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Beating Motion Sickness at 40,000 Feet

Growing up, I was the kid who had to either sit in the middle seat or sit in the very front of the car to keep from vomiting all over the place. If I couldn’t see where I was going, or if I spent too much time looking down at a book, my stomach would turn, my head would ache, and I would have to take a couple days to recover. But as I’ve grown, I’ve learned how to keep those symptoms at bay to prevent myself from ruining any more car interiors. RIP to my grandma’s Ford Taurus.

Whether it’s a long-haul flight, or a 2 hour car ride, there are so many options for preventing and curing yourself of the tum rums.

These are the top three things you should keep with you:

Necessities for keeping motion sickness at bay.


When I say “comfort food,” I don’t mean favorite food. For example, my favorite food is spaghetti and I could eat it at any time of the day, but the last thing I need right before a 6 hour flight is a bowl of carbs and heartburn. My comfort food on the other hand, is something I can nibble on: pretzels, M&M’s, Cheezits, Cheerios, etc. They fulfill my need to eat, without sending my digestion into overtime.

When flying, stick to foods that aren’t super salty or super sweet. Never eat something spicy, fatty, or questionable (like Chinese food at the end of the Spirit airlines terminal) because that will be passing through your system for the next 6 to 8 hours.


Whenever a flight attendant comes around and says, “And what would you like to drink?” Your answer should always be water. Drinks like Coke and Sprite are super delicious, sure, but they can mess. you. up. The sugar content is so high it dilates your pupils, raises your blood pressure, gives you a caffeine boost, works its way out of your system, crashes your energy surge, and leaves you drowsy and cranky. Alcohol and coffee can be even worse for your body. Unless your name is Lorelai Gilmore, coffee will again, give you a caffeine boost, make you feel warm and fuzzy for about two seconds, work its way out of your system, leave you cranky and drowsy, and then give you a serious urge to go to the bathroom.

Water is your only friend when flying. Buy a fresh bottle of water in the airport terminal before you board. Sometimes if the turbulence is too bad, the flight attendant won’t be able to come around with snacks and drinks, and you’ll be out of luck for the rest of the flight. Better to be safe than sorry.


But what if you couldn’t help yourself, and you were dying for a big ole Jersey Mikes sub with a Diet Coke? I’ve been there.

So what do you do when your stomach starts sending the UH-OH signal? Try any one of these solutions. (Yes, they all work.)

Dramamine, an effective motion sickness medication.

Dramamine is an effective motion sickness medication.


is the best and quickest way to take care of your motion sickness. As soon as you start feeling the nausea, take as directed and drink a few sips of water.

If you're like me and you have trouble swallowing on an upset stomach, try their chewables. They don't taste "orange flavored," but they do the trick.

Most people critique Dramamine for having drowsiness as a side effect, but unless your flight is ending in less than 2 hours, just lean into. A nap might be the thing you need most right now.

Bonine, a non-drowsy alternative to dramamine.

Bonine is a non-drowsy alternative to dramamine.


is the alternative to dramamine.

If you are driving, performing surgery, or doing anything else that requires you to be awake, try Bonine instead. It has the same stomach settling effects, but won't make you sleepy.

To be honest, it does taste better but I've always thought Dramamine performed better.

Acupressure wrist bands, an all-natural solution for nausea relief.

Acupressure wrist bands are an all-natural solution for nausea relief.

Acupressure Wrist Bands

look kind of silly, and I don't fully understand how they work, but they do.

The only time I have ever used one of these was on a two-hour ferry ride. If it can work for sea sickness, I'm pretty sure it can work for steady air travel.

If you're wary of ingesting any kind of medication, this is a good, inexpensive alternative.

Tummy Drops, an all-natural lozenge that combat motion sickness.

Tummy Drops are an all-natural lozenge that combat motion sickness.

Tummy Drops

are a relatively new product to me and required a little bit of patience. They are gluten free, peanut and nut-free, organic, vegan, kosher, and non-gmo. The ingredients are completely natural which makes the flavors very true to their name. (Be careful, the ginger is spicy.)

Ginger has always been trusted to handle nausea and upset stomachs, which is why we tend to drink ginger ale when we're sick.

The Tummy Drops worked just as well as the Dramamine, but it took a little bit longer to kick in.

Each one of the solutions listed above is compact, easy to get, and super effective. If you’re like me and you can’t read a book, check your phone, or do any work in the car, on a plane, or on a train, you’ve got to try this out! If I missed some key solutions, let us know! We’d love to spread the word.

This article is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of CALPAK.

Photos courtesy of Dramamine, Bonine, Sea Band, and Tummy Drops.

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