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Local travel agents share insight amid coronavirus fear

While some airlines making changes to flight cancellation fees, many people are wondering how their Spring Break plans will be impacted.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — With Spring Break just around the corner, many people are wondering how the coronavirus outbreak is going to impact their vacations. 

Some airlines have begun making changes. 

Delta, American, and United all are waiving cancellation fees for flights to high-risk countries. 

We asked Cindy Minor, owner of Small World Big Fun travel agency, how she is advising clients when it comes to travel in those high-risk countries.

She said there's no way to do a blanket answer for that question because it's entirely based on the individual and they have to look at it case by case. 

"What we want to do is give our clients the information they need to make the decision that works for their family," Minor said. 

About three weeks ago, they got their first call asking about the coronavirus and travel plans. 

Since Friday, Minor said these calls have picked up. 

"Since the virus has been found in Italy, we really started getting a lot of calls because we have a lot of clients who are trying to do oversea travel for spring break in April," she said. 

Minor said knowing the concern around the country, their day begins by staying informed. 

"We look at the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the state department to see what the latest information is," she said. 

Then, Minor said they look at where that particular person is traveling to, what's the cancellation policy, who is traveling, and how far out the trip is. 

"There's a little bit of panic and our job is to say, 'Okay, what works best for you? For your trip? Let's look at it that way,'" she said. 

Minor said they haven't seen an impact to domestic travel, but some clients have chosen to postpone trips to Asia and Italy. 

Also, some cruise lines and tour operators have made changes for trips in late March and April. 

"We have several vendors who have started to offer clients who are traveling in the next couple of weeks choices about whether to cancel or postpone their trip," she said. 

Minor said when it comes to cancellation policies, fear is not written into most terms and conditions, but there are always options. 

"If you have concerns and worries, you do need to reach out to your travel professional because we are here to help. That's our job," she said. 

When it comes to the question of whether or not travel insurance covers cancellation fees, Minor said not all trip insurance is created equal.

That's when she said you really have to read the fine print and talk to your travel agent.

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