With three kids in the back of the minivan, I usually dread even the shortest trip to the store. Someone is bound to need a roadside nature pee, spill their drink or drop their snack, get car sick or simply start freaking out over their sister “looking out MY window!”

Long road trips with just my nine-year-old and I? Pure bliss. Here are a few things I do to make our road trips especially memorable.

Pick a theme

On a recent two day trek from Middleton, Nova Scotia to Antigonish, Kate and I turned a four-hour drive each way into an adventure by following the Chowder Trail. A Taste of Nova Scotia initiative, we picked up official Chowder Trail passports at the first restaurant and stopped at a further half dozen restaurants over the two days to sample their seafood chowders and have our passports stamped.

Keep a travel journal

As a travel writer, I’m constantly taking photos with my camera and iPhone, tweeting, tagging and Instagramming, and keep a folder stuffed with itineraries, notes and brochures at my side. Kate kept her own journal of her thoughts about the places we visited, things she wanted to look up on the Internet when we returned home and items like leaves and even receipts that she collected on our way.

A Nova Scotia Road Trip With My Daughter - Journalling

Think outside the box with tech

When we visited Lunenburg, Halifax and other touristy stops, she used her iTouch to take her own photos and videos from her unique perspective. I often handed her my phone and let her navigate for us, and research highlights and interesting facts about the towns we passed.

Inspire conversation

A fun game to get us talking it Ask me Anything, where we both get the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve found it’s a great way to get a conversation started, and car rides have turned out to be a great place for my daughter to get up the courage to ask me questions she’s been curious about, but maybe too shy to ask.

I hope that by encouraging my daughter to engage in the world around us while on road trips that it will inspire her to have the travel bug. Do you enjoy road trips with your children?