets a message that you’re not, the difference can manifest as motion sickness. It happens often with various modes of travel…cars, planes, trains and buses…your inner ear may recognize that you’re encountering waves on a boat, but your eyes may not detect any movement. As another example, many people who attempt to read in a car experience some level of motion sickness. That’s because the print on the page remains relatively motionless, but the other signals being sent to the central nervous system and the brain suggest movement. The incongruity can lead to motion sickness.

Are Certain People More Susceptible to Motion Sickness than Others?

Though just about anyone can suffer from motion sickness, studies have shown that pregnant women and children are more inclined to experience some type of vertigo or nausea caused by movement. Researchers have also discovered that individuals who experience high levels of anxiety or fear related to traveling can be at greater risk of motion sickness. Other factors that have been shown to contribute to higher instances of motion sickness include poor ventilation or the inability to see out of a window.

Tips for Avoiding Motion Sickness

Though motion sickness is often purely situational, there are some strategies that you can take that may reduce or negate the effects:

  • Pay attention to what you eat and drink before you board the bus—As a general rule, having a big meal or eating rich food before you get on a charter bus is not a good idea. In addition, taking in significant amounts of caffeine or alcohol before a bus trip have been shown to increase the potential for motional sickness.
  • Take measures that may reduce your internal disconnect—Don’t try to read and don’t stare at the back of the seat in front of you. In some situations, you can substantially reduce the effects of motion sickness simply by looking out the window. If your eyes see the same type of movement that the rest of your body feels, that can often be the most effective treatment of motion sickness. You may want to simply close your eyes, so that what you see doesn’t conflict with what you feel in your ears. Lying down is also often an effective way to treat motion sickness.
  • Be cognizant of the different types of sensory input you are receiving, particularly visual—The more visual stimuli you have, the greater the risk that your eyes and ears won’t agree on whether or not you are moving. Instead of a book or a magazine, check out the local scenery.
  • Distract yourself—Frequently, listening to music can help treat motion sickness. Likewise, playing a “road game,” such as looking for certain types of license plates or topographies, can give your eyes the sense that they are moving in sync with your ears.
  • Get a different perspective—Surprisingly, motion sickness can often be alleviated simply by moving to a different spot on the bus. For many persons who suffer from motion sickness while driving a car, moving from the passenger’s seat to the wheel can often solve the problem. You can’t do that on a bus, but you can change your orientation on the bus. Generally, you are less inclined to motion sickness if you are facing the direction in which you are traveling.
  • Some foods and beverages can effectively reduce motion sickness—Water typically has a calming effect for your stomach. In addition, light and heavily carbonated beverages can effectively treat nausea. Dry crackers are also helpful.
  • Don’t smoke—You won’t be able to smoke on our coaches, but you may also want to skip the smoke break if the bus stops for lunch. Studies have shown a greater risk of motion sickness among cigarette smokers.
  • Take deep breaths—The classic symptoms of hyperventilation—short, shallow and rapid breathing—can exacerbated the symptoms of motion sickness. Many people also find it helpful to open a window for some fresh air or to turn air vents toward your mouth and face.
  • Wristbands?? The conclusions are mixed—Many people have attempted to combat motion sickness with wrist bands and others have used small electric shocks or electrical stimulation. The results have been mixed.

Medication to Treat Motion Sickness

Perhaps the most reliable and proven way to counteract the symptoms of motion sickness is with medication. There are prescription drugs designed to help you fight the effects of motion sickness, as well as over-the-counter remedies. Most common are pharmaceutical products called antihistamines, common in the treatment of allergies. There are also drugs specifically developed and marketed to treat motion sickness, most notably Dramamine and Marezine. Benadryl is also frequently used to fight motion sickness. You need to be careful, though, if you use any pharmaceutical product to treat motion sickness, as the medication can cause drowsiness or fatigue.

You can also purchase a patch that may effectively treat motion sickness. You can put it on before your trip and not worry about it. There are generally no significant side effects to the motion sickness patch.

Home Remedies Have Also Proven Effective

If you don’t want or like to take prescription or over-the-counter drugs, there are some homeopathic remedies that many have found useful. Ginger and peppermint have been successfully used to reduce motional sickness and some have even turned to acupuncture.


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How to Avoid Motion Sickness on a Charter Bus Trip