Last summer my friends and I went to the Quick Check Festival of Ballooning in Readington, NJ. It turned out to be my lucky day and I won free tickets to ride in one of the balloons.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature reared it’s ugly head and a huge storm came through so we couldn’t go until the next morning. It was worth the early morning wake-up call though. If you get the chance to go on a hot air balloon ride I highly recommend it. Check out the 5 reasons why below.
1. The view. The obvious benefit to hot air balloon rides is the amazing bird’s eye view. When I went up in the middle of summer everything was lush and green. We could see for miles and backyard swimming pools looked like puddles. In addition, there were dozens of other balloons going up at the same time as us. It was so beautiful I wish I could have been up there for hours.
2. It’s a learning experience. When I went, the owners of the balloon had us help out with preparation. They taught us how to unfold the balloon, fill it with air and hold down the basket. Not only did we get to set up the balloon but mid-flight we saw how the fuel tanks get replaced mid-flight and we got to operate the flames.
3. The sunrise/sunset. Hot air balloons can only go up around 6am and 6pm because that’s when winds are the most calm. It limits your time in the air but gives you the best view of the day. If I could do it again I would go at sunset, only because I’m not a morning person.
4. Face your fears. I have a deep fear of heights but I don’t let it hold me back from trying new things. A couple years ago I went skydiving and last year I went up in the hot air balloon. Though it’s a little scary at first, the ride is so smooth it’s like you’re floating on a cloud. Safety isn’t a concern either. I was worried about the us crashing into a tree or having a bad landing but the whole process was super safe. The owners made sure we had a great time and reassured our nerves.
5. The people. The baskets of hot air balloons are smaller than they look so you get to know the people in them well. There were 5 of us when I went up and there was little room to move. We made the best of it though by taking photos of eachother and making small talk. We ended up learning a lot about our pilot and how his family got into the business.