How to Avoid Motion Sickness While Rafting?

Rafting is one of the most popular outdoor water activities in the United States. If you have a hankering for adventure and a desire for an adrenaline rush, Grand Canyon River Rafting Trips would certainly suit your fancy, and then some! Believe us, you won’t be disappointed in the excitement level provided on these Colorado river trips. The Grand Canyon is a perfect place for this kind of outdoor sport, even for those who experience motion sickness while on a raft trip or boat tour. Why? Because on these whitewater trips, it’s highly improbable that you’ll get motion sickness while rafting on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. In between rapids, there is no rocking from side to side or up-and-down as the water is smooth like glass. The current is a steady 3-4 mph beneath but you wouldn't know it by the looks of the still water.  The rapids are a different story however. Rapids commonly last between 15-45 seconds and can be quite exciting, and bumpy and hence likely to cause motion sickness symptoms. As soon as you've successfully rafted through them however, you're back to smooth relaxing water, soaking in the sun and taking in the majestic views!

If, however, you find yourself on another river that isn't quite as smooth or on a boat in the ocean, you shouldn’t forget about the potential motion sickness that can occur.  Have a read below, be in the know before you head out on your next raft trip and learn how to prevent motion sickness or at least minimize its severity if you’re prone to this problem.

What Causes Motion Sickness?

Being rather a common problem  that can occur while travelling by car, airplane or train, motion sickness is known to be experienced more frequently on boat trips and while sailing.. Researchers say that motion sickness is caused by the imbalance in our body’s sensory system (the imbalance between the eyes, inner ear, and spinal cord). This incongruence confuses the brain and can cause some symptoms. How long motion sickness can last is another common question but there’s no single answer to this and it may depend on several factors such as your physical condition, age, severity of the movement or your proneness, being pregnant and so on.

Motion Sickness Symptoms

Keep in mind that being on a boat, rafting through big bumpy rapids may trigger motion sickness symptoms even if you don’t get sick normally. Below are the common symptoms of motion sickness that might occur regardless of the type of travel:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Salivation
  • Sweating


However, you can do some things beforehand to avoid or prevent  motion sickness.


Get good rest: If you’re going to river rafting, but you’re afraid of motion sickness, you should know that a nice rest prior to starting your river adventure can definitely help you avoid motion sickness. Get plenty of rest on the eve of your trip and, of course, get a good night’s sleep because when your body and mind are well-rested, they are better able to handle the stressors and high-stress situations as well.

Never go rafting on a full or empty stomach: You should have a little (not too much) in your stomach if you want to enjoy rafting and prevent the symptoms of motion sickness. Try to eat a light, healthy snack before getting on the boat because it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid unwanted side effects of motion sickness.

Don’t drink alcohol before your rafting trip: Alcohol can stimulate motion sickness and usually make your symptoms worse. So, you should try to avoid drinking before rafting at all costs.

How to Prevent  Motion Sickness?

If you’re already on the boat rafting through the wild white waters, but still, you’re afraid of experiencing motion sickness and its awful symptoms, here are some motion sickness remedies that can help you overcome or deal with it during your rafting trip so that you can enjoy your adventure..

Focus on the horizon:  When the boat is going, it will be better to keep your eyes focused just on the horizon. The horizon is the only thing that is stationary. So when everything is moving around you, looking at the horizon will help you restore your internal equilibrium.

Chew ginger: Many studies have shown that ginger is one of the best natural remedies for treating the symptoms of motion sickness. Ginger hard candy or ginger capsules can help you reduce the effect of motion sickness when you go river rafting.

Drink plenty of water: Dehydration can exacerbate motion sickness during your river trip. Drink a lot of water while rafting to be sure that your body is really well-hydrated.

Eat salt crackers: Eating saltines can help you reduce most symptoms of motion sickness. Perhaps it isn’t the most convenient way to eat crackers while rafting but you should pack some saltines on your river trip just in case.

How to Stop Motion Sickness After It Starts?

There might be situations that you can’t really avoid motion sickness during your rafting trip but you still want to raft. So what to do to stop it or that it doesn’t get worse, especially if you’re someone who experiences severe motion sickness no matter what? Here you go:

Motion Sickness Medication

Don’t forget about medicine… When it comes to motion sickness, you can also use some medicines for treating this problem such as Bonine and Dramamine.

Bonine and Dramamine: If you know that you’re a person who is prone to motion sickness, you can take pills to overcome such an unpleasant problem while rafting. You should take a pill one hour before you start because, in this case, medicine method will be most effective. However, don’t forget about side effects including drowsiness and be very careful.

Motion Sickness Patch

One more effective way to relieve motion sickness is using Scopolamine patches. They are commonly worn behind the ears at least three hours before you start rafting. These patches contain medicine that secretes into your skin and prevents the symptoms of motion sickness.

Motion Sickness Bands

You can also try an acupressure wrist band to soothe motion sickness when you’re in a moving boat. Such a nice wrist has a special small button with the help of which you can press on an acupressure point on your wrist to ease motion sickness symptoms during your river trip.

Bottom Line: How to Stop Motion Sickness?

It may be surprising to some but autosuggestion is the only way you can stop this problem. You must get in the habit of convincing yourself (convince your brain!) that you simply won’t succumb to getting motion sickness any longer. This means that every time you’re going river rafting, you can quickly solve this problem by telling yourself “I don’t experience motion sickness! That’s not me!”

Written by Helen Rogers, editor of The CrossFit Shoes