sleep foundation
The National Sleep Foundation

Medically Reviewed by

The National Sleep Foundation

Written by

The National Sleep Foundation

Even when you’re on vacation, you can’t take a break from Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP is the leading therapy for sleep apnea. Patients wear a face or nasal mask during sleep. The mask, connected to a pump, provides a positive flow of air into the nasal passages in order to keep the airway open. What keeps you alert and refreshed at home will serve you well on your travels. Besides, research shows that taking even one night off of CPAP can increase a person’s risk for an automobile crash. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when you travel.

  • Check with your Airline
    Check with your airline before the flight to see if they allow CPAP to be used, as not all airlines permit it. You may want to obtain written approval from the airlines Medical Services department before the flight. When booking, request a seat near a power source for use during flight and find out what kind of power cord will be needed.
  • Packing for Your Trip
    It is not advisable to pack your CPAP in your checked luggage. You may need it in flight, and it could be damaged or lost if it’s not safely with you. You may wish to pack an extension cord in case your hotel has no electrical outlet near the bed.
  • Getting through Airport Security
    The Department of Transportation’s limit of one bag and one personal item does not include medical devices, such as CPAP. Consider bringing a letter from your doctor stating your need for the device. You may want to print out the Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Fact Sheet entitled “Steps Taken to Ensure New Security Requirements Preserve and Respect the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities,” in case the security guard is confused.
  • Traveling to another country? Going camping? No problem!
    There are light weight machines that can use batteries or may be hooked up to other power sources. Check with your local provider for more details on how to accommodate CPAP on your trip.

Learn more about Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.