Government shutdown status is something travelers are keeping a close eye on this month. This is the longest shutdown in US history and the latest breakdown in negotiations will likely make this shutdown last many more days or weeks. So, how will this impact US travelers in the long run?
Does a government shutdown affect travel?
Travelers will continue to be affected if their travel itineraries include stops at federal museums or parks. These are closed or open with limited access.
- National parks, like Yellowstone (some areas may be accessible, but many facilities will be closed)
- National monuments
- Smithsonian museums and National Zoo
Does a government shutdown affect airports and security?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is part of Homeland Security and while essential workers are continuing to work during the shutdown, they are doing so without pay. This includes:
- Air traffic controllers
- TSA workers
The 2019 shutdown is affecting airports and security in some ways. While air travel and security lines continue running fairly smoothly, there are signs of strain and longer waits lines due to the current shutdown.
On Monday, Washington Dulles International closed screening lanes because of absences by unpaid TSA agents. Airports in Houston and Miami also announced closures due to no-shows by agents.
InsureMyTrip recommends that travelers download the MyTSA App prior to departure to check accurate security wait times at their intended airport prior to departure.
Does a government shutdown affect passport processing?
Processing time remains the same during a government shutdown: 4-6 weeks for routine service and 2-3 weeks for expedited service. If you have a scheduled appointment at a U.S. Department of State passport agency or center, plan on keeping your appointment.
On December 22, 2018, the US State Department released an update on the passport processing during times of shutdown, stating it will continue to offer passport services during the lapse of appropriations for the federal government. Since the 22nd, it has not made any other changes to passport services.
You can still apply for a U.S. passport book or passport card at all passport agencies and centers and acceptance facilities (such as U.S. post offices, libraries, or county clerk’s offices) during the lapse of appropriations. You can also renew your passport by mail (Source: US State Dept.)
Canceling a trip due to a government shutdown
A government shutdown may lead some travelers to consider postponing or canceling a trip. For example, a family may no longer want to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park or Washington DC due to closed parks and attractions.
For those with upcoming travel plans, InsureMyTrip recommends considering a travel insurance plan with the optional Cancel For Any Reason benefit. Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) is an optional benefit of travel insurance coverage which offers the opportunity to cancel travel plans for reasons other than those listed as “covered reasons” on a policy.
Need more information about CFAR, or any other travel insurance product, for an upcoming trip? We recommend calling our licensed Customer Care Representatives to discuss the best options for you.