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Traveling this MLK weekend during the shutdown? Here's what you need to know

·Senior Producer/Reporter
In this article:
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Your Questions Answered: In this weekly personal finance segment on The First Trade, we answer audience questions from our Money Mailbag.

Q: I have plans to travel this coming weekend for the Martin Luther King holiday. Will my flight be affected by the shutdown?

We’re now 26 days into the longest partial government shutdown in history and it’s threatening to wreak havoc on travel plans for the upcoming Martin Luther King holiday weekend. With each day, the situation at airports across the country is getting worse as more TSA agents call out sick. TSA workers have been expected to show up to work without pay since Dec. 22 of last year. Earlier this week, the TSA reported 7.6% unscheduled absences, which is more than double the rate it was at the same time last year.

Some of the airports that have been hit the hardest, with closed security checkpoints, ticketing counters, and terminals include:

For people flying this weekend, check your airport’s website or social accounts for real-time updates on security wait times. But to be safe, passengers should plan to arrive at least 3 hours before their flights to give themselves enough time to navigate the crowded terminals and get through the multiple checkpoints.

If you’re planning a road trip to one of the popular national parks, nearly a third of them are closed so it’s best to call ahead or check the park’s website for the most updated information. A lot of the popular destinations like Yosemite, Ellis Island, and the Grand Canyon remain open, but with limited staff and resources. So even if the park you’re visiting is technically open, you might not be able to access the trail or campsite you want.

While the The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta is not technically open, visitors can still walk around the grounds as it’s mostly a self-guided experience. The King Center will be open as it have events planned for the holiday, but the park’s visitor center, Ebenezer church, and MLK’s birth home will be closed as they are all National Park facilities.

Have any money questions? Send them our way to moneyquestions@yahoo.com

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