Train Sickness

Trains are generally one of the better options for motion sickness sufferers, however many people experience discomfort when seated facing against the direction of travel.

Some travelers also report feeling unwell on high-speed tilting trains (such as Britain's Pendolino services) and, in particular, on the Eurostar service linking the UK to Belgium and France though the underwater tunnel under the English Channel.

For those prone to motion sickness, a forward facing seat is crucial. Most trains have both forward and backward facing seats (with the honorable exception of Japan's Shinkansen bullet trains where the seats all face forward - they are automatically turned at the end of every journey!).

Unfortunately, you may have difficulties booking forward facing seats. Often the booking agents simply don't know what the exact configuration of the train will be. And even if you appear to have succeeded in booking forward facing seats, it is common to arrive at your seat to find that it is not, in fact, forward facing after all. If this happens, and nearby forward facing seats are occupied, ask to swap with someone. The threat of a sick fellow passenger is usually enough to make people agree to move. But do be sensitive - you may have picked a fellow sufferer. You can also ask the train conductor or onboard manager for help. Clearly it is as much in his/her interests as yours that you are not physically sick on the train!

The smoothest and most stable part of any train is towards the center of the middle carriage. The 'sideways' visual stimulation that you get from the window when sitting in an aisle seat can be uncomfortable, so sit in a window seat and try to look forwards along the length of the train as much as possible. Alternatively, put your head back, close your eyes and try to 'tune out'. Headphones and soothing music may help. But don't miss your stop!

As with other forms of transport, reading may trigger sickness, so is best avoided. Many long distance rail services now have a 'quiet coach' which you will find more relaxing if you wish to sleep.

Good ventilation is very important, so open a window if possible, or stand by the train doors at station stops for a fresh air 'fix'. Move seats or carriages if someone near you is eating strong or unpleasant-smelling food, or wearing a heavy perfume. If you find the carriage too hot or too cold talk to the conductor or train manager. He or she may be able to adjust the temperature control for you.

Walking through the carriage, and especially between carriages, can bring on nausea very quickly, so stay in your seat as much as possible. Eat lightly and take regular sips from a bottle of water or flask of ginger or peppermint tea.

If you do become nauseous and can't bear to stay in your seat then make your way to the vestibule at the end of the carriage. In the vestibule, hold on to one of the grab rails, close your eyes and try to move with the motion of the train. You may look slightly odd, but it can have a very positive effect on how you feel. If you choose the correct end of the carriage, you'll also have the advantage of being positioned next to the restroom, should you require it.

If the worst comes to the worst, and you can't bear it any longer, get off at the next station and wait for the following train. Hopefully you'll be feeling better by the time it arrives!




Comments

cazzers_123 on July 9th, 2014:
Best tip I found is to go to sleep. That way you're unconscious and don't feel anything, in fact the rocking of the train is quite relaxing.
Dude on August 4th, 2014:
"You can also ask the train conductor or onboard manager for help." - Good luck finding staff if you are on a heavily populated train in the UK though.
cazzers_123: "Best tip I found is to go to sleep." - Some of my worst experiences have come about as a result of falling asleep. When you wake up, then you will pay.
Chox5115 on August 5, 2015:
I can recommend the following. Firstly, avoid looking out of the window at all. Studies have shown the sickness is caused by confusion in the balance centre of your brain caused by what your eyes tell you (the train is leaning one way) and what your body senses(the train is in fact tilting in another direction to what the eyes see) Get an aisle seat and read. If you need to look up to rest your eyes, only look around the carriage, not out of the window. Save that for when the train stops at stations. Try to eat and drink as normal; an empty stomach makes things worse. Avoid getting out of your seat until you leave the train, if you possibly can, but if you do have to, just avoid the temptation to look out of the window.
Someone on August 7, 2015:
I'd recommend to have sugar. Stuff like lollipops are sweet, and take away the puking.
Fellow sickie on October 11, 2015:
I could NEVER EVER READ during movement.
Pseudonym on January 12, 2016:
I think if you have car sick tablets they will work, but if you don't do all the things above make sure you have a sick bag with you at all times. Bring a few. Or if you vomit a lot go to the middle or the front whichever works for you, or if you're like me I like sitting frontish (near the front but not at the very front!).
Megan on July 15, 2016:
My friend and I are planning a trip to China with 4 overnight train rides... Last time I did that in Norway the next day was awful - it's like my brain had been rattling around in my head while laying down and I was dizzy the next day with one incident having to grab the wall because the whole world began to move! I think maybe if I can sleep sitting up that will help? I'll read some of the remedies too! P.S. No reading or even looking at stuff on my phone in anything but an airplane!
Ivan on August 1, 2016:
I got seriously ill on a Pendolino train coming from Carlisle, after getting off at Euston I had to be attended by first aiders and eventually paramedics came (after 2 hours). It was a severe bout of motion sickness which got complicated. But it means that Virgin staff should take motion sickness in these trains more seriously. I wonder if legal action would be a possibility, to at least make them probe into the mechanics of the train... or ensure to have sick bags available and give people warnings about this.
Matt on November 23, 2016:
Be careful what you eat before your train ride - stick to stuff that you can digest easily or it could make matters worse. Here in Canada we have a drug called Gravol that helps with nausea (makes you sleepy though). I find the best nausea preventer is good old cannabis! It has the added bonus of making your long train ride a bit less boring. If weed gives you anxiety, then it might not be a good idea with all those people around. But for me, it's great.

Leave a comment


Name (or pseudonym):

E-mail (optional, will not be published):

Your comment:

To protect against spam bots, please enter the number 287 in this box:




Recommended products


Motion Cure
New! Motion Cure


NEW ReliefBand for Motion & Morning Sickness
NEW ReliefBand for Motion & Morning Sickness



Psi Bands Acupressure Wrist Bands for morning, sea, travel and motion sickness
Psi Bands Acupressure Wrist Bands for morning, sea, travel and motion sickness
Psi Bands



SCAT Acupressure Motion-Aid Wrist Bands with Magnets
SCAT Acupressure bands



No Mo Nausea Bands
No Mo Nausea Bands



Bioband Motion Sickness Band Black
Bioband






Bonine Chewable Motion Sickness Tablets
Bonine Chewable Motion Sickness Tablets



Dramamine Chewable Motion Sickness Tablets
Dramamine Chewable Motion Sickness Tablets






Motioneaze Motion Sickness Relief Drops
Motioneaze Motion Sickness Relief Drops






NaturalCare VertiFix for Motion Sickness
NaturalCare VertiFix



Hyland's Motion Sickness
Hyland's Motion Sickness







Tummydrops Ginger




Ginger People Gin Gins
(assorted flavors)



Anti-Nausea Ginger Gum
Anti-Nausea Ginger Gum



Ginger Root Capsules by Nature's Way
Ginger Root Capsules by Nature's Way



Sailors' Secret Premium Ginger Capsules
Sailors' Secret Premium Ginger Capsules