How can I travel with my CPAP machine?

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Sleep Apnea machines today are much more compact and lightweight compared to a decade ago. If you travel often or have the option of bringing a machine that fits in the size of your palm, wouldn’t you want that? With improved technology, CPAP users have more options than ever. There are many travel-specific CPAP devices with external battery available. Now you can travel easily with a small and easily portable CPAP machine on your next vacation.

Some may think that going away for a short period without using the CPAP won’t make a difference, but apnea episodes reoccur if your airway collapses. Without the pressurized air from the CPAP device, your airway becomes blocked and apneic episodes could occur. Without air pressure, the body’s oxygen level will drop while you are sleeping resulting in morning headaches, lack of energy and memory loss to name a few. Why would you want to ruin your travel experience by feeling less than optimal?

Travel CPAP devices not only maintain the same quality of therapy as your in-home device but most also records and monitor your data conveniently through an app. ResMed Airmini Autoset is the smallest portable CPAP on the market today that offers waterless humidification discs to increase humidity. The newly launched travel device from Philips Respironics, Dreamstation Go CPAP or Auto, is the latest addition from the Dream family and the quietest touchscreen travel sleep apnea machine available today.

Other reputable travel devices that are great for camping or travelling include the Transcend Sleep Apnea System, the only travel device that has the add-on option of a small portable humidifier to enhance comfort. Transcend also has a multi night battery making them a trustworthy travel device for places without electricity. Z1 CPAP and Z1 Auto  also have a battery single night battery great for on flight usage. Most machines have the choice between a CPAP or APAP machine, BiPAP settings are not available at this moment.

Camping or Road trips

On the occasion where you are camping or going on road trips, you may want to consider purchasing or renting a back-up battery pack. These are great for visiting places without electricity or simply as a precaution against power outages. Most CPAP machines also have a DC connection which allows you to charge your device using a standard cigarette lighter socket if you are sleeping in a car, boat, or truck.

Air Travel

Bringing your CPAP machine on your flight is welcomed, and getting through security at the airport is also very straightforward. CPAP machines are considered medical devices and do not count as one of your carry-on items. Most TSA agents are highly familiar with CPAP machines, and will easily recognize them as a medical equipment. It is recommended to bring your prescription just in case they need proof the medical equipment is indeed yours.The CPAP machine will need to come out of its case and be placed in a bin prior to being sent through the X-ray. We wouldn’t suggest placing your CPAP machine in your checked baggage, because if your baggage is lost, you’ll be without your machine. You can ask for distilled water from the flight attendant or buy distilled water after security check. If you plan on sleeping during the flight and will be using your CPAP on the plane, check to make sure that your seat on the plane has power outlets. Each airline has their own policies so it is advised to call to make sure whether they permit lithium ion CPAP batteries in the case where your seat doesn’t have a plug.

If you are a diligent CPAP user you most certainly recognize the effectiveness and health benefits of CPAP therapy. Not using your CPAP machine will decrease your oxygen level resulting in poor sleep and daytime fatigue. Your snoring will probably return and if you have a sleeping partner, they may be affected too! With so many options to travel with your CPAP, take advantage of the technology and different varieties that are available today. Don’t forget to check out our checklist below while you’re packing!

Checklist for Travelling with CPAP:

  • If travelling by air, confirm with your airline if your seat has a plug or if they have any specific carry-on guidelines for lithium-ion batteries on the flight.
  • If travelling by car, acquire a dc adapter or multi-night battery pack.
  • Before packing your CPAP machine, make sure the humidifier chamber is empty and water-free to prevent spillage and damage to your machine.
  • Bring extra supplies or mask cushions in the event of damage.
  • Bring an extension cord in case the plug is far away from your sleeping spot.
  • Determine the proper adaptor and plug for where you’re travelling to. Newer travel machines have universal power supplies that can adapt to voltage variations.
  • Copy of Prescription to verify equipment ownership and in case of an accident