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Tips for Traveling with your CPAP

By Chuck Granade       07/31/2018

Whether you are going to be traveling for the holidays, for work or just to get away, if you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, you may have some concerns. Living with sleep apnea can be difficult enough, but how are you going to be able to travel with your machine and all its gear?

Don’t get too worried—traveling with your CPAP machine is easier than you may think! Sleep apnea and the need for a CPAP machine is becoming more and more common and is something that the TSA sees on a regular basis. But there are still some things you can do to ensure your trip with your CPAP machine goes as smoothly as possible.

Just like any trip takes planning, bringing your machine with you on your next trip needs to become part of the planning you do. While it shouldn’t take a great amount of additional time, planning to bring your CPAP machine and sleep mask needs to become a regular part of your travel planning. Here are some tips that will make bringing your machine and mask with you a little easier.

Packing

Decide ahead of time whether you are going to pack your machine in your checked bag or if you are going to carry it with you on the plane. Since your CPAP machine is a medical device, it does not count toward your allotted number of carry-on bags. Something to consider when making this decision is the risk of lost or damaged luggage or travel delays. If you pack your machine in your checked bag and it gets lost or delayed, you will be without your machine until your bag is found or until you are able to replace the machine.

It may be a good idea to bring your prescription for your CPAP machine with you. You never know when you could need additional supplies or the machine could break down. With your prescription, you will be able to get the things you need, even while on your trip.

Power Plan

If you do not own one already, you may want to consider purchasing or renting a battery back-up for your CPAP machine. They can be extremely helpful should you be sleeping somewhere without electricity, such as when camping, or in the event of a power outage.

If you’re traveling abroad, be sure to confirm that you have the appropriate adapters and plugs needed to ensure your machine works once you reach your final travel destination.

Make a List

Make a checklist of all the supplies and equipment you use daily to help you from forgetting anything as you pack. It’s also a good idea to pack any extra supplies you may need, such as mask cushions—you never know when you will need to replace one.

Proper Equipment Care

It is important to empty and dry out the humidifier chamber of your CPAP machine before you bring it with you. This will help to ensure that water does not spill and possibly damage your machine.

Air Travel Tips

When you get to the airport, there are some things you should keep in mind that will help to make the process of getting through security and the flight a bit easier with your CPAP machine.

Getting through Security

Before going through security, you may want to consider putting a medical equipment luggage tag on the case of your CPAP machine. Many of the TSA agents know what a CPAP machine looks like and are aware that it is a medical device, but the luggage tag could help ensure things go smoothly.

Just like with any carry-on, your CPAP machine and sleep mask will need to go through security and be x-rayed. TSA recommends taking the machine out of the carrying case and placing it in a screening bin of its own. Everything else can remain in the case go into a second screening bin. In order to ensure your device has not been tampered with, a TSA security agent may want to examine it more closely. They may swab the outside of your machine, but it will not affect or damage your equipment in any way.

Although you most likely won’t get asked for it, you may consider bringing a copy of your CPAP prescription with you to the airport, just in case.

During Flight

It is best to contact your airline about your CPAP machine in advance. Some airlines require you to let them know about your CPAP machine at least 48 hours before your flight. This is to ensure that the machine you are using is on their list of FAA-verified devices, meaning you will be able to use them on the airplane without interfering with the airplane’s devices and gauges. Always check with your airline ahead of time on their best-practices for using a CPAP machine during flight.

If you have an overnight flight or know that you will be sleeping and using your machine while on a plane, be sure to check that you’re sitting in a seat that has a power outlet or use a battery back-up pack. You will also need to put water in the humidifier chamber. It is best to buy a bottle of water rather than filling your humidifier with tap water on the plane.

Although sleep apnea can be challenging at times, traveling with your CPAP machine does not have to be one of those times. Home Sleep Delivered offers a wide selection of quality products and accessories to help make sleeping with your CPAP machine comfortable, even while you’re traveling. Traveling with your CPAP doesn’t have to be stressful—keep these tips in mind as you plan your next trip to ensure a good night’s rest, even if you’re away from the comfort of your own bed.