Whether you’re on a road trip or just driving across town, there is nothing worse than that sudden onset of the nausea and dizziness called car sickness. In those moments, you would do anything for fast-acting car sickness remedies.
However, while there is no shame in taking medication when necessary, you may not always want to pop a Dramamine every time you’re in the car. Often, you want a natural solution.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If a product is purchased using one of the following links, I may earn a small commission from the brand at no cost to you. Likewise, do not take the following advice as professional medical advice. See your physician when needed.
As an avid road tripper and frequent travel-sickness sufferer, I can honestly claim that the following solutions actually work. Before sharing the remedies, though, let’s discuss the symptoms of car and travel sickness.
What Are The Symptoms Of Travel Sickness?
The most common symptoms of travel sickness include nausea, headaches, dizziness, irritability and, in serious cases, vomiting and diarrhea.
Travel sickness has essentially the same symptoms as motion sickness, often also known as car sickness. According to the American Academy Of Family Physicians, the onset of motion sickness can come without any warning, and the symptoms can worsen as fast as the onset.
How Do You Stop Car Sickness Naturally?
There are numerous ways to stop car sickness naturally, including essential oils, stretching, eating, breathwork and more.
All of the following natural car sickness remedies have been used by my husband and I for years. We both get car sick unfairly easy. So, as full-time travelers, we have dealt with our fair share of travel-related nausea and irritability. (I mean, the car sickness is definitely to blame for my irritability, right?)
Here are the top 12 natural car sickness remedies we swear by.
1. Use A Migrastil Migraine Stick
The Migrastil Migraine stick is a game-changer for car sickness. Made with peppermint and lavender essential oils, the Migrastil Migraine stick has the power to remedy your car sickness naturally in a matter of minutes.
All you have to do is roll the essential oils on the back of your neck (and temples, if you wish) and sniff the roller for about three to five minutes. I promise, this essential oils roller works like magic.
2. Fix Your Posture
As simple as it sounds, fixing your posture is key to naturally resolving car sickness.
For whatever reason, most car seats weren’t designed with physical health in mind. They were designed for comfort. Therefore, you’ll often find yourself comfortably slouched against your seat back and headrest.
This slouched posture increases tension in the upper back, neck and base of the skull, which can lead to headaches, migraines, and, in turn, nausea. Be sure that you are instead sitting up tall with your back and neck in line with each other.
3. Adjust Your Headrest
Similarly, adjusting your headrest can have a tremendous effect on your posture and, thus, car sickness symptoms.
Instead of tilting your headrest forward so that your chin slouches downward, set your headrest back so that you can comfortably lean a straightened neck against it.
4. Give Yourself A Neck Massage
As previously mentioned, sitting in the car can lead to slouching, which leads to neck, shoulder and upper back tension. Tight muscles in these areas can lead to migraines, which can make you feel extremely nauseous and car sick.
When you’re feeling nauseous, ask your road trip buddy to give you a quick upper back massage. (Remember to say please! Especially with that car-sick irritability you may be experiencing.) All it takes is a few minutes of massage to release the muscle tension that’s giving you nausea and a headache.
If you’re traveling solo, bring a portable massage gun, like this affordable massage gun from Amazon. Not only will this massage gun relieve your car sickness without medication, but it will also come in handy during pesky headaches at home or the office.
5. Do Car Yoga Stretches
Did you know it’s possible to do yoga in the car?
Like the massage gun, stretching can help release muscle tension in your upper back, neck and shoulders. However, if you’re feeling sick in a car or plane, your stretching space is limited.
These 17 car yoga poses are perfect for compact spaces, and they target the exact muscle areas you need to target for car sicknesses relief.
6. Take 10 Slow Deep Breaths (Car Sickness Remedies)
Furthermore, if you don’t feel like doing a complete car yoga flow, you can do a short breathwork practice to help with the overstimulation that worsens car sickness.
For full effect, sit up straight and take 10 long, deep belly breaths. You can either breathe in and out through your mouth, or in through your nose and out through your mouth. The latter will provide the best results.
And, to make the breathwork even more relaxing, gently close your eyes. You can either rest your hands on your thighs, knees, or chest and/or stomach.
7. Visit the Chiropractor Before And After Your Trip
If you don’t love the idea of going to the chiropractor, you can skip this car sickness remedy. But, if you’re anything like me, you love an occasional chiropractor appointment.
As you probably know by now, posture and physical well-being have a huge impact on your car sickness symptoms. Before every big road trip, I always make sure to visit a chiropractor for a quick neck and back adjustment. That way, my neck and spine are in their best alignment before I even embark.
If I know my neck and back are in knots, I schedule my appointment at least two days before the road trip so my body can acclimate to the adjustment.
If you don’t have access to a chiropractor, you can also lay on a massage mat for 10 minutes, followed by icing your neck and shoulders, for a similar type of relief.
8. Look Toward The Horizon (Car Sickness Remedies)
Next, this car sickness tip is time-old for a reason.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “Your brain senses movement by getting signals from your inner ears, eyes, muscles, and joints. When it gets signals that do not match, you can get motion sickness.
When you look toward the horizon, it allows your brain to match the different movement signals from your inner ears, eyes, muscles and joints together cohesively.
9. Put Your Phone Or Book Away
In the same way, of you are looking at your phone or book while riding in a car, you’re sending your brain confusing movement signals. This can also cause dizziness, nausea and headaches.
“If you are reading on your phone while riding a bus, your eyes are focused on something that is not moving, but your inner ear senses motion,” said the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Give your body some grace, and put your phone and book away for a while.
10. Eat A Light Meal Or Snack (Car Sickness Remedies)
Another natural car sickness hack is, simply, to eat.
Although it seems counterproductive, eating totally helps with car sickness. Whenever I’m starting to feel queasy on the road, I use all the previous car sickness remedies and eat a snack.
Filling your stomach with something other than motion is a sure-fire way to quickly settle motion-related nausea — unless, of course, you’re vomiting.
What Foods Help With Car Sickness?
Foods that help most with car sickness include:
- Saltine crackers or other crackers.
- Bread or a sandwich.
- A bag of salty chips.
- Granola bars.
- Protein bars.
- Anything with ginger.
On the contrary, avoid greasy foods and other foods that may give you additional stomach discomfort when you’re car sick.
11. Sip On A Carbonated Drink
Likewise, sipping on a carbonated drink is known to reduce nausea, including car-sickness-related nausea.
However, avoid caffeine when you’re car sick. Some caffeinated drinks can contribute to dehydration, which can make your car sickness symptoms worse. Instead, opt for a non-caffeinated carbonated drink like ginger ale, Sprite, root beer or sparkling water.
12. Take A Quick Nap (Car Sickness Remedies)
Lastly, it may be in your best interest to try to nap if you can.
Even if the nap is only 20 or 30 minutes long, it is usually enough to allow your body, brain and stomach to recharge and reset. If you have trouble sleeping on the road, I highly recommend bringing a neck pillow with you for neck stability.
Why Do I Feel Car Sick When I Am Not In A Car?
If you feel car sick when you are not in a car, it is possible you are suffering from migraines. Visit your doctor and/or chiropractor to discuss symptoms and treatments.
Regardless, all of these field-tested natural car sickness remedies help reduce migraine symptoms, too. (Trust me, I know. I used get migraines regularly!)
Do you have any other car sickness remedies that you swear by? Let me know by leaving a reply below or messaging me on Instagram! I would love to test them out.