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CHICAGO – Today is National Plan for Vacation Day.

It’s a day when Americans are encouraged to plan their time-off for the rest of the year.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, 77% of full-time American employees believe taking vacations is an important factor for job satisfaction. Only 25% of Americans used all of their time-off throughout 2021, and they actually left an average of 4.6 days of paid time off on the table last year. This, despite nearly 70% of workers saying the pandemic has them feeling moderately burned out.

NPVD has put together a toolkit to help you plan your next vacation.

But while many people may be dreaming of a beach vacation to escape Chicago’s cold and snow, the trip may not be a reality due to finances, schedules or because of Covid-19 concerns.

Jason Lesniewicz, Cultural Tourism Director with Choose Chicago, says “staycations” are a great option for vacation seekers who want to getaway without actually leaving town.

Staycations essentially allow you to be a tourist in your own backyard, plus they help you support local and support small business.

Lesniewicz suggests you explore these staycation ideas for inspiration on creating your own experience:

  • Book a hotel room for an overnight stay
  • Attend interactive cooking lessons, followed by cocktails with a view
  • View an art collection and listen to Chicago’s vibrant music scene
  • Visit interactive museums that are fun and educational
  • Plan to stop by top attractions with breathtaking views
  • Go to drive-in movie theaters playing old-school favorites the whole family loves
  • Explore a different area of the city, check out somewhere you haven’t spent much time

Lesniewicz says you can also get help in planning out your staycation in Choose Chicago’s guide. He talks with WGN News Now’s Christine Flores and Chip Brewster about how to be a tourist in our own backyard and details several things you can do to create a relaxing, fun and memorable staycation in the video above.