Consumer Alert: Can you expect a refund on canceled travel plans due to coronavirus concerns?

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If you’ve made travel plans that you don’t want to go through with due to concerns around the coronavirus, how much of your money can you expect to get back?

Despite everyone from the New York City subway system to major airlines scrambling to sanitize their environments, one study finds that 1 in 8 Americans have already changed their travel plans. If you are considering canceling your own plans, there are a few ways you can expect to receive your refund.

Most airlines will let you change or cancel flights at no charge, though you may be required to book a new flight within the next year.  Discount carrier Spirit Airlines has not announced any fee waivers, but says customers who need to make changes should give them a call.

The situation around canceling your lodging depends on a few factors. For hotels booked at the standard refundable rate, you can easily cancel and get your money back. However, if you booked a cheaper, prepaid rate, you’ll generally only get a refund if the hotel closes. If you used Airbnb, the service lists “viral outbreaks” as grounds for a refund, but says it reviews each request on a case-by-case basis.

Amtrak has made changing travel plans by train easy for its customers by waiving change fees on all tickets purchased until the end of April.

The coronavirus has actually made car travel cheaper due to a huge drop in demand from China. Prices at the pump are 6 cents a gallon cheaper than they were last month in New Jersey, 8 cents cheaper in New York, and 7 cents cheaper in Connecticut. The prices are expected to keep falling over the next couple of weeks.

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