Is your favorite landmark closed because of the budget standoff in Congress? No one knows how long the shutdown will last, but it has affected national parks and the beloved Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. If you have reservations to go to one of the big national parks or the nation's capital, don't cancel just yet. Lonely Planet is offering downloads of free guides that may help travelers come up with alternative things to see -- and rescue their fall vacations.
The deal: The PDF e-books are free to download (follow links below) and can be used for a trip now or later. Note that you still have to fill out a transaction form as if you are buying the books.
--Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks guide
--Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks guide
--Grand Canyon National Park guide
--Washington, D.C. city guide
--A free Planning chapter from the USA guide
When: The guides may be downloaded until 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Sunday.
Details: I glanced through the Washington, D.C., guide and found these alternatives to the closed Smithsonian museums: Artisphere, a multi-media art space in Arlington, Va.; the Howard Theatre, where Duke Ellington once played; and museums like the International Spy Museum and the Newseum.