Planning a trip with family? Friends? For work? Whatever your reason for travelling, don’t forget to pack that CPAP machine! No matter where you are travelling to or how you are getting there, if you plan to sleep, you should always have your therapy with you!
What do I do if I am travelling by plane?
Great question! No matter what, absolutely DO NOT put your CPAP machine in your checked luggage! Have you ever watched those guys toss around those bags? It is quite the sight! Your CPAP machine is a medical device;therefore you are allowed to bring it on board the plane with you, along with your regular carry-on luggage! Place it safely in the overhead bin and you are ready to go!
Concerned about going through security with your machine? Not a problem! The employees working in the airports at security are quite familiar with CPAP machinesnowadays and should not question what it is (it may be a good idea to have your prescription in the bag just in case). You will have to remove your machine from the bag to be scanned, as you do your iPad/tablet/laptop. If you are thinking, “Yuck, I do not want to put my machine in those dirty bins!” simply place your machine in a large clear Ziploc bag before packing it up.
If you are one of those lucky people who get to travel to the warm Mediterranean and sit by the crystal-clear waters, well I am jealous. Or if you are travelling anywhere overseas where those plugs are completely different than ours here in cold, beautiful Canada, do not think this means you don’t need to bring that CPAP machine!You brought your cell phone didn’t you? All you need is the power adapter to fit into that plug and Bingo, you are all set! The CPAP machines work at 100-240 volts, so it safe to use without concern in most areas of the globe!
Travelling somewhere without power?
Going camping or planning a weekend at the cottage that has no power? Guess what? Not a problem! Pack that CPAP machine, along with your battery pack! There are battery packs designed specifically for your CPAP device. I know what you are going to ask, well how long will my battery last? The duration of your battery will depend on a few factors:
1) are you using your humidifier/heated tube
2) is your pressure setting high or low?
3) how long are you sleeping for?
Using your humidifier/heated at night with a battery pack is going to drain the power on it quicker than if you were to turn it off. Now normally, most of us go camping in the summertime, when it is already quite humid, so you may find you can use your CPAP therapy without having your humidifier or heated tube turned on, which will increase the length of time the battery will last.
If you require a higher pressure to treat your sleep apnea (remember the machines can only be set from 4-20cmH2O), the harder your machine works to generate that continuous pressure, therefore the more power it will require. Therefore, the less time the battery will last.
I think this last point is straight-forward but here we go:
Sleeping for 14hrs? Your battery is going to require recharging more often. Sleeping for 3 hours? Your battery should last you a couple of days before you need to recharge it.
Now I know what you want to ask… well how do I recharge my battery pack?
If you, or someone you know, has driven you to wherever you are, there are car adapters to charge those battery packs! Alternatively, there are also solar panel charging stations that you can purchase to charge that battery while you soak up the sun!
Overall, a fully charged battery will last 1-2 nights, and take approximately 3-4 hours to recharge.
Alternatively, you can also use a marine battery that is often available in hardware stores. In order to hook your CPAP machine up to one of those you will need to AC/DC adapter kit specific to your type of PAP device. Often, these kits need to be ordered for you, so be sure to give us a bit of notice and we can get that kit for you and send you off to enjoy your trip!
Travelling somewhere that you cannot get/find distilled water?
You know what I am going to say right? Not a problem! Pack up that machine and get ready to use tap water or regular bottled water. No, that tap water will NOT wreck your humidifier chamber if you must use it for a few days! When you get back home, you may notice a bit of white scale build-up in the chamber. Don’t panic! It’s ok! Get together a mixture of 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar and place it in the chamber to soak. After about 20-30 minutes that gross white scale build up should be gone! Give it a good clean with mild dish soap and water and you are ready to use it again!
Still have questions about travelling with your CPAP device? No problem! Please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your travel plans (we may be a bit jealous but that’s ok) and let you know the best option for you to be able to use your therapy while you are away from the comfort of your own bed!
Jenna Adams RRT
Clinical CPAP Consultant
Ontario Sleep Care
#112-920 Princess Street