How Much Is a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air balloons are colorful and whimsical, and the idea of floating gently through the sky in an open basket captures the attention of both children and adults alike. While most assume that a hot air balloon ride is a far-fetched dream better suited to those that have their own balloon, in truth, there are many options for recreational rides today. So, how much does a hot air balloon ride cost?

On Average

On average, a balloon ride will cost around $150–$250 dollars per person and will last around two to four hours. The full range of prices starts at about $130, with the upper limit being approximately $300. If you are traveling with a group, you may be able to secure deals on sites like Groupon to lower the price. Aside from a group discount, there are several other factors that affect the cost of a hot air balloon ride, as detailed below.

Factors That Impact Hot Air Balloon Ride Costs

A hot air balloon is a fair bit more delicate than an airplane, so there are certain conditions that can affect its cost that you might not be aware of. If you want to make an informed decision when looking at hot air balloon ride costs, keep the following factors in mind.

Location

If you are looking for a trip in a particularly busy area for tourists, you can expect rides to be a bit pricier compared to other, less-popular destinations. However, do not let this dissuade you, as location-themed rides like the Balloons Over Letchworth and the Grand Canyon Balloon Rides offer an exhilarating view of the scenery you would not get otherwise. Try to bring down the price by going on weekdays or during the off-season, or with a large group.  

Package Inclusions

Most hot air balloon companies go beyond just a simple flight — they often offer add-ons or packages that can heighten the experience, which will naturally heighten the costs. For example, the Napa Valley Balloons classic balloon ride is priced at $275 per guest. The cost of a hot air balloon ride with a wine tour afterward will go up to $394 per guest, and if you want a luxury sedan wine tour instead, you will have to spend $1079 per couple.  

Time of Year or Demand

Similar to popular locations, popular vacation times will also drive up the cost of a hot air balloon ride. Summer is typically the most expensive time for a ride, as it is a prime time for taking vacations and the relatively stable weather conditions ensure that balloons can make flights safely. Most companies operate year-round, so you can book a hot air balloon ride in winter if you want to avoid the peak season.

Fuel Costs

Fuel is incredibly instrumental to a hot air balloon ride, as it is what allows the balloon to achieve lift and take to the air. A single hour-long flight in an average-sized balloon can burn through 30 gallons of liquid propane gas. A longer flight, higher altitudes, or being in an area with high gas prices will all serve to drive up fuel costs, which in turn will increase the cost of a hot air balloon ride.

Other Overhead Costs

Hot air balloons always need to be kept in top condition for the safety of guests, and this involves proper care for the hot air balloons and a licensed operator to conduct flights. Expect costs for maintenance, storage, flight insurance, and the operators to be factored into the price of your hot air balloon ride.

Key Takeaways: Costs and Considerations for a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Floating through the air in the basket of a hot air balloon is a breathtaking experience. Depending on the location, you get to see rolling hills and fields, calm lakes, towering waterfalls, and even vast deserts, all from a perspective miles higher than your typical view from the ground.

However, you still need to exercise caution when booking a flight in order to ensure a smooth trip. Prior research is instrumental to securing a deal that fits your budget, as hot air balloon ride costs range from $130 to $300 and can vary depending on the location, schedule, and company. Look for a reputable hot air balloon company with good reviews, both on their website and third-party sources like Google Reviews or a travel agency.

A key point to look out for is their cancellation or refund policy. As flights can be canceled easily because of weather, you do not want to pay for the cost of a hot air balloon ride only to lose your money because of an unclear refund policy.

Once you have done your research and found the right hot air balloon ride for your budget, all that is left to do is mark your calendar and make sure you arrive on time for what is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.