a man lugging a gallon jug of distilled water to his car from his house for the CPAP machine in his bag

Sleeping in Strange Places With a CPAP Machine

Using a CPAP machine is one thing when you're at home. Now, most machines are not necessarily big and bulky, and if your machine is like mine, it came with its own travel case. Yet, it's still just another thing to remember to pack.

Lessons learned from my first trip

My first time away from home with a CPAP machine – well, let's just say it turned into kind of an adventure! First, I went about getting the machine ready to go in its travel case. By this, I mean, I dumped out the water from the reservoir then went ahead and washed the machine and all the tubing, as we're supposed to anyway. Not a big deal! You know, just regular maintenance.

Not enough time to dry out

But then I didn't want to stick it into the travel case all wet because I was unsure of what kind of mold or mildew would grow inside of the case or the machine itself, being all zipped up in its travel case. It was going to be a long trip, and the case was going to have to set out in the car in the hot sun until I could get to the hotel room and unpack everything. So, thank goodness for hairdryers! All because I hadn't thought this far enough ahead to let the machine and tubing dry out naturally.

Forgotten distilled water

The next issue came up when I got to the hotel room, realizing I had forgotten to pack distilled water which is what my machine calls for! So, for the night I was there, I just used some purified water that I had brought to drink, hoping that for 1 night, it wouldn't do any damage to my machine.

Lugging water around on my next trip

Now, this trip, I thought I was a little more prepared! I was, to some degree. I did clean the whole machine as I had before, but this time I had enough time to let it air dry on its own. I also got out the bottle of distilled water, so I had it to take with me.

The problem with the distilled water was I only had a gallon jug. So, I had to lug that gallon jug to the car, then to the hotel room, then back to the car, then back to the house — all for 1 cup of distilled water. Again, the planning ahead would have made it so much easier.

Third time's the charm

I think I finally figured it out! So, for this trip, I cleaned the whole machine, just like I had the other 2 times. But this time, instead of taking a whole gallon of distilled water, I got some individual serving-size bottles of distilled water and just took a couple of those. Come to find out, you can buy little bottles just for that purpose, marked for CPAP use.

Planning ahead for travel with a CPAP machine

I found that planning ahead made the whole trip more enjoyable, including using a hairdryer to dry everything off for the return trip. But be careful not to get everything too warm – just enough to absorb the moisture. Or get as much moisture out and then use a small hand towel or something to help absorb the moisture to keep the case from getting too wet.

Now, apparently, there are small travel CPAP machines. I do not have one of those. I would love to hear your experience with travel with a CPAP machine – whether it's a full size like I have or the travel sizes, share in the comments below!

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