Guest Post: Family Trips Free of Car Sickness


With the party season fast approaching many of us will find ourselves travelling to see family and friends, with this in mind today’s guest post from the Sainsbury’s Money Matters team is sure to come in handy.

Family trips free of car sickness

Not many of us look forward to a long car journey, but if you or the kids are prone to nausea on the move, it can make even relatively short trips total torture.

Feeling or being sick as the result of a car journey is a form of motion sickness. It occurs due to a conflict in what you’re seeing and feeling – your eyes see that you’re sitting still and the car interior appears static, so the car’s small movements and the changing view confuse your brain, upsetting your inner ear.

It’s particularly common in children, but they often grow out of it.

However old the sufferer, here are a few tips that can help promote a sick-free ride:

Firstly, don’t have a big meal or anything too rich just before a long journey, as this can make nausea more likely – and avoid alcohol.

Ginger root is a great stomach settler, so to ensure your tummy is tiptop before a trip, take a ginger capsule, available at chemists and health stores, or sip ginger tea.

Alternatively, some people find peppermint or fresh mint settles the stomach, so try mint tea too.
Need something stronger than tea? Then pop to a pharmacy and grab some motion sickness medicine. Make sure you take it at the recommended time prior to getting in the car, as it tends to be preventative rather than curative.

Be aware that travel sick medication often causes tiredness, so if you intend to drive, go for a non-drowsy formula.

Alternatively, try an acupressure wristband, which is said to both prevent and alleviate nausea.
Before you set off, ensure the car is free of smells that might unsettle the stomach. If you or other passengers start to feel sick mid-route, the smell of musty air, air freshener, perfume or food may well make the symptoms worse. Ventilate your vehicle and spray a fresh lemony or minty fragrance.
En route, one of the best ways to avert and alleviate car sickness is to look at the horizon. Gazing out the window will allow your brain to realise that you’re moving, while focusing on an object in the distance will ensure your brain’s not too disorientated. For this reason car sickness-prone passengers should sit at the front as there’s a larger window, but you may need to disable the airbag for a child.

If a child has to sit in the rear, play games that require him or her to look outside, such as counting the number of yellow cars that pass.

Adults who tend to get travel sick could consider driving, as drivers rarely suffer motion sickness – perhaps because they’re always looking ahead.

There are a few things that will make the symptoms of car sickness even worse, so make sure you don’t focus on fixed objects if you get carsick as this is disorientating, and avoid reading anything. If you need to look at directions or a map, pull over. Equally, watching films and playing console games are out, as the moving images only confuse your brain more.

Instead, listen to books on CD or sing along to music. This will help to drown out thoughts of nausea, too. One of the easiest ways to block out such thoughts is to sleep. Even if you don’t manage to doze off, closing your eyes will stop you concentrating on static objects.

If queasiness does set in, eat ginger biscuits or try mint or lemon sweets – all popular remedies with children. You could also sip on a supply of ginger or mint tea. Wind down the window too for some fresh air, and take slow, deep breaths.

Of course, regular breaks are vital, especially if you’re driving down windy country lanes. If this is the case, ask the driver to take the bends slowly and encourage him or her to drive smoothly so that you don’t speed up and then slow down too much.

Another thing that’s sure to make you feel sick is not having adequate car insurance in the event of a car accident. So be sure to check your insurance policy covers all your needs.

Author Bio:
Tara Nathanson writes for Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters blog on a range of topics including car insurance, car safety and other motoring topics. In her spare time she likes going to the cinema and doing yoga and Zumba classes, and at weekends she likes hanging out with her six-year-old son.

Guest Post: How to keep children entertained in the car

If you’re a parent then chances are you’ll be familiar with the challenge of trying to keep kids entertained during car journeys. Thankfully the good people at Salisbury’s have done the hard work for you in today’s guest post and have given me their top tips for a stress free family outing.

One of the challenges of a long family car journey is trying to prevent a riot breaking out on the back seat! Negotiating unfamiliar roads and traffic systems is hard enough, so you could do with out distractions from the kids behind you. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for keeping the little ones quiet and content during your journey.

Take plenty of breaks

Children have short attention spans at the best of times, so it will benefit everyone if they can get out and stretch their legs once in a while. Every time you stop it gives your children something different to do, and breaks up the journey. A break every hour is ideal, but try and stop every two hours at least, in a safe, suitable location.

Keep them entertained

This gets easier by the year thanks to new technology. These days, it is not unusual to see children watching DVDs on screens attached to the back of the head rests of the front seats. That’s something that can work for kids of all ages, including teenagers.

Everyone loves games

There are many great games that your children can play in the car, and a lot of well known board games are available in travel versions, with features designed specifically for moving vehicles.

Of course, with just one child in the back it can be harder to keep them entertained, but there are plenty of games that require nothing more than a little imagination – the old favourite ‘I spy’, for instance.

You could also try ‘red car blue car’. All you have to do is choose a colour of car to watch out for. Whoever sees the most cars of a particular colour in the allotted time wins.

And how about some colouring pencils and paper in the back to bring out the little one’s creative side?

Feed them up

A surefire way to keep kids happy and occupied is giving them something to eat and drink (it will keep them quiet, too!). Of course, common sense is required – the more liquid they take in, the more toilet stops you’ll have to make!

Have some music handy

Most children respond very well to music, and while your three-year-old might like nursery rhymes a bit more than you do, anything is preferable to a high-pitched whine from the back seat! Be warned, though – you might have to join in.

Prepare for your journey in every way

There are many things to think about if you have to plan a long journey, and keeping the children entertained is just one of them. Make sure you have adequate car insurance for the journey before you set off. Little extras like roadside assistance and courtesy car availability can make all the difference if you run into problems with the whole family on board.