6 Summer Camps for Exceedingly Wealthy Children


For many, summer camp means a week sleeping in a cabin that doubles as a sweat lodge, spider-infested communal showers, and swimming in a scummy pond. But if you have lots and lots of money, you have options.

1. ActionQuest

Typically about $5,170 for 5 weeks (plus airfare and other expenses), but the transatlantic voyage is $6,570 for 39 days (plus airfare and other expenses)

ActionQuest runs marine-focused summer camps in the world's most exclusive locations. Some of their trips include swimming with sea turtles in the Galapagos Islands, sailing through the South of France, whitewater rafting in Australia, or snorkeling in Bora Bora.

But the ultimate adventure is the transatlantic voyage on a 112-foot yacht manned by 24 high school kids. The ship leaves from Bermuda, stops for a few days each at the volcanic archipelago of The Azores, in Gibraltar, and Corsica, before finally coming to port in Rome. Of course you still have to pay for airfare to Bermuda and from Rome back to the states, plus spending money for souvenirs in all those exotic locales. But for those who can afford it, it's a small price to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Or twice-in-a-lifetime if they want to do it again next summer.

2. Princess Prep

$3,995 (plus airfare) for 7 days

If your little princess wants to be a real princess, she can start her training with seven days at Princess Prep in London, where she'll learn to properly smile, stand, sit, walk, serve and drink tea, as well as the importance of proper thank-you notes. Of course, she'll also learn how to curtsy should she ever run into the Queen Mum. All meals are served by Jeeves, a real British butler, while the girls discuss the lives of famous princesses, like Kate Middleton, Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii, and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.

Campers stay in the Kensington & Chelsea borough, one of the poshest places to live in the UK, and tour many royal hotspots like the State Apartments, where they'll see Princess Diana's dress collection. They'll also go horseback riding in Hyde Park, tour the Tower of London, see the Crown Jewels and Buckingham Palace, and attend a night at the theater in London's West End. But being a princess isn't all tea parties at Kensington Palace. The girls will also make time to deliver cookies and flowers to a local children's hospital as part of their philanthropy instruction.

3. Camp Laurel

$10,800 + $2,400 in additional fees

Throw a rock in Maine and you'll hit an expensive summer camp. Just to name a few: Kingsley Pines ($6,995), the all-girls Tripp Lake Camp and its all-boys companion, Camp Takajo (both $10,850), Camp All-Star ($2,999 – $6,999), Camp Skylemar ($10,750), Camp Wawenock ($7,500), and Forest Acres for girls and Indian Acres for boys ($10,700). But the most expensive and most action-packed out there is Camp Laurel in Readfield, Maine.

If you're into sports, Camp Laurel boasts two baseball fields, two soccer fields, a lacrosse field, a hockey field, five basketball courts, a roller hockey arena, a beach volleyball court, a 3,000-square foot indoor gymnastics center, an 8,000-square foot indoor fieldhouse with an additional 10 basketball hoops, and 15 all-weather tennis courts.

If you'd rather spend time on beautiful Echo Lake, you can enjoy swimming, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, tubing, and water skiing behind one of four competition-level ski boats, or cast a line off the two fishing barges.

For the adventurous type, there are high and low ropes courses, 15 mountain bikes at your disposal, and two 55-foot climbing towers connected by a zip line.

The artistically inclined have their own art studios for painting, ceramics, and metalsmithing. There's a 2,500-square foot dance studio, a full stage production starring campers, and wannabe DJ's can hone their record-spinning skills at the camp's own FM radio station.

The Equestrian Center features two 12-stall barns, two outdoor instructional rings, and a 3-acre riding pasture for the camp's 22 horses. Courses are available for advanced riders to perfect their techniques, while those who have never been on a horse can learn the basics.

The camp runs a little longer than most – from June 23 until August 11 – but by the time you add in additional fees for laundry, personal expenses, the equestrian package, and field trips, you're looking at about $265/day for summer camp. If that's too long away from home, Camp Laurel South, near Portland, Maine, offers 4-week sessions for $6,300 plus expenses.

4. Pali Adventures

$1,695 for a one-week session, $3,295 for two weeks, and $6,295 for four weeks

Pali Adventures in Running Springs, California is like a bunch of different camps rolled into one. Kids make their camp experience unique by choosing from any of 16 specialty activities to learn over the course of a one-week or two-week session. But this ain't macrame.

In Secret Agent Camp, kids learn combat techniques in paintball campaigns, ride dirt bikes and dune buggies, and train for covert raids on the other camps.

Hollywood Stunt Camp teaches kids how to safely jump off buildings, fake fight choreography, and swordplay techniques.

Rockstar Academy helps young musicians with songwriting skills and instruction on their instrument of choice, culminating in a CD or music video of their original song.

The Fashion Institute trains fashionistas to sew, to use patterns, sketching designs, and preparing a final collection to debut at the fashion showcase attended by everyone in the camp.

Among others, there are programs for young filmmakers, dancers, actors, chefs, watersports enthusiasts, and even those who wish to learn the flying trapeze.

5. Stagedoor Manor

$5,545 for a 3-week session

Not every aspiring star that goes to Stagedoor Manor, an exclusive theatre camp near the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, will make it in Hollywood or on Broadway. But with alumni like Natalie Portman, Lea Michele, John Cryer, Robert Downey, Jr., and many more well-known names, the camp's track record speaks for itself.

Over the course of three weeks (though most kids stick around for a second session for twice the price), young performers will take classes from professional instructors in acting, singing, dancing, television production, stage lighting, set decoration and more. Meanwhile, they're rehearsing for either a full musical or dramatic production to be performed during the last week of camp in one of eight indoor and outdoor theaters. In addition, workshops with agents, managers, and casting directors help them learn the do's and don'ts of show business, so they'll be ready for their close-ups someday.

6. International Riding Camp

$14,700 for 10 weeks (includes both riding trips); $8,500 for one week in Russia

Polo has often been called “The Sport of Kings.” At these prices, you'd have to be royalty to learn how to play at the all-girls International Riding Camp in Greenfield Park, New York. Not only does the camp offer polo, but young riders can also learn horse show competition skills, and more advanced riders can take on the cross-country jumping course complete with obstacles like ditches, stone walls, and log fences. The girls have riding lessons for three hours every day with various arts and crafts or sports like tennis and water skiing filling the rest of their time.

The highlight of camp, though, are the special riding trips. The first has the girls riding through Central Park in New York City, and then they spend the rest of the day being chauffeured in a limo to some of the biggest shopping and dining destinations in the Big Apple. The second trip takes campers to The Hamptons for three days of riding on the beach, water skiing, shopping, and relaxing in a luxury condo overlooking the bay.

If that's not enough, the organization also offers a one-week trip to Moscow. Riders learn from Russian trainers while staying at the 4-star Morozovka Hotel, a mansion that was once part of Joseph Stalin's estate, before making their way to St. Petersburgh to ride and stay at the Hotel Astoria. While in Russia, the girls will dine at the finest restaurants, tour historic sites, attend the ballet, and have plenty of time to soak in the local culture.

Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists

We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

11 Black Friday Purchases That Aren't Always The Best Deal

Black Friday can bring out some of the best deals of the year (along with the worst in-store behavior), but that doesn't mean every advertised price is worth splurging on. While many shoppers are eager to save a few dollars and kickstart the holiday shopping season, some purchases are better left waiting for at least a few weeks (or longer).


Display of outdoor furniture.
Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash

Black Friday is often the best time to scope out deals on large purchases—except for furniture. That's because newer furniture models and styles often appear in showrooms in February. According to Kurt Knutsson, a consumer technology expert, the best furniture deals can be found in January, and later on in July and August. If you're aiming for outdoor patio sets, expect to find knockout prices when outdoor furniture is discounted and put on clearance closer to Labor Day.


A display of tools.

Unless you're shopping for a specific tool as a Christmas gift, it's often better to wait until warmer weather rolls around to catch great deals. While some big-name brands offer Black Friday discounts, the best tool deals roll around in late spring and early summer, just in time for Memorial Day and Father's Day.


A stack of bed linens.

Sheet and bedding sets are often used as doorbuster items for Black Friday sales, but that doesn't mean you should splurge now. Instead, wait for annual linen sales—called white sales—to pop up after New Year's. Back in January of 1878, department store operator John Wanamaker held the first white sale as a way to push bedding inventory out of his stores. Since then, retailers have offered these top-of-the-year sales and January remains the best time to buy sheets, comforters, and other cozy bed linens.


Rows of holiday gnomes.

If you are planning to snag a new Christmas tree, lights, or other festive décor, it's likely worth making due with what you have and snapping up new items after December 25. After the holidays, retailers are looking to quickly move out holiday items to make way for spring inventory, so ornaments, trees, yard inflatables, and other items often drastically drop in price, offering better deals than before the holidays. If you truly can't wait, the better option is shopping as close to Christmas as possible, when stores try to reduce their Christmas stock before resorting to clearance prices.


Child choosing a toy car.

Unless you're shopping for a very specific gift that's likely to sell out before the holidays, Black Friday toy deals often aren't the best time to fill your cart at toy stores. Stores often begin dropping toy prices two weeks before Christmas, meaning there's nothing wrong with saving all your shopping (and gift wrapping) until the last minute.


Rows of rings.

Holiday jewelry commercials can be pretty persuasive when it comes to giving diamonds and gold as gifts. But, savvy shoppers can often get the best deals on baubles come spring and summer—prices tend to be at their highest between Christmas and Valentine's Day thanks to engagements and holiday gift-giving. But come March, prices begin to drop through the end of summer as jewelers see fewer purchases, making it worth passing up Black Friday deals.


Searching for flights online.

While it's worth looking at plane ticket deals on Black Friday, it's not always the best idea to whip out your credit card. Despite some sales, the best time to purchase a flight is still between three weeks and three and a half months out. Some hotel sites will offer big deals after Thanksgiving and on Cyber Monday, but it doesn't mean you should spring for next year's vacation just yet. The best travel and accommodation deals often pop up in January and February when travel numbers are down.


Gift basket against a blue background.

Fancy fruit, meat and cheese, and snack baskets are easy gifts for friends and family (or yourself, let's be honest), but they shouldn't be snagged on Black Friday. And because baskets are jam-packed full of perishables, you likely won't want to buy them a month away from the big day anyway. But traditionally, you'll spend less cheddar if you wait to make those purchases in December.


Rack of women's winter clothing.
Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash.

Buying clothing out of season is usually a big money saver, and winter clothes are no exception. Although some brands push big discounts online and in-store, the best savings on coats, gloves, and other winter accessories can still be found right before Black Friday—pre-Thanksgiving apparel markdowns can hit nearly 30 percent off—and after the holidays.


Group of hands holding smartphones.

While blowout tech sales are often reserved for Cyber Monday, retailers will try to pull you in-store with big electronics discounts on Black Friday. But, not all of them are really the best deals. The price for new iPhones, for example, may not budge much (if at all) the day after Thanksgiving. If you're in the market for a new phone, the best option might be waiting at least a few more weeks as prices on older models drop. Or, you can wait for bundle deals that crop up during December, where you pay standard retail price but receive free accessories or gift cards along with your new phone.


Row of hanging kitchen knives and utensils.

Black Friday is a great shopping day for cooking enthusiasts—at least for those who are picky about their kitchen appliances. Name-brand tools and appliances often see good sales, since stores drop prices upwards of 40 to 50 percent to move through more inventory. But that doesn't mean all slow cookers, coffee makers, and utensil prices are the best deals. Many stores advertise no-name kitchen items that are often cheaply made and cheaply priced. Purchasing these lower-grade items can be a waste of money, even on Black Friday, since chances are you may be stuck looking for a replacement next year. And while shoppers love to find deals, the whole point of America's unofficial shopping holiday is to save money on products you truly want (and love).


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