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Coronavirus And Canceled Travel: Getting Money Back May Not Be Easy, But Changing Dates Without Penalties Can Be

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Coronavirus concerns are surfacing as many typically make spring and summer vacation plans – and in some cases, the money has already been spent.

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole has been researching the likelihood you might be able to get it back.

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The choice to take off or postpone travel became a little less personal with a warning from the federal government over the weekend.

"If you are a person with an underlying condition, and you are particularly an elderly person with an underlying condition, you need to think twice about getting on a plane or a long trip, and not only think twice, just don't get on a cruise ship," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, said Sunday.

Getting your money back for changing travel plans is not so easy, but getting credit without penalties for changing your travel dates is an easier proposition.

Delta Airlines has waived change fees for all tickets purchased from March 1 to March 31. That is for travel you can reschedule through Feb. 25, 2021.

United Airlines has announced a similar policy. Those canceling will be issued full credit for a future flight in the next 12 months, and again, they have waived the cancellation fee.

If a cruise was in your future, both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have adopted a "cruise with confidence" policy. Guests can cancel sailings up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive full credit for a new cruise booked through 2021.

The Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases advised this weekend the elderly and vulnerable should limit travel. The travel agents at Chicago-based Q Cruise and Travel have been proactively reaching out to their clients for the past week, and heard from many of them today who decided to cancel.

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"It's a very fluid situation, so what ends up happening is that every day, the rules change slightly, and we make sure we reach out to our clients and let them know about what is happening and how it impacts their options," said Rob Clabbers of Q Cruise and Travel.

Q Cruise and Travel has even produced online videos to help get the messages out.

"By doing so, I think we've preempted a lot of anxiety for them," Clabbers said.

Refund and cancellation policies differ from company to company. Gerasole spoke with a woman on Monday who had a Viking river cruise booked for her family at $5,000 a person.

The cruise line, she said, gave them credit toward a rescheduled cruise and even included a full credit on their airfare as well.

Overall, it seems if you are looking for a credit for future travel, more and more companies are providing that. A complete refund is a different story.

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