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13 Tips For Travelling With a CPAP Machine

Published on September 26, 2022

6 minutes

One of the most common questions we get asked here at VitalAire is "how can I take my CPAP machine when I travel?".

Canada’s population is diverse, representing many cultures from around the world. It’s no surprise that many of our CPAP patients travel regularly to visit their families abroad, or have fast-paced jobs and need to fly often.

Wherever you rest your head at night, it’s important to get the sleep you deserve. A big part of that is to continue to receive the full benefits of your CPAP therapy. We find that patients are often wary of travelling with their CPAP machines and many opt to leave their CPAP machines at home, even for short trips. Travelling with CPAP is much easier than many people think. To help you out, we put together a thorough list of helpful tips for travelling with your CPAP machine.

Whether you travel by air, sea, or land, travelling with a CPAP machine is convenient as long as you plan ahead. We’re here to support you at your local VitalAire clinic, across canada and at affiliated clinics around the world. 

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead of time can go a long way in making your travel arrangements relaxing and enjoyable.

  • Check your CPAP machine for wear and tear, or to ensure you aren’t due for replacement.

    The last thing you want is for your CPAP supplies and equipment to malfunction while vacationing. Give it a good look at least 2 weeks prior to leaving, to leave us enough time to ship any CPAP supplies you are missing to your home. Refer to our recommended replacement schedule here.

  • Let your airline know you’re flying with your CPAP machine at least 48 hours in advance.

    Most airlines don’t consider your CPAP machine travel bag as an additional carry on and don’t require medical approval for travelling with an APAP, BIPAP or CPAP machine. 

  • Remember to bring a battery if you plan on using your CPAP machine on the plane.

    New airplanes have plugs but the current is not always reliable enough to keep your CPAP machine going. A battery will allow you to use your CPAP on the flight. 

Pack smart

Follow these tips to ensure your CPAP supplies and equipment is well kept throughout your journey.

Make a list of CPAP supplies and equipment you need to take

  • A list will help ensure you remember to pack all your CPAP supplies, including essentials such as a tube, CPAP mask and filters. 

    • Remember to take a power cord with proper adaptors or plugs for where you're traveling. Nearly all newer CPAP machines have universal power supplies that can adapt to various voltages.
    • An extension cord may come in handy if power outlets are not close to the bed.
    • Consider getting a battery as a precaution against power outages.
    • Bring extra supplies such as a cushion and filter

  • Do you have your special travel CPAP machine?

    There are special travel CPAP machines popular among patients at VitalAire for their unique lightweight design and portability, as well as humidity options. These travel CPAP machines have designated multi night batteries and other accessories such as travel bags, solar panels that can charge the battery during the day, and mobile apps to make travelling more effortless. 

  • Don’t forget your CPAP wipes

    Travelling shouldn’t stop you from cleaning your equipment daily as you do at home! Call us to order the SleepEssentials Wipes in special travel sachets of 10 for ease of travel. 

  • Empty and thoroughly dry your water chamber and hose on your CPAP machine

    Before packing your CPAP machine, make sure the water chamber is empty and dry to prevent spillage and potential damage to your machine.

  • Pack a clear plastic bag for the airport X-ray bin 

    For hygienic reasons, we recommend you place your CPAP machine inside the plastic bag before placing it in the airport security X-ray bin.

At the airport and aboard the flight

To make your experience at the airport and during your flight smooth and seamless, follow these easy tips.

  • To avoid damage or lost luggage, take your CPAP machine on the plane with you

    CPAP machines are considered medical devices covered under the American's with Disabilities Act and do not count as one of your carry-on items.

  • Your CPAP machine will need to be X-rayed

    To expedite the process take your CPAP machine out of its case and place it in an individual screening bin. The rest of the equipment can stay in the case. You don’t need to provide your prescription, but can choose to bring it if you feel it can ease your screening process. Your sleep clinic may also be able to provide you with a signed letter/form that identifies you as a CPAP user.
    • Your CPAP machine may need to be swabbed by an agent to check for explosives residue. If this is the case, you can ask that the agent use a fresh pair of gloves and an unused swab.

  • Use your battery to power the CPAP machine

    It provides a more reliable current than the plug on the aircraft.

  • Fill your humidifier with bottled water rather than using tap water

    It is a safer option than the water from the airport or airplane bathroom.

What if you want to take your CPAP machine camping?

Get a full night of therapy and wake up refreshed, at home, in the air, and even while camping.

  • A battery pack can power 1-3 nights of CPAP therapy, depending on the model and therapy settings. There are also foldable solar panels that can recharge your battery during the day and let you enjoy sleeping outside under the stars for longer periods. 

Don’t Leave Home Without Your CPAP Machine

Travel should not get in the way of your CPAP therapy. Technology has advanced so much that today, travelling with a CPAP machine is almost as easy as travelling without it. Whether you're travelling for business or pleasure, you deserve to feel your best and to not compromise your health and well-being by missing therapy nights. If you need any additional information on travelling with a CPAP machine, or would like to purchase a travel CPAP machine, call VitalAire.  

For more information on  travelling with your CPAP machine, check out our blogs Travelling with CPAP and Living with CPAP.