This year, more people are traveling for the holidays than last year. If you’re going to be visiting friends, family, or just getting out of town around the holidays, you’ll want to take your sleep apnea treatment with you. Otherwise, you’ll find it hard to enjoy your vacation. While traveling with an oral appliance is extremely easy, a CPAP machine can create some challenges. Here are some tips to make traveling with CPAP easier.
Clean and Dry CPAP Before Packing
You will want to make sure your CPAP machine is clean and dry before you pack it. This will help prevent mold and mildew growing on the machine. Clean your CPAP the morning after using it the last time before traveling. This will help make sure your machine is clean when you might have fewer opportunities to clean it while traveling. Don’t forget to empty the humidifier.
Pack Adequate Supplies and Backups
For any single-use components, pack about 50% more than you think you will need. This will give you a cushion in case something goes wrong, such as a delayed or canceled flight.
If you have any components that are prone to breaking, bring a second.
Bring Adequate Cleaning Supplies and Water
While you might clean with soap and water at home, CPAP wipes make a great choice for travel cleaning. However, you will probably want to bring some water for the humidifier. If you don’t want to bring distilled water, check on its availability at your destination. You don’t want to be stuck without water or be forced to use local water supplies that might be dirty or have minerals that can damage your machine.
Consider a Travel Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you are hoping to be a more frequent traveler in the future, consider your options for travel solutions for sleep apnea. For many people, this might mean a travel CPAP machine. However, if appropriate, an oral appliance makes a good travel alternative sleep apnea treatment. It’s very portable, and you can ignore all the power-related issues when traveling.
Bring Adapters for International Travel
If you are leaving the country, you will want to make sure you will be able to use your CPAP. Check what voltages your CPAP machine can use (this is usually on the back of the machine with other electrical information, but it will be in the manual if you can’t find it there). If your destination uses something different, look into an adapter. Also look at the plug design at your destination to see whether you need a plug adapter as well.
Make Sure You Will Have Power on the Plane
If there’s a chance you will be sleeping on the airplane, you will want to make sure that you can do so with your CPAP. Check with the airline to make sure you’re allowed to use CPAP on the plane. Many CPAP machines do remote monitoring with WiFi, so know how to put your device in airplane mode. Also make sure you have the right power. Possibly, you can choose a seat that has a power outlet at the seat. Otherwise, get FAA-approved batteries for the trip. Remember to bring more batteries than you think you will need.
Check on Power at Your Destination
In the US, hotels will have outlets near the bed. However, if you’re staying at the house of a friend or family member, ask about the location of outlets near the bed. If there isn’t an outlet nearby, ask for an extension cord.
This is more difficult for international travel. Hotels should have reliable electrical outlets, but if you’re renting a home, especially a historic one, you may have trouble finding a good outlet.
Keep Your CPAP Documentation Handy
Make sure you have documentation to handle potential travel problems. This will include your prescription to help you through airport security and potentially replace any damaged or lost components related to travel. You should also have your FAA compliance notifice to make sure you can take it on the plane and use it while flying.
Don’t Check Your CPAP
Even if you don’t think you’re going to sleep on the plane, make sure you have your CPAP with you. Checking your CPAP could lead to trouble if your baggage gets lost. You don’t need to put CPAP in your carry-on bag. As medical equipment, it can travel in a separate bag.
Be Ready for Airport Security
Airport security can potentially slow you down more with CPAP. To make sure you get through as easily as possible, get ready for security. Take your machine out of its case, though putting it in a clear plastic bag can still help keep it protected while allowing TSA personnel to inspect it. They might need to reach in to swab the machine to test for bomb materials. If the TSA agent needs to handle any of your CPAP equipment, you can request that they put on fresh gloves.
And, of course, have all your documentation handy.
Looking for More Sleep Apnea Treatment Options?
Many people change their minds about sleep apnea treatment after a travel experience. If you don’t have a good travel experience with CPAP, you might consider getting a CPAP that will be better for traveling. This might mean an actual travel CPAP, or it might mean a smaller machine or mask. In some cases, people want to have an oral appliance as an option when traveling.
Whatever solution you’re considering, the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha can help you find the best option for you.
Please call (402) 493-4175 or use our online form to request an appointment today.