Travelling with your CPAP device
Don’t lose sleep when you’re out of town! Depending on your travel situation, there are various options available so you can easily use your CPAP on the road. Here are some tips on using your CPAP when you’re away from home.
General tips for travelling with CPAP
– Pack your device in its carrying case. This protects the CPAP from damage when transporting.
– Make sure you empty and dry out the water chamber in your humidifier. With movement, water can go from the water chamber into your device and damage the internal electronics, so take the time to make sure it’s dry before placing it in the bag.
NOTE: Water damage is not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.
– Keep a good quality extension cord (preferably with surge protection) in your CPAP travel bag.
Many hotel rooms and guest rooms do not have electrical outlets conveniently located near the bed, so an extension cord will make set up much easier.
– When travelling internationally, your device will automatically adapt to the change in electrical voltage. All that is required is a plug adapter to allow you to plug your device into the wall outlet in the country you’re visiting. These are available for purchase anywhere luggage is sold.
Use of distilled water on the road
– Carry a small bottle of distilled water in a separate bag. This will keep you from having to search for distilled water when you arrive at your destination.
– Going on a cruise? Ask your cruise line about distilled water availability. Most cruise lines have distilled water available for passengers requiring CPAP.
– If distilled water isn’t available, regular bottled water is fine for a few nights; however, if you are planning on using bottled water for more than a week, make sure you rinse the water chamber every couple of days.
– If you notice mineral deposits developing in the water chamber, make sure you soak your water chamber in vinegar when you return home. This should remove most of the residue and prevent damage of your device.
For airline travel:
– CPAP devices are “FAA Compliant”. This will be stamped somewhere on your CPAP machine. If you have access to power in flight, the device can be used on board.
NOTE: if your device has wireless data transmission, make sure this is disabled in flight
(put it in ‘Airplane’ mode as you would with other electronics). Ask your clinician how to do this if you aren’t sure.
– Bring your CPAP as a carry-on. Because it’s considered a medical device, most airlines will allow you to bring it on board as an additional piece of carry-on luggage at no charge.
Bringing the CPAP as carry-on luggage prevents it from becoming lost or damaged in your checked luggage.
– Bring a large plastic bag that your CPAP device will fit into. When going through security, you will be required to remove you CPAP from its carrying case for scanning. Using the bag keeps your machine from contamination in the bins. You can also request that the security agent wear new gloves, clean the table and use a new explosive trace device sampler before handling your equipment.
Remember: this is a device you’re breathing through – you want to make sure it stays as clean as possible!
– Bring a copy of your CPAP Rx. This documentation supports your need for the device in case this is ever questioned when going through security.
It is also helpful to have a signed letter from your clinician confirming that you currently require the CPAP device and contact information for your clinician if any issues arise.
Using CPAP without power
Whether you’re going to your remotely located hunting camp for the weekend or enjoying a long weekend camping in your tent, there are situations that will rise that will have you using your CPAP without standard power. Each CPAP device has various options for running without power. Check with your clinician to determine the best option for your particular device.
A few common options are:
– Deep Cycle Marine Batteries. The batteries are quite heavy, so they’re not very portable; however, they are a great option for a hunting camp or cottage. If you have a deep cycle marine battery, along with the appropriate cables, you can run your CPAP device for a few nights without power.
– Lithium Ion Batteries. These are lightweight batteries that are easier for those requiring a battery option that is portable.
– MotoMaster Eliminator (available for purchase at Canadian Tire). They are power packs that come in various sizes depending on how long you want the battery to last. There are no special cords required, the CPAP plugs directly into the Eliminator.
NOTE: Not all CPAP devices are compatible with the Eliminator. Contact your clinician to determine if your device will work with the Eliminator before purchasing.
Detaching the humidifier from your CPAP machine.
Detaching your humidifier will allow for smaller, lighter travel. Also, the humidifier draws more electrical current compared to using the CPAP alone (without humidity). For this reason, it is recommended that you always detach or turn off the humidifier on your CPAP device when running on backup power supply.
NOTE: Some devices don’t have a detachable humidifier, check with you clinician to determine how this works with your device.
When running your machine without humidity, keep in mind that the air may feel very dry. It’s sometimes a good idea to try running your machine without humidity for a night or two before you leave on your trip. That way, if the dryness ends up being very uncomfortable, you can just put the humidifier back on.
Another way to prevent the dryness associated with use of CPAP without humidification is to use a water-based gel in your nasal passages before bed. There is a product called Nasogel Spray (by NeilMed) that contains a water-based gel that will coat the inside of your sinuses and create a barrier between the tissue and the dry air. This product is available for sale at your local Snore Shop, and in most well-stocked pharmacies. Another option is any water-based gel (a few names are Secaris, Nasogel or Rhinaris). Place some of the gel on a Q-tip and apply to the inside of your nose to prevent dryness.
Travel CPAP devices
– Travel CPAP devices are compact, simple to operate and have multiple options to facilitate almost any travel situation. There are additional parts that can be used to allow CPAP use with or without power.
– There are various travel devices on the market. The Snore Shop offers a travel machine called the Transcend Travel CPAP. These devices are available for purchase or rental depending on your needs. Contact your local Snore Shop for more details.
– The Transcend is the size and weight of a pop can. It’s a great option for those who need to travel light, as it takes up very little room and weight in your carry on.
– There are small, lightweight batteries available for the Transcend that will run the device for a couple of nights (depending on device setting and length of use).
– This makes them an excellent option for camping, especially those who like to hike & camp in remote areas.
– The base device has no humidification; however, a humidifier can be purchased if necessary.
(NOTE: the humidifier for the Transcend will not run off of the backup battery)