Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Holidays and travel with OSA

If you have OSA and use a CPAP machine, travelling can take a bit more planning.

Preparing for your trip

When you’re planning your trip, think about:

  • how will I travel?
  • where will I stay?
  • will there be power to run my CPAP?
  • do I need any extra equipment or an extension lead?
  • do I need special insurance cover?
  • will there be 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 in case they ask.

Remember to take extra supplies of equipment such as an extra mask or cushion.

Flying

If you’re flying:

  • always 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
  • if you’re going on a long-haul flight and feel worried, you could think about using an intra-oral device. If so, have some practice sessions to get used to wearing it

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 buy 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.

Next: Further information about OSA >

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Last medically reviewed: May 2016. Due for review: May 2019

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.