If you’re considering going on a hot air balloon ride, I have just one thing to say: do it.
My husband took me up in the air for my 40th birthday, and it truly was a bucket list experience.
I’m not typically the big party or girl’s trip to Vegas type of person, but I wanted to commemorate my special day by doing something out of the norm.
My husband suggested skydiving, but that was a bit too out of the norm for me, but it was a step in the right direction.
I decided that taking a hot air balloon ride would be perfect.
We thought it’d be fun to spend my birthday in Vegas, so I wound up in Sin City after all.
It was just the two of us, and we had an awesome time.
My husband took care of every detail, from dinners to booking the hot air balloon ride.
I think not having to do any of the planning made it one of the best trips away that we’ve had together!
What to know about hot air balloon rides
How much do hot air balloon rides cost?
Taking a hot air balloon ride wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be.
We found a Groupon discount, so the hot air balloon ride cost a little over $200 for both of us.
That price included a champagne toast at the end, too.
How do I dress for a hot air balloon ride?
Our ride was a sunrise launch, and since we were in the desert, I know it would be cold.
It’s chilly up in the air, too, so you’ll want to bundle up.
I was glad to have on jeans, the closed-toed shoes the company suggested, a coat, hat, and gloves.
Oh, and I’m happy I had my sunglasses with me.
They came in really handy for me on the bright, sunny morning.
What to wear:
- Long pants
- Top layers (including a coat)
- Closed toe shoes
- A scarf
- A beanie hat or cap
I get cold really easily, but I had tons of layers on so it wasn’t too bad.
Once the staff lit the propane to fuel up the hot air balloon, I got a nice little warm kickback from that, too.
What happens before you go up in the air?
Our ride day started before sunrise.
We met at the hot air balloon company office to take a van to the balloons in a field together.
Fortunately, the staff reminded us that there are no bathrooms on the balloon. Duh!
Everyone rushed to the restroom before the vans took off.
Once we got to the empty field behind a hospital where we’d be taking off from.
We got safety instructions and then the crew sent a few latex balloons in the air to check the wind.
We waited for an all-clear before the balloons were even brought out.
If it’s too windy, or the temperature isn’t right, our flight would have had to be canceled.
Fortunately, we were good to go.
The team pulled baskets and the big cloth out of trailers and started to set them up.
Getting ready to takeoff
By the time we go the all-clear, the sun was just rising.
My husband and some of the other men were asked to help with setting up the balloons.
After the balloons were set up, we got stepped inside.
There wasn’t a door in the basket like you might expect, but rather we had to climb into it.
Our basket was a little smaller than the other balloons that were taking off that morning, so Terrence and I only had one other couple plus the pilot in ours.
Everyone started taking off all around us, and our pilot let us know it was time to take off.
As we started rising off of the ground, my stomach dropped and I all of sudden got nervous.
I hadn’t thought about the fact that I would be in the air until we were starting to rise, but then it hit me.
I was like, “Oh snap. What am I about to do?”
What happens on a hot air balloon ride?
The hot air balloon ride was very different than I anticipated.
Nothing I read gave me all of the details I was looking for before we went on our journey.
Even though I went into the whole thing a little blind, it was still a good time.
Also, I gripped a rope inside the basket so tightly that it left an imprint on my hand.
The only time I let go was to get some pictures!
I wanted to get a lot more shots, but I was scared of dropping my camera as we rose higher and higher off of the ground.
My husband kept moving around to get pictures, but I was so scared of falling out of the basket that I stayed super still.
I didn’t move an inch, not even to shift the weight from one foot to the other.
I finally started to relax about 15 minutes in.
Everything was so quiet up in the air except for the comforting sound of the balloon’s furnace.
We chatted with the couple that was in the hot air balloon with us and learned a little bit about our pilot who was from France.
He shared a ton of hot air balloon history with us and gave us some gambling advice (although we never made it to the casino)!
I was glad to have a pilot who was chill since I was feeling so anxious.
We could see so much when we were up in the air!
At one point, we were low enough to see people.
It was still pretty early, only about 7:30 AM or so.
We waved at people walking their dogs, and a crew of men doing some construction on a house.
We were just floating along like it was normal!
One big detail that had never crossed my mind was that the hot air balloon was going to land wherever it was going to land.
It’s not like a plane where you can steer it back to the place that you started.
Each balloon had a van and a driver on walkie talkie with the pilot.
They followed us on land so they could pick us up.
The wind decided to blow us to a neighborhood park and we had a soft landing on thick grass just a few feet away from a sprinkler.
We hopped out and the pilot and his navigator dragged the balloon off of the grass and into the van’s trailer right before the sprinkler came on.
We jumped in the van and headed to a little playground where the other families from different balloons were waiting with mimosas.
Our host said a poem, gave us each a certificate, and we toasted.
It was one of the most fun experiences of my life, and the perfect way to bring in 40.