Healthy Living

Tips for Traveling with a CPAP Machine

Traveling with a CPAP Machine: The Essentials

A well-working CPAP can make all the difference for sleep apnea patients who need to improve their quality of life. Sometimes, they may not even think about a night without it by their bedside. But when you are a frequent traveler, this could be an issue.

Travelers may experience several issues with carrying a CPAP with them abroad. While sleep apnea patients who are traveling are still expected to use it, the reality is that it might not be possible.

This could be due to more than a few reasons, like:

  • Like with any piece of luggage, there is always a risk with damage. Some CPAP machines are expensive and too big to pack into a suitcase or carry-on.
  • CPAP machines are not compact. They have a lot attached to them. So, these machines are not very discreet.
  • They also require power. So, for those who travel to the great outdoors and camp, boat, and/or hike, you are not able to bring a CPAP along with you.

A CPAP machine must be kept in mind when you are traveling. Like other disorders, sleep apnea doesn't take a vacation. So a night off from the machine may impact your health significantly by increasing your risk for a heart attack or for other symptoms that come with sleep deprivation.

CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure therapy, a specially designed machine that helps those with obstructive sleep apnea breathe while asleep.  The machine  uses air pressure to help keep the airways open and clear. This will not only help them get the rest they need to function safely and effectively during the day, but will also help relieve the pressure that is put on the heart and lungs every time they stop breathing.  Sleep apnea, if not treated with a CPAP, can lead to serious health issues, including a significantly higher risk of heart attack.

Who would really enjoy a vacation or productive business trip while suffering from headaches, sleepiness, sluggishness or forgetfulness? Without a CPAP, patients could very well experience these symptoms.

Luckily, CPAP machines have become mainstream, and developers are realizing that they need to be more travel-friendly. While there are only a few models on the market, the ones that are out there cater to the traveler and their needs. These include:

  • ResMed’s Air Mini: A sleek unit that has been influenced by the clean cool lines of Apple.
  • Philips’ DreamStationGo: Bluetooth enhanced, lightweight unit that weighs only 1.86 lbs and features an integrated rechargeable battery for increased portability.
  • Somnetics’ Transcend: Designed  to allow users to sleep virtually anywhere.  These rugged yet small machines are designed to be about the size of a soda can and are extremely lightweight
  • Human Design Medical’s Z1: This unit literally fits in the palm of the hand and features an extended  battery life option to allow for extended use.

Before purchasing a travel-friendly CPAP machine, do some research to see which model and what accessories would best suit the type of travel you will be doing.

There are also some factors that users should keep in mind when choosing the right travel sleep apnea machine.

Type of travel:

Think about how long you are staying at a hotel, how long you will be without electricity (like, let's say, if you were camping). You will need to have a CPAP that will be convenient, depending on where you were going.


Weight will be a factor for many travelers. For example, business travelers who prefer to have a lightweight carry-on with them will require a lightweight machine that can  be transported from one location to the other.

Type of tubing:

Since each model of travel CPAP machine will have its own type of tubing, it’s important to compare them all to one another.  Smaller tubes will make packing easier and will mean less confinement.

Extra built-in options:

Finally, what are some added features  with each model?  Again, depending on the type of travel, some added extras, like built-in USB charging ports or alarm clocks will play a role for sales.

Another thing to keep in mind for travel-friendly CPAP machines is the accessories that you need. Travel CPAP accessories will allow the user to build their own portable custom sleep system that will let them pick and choose the right tools they need to ensure proper and healthy sleep while on the road.

Some of these accessories could be:

  • Travel cases: These cases can help you keep the machine, tubing, power cords, masks and other required parts organized while traveling. Finding a specialized travel case may seem tedious, but it could be a great investment for users.  Having a place for everything will make accessing the machine much more convenient. It'll also help keep it clean and protect it from damage.
  • Bedside organizers: This can help keep the tubing and masks tucked away in one place.
  • Power adapters: This is a must for all sleep apnea patients.  With this, you can plug it into a car lighter or battery and also make sure that there is always an option to get plenty of power to the machine.
  • Battery packs: Depending on the type of trip, this could  be considered a must-have. Batteries that power CPAP machines are designed specifically for the units and have, thankfully become much smaller and compact, making them more convenient for travel.  This means, that prior to that overnight tenting trip, a battery pack, along with the travel CPAP machine can be tossed into the travel case and carried easily in a backpack.  A win-win for everyone.

Having sleep apnea and using a CPAP machine is not a life sentence.  It does not mean that you can never travel again.. There are options that are designed to let users do what they love or need to do. It doesn’t matter if you are  traveling for business, jet-setting around the world, roughing it in the back country or challenging yourself in an Ironman challenge. There is a travel-friendly CPAP option that will work for you.