Do you like to travel? Going on a family road trip in the car can be great fun. If you travel long distances, you may travel on a train, a boat or an airplane instead.

Sometimes when you travel, though, you may feel dizzy or sick to your stomach. Have you ever felt that way? If so, you’ve experienced motion sickness.

Kinetosis — sometimes called motion or travel sickness — is that dizzy, tired and nauseous feeling many people get when they travel. Depending upon your mode of travel, it may be called car sickness, seasickness or airsickness.

About one of every three people is affected by motion sickness even in mild conditions. If travel conditions are bad, such as a storm at sea or turbulence in the air, two out of three people are likely to suffer from motion sickness.

Motion sickness is caused by a disconnect between your brain and the other parts of your body that sense movement. For example, your ears contain liquid in small canals in their innermost parts. This liquid helps your body sense when it’s moving and in what direction.

Your eyes also sense the world around you and can detect when you’re moving and in what direction. Your skin helps your body understand which of its parts are currently touching the ground. Even your muscles and sensory receptors in your joints can tell a lot about your movement.

All of these different systems work together constantly to send information to your brain about your body and its current state of motion. Your brain is like a powerful supercomputer. Scientists know that it takes all of these different pieces of information and instantly puts together an ongoing, changing picture of what you’re doing.

If your brain gets mixed signals, though, motion sickness can be the result. For example, if you’re riding on a boat and reading a book, your inner ears will tell your brain that you’re moving. However, your eyes (focused on the book) and your muscles (sitting) may tell your brain that you’re still. This disconnect can lead to seasickness.

If you tend to get motion sickness frequently, here are a few things you can do to help the situation:

  • Keep your eyes focused outside. Avoid reading. Instead, focus on objects in the distance. This helps your eyes communicate the fact that you’re moving to your brain.
  • Always sit facing forward. If your eyes and ears sense movement from different directions (like when you’re sitting backwards), it can confuse your brain and make you feel worse.
  • Reduce movement as much as possible. The middle of cars, airplanes, boats and trains tend to move less than the outer edges. If you sit toward the middle whenever possible, you’ll reduce the sense of motion as much as possible.

If you feel nauseous from motion sickness, try to stop your movement completely. If you can’t stop the movement, your sickness may get worse and you might have to throw up. If you get motion sickness consistently, you may be able to get special medicine from your parents that will help prevent it.

118 Join the Discussion

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    • We think that’s a super smart guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, Rahul! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis in the morning to see if your guess is correct! :-)

  1. Once I was sea-sick on a ferry. I was looking down at the water and it made me feel all sick to my stomach. Another cause of seasickness is when the boat is going steady then all of the sudden lurches forward, backward, or side-to-side.

    • We’re sorry you were ill from motion sickness on that ferry trip, Jacklyn! Thanks for sharing your story with us, though, so other Wonder Friends might understand a bit more about today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Thank you for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder, Caelah! Unfortunately, some people get car sick…we’re sorry you are one of those people lately. Try some of the tips from today’s Wonder and see if they help! :-)

    • We think it’s great that you shared your tip to relieve motion sickness with everyone in Wonderopolis, Hannah! You are a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  2. Hello Wonderopolis, it’s me again. Sorry it’s been so long. I have finally started Baseball season. Isn’t that great? I have only won 1 game out of 3, but that will change. But anyway, back to the article. I have never gotten air, sea, or car sicknesses before, but I have gotten home sickness. I went to Colorado for a week with my grandparents but not with my mom. So that’s why. But, yeah, I am sorry but I have to go. See you guys later.

    • We know the baseball season will pick up for you and your team, Austin! We believe in you! Thank you for sharing that you don’t get motion sickness. We think a LOT of Wonder Friends have experienced homesickness before, just like you. We know we have. When you are away from the comfort of your home and the love of your family and friends, it can make you feel sad. Isn’t it a WONDERful feeling when you get to return home, though? We think so! :-)

    • Hello, Keundra! We really appreciate you visiting Wonderopolis and sharing your thoughts about motion sickness today…THANK YOU! :-)

  3. I don’t like having motion sickness even though I don’t think I have ever had motion sickness. The other day, I was home sick because I was up vomiting all night. This wonder of the day is nasty.

    • We sure appreciate your opinion of today’s Wonder, Cassidy! We thank you, too, for sharing your experience with not having motion sickness before! :-)

    • Feeling ill is certainly a big part of motion sickness, Shundee! We invite you to explore today’s Wonder to learn even MORE about it! :-)

  4. I have never had motion sickness before. I feel sorry for Jaclyn and how she got sea sick. I bet it wasn’t fun, but I have had the norovirus before and it wasn’t fun AT ALL!!!!!!

    • We agree with you that having the norovirus is NO FUN, Emma! Who wants to feel sick to their stomach? Not us…we’ve got too much WONDERing to do! Thank you for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

  5. I love horses, in fact I’m going to ride them today, so yeah, I think the wonder is going to be about horses tomorrow, too. I know what motion sickness is, because it has happened to me before!!!! :) I LOVE WONDEROPOLIS!!! :)

    • Happy Thursday, Kamryn! We think it’s AWESOME that you love horses and that you think tomorrow’s Wonder might be about them! We will both have to wait and see, though! Have a GREAT day! :-)

    • Thanks for another great comment, Madison, and also for letting us know a little about how you and your family like to travel on vacation!

      Madison’s comment today + Madison’s enthusiasm for Wonder every day = One WONDERful Wonder Friend! :-)

  6. It’s when you move and you get sick. I went to the park and I got on this little thing that turns and my brother spun me so FAST I got sick and could not hang on and then I stood up and fell. It was so so so FUNNY… ha ha ha ha ha

    • That’s a perfect example of motion sickness, Gloria! Some Wonder Friends get motion sickness by swinging on swings at the park, too. We appreciate you sharing your story with us today! :-)

    • That’s a REALLY awesome guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, Stefani and KD! We want you guys to know…we think it ROCKS that you always try your best to guess what the next day’s Wonder of the Day® will be about! You are BOTH really SUPER Wonder Friends! :-)

    • We think that could happen, Ellen, if the sibling was bigger than you were, and they spun you around, around and around! Thanks for asking such a great question and helping our Wonder brains work a little bit harder today! :-)

    • Happy Thursday, Devan! There are several Wonder Friends (like YOU!) who think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about horses! We WONDER if your guesses are correct? We can’t wait to find out! :-)

  7. A lot of people in our class get motion sickness 7/17. Where do you get all of your information? Are you more likely to get seasick or airsick or carsick? We think tomorrow’s wonder may involve horses or unicorns. Do you ever get motion sickness? We hope you have a wonderful day!

    • Thanks for asking if we ever get motion sickness, Mr. Draper’s Class! The answer is…once we did! We got motion sickness when we went on a really wild boat ride on beautiful Lake Wonderopolis! It was super windy and the waves were HUGE! All of that made for a not-so-fun ride around the lake, but we recovered nicely!

      We search LOTS of places for the best information, videos, and activity links to make each new Wonder of the Day® the best it can be for all of our AMAZING Wonder Friends! We’re glad you guys enjoy exploring Wonders and learning new things just like we do! :-)

    • That’s some really clever thinking, Eli! We don’t know what tomorrow’s Wonder will be about, but we LOVE all these guesses you and our other AWESOME Wonder Friends are sharing with us about it today! :-)

    • We’re super sorry to hear that, John! :-( Maybe you can try some of the helpful tips in today’s Wonder the next time you have to travel. We hope some of them work for you! Thank you for sharing about your motion sickness today…you are a WONDERful Wonder Friend! :-)

  8. I get homesick a lot. Sometimes I even start crying. {I’m a little bit embarrassed saying it out loud.}

    • That’s a perfectly normal reaction to being homesick, Caelah! You shouldn’t feel embarrassed at all…LOTS of Wonder Friends (including many of us here in Wonderopolis) have felt the same way when we have been away from our home and loved ones and have expressed our homesickness by shedding a few tears! Thank you for sharing your comment with us today…you are a SUPER, SPECTACULAR, STELLAR Wonder Friend! :-)

  9. I’ve gotten motion sickness before from an 8 hour flight from Germany back to America. Luckily, someone offered us a bottle of this anti air sickness medicine. It took a while to kick in but at least it worked. I almost got sea sick on a cruise once, but luckily we brought medicine for that, too.

    • That was really nice of that person on your flight to help you, Clayton! We think having motion sickness for 8 straight hours is something we would NOT like to experience! Thank you for sharing your personal connections to this Wonder of the Day®! YOU ROCK! :-)

  10. I get motion sickness all the time, about every hour, but I found a temporary cure. Just eat food and you will feel better. I just wonder why I get motion sickness?

    • We’re super sorry you’re feeling ill so much, Truckerbuddy. We think it would be a REALLY AWESOME idea to let your parents or doctor know you are feeling sick so often. They can help you find out what might be causing your illness. We care about all of our Wonder Friends and worry about you, so promise us you’ll let your parents know, OK?

  11. We got motion sickness from today’s wonder video clip!! At least now we know why!

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about horses.

    • We’re sorry today’s Wonder video might have made you guys a little queasy, Miss Kirsten’s Kindergarten GT Class! We admit there were a LOT of twists and turns! Thanks for sharing another AMAZING comment with us today, and THANKS for taking a guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, too…we think your guess is GREAT! :-)

  12. Dear Wonderopolis,
    We never knew we had liquid in our ears! We wonder what the liquid looks like! We tried the spinning in our room to see what it feels like to have motion sickness and it worked! Luckily we feel better now. We can’t wait to gallop into tomorrow’s wonder.

    Thanks for the wonders!

    First Grade

    • WOW! We think it ROCKS that you guys tried the spinning trick to see what motion sickness feels like, Room 4-First Grade! It takes a little while to start to feel better, doesn’t it? Can you imagine what it would feel like to have motion sickness like that for an extended period of time? Thank you for letting us know you learned something new by exploring today’s Wonder! We think you guys are AWESOME! :-)

  13. A weird question, but what do you mean by “website” when your filling out your name and e-mail address before you leave your comment?

    • That’s not a weird question at all, Caelah! WONDERing about or questioning something means you want to learn more…and learning makes you smarter! Sometimes Wonder Friends have their own website (like professionals who are experts about a subject, or a classroom full of Wonder Friends) and that is just a place they can let us know where their site can be found. :-)

  14. What’s weird about homesickness for me, is I only really start crying when I’m @ my Grammy’s house. Not at some of my friends’ houses from school when I went to their houses for sleep overs.

    • Thank you for sharing more about when you feel homesick, Caelah! It’s still perfectly normal to feel sad! Sleepovers are filled with non-stop fun and friendship, so you might not be thinking about how much you miss home as often. :-)

  15. Hey guys, you haven’t heard from me in a while but where do you guys live (but don’t say Wonderopolis, ok?) Heh, heh, but I guessed right. My teacher, Mrs. T, makes us guess what the wonder will be and I got it, people on here. It’s like a guessing game or something like that, but I never had this much fun! Did I say that this is my 5th or 6th week here? I never used so much computers and i pods and i pads this RRRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • It makes us SUPER happy to hear that you are having so much fun learning with some AWESOME technology like computers, iPads and iPods, Dominic! It makes us even happier to know that you visit Wonderopolis using that technology!

      We’re proud of you for guessing today’s Wonder…way to go! We can tell you that we live in Wonderopolis (we know you said not to say that, but it’s totally TRUE!). We hope you have a WONDERful day…thanks for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • We like that guess a lot, Jelin! Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us today…we’ll see you again tomorrow! :-)

    • A blog is a GREAT example of a website to use in that part of the comment box, Caelah! It’s GREAT that you have your own blog! Sharing what we think about things is FUN…that’s why we like hearing from our Wonder Friends though comments to our Wonders of the Day! :-)

    • WOW! Your blog ROCKS, Caelah! We loved learning all those cool new words and also seeing that you blogged about what you learn when you visit Wonderopolis! Thank you for sharing it with us! :-)

    • We think it’s really neat that you already had background knowledge about motion sickness, Emily! Thank you for sharing your comment with us and also for letting us know you thought today’s Wonder was cool! :-)

    • Hello, KF Dragons friends! Happy Thursday! We thank you for letting us know what you guys thought about the video for today’s Wonder…it was really fast, we agree! :-)

    • It sure was, Abby! We thought it was fun to come along for the ride though, didn’t you? Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Hi, Randall! Thank you for leaving us another comment today! We appreciate your opinion and we hope you had a GREAT time learning about motion sickness in Wonderopolis! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing that you like the music in the video for today’s Wonder, Mary! We appreciate hearing from you today! :-)

    • Hello, D & M! We’re sorry your teacher suffers from motion sickness. We hope she feels better soon! Thank you for checking out today’s Wonder and for leaving us this GREAT comment! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know you think visiting Wonderopolis is AWESOME, Sydney! We really appreciate hearing that! We’re sorry your dad gets motion sickness sometimes. Maybe he can try some of the helpful tips in this Wonder of the Day® the next time he travels! :-)

    • Hi, Cody! We’re super sorry that you get motion sickness a lot. There are some WONDERful tips in this Wonder that might be able to help you not feel so ill the next time you take a ride in the car! Thank you for leaving us another GREAT comment and sharing a little about yourself! :-)

  16. I love the tunes, too, wonderopolis. I can’t wait until tommorrow’s wonder of the day!! We do this every single day and I love it. :-)

    • It makes us super happy to hear that you stop by Wonderopolis every day, Miranda! It’s SUPER fun to learn new things here, isn’t it? :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your feelings about this Wonder of the Day®, Keown! We appreciate your comment and your opinion! We hope you’ll visit Wonderopolis again very soon! :-)

  17. This is my first time on wonderopolis. My teacher told us about it. I really like it. Do you have info about space?

    • Welcome to Wonderopolis, Baylee! We’re so glad your teacher introduced you to our Wonders of the Day! We have LOTS of past Wonders about SPACE! You can visit one or all of them by clicking on this link: http://wonderopolis.org/category/space/. Just scroll down the page to see all the SPACE-related Wonders, and also use the arrows at the bottom of the page to explore even more! :-)

    • Thanks so much for letting us know, Rahul! We appreciate your comments very much and are SUPER happy you like to visit Wonderopolis and learn new things with us each day! We’ll talk to you again on May 7th! :-)

    • That’s AWESOME, Alex! Happy early birthday! We WONDER what WONDERFul WONDER we will be WONDERing about on May 7th? :-)

    • Happy birthday, tennisong4s! Thanks for sharing that you left us a comment today! We appreciate you stopping by Wonderopolis and learning something new with us today! :-)

    • The video is fast and the driver makes a lot of turns, we agree, Gracie! We thought it was REALLY fun to watch, though! It was almost like riding a roller coaster! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your experience watching the video for this Wonder, Haylee! We’re sorry you felt ill after watching it. We hope you’ll visit another Wonder of the Day® very soon! :-)

    • We know quite a few Wonder Friends who also get motion sickness from trying to read while in a moving car, Morgan! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®. We appreciate your comment! :-)

    • That’s ANOTHER GREAT question, Olivia! The people who made the video sped it up on the computer so that we could see a long period of time in just a short period of time. It is called a time-lapsed video, because a lot of time “lapsed” in such a short amount of video! :-)

  18. I once got motion sickness when I was on vacation. :-( This actuly was on a plane when this happened. :-( I like this video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @@@@:-)

    • We know that wasn’t any fun at all to be ill on a plane ride, Julie. :-( Thanks for sharing your personal experience with this Wonder of the Day® today! We hope your motion sickness didn’t last very long!

  19. I get carsick all the time. Something that helps me is to have cold air blowing on me. Also, my family takes a lot of road trips. So I take medicine to make my carsickness better.

    • We’re glad that you’ve found something to help you from feeling sick, Lauren! We bet the combination of medicine and cold air makes your family road trips much more enjoyable! Thanks for sharing your comment with us– we appreciate it! :)

    • Hey Hannah! Reading while riding in the car can definitely affect you. We are glad you know about it now and can prevent it! What kind of books do you like to read on long trips? Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :)

  20. I loved reading about Motion Sickness. I learned a lot of new things! I think the next wonder of the day will be something about bugs particularly spiders up close! :)

    • WONDERful, Megan! We are so glad that you enjoyed this Wonder! Check back with us tomorrow to find out if your Wonder Prediction was correct! Keep WONDERing! :-)

  21. I loved reading about motion sickness. I have never been seasick or motion sick but some of my friends have. The’ve told me it’s NOT fun! How do you guys come up with all these wonders? I think the next wonder of the day will be something about Horses ;)

    • We agree, Meggie! Motion sickness does NOT sound like fun to us, either! Did you know that we get a lot of our Wonder ideas from people just like you? You can submit Wonder Questions by going to the “What Are You Wondering?” section of the site. Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :-)

  22. Thank you for this wonder now I know why I get motion sickness and I can’t read in the car. I also heard if you tilt your head to the side while moving it helps with it to, at least it helps me!

    • WONDERful, Raelee! Whatever helps to keep you from getting motion sickness is a good thing. Good luck, Wonder Friend! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is motion sickness?
  • What is kinetosis?
  • What can you do to avoid or cure motion sickness?

Wonder Gallery

swinging_shutterstock_4396936dreamstime_xl_34617962 customdreamstime_xl_10250901 customdreamstime_xl_5205587 customVimeo Video

Try It Out

Does the world feel like it’s spinning around you? We hope not! Find a few friends or family members that will help you keep your feet on the ground and explore one or more of the following activities:

  • Have you ever experienced motion sickness? If you’re not sure, you might be wondering what it feels like. You can simulate the experience of motion sickness by spinning rapidly in a circle with your eyes closed. Stop suddenly and open your eyes. That dizzy feeling that sweeps over you is what motion sickness feels like to many people! Now can you imagine feeling like that every time you travel in a car, for example?
  • Do you experience motion sickness regularly? If you do, here are some helpful tips that might make you feel better:
    • Focus your eyes far away in the distance and don’t read.
    • Rest your head against something soft and keep it as still as possible.
    • If you regularly get sick when traveling, ask your parents about taking an antihistamine pill at least 30 minutes prior to travel.
    • If you become nauseous, eat crackers and drink a carbonated drink to make your stomach feel better.
  • Can you create a video that will give viewers a genuine feeling of what motion sickness is like? You could create a point-of-view video of what it’s like to ride a roller coaster. You could hold a smartphone with video capability and spin in circles. You can be as creative as you want to be! Brainstorm some ideas of situations in which you would likely feel motion sickness. Then figure out how you could create a video that captures one or more of those situations. Think you can create an interesting video that captures the essence of motion sickness? Share it with your Wonder Friends by posting it on the Wonderopolis SchoolTube channel. Have fun!

Still Wondering

In Science NetLinks’ Making Objects Move lesson, children study the motion of objects in order to create a structure that can be used to move an object from one place to another.

Test Your Knowledge

Wonder What’s Next?

Get up close and personal with a creepy crawler in tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.