Across Land & Sea Travel Blog

How to avoid seasickness on your Galápagos Islands cruise

There would be nothing worse than forking out a lot of money for your dream Galápagos cruise and then spending half the time with your head over the side of the boat.

Even if you choose to sail in the typically calmer months, there's a fairly high chance that you will experience motion sickness on board, so here's a few tips to help you keep your stomach settled...

What is seasickness?

It is your body's reaction to conflicting messages about motion and your position, which affects your inner ear balance system and causes you to feel nauseous, and even vomit. 

How to avoid seasickness

1. Come prepared with medication and/or wristbands

You may have only experienced mild seasickness before (or perhaps you've never had motion sickness at all), but you should still stock up on meds. We bought anti-nausea wrist bands as well as medication (non-drowsy tablets, e.g. Dramamine), and I started to use them 24 hours before the cruise. You may also be able to get a anti-nausea patch, however these must be prescribed by your doctor. Steer clear of organic remedies as your sole treatment, unless you're sure they work for you.

2. book your cruise for when the seas are calmer

The weather in the Galápagos is as unpredictable as a British summer, but in general the conditions are calmer between January and June. 

3. fresh is best

Fresh air is a godsend when you start to feel groggy, so get out of your cabin and chill out on the deck. Keep away from the engine exhaust fumes or anyone with strong perfume as any intense smells can make the nausea worse.

4. keep an eye on the horizon

Not only should you not read or use a camera for a large amount of time when you are feeling woozy, but it is important to look to the horizon now and again , ideally facing forward. This helps your eyes and inner ear avoid conflict. By that same logic, don't stare at things that are usually still.

5. Look after your body

Drink water often and keep out of the sun to avoid dehydration, as this can bring on symptoms. Refrain from drinking alcohol, and avoid any huge, overly fragrant or fatty meals before and during your cruise.  

6. And if all else fails...

Shit. You feel awful. You're going to be sick... you've just been sick.

Drink lots of water and take some rehydration packs if necessary. Eat bland foods, and try your hardest not to hole up in your dark cabin. Accept your friend/partner/mum's sympathetic pats on the back, and follow the steps above!

My seasickness story...

In September 2013 we arrived at Malaysian island Penang's port to cross the ocean to Langkawi. Little did we know that the following three hours would involve me spewing into a black bag along with three-quarters of the other passengers, to a soundtrack of Shakira's 'Whenever, Wherever' - on repeat. 

Fast forward nearly four years, and we're on a whale-watching trip off the coast of California. Matt slips me a tablet, insisting 'those Bali ones can't be any good', so I put my own stash away and take one of his. Within 30 minutes of being on board I am violently vomiting into the ocean. Thanks, Matt.

It turns out that he had given me a ginger tablet, and evidently, it had not worked.

So, when it came to our Galápagos cruise, I bought nearly every over-the-counter medication and complementary treatment possible. I stepped on that boat having taken a (proper, chemical) tablet two hours before and armbands on each of my wrist.

Never have I been so comfortable on a boat, and whilst other passengers suffered, I felt right as rain for the entire 8 days! Lesson well and truly learnt.

*Please seek assistance from a qualified medical professional should you have concerns about seasickness. I am not a doctor and this post is advisory based on personal experience only.


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