Can you get a travel refund if you're afraid of COVID-19?

An Idaho lawmaker wants his colleagues to take a closer look at ways to improve air travel across the state.

(WVLT) -- If you feel uncomfortable about coronavirus, can you get a refund on your travel plan?

COVID-19 has caused cancellations for many things over the last few months and may be impacting your Memorial Day weekend plans. But, is an attempt at changing your plans because of the virus also impacting your wallet?

The Better Business Bureau says it's really up to the person or company on the other end of the deal--the campsite, the Airbnb, the hotels, etc.

“It’s really up to them, in the most part - unless you purchased travel insurance," Sean Herdrick with the Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Arizona told KOLD.

He said, when it comes down to it, if you signed a contract or waiver, or agreed to policies, when making the reservation, those can still be in place with COVID-19.

“They are not required to give you the money back at all, even if it is a national emergency,” said Herdrick. “So, what we try to do is reason with them, call them, talk to them, make sure they know where you are coming from and they may bend the rules. But, the rules haven’t changed, unfortunately.”

The Federal Trade Commission said if you're in this situation, the first thing you need to do is review the travel provider's refund policies and the terms of your reservation to see if you have options.

If you purchased travel insurance, check to see what it covers. Some travel insurance policies may refund your canceled trip.

More information from the FTC:

Airlines: According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines must offer refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for canceled or significantly delayed flights, even when flight disruptions are outside their control. If your airline isn’t doing that, you can report it to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Cruise Lines: If you booked a cruise, your options will vary by the cruise line. Your ticket contract lays out cancellation policies and your rights. For example, you may be offered a refund, credit or voucher for a future cruise. If you opt for a credit or voucher, make sure the expiration date is far enough out that you can use it. Read more from the Federal Maritime Commission about your rights and the recourse that might be available to you.

Trains: Amtrak is waiving change fees for reservations made before May 31, 2020; you can make changes online at Amtrak.com. For cancellations and refunds, call 1-800-USA-RAIL.

Lodging: Some hotel chains may be loosening their cancellation policies, waiving change and cancellation fees that would normally apply to non-refundable rates. Check with the hotel for your options.

“We really fight for the consumer when we can and we really want to protect our businesses as well. It’s in their best interest to make everything right. If they do or not, that’s up to them," said Herdrick.

Even if your scheduled travel is months away, you might be weighing your options. And many travel service providers seem to be working to address concerns about upcoming trips.

Both the BBB and FTC said the best thing to do is directly contact the company you booked with to see if you can resolve a problem.

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