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.

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.


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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