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What the Government Shutdown Means to Travelers

With a government shutdown starting Tuesday, Oct. 1, here’s what travelers need to know:

Air Travel

  • Airport security, Transportation Security Administration workers and air traffic controllers will remain on the job. Most employees in these areas are deemed essential, so they are not furloughed. But they likely won’t get paid until after the impasse is over, so give yourself a little extra time at airport security. Additional information can be found on the U.S. State Department website.

Embassies, Passports, Visas

  • American embassies and consulates will remain open for the time being, according to State Department plans, because fees fund those operations. Passport and visa applications will also be processed. However, a prolonged shutdown could lead to delays, closures or a stoppage. Some passport offices are in federal buildings, so if you need to visit one of these locations, call ahead to see if the office is open.

National Parks & Museums

  • National parks and national museums will be closed -- including the Smithsonian museums and National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Campers at national parks will be given two days to pack up and leave, according to National Park Service contingency plans. Other popular government-run spots that would be closed include the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz Island in San Francisco and Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Border Crossings

  • Agents will still be posted at all border crossing sites.

Find official updates on USA.gov. USA Today has compiled a list of 66 questions and answers about the government shutdown and CNN lists 10 ways a government shutdown would affect your daily life.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Chicago
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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Hilary Solan