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Are you thinking about taking your first hot air balloon ride? As a surprise for his 30th birthday, I took Buddy on a hot air balloon experience for the first time and it was amazing.

We got there at the crack of dawn excited for a new adventure, and somewhat unsure of what it would entail. It was definitely beautiful, a little scary and above all else, a unique and wonderful experience! But, before you check this item off your bucket list, read over these five hot air balloon ride tips for first-timers.

In front of the Adventures Out West balloon while it inflates prior to our hot air balloon experience.

5 Tips for a Great First Ever Hot Air Balloon Ride

1. This is a very weather-dependent activity.

If it is too windy or too hot you may not get to take off. I was told when making a reservation that we may have to reschedule if weather didn’t cooperate. Being a control freak, and hoping to make this a birthday morning surprise for Buddy, this stressed me out quite a bit – thankfully, my constant prayers for good weather were answered!

The weather in Colorado Springs was beautiful! We had clear skies, minimal wind, and that nice brisk mountain air. Taking a hot air balloon ride in Colorado Springs is really a great idea as you won’t have too many morning rides canceled due to the weather being too hot.

Beautiful clear blue skies in Colorado Springs looking towards the Rocky Mountains.

2. Watching the balloon inflate is really fun!

I hadn’t even thought about this part beforehand, so I was surprised by how exciting it was to get to see the balloon get set up for our ride. It was really impressive to watch the team at Adventures Out West set up our hot air balloon. Watching the roaring fire inflate the colorful fabric to create a flying vessel is kind of amazing… and also a little bit scary.

“So that bag of hot air is going to keep us from falling to our deaths?… ok!?!” But once we were floating around in the beautiful blue sky of Colorado Springs, I wasn’t afraid at all!

Hot Air Balloon almost fully inflated with a fan blowing the hot air into the balloon

3. The views make a great hot air balloon experience better.

Make sure you pick an area with great views… that is the best part. Luckily, we were in the beautiful Colorado Springs area – with Pikes Peak and other mountain ranges in the background, beautiful open spaces, creeks, and even some wildlife. As photographers, we were in love with the views!

Taking a hot air balloon high up over the plains in Colorado Springs was a truly unique experience. The great guide even snapped a few of us too!

Aerial view over the plains of Colorado Springs during our hot air balloon experience.

4. The landing can be a little bumpy.

As we began the descent from our hot air balloon experience, the pilot warned us that it might be a bit bumpy. Luckily, we had a pretty smooth landing since the wind wasn’t very strong on that beautiful October morning in Colorado Springs. Apparently, bouncing a few times before finally coming to a stop is common.

Shadow of Hot Air Balloon over a lake and plains in Colorado Springs

5. The basket usually tips over when you land.

And… we were in a cow pasture. In order to let the balloon deflate, they let it tip over during landing. Luckily, there were four separate compartments in the basket so we weren’t all squished together too badly. We also managed to miss all of the cow poop in the field we landed in… success!

After we climbed out of the basket, we participated in a champagne toast with some snacks to celebrate a great ride!

Laying on the ground after the not so bumpy landing from our hot air balloon experience

For our hot air balloon experience, we found a great deal on LivingSocial.com with Adventures Out West. We really enjoyed the pilot who made us feel safe and helped us have a great time (he offered to take a picture of us while up in the balloon and also hopped out to get the cute picture of us all when the basket tipped over).

At the end, we got a little hot air balloon patch and a certificate of accomplishment for this fun adventure! A cute memento for an awesome day. If you are hot air ballooning in Colorado Springs, don’t miss a trip up Pikes Peak as well!

First Hot Air Balloon Ride FAQ

What to wear on hot air balloon ride?

Since you don’t know where you will be landing, closed-toe shoes and pants that cover your legs is ideal – in case you are tromping through a field. In some places, tall boots may be best. You will also want a light jacket or layers, depending on the weather. If you bring a hat or a phone along, hold on tight so you don’t lose it forever or risk hurting someone. It’s also important to note that there isn’t much room, so bring minimal items.

How much is a hot air balloon ride?

In the United States, most hot air balloon rides range from $200 to $400 each. However, you can find deals online or at festivals!

Why are hot air balloon rides so expensive?

Fueling a hot air balloon is expensive, and while you may only have one pilot in the balloon with you, it takes an entire team to get one balloon up and down safely.

How long is a hot air balloon ride?

While there are sometimes short up-and-back rides you can do at hot air balloon festivals, most rides take about an hour. However, there are sometimes longer hot air balloon tours in some places.

5 Tips for Your First Hot Air Balloon Ride