Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
New Brunswick • Somerset

Tips for Traveling

Tips For Traveling With Your CPAP Machine

  • Make sure you have the travel bag made for the machine.
  • Always carry your CPAP machine on board. Never check it in 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.
  • Make sure to carry a 16-foot extension cord with you.
  • If you have a 3-prong plug, take an adapter that converts to a 2-prong plug.
  • Carry extra fuses for your machine.
  • Get a letter from your physician stating the medical necessity for your CPAP machine. Keep a copy of the letter with the contents of the machine; keep another copy on file. For long-term travel, if your CPAP machine is lost or malfunctions, you will need a copy of your prescription for any repairs or replacements of the machine. When traveling internationally, try to obtain a letter of medical necessity in the language of your destination, as it may help speed you through security.
  • Make sure you have the correct adapter plug for your destination. When traveling internationally, be aware of the voltage used in the country to which you are traveling. If it is different from the United States (110V), learn how to reset your machine's voltage. Your CPAP manual or home care company may have this information. When you change the voltage selection, you may need a different fuse. Remember to carry a spare fuse.
  • An optional piece of equipment is a small, folding luggage carrier with a bungee cord. It will make for easier traveling.
  • If you use a humidification unit, please make sure you have access to purified or distilled water.
  • For emergency purposes, a flashlight can be a useful tool for nighttime adjustments. Should there be a need to repair any broken parts while traveling, duct tape and nontoxic, quick-drying household cement are useful as temporary solutions.
  • If traveling by car, keep your CPAP machine in the passenger compartment rather than the trunk to minimize temperature extremes. The machine should be stored in the trunk to discourage theft when leaving the car.
  • If traveling 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 it, you can run your CPAP machine from a cigarette lighter plug. However, the length of time you can do so when the engine is not running depends upon your pressure and the strength of the vehicle's battery. Never use a CPAP machine when the engine is running and the windows are closed.
  • If traveling to higher altitudes, your pressure setting will need to be adjusted accordingly.
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