Holiday Traveling with CPAP

Posted by Tuesday, November 25, 2014 5:02:00 PM

Tips for CPAP users on the go

Traveling can be filled with excitement, anticipation and yes - sometimes a bit of hassle. Holiday travel especially can be accompanied by congested lines, long drives, frequent delays, and unpredictable weather. However, bringing your CPAP machine along for the ride doesn’t have to add to your stress as you head off to your holiday destination. CPAP machine travel can be made simple by following a few key tips.

Bring documentation

Airport security may require you to show a medical statement from your physician verifying that you are carrying medical equipment. Be sure to plan ahead and obtain this letter from your doctor. Keep this document on hand as you pass through airport security. You can also obtain carry on medical equipment bag tags that make it easy for the TSA to identify your machine.

Always bring a copy of your prescription when you travel. Airline security may request your script for confirmation that you are an authorized CPAP carrier. Furthermore, if you need any supplies due to damage/loss/theft while on your trip, you will have your prescription ready to be shown to the nearest supplier. If you are currently a patient with The Sleep Wellness Institute or CPAP2Go we can help by printing off a copy of the script you have on file.

Pack for success

Always remove the water from your CPAP machine before packing. Even for just a short trip, it is important to take out any remaining water to avoid leakage into the motor of the machine.

Take the CPAP machine on the plane with you. Checking your CPAP can increase the risk of a lost or damaged machine. Your CPAP is a medical device and will not be considered a carry on.

The TSA will ask that you remove your machine from your bag and place it on the conveyor belt. It is good practice to keep your machine in a clear plastic bag prior to traveling for this purpose.

The TSA will often swab the machine after it passes through. The swabbing of the machine is called explosive trace detection (ETD) and is standard protocol. You do have the right to request that fresh gloves and swabs are used when inspecting your machine.

Your remaining CPAP supplies (mask, tubing, cords etc.) can remain in your CPAP bag on the conveyor belt. It will save you time if you have all the cords detached and the supplies placed neatly in your bag.

If you are going on an extended vacation, it would be smart to pack an extra tubing, filter and mask cushion as it is not always easy to get CPAP supplies while out of town.

Most devices automatically compensate for altitude changes. If you are uncertain about your machine, consult your manual or call your CPAP machine supplier.
If you plan to use a battery to power your device, you will want to make sure that it is TSA approved.

Plan your power

If you will be using a battery to power your machine, be sure that you have all the necessary adapters.

Most devices automatically adjust to the various power supplies used in different parts of the world and will accept 100-240V, 50-60Hz, without any special adjustment. If your machine is older you may also need a transformer. If you are uncertain, consult your manual or call your CPAP machine supplier.

You will need to use the correct plug adapter for the outlets in the countries you are visiting.

If you know where you will be staying, you can call ahead to see where the outlets are in relation to the nightstand. Often hotels will have extension cords for your use if needed. However, it would be wise to call ahead to be certain the outlets will meet your nightly CPAP needs.

If you will be flying overnight, call the airline ahead and discuss which seats have outlets to plug your machine into.

If you plan on using a battery for your machine, understand that most batteries last a night or two before you will need to recharge. Use of humidifiers can drain the battery faster than it would without it. Therefore, if you can tolerate a night without the humidifier, you might opt for this option.

Travel lightly

If you travel frequently, you might benefit from a travel machine or high performing battery to compliment your CPAP machine. Contact a DME representative at The Sleep Wellness Institute or CPAP2Go to determine what options, like those listed here, might serve you best. The following are just a few options you might consider.

The Z1 CPAP Machine is great for travel, weighing only 10 ounces and measuring only 6 ½ inches in length. This machine can rest comfortably in the palm of your hand! With the Z1’s HME (Heat Moisture Exchange) technology you can eliminate the need for a bulky humidifier without sacrificing the comfort of moisture!

Features of the Z1 CPAP
• Small and light weight
• Quiet
• Downloadable for compliance reports
• Ramp feature up to 45 minutes
• Auto adjusts for altitude
• HME (Heat Moisture Exchange)


The CPAP Battery Pack allows you to power your CPAP no matter where or how you are traveling! Campers love this easy to use, slim battery as do folks who want to be prepared for power outages.

Features of the CPAP Battery Pack
• Works with most makes and models of CPAP machines.
• Slim, light and easy to travel with
• Comes with a stylish and functional carrying case that will hold any connector tips, cords and chargers that you could possibly need.
• Features a four stage LED power gauge to determine how much time is remaining on your machine.
• Comes with a versatile CPAP battery pack that can be used to charge other electronic devices such as laptops, iPads and smartphones.
• Easily recharged- Enjoy road trips with ease as this battery, in conjunction with a power inverter, can be recharged from your car.
• Meets TSA requirements.
• Allows the CPAP user up to five nights of power with its dual battery configuration.

Wherever you are going and however you are getting there, your CPAP machine should enhance your trip and not add to the stress of traveling. A little planning ahead can help to make your holiday vacation the relaxing experience it should be!

Bon voyage!