I, unfortunately, was in the position of having to cancel a RS tour last year a few days before the tour was to depart due to a medical event. It was not a fun process. First of all, speaking to someone directly at the RS office was an impossibility last year.
Are you referring to a Rick Steves tour? If yes, call their local
Seattle immediately and chat with them.
I was unable to speak with anyone at the RS office. I left a message before my surgery, when I thought there was still a chance I would make the tour, but no one called me back. After the sx, when it was obviously there was no way I was making the tour, I called the office to try to cancel - same scenario - could not get through to them, and left a message, but no return call. I followed their recommended process of emailing them, and, in about 2 days they responded and informed me that their process was that I was required to file for reimbursement through my trip insurance, and then, if I was not fully reimbursed by my trip insurance and RS determined that it was a creditable event, I could notify them, and they would consider if I could receive a credit for any amount I was not reimbursed.
My trip last year was insured through Allianz Insurance and my Chase Sapphire credit card. I am happy to say, that I was fully reimbursed for all the various components of my trip that were not refundable, but what a pain in the butt! I think I uploaded about 15 documents both to Allianz and my credit card company. The credit card company would not pay until Allianz processed their claim, so I needed to obtain a determination from Allianz first. Besides obtaining the necessary medical documentation, they naturally wanted to see proof of payment and also the cancellation policy of each of the travel providers. For the airlines, they wanted the terms and conditions of carriage and they wanted proof that I attempted to be reimbursed directly from the carriers. As I said, it was an awful lot of work to obtain and upload all this information for reimbursement. And, quite frankly, when you are not feeling well, it's the last thing you feel like doing!
I really would have preferred if RS would just have given me a credit for a trip next year, but that is not their policy if one cancels shortly before the trip. Plus, even if RS receives full payment for the trip you couldn't take, they don't give you a $50 trip credit for the next trip you take with them.
The whole above process gave me pause if I ever wanted to do a tour again as it would have been so much easier if I had planned independent travel and just booked refundable hotels. But, I am signed up for a RS tour again this year, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I stay healthy!
I hope you feel better. I know the last thing someone wants to do is cancel a long awaited trip, but if you are feeling miserable, it would be difficult to enjoy the trip.