How to avoid travel sickness

How to avoid travel sickness

It’s holiday time. But for many people the excitement of the journey’s spoilt by nausea and dizziness. Find out here how to avoid getting travel sick.
Travel sickness (also known as motion sickness or kinetosis) describes a set of symptoms resulting from a disruption of the sense of balance. Despite the name it’s not really a form of sickness: it’s a normal, harmless reaction of the body. The brain receives a constant stream of different signals on the position and movement of our bodies and the movements of the world around us. On longer car, train, boat or plane journeys these different sense impressions can get conflicted and send contradictory information to the brain. Frequent symptoms are dizziness, headache, cold sweats and nausea, even vomiting. Many people suffer from travel sickness, Children aged between two and twelve are most commonly affected, but basically it can strike anyone with a healthy sense of balance.

There are various things you can do to prevent travel sickness.

In the car

If you’re sensitive it’s best to sit in the passenger seat or in the middle of the back seat. You should look ahead through the windscreen, focusing on objects in the far distance. Avoid activities like reading that involve looking down. The driver should try to keep the speed as constant as possible and avoid roads with a lot of bends. Important: make frequent stops to get some fresh air. Having firm ground beneath your feet gives your sense of balance a chance to calm down.

On the train

It’s best to sit in a window seat facing forwards. Focus on a fixed point on the horizon. There’s no chance of stopping for some fresh air on the train, so it’s a good idea to walk up and down the aisle.

On the boat

If you’re prone to seasickness it’s best to stay in the central section of the ship and out in the fresh air on deck or as low down as possible. The lower and more central you are in a ship, the less roll and sway you will experience. On deck you should fix your gaze on a point on the horizon.

On a flight

The best place to sit on a plane is over the wings or in the front of the aircraft, preferably in an aisle seat. That way you can walk around if you need to.


It’s important to eat something small before your journey. Make sure your stomach’s not too full or too empty – that only makes travel sickness worse. Ideal are low-fat meals, for example a sandwich or fruit salad. Steer clear of alcohol the day you travel and the day before. Caffeine also makes things worse.


There are various forms of medication you can take for travel sickness, for example chewing gum with an antihistamine. Make sure anything you give your kids is suitable for children.

In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.