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'Not much you can do,' Canadians at the border amidst U.S. government shutdown

Alternatively, people can plan their trips to avoid going to the U.S., says a travel expert.

A travel expert says people can plan domestic trips instead

Travellers need to ensure they're budgeting enough time if they plan on crossing the border into the U.S., according to Barry Choi. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)

For Canadians anxious about what it means for their border crossings with the U.S. government shutdown, Toronto-based travel expert Barry Choi said "there's not much you can do."

The shutdown began Dec. 22, 2018 and it's the longest one in its history.

He said people can try to change travel plans or look for alternative options, but it's not a solution for everyone.

As for how early people should head to the airport, it'll change depending on where you are leaving from.

"It really depends where you're flying to and what your airline recommends," said Choi, noting that major airports tend to be affected more.

He mentioned one morning where Toronto Pearson International Airport had a three-hour wait time but Calgary International Airport didn't have any delays.

Barry Choi says people can plan domestic trips instead of going to the U.S. (CBC News)

One positive thing is ground border crossings seem to have been unaffected, according to Choi.

"If you're a new traveller or crossing the border for the first time, maybe you want to add another 30 minutes, one hour to your travel time, just in case."

Choi offers an alternative to travel within Canada, especially if you've been putting it off.

Another option is Mexico.

The U.S. government shutdown began with a failure by the U.S. Congress and President Donald Trump to agree to a government spending bill, where the president wanted $5 billion US allocated for a wall built on the border with Mexico.

"I tell Canadians, go to Mexico instead, why not? They would love our tourism dollars, they would love to see some Canadians right now," said Choi.