Nothing beats a summer vacation. But to be at your best, it's important not to take a holiday from your nightly CPAP routine. Bringing your CPAP machine along for the trip helps you feel more alert, refreshed, and ready to make the most of each fun-filled day.
And that's not all. When on a road trip, keeping up your CPAP therapy helps prevent dangerous drowsiness behind the wheel. When traveling by air and crossing time zones, it helps avoid exacerbating the daytime sleepiness and fatigue caused by jet lag.
Fortunately, traveling with a CPAP machine is easier today than ever, thanks to the latest generation of small, lightweight, portable devices designed expressly for that purpose. It has also become quite common. In a survey of nearly 400 British CPAP users, those who traveled said they took their CPAP equipment along with them on four out of five trips.
The tips below can help ensure your own smooth travels with a CPAP device, whether you're planning a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation of a lifetime.
Consider buying a portable CPAP machine. It isn't a necessity to have a mini CPAP device for travel, but it definitely makes life easier. Ideally, both the device and the tubing should be compact and lightweight. The fewer components there are, the better.
Carry all your CPAP equipment with you. You don't want it to be damaged or lost in checked luggage. Also bring along:
- A fully charged battery pack, for unexpected delays or traveling off the grid
- A copy of your prescription, in case your device is lost, stolen, or broken
- An extension cord, in case there isn't an outlet near the bed
- For international travel, an adapter to fit the differently shaped electrical outlets in other countries. If you have an older CPAP machine, you may also need a power converter to switch from 110/120V in the U.S. and Canada to 220/240V in many other countries. (Most newer devices work with both types of power.)
Know how to zip through airport security. TSA regulations require removing your CPAP machine from its carrying case for screening. If you wish, you can put it in a clear plastic bag to go through the X-ray scanner. Just be aware that the TSA agent may need to remove it from the bag for closer examination. The tubing and mask can remain in the case.
Be prepared before embarking on a cruise. Contact the cruise line well before your departure date to let them know you'll be using a CPAP machine. You may be asked to fill out a special needs form. For example, you may require an extension cord and distilled water. Ask whether the cruise line provides these items or you need to bring your own.
You want your summer vacation to be dreamy, not drowsy. So, along with the sunscreen and shorts, be sure to put your CPAP machine on the packing list.