If you're travelling with children, it pays to give them travel books of their own - when we were in Rome a couple of years ago, Alfie and Kitty were so engrossed in finding and ticking off all the sights on their map they didn't notice they'd walked over ten miles one day! Here's a selection of beautifully designed, but practical tourist and language guides, activity books and maps.
The New Voyager in Paris, €11.
This map is divinely hand-painted by illustrator Steffie Brocoli. It's small enough for little hands to manage and folds out accordion style to reveal 27 iconic Parisian places (think parks, museums, toy stores and ice cream parlours), each represented by an icon that can then be found on the map. Also available for Brooklyn and LA.
My London: Colour, Draw, Explore by Majel van der Meulen (Laurence King, £7.99)
Stylish activity book jam packed with capital-themed activities (think draw your own masterpieces in Tate Modern, design and name your own skyscrapers, fill Borough Market's stalls with food). Covers all the most iconic sights in the city - just add coloured pencils and a vivid imagination.
Lonely Planet Kids First Words: Spanish
(Lonely Planet, RRP £8.99)
This one will be accompanying us to Mallorca in August. It's a brilliantly child-centric translation dictionary, featuring 100 Spanish words, along with phonetic pronunciation and fun, bold illustrations. There's a QR code linking to an online audio guide and it's also available in French and English editions.
Paris The Family Edition City Guide (Urbanito, RRP £18)
I'm tempted to book a trip to Paris just to try this out! I'm a guide book geek, but they are annoying to lug around. Urbanito comprises seven individual guides covering different areas in Paris - so you can just pop the one you need for that day in a pocket - plus an Intro with general info and Navigator with handy Metro map. Each guide has two maps featuring family-friendly eating, visiting, shopping and toilet (how useful is that!) options and is exquisitely illustrated.
Travel Activity Book illustrated by Charlie Brandon-King
(Button Books, RRP £9.99)
Another one that will be in our hand luggage this summer, because you can never take too much entertainment for kids on a plane. This is a particularly fab activity book, that starts with a prompt to draw what's in your suitcase and fill in the info from your passport, then continues with things to spot at the airport, cloud identification, skycraper dot-to-dots, design your own currency, perforated colour-in postcards and a host of other holiday-themed ideas.
This Is My London by Petra de Hamer
(BIS Publishing, RRP £12.95)
If you're looking for a travel journal, city guide and activity book in one package, then This is My London is for you. One for older children, there's a tick list for Tube stations visited, film locations, restaurants, coffee shops, markets, quirky facts and quotes and space to stick photographs and tickets. Be warned there's a spread on pubs and alcoholic drinks that you are welcome to fill in yourself!
London Unlocked by Emily Kerr and Joshua Perry
(Unlocked Guides, RRP £9.99)
The tagline is 'Don't be boring... Go exploring!' and this irreverent guide has been a huge hit in our house. It's split into six areas, and each attraction has its own spread with highlights, practical info, fascinating facts, a star rating (there are gold stickers at the back) and even a joke. It's written in an accessible, engaging way with loads of photos and colourful illustrations, so is immediately appealing to children. Ideal for list lovers and also available for England, Wales and other UK areas.
First Words in Spanish by Alain Grée
(Button Books, RRP £7.99)
A fun way to start your little one off on a new language, this contains 100 stickers to pop on domestic items around the house and translations of over 300 key words (think shapes, numbers, colours, seasons), all peppered with French illustrator Alain Grée's distinctive pictures. There are matching games and suggestions on how best to learn, plus useful holiday vocabulary.
Paris En Famille (Herb Lester Associates, RRP £4)
This little map is ideal if you're just hopping across the Channel for the weekend. Beautifully illustrated, it has details of 40 family-friendly places, from the essential (museums, restaurants and shops) to the more unusual (but wildly appealing to small people) like the best chocolate mousse, the smelliest cheese and the bridge (Pont Neuf) they may have spotted in Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline books.
Lonely Planet Kids Let's Explore... City
(Lonely Planet, RRP £5.99)
Lonely Planet's colourful, fun sticker books are an excellent travel diversion. Choose from City, Desert or Mountain and join two young explorers as they adventure around the world, doing dot to dots, word searches and over 250 stickers to apply to scenes from LA, Tokyo, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and more.