Guest Post: 6 Tricks to Beat Seasickness

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When Rob first contacted me a month or so ago about submitting a guest post, I braced myself for the inevitable pitch about how he was a blogger willing to give me ‘free content’ in which he’d hide a few links. The content, like so many of the SEO hunters in guest blogger disguise send my way, would be a poorly written mess – I thought.

So you can imagine my surprise when the article was not only good, but the guy behind it was fun to chat to as well. When he’s not writing about writing over at Rob D Young, he’s publishing novels (check out Broken Glass on Amazon), and gaming with the nerdiest of us. Read on about his tips for beating seasickness!

Six Tricks to Beat Seasickness

the ferry to mull

I just got off a ferry to Mull, an island off the west coast of Scotland. Ferry travel has become one of my favorite ways to get around. When I bought my first ferry ticket (from Belfast to Glasgow), I was expecting to be transported on some sort of industrial boat, meant more for cars than for people—or at least an overcrowded ferry like the one Chris describes in his Disney Resort adventure. What I got was far closer to a luxury cruise line.

However, seasickness can make boat travel uncomfortable for some travelers. So, on today’s voyage and on my ferry to Glasgow, I asked the ferry crew members to give me their best advice for someone who’s experiencing seasickness. Here’s what they said.

1. Eat or drink some ginger.

ginger root
Image courtesy of Fotopedia

Almost every member of the crew started with the same advice: “Ginger.” No, they weren’t just making fun of my hair color. They were giving the most tried and tested advice that their life on the seas had taught them. It can be ginger tea, ginger ale, candied ginger, or even just ginger snaps, but in any case, the crew swore by the stomach-calming effects of ginger-based food and drink.

2. Stay at the center of the boat.

lounge at the center of the boat

For many people, seasickness is caused by the tossing and turning of the boat (which, in turn, tosses and turns the contents of your stomach). However, that ship-tossing isn’t equal at all areas of the ship. The center of the boat is more “balanced out” by the structure of the ship and less prone to shift due to encounters with the current. As such, staying toward the middle of the boat will reduce the risk of seasickness for many travelers.

3. Eat a moderate meal a couple hours before departure.

Mariners cafe

Your stomach is far more prone to twist uncomfortably if you’ve eaten too much, too little, or too recently. Giving your body a decent meal and some time to digest it (two hours was the number one crew member gave me) can help. If you do end up on a boat with an empty stomach, you can usually buy a meal—but eat slowly, avoid having too many liquids, and don’t order a hard-to-digest meal.

4. Keep your eyes on the horizon.

horizon line
Image courtesy of flickr by jikatu

If you take a European cruise or otherwise head into more open waters, you may experience another cause of sea-sickness: disorientation. When you’re surrounded by endless waves without a single scrap of land in sight, the effect can be dizzying. On long journeys such as these, the surest way to stop the dizziness is to find the horizon and key your eyes locked on that line where sea meets sky.

5. Get some fresh air. Or don’t.

fresh air on a ferry's deck

When I approached a pair of crew members and asked them for their solutions, one told me that they feel better when they step out onto the deck and take deep breaths of the fresh ocean air. The other quickly noted that they feel more sick in the open air. Depending on who you are, the deck may be the perfect or the worst place to deal with your discomfort. Try it out once; in a worse case scenario, you can always lean over the railing when your stomach starts its tsunami.

6. Use medical solutions.

a stack of medications

In this brave new world we live in, there’s a pill for just about everything. Seasickness is no exception. While you can use an over the counter motion sickness medication, the most effective solutions tend to be prescription. Additionally, most of these pills must be taken several hours before departure, but they can work wonders. Some people experience drowsiness, indigestion, or other physical discomfort when on these medications, so you may want to give your pill a test run before your official trip.

Another medical solution that I’m wary about suggesting is a sea-sickness bracelet. This holistic contraption is based on magnetic fields, and while several crew members suggested it, none of them actually used one or even knew how the bracelet was supposed to work. If you’re looking for a naturalist remedy, though, you can find these bracelets at gift shops aboard many cruise and ferry lines.

Seasickness is a definite hurdle for some, but with these six tactics you can minimize the risk and, in many cases, avoid discomfort altogether. Even if your trip makes you a bit queasy, try to look on the bright side. Over-water travel is beautiful; a ship is far less cramped than a bus, train, or plane; and even if you’re miserable, you can tell you’re friends that you’re on a boat.

About the Author
Rob is a world-wandering author and poet who blogs about his travels and the writing craft. Check out his website for updates, photos, travel tips, writing games and exercises, and other uber-nifty™ travel and writer-oriented content.

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