- Schedule your Balloon ride in the beginning of your vacation planning to guarantee the space. (We chose recommended company, NapaValleyBalloons.com and it turned out to be quite reliable.) You can always reschedule if the weather does not cooperate. (We were driven about 45 minutes outside the valley because of fog and/or the wind in Napa.)
- Be ready to spend from $200-$250 per person and know that you will share the ride with about 12 people in the basket leaving little space to move around.
- Prepare to get up early to be at your destination by 5:30 am. We entered through manicured, fresh grown lavender scented garden path that led us to Domaine Chandon’s main entrance. We were greeted, registered and were provided breakfast along with coffee, while the balloon operators explained everything you need to know.
- Bring layers of clothes, sunglasses, and a baseball hat to protect your head from flames. It tends to get very warm in higher altitudes. Don’t forget the camera or smartphone.
- Use the bathroom facility prior to your ride. There is no space on the air balloon basket to do anything but observe the beautiful scenery.
- Pilots will not fly in dangerous winds. When you are airborne you are moving with the wind! You feel no wind and experience total serenity and silence.
- Be aware that Air Balloon pilots establish relationships with local farmers and property owners to land their aircraft in a welcoming location. In return for takeoff and landing rights, they offer free balloon rides. Isn’t that nice to collaborate in such manner?
- When you land, your basket might hit the ground couple of times and tip back. Holding on to the rail of the basket and bending slightly your knees is highly advisable. It won’t tilt upside down, but expect lots of surprise and laughter as you’re laying in the basket on your back. Don’t jump out until told to do so or the basket will take off again!
- Upon bus transfer back to your original pick up destination, freshly prepared multiple hot lunch selections and champagne will be awaiting your return.
Hot Air balloon rides are unique, fun and captivating experiences. Scenic memories will last a life time, and who knows, you might get addicted to open air flying :)))
Until next time, happy and safe Travels.
By Luda, at PlantsandBeyond.com