Bucket List: Hot Air Ballooning
I always dreamed of flying on a hot air balloon but had no idea of what it would be like. One thing I can assure, it was the most surreal experience of my life so far.
"Having the opportunity of watching the sun rise and set from above will leave you speechless, but the main reason why pilots choose the early dawn and dusk is because winds are generally slower at these times and therefore it is easier to control the balloons."
Though I had questions bumping on my head, I was too excited to actually think about them. Some may think it is dangerous, but now that I’ve been on a hot air balloon, I can tell you that the flight is very safe and smooth. Here is a few answers to questions I was asking myself right before I flew:
How high can a balloon go? A commercial balloon flight usually ranges from above treetops to 3,000 feet (almost 915 meters), but it could reach up to 65,000 feet. Even if you are scared of height, trust me, the view will make you forget you’re in a basket.
How long does a flight last? Balloon flights are available 2 times a day, sunrise and sunset. Having the opportunity of watching the sun rise and set from above will leave you speechless, but the main reason why pilots choose the early dawn and dusk is because winds are generally slower at these times and therefore it is easier to control the balloons. You can’t really steer a balloon, it travels as fast as the wind blows. Total flight time ranges from 45 min to 1 hour, depending on weather conditions.
How does a hot air balloon work? Basic physics. Hot air is lighter than cool air, so based on this principle, the balloon is filled with air and once the burner that is attached to the basket heats the air inside it, the balloon takes off the ground. To keep the balloon rising, the pilot uses the burner to keep heating up the air.
Right before we went up on the basket, the pilot explained that the balloon flight is also known as the no-feeling experience, as you can’t really feel it go up and down. I was in a basket made to accommodate 8 people plus the pilot. Majority of the people were afraid before we jumped on it, but once we were up in the sky, no one was minding the height.
How much does it cost? Be prepared to spend an average of USD 150-300 per person depending on the location of the flight. There are different basket sizes made to accommodate from 2 to 20 people on a single ride. If you are looking for a private flight (a couple and the pilot), it will cost you around USD 1200. Tips It gets really hot up there as the pilot is constantly “burning the air” right above your head. I can’t tell about how cold it gets on winter, but if you fly on summer, even with the height, there is no need for jackets at all.
Ladies, no dresses or heels. You will be climbing a 4ft tall basket, don’t make it embarrassing. Wear jeans and sneakers and have fun!
I would not recommend it to kids, just because they might not be able to see the entire view due to the height of the basket, and besides being strictly prohibited, no one should be hanging on it.
I would love to do it again and totally recommend. Hot Air Ballooning is now a check on my bucket list, and it was amazing! Gallery pictures were taken during my flight in California, but ballooning is available in pretty much every state in the US.
Fly high and enjoy the view!
With love, Bella.