As I write this I'm inspired because of the time of year. Spring break is fast approaching and summer is just around the corner - in the northern hemisphere anyway - which means millions of people are beginning to make travel plans. Travel plans for many people include checklists. Checklists to help ensure happy and efficient traveling for everyone involved.

Plane tickets booked. Check.

Hotel or apartment reserved. Check.

Rental car reserved. Check.

CPAP battery charged and packed. Wait! Say what?

If you're a CPAP user planning a trip, you'll undoubtedly take your CPAP equipment with you when you travel, and you'll need a special checklist just for CPAP users. If you're an experienced CPAP user and if your CPAP machine has been a trusty travel partner in the past, then you've probably developed a pretty practical checklist based on your experiences. Even so, you might find some useful information among the following tips. If you're new to CPAP, or if you'll be traveling for the first time with CPAP, then there's no question you'll find the following tips useful.

Tip #1 - Pack the Right Way

Don't forget that you need four things to use your CPAP.

1. The CPAP machine itself
2. The power cord for the CPAP machine (including plug adapters if you'll be traveling outside of North America)
3. The tube that connects the CPAP machine to the CPAP mask
4. The CPAP mask

Obviously, if you forget any of these four items, you're out of luck, at least for a night. You wouldn't believe how many overnight orders we've shipped throughout the years because a CPAP user has forgotten to pack one of these four basic items.

If you're flying to your destination don't even consider packing your CPAP machine in checked luggage. There's generally one outcome for people who do this, and while that outcome is good for our business (we sell new CPAP equipment) it's not good for the traveling CPAP user on a couple of different levels. Specifically, it's not good for the pocketbook and it's not good to start a vacation with a terrible night of sleep.

Tip #2 - Think About Electricity

If you're traveling outside of North America, an important consideration is electrical voltage and cycles. Older CPAP machines might not have universal power supplies that accommodate a range of voltages and cycles. Check the electrical specification sticker on your CPAP machine. If it says 100V - 240V 50/60 Hz, then you have a universal power supply that can be used anywhere in the world without a voltage converter. If the machine says 110V 60 Hz, then your machine does not have a universal power supply. In this case, you can buy a suitable voltage converter which converts, for example 220V at 50 Hz to 110V at 60 Hz.

If your CPAP device doesn't have a universal power supply, and you plug it into a 220V wall outlet with a plug adapter, you'll destroy your machine. So be sure to get this right. Any CPAP dealer can help you determine the electrical specifications of your CPAP machine.

Whether your travels take you across oceans or just across the state, you might end up in a place that doesn't have power outlets as conveniently located as the ones in your own home. Since you probably don't want to sleep on the floor, you should include an extension cord or power strip with your other CPAP supplies.

Finally, if you'll be in places without power, or with inconsistent or unreliable power, then you might want to consider including a CPAP battery that will run your machine for a few nights before needing a recharge. Almost all newer machines are 12V units so that only an inexpensive 12V cord that fits into the DC input jack on the machine is required to connect the machine to the battery. If your machine doesn't have a 12V DC input jack, then you can still use a battery, but you'll have to use an inverter. In this case, you'll plug the inverter into the battery, and then you'll plug the CPAP machine into the inverter using the standard power cord for the CPAP machine.

Tip #3 - Anticipate Different Sleeping Conditions

Of course you'll consider this if you'll be spending two weeks on a sailboat in the Caribbean, but if you'll be spending time in a hotel in Orlando you might not think too much about sleeping conditions.

The primary consideration here is the accessibility of power outlets. I already mentioned this in Tip #2, but it's really an important stand-alone issue that needs to be highlighted. An extension cord or power strip can save the day, and your sanity, if your hotel room doesn't have any extra power outlets next to the bed.

Another consideration here is the headboard on the bed. At home you may be accustomed to routing your tubing up over the headboard to eliminate low spots in the tube (where water from a humidifier can accumulate), or to minimize tugging on your CPAP mask. Your hotel bed will likely have a different headboard, and it may not support your CPAP tube. A CPAP hose lift can help. At 8 ounces it's travel friendly, and it's super useful in a variety of situations.

By the way, if you are out on that boat in the Caribbean, you might want to make sure you don't have water in your humidifier if your humidifier is attached to the machine. Water sloshing around and entering the CPAP machine will short circuit the machine. You'll have a new anchor, but you won't have a working CPAP machine. Be careful, matey.

Tip #4 - Consider Your Humidifier

And speaking of humidifiers, you might just want to leave it at home. You don't need to be in raging seas for the humidifier water to spill into the CPAP machine and destroy it. If you forget water is in the humidifier and then pack it up, chances are you'll get water in your CPAP machine and you'll ruin it. If you do bring the humidifier along with you, just be careful to empty it every time you move the CPAP machine.

With a humidifier you'll also need to be sure that water is accessible. Many users use distilled water, and you can certainly do that when traveling, but it might be more difficult than when you're at home.

And if you'll be using a battery, be sure to turn the humidifier heat off so that the battery will last longer. A humidifier heater will reduce battery life by 50% or more, so a 2-night battery might last less than a single night with the humidifier heater turned on. You'll still get moisture from your humidifier even if the heater is turned off, so my recommendation would be to conserve battery power so you're sure to get the CPAP therapy you need, and just try to get along with a little less moisture.

Tip #5 - Have a Backup Plan

Checklists are great, but everyone needs a plan B. If you have a copy of your prescription, take it with you. If your machine breaks while on vacation and you decide to get a new one, then you'll need that prescription whether you buy the new machine locally or online.

CPAP masks can break, and they can break on vacation just as easily as they can break anywhere else. If you have a second mask, take it with you. Likewise if you have a second tube. Tubes can be patched up with tape in a pinch, but who brings tape on vacation?

Don't forget that if you need something in a hurry, it's available. Go online and order it and have it shipped to your hotel, rental apartment, RV space or wherever you might be. Then you can get on with your vacation without spending a day (or more) trying to find a local CPAP dealer with the equipment you need.

Take this checklist and use it as your own. Add to it based on your own experiences. Enjoy traveling with your CPAP stuff.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew Senske is the president of, a leading online retailer of CPAP equipment for the treatment of sleep apnea. has served tens of thousands of customers worldwide since 2001. For more information - including helpful articles designed to help you achieve compliance with your CPAP therapy - visit today.