What the Potential Government Shutdown Means for Your Travel Plans

Feel Free To Share:

Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Congress looks like it is on the way to another government shutdown. If no agreement is made by September 30th, the closure will begin on October 1st. But what does that mean for your travel plans? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Government shutdown
Image Credit: Canva.

When it comes to flights, workers at airports will continue to work as normal, but they won’t be paid for the privilege. Once the shutdown has ended, they will receive a back payment, but that date will be unknown. TSA officers and air traffic controllers are already under greater stress due to the ongoing shortage of employees in those roles. So, if you are using air travel, make sure to be patient with those supporting you before, during, and after your flight.

During the December 2018-January 2019 shutdown, the longest on record, aviation workers soon grew tired of working without a paycheck and began calling in sick. This caused long delays and disruptions at many airports, including Philadelphia and Atlanta.

If you still plan on flying, make sure to arrive early in case airport security lines are overflowing due to the strain on staff. It’s always best to arrive two hours before a domestic flight and three hours ahead of an international trip.

Airport delay
Image Credit: Canva.

If you plan on visiting a national park or monument during a government shutdown, you might need to scrap that idea and find some alternative plans. Previously, parks have either entirely shut down or remained open with far fewer staff, causing safety issues and damage to historical formations.

Some states have promised to keep their parks open at full capacity, but you’ll need to do your research before committing to a trip. Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs claimed her state would keep the Grand Canyon open through funding from the Arizona Lottery.

Keep in mind that museums and other state-run attractions may also shut their doors to visitors during the potential shutdown.

It’s estimated that up to $140 million will be lost per day if the federal closure goes ahead, while a survey suggested “six in 10 Americans would cancel or avoid air travel in the event of a shutdown.”

The long-term impact of a shutdown will likely be felt for some time. The closure would stop the Federal Aviation Administration’s progress in hiring and training 2,600 new employees that are required to keep the industry running smoothly. A shutdown could also add to the current passport delays as many passport agencies are housed in government buildings. 

If you are due to travel or head off on vacation in the next few weeks, make sure to keep up to date with the latest news and research how your plans might be impacted by a federal shutdown.

Leave a Comment