I originally planned to have this blog post up on Hot Air Balloon Day, which is June 5, but as always, I’m late to the game. A couple months ago for Valentine’s Day, I booked Tyler and myself for a hot air balloon ride! Tyler said he went on a hot air balloon once when he was a kid with his grandparents and enjoyed it. I was surprised since he’s scared of heights – A grown man scared of heights… Is this common!?! I’m just kidding (kinda).
Up Up And Away!
As for me, I’ve always wanted to go on a hot air balloon but never pulled the trigger. Valentine’s Day was coming up, so I figured it’s a win-win, right? Can I get any more selfish? Haha.
Arizona Balloon Safaris
I booked our ride with Arizona Balloon Safaris because they have the largest basket in North America. In addition, they offered champagne and a small brunch. Our astronaut, aka the hot air balloon pilot, was so nice. His name is Randy Long and he has flown Shakira and other well-known celebrities.
The Morning of Our Hot Air Balloon Ride
We had to wake up early the morning of our hot air balloon ride – a 4:15 alarm for a 5:45 a meet-up! The meet-up location was in front of a grocery store, where there were 3 white vans waiting for us (who doesn’t love getting into an unmarked white van!). After we checked in, they drove us to a couple locations to see where the balloon could depart from — We needed the wind to be below a certain speed in order to safely take off. After we finally found a place, it took about 45 minutes to set up the balloon. I didn’t realize how much of a process it is to inflate and set up the balloon/basket!
The Hot Air Balloon Ride
The take-off was such a breeze. If you were to close your eyes for a few seconds, you probably wouldn’t even realize you had already floated hundreds of feet into the air. It was such a unique and exhilarating feeling! The views were incredible! We flew high above New River, Arizona, and were in the air for about an hour. It was so nice and quiet – you could even hear dogs barking thousands of feet below on the ground. The weather was a bit cold, so I definitely recommend bringing a jacket or sweater when you’re up in the air!
After we landed, the hot air balloon team set up multiple picnic tables. We also did a fun hot air balloon ritual before brunch. They had us kneel down and kiss the ground – well we didn’t actually kiss the ground, haha. We kissed a champagne glass that was placed on the ground. According to our astronaut, the ritual of kissing the ground comes from the first people who dared to adventure high in the sky in a hot air balloon. After staying up in the air for so long, they expressed their relief upon landing by immediately kissing the ground! The ritual was a great addition to an already terrific day and really highlighted the fun nature of the people at Arizona Balloon Safaris. To top it off, the set up for brunch was very cute and we got to talk to the other passengers too, which was nice!
Tips and Advice
Here are some tips and advice if you’re planning on booking a hot air balloon ride!
- Bring layers of outerwear. It’s pretty chilly when you’re in the air, and if you are flying in Arizona, it’ll be hot when you land. I highly recommend bringing layers so you’re able to put on and take off.
- Bring sunglasses. It’s bright up in the sky!
- Go to the bathroom before you fly. You’re in the air for about an hour and then you have brunch in the desert afterward. It’ll be a while before you can actually use a bathroom.
- Go in the morning rather than the evening. Our astronaut says it’s a bit more dangerous in the evening because of the wind.
Tip from Tyler: He highly recommends the company we went with, Arizona Balloon Safaris. The more people, the better! Their balloon basket is the largest model in North America and I believe it fits up to 24 people!