Travelling with your CPAP machine should be easy and it is. Both Al and I have CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines for our sleep apnea. Technically, mine is an APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) but that’s really not relevant. When we first starting travelling with these machines, we had some concerns but most of them were unwarranted. Thousands of people travel with CPAPs every day — it’s really not a big deal travel-wise.
We have learned a few things along the way:
- Always pack your machine, hoses, mask, etc. as carry-on luggage. You don’t want your very expensive piece of medical equipment becoming lost luggage. Since it is medical equipment, you can pack it in it’s carry case and it’s not counted as part of your carry-on allowance. Al & I have purchased a special backpack (Vanguard Alta Rise 45) that has adjustable compartments that allow us to pack both machines and our camera securely. We can’t get all the hoses, etc. in that bag but it’s minimal that has to go into another carry-on bag. Another advantage of having all the pieces of the CPAP with you as carry-on is that you will have it with you if your flight gets delayed, if you get bumped or if you volunteer to take a later flight. We missed a chance at a very lucrative layover because we had packed our hoses in our checked luggage.
- Recently, airport security has started requesting the CPAP machines be removed from the carry-ons when they go through the x-ray machine. Basically, they are treating the machines like laptops.
- Remember to pack any necessary electrical adapters. And, always, always, pack an extension cord. You just never know how far away from the bed the electrical outlet will be.
- And speaking of electricity…make sure electricity is available. We went to Little Corn Island in Nicaragua before we had our CPAPs and there was no electricity after a certain time in the evening. If we wanted to go now, we would either have to invest in portable travel models or not go.
- Neither Al nor I use our humidifier chambers now but if you do, remember to make sure the chamber is totally empty before you pack it.
- If you’re going to use your CPAP on the plane, check with your airline at least 2 weeks before your flight that you can use it and also that your seat will have a power outlet. I have to admit that I’ve never done this because I never sleep on planes (but I wish I could).
Enjoy your travels and travel safe with your CPAP!