This balloon had these stepping gaps in the body that we could use to climb in and get into the base. I don’t know why I imagined there would be a door/gate they would open to just walk in. Maybe there are other bigger balloons that way. This one had the pilot in the center with all his gear and four compartments around him where three riders could be accommodated in each. They packed it in pretty tight.
We were advised to bring layers, which we definitely did need in the early morning hours but not so much once the sun was up and we were high in the sky as well. The sound of the balloon being fired up every few minutes can be a tad bit disconcerting but the pilot warns you ahead to expect that. And when it was time to land we were told to not lock our knees so our backs don’t get the full impact of hitting the ground. Interestingly, that was simply a smooth thud on the surface and not as unsettling as I expected.
Overall, a great experience and happy to strike it off the bucket list. Could have chosen to do it in a place where the views are better but this was available nearby so we took the opportunity when it presented itself. It was nice to feel suspended in mid air but with a sturdy base below my feet! I wish it wasn’t as packed but I am glad to know for myself that I can survive a balloon ride.
- Check as close to an hour or half an hour before you head to your boarding location. Weather changes happen by the minute and your hot air balloon pilot is the final verdict on whether your balloon ride happens or not.
- Some places provided a refund. Some don’t but will allow you to reschedule – know what you are signing up for when you pay for the service. If it’s a package deal, then keep that in mind as to what your money buys you.
- Be there on time. There are processes to be followed and once the balloon is ready, you need to board and be on your way. This is also when they talk about safety tips and such so do not miss this part.
- Wear comfortable clothing, and depending on weather, take a jacket or layers you can remove. We had to climb into our balloon ride so I was thankful I wore pants. Might not be the case everywhere but you never know.
- Also check about food and drink, and restroom facilities – if those things matter. I definitely needed something warm to drink that early on a cold morning and was ready for breakfast when we arrived back!
- If you are scared of heights, this is a very smooth up and down and once in the air, provided weather is good, there is no turbulence at all. If the weather were not conducive to this exercise, you wouldn’t be up in the first place.