21 ways to overcome motion sickness

by Kathryn Curzon

Motion sickness can ruin your travels and dives but it doesn’t have to. The team at divein.com have compiled the best tips to beat motion sickness, allowing you to reach your perfect dive sites and leave motion sickness far behind. Check out their motion sickness infographic below to find out more and save a copy to take on your travels.

What causes motion sickness?

Motion sickness is caused when your inner ears and eyes miscommunicate, with your eyes thinking you’re moving whilst your ears believe you are not. This produces similar sensations to ingesting certain toxins, triggering a physical reaction in your body that results in it trying to remove the imaginary poison. Whilst there isn’t a cure for motion sickness, there are numerous ways you can prevent and solve motion sickness when it strikes. It’s all about being well prepared, getting to know your triggers for nausea and finding out what works to solve it.

How to Stop Nausea in its Tracks

Before you travel

  • Sip water regularly before you journey, or diving trip, to make sure you’re well hydrated
  • – If you’re not sure drinking water helps your nausea or not, try drinking more or less before a journey and see how you feel
  • Eat a light meal before travel, avoiding junk foods that are high in fat or greasy. It’s better to have something in your stomach and oatmeal is a soothing easily digestible option to try.
  • Wear acupressure bands on each wrist. They apply pressure to nerves that help reduce the feeling of nausea
  • Try different motion sickness medications to see which one works for you, preferably under the supervision of a doctor
  • Hyoscine is a good motion sickness medication to take when diving from a boat, as it doesn’t cause drowsiness and reduces nausea. Just be prepared it can give you a dry mouth, so take extra water
  • Antihistamines are also known to help control nausea and vomiting
  • Ginger is a powerful nausea remedy that also soothes your stomach. Suck on ginger tablets or sweets to help reduce nausea
  • During your travels

    • – Keep your eyes focussed on the horizon or on an object in the distance
    • – Make sure you face the way you’re travelling and look in that direction
    • – If you’re travelling by car, keep an eye on upcoming turns and lean into them when driving around corners
    • Being the driver rather than a passenger can take your mind off motion sickness
    • Sit in the front passenger seat of the car, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
    • – Make sure you have access to fresh air at all times, maintaining a cool breeze on your face
    • – Don’t position yourself near diesel fumes if you’re on a boat
    • Stay on the middle lower level of boats/ships and don’t be tempted to try top deck
    • Lying down and sleeping can solve boat nausea quickly and very effectively. This can be a useful tactic during dive surface intervals or if you have a long boat crossing
    • Tilt your head to the side. The change in your brain’s perspective can stop mild nausea immediately
    • A small amount of a sugary drink or chocolate can help relieve nausea

    After your travels

    • – Give yourself time to adjust to no longer moving and slow down whilst you readjust
    • – Hold onto or touch a solid object to help stabilise yourself
    • – Take some time to yourself to rest and recover
    • Listen to gentle music or meditate to soothe any remaining anxiety

    Motion sickness still a problem for you? Choose your dive destination with care

    If motion sickness at sea is an issue for you and you haven’t found a way to completely eliminate it, choose dive destinations that have:

    – Plenty of accessible shore diving with minimal surge

    – Destinations with short boat rides to dive sites

    – Liveaboards that cruise reliably calm waters all year, or have seasons that are known to offer flat seas

    Anxiety before you travel is a big part of the problem with motion sickness but you can eliminate that by choosing a destination that works for you.

    Top dive destinations to avoid motion sickness

    There are numerous top dive destinations where you can minimise the chances of you getting motion sick. Some of the top ones to consider include:


    This shore diving capital of the world has numerous shore dives with sheltered sea conditions, which you can walk to and dive in your own time.


    There are abundant shore dives with colourful coral reefs and no surge or currents at Sharm el Sheikh.

    Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia

    This sheltered bay is ideal for calm dives with numerous whale sharks and also offers wreck diving.

    Gili Islands, Indonesia

    Another of Indonesia’s best dive destinations, the Gili Islands are famed for their laidback dive style and offer clear calm waters ideal for new divers of those who suffer from nausea.

    Truk Lagoon, Micronesia

    This wreck diving mecca has consistently calm waters thanks to being a lagoon.

    Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands

    Another calm lagoon, Marovo offers idyllic island diving with friendly reef sharks, abundant tropical fish and beautiful dive sites.

    This article was written by Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer. Follow her adventures at www.kathryncurzon.com