Andrea Twell and her friend Chris Nichols were supposed to have spent July cruising down the Danube and seeing the sites in Europe.
A little pandemic that caused a global shutdown and tourism to come to a halt got in the way of that.
The Canberrans forked out $24,000 each, including flights, for the trip, and while the cruise never went ahead due to COVID-19, the pair were yet to see a single cent return to their pockets.
"We've been told we have to wait until June-July 2023 to see the money," Ms Twell said.
"We've instead been offered travel credit.
"[Cruise provider] Scenic told us if we don't pick up the option of a cruise by 2023, they will then refund the amount."
The pair booked tickets and flights almost a year out from the cruise and were told they would have to pay just a $1000 cancellation fee if the friends called the trip off.
Ms Twell said while she was most likely going to wait it out until international travel resumed and it was safe to do so, she was frustrated by the lack of clarity over the situation.
"I think what they were doing is that if every traveller wanted money back at the same time, Scenic would go busy," she said.
"For people like Chris and me, it's devastating and it's a huge amount of money."
The Canberrans were just some of a large number of people who were given credits for cancelled travel plans as a result of the pandemic.
As internal borders in Australia begin to reopen to the ACT, many were seeking to use those credits.
ACT residents will be allowed to fly in Western Australia in a matter of days while it's expected Canberrans will be able to head into Victoria without having to quarantine on their return by the end of the month.
Woden resident Sara Ryan had booked flights to far-north Queensland in February in order to travel at Easter, but both Qantas and Virgin cancelled flights.
She said in the aftermath of Virgin going into administration, it was difficult to use travel credits she had been allocated by the airline, even as borders were reopening in Australia.
"When the Virgin situation was up in the air, I didn't think we would see the money back," she said.
"Now we're just going to Brisbane to see family. We ended up using the travel credits the minute they had got back. I really think the money should have been refunded."
Ms Ryan said the flights to Brisbane had been booked for early next year, but even with the easing restrictions, she was not certain the flight would even go ahead.
Qantas said there had been more than 1.5 million airfares moved to a different flight, refunded or turned into travel credits.
Flight credits with the airlines would remain valid until December 31, 2022 and were able to be used across multiple bookings.
"We know many customers have been saving the credit for future trips and have seen more customers using their flight credits as the domestic borders begin to reopen," a Qantas spokeswoman said.
Virgin's travel credits were only issued late last month after the airline was taken over by new investors in the wake of its administration.
It's estimated more than 300,000 customers were affected and were issued travel credits.
Those travel credits need to be redeemed by July 31, 2022 in order to be valid but could also be used over multiple bookings.
Executive director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council Simon Westaway said with the thousands of people who had existing travel credits with airlines, a boom in domestic aviation was expected.
"The reopening of interstate travel makes a significant difference and transport will get things moving again," he said.
"What we need now is confidence for people to book their travel or make those travel decisions."
Consumer advocate Adam Glezer said there were countless people affected by cancellations due to the pandemic who were still seeking their money back as opposed to travel credits.
A Facebook page he set up for people affected by the cancellations had been liked thousands of times. He said people deserved better outcomes from the travel industry.
"I'm hoping to see some changes where customers are protected a lot more when they book travel," he said.