Skip to main content

Travelling with your CPAP machine

Published on October 26, 2022

3 minutes

Many people debate whether or not they should bring their CPAP machine when traveling. They went without it in the past, so why not do it again for a small period of time? The truth is that as soon as you stop using CPAP, your sleep apnea symptoms return. This means that you will get less rest and be more tired during the day. The alternative is to bring your CPAP machine with you and get the rest you’ve grown accustomed to.

Here’s what you need to know about traveling with a CPAP machine:

Packing Your CPAP Machine

Separate the CPAP machine and humidifier if possible and pack them in a supportive, well-padded carrying case or bag. Even if you don’t plan on using your CPAP machine on the flight, take it on board as part of your carry-on luggage to reduce the risk of damage.

Packing the Humidifier

Make sure to completely drain the water from the humidifier as it could spill into your luggage or into the motor of the CPAP machine, which could cause damage.

Investing in a Dedicated Travel Machine

If you travel frequently, investing in a travel-sized CPAP machine may be a wise choice. Travel-sized machines are compact enough to fit on small hotel nightstands, and light enough where they won’t weigh down your luggage.

Navigating Airport Security

CPAP machines can be checked or carried on, but you can expect airport security to remove it from its case to inspect and X-ray it. To be extra safe, it may be wise to bring your prescription and/or a letter from your doctor to present if necessary.

Using a CPAP Machine on a Plane

CPAP machines can be used in flights, however, you should check with your airline regarding their CPAP policy. Depending on the airline, they may require a medical certificate from your doctor, an FAA compliance letter or they may restrict the types of machines they allow. Ensure that you book a seat with a power outlet and also research whether you’ll need an adapter plug for your CPAP to work on the plane. Finally, you should refrain from using your humidifier on the plane as it increases the possibility of spilling water into the tubing or the machine.

Don’t let your sleep apnea ruin your vacation – traveling with your CPAP can be remarkably pain-free as long as you’re prepared. We hope this guide helps and, if you’re planning a trip and unsure whether your CPAP machine is fit for travel, contact your local VitalAire clinician for advice.