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Hodding Carter said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

Mark Twain, he reminded us,”Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

And we say, “Welcome to KidsOnBoard.net!”

KidsOnBoard.net is all about travelling with the family – the big kids, the small kids, and the babies. Sometimes with the grandparents and the whole extended horde too!
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Hakuba kidsonboard

Editor’s note: If you are looking for an alternative to Niseko this ski season, check out Ling’s mini-guide on Skiing in Hakuba. Located in central Japan just five hours from Tokyo, it’s great skiing minus the crowds over at the popular Hokkaido resort.  We think it looks beautiful, too!  

Family Fun Skiing in Hakuba

Hakuba Valley is located within the Nagano prefecture, on the main island of Japan, Honshu. Hakuba’s claim to fame – the city hosted the Winter Olympics of 1998. The ski resorts in the area, as you can imagine, are some of the best anywhere in the world.

We’ve just learned skiing the previous winter, a couple months back (at Niseko, of Hokkaido fame). Keen to practice our newfound “skills”, we thought a March ski trip was in order – any excuse for a holiday really! :) The plan is to ski together, this time without the instructors.

With only a few days on hand, we decided to visit one of the resorts closer to Tokyo, instead of venturing to Hokkaido. After studying many ski maps – of nearby Nozawa Onsen, Zao Onsen, Gala Yuzawa, Shiga Kogen etc, we finally decided on the Hakuba Valley. With nine resorts in the valley, connected by free, frequent shuttle services, we figured we would be kept well entertained! And while we are no party animals, we wanted a “township” with choices of izakayas and eateries for the evenings – we didn’t want to be boxed up in an all-inclusive resort.

Hakuba Valley is not as commercialised or westernised as Niseko and Hirafu village. Though hardly a “secret” amongst skiers and snowboarders, Hakuba is considerably less crowded.  Skiing in Hakuba with the kids was fantastic.  The snow kept falling though it was already almost spring when we visited. The landscape was beautiful.
Hakuba kidsonboard
Photo taken at Hakuba 47, at the view point by the Restaurant Alps 360, near to the submit. We stuck to the green runs, and were able to ski top to bottom at some resorts. We identified three resorts with green runs that looked challenging enough, yet “doable”, and were not disappointed.

Evenings were spent soaking in our hotel’s mineral bath, before venturing out for dinner at one of the many restaurants in the valley.

All in all, it was a great decision and we had a lovely holiday. If you’re looking for a location for that annual ski vacation, or indeed to pick up skiing, we’d recommend skiing in Hakuba wholeheartedly.

Where to Ski in Hakuba

Hakuba Valley has 9 ski resorts. We spent four days skiing at three of them.

Hakuba Ski Resort 1: Happo One

Happo One, the flagship and biggest ski resort in the valley.  The Sakka Beginner’s area, with it’s wide, gentle ski slopes, are perfect for warm ups and getting back our ski legs. My younger son was at first jittery, but after several runs up and down Sakka 2, he’d gained back his confidence. Happo One offers a “beginners pass” for unlimited day use of the Sakka area, and this is great value if you need a day to get back into the groove of things. Later that afternoon, we attempted the Kitano course, further up the slopes.
Happo One for kids
This was a relatively flat run, so much so that we found ourselves having to “walk” along several stretches. Read More

A stroller on the Great Wall of China is a hassle... but possible!

Editor’s note:  We chanced upon Anabel’s GORGEOUS instagram account and was totally blown over.  The mum of three has been to some beautiful destinations.  It amazed us how she kept herself and the family looking so fabulous on the road – check out her gallery!  So we reached out and persuaded her to share with us snippets from her private travel journal. Here’s the first, curated from her 11 Days China Tour – Two days in Beijing China, and a trip to the Great Wall of China.  If you’ve ever wondered about climbing the Great Wall of China with a young child and a toddler with a stroller, read on!

Our Two Days in Beijing China

We spent 11 Days in China, covering the cities of Beijing, Hong Kong and Xian in the trip. I went on this trip expecting the most foreign customs and exploring a very different culture and we certainly experienced it!

Beijing China and The Great Wall of China gave us lots of beautiful memories

Our first stop of the trip was Beijing China.

Beijing China is a long way from home. From Salt Lake City, it was an 11-hour flight to Narita Airport (Tokyo). We had use of the Delta Sky Lounge (thankfully) during the layover, before continuing with another 4-hour flight to Beijing, the first stop of our trip.

Our kids were troopers and travelled well! Even after almost 20 hours of travelling, B managed a smile when we finally landed in Beijing.

We were picky with our hotels on this trip. Knowing that we were in such a foreign country we wanted some normalcy, so we stayed in an American-based hotel chain we were familiar with.  Upon arrival, we were given a welcomed surprised – an upgraded to an Executive Suite. It was the perfect place to unwind after our long, long journey.

Day 1 in Beijing China

On the itinerary: Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Beijing Hutong Tour, Jingshan Garden

Jet-lagged, I woke up at 5am and sat by the window and people watched for 1 hour. I could not believe it, I was in BEIJING!  My son, MN, joined me soon after…
Our Beijing Trip with the Great World of China a big highlight for all of us, kids included

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