Travelling with your CPAP equipment

Whether you’re on a city break, a dream holiday or a business trip, you should take your PAP therapy equipment along for the ride. After all, sleep apnoea never takes time off! To help you enjoy a hassle-free, well-rested trip, we’ve pulled together our favourite advice and tips on travelling with CPAP. Frequent travellers might prefer to invest in a travel-specific, pocket-sized PAP device, but we think it’s possible to enjoy a positive experience with your normal PAP equipment too. Here are our suggestions for straightforward CPAP-friendly travel.

PAP travel by air

If you’re flying, make sure your PAP equipment is packed in your hand luggage: you don’t want it to get damaged in transit. You’re allowed to take your device through security control at the airport, although we do recommend taking a copy of the manufacturer’s FAA Air Travel Compliance Letter with you, just in case.

If you’re taking a long-haul flight, how about getting some sleep on the plane so you’re refreshed when you land? Here’s what to do:

  • Contact the airline at least two weeks in advance to ask for permission to use your PAP medical equipment during the flight. If you receive permission in writing, remember to take the letter or email with you when you fly.
  • If the airline requests additional information, send them a copy of the FAA Air Travel Compliance Letter for ResMed devices. This letter is a formal aviation authority statement that a device is suitable for use on aircraft.
  • Ahead of your flight, request a seat near a power socket. Ask which type of power cord or adaptor you’ll need to plug in your device on the plane (and remember to pack it before you leave!).

PAP travel by land

If you’re choosing to travel by train, bus or coach, contact the operating company in advance to ask if a suitable power source will be available. If there isn’t a fixed power supply, you can use one of the battery packs that ResMed recommends instead. Your device user guide contains information on compatible battery packs and your healthcare provider should also be able to advise you.

If you’re holidaying in a caravan or motor home, you should be able to use the vehicle battery to operate your device (just be careful you don’t drain it!). Before you leave, make sure the vehicle battery will have sufficient capacity and take a converter so you can connect up your device (check your user guide for more information).

PAP travel by boat

You’ll be able to use your PAP device on most cruise ships but do check with the tour operator before you leave. The power supply should be between 100–240V and 50–60Hz. Remember to pack a suitable power adapter as power sockets can differ between countries – if you don’t have one, you’ll be all at sea!

Spending time on a yacht? Get in touch with the marina or boat-hire company in advance to ask if a suitable power supply will be available. You might need a DC/DC converter to operate your device onboard.

PAP therapy at your destination

Using your therapy device at a hotel or rental property shouldn’t be too different from using it at home. It’s a good idea to take an extension lead in case the power sockets are far away from the bed, as well as a suitable adapter plug if you’re travelling abroad.

Camping or in mobile accommodation? It shouldn’t be a problem if your caravan site or campsite provides access to mains electricity. And if it doesn’t, remember that ResMed therapy devices can be powered from one of our recommended external battery packs or from a car, boat or other vehicle equipped with a 12V or 24V DC power source. If you’re powering your device from a vehicle, remember that you’ll need a DC/DC power converter and make sure you don’t accidentally drain the battery!

Most ResMed devices are designed to function at up to 2,591 metres above sea level. If you’ll be sleeping at a ski station or summer mountain resort at altitude, please check your device user guide for specific guidance or contact us for advice before you leave.

PAP on the move: our useful travel checklist

That might seem like a lot of information so here’s the digested version:

Take a copy of useful information

  • A letter from your healthcare practitioner certifying that you need PAP therapy.
  • A note of your treatment pressure, mask type and mask size, plus contact details for your healthcare practitioner, equipment supplier and care provider.
  • Health insurance details, including your policy number and the provider’s contact details.
  • ResMed’s FAA Air Travel Compliance Letter, so you’ll be able to carry your device through airport security and onto the plane.

Make sure you’ll have power

  • At least two weeks before you fly, ask the airline for permission to use your device on a flight. If they give permission in writing, take a copy of the letter/email with you.
  • If you’ll be travelling overnight, contact the tour operator or travel company in advance to ask if you’ll be able to plug in your therapy device.
  • Pack a power adapter if you’ll need to use your device on a plane or other mode of transport.
  • Pack a mains plug adapter suitable for your destination country.
  • Pack an extension cord so you can use your device comfortably if the power socket is in an awkward location.
  • Consider taking a recommended battery pack if you’re not sure that a suitable power supply will be available.

Last but not least, check that your device is working properly before you leave and remember to pack suitable spares and accessories, especially if you’re taking a longer trip. That includes mask cleaning equipment, an extra cushion or two and some spare wipes.

Bon voyage!
We hope we’ve convinced you that travelling with your PAP equipment can be simple and makes good sense. And we really hope that continuing your sleep apnoea treatment during your travels will help you to have a marvellous time. For more details about travelling with sleep apnoea treatment, take a look at our dedicated e-book on the subject. Enjoy your trip!

How can I avoid my PAP mask leaving red marks on my face?

Let’s imagine the scenario. You’ve had a decent night’s sleep thanks to your CPAP machine. You wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever challenges the day is going to throw your way. You go to wash your face or brush your teeth and notice something as you glance in the bathroom mirror: red marks. Wearing your mask all night can sometimes leave marks on the bridge of your nose or on your forehead. They wear off soon enough but still, it’s something you could do without. So, how can you avoid them? There are several paths to waking up both energised and blemish-free. Let’s take a look.

Avoid over-tightening your mask

It’s possible that the marks on your skin are caused by a mask that’s too tight around your head and face. There’s no need to pull the headgear straps very tightly as the mask cushion will inflate slightly once the air starts coming through it and you’ll reach the seal that you’ll need. So, leave your mask a little leeway to expand during therapy. Allow the mask to rest snugly on your face rather than pulling it so tight that it leaves an impression on your skin.

Please make sure you follow the fitting instructions in your mask user guide in order to fit your mask correctly.

Get pads that are designed to protect the skin around your nose

If loosening the mask doesn’t do the trick, there are other potential fixes for the problem. One temporary solution is to use nasal pads that come separately from the PAP mask. Good options are polymer gel pads. You stick the transparent pads to the bridge of your nose just before putting on your mask and they prevent the silicone of the cushion from coming into direct contact with your skin and leaving those pesky red marks. The pads are simple and painless to apply and take off and they’ll protect the bridge of your nose while you sleep.

Try using memory foam cushions

Another way to avoid soreness, irritation or red marks is to get a mask – or an extra cushion to fit into your current mask – that replaces the silicone with a softer material. Memory foam is a good alternative material if you have sensitive skin. A memory foam cushion acts as a buffer that is designed to mould to the unique contours of your face. It’s a softer, breathable material that not only feels lighter against your skin than silicone but might also be less likely to cause red skin marks.

One advantage of this solution is that you can change the cushions without changing your mask, as long as they are compatible.* You can alternate between silicone and memory foam cushions, giving yourself the option of extra comfort whenever you decide you need it.

Try a different type of PAP mask

If gel pads and memory foam cushions don’t appeal to you, you could consider changing your mask. Red marks generally appear on the bridge of the nose or on the forehead, so you can tackle the problem by choosing a mask that doesn’t touch those parts of your face.

If your mask leaves red marks on the bridge of your nose, there are more minimalist masks on the market that sit under your nose, avoiding both the forehead and the nasal bridge.

Solutions for a wide range of PAP patients

So, whether your PAP therapy calls for a traditional mask or a more discreet, minimalist version and whether you have rugged or sensitive skin, there are a number of solutions that can help to keep those red marks away.

In their absence, the face looking back at you in the mirror should be that much fresher!

*Please see mask user guide for details

myAir: Troubleshooting, FAQs, top tips and more

So, you’ve signed up to myAir to track and monitor your CPAP therapy, but you’re still getting to grips with the details? You’ve come to the right place! Right now, you might be asking yourself: can I use myAir while I travel, when will I receive my sleep score and how many days’ data can I see? In this article, we’ll be answering common questions just like these.

For any new users out there, let’s begin with a quick recap. myAir is an online coaching tool that helps you stay on track with your CPAP therapy by delivering tailored motivational messages, a daily sleep score and simple fixes for common issues, like mask fit or how to connect a CPAP humidifier. Starting and sticking with sleep apnoea therapy can be a challenge at times, so myAir acts as your personal coach, keeping you motivated to use your therapy at night and reaping the benefits the morning after.

Read on to discover the answers to common myAir queries. 

myAir: logging in, new account registration and troubleshooting tips

Getting used to CPAP therapy can be difficult for some. To help you settle in and achieve long-term success, myAir lets you track and monitor your CPAP therapy. By signing up, you’ll receive handy tips tailored to you, plus a daily sleep score to give you an idea of how you’re doing on therapy and a goal to aim towards.
New technology isn’t everyone’s strong suit, and a little reminder doesn’t hurt, even if you’re a confirmed techie! In this article, you’ll find a helpful list of myAir troubleshooting tips to get you set up, logged in and on the road to CPAP therapy success!