You’ve reached content that’s exclusive to AARP members.

To continue, you’ll need to become an AARP member. Join now, and you’ll have access to all the great content and features in Staying Sharp, plus more AARP member benefits.


Already a member?

Want to read more? Create an account on

A healthy lifestyle helps protect the brain. Make brain health a habit and register on to access Staying Sharp.

Login to Unlock Access

Not Registered?

Armchair Travel

How to plan and take a staycation

Add to My Favorites
My Favorites page is currently unavailable.

Add to My Favorites

Added to My Favorites



Try this today
  • Set your email on away mode. Even if it’s only for a day, tell your friends, family and coworkers you’re going on vacation.
  • Plan ahead. You may want to visit a national park, attend a concert, or even climb Mount Everest from the safety of your own home. Treat this like any trip by creating an itinerary so you’ll be ready to explore and enjoy once your vacation starts. 
  • Try exotic cuisines. Order takeout from local restaurants, dine in or cook a meal from the region you’re visiting. You can also enroll in an online cooking class.
  • Watch a film or read a book where the plot takes place in a foreign country. Movies and books can mentally transport you to another world.
  • Take an online language course. Learning a new language improves listening skills, encourages creativity and enhances memory.
  • Play music from the place you're visiting. You can also listen to ocean sounds or birds chirping in a jungle.
  • Go on a safari. A number of zoos have wildlife cams where you can watch wild animals while safely social distancing. Channel Islands National Park, for example, has a bald eagle cam.
  • Invite a friend. If you take a virtual vacation with a friend or spouse, you have the added benefit of new conversations and deepening friendships, which also support brain health.

Are you in need of a change of scenery? You can break from routine, go on an adventure, or find a quiet place all to yourself from the comfort of your home. “When travel out of the country is difficult, a virtual vacation can be a healthy distraction, a way to reconnect with friends, a fun way to learn new information and languages,” says Michelle Zechner, assistant professor at Rutgers School of Health Professions. “Activities where we are exposed to new information or learning can improve our intellectual and cognitive wellness.”

Up Next

Added to Favorites

Favorite removed

Added to Favorites

Favorite removed

Added to Favorites

Favorite removed