Staycations: 7 Cheap Activities at Home – Guest Post

This guest post is by my online friend and idol Vanessa Van Petten, one of the nation’s youngest experts on parenting and adolescents, and author of the popular parenting blog, Vanessa’s ideas and insights for staycation fun are great for a families with any age of kids!

Everyone is tightening their budgets. I think this can actually by a good thing because this economy can be a good opportunity to try new kinds of bonding and activities especially for families.  You do not have to get away to get some R and R…and you get to avoid those pesky airport lines.

1. Movies are the New Vacation

Remember when going to the movies was a huge deal? Make going to the movies an event.  You could pack a picnic lunch, bring a bunch of candy from the supermarket (so much cheaper) and make everyone review it afterwards.

2. Be A Tourist

Have you ever thought about being a tourist in your own city.  This is a great way to rediscover the sites and show your kids or friends around town.

3. Scavenger Hunt

I have actually done these with friends.  You can split up into teams and make them competitive or you can have a family friends create a list of clues for you.  You can do it as simple as around the home or around the city!

4. Pamper

Even boys and men like a little pampering.  Trade massages, make your own steam room in the bathroom and make your own scrubs and washed at home for girls.

5. Sleep in Nature

Another (more scary word for some) would be camping.  Grab (or borrow) some tents and sleep in your backyard or go to a local nature reserve and try sleeping under the stars.

6. Block Party

I LOVE BLOCK PARTIES.  Organize one for your block or building and have everyone bring a different food or activity.

7. Smarten Up

Use this time to take some brain teasers, buy some games for the cheap at Target and have competitions with your family or friends.

You do not have to go on expensive trips to have a good time, bond and relax.  Plan your next staycation and even send out an email auto-responder and change your message so people really cannot bother you.

Vanessa Van Petten is one of the nation’s youngest experts, or ‘youthologists’ on parenting and adolescents. She now runs her popular parenting blog,, which she writes with 120 other teenage writers from ages 12 to 20 to answer questions from parents.  Her approach has been featured on CNN, Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal. She was also on the Real Housewives of Orange County helping the parents and teens. Her next book, “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” will launch in September 2011 with Plume Books of Penguin USA.


  1. Vanessa is fantastic. LOVE her. These are great tips!

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