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Traveling If You Have OSA

Summer is usually the time of the year that associates us on holidays and travel. However, if you are dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, traveling might seem intimidating and hard to plan.

What’s usually most troublesome when planning your travel is the CPAP machine that is an essential part of your everyday routine. In fact, traveling with a CPAP machine usually means reading a manual to understand everything so you can properly prepare for the trip.

That’s why we decided to prepare a short guide to make your planning, packing, and your holiday hassle-free. Keep reading to find out more.

Preparing for the Trip

There are several things you have to think about when planning your trip, including how will you travel, where you’ll stay, and what travel insurance to choose. However, what you usually don’t consider is the health or hygiene risks, the power supply to run your CPAP, and taking extra equipment or spares with you.

You will also need a letter explaining your CPAP machine for customs and security officials. Your sleep clinic usually provides this letter and you should always have it with you when traveling.


If you’re planning to get to your destination by plane, you should remember to check if your airline can provide power for your machine during flights, especially if you’re going on long-haul flights. Moreover, you will have to carry your CPAP as hand luggage. Thus, make sure you check with your airline to see if you’ll get the usual allocation of hand luggage.

Things to Consider for the Hotel or the Place where You’re Staying

In case you decided to go on a cruise, always ask about the availability of power, voltage, plugs, and the position of the power supply before booking your trip.

If you’re camping, ask your sleep clinic if they will lend you a machine that runs off a 12-volt DC supply. You can also use an inverter or converter unit so your CPAP can operate from a battery.

Make sure you check if the power supply at your destination matches the one of your machine. You should also check whether your CPAP has a switch to change voltage. In case it doesn’t, you’ll need to take a power adapter if you’re traveling abroad.

Always take an extension lead with you in case there’s no plug socket near your bed.

Additional Tips


Purchase a portable CPAP machine: This is very important if you’re a frequent traveler. It usually means that it will be more convenient if you buy a travel-sized CPAP that is battery-operated. Remember that these machines usually don’t have humidifiers and it’s crucial to test it first at home before using it at a distant destination. If you carry extra batteries with you, remember to clarify this with the TSA agent during the security check.

Carry your CPAP with you: As this is a medical device, people are allowed to carry it in addition to the normal number of bags they have. To avoid any issues, get a letter from your doctor explaining that the device is medically necessary and always check your airline’s policy. Leave the machine in the plastic bin when going through security.

Take an extension cord: You know how important it is to have your CPAP next to you and you can never know where a plug is going to be in a new place. Even though many hotels will supply an extension cord, it’s better to be on the safe side. Likewise, take your adapter if you’re going overseas as you’ll need it for the outlet.

Bring your pillow with you: It can be hard to fall asleep using a completely new pillow. So, make sure you take that supportive pillow you use at home with you.

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