Federal air traffic controllers would likely remain on the job and airport screeners would keep funneling passengers through security checkpoints. Federal inspectors would continue enforcing safety rules.”
As far as getting a passport or dropping by an embassy goes, ABC News says:
The State Department would continue processing foreign applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports, since fees are collected to finance those services. Embassies and consulates overseas would continue to provide services to American citizens.
I’ve seen some editorials panicked about the possibility of a half a million passport applications going unread, but I’m fairly confident the fees would keep it afloat.
I also doubt anything would change with air travel. During sequestration talks, I was on a flight that got affected by the flight controllers making a point. Congress flies too, and they quickly exempted air travel from being affected by the sequester. For once, Congress’ self-interest helps us 😉
If you were taking a vacation-vacation, look at what you were planning to do. National Parks, Visitor Centers and National Museums are on the chopping block, so if those were in your plans, try finding alternatives nearby just in case. This includes things like Alcatraz and the Statue of Liberty.
Amusingly, NBC News reports the Washington Monument will be closed if there is a government shutdown–The Washingon Monument has been closed since 2011 due to an earthquake.
But maybe they won’t light up the scaffolding so pretty at night anymore.