What a Government Shutdown Means for Travel

government shutdownFor the first time in 17 years, our government is in “shutdown” mode, which means many government functions have stoped operating. This happened at midnight on October 1st when the Democratic and Republican parties failed to reach an agreement on the renewal of government funding.

So, if the government is shut down, how does it affect travel?


If you’ve applied for a passport or visa, your application may be delayed. According to NBC News, every day, between 20,000 and 30,000 visa applications went unprocessed the last time the government was shut down. In addition, almost 200,000 passport applications went unprocessed.

National Attractions

All national parks, museums, and monuments will be closed. This includes places like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Smithsonian museums, the Grand Canyon, the National Zoo, and more.

Air Traffic Control

Employees that are needed to keep the airspace system safe, like air traffic controllers and some safety inspectors, will continue to operate. Other things like routine personnel security background investigations and facility security inspections will be on hold.


All national cemeteries and 24 American military cemeteries overseas, including the Normandy American Cemetery in France and the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines will be shut down.

So… if you planned on visiting any of these places anytime soon, you may want to reschedule for a later date (though no one knows exactly when that will be).