You already have to travel with the right accessories to make your trip a success. When you have sleep apnea, you might have to travel with a CPAP machine.
With the additional equipment needed to treat obstructive sleep apnea, travel can be a challenge. But you shouldn’t have to stop traveling because of your sleep disorder.
An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Get in the air again and to your next destination with these nine tips for flying with a CPAP machine.
1. Make Sure You Need It
It might seem obvious. But if you don’t need the CPAP machine, don’t take it with you.
CPAP machines are one of the treatments for sleep apnea–a sleep disorder that disrupts your breathing while you sleep. The machine provides continuous air to counteract the effects of sleep apnea.
Be sure you have a sleep apnea diagnosis that requires the CPAP machine. Not all cases of sleep apnea require CPAP help. If you can get by on your trip with other, easier-to-pack sleep apnea aids, consider those options.
If you aren’t sure you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, read more here.
2. Check It or Carry It On
When you’ve determined that you need your CPAP with you as you travel, decide if you want to check it in your luggage or carry it on board with you.
Depending on your equipment, it might be easier for you to check the bag. You’ll save the hassle of carrying extra equipment with you.
But if you’re concerned about your CPAP machine arriving safely at your destination, pack it in your carry-on luggage.
You might require some extra screening at the TSA checkpoint. But you’ll reduce the risk of damage to your machine during flight.
3. Choose Travel-Size
If you’re a frequent traveler, consider a travel-size CPAP machine.
It’s smaller than your machine at home. It’s also built for easier travel.
Most travel-size CPAP machines come with a carrying case to help you carry it on the plane with you.
4. Pack the Right Accessories
You’ll hate getting to your hotel and realizing that the cord from your CPAP doesn’t reach the electrical outlet.
Pack an extension cord just in case you need it. If you’re traveling internationally, don’t forget adapters for your plug. Don’t forget an extra cushion or pieces that could break or get lost in transit.
We don’t recommend taking too much to overload your luggage. But it’s good to prepare in case something gets lost or broken.
5. Keep Your Prescription With You
CPAP parts aren’t available at the hotel gift shop like that toothbrush you forgot to pack.
Your doctor gave you a prescription for your CPAP machine. Then your insurance company fulfilled the prescription.
If something gets lost or broken, having that prescription handy will help you get a replacement part if you need it. Pack a copy of the prescription for your machine and accessories in your carryon luggage.
6. Bring a Battery
You never know when you’ll be away from an electrical outlet or your hotel will lose power.
Bring a battery pack. If you run into a power loss situation, you’ll have battery power for your CPAP machine. It’s one more thing to pack, but it’s worth it not to risk suffering through a dangerous night of sleep without power.
If it’s not worth the expense to buy a battery for a rare travel occasion, check into renting a batter from your provider.
7. Call Ahead
If you’re not a frequent flier, call ahead to your airline. Talk with them about getting through the airport and what to expect when passing through security.
For Your Flight
If a TSA agent needs to open your luggage and examine your CPAP machine, ask them to use clean gloves and wipe down the table where they place your device or accessories.
Be sure you also talk with your airline if you need to use your machine on the flight. They might need to make sure your machine meets FAA requirements for your aircraft.
At the Hotel
Call your hotel or final destination ahead of time. Ask about the layout of the room.
Talk with them about any specifics you need to feel comfortable about your stay.
For Good Preparation
Make one more call before you go. Call your insurance or machine provider and let them know you’re traveling. Ask where you can get replacement parts near where you are staying–just in case you need something during your trip.
If there are no replacement centers close by, ask your provider how long it would take to ship something to your location.
Worst case–they might also be able to arrange for a loaner machine from a local clinic or hospital.
8. Empty the Humidifier
Be sure the humidifier part of your machine is empty and dry. This will keep your machine from spilling into your luggage.
When it’s time to refill the humidifier to use your machine, use bottled water instead of tap water. Bottle water should have fewer dangerous microbes than hotel tap water.
9. Plan and Have a Good Flight
A little bit of advanced planning will help you have a good flight.
Traveling with a CPAP machine can be a hassle. But it shouldn’t keep you from the freedom of flying–whether for business or pleasure.
Your sleep treatment is a priority, whether you are at home or away. Be sure you make arrangements to travel well for your health.
Flying With a CPAP Machine Doesn’t Have to Slow You Down
Don’t be afraid to fly with a CPAP machine. With a little help and preparation, you can stay in the air and travel safely with your treatment.
If we just woke your travel bug, don’t delay! Pack your CPAP machine and find a getaway destination.
Check out these tips for a last-minute getaway. Add these quick getaway tips to prepare for a last-minute business trip or a spur-of-the-moment weekend away with friends.