What the Government Shutdown Means to Travelers

With a government shutdown starting today, here's what travelers need to know about travel.
10/01/2013 11:06 am ET Updated Dec 01, 2013

With a government shutdown starting today, 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.

-- Hilary Solan is based in Chicago and is an editor at Travelzoo, the online guide to the world's best travel, entertainment and local deals.