Holiday Travel & Sleep Apnea: How To Travel With a CPAP Machine Over the Holidays

The busiest time of year for long-distance travel in the United States is from November through December as people travel to visit family during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Treatment with CPAP machines improves symptoms for many people with sleep apnea.

As a result of your treatment, you may feel more energized and ready to visit family or friends. Remember that while you may take a vacation, your sleep apnea does not. If you discontinue treatment, even temporarily, during a vacation, your symptoms will quickly come back.

Is My CPAP Machine Portable?

In the past, traveling with a CPAP machine was more difficult because they were big and bulky. Today’s models are smaller and lighter, and many come with a carrying case specifically for traveling. If you are driving, taking your CPAP to your destination should be no trouble at all.

You can still take your CPAP with you if you are flying. You may meet with challenges, but they are not insurmountable. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, a CPAP is a medical device. You have the right to take it with you on a plane without it counting as a carry-on bag. This is a good solution if you would prefer not to check it as baggage for fear of it getting lost or damaged. On the other hand, if you are comfortable checking it, you may do so.

Short-term therapies offer a possible alternative to taking a CPAP with you on vacation. These include oral appliances to advance your jaw and prevent the tissues in your throat from falling back while you sleep.

You may also be able to keep your upper airways open with the use of nasal valves or nose strips. Ask your sleep specialist if these are acceptable treatment alternatives while you are traveling. If your sleep apnea is severe, these may not be adequate even as a temporary solution.

A Consistent Night’s Sleep Away From Home

You may not feel comfortable traveling with your regular CPAP machine for fear that it could get broken or lost. An alternative is to purchase an additional unit, such as the ResMed Travel CPAP, that is made specifically to be portable.

Travel CPAPs are typically designed to be small and lightweight so that they fit more easily in travel bags. They are less messy because they can provide humidification without distilled water, which also makes it easier to clean them up and pack them again when you are ready to go home.

If you have to sleep somewhere that doesn’t provide an outlet for you to plug in your machine, some travel CPAPs operate on batteries.

The most important thing is to make plans ahead of time to continue your treatment. Otherwise, your holiday could be ruined by recurrent symptoms of excessive snoring, headache, fatigue, and irritability. Take care of your equipment the way you would at home to keep it clean and free of mold.

Do you have questions about your treatment, such as what is the difference between CPAP and BiPAP? Find answers from qualified experts, such as your sleep specialist or online sleep apnea equipment retailers.