Tips from a Flight Attendant – Preventing travel sickness when flying

This is the third article in the series ‘Tips from a Flight Attendant’ featuring tips for preventing travel sickness when flying.  I was keen to read Sarah’s tips particularly those which avoid the need to use motion sickness medication as my eldest son Charlie suffers from travel sickness.  

Sarah has assisted many passengers combat travel sickness during her five years working as a flight attendant and she kindly shares her experience with us in this article.  Over to you Sarah….

Tips from a Flight Attendant - Preventing travel sickness

Preventing travel sickness when flying

Dealing with travel sickness – This is a tricky subject.  Travel sickness is a brains jump to conclusion reaction.  On a bumpy flight your body tells your brain that it is moving however, if you are sat away from a window staring at the back of the seat in front your eyes are telling your brain that you are sat still.  Your brains way of dealing with the mixed signals is to expel the contents of your stomach!

Concentrate on a moving focus point – My first tip for avoiding your child getting travel sickness is to simply ask them to look out of the window or if sat in the aisle ask them to focus at the top of people’s heads (which will move around from the ‘stationary’ seats with every bump).

Alternatively, hang something up on the seat in front that will move and sway, giving your child a visual aid for their brain to see movement.  If this does not work, ask your child to close their eyes.  Another good tip is to ask your child (or do it for them) to press a finger to the pulse point on their wrist, not too hard but just enough to need to concentrate on it.

Cool down – A tip that works for me, is to turn the air vents onto cool and drink water, or better still a cool ginger ale followed by sucking on peppermint sweets.  I am regularly asked by passengers for some ice to chew on.  Many people find that they feel better when cooled down plus the ice gives them something to concentrate on.

The main thing is to divert your child’s attention away from how sick they are feeling by asking them to concentrate on something else, you need their brain to work out it has not been tricked. Have a sick bag handy just in case, sometimes it is just going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it.

I would also recommend investing in some travel sickness tablets, they can be expensive but they may be enough to help little (and big) tummies. Some of them can cause drowsiness too… which you may consider to be a bonus during in a long haul flight!

Where to sit on a plane to avoid travel sickness –  The back of the plane tends to be the bumpiest, so it is a good idea to book seats that are in front of the wings if they are available.  If you are travelling with children (or adults) who are prone to travel sickness you may decide that paying extra to select seats up front is a worthwhile investment to help ensure a memorable start to a family holiday!

Many thanks for reading Sarah’s tips for preventing travel sickness when flying.  If you have any other tips please do comment below.  If you are struggling to know what to pack for your first family flight check out our packing list for flying with a baby or young child.  


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