Getting a passport during a government shutdown
The Government Shutdown Ends - Now What, Travelers?

Four places to travel during the Government Shutdown

A wild Road Closed sign appears! Traveler uses open! Its not very effective. Unfortuantely, during a government shutdown, many travelers will experience a similar problem. But just because a national park is closed, you can still very easily go to a regional or state park! I know I am going to one this weekend...Today (Tuesday, October 8, 2013) marks day eight of the Government Shutdown. We have now had over a week of negotiating and deal making in Washington, all with the hopes of having this impasse come to an end.  Had you asked my opinion two weeks ago, I would have said that this shutdown would have been resolved by now – yet, we continue to find ourselves here.

As a result of the government shutdown, many people’s plans have been placed on hold or altogether cancelled as a result of closures, furloughs, or a combination of both. This has forced many people to put on hold vacations and visits to some of America’s National Treasures – some planned spontaneously, and some planned for years on end. However, those closures did not prevent a group of World War II veterans from visiting the National World War II Memorial last week (reports ABC News).

We may not be able to visit the memorials, museums, or national parks while the government shutdown continues. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that our travel needs to be completely cancelled. While the government shutdown continues, here are four places that you can visit with relative ease, and worry less about forced closures:

  1. Another Country
    Just because the American government is shutdown doesn’t mean that other places in the world are as well. If you’re looking for a destination, now might be a great time to look outside the United States. Remember: even though many other operations are shut down, essential travel functions (such as transportation security, customs, and border patrol) are all still up and running. Just make sure that you have a valid passport before you book that flight outside the country. And if you don’t have one, you can still get a passport – just make sure that your preferred passport office is open before you go.
  2. State and Regional Parks
    This last week, we’ve heard stories about campers being forced to leave national parks, such as Yosemite, because of the government shutdown. But not closed are many state, regional, and municipal parks across the United States. While they are dependent (to a very limited extent) on federal support, the majority of their funding comes from camping and day-use fees, as well as state support. Now might be the perfect opportunity to visit one of these local treasures, and knock them off your “someday soon” list.
  3. Privately Funded Museums, Zoos, and Theatres
    The Smithsonian, the National Zoo, and many other federally funded museums and memorial sites are being closed as a result of the government shutdown. Going down with them is one of my favorite webcams: The Panda Cam at the National Zoo. But that being said, there are still plenty of privately funded Zoos and Museums that remain open, thanks to the generosity of private donors, trusts, and readers like you. A quick Google search of your area will give you a good idea of what remains open during the shutdown. And while this continues, I’ll have to find a new way to get my cute animal fix during the day.
  4. Your Local Library
    How long has it been since you’ve been to your local library? I’ll admit – it’s been a while since I’ve been to one, as well. But, libraries are changing the way people think about literature – no longer are they large, quiet buildings housing a lot of books. Instead, many libraries offer a lot of different culturally enriching events, like lecture series, art exhibitions, and museum features. Plus, if you’re traveling with children, libraries can be a great place to learn about the local culture, and have a hands-on experience around them! When I was in Boston, one of my regrets was not stopping in the Boston Public Library for an author talk. Maybe next time…

Despite the government shutdown, there are still plenty of places to travel to and visit around the world. How are you spending or planning your vacation time during this government shutdown? I’d love to hear your plans – let me know in the comments below!



Great post! While the shutdown may affect some places, there are so many others that we would never have thought of - like unique theaters, library and many more. Thanks for the thoughtful tips!!

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