Iowa Sleep Blog

Tips for Traveling with CPAP Equipment

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring and summer vacations are right around the corner, but don’t let packing your CPAP machine slow you down. CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, is a popular way to treat obstructive sleep apneas- and over 28 million people suffer from OSA each night. These machines are usually compact in size and feature a hose that runs to a mask that the sleeper wears to bed to keep airways open to ensure a good night’s rest.

Traveling and sleeping well at night can go hand-in-hand with these simple tricks for air travel with your CPAP machine.

  • When packing, put your machine and equipment in your carry-on bag or pack separately to prevent damages. Since the machines are considered medical equipment, it does not count towards your carry-on allowance. To keep it clean during the security process, place your machine in a clear plastic bag.
  • Be sure to properly label your machine and equipment in case it gets lost or stolen. Many also use medical device luggage tags for easy identification by security officials and airline staff.
  • If you can, bring a copy of your prescription information or a Letter of Medical Necessity written by your physician in case there is any confusion with your equipment.
  • Before leaving, check with the airline about their rules on CPAP usage in-flight, as it differs airline to airline. If you are allowed to use your machine in-flight, confirm any power options near your seat, as you may need special cables or adaptors.

If you won’t be taking to the skies with your CPAP machine, traveling by car or bus can also be just as easy. Many machines can run off a DC connection through a 12 volt battery or external CPAP machine battery packs. Traveling internationally with different power voltages can become tricky, depending on the model of CPAP you have. Many newer models have the ability to detect the voltage automatically and adjust, but some older models will require a plug adaptor to be used in foreign power outlets.

If you have other questions about traveling with your CPAP machine or would like to discuss using a CPAP machine to treat your OSA, contact a doctor at Iowa Sleep to learn more about your treatment options.