Whether you're traveling to the across the country or across the state, it's essential to be prepared for your trip.
When you travel, if you're like most folks, you
will make a checklist for the clothing you will be taking, as well
as adding other items, such as toiletries, but what about that one
piece of equipment that you may think of at the last minute? Yes!
That's right! Your CPAP or BiPAP.
Since you should know your agenda better than anyone else, I'm just going to offer some simple suggestions for things I've found while traveling. Some of the tips I've discovered the hard way, so take heed.
Make sure you have the travel bag or carrying case recommended
by the manufacturer for your specific machine. I'll give you one
guess for the reasoning behind this point.
When you are doing any flying, always carry your CPAP or BiPAP
along with you as carry-on luggage. Never check it in with baggage
when traveling by plane. As you board the plane, ask the flight
attendant to store it in the closet at the front of the plane.
Always carry a 12-foot or 16-foot extension cord with you.
Be sure to pack at least two three-prong adapters for your trip.
These handy little gadgets allow you to convert a three-prong plug,
such as the one on most CPAP or BiPAP machines, into a two-prong
plug. The three-prong adapter is comes in handy in hotels or other
locations where you may find just a two-prong outlet. Remember,
that third prong on the power cord is to ground the machine. Don't
ever yank it off. If you're going to use a three-prong adapter,
be sure to use an insured power strip/surge protector (see the next
Be sure to have a surge protector. Surge protectors are not absolute
protection against power surges zapping anything, whether it be
a computer or an CPAP or BiPAP, but they give you one additional
line of defense. There are many different brands on the market,
ranging in price from $3.99 to $49.99. Shop around, and buy one
that is UL
listed, as well as comes with a warranty and automatic insurance
covered should something happen while using the protector. Be sure
to read all the details before purchasing.
Carry extra fuses for your machine. Check with the manufacturer or your
home healthcare equipment provider for the proper fuse, as well
as installation and removal procedures.
Get a letter from your physician stating the medical necessity
for CPAP or BiPAP. Keep a copy of the letter with the contents of
the machine; keep another copy on file. For long-term travel, if
your CPAP or BiPAP machine is lost or malfunctions, you will need
a copy of your prescription for any repairs or replacements of the
machine. A letter of medical necessity will not get your through
customs or airport security any faster, nor will it keep your machine
from being scanned. The letter helps you move through the security
checkpoints faster, especially when security personnel are unfamiliar
with the machine. Some of the newer machines that keep detailed
sleep information should not be harmed by the scans in airports
or other locations. For peace of mind, consider all the laptops
that are scanned each day without problem.
Be certain to check the power source for your destination. If you
are traveling in the U.S., your machine is ready to go. If traveling
overseas, you'll want to check with an embassy for that country,
the hotel you will be staying at, or other reliable source. You
won't be able to use your machine in another country without the
When traveling to other countries, it is important to be aware
of the voltage used in the country you are traveling to. If it
is different from the United States (110V), obtain the information
on how to reset your machine's voltage from your CPAP or BiPAP manual or
from your home-care company. When you change the voltage selection,
you may need a different fuse. Remember to carry spare fuses.
When traveling to other countries, have a letter of medical necessity,
provided by your physician, preferably in the language of your
destination, as it may help speed you through security.
If you use a humidifier with your CPAP or BiPAP, be certain to
carry along purified or distilled water, as well as three-prong
adapters for that unit, as well. Also, be certain to check if you
need a different power source for the humidifier if traveling overseas.
For emergency purposes, a flashlight can be a useful tool for nighttime adjustments, especially in a strange environment.
Duct tape and a nontoxic, quick-drying household cement are also
handy items to have in your CPAP or BiPAP's emergency kit. You never know
when a mask will break or a hole start in your hose.
If traveling by personal vehicle, keep your CPAP or BiPAP machine in the
passenger compartment rather than the trunk. This helps to minimize
temperature extremes. Store the machine in the trunk of your vehicle
only to avoid theft.
If traveling for long distances, whether by car, camper, motor
home, or boat, you may want to consider asking your home-care
company about a 12-volt adapter. With the adapter, you can run
your CPAP or BiPAP from a cigarette lighter plug. It's important to note
that because of power fluctuations, the machine should not be
used by the driver of any vehicle while the engine is idling or the vehicle is in motion. The length of time may vary, depending on your CPAP or BiPAP's pressure
and the strength of the vehicle's battery. Never use the CPAP or BiPAP
when the engine is running and the windows are closed.
If traveling to higher altitudes, have your medical provider adjust
the pressure settings accordingly.
As of October 18, 2009 at 8:55 a.m.(ET) (-0500), the U.S. population
was 307,725,269. Sleep researchers estimate approximately seven percent
of the population suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. Using that
estimate, there are potentially 21,443,850 apneics in the U.S.
~~ Apnea around the world ~~
As of October 18, 2009 at 8:55 a.m.(ET) (-0500), the world population
was 6,791,269,358. Sleep researchers estimate approximately seven percent
of the population suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. Using that
estimate, there are potentially 475,388,855 apneics in the world.
Awake In Philly is a community education group for individuals who have been
diagnosed with at least one of the recognized sleep disorders, as well as anyone
else impacted by those with sleep disorders. The information contained in this
site is intended to provide support, guidance, and encouragement to others contending
with the many challenges of sleep disorders. The goals of Awake In Philly are to support, educate, and inform those who feel the impact of sleep disorders,
as well as the general public, and is not intended to replace medical
advice, nor is any information to be misinterpreted as an attempt to diagnose,
treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
If you have questions about any of the medical conditions mentioned on this website, especially if you suspect that you (or someone you know) has sleep apnea, please
contact a qualified medical professional immediately. Medical advice should only come from qualified, licensed, and trained healthcare professionals.
Citation: David F. Jackson.
“travel.shtml”, located at . Awake In Philly Community Education Group. Last Modified on Sunday, 03-Jun-2007 11:33:39 EDT. (Page last visited: Friday, 24-May-2013 10:52:44 EDT).