Decided against Flying to Europe

Hi Everyone,

I live in California and a good friend of mine wanted me to join him on a trip to Germany, Italy and Austria and i gave it some thought but at the end decided against it. I just didn’t want to take any chances on a very long flight…Stress at the airports, etc. It could provoke a Vertigo episode or increased motion and then that would ruin my trip. When i have the slightest vertigo attack it takes sometimes 2 or more days to become funcitonal again. I wish that i could have gone but all in all i think i made the best choice. After 18 years of this horrid condition and 70-75% improved i really don’t need any serious setbacks.

Is there anyone else out there that won’t take any chances on a trip that requires a long plane flight?



Hi Joseph

I’m gutted for you. Truly. And if you’ve had asked I would’ve said GO - nothing ventured nothing gained and I know how much this disgusting illness has robbed all of us of already.

However, I am STILL determined to move back to New Zealand this year. I hope I can make some headway with my meds and then head off in Sept (that’s the dream anyway). I am also flying to Abu Dhabi in May as my brother/sister-in-law/niece live there but that is only a 7 hr flight from London.

Maybe you could’ve had this conversation with your doctor and discussed sleeping tablets, valium or something else in addition to the Xanax you take to help calm the system. I take Valium on every flight anyway because I have a fear of flying.

Travelling the world is my life. I’ve lived in 4 different countries and travelled to some 55 places on the globe including 25 of the States in the USA. I REFUSE for the biggest dream I live for to be derailed by MAV.

J, I know you’re scared. And the rocking is enough to make you want to jump off a bridge (well, it does me anyway), but Germany, Italy etc… breathtaking… Europe is a jewel in the crown.

Do you have time to think it through some more and discuss it with your doc? And if you’re passing through London, you are welcome at my home to rest - anytime.

God bless xx

Hi Joe,

I’m really sorry you are missing out on this great trip, but I also do understand why you have turned it down. I’m also very nervous about flying and haven’t gone on a flight since I’ve been really bad. I don’t like it at the best of times, and I suppose I’m never really 100% sure of my diagnosis, so I feel worried that I may have something that could be made worse. I am supposed to go to a conference in the USA later this year, but am still trying to pluck up courage to fly. I am particularly worried about going outside of Europe, as my travel insurance won’t cover me for a pre-existing condition.

However, if you had asked me before you turned it down, I would have tried to have encouraged you to go for it. Which I know might seem a bit hypocritical, but I wouldn’t want to pass on my own fears/insecurities to anyone else, and also I promise you that EVERYONE I have met on dizzy forums who has plucked up the courage to fly has been ok. A few people like to have something like valium to help them, but others have managed fine with nothing at all.

I also had fears about travelling by train and bus, as when I was really bad, I had some bad experiences on these, but now I am mostly recovered, I am pleased to report that I have managed both without any problems. I assume it will probably be the same with flying - I just need to pluck up the courage to do it!

You couldn’t do the trip but fly to the UK first, could you? I’d happily come and rescue you from the airport if you had any problems! Besides, why would you want to go to those other European countries without going to the best one of all? :wink:

Sorry you had to make that decision, I know it was a tough one. I was invited to go to Maui this summer and i think I am going to go for it. I am a little nervous because this all started when I got back from my last trip to Hawaii. I worry how I will feel and if it will cause the spins and I will have to start over this long recover process. But I don’t care, I’m going. If I pass out, then hell I am passing out in Hawaii.


Hi Joseph

That’s a shame that you’ve decided not to visit Europe. Italy, particularly Florence, is my favourite place in the world. However I understand your fears. I was terrified of flying after the MAV started particularly since I already have problems with the change of air pressure when the planes land. it causes extremely bad pain in my ears, so bad sometime my entire face hurts.

However this September, I went to Kenya which involved an hour journey to London Gatwick, 2 hours checking in, a 9 hour flight and a final 2 hour journey to the hotel. I was really nervous but I had paid too much and gone through too many holiday vaccinations not to go. Tiredness is one of my main triggers and I thought I would lose the first few days, possibly the entire week of my holiday to MAV. particularly as I had just gone through 2 of the busiest weeks of the year at work and my vertigo was already a bit worse than normal. But I decided I had to try, I couldn’t let the fear of MAV stop me living my life. And after all that worrying and nervousness, Flying didn’t make my usual mild vertigo any worse and Kenya and the two day safari trip was amazing! In fact for a good few weeks after the holiday, I felt much better than my usual dizzyness as the holiday gave me the chance to totally relax and take a much needed break from work, cooking, cleaning etc. Flying does affect some people on this board but not everyone. It’d be a shame to miss out on the trip of a lifetime, can you build in a rest period at the start where you just relax at a hotel to allow any increased vertigo to pass?


Thanks Everyone,

I honestly have no regrets. My friend came back about a week ago and yesterday out of the blue i had a vertigo attack which i rarely get anymore and now i wasn’t able to go to work today…equlibrium really bad, lots and lots of motion like i’m on a boat. Some (not all) vertigo attacks leave me mostly homebound for 2-3 days…sometimes longer. So can you imagine if i were to arrive in Europe and had a vertigo attack…if it’s a fairly bad one all i would want to do is stay in the hotel. Europe is very costly so i can’t take the chance. I do fly from California to Kansas City or New Mexico on occasion with little or no problems. It’s not that i’m scared to be in a plane, it’s the long flight of many hours and feeling very tired, jet lag …and that could very well trigger a vertigo episode. Years back i always ended up vommiting when i had vertigo…but the last few years for the most part i don’t get very sick. I am so motion sensitive i will leave this earth one day and never have taken a Cruise Ship. I know for sure i would get sick. I"m the unlucky guy who had motion sickness as a kid…driving thru curvey mountains or fishing on a small boat or carnival rides. I’ve never out grown it.

Thanks again for your input.


Hey Joe,

I’m sorry to hear you had to knock back this trip. I think I would have gone myself and just loaded up with Valium as the “ace up my sleeve” but we’re all different with this and while one person may be able to stand the level of vertigo and discomfort, I get that for others it may be a far worse experience and just not worth the drama. Still, it would be brilliant for you to see these places once in this life time and I would have encouraged you to go. I think if I were you and were to plan this down the track again, you’d have to have contingency plans in place to fall back on to give you peace of mind – such as having enough time to get over the jet lag and any potential attacks that may come and just know that it’s OK if it happened. Just lie low for a few days and get on with the trip type thing afterwards. This happened to me in Thailand over a year ago and I just told my friends that I had to have a “day off” doing absolutely nothing but lying on the beach or in my bungalow loaded up with Valium until the storm blew through. It was a bad one too. I hated every second of it but it did pass and before I knew it I was on a speed boat heading out to some of the most amazing snorkelling the next day with very little trouble.

Very nice of Muppo to offer you a place to chill if you got whacked by a MAV storm or just to visit another person who understands this sh*t. You wouldn’t feel like you had to pretend or fake it.

On that last note, I sort of get through life that way sometimes, what with jobs and other things I find to be a pain in the *ss with this gorilla on my back. Fake it 'til you make it is what I do and so far it has worked. Things never turn out as badly as we think they will – at least it pans out that way for me.


Hey Joe,

We are all different so you have to do what feels right for you. If it were me, I would go. I travel OS all the time, including VERY long haul flights (36+ hours) and for the past few years have had migraine problems on all of my trips. But I say ‘f*ck it’ and go anyway because I love to travel. A couple of years ago I was in Cyprus and was sooo bad I had to delay my flight home by a few days, on other trips I’ve been knocked around very badly and been confined to my hotel bed for a few days. It happens. BUT that’s me, I’m not you. You have to do what feels right for you. If you’re going to be worried about feeling like crap it can easily spoil an expensive holiday (you’re right, Europe aint cheap). And it’s not like this is a once in a life time offer - you miss this trip, so what? There’ll be other trips and you can see how you feel then.



Thanks for your post since it brings up an important and very difficult problem that we face.

I typically travel to Asia two or three times a year (I am based in Chicago). I have not flown since getting this problem 8 months ago, but I have to go to China and Hong Kong this summer. I have decided to gut it out, but I share your fears and concerns, I am going to bring some valium to help me. I also have the added burden of bringing my wife and young daughters since I typically go overseas for several months and want them around (they speak Chinese since my wife is from Taiwan and raised the kids to speak Mandarin), but they are a menace on the flight, often staying awake for the 13 hours to Japan. One added consideration is that my company pays for me to fly business class so I can recline, eat whenever I want, etc. I am not sure that I would make the trip economy class, which is what I would be flying if the money was coming out of my own wallet.

It’s a tough call, but I say trust your gut, which is what you did.


I do remember the difficult time you had going overseas to Thailand. But even though you had a bad experience you got better and then went on a Speed Boat and Snorkling. There is no way even on good days that i could get on any kind of boat or cruise ship. I would be sicker than a dog! I’m one of these unlucky guys who never has out grown motion sickness and with MAV combined…well not good. Most of the vertigo episodes i’ve had the last few years are generally pretty mild and im back in the saddle within 24 hours. But sometimes the spinning feeling can be more intense and it can take me up to 2-3 days and sometimes more to recover and get all my bearing back to normal. I know my body well enough that it’s just too risky for me to fly all the way to Europe and take this chance. If the rocking motion increases or a vertigo attack comes on i’m out of commission for hours and even days. It really messes with me big time!

By the way, i did go to Europe back in 1991…visited London and Amsterdame and enjoyed myself…but that travel experience was one year before the MAV came on which was 1992.

I feel like a lone ranger here…all of you that have answered my post said you would still go to europe. I know how it gets if i get a bad case of vertigo and it’s not a pretty site.

Thanks again for all your thoughts on this.


ps. All the years having MAV …benzo medication is the only thing that helps me. So when i fly i always take a little extra.

Joe, it all depends how far everyone is from Europe. You are in California, I am in the UK, so for me, its just a two to four hour flight to Spain or Greece etc. so thats where I attempt to go. I cant do more than 4 hrs nowadays and 4 hrs scares me. I wouldnt attempt it if I was in California either. From the UK, even the 3 to 4 hour flights, when combined with 2 hours getting to the airport, 2 hrs at the airport, the flight, then some travelling at the other end, accumulates so you have 8 to 10 hrs travelling. I always end up exhausted at the other end.

Like you, if I get a full blown vertigo attack (which I got in Spain couple of years ago) really bad one after a day of migraine and it went on for 24 hrs) I can feel rough for two days. I have to plan holidays right down to the last detail nowadays, make sure the accommodation is near to everything, the flights are daytime flights etc. etc. it takes me hours but its the only way I can do it.

We all have different levels of dizziness. I know, for a fact, I shall leave this planet having never been on a cruise. Suffered car sickness as a child, just the thought of it makes me nauseous. I darent even get on these short boat trips abroad to see another country or island (that I might attempt to do one day) but never a cruise, no thanks, too risky.


This is a really interesting post to me, as I have also not flown since my MAV hit. I have been scared to do so, although also not really had super great reasons to go anyway other than family (no offense but you know what I mean!) My fear is that since I feel good overall now (within reason), that a flight might set me back again. (ALthough ironically I had a quick dizzy spell this week which I haven’t had in a long time, but that could be related to a still undetermined stomach issue I am also having.) I discussed this with my doc and he said the following: start with shorter flights, take more of my klonopin and bonine (an OTC nausea/travel med I always took when flying) BUT definitely don’t drive after doing so!, get lots of rest during and after the trip if possible, and with longer flights it might be more difficult BUT he didn’t think that flying would “trigger” a set back or anything. So, take that as you will. I have yet to try it. When I do, I know I will go on the bigger plane I can find - less movement/jostling which has always been a problem for me and faster!

So I feel for you Joseph, and respect your decision. Everyone is different and has to do what is best for him/herself.

Very nice of those of you who offered places to stay on the way, btw. :wink:

Best, Bonnie

Hi Christine & Bonnie,

I believe the combined hours from California to Munich, Germany is close to 14 hours if i’m not mistaken. Let’s alot of air time + and it wasn’t non-stop on the way so my partner had to go from California to washington D.C…catch a flight and then be on to Munich. That is alot to manage and deal with…atleast for me. I’m different from many of you Mavr’s in that if i end up with a vertigo episode it can cripple me for a couple of days and sometimes as long as a week. Lots of motion (like i just got off on a carnival ride)…equlibruim totally off…brings of fear of falling down, Noise and crowds can bring on Panic and anxiety…the list goes on. IF i were going to let say go to visit a friend in Germany and have a couple of months to play with…then that might be different. But to fly out to Europe only having a week or two at the most…i’m just not taking any chances. Last night i made a stuped goof…i was actually feeling improved from a vertigo episode i had on Thursday and company came over last night for dinner and i had some White Zin Wine and this morning i’m feeling bad again. So dame fragile! I don’t want you all to think i never fly anymore cause that’s not true…i fly from LA to Kansas City and also to Santa Fe, New Mexico and even went to Florida last year and i do relatively well.

Christine…sounds like you and i have some similarites that we have always been prone to motion-sickness + to make things worse we’ve never out grown motion sickness and when we do have a intense vertigo episde it sets us back for days. Right now i feel like a total drunk bumping into walls and when i walk outside it feels like i’m walking on sand bags…sit’s not real even or soft when i walk. I will recover within a few days.

Christine…when i fly i always have to fly on a JET…not a smaller plane or i will be in real trouble. I wish that i could take a Cruise but like you…it’s out of the question. I think not only do we have a Vestibular Migraine of sorts, we have an extremely sensitive Inner-ear and who knows for sure but maybe a little damage in there too. My mav condition mimics Benign Positional Vertigo at times.

Thanks for your support.


Hi Joe,

I have MAV episodes almost identical to how you describe yours and can be literally out of action for a week. That’s why I’m reluctant to fly to the US (about 7 hours to the east coast from here) for a 5-day conference as I fear spending it lying down at the airport!

I was really impressed to read about all the short haul flights you have managed though. I think we have different worries though, as for you it’s the airport itself and the travelling time and jeg lag, whereas I am frightened about changes in pressure in the cabin setting something off. But clearly you’ve been on flights and so this aspect has been fine for you? I know I’m probably being really quite illogical in my fears.

You’re not a lone ranger. Although I would always advise someone else to go for it, I am a bit too chicken to follow my own advice! I really need to get over this, as I need to travel with work, and my husband/children really enjoy going abroad and I dont want them to miss out because of me.

Joe, have you tried Stemetil, this doesnt do much for the severe vertigo attacks, but it really helps me with the bad dizzy days.
Another trick I found after years, is when you get a severe attack, the ones that render you immobile, if you can get into a standing position, head forward, swing your arms back and forth (increases blood flow to the brain) it helps. Sometimes I have stopped a really bad one coming on (you know when its coming) by doing this, then rest on the bed for an hour and it doesnt materialize. Once they are in full swing, nothing seems to stop it for me, just laying immobile for 6 hrs plus.

I think I have inner ear damage. I was diagnosed first with menieres, then they said no, endolymphatic hydrops (which I take serc for every day, I think this helps somewhat), then no, its an inner ear lesion, then basilar migraine (migraines were always back of the head), then eventually vestibular migraine. I had 3 perforated eardrums through my life, first one as a baby. When we were stationed in Germany, I had to lay down in the back of the car on journeys to Austria to see relations and took sealegs tablets and dry biscuits for the car sickness. Teens produced zig zag lights and first vertigo attack at 18 after red wine. Thats when the two merged, 3 day migraines, vertigo attacks, so I feel the ears and head are very linked.

I struggle to go on my holidays. Wouldnt dream of going on my own, I have to talk myself into going and nearly always pay in some way on the holiday with migraine or if I am really unlucky (Spain full blown vertigo attack, really bad one). I think we should feel a great sense of achievement just managing to do the short flights and the travelling to and from. I know I would never attempt a 14 hour flight unless my health miraculously changed and after over 20 years of this, I dont think realistically thats going to happen. I have friends who have never been abroad, who cant get away on holiday in UK they are so bad so I dont think we are doing so bad. :slight_smile:

I have a good friend in New Zealand, and I was able to introduce my sweetheart to him when we went there on our honeymoon. But that was before MAV hit–and even so, I felt like hell on the flight from the States to NZ. Don’t know that I’d go back via a 13-or whatever-hour flight. OTOH, a cruise ship seems much more plausible, because I wouldn’t be constrained and wouldn’t be subject to the same pressure change. To be seen, and it had better be seen sooner rather than later, as my friend’s rather elderly.


What is Stemitel? I’ve never heard of it before. I haven’t had a severe vertigo episode in years…where i puke my guts up. But once or twice a year i will get a half spin or maybe one complet spin and that can be enough to mess up my equilibrium for a couple of days. My MAV has BPPV overtones to it cause many times it’s when i’m in bed that the vertigo comes on. But i’ve been treatead for BPPV a number of times but they could not find anything.

Sounds like you and i have senstive inner-ears and most likely a Vestibular MIgraine Condition + never out grew Motion Sickess.


Joe, Stemetil is Prochlorperazine (not sure of the other names for it, others might know). Little 5mg tablets (I get no side effects apart from feeling a little sleepy a few hours later). They are the only tablet I have ever taken that actually takes away the dizziness when I need it to, hopefully they would work for you.

Thats great you have reduced the bad vertigo, do you know how you did that? I always used to wake at 4 in the morning, in bed, with my severe attacks, nowadays, they are a lot less and can come on at different times of the day.

I sleep on my back propped up with 3 cushions. If I fall asleep on my side, then turn onto my back, it often sets off the vertigo.

Oh David, that would be a long trip on the cruise ship wouldnt it? Would you be OK on a cruise ship? If you would, then I say, go for it. Unless, of course, your elderly friend could manage to get to you, that would be easier :slight_smile:

There seems to be a difference here that with some of us, its the pressure in the plane we dont like and others its the motion.
When I am on a plane, I cant talk to the person next to me, if I turn my head towards them and the plane bobs down (as it does) I feel really sick.


I’m “interested” to see how I manage the 24hr trip to the UK in 2 weeks. Haven’t flown in a jet since this all kicked off big time …but at least now I have valium (and stemetil, and G&Ts before the flight) :lol: Flew to Sydney 2 weeks ago (turboprop, only an hour) and no issues with the plane motion or the cabin pressure so fingers crossed the jetlag / sleep deprivation fallout won’t be too bad.

Gabrielle, that sounds like a good mix, stemetil, valium and G & Ts :smiley: We flew to Romania on “Romanian Airways” sat over the propellers and when we landed we were all deaf! When the plane landed it was rocking from side to side I was clinging onto the seat. Never felt dizzy though!

I hope you have a dizzyfree, safe journey here :slight_smile: