7 Tips for Traveling with Sleep Apnea: How to Ensure Restful Nights While Away from Home

- By Lofta
7 Tips for Traveling with Sleep Apnea:  How to Ensure Restful Nights While Away from Home
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Written by Nancy Kirk

March 28, 2024

With warmer days on the horizon, many people look forward to summer traveling, whether out-of-state, internationally, or even camping in a nearby park. But regardless of the season, traveling any time of year can inevitably disrupt your everyday sleep routine.

If you have sleep apnea, it’s key to fully prepare for trips so travel does not worsen your symptoms. Sleep apnea already disrupts sleep patterns, which can lead to daytime fatigue and mood disturbances. Traveling adds another layer of complexity, with changes in time zones, unfamiliar sleeping environments, and disrupted routines. 

Despite the extra challenges you face with sleep apnea, these tips can help you maintain good sleep hygiene on the road. During travel, you should prioritize adequate sleep and CPAP therapy to feel upbeat, energized, and healthy. This way, you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest!

Here are our top 7 tips for traveling with sleep apnea: 

  • Prioritize Quality Sleep

  • Sleep hygiene is essential for overall well-being, yet it often takes a back seat when traveling. Whether for business or pleasure, being away from the comfort of our beds and routines can wreak havoc on our sleep patterns. This is particularly true if you have sleep apnea.

    Sleep hygiene includes sticking to a regular sleep schedule, creating a conducive sleep environment, avoiding caffeine and screens close to bedtime, and engaging in more relaxing activities before sleep.

    Best Practices for Sleep Hygiene on Vacation

    ✔️Stick to Routine: It’s normal to stay out a little later here and there on vacation, but bedtime consistency will help you enjoy more restful sleep. Try your best to maintain a consistent sleep schedule overall. This also means sticking to your regular, at-home CPAP routine.

    ✔️Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment: Bring items that can make your sleep environment feel more relaxing, such as an eye mask, earplugs, or a white noise machine to block disruptions. 

    ✔️Mind Your Diet and Exercise: While it's tempting to indulge in rich foods and skip workouts while traveling, maintaining a balanced diet and staying active can improve sleep quality and overall health, including managing sleep apnea symptoms.

    ✔️Practice Relaxation Habits: Incorporate relaxation habits such as deep breathing, meditation, turning off screens before bend, or gentle stretching into your bedtime routine to unwind and prepare your body for sleep.

  • Pack Your Sleep Apnea Essentials 

  • Sleep apnea doesn’t necessarily have to make traveling more difficult, but you’ll want to make sure you have all your essentials. The night before you head out, review your checklist to ensure you have everything you need while on the road. Below, we’ve created a packing checklist to help ease your packing. 

    Sleep Apnea Packing Checklist

    • CPAP Machine 
    • CPAP Mask and Tubing 
    • Power Chord
    • Adaptor (if traveling out of the country) 
    • CPAP Travel Case 
    • Prescription 
    • Extension Cord 
    • CPAP Pillow 
    • CPAP Cleaner 

  • Don’t Skip CPAP Therapy! 

  • While some may find it tempting to forgo CPAP therapy while traveling, we strongly recommend adhering to your regular CPAP therapy routine. Your CPAP therapy allows you to sleep soundly through the night, ultimately leading to a more relaxing, enjoyable vacation.

    Invest in a travel-friendly CPAP bag so you can organize everything easily. For example, this ResMed AirMini Travel CPAP Padded Case has all the compartments needed to keep your supplies organized. It includes padded dividers, zippered compartments, a suitcase strap, and a removable shoulder strap. 

  • Feel Free to Go Anywhere  

    Don’t let your CPAP therapy hold you back from going anywhere you want, even the wilderness! Consider investing in a portable CPAP battery, which allows you to treat sleep apnea from anywhere, including areas without power, such as a national park or remote cabin. Need some inspiration? Matt Walker (pictured below) is an international mountain guide who takes his CPAP equipment on wilderness expeditions worldwide!

    If you prefer more traditional accommodation, consider checking with your hotel or Airbnb to ensure a bedside outlet for your CPAP. Most hotels will have this, but it may depend on the Airbnb. Just in case, you can always pack a long extension cord if your outlet doesn’t work.

  • Prepare to Fly 

  • Good news! Your CPAP equipment is entirely TSA-approved. However, we recommend bringing along your prescription, even though it typically shouldn’t be an issue.

    When going through X-ray screening, you need to remove nebulizers and CPAP machines from their carrying cases. No need to worry about the face masks and tubing, they can stay in the case.

    In-Flight CPAP Use 

    CPAP equipment has come a long way, and there are travel-friendly devices that can make therapy a breeze while flying. You can also request a seat with access to power or call your airline ahead of time to see what their accommodations are. Using CPAP in-flight can be helpful for long travel days where you will need to get some shut-eye.

    Check out our best-selling ResMed AirMini, an effective highly-rated portable option just as powerful as its full-sized counterparts. Pair that with a lithium ResMed AirMini battery, and you’ve got an on-the-go setup that doesn’t require any power. This is an unbeatable pairing for travel days. 

  • Be Aware of Time Zone Changes

  • Coping with time zone changes can be challenging, but you can do your best to minimize the impact on your body and mind. For example, try gradually adjusting your sleep schedule in the days leading up to your trip by going to bed and waking up slightly earlier or later, depending on the time zone change anticipated.

    During your flight, stay hydrated and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, which can disrupt your sleep patterns. After you arrive, expose yourself to natural light during daylight hours to help reset your internal clock. Avoid sleeping for too long when you arrive, as that can make it harder to adjust later on. Give yourself time to acclimate and be patient with your body adjusting to the new time zone..

  • Contact the LoftaCare Team with Questions

  • Unsure which travel machines are best for you? We’re always here to answer all your questions and offer guidance regarding your sleep apnea journey. Check out some of our best-selling travel machines below. Don’t hesitate to reach out, Lofta is here to help!

    ResMed AirMini™ Basics Bundle

    This comprehensive starter kit is the perfect all-in-one solution for new CPAP machine users or seasoned users looking for a convenient travel solution. 


    Breas Z2 Auto Travel CPAP Machine

    With advanced features and user-friendly design, the Z2 Auto ensures a comfortable and uninterrupted night's sleep wherever you go. 


    Transcend Micro Auto Travel CPAP

    As the smallest and lightest device on the market, it is also super quiet and adjustable, making it compatible with any CPAP mask. 


    Enjoy Your Trip! 

    Sleep apnea doesn’t have to prevent you from living life to the fullest. Before you head out, take the proper steps to treat sleep apnea on the road so you enjoy quality sleep and optimum health. This includes adhering to your CPAP therapy, packing the right equipment, and going to bed at a decent hour. The Lofta team is always here to help if you have any questions.