Strategy for Winning Back America’s Lost Week of Vacation: Vacation Closer to Home

Vacations are powerful. They have the ability to recharge and better connect us to the world – all while making lasting memories. They have the ability to lift up the communities to which visitors travel. Vacations can be to far-flung locales, but they can also just as easily be vacations closer to home or in your own backyard.

The number of vacation days Americans take has been on a steady decline for years. Between 1976 and 2000, Americans took an average of 20.3 vacation days each year. In 2015, the average decreased to 16.2 – that’s the equivalent of nearly an entire week of paid time off wiped away.

Consider this: If Americans were to use their allotted vacation days, it would deliver a $160 billion jolt to the U.S. economy, create 1.2 million new American jobs and generate $21 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. In fact, in Illinois, the tourism industry generated $37.1 billion in direct spending, $2.9 billion in state and local tax revenue and 314,380 jobs in 2015.  Moreover, tourism spending saves the average Illinois household  $1,300 in taxes annually.

That’s why DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau is joining tourism professionals across the country in supporting the U.S. Travel Association’s ‘Project: Time Off’ coalition to encourage Illinoisans to use their well-earned vacation days with a simple strategy: take two- or three-day weekend trips right here in Illinois.

As this new calendar year begins, the tourism industry across Illinois is inviting Illinoisans to #PlanForVacation in Illinois, including these great trip ideas in DeKalb County:

  • Explore DeKalb County on the Bold Spirits: Wineries, Distillery and Breweries self-guided tour
  • Take in a show at the historic Egyptian Theatre: LAVA Rock presents Legends of Rock February 4th, The Best of the Second City February 10th, Gaelic Storm March 24th
  • Get away from it all and hike, bike and enjoy DeKalb County’s forest preserves and state park. The newest preserve, the Sycamore Forest Preserve, has a planned opening of May 2017.
  • Tour the Ellwood House and Glidden Homestead, the homes of the inventors of barbed wire
  • DeKalb County comes alive in the fall! Take in DeKalb Kite Fest & Corn Fest, Sycamore Pumpkin Fest, Jonamac Orchard and more! Stay the weekend and play in DeKalb County.

Visit for attraction opening days and a full list of event dates.

Need an excuse to start planning? Celebrate National Plan for Vacation Day on January 31st and start planning your trip to DeKalb County!

The DeKalb County CVB has resources to help you explore and plan. Visit to download your free visitors guide to start planning your trip. You can also find trip ideas at

Debbie Armstrong
Executive Director, DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau