Today is National Plan For Vacation Day, and members of the travel industry are joining with the U.S. Travel Association to encourage all Americans to commit their time off for the rest of the year, at the start of the year.

The travel industry is engaging in many diverse efforts to encourage Americans to plan ahead for their time off, offering travel tips, planning resources, destination ideas, and special deals and offers celebrating National Plan for Vacation Day. Search #PlanForVacation on social media to find these resources and start planning your trip.

Every year, more than half of employees (52 percent) fail to use all their time off. In 2017, 705 million vacation days were left unused – up from 662 million days the year before. Moreover, of the 17.2 days of vacation the average employee takes per year, they are using less than half of that time to travel, missing an opportunity to see America and its many diverse offerings. This is despite research showing the incredible benefits to taking vacation days to travel—no matter how near or far—including better interpersonal relationships, job performance, and physical health and well-being.

Those benefits—and a special message imploring Americans to take full advantage of National Plan for Vacation Day—were featured by surgeon and TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz on his Monday show.

“National Plan for Vacation Day is a unique opportunity for Americans to set aside time to plan vacations for the rest of the year, and unlock the many professional and personal benefits of travel,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “America offers something for everyone—whether you are looking for a beach, historical sites, a new city, or a cabin in the mountains, we encourage every American to plan their time off to explore our great country.”

The most important factor in taking vacations is simple: planning. Research shows that “planners” use more of their time, take longer vacations, and are happier.

  • 53 percent of planners took all of their vacation time vs. 43 percent of non-planners.
  • Planners are also more likely than non-planners to use all or most of their time off to travel (33 percent to 18 percent).
  • More planners report they are “very” or “extremely” happy with their personal relationships (81 percent vs. 68 percent), health and well-being (56 percent vs. 43 percent), company (57 percent vs. 50 percent), and job (56 percent vs. 48 percent) compared to non-planners.


Employers should also take note: allowing employees to take their time off contributes to higher productivity, performance, and a more positive attitude toward work. Vacation is also essential to inspiring creative thinking for employees.

To help Americans plan, the U.S. Travel Association has launched an interactive Vacation Planning Tool. By entering the number of days off earned, users can plot out their trips or vacations for the year, export to their work or personal calendar, and share with their family and co-workers.

“I hope you’ll join the travel industry in celebrating National Plan for Vacation Day, and make 2019 the year that you plan out your vacation days, and take your well-deserved time off to travel,” Dow said.


U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing the $1.3 trillion travel industry, an essential contributor to our nation's economy and success. U.S. Travel produces programs and insights and advocates for policies to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for more information.



Cathy Reynolds

Manager, Media Relations and Lead Manager, IPW Press Operations

Email ›

Tim Alford

Manager, Media Relations

Email ›