The Government Shutdown Will Probably Affect Your Travel Plans and Here’s Why

PHOTO: Shutterstock/Arina P Habich

Until the president gets what he wants, traveling for either business or pleasure will not be ideal.

Why was the government partially shut down? President Donald J. Trump wants to secure funding for his border wall—$5.6 billion to be exact. How long will the shutdown last? Well, that’s up to the president, who has become quite insistent. Here’s how the shutdown could affect your travel plans.

Planning on flying or passing through an airport soon? Get there early.

Since the partial shutdown began over two weeks ago, more and more Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees have been calling out sick. Why? The workers are employed by the federal government, and if the government isn’t operating, they aren’t getting paid. This means longer lines at airports, so you’ll want to give yourself extra time. Air traffic controllers and pilots, both of which are represented by unions, are also being affected by Trump’s decision. A new system which allows the controllers to text pilots in the cockpit was set to roll out last week but has been delayed indefinitely due to the shutdown.

If you’re planning on visiting the National Zoo: sorry.  

While its animals will still be fed and cared for by employees, Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo announced last Wednesday that it has closed its gates to the public due to the shutdown. The Zoo is part of Smithsonian’s system.

national zoo hero
Shutterstock/AuKirk

If you’re planning on going to a national park, be especially mindful of “leave no trace.”

While the park sites remain open, visitor centers have closed and many federally-employed park workers are on leave. This has left parks exposed to such pollution as overflowing toilets and trash cans, and general protection against harsh weather conditions.

If you’re planning on going to any Smithsonian Museum: sorry.

The Smithsonian Institution’s 19 museums, including The National Museum of American History, are funded by the government. If their workers can’t be paid, these establishments, some of which see up to one million visitors per month, are forced to close their doors.

If you’re planning on applying for Global Entry status, hold off.

If you are thinking of submitting an application for Global Entry status, which allows travelers to pass through Customs and Border Protection quicker, you’ll need to wait. An official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told ABC News that it’s not accepting any applications for the program at this time.