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Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Holidays and travel if you have OSA

If you have OSA and use a CPAP machine, travelling can take a bit more planning. On this page we explain some of the things you should consider before booking your holiday.

Going on holiday with OSA

Preparing for your trip

When you’re planning your trip, think about:

  • how you will travel and where you will stay
  • your travel insurance
  • the power supply to run your CPAP – specifically the voltage if you’re going overseas
  • taking extra equipment or spares, such as extension leads and masks, and plug adapters
  • any health or hygiene risks.

If you’re travelling abroad, your sleep clinic can give you a letter explaining your CPAP machine for customs and security officials.

Flying

If you’re flying:

  • carry your CPAP as hand luggage. Check with your airline to see if you’ll get the usual allocation of hand luggage as well
  • check if your airline can provide power for your machine during flights, especially long-haul flights
  • avoid alcohol, sleeping tablets, and sedatives before and during your flight.

Travelling by sea

Ask about using CPAP on board, especially if you’re planning a cruise. Ask about the availability of power, voltage, plugs and the position of the power supply.

Where you’re staying

Check if your CPAP has a power supply that matches the supply at your destination. Some CPAPs have a switch to change voltage, or you may need to take a power adapter if you’re travelling abroad.

Ask for an extension lead if there’s no plug socket near your bed. Or take one with you.

If you’re camping or staying on a boat, some clinics will lend you a machine that runs off a 12-volt DC supply. Or you can use an inverter or converter unit so your CPAP can operate from a battery.

If you’re staying with friends or family, it might be a good idea to explain about your CPAP, especially if they have children.

Useful things to bring with you 

  • extension lead
  • travel adaptor, suited to the country you’re visiting
  • insulating tape for repairing hose damage
  • surge protector (a type of electrical socket that protects devices from an electrical surge) – these are recommended for home use with CPAP.

Next: Further information about OSA

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We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

Last medically reviewed: November 2021. Due for review: November 2024

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.