traveling covid19 transplant - woman wearing mask in plane
traveling covid19 transplant - woman wearing mask in plane
traveling covid19 transplant - woman wearing mask in plane

Traveling After an Organ Transplant During the COVID-19 Era

Published on February 2, 2021

Travel for business or leisure is an essential part of life. The coronavirus pandemic has made it less safe and more complicated for everyone. People with a compromised immune system such as individuals who have recently received an organ transplant may be more susceptible to getting COVID-19. It is safer to postpone trips that are not considered necessary or urgent.

No form of travel is 100% safe regarding the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19. But there are ways to lower the risk. Learn more about the safety guidelines we provide for Johns Hopkins patients include masking, physical distancing, rigorous cleaning and more.

14 Strategies for Safer Living During the COVID-19 Era After an Organ Transplant

14 strategies prevent coronavirus - man washing hands in sink

If you are the recipient of an organ transplant you need to take extra precautions to continue to keep you and your family safe. Learn more about 14 strategies you can take to prevent COVID-19.

Planning Your Destination

Before you go, check whether the location has restrictions on who can travel there. Some states restrict who can visit. Others may require that you either have proof of a negative COVID-19 coronavirus test that was taken within 72 hours of arrival, or that you quarantine upon arrival for 14 days. Depending on where you go, you may be required to quarantine when you return home. These restrictions may make it difficult for you to get lab work done or to keep doctor’s appointments. (Also, some countries are restricting travel from the U.S.)

You can visit websites from Johns Hopkins, your state health department or the CDC to see where COVID-19 is currently peaking. It is safest to travel to a state that has had decreasing numbers of cases for the past 14 days and a low percentage of positive coronavirus tests.


How you chose to get to your destination will also affect how safe the travel will be. Being in a crowded and confined space, such as an airplane or long-distance bus or train, for a long period of time is much riskier than riding in your own car by yourself or with people who live in your household.

If your travel will require stopping to get gas or to use the restroom:

  • Try to travel during off-peak times, when rest stops are less crowded.
  • Pack food and snacks so you do not need to stop at a store during the trip it.
  • Use toilet seat covers in the restroom.
  • Immediately wash/sanitize your hands after using a restroom and after pumping gas.
  • Wash hands after touching any high-touch surfaces such as door handles.

If you must use long-distance bus, train or air travel at this time, we recommend that you:

  • Sit as far away from others as possible.
  • Wear your mask the entire time.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer at least once per hour.


Consider where you stay, and whom you stay with. For example:

  • Staying in a European-style hostel with multiple strangers sleeping in a communal room would be very risky.
  • Staying in a private home that has not been occupied for more than 48 hours, with only people you already live with, would be very low risk.
  • When possible, limit the people you will stay with to those who you already are exposed to on a regular basis.
  • If you stay with people with whom you have not been in close contact, wear a mask, keep 6 feet away and try not to eat at the same table together.
  • If you will stay in a hotel room or vacation rental property, try to have as much time as possible between when the previous guests were there and when you arrive. This might mean asking the host or hotel if you can have a later than usual check in or other extra time upfront, or paying for an extra night in the beginning that you do not use.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

scientist with pipette

What you need to know from Johns Hopkins Medicine.