While seasickness is hardly a serious health concern, it can certainly put a damper on an otherwise memorable vacation.
Seasickness affects everyone differently, but the most typical symptoms are nausea, upset stomach, headaches, and vomiting. Here are some of the best ways to ensure that seasickness doesn’t put a bad “spin” on your vacation.
“Doctor, it spins when I do this!”
Over-the-counter motion sickness medications such as Dramamine are a simple, inexpensive, and effective way of dealing with seasickness. For best results, begin taking them at 24 to 48 hours in advance; look for non-drowsy versions so you don’t end up sleeping your vacation away. If you are prone to more severe bouts of motion sickness, speak with your physician to explore stronger prescription options, including oral medicines and patches.
Spend time on deck. Huh?
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best way to acclimate to sea travel is to get out of your cabin and go on deck. One of the best ways to fight off seasickness is to keep your eyes on the horizon–this lets your inner ear’s sense of balance match up with what you are seeing, significantly reducing your odds of becoming nauseous or lightheaded.
Avoid “heave-y” foods, matey!
For many people, eating rich, heavy foods directly before or during a cruise can contribute to feelings of motion sickness. Foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat can influence your body’s sense of balance. Not only that, but the strong smells of rich foods can overwhelm your senses and induce nausea. Stick to lighter foods in smaller portions, and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol onboard the ship.
Seasickness is the tender trap.
Everyone is different when it comes to what causes motion sickness and how severe the symptoms are, but some triggers are common enough to be considered universal.
- Avoid reading for long stretches at a time, especially below deck.
- Hot temperatures and poor ventilation are also common causes of seasickness.
- If you find yourself feeling the early warning signs of illness, try to consume saltine crackers or ginger, which can help soothe your stomach before it gets serious.
Keep your sunny side up!
Studies have shown that people who are convinced that they will become seasick, or who have experienced motion sickness in cars, airplanes, or smaller boats, are more likely to become seasick on a cruise. Your mind is a powerful tool, and stressing out over seasickness can actually make the issue worse.
Try to stay positive by telling yourself that you will be fine, and focus on having fun or staying busy with activities that can take your mind off of things. If others around you become sick, try not to spend all of your time with them–in many cases, being around seasick people can make you feel unwell, too.
All ashore that’s going ashore…This means you!
Shore excursions are an excellent way to get over feelings of seasickness. If you are sensitive to motion, consider booking a cruise that stops at a port every 1-2 days, since long, uninterrupted periods at sea can be extremely uncomfortable. For many people, booking a shorter cruise–such as a weekend getaway–is a much better option than a lengthy vacation with little time spent ashore.
Seasickness is a common ailment for anyone who travels by boat infrequently, and the symptoms can be severe enough to ruin even the most idyllic vacation. By following the tips above, you can be prepared and potentially even prevent seasickness altogether, leaving you to enjoy your cruise without interruption.
Contributed by Peter Vossman/Clifford Yurman, Editor