Here are eight games for that car trip you're taking this Thanksgiving weekend; they may appeal to a slightly older crowd that is, perhaps, a bit more cynical than a 6-year-old and is also interested in traveling, beyond being held captive in the family car.
Some are a freshening of old standbys—the Alphabet Game, Team Storytelling—and others are unique to California.
These may come in handy if your trip is long or your plans are slowed by the weather or by the sheer number of others on the road (3 1/2 million Southern Californians on the road to Turkeyville between Wednesday and Friday).
Play nicely, travel safely and let the games begin. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Spot the Expensive Car: Call out the cars on the road--they'll probably pass you--that cost more than $50,000. You can use a list from US News and World Report. (There may be too many of these to play easily in L.A. so you may need to get away to a more rural area to avoid a call-out frenzy.) The Aston-Martin V-8 Vantage GT Coupe above could be a contender for your list: Car & Driver's AccuPayment calculator puts the cost of this one at $98,000. Try not to dwell on how much more fun your trip might be in that instead of your 7-year-old minivan.
Continuous Storytelling, SoCal Style: In the conventional game, a person starts with, "Once upon a time there was a princess" or some other fairy-tale line. The next person has to pick up the story and add a line and so on until the story is completed. In the Southern California version, you start out, "Once upon a time there was an actor (or actress) who came from (fill in place name)." The story then must go on to explain how the place name contributed--or didn't--to his or her success.
Witness Protection Game with Geography: This is a variation on the old Alphabet Game, but in this version, you start with the letters A, B and C, invent a name for yourself that won't attract attention and add a place where you might go undetected. Example: A, B & C: My name is Allison Brown and I think I could hide in Chicago because it has about 3 million people. Everybody tries to come up with an ABC answer. Whoever answers last gets to go first for D, E and F. If you get stuck for a city name, see the Airport Code List below.
Airport Code Names: This isn't the Witness Protection Game for airports. Print out or call up the list of airport codes and make people guess what they are: EAT! (Wenatchee, Wash.) FOE! (Topeka, Kan.) Try to vary the funny ones with some of the ones that don't seem to make any sense (or any more sense than EAT or FOE): BAX (Barnaul, Russia).
I Have $25,000 for a Trip: This one may require a travel app so you can referee if you want to be financially accurate. You have just been given a gift of $25,000. Where would you go and for how long? This can include transportation and accommodations. Or it could be one night in the three-bedroom suite at the Beverly Wilshire, which CNN reports will run you $25,000 a night.
I'm Stuck in the Desert: Your car has broken down in the desert Southwest and you can't be rescued for 24 hours. Assume your needs are taken care of (food, water, the shelter of the car). What three objects would you like to have with you? (Wine and spirits, illegal substances and weapons are not allowed.) At least one needs to be for amusement (previous list not appropriate for this category either). Consult a list of national parks if you'd like to see some of the choices for places you could be stranded domestically.
My Surgical Destination: Medical tourism has taken off in the last few years. Assume you're getting a body part enhanced or repaired. Where would you go for the surgery that seems the most fun and why? ABC News reports that the U.S. has the greatest number of surgeries, so that may be a starting point, but that's followed by Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Japan.
Drivers Breaking the Law: Watch other cars. Keep a running tab of drivers breaking the law by talking on their cellphones or by texting. You can read up on the issue on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Distracted Driving website. If you do see someone doing this, move away as quickly as traffic allows. Also make sure the driver of your car is not doing the tabulating.