“Nearly 85% of all American adults intend to travel this summer. The 84.76% of people that said this include the 40.71% that said they will travel one time only and the 44.05% that said they will travel more than once.”– The Vacationer (2023)
The Summer travel season in almost upon us and once the flight is paid for, the hotel or vacation rental is booked, your transportation is reserved, and your itinerary is set … now it’s time to plan what you are to wear and what you need to pack. The planning phase of your trip is the most stressful.
“The most stressful part of travel for most people actually begins before the trip, it is the trip planning stage. This includes doing travel research, making travel arrangements, making an itinerary, and packing.”– InternationalTravelCats.com
When you have ongoing health issues that need medical intervention, this can make the planning phase more stressful and time-consuming. Especially for those who have OSA or sleep apnea, who need CPAP therapy to help them get a good night’s sleep. Does a break from work, school and everyday life also mean a break from your CPAP therapy? Absolutely not!
First, who wants to feel tired and groggy during their vacation? We understand that packing a CPAP machine adds to your list of travel logistics, but nothing’s more important than a good night’s sleep. Whether you’re on a business trip or a pleasure cruise, healthy and restorative sleep is the best way to get the most out of your stay, as well as prevent accidents, relapses of comorbidities as well as better focus and mindfulness during the day so you are engaged with friends and family while you enjoy the day at the beach, explore the sights, and make memories.
Second, those who achieve greater sleep success with their CPAP therapy are those who wear it consistently every night, even when they nap. CPAP manufacturers and sleep physicians both strongly recommend that people with sleep apnea use CPAP every time they sleep, especially when you travel.
So, all the more reasons to plan ahead, pack efficiently and buy accordingly so you and your family can be prepared for an awesome vacation where you will feel refreshed and well-rested.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to successfully travel with your CPAP device and mask:
I. Consider purchasing a Travel CPAP Machine before your trip.
What benefits do a travel CPAP machine provide for those on the go? First of all, a travel CPAP is smaller in size and lighter in weight than a standard one. So, it’s easier to pack and won’t take up much needed space for all the other items you’d like to bring.
Second, besides size, the travel version has additional features that facilitate easier travel. For example, travel CPAPs have the ability to run on battery power for a set number of hours. They are usually compatible with automobile auxiliary power outlet or DC cable converters, portable batteries, and even solar powered chargers.
Third, if you’re flying by plane, many CPAP devices are TSA-friendly and FAA-approved for in-flight use. Their compact size simplifies packing, and they are easy enough to disassemble for shorter flights.
Fourth, many of the travel CPAP devices do not have a water-based humidifier. They come with their own humidifying benefits without water, so no additional parts and no need to worry about finding distilled water at your travel location. How does this work? They work by capturing the heat and moisture from the patient’s exhaled breath and transferring it to the inhaled air, thus reducing the amount of heat and moisture lost during the ventilation process. Without a humidifier, there is no need to empty out the humidifier before getting on the road or on the plane.
Here are some suggested Travel CPAP we recommend:
Transcend Micro Travel CPAP Machine
Meet the world’s smallest and lightest travel CPAP device: the all-new Transcend Micro. Weighing under 0.5 pounds and measuring less than 4 inches, the Transcend Micro is at the cutting edge of sleep technology: allowing you to enjoy effective sleep therapy at home, on-the-go and even off-the-grid. Be free to travel and explore without worrying that sleep apnea will interfere with your adventure.
- The new Transcend Micro is the smallest and lightest travel CPAP available on the market: weighing less than 0.5 pounds and measuring under 4 inches.
- Unique among travel CPAPs, the Transcend Micro is compatible with any CPAP mask.
- The new Transcend Micro allows you to unplug and sleep anywhere with the battery option. (Sold separately)
Philips DreamStation Go Travel CPAP (CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE)
Our sleek design has 1/3 fewer components to pack than other travel PAPs,* and DreamStation Go offers the same therapy and comfort features enjoyed by over 5 million PAP users. For your convenience at security stations in airports, there is a note on the bottom of the device stating that it is medical equipment and is suitable for airline use. The device is suitable for use on airlines when it is operating from an AC power source or battery pack. Contact the airline prior to departure for information on power source available in flight. This device automatically compensates for altitude up to 7,500 feet. No manual adjustment is necessary.
- Same PAP performance on the go
- Easy to use
- Weighing less than 2 pounds
- 12mm micro-flexible tubing
- Dimensions: 15 cm L x 15 cm W x 5.8 cm H
- Pressure range: 4 to 20 cm H2O
- Flex modes: C-Flex, C-Flex+, A-Flex
ResMed AirMini Travel CPAP
Travel light and sleep well with AirMiniTM – a travel CPAP that will never slow you down. AirMini is tiny but still offers top quality therapy, waterless humidification and convenient control with the AirMini app. AirMini has two humidification options – HumidX™ and HumidX Plus. They are waterless solutions designed to help keep your therapy comfortable. And you don’t have to worry about traveling with bottled water! AirMini humidification solutions only work with AirFit N20 and AirFit P10 for AirMini masks.
- AirMini includes three therapy modes: CPAP, AutoSet™ (APAP) and AutoSet for Her (APAP).
- Designed to work with ResMed CPAP masks: AirFit™ P10 for AirMini, AirFit N20, AirFit F20, AirTouch™ F20 and AirFit F30.
- Enjoy a waterless humidification system that delivers the comfort of humidity without the hassle of carrying distilled water everywhere. Humidification not available with full face masks.
- Premium travel bag and accessories for therapy on the go.
- Convenient control with the AirMini app on iOS and Android
- HSA and FSA eligible
II. Consider purchasing a Travel Battery before your trip
Whether flying, driving, hiking, camping or RV’ing during your vacation, a CPAP battery can extend the life of your CPAP device, while in the air or on the road for up to 12-24 hours. Travel CPAP batteries are lighter and more powerful than ever and offer features that add convenience to your journey.
Zopec Explore 8200 Travel CPAP Battery (288 Wh)
Zopec Explore 8200 Travel CPAP Battery Designed to sleep with CPAP/BiPap for 24 – 32 hours WITHOUT Heated Humidifier and Heated tube (depending on settings, see image for run time table). Uninterrupted sleep through Power Outages. Fast Car Charger Included! For extended power outages, powerful Solar Charger (40W, 60W, 100W) available for separate purchase. Very versatile for power outages, can also run lift chair and internet modem, laptops, phone to stay connected. With Ultra-High Battery Capacity: 288 Wh / 80 Ah. (about 1 car battery but only 3.5 lb.!)
Zopec Explore 5500 Travel CPAP Battery (160 Wh)
Designed to sleep with CPAP with humidifier for a minimum 8 hours (depends on settings). Without humidifier and heated tube, sleep up to 21 hours. Uninterrupted sleep through Power Outages. Fast Car Charger Included! For extended power outages, powerful Solar Charger (40W, 60W, 100W) available for separate purchase. Very versatile for power outages, can run lift chair and internet modem, laptops, phone to stay connected. FAA/TSA Compliant.
Zopec Explore Oxygen Backup CPAP Battery (576 Wh)
Designed to sleep with CPAP/BiPap with humidifier and heated tube for 8 – 12 hours (depending on settings). Without humidifier and heated tube, sleep up to 64 hours (8 nights). Uninterrupted sleep through Power Outages. Fast Car Charger Included! For extended power outages, powerful Solar Charger (40W, 60W, 100W) available for separate purchase. Very versatile for power outages, can run lift chair and internet modem, laptops, phone to stay connected.
Zopec Explore 5700 Travel CPAP Battery
The Zopec Explore 5700 Travel CPAP Battery provides uninterrupted sleep when power outages occur! UPS supports CPAP and BiPap. Must turn off Humidifier and Heated Tube. Battery stays at 100% as standby power. AutoSwitch to battery power instantly with sensors. Normally uses wall power with pass-through. Doesn’t hurt battery life plugged in 24/7. With Ultra-High Battery Capacity: 160 Wh / 54 Ah (OK for Air Travel! Max capacity FAA Allows.)
Zopec Explore 4000 Travel CPAP Battery (130 Wh)
Manufacturer Description: Most reliable and dependable CPAP battery with great pricing. Designed for medical device backup power. Perfect for traveling, camping or backup power. Simply the best. The world’s smallest portable CPAP battery pack to include 110V AC outlet with 40,000 mAh. Weight: 2.0 lb. (Carry-On Bag only. Can not be in checked-in luggage.)
Zopec Explore 40Lite Solar Charger Panel
40Lite Solar Panel will recharge your Zopec CPAP battery anywhere and anytime the sun is shinning. Perfect for camping!
- This is the Solar Panel Charger for Mini Zopec Travel CPAP Batteries
- Super Thin, Compact and Light: Dimension (folded up) 9″ x 9″ x 3″ and (expanded out) 32″ x 16″ x 0.25″. Weight is only 3.0 lb.
- This 40 Watts portable solar panel charger is made up of Mono-crystalline solar cells, which give you one of the most efficiency per surface area.
- Highest Quality and Reliability. Most advanced portable solar charger for batteries.
*Another TIP: Invest in a DC Converter. A DC converter is an inexpensive way to multiply your power supply options. DC adaptors allow you to power your CPAP (or charge your battery) from solar panels, USB ports, cigarette lighter style outlets, and even car batteries.
ResMed Mobile/Travel DC Converter
This DC Converter allows you to operate ResMed’s AirSense 10, AirStart 10 & AirCurve 10 CPAP machines from standard DC power sources like the cigarette style power outlets found in most cars, boats and other vehicles. A DC Adapter Cable, with alligator clips, is also included for connecting your sleep therapy device directly to an external battery.
USAGE: This is the only DC Cord that should be used with ResMed’s AirSense 10, AirStart 10 & AirCurve 10 sleep therapy devices. Using a non-ResMed DC Converter with your ResMed CPAP or BiLevel machine may damage the device. This cord will not work with ResMed Power Station (RPS) II Battery Packs; but a DC Cable for use with those battery packs is available separately. For complete instructions review the documentation that came with your equipment.
III. Prepare your CPAP for Flying
When flying, the major concern of CPAP users is getting through TSA with their device. Air travel with CPAP machines is allowed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the agency that oversees the security for the U.S. travel industry. The TSA officers are very familiar with CPAP machines and see them numerous times daily. When getting through security, here’s what to expect:
- Remove your CPAP from your luggage for security. Turn humidifier off, and turn on airplane mode (if your CPAP machine has it).
- Place your CPAP machine in a bin prior to being sent through the X-ray, but the facemask and tubing can remain in the case.
- Since the X-ray bins aren’t exactly sterile, place your CPAP machine in a clear plastic bag before you put it in the bin.
- After your CPAP machine is X-rayed, it may need to undergo an Explosive Trace Detection test where a small white swab will be run over your machine and then analyzed for trace amounts of explosive.
- Add a Medical tag. Most TSA agents will recognize healthcare equipment, but a medical ID tag can make the process move along faster. These tags are an inexpensive way to quickly separate your CPAP from other electronic devices. You can also carry a Medical Alert card in your wallet in case of an emergency.
- Print out and keep an FAA Compliance letter with your CPAP machine, which can be found on your CPAP manufacturer’s website.
- Review the TSA Airport Security page for medical conditions to confirm the process for traveling with your CPAP machines. (https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures)
- Review your airline’s polices for using CPAP machines for in-flight use and restrictions for carry-ons.
- Bring your prescription for your CPAP device or have access ready to your online medical records, in case a TSA agent wants additional verification of usage. Also, this can be handy in case your CPAP device or mask is damaged or lost during your travel, and can be replaced locally by a DME supplier.
REVIEW: “We were in from out of town and my husband forgot his cpap power cord! Gah! No sleep for 3 days was going to be tortuous. We called these guys and they were able to accomodate us right away. Thanks Everything CPAP.”– Cara Martinez
IV. When Traveling or Camping, Be Mindful of the Temperature
Like any piece of electronic equipment, extreme temperatures can impair its functionality temporarily or permanently, so take care of where you store your device. A car in the summer heat can easily reach up to 120 degrees. For example, if the air temperature is 85°F and you park your car in the sun, in 10 minutes the car’s temperature could be as high 103°F, in 20 minutes, 111°F, and 30 minutes, 115°F, and so on.
For the Dreamstation Go:
- Operating Temperature: 5° to 35° C (41° to 95° F)
- Storage Temperature: -20° to 60° C (-4° to 140° F)
- Relative Humidity (operating & storage): 15 to 95% (non-condensing)
- Atmospheric Pressure: 101 to 77 kPa (0 – 2286 m / 0 – 7500 ft)
For the Dreamstation 2:
|Operating Temperature||Device: 5° to 35°C (41° to 95°F)|
|Storage Temperature||-20° to 60°C (-4° to 140°F)|
|Relative Humidity (operating & storage)||15 to 95% (non-condensing)|
|Atmospheric Pressure:||Device: 101 to 77 kPa (0 – 2286 m / 0 – 7500 ft)|
For the Airsense 11:
- Operating temperature +41°F to +95°F (+5°C to +35°C)
- Note: The airflow for breathing produced by this therapy device can be higher than the room temperature. Under extreme ambient temperature conditions (104°F/40°C) the device remains safe.
- Operating humidity 10 to 95% relative humidity, non-condensing
- Operating altitude Sea level to 9,870′ (3,010 m); air pressure range 1060 hPa to 700 hPa
- Storage pressure/Storage altitude 1060 to 700 hPa relative humidity, non-condensing
For the Transcend Micro:
- The air temperature produced by this device can be as much as 10ºF higher than the temperature of the room.
- Exercise caution if the room temperature is warmer than 90ºF (32ºC).
V. Do a Trial Run with your travel CPAP before you Leave Town
It would be a good idea to test out your travel CPAP machine and connected to your mask, along with your travel CPAP batteries, to make sure everything is operational, compatible, comfortable and you are familiar with the set up and cleaning procedures. It might also be wise to do a Trial Run with your travel machine, by wearing it for a few nights or up to a week before your trip, and this week trial run may also aid in adjusting to the new CPAP machine to work out any kinks, moisture issues, or pressure settings as well as become acclimated to any differences from your standard CPAP machine.
VI. Bring Additional Supplies and Filters
Even for a short trip, make sure to pack extra supplies like mask cushions, headgear, and filters. Just in case your supplies get lost, broken or damaged during your travel, pack these in your check-in or separate bag from where you keep your CPAP machine. Also, if camping or unsure if you can find distilled water to clean your CPAP machine and mask, bring CPAP wipes. CPAP wipes are a fast and easy way to make sure your mask and machine stay clean. Plus, the alcohol-free formula is good for more than just CPAP equipment.
VII. Consider the Climate & Humidity of your Destination and Prepare Accordingly
If heading to a drier climate, you may need to buy a travel CPAP with a built-in humidifier, or purchase a Heat Moisture Exchange (HME) filter. The HME filter for CPAP machines is designed to provide passive humidification during CPAP therapy. The HME filter is attached to a mask elbow in order to take in heat and moisture from the user’s exhaled breath. The moisture is then returned into the air stream for inhalation to help prevent dryness at the lungs.
In very humid climates, the opposite can happen. If your CPAP humidity is too high, you’ll notice an accumulation of moisture in your mask and hose. This collection of moisture might even collect to the point that it eventually splashes onto your face and wakes you up in a phenomenon known as rainout. Heated or insulated hoses can help prevent rainout and provide more consistent humidification.
VIII. Consider Purchasing a Separate/Duplicate Mask for Traveling
Having a travel-only designated mask can keep your at-home mask safe and in good condition. The wear and tear of being packed, stored and bumped around during travel can shorten the life of your mask. Also, if you accidentally forget your travel mask at your hotel or vacation rental, you know you aren’t going to lose a night’s sleep when you get home.
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER TRAVELS!
Our staff at Everything CPAP wishes you a relaxed, fun and healthy Summer and safe travels to your vacation destination. Make great memories with family and friends, explore, relax and unwind, and always have a great night’s sleep and exciting days. If you have any questions about traveling with your CPAP, don’t hesitate to contact our staff during business hours.