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Tips for Avoiding Seasickness

I’m a reluctant sailor. I’ve never found my sea legs, and even short ferry rides leave me a little green around the gills. Yet I’ve taken to the water countless times in my life simply because that’s how you get to a place. From Whidbey Island in Washington to Anguilla in the Caribbean, sometimes a boat is the only (or at least the cheapest) option.

One of the ways I pass the time in choppy waters is to try out various techniques I’ve collected for reducing seasickness. I thought I’d share some of those I’ve had the best luck with, and I’m hoping you’ll do the same in the comments below. Because we weak-kneed landlubbers have to look out for each other.

  • Perfect Your Personal Climate: A steady supply of fresh air can help keep nausea at bay, as can making sure you’re not overheating by sitting in direct sun. On a recent trip in a boat speeding over whitecaps in the Caribbean, I grabbed a seat in a shaded but open area and managed to stay ahead of seasickness even as those around me succumbed.
  • Stare at the Horizon: This has always worked really well for me. Fixing your gaze on the horizon helps your body maintain its equilibrium. It also makes you look really philosophical.
  • Choose Your Position on the Boat: On smaller boats, when the captains saw me coming, they stuck me in the back, promising there was less movement there. Our sister-site Cruise Critic advises that, on ships, it’s best to position yourself in the middle of the vessel, since it’s the “natural balance point.”
  • Travel with Remedies: I recently interviewed naturopathic doctor Dr. Kate Brainard and she had a wealth of recommendations for preventing and treating motion sickness. Some of her top suggestions were PSI bands (also known as sea bands), which you wear around your wrists to stimulate acupressure points, and concentrated peppermint or ginger products. On the pharmaceutical end of the spectrum, there’s also Dramamine, Bonine, and Benadryl (these have the added benefit/drawback of making most people sleepy).
  • Avoid Strong Smells: If you’re next to someone who smells like they bathed in perfume, move. Ditto if you’re within sniffing distance of an exhaust-belching boat engine.

These are my favorite tips for avoiding seasickness. What others do you suggest?

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