Traveling with CPAP: recommendations

Can I travel by air during my CPAP sleep apnea treatment? The answer is: don't think twice!

CPAP equipment: small and portable

It's easy to travel with your CPAP equipment – ​​it's small and portable – and it's imperative not to interrupt your treatment routine.

All you need to do is prepare well in advance.

Check out some helpful tips to help you travel with CPAP.

 

Travel with all the comfort of your treatment!

Before leaving, you must:

Prepare a list of equipment you need to bring: your mask, mask holder, air tubing, power cord, CPAP and humidifier (if needed), plus an extension cord with multiple outlets if the electrical outlet is not next to the your bed. Always carry the CPAP in your travel bag.

Check what type of electrical outlet and voltage are used in the country you plan to visit if traveling abroad. If they are different from your country, you will need to bring the correct adapter. CPAP can be used in any country, in addition, most equipment is bivolt and automatically adapts to the proper voltage.

Bring your doctor's and healthcare provider's contact information along with your prescription and the CPAP User's Manual in case a failure occurs or you need a replacement item.

Empty your humidifier of all water before packing it.

Invest in a smaller CPAP or an even lighter, more portable second device if you travel frequently. You should also consider purchasing spare accessories for your mask and tubes, as well as external batteries and an additional power cord to power the CPAP if there is no electrical outlet on site.

Make sure you get a good night's sleep by putting your CPAP in your suitcase before you leave to avoid any unwanted sensations. Sometimes, sleep apnea symptoms can recur after a single night without CPAP. (1.2)

Can I travel by plane with my CPAP?

Yes – the CPAP is a medical device and you can take it with you in the cabin. Many airlines do not include CPAP equipment in their carry-on baggage allowance. (3,5,6,7,8) CPAPs are safe to pass through security screening.

If you want to use CPAP during your flight, ask the airline before booking tickets. Some of them may not allow you to use it, but most will if you let them know in advance and have access to an electrical outlet or external battery. The use of the humidifier is not authorized inside aircraft. (1,2,3,8)

children playing in a field

Have in mind

  •  Be careful: it is easy to damage CPAP equipment while traveling
  •  It is dangerous to use oxygen when operating the CPAP with a battery, so it is not recommended
  • High altitudes can make CPAP less efficient, but it is still advisable to use it
  •  Even if there is no electrical outlet available, you can use the device if it has a battery for up to 8 hours
XL jet Avion atterrissant à bright sky

The effect of “jet lag”

The effect of “jet lag” (time zone effect/travel fatigue) causes your biological clock to go out of sync and disrupt your sleep cycle. In addition, as we age, it becomes more difficult to adapt to “jet lag”.

Learn some ways to limit the effects:

  •  Eat at local meal times
  • Adjust your watch to the new time zone as soon as the plane lands to help you adapt to the pace of your destination
  •  The day will be longer if you travel westward, so take a nap in the morning, keep yourself exposed to light, and take a warm shower at night

References

1  User Manual - Resmed - Battery Power Station II; 
2  Weaver TE et al. Relationship between hours of CPAP use and achieving normal levels of sleepiness and daily functioning. Sleep. June 2007;30(6):711-9; 
3 Manual de l'utilisateur, AirSense 10 AutoSet, ResMed (page 11); 
4 Manuel patient, S.BOX, Sefam (page 5); 
5 User Manual - Resmed Airmini (page 18); 
6 AirFrance - What can I take;
 7 Easyjet - Medicine medical conditions and equipment / Medicines, health problems, and equipment; 
8 Ryanair - The Carriage of Medical Equipment.