Do you love adventure when you travel?
Normally I am a lounge-by-the-resort-pool type of traveler, but lately I have become more adventurous. Within the last year I have cave kayaked in the Channel Islands, did a ropes course plus zip lined on a cruise ship, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, rode a horse through the Garden of the Gods, went whitewater rafting and took a hot air balloon ride in Arizona. Even though there were moments of fear before and during all of these adventures, the best thing was the feeling of accomplishment.
Out of these experiences, many people have asked how scary was the hot air balloon ride. I am going to tell you about hot air balloon rides and what you need to know.
I felt Wizard of Oz-esque vibes from the moment we climbed into the oversized, hand-crafted wicker basket under a humungous brightly colored balloon with a cactus design on it, and then watched the world below us grow smaller as we floated away. We were both nervous and admittedly a bit scared since we had no clue what to expect or how far up in the air we would go.
During the hour and fifteen minutes we soared way up in the air for about 15 miles over the Sonoran Desert my fears floated away. I bravely reached my hands out of the basket as I excitedly pointed out the beautiful sunrise, waterways, mountains, valleys and more below us.
Despite the 100 degree Arizona temps, even in the early morning, there was a calm cool breeze that seemed to encircle us in the sky. Our pilot was not only knowledgable about the balloon itself, but also with the area he was showing us around from up above. Post-flight we were treated to a gourmet breakfast in the desert along with champagne.
My first hot air balloon experience was completely magical thanks to Hot Air Expeditions.
Hot Air Balloon Rides and What You Need To Know
My first piece of advice when it comes to hot air balloon rides is you MUST, especially if you are in the Phoenix/Scottsdale Arizona area, use Hot Air Expeditions for your ballooning experience. Every post-flight includes a gourmet meal right in the desert complete with champagne.
Wear closed toe shoes. You will thank me as you are climbing into and out of the basket, and also if there is a bumpy landing. Having shoes securely on your feet will make the ride that much more enjoyable.
Don’t let a fear of heights, or any other type of fear, hold you back from taking a hot air balloon ride. Once you are up in the air and enjoying the incredible sights, your worries fade away and you’ll be in awe thanks to the 360 degree unobstructed views a hot air balloon ride treats you to.
You may want to bring a hat to keep your head cool. I am giving you this warning because I didn’t realize how hot your head could feel each time the pilot activates the propane burners throughout your flight.
Take a camera, in addition to your cell phone, along with a telephoto zoom lens if you would like to get really good pictures of the beautiful views. I took my favorite Canon camera and a 75-300mm lens which allowed me to closely capture the mountains, sunrise and the brilliantly green colored cactus on the hot air balloon in front of us during our flight.
The last thing about hot air balloon rides and what you need to know is to just go. There was an 80-year-old woman in our basket and she said although she was nervous, once she got up in the air she never wanted the adventure to end.