Seasickness!

The thought of being seasick can put a lot of people of a cruise experience.

Although I am lucky that I am not susceptible to the problem I know a lot of people that are, including my wife, but only in really bad weather.

The Cause

Seasickness is really motion sickness, that occurs on a boat.

It happens because your brain gets confused because your sense of balance and your eyes tell it different things, and with constant motion it doesn’t have time to adjust..

Here are a few thoughts on the problem

Things Are Improving

Modern ships with computer controlled stabilisers roll much less than cruise ships of the past.

Better weather forecasting means ships are more likely to avoid really bad weather

When You Book

There are a few things you can do when you start to plan a cruise holiday

  • Outside cabin are best so you get a good view of a stable horizon, which reduces the brains confusion.
  • The closer to the middle of the ship your cabin is the better, as it will move less.
  • Larger ships will be less affected by the waves.
  • Consider cruises with more port days, rather than days at sea.

On the Ship

There are a number of tips also designed to help you acclimatise yourself to sea life:

  • Spending plenty of time on deck, and look at the horizon not at the waves .
  • When inside try to be close to a window, and again watch the horizon.
  • Stay in bed for a day as lying down can help.

Drug-free Cures

I’m not a fan of taking drugs so here are a some drug-free remedies that many regular cruisers say work including:

  • Sea-Bands These are acupuncture-inspired wristbands, which have a plastic bead that presses against a pressure point on the inside of your wrist.
  • Chewing gum
  • Ginger Either in tablet form or just chewing a stem of fresh ginger.

Finally avoid others who may be suffering: as the sounds and smell of them being sick could set you off.

Medical Cures

Most ships will have range of over the counter drugs that help reduce seasickness including:

  • Scopolamine
  • Meclizine
  • Diphenhydramine

If you’re taking any of these drugs it’s important to check any side effects particularly as you may be drinking alcohol.

Avoid Big Bank Notes

In Australia I have got used to paying with credit and debit cards, and not having much cash, but it can be different in many countries.

It not just the developing world, or when you are buying street food, where you need to have cash.

Japan is just one of many first world country that still prefers cash.

Think Before You order

When you order currency, or buy at a currency exchange, make sure you get plenty of small value notes.

There are not many small shops that will want to take this 200 Euro bank note for a 2 Euro bottle of water. (There are still 500 Euro notes around, but they are currently being withdrawn)

Value Not The Number

Not all notes with a high number on them are that valuable.

This 500,000 rial note would probably buy you a burger and chips with a drink in Iran.

Even a Vietnamese 500,000 dong note is only worth around AU$35 (US$25)

A good size of note is one around the value that would buy a Big Mac in that country.

You can check the amount@ the Big Mac Index

More Bad Travel Hacks

Here are a couple more ‘Travel Hacks’ I have seen but I won’t be using:

Pack A Towel

Followers of the ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ are told they ‘should always know where their towel is at’, but I haven’t packed a proper towel for 20 years.

I did try those travel towels about 15 years ago but didn’t find them very effective. (I suppose they are OK if you are camping)

As far as I am concerned the hotel provides towels for your room; and for the hotel pool.

If you go to the beach just buy a cheap towel locally and leave it behind when you move on.

Dress Smartly You Might Get An Upgrade

I have previously mentioned how unlikely are your chances of an upgrade.

On the occasions when I have got an upgrade I have been wearing runners, chinos, or jeans and a casual shirt.

Much more comfortable for long haul travel than a suit. . . . especially if you don’t get that upgrade!

Any other travel hacks you won’t be using?

Where Is the Car?

Have you ever had trouble finding your car at the airport?

One time when I was often travelling for work I went through Melbourne Airport on 9 consecutive days.

I had no idea where my car was by the end.

That is when I started using my camera phone to take a photo of the car park location.

Always make sure that either there is car park zone sign in the background of the picture, or take a photo of the nearest sign!

I have been using this travel hack for around six years and never lost a car since.

Budapest

Buda at night

The two original cities of Buda, and Pest, which lie either side of the Danube make up the spectacular modern city.

Pest from the Budapest Eye

History

The history of Hungary is one of being fought over for hundreds of years.

In spite of the destruction that has occured in the past that there are many interesting places to explore, many that have been restored several times.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Dohany Street Synagogue
  • Main Market Hall
  • Matthias Church
  • Hospital in the Rock
  • Hungarian Parliament (from the outside)

Holocaust

In the last couple of years of World War II over 500,000 Jewish people were murdered in Hungary.

They are remembered with several memorials; including this shoe sculpture on the banks of the Danube.

Check the Offbeat Budapest website for more information on this and other poignant memorials.

Bars

Budapest has a big bar scene particularly around the old ‘Jewish Quarter’ with bars every few metres in that area.

Ruin Bar before the crowds

One thing that I have never seen before, which are common in Budapest are ‘Ruin Bars’.

They are literally set up in partially ruined building with an eclectic range of furniture that looks as though it has been rescued from the dump.

The bar scene does mean that on weekends Budapest fills up with groups of men, and groups of women, from all over Europe on pre-wedding parties.

Money

The currency in Hungary is the ‘Forint’ written HUF.

While in Budapest; most transaction can be carried out with a bank or debit card.

At many, but not all businesses, euros can be used although the change will be in forint. (some businesses will take euro notes, but not coins)

Turn ‘Lay Overs’ into ‘Stay Overs’

When you are travelling long haul you will normally need to stop at least once.

These ‘lay overs’ can be anything from an hour to 12+ hours.

Instead of hanging around the airport for hours why not book into a hotel for a couple of days and see a different city, or country.

Popular Stay Over Locations

Travelling from Australia to Europe I have had stay overs in :

Flying between Australia and North America I have stayed over at:

  • New Zealand
  • Hawaii
  • Los Angeles when flying from the East Coast of the USA.

Advantages of Stay Overs

  • An extra place to experience.
  • Helps reduce the effects of ‘Jet Lag’.
  • Two 8-10 hour flights with a couple of day rest in the middle are a lot easier on the body than 20 or more hours continuous travelling.
  • In some cases it can actually save you money.
  • Less stress about missing a connecting flight.

Saving Money

When you are planning a long haul flight don’t just look at direct flights look at flights that may take in another city close to the route.

Its not impossible on some routes to make up to a 40% saving, which could pay for a couple of nights hotel stay!

My Personal Stay Over Travel Hack

Having been caught out several times with immigration delays on entering the USA I now always arrange to stay over at least one day at the city that I fly into.