Have you ever wanted to fly? And not just in a plane? Then this blog post is for those who want some tips for your first hot air balloon ride!
It has been on my bucket list for YEARS to take a ride in a hot air balloon! Skydiving…no thank you. Another helicopter ride…naw I’m good. But a hot air balloon? Absolutely! There is something incredibly romantic to me, and it became even more important to me once I met my husband who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico – the heart and soul of ballooning in the United States and hosts the annual Balloon Fiesta!
A little history of hot air ballooning…On September 19, 1783 Pilatre De Rozier, a scientist, launched the first hot air balloon called ‘Aerostat Reveillon’. The passengers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster and the balloon stayed in the air for a grand total of 15 minutes before crashing back to the ground.
The first manned attempt came about 2 months later on November 21st, with a balloon made by 2 French brothers, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier. The balloon was launched from the center of Paris and flew for a period of 20 minutes. The birth of hot air ballooning!!! (There is also a funny story about why Champagne is the drink of choice for pilots of hot air balloons – click here to visit my Instagram IGTV to learn why)
So, if you’re like me and you have a burning desire to get some “Altitude Therapy” then I have a few tips for you before you take off:
Book a head of time
Depending on where you are wanting to book this hot air balloon ride at, you are going to nee to book early and stay in communication with the company. The weather and winds change daily (like in Albuquerque) and that will come into effect so be prepared to be flexible. Because of that, it’s best to have a couple days available for the excursion.
Budget Before Flight
Hot air balloon rides can be expensive so just be prepared a head of time with your travel budget to make such a splurge purchase. The average cost of a hot air balloon ride can be from $65-$300 per person. Depending on where you choose to fly, time of year and other factors.
Prepare to get Cozy
You’re in a basket, possibly filled with strangers. The basket I was in for my ride had some space for maneuvering, but not much. It was enough for myself, my little, and the pilot. It’s best to find your spot and stick to it. The pilot can also rotate the balloon so you can get the full 360 degree experience. If you don’t do cramped quarters, consider getting a private flight.
Steady Yourself for Landing
Part of the reason why I wasn’t able to take a ride until this trip to New Mexico is because the last time I had an opportunity was during the balloon fiesta there in NM in 2016 and I was VERY pregnant at the time and they were worried about a bumpy landing for me. So brace yourself. My first ride’s landing was perfect however! The pilot Laurie, kissed the ground ever so genitally – I couldn’t have asked for a better first time experience.
Dress Warmly But in Layers
When you first get to the parking lot of field where the set up happens for the balloon it is going to be BUTT CRACK EARLY! (Like 95.7% of the time – or at night, still dark) So make sure that you are dressed in layers, because once you take off and you’re standing next to or directly under that pillar of flames, you’ll suddenly find yourself perspiring a little and are glad that you did dress in layers. And pro tip – closed toe shoes too! I know, the sandals are super cute but trust me you want comfort and functioning over style.
Enjoy the RIDE!
This is the easiest tip I can give! I, personally, don’t enjoy heights. I manage them fine but I’d prefer not to stare down from a great height and think “OH $#!^” because there is only what feels like a tiny bit of wicker basket between you and falling to your death. Get off that line of focus and look up, look out and enjoy the view! Floating up and up into the atmosphere, you don’t have to be a photographer to appreciate that kind of view. The morning I took my first flight it was already a special day – but when I was able to take off with my daughter and sore above the streets and fields of Albuquerque as the sun was still rising and watch the valley at the foot of the Sandia mountain range come to life…it was pure magic.
I hope these tips for you first hot air balloon ride has helped you and that you sore to new heights