Autism and Travel Sickness

Travelling can be a thrilling and exhilarating experience. However, for some individuals, it can be quite challenging, especially those who live with autism. Autism and travel sickness often go hand-in-hand, and it is an issue that can make travelling a difficult task for individuals and their families.

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate, socialize, and interact with others. Individuals with autism have various challenges in areas of social communication and interaction, along with restricted and repetitive behaviors or interests. It is classified as a spectrum disorder because the severity of the disorder can vary from person to person.

What is Travel Sickness?

Travel sickness is a common issue that affects many individuals, regardless of whether they have autism or not. It is characterized by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches. It is usually caused by motion, such as in moving vehicles, boats, or airplanes. These symptoms can be very debilitating, making travelling a very unpleasant experience.

Why are Individuals with Autism Prone to Travel Sickness?

There are several reasons why individuals with autism are more prone to travel sickness. Sensory processing issues, such as a sensitivity to motion, can make travelling a difficult experience. Additionally, some individuals with autism may have difficulty communicating their symptoms, making it challenging to find the right treatment for them. Another reason is a lack of predictability, which can cause anxiety and overwhelm individuals with autism.

What are the Tips for Travelling with Individuals with Autism and Travel Sickness?

Travelling with individuals with autism and travel sickness can be a daunting task. However, there are several things that families and caregivers can do to make the experience more pleasant. Below are some tips to consider when travelling with an individual with autism and travel sickness:

Pack Comfort Items:

Travelling can be an overwhelming experience for an individual with autism. Packing comfort items such as headphones, music, weighted blankets can make the experience more comfortable and familiar.

Choose the Right Mode of Transportation:

The mode of transportation can make a significant difference when it comes to travelling with an individual with autism and travel sickness. Choosing a mode of transportation that is less bumpy, such as a train or a boat, can reduce the symptoms. Additionally, choosing a seat that reduces the visibility of motion can help.

Plan Your Route:

Individuals with autism may have difficulty with change and unpredictability. Planning your route beforehand can reduce anxiety and make the experience more predictable for them.

Consider Medication:

Medication can help alleviate the symptoms of travel sickness, but it is essential to consult a healthcare provider before using any medication.

Practice Beforehand:

Practicing travelling by short rides or trips beforehand in small doses can help to reduce anxiety and help individuals cope better.

In Conclusion,

Autism and travel sickness can make travelling a difficult experience for individuals and their families. However, by understanding the reasons behind this issue and following the tips above, it is possible to make travelling a more comfortable and manageable experience. With the right preparation and planning, individuals with autism and travel sickness can enjoy travelling and explore the world comfortably.


What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by social and communication problems, as well as repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. It affects people differently, and some individuals with autism may have heightened reactions to visual or auditory stimuli, which can make traveling particularly difficult for them.

What is Travel Sickness?

Travel sickness, also known as motion sickness, is a condition where a person experiences nausea and vomiting when traveling by car, boat, or airplane. It is caused by a conflict between the senses, as the inner ear detects motion, but the eyes do not, leading to confusion in the brain and resulting in symptoms such as dizziness, sweating, and headaches.

How can Autism and Travel Sickness be managed when traveling?

Traveling can be a challenge for individuals with autism and those who experience travel sickness. To manage autism, it is important to plan ahead and inform the travel company or airline of any special needs or requirements. Bringing along familiar objects or sensory items can also help ease anxiety and discomfort. For travel sickness, medication such as antihistamines or scopolamine can be prescribed by a doctor to reduce symptoms. Other methods such as avoiding alcohol and heavy meals before travel, sitting in a front seat, and focusing on a fixed point in the distance can also be helpful.


1. Isik, U., & Ceylan, M. F. (2020). The relationship between travel sickness and autism spectrum disorder. The European Journal of Psychiatry, 34(4), 167-171.

2. Milović, A., & John, S. (2019). The impact of autism spectrum disorder on motion sickness susceptibility during simulated driving. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49(9), 3584-3595.

3. Wang, J., Baranek, G. T., & Boyd, B. A. (2019). Exploring the prevalence and phenomenology of gastrointestinal symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49(9), 3781-3793.