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  • Writer's pictureRobyn Woidtke, MSN, RN, RPSGT, CCSH

Travels with (my husband's) CPAP

Are you thinking about traveling and have concerns about taking your CPAP? I can tell you from personal experience over the past 8 years, my husband’s CPAP has been to Italy, France, Germany, Norway, and to Alaska for a fishing trip! It has traveled on planes, ships, trains, and RV’s for camping trips. There are no limitations to where the CPAP can travel, and we take it pretty much everywhere we go.

Sometimes people feel like it is hard and not worth the hassle to take the CPAP on vacation or other trips. But the reality is, taking the CPAP with you will ensure you feel energized and get the most out of your travel. So, let’s take a trip...

How to travel with your CPAP

  1. If you use the humidifier, empty the water chamber and dry it if you can before you pack it into the carrying case.

    1. You can take a small amount of distilled water on the plane (< 3.4 oz), and you can pack more in your checked luggage if you need it.

  2. Pack your CPAP in your CPAP carrying case. This protects it and provides a visual aid for getting through airport security.

    1. I always pack a second mask for my husband, just in case something happens. I can fit it into the carrying case, or it can be packed in a suitcase.

  3. Depending on your journey.

    1. If traveling internationally, purchase a travel plug set to use in other countries. You may not need them in all of the countries, and a quick Google Search will tell you whether you need a plug converter. You will need this plug converter for all of your electronics, so it is a good investment!

    2. If you are going camping, there are CPAP specific batteries you can purchase online. Prices and specifications vary, but some common places to search are and Lofta.

      1. If camping, you may want to use a secondary plastic box to put your CPAP and the battery in to keep them clean.

  4. Heading to the airport? Do not check your CPAP!

    1. Security: In my experience, getting through security with a CPAP is easy. In fact, we have never had to take the CPAP out of its carrying case, it just goes right through the x-ray machines along with the rest of our items. TSA is used to seeing people travel with the CPAPs!

    2. Some people may want to bring a plastic bag in case they need to take out their CPAP for security, but as noted, we have not had to take it out, even while traveling internationally.

    3. CPAP machines do NOT count as a carry on item. For example, if you are allotted one carry-on and one personal item, you can still bring those 2 items in addition to your CPAP machine. This is because medical equipment is exempt to baggage policies. When on the airplane, we usually put the CPAP into the overhead bin for safe storage during the flight.

      1. Be careful to grab YOUR CPAP from the overhead bin when departing the airplane, since many of the CPAPs are from the same manufacturer and the bags all look the same. Putting a specific tag or marking on your CPAP carrying case will identify that it is yours.

    4. Pro Tip: Most CPAP carrying cases have a loop to fit over your suitcase handle for easy transportation.

  5. Cleaning your CPAP while traveling.

    1. You will need to continue to clean your CPAP mask as you normally would. But you might have to be creative, particularly if you are not staying in one place very long.

    2. If possible, take the mask into the shower with you, rinse and hang dry. You can always use a damp washcloth to wipe off your CPAP, but be careful not to have it too wet. Travel may not always allow for daily cleaning, but try as much as possible.

I hope you found these tips from a seasoned traveler with CPAP helpful. I want to assure you that traveling with CPAP is both easy and important for your health and the sleep of your fellow travelers!

You can find additional tips and advice for traveling with your CPAP from here, and from the TSA website.


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