Friday, March 17, 2006

Hot Air Ballooning - An Adventure Vacation For Every Budget

budget adventure travel, family adventure vacation

I have recently been bitten by the hot air ballooning bug. I can’t think of a more exciting form of adventure travel than to either fly in a balloon or go to one of the many races and festivals held all over the world.

Below I have listed three different ballooning events for every adventure travel budget.

  • The annual Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville, Kentucky is made up of over 70 events in the two weeks leading up to the famous horserace. One of these exciting events a piece of adventure travel you will never forget called, the Great Hot Air Balloon Race.

    The competition format is a “hare and hounds” style, which consists of the event’s sponsor taking off first in the “Hare Balloon,” which in fact is shaped like a giant pink rabbit.

    The winds determine the direction of the race as the other balloons take off in pursuit of the hare. The Hare balloon flies on until it finds an open field to land. The passengers then get out and place a large fabric target in the field.

    The chase balloons then try to throw a small bag of Kentucky Bluegrass seed as close to the target’s “X” without landing. The pilot of the most accurate toss can collect a prize of $3000.

    The Great Hot Air Balloon Race has become so popular that Louisville has become home to many hot air balloonists, as reflected by the fact that now one can frequently see hot air balloons in the Kentucky sky at all times of the year.

    The night before the race is the U.S. Bank Derby Festival glow, which draws crowds as large as the race itself. While remaining on the ground, the balloons inflate in their launch positions.

    Against the night sky, these hundreds of balloons light up and glow, displaying an assortment of colors as diverse as summer fireworks.

  • The Winter Alpine Balloon Festival: Imagine the balloon you are in rises steadily into the cold January air, surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Swiss Alps. As you drift over the resort town of Chateau d’ Pex, you and more than 80 other balloons and their passengers are treated to the awesome splendor of the valley below. This is surely the adventure vacation you have always dreamed of.

    The Festival is hosted by Buddy Bombard and is one of the few such balloon festivals you can enjoy from the air. Not only can you be one of the passengers as your balloon gently drifts over the silent scenery below, you are also served an in-flight luncheon, which Bombards describes as “casual, but lavish, served with the finest French wine.”

    You can find out more by visiting Bombard’s website at

  • No article on balloon festivals would be complete without mention of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta held each October. For 9 days, the New Mexico sky is filled with a collage of colors and balloons of every shape and size.

    The Fiesta has been called “the most photographed event in the world,” and for good reason. The photos shot here appear on magazine covers the world over for months to come.

    The Fiesta begins at 7am, when all 750 or so balloons lift off gently into the sky. And who knows, perhaps you to can be on board one of these majestically quite airships. The price to hop a ride during the Fiesta is $225. For more information, check out

Links to Ballooning events all over the world:

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown. All rights reserved.

budget adventure travel, family adventure vacation

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