We recently took a little road trip to Albuquerque because I’ve been dying to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta since I was a little girl. All of my dreams (and more) came true the second we stepped foot into the balloon park! We were all amazed and blown away at all of the balloons, time spent planning and seeing it all come together beautifully! I wanted to provide a few tips for traveling to the balloon fiesta since it was our first time and I didn’t really know what to expect! Here’s what I learned and what we’ll be doing differently next time!
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was an amazing experience and I highly recommend everyone to plan to go at least once in their lives! We are going to try to make it every chance we get! It was incredible. We traveled with my family: my parents, husband, and our two girls who are 3 years old and 16 months old. I was a little bit nervous at first to take the girls, because, let’s be honest..it’s more exhausting to take a trip than it is to just stay home! The experience was one that they will cherish and I’m so glad we braved it!
Here are some tips I have for traveling to the Balloon Fiesta:
- Plan Well in Advance – Hotel rooms book up very quickly for the Balloon Fiesta. We were lucky (thanks to some amazing family who work with the hotel we stayed at) to get a room about 3 weeks in advance. I would definitely plan for several months in advance, if possible. We stayed at Hilton Garden Inn which was really close to where we needed to be. Also, plan to buy tickets and transportation ahead of time. HERE is a list of hotels and HERE is where you can purchase tickets.
- Park & Ride – This was the best advice we received and I’m SO glad we did it. You can find a list of pick up/drop off places HERE in which you can purchase the tickets in advance or when you get to the line. Now, here is the crazy part…..
- Get There EARLY – By early, I mean….when everyone else is sleeping. You will need to be to the park & ride destination by at least 4-4:30. If you get there later, you will not leave the parking lot until 6:30-7am and you will miss the balloons taking off! We got to the line around 5:45 and didn’t leave the parking lot on a bus until 7am. I regret not going earlier! Next time, we definitely will.
- Plan to Stand in Lines – There are SO many long lines. It’s very worth it though. The park & ride line was the longest. When you actually get into the park, there aren’t many lines. We ate some yummy breakfast burritos and homemade donuts (for the girls) when we got there and the lines weren’t bad at all! Plan to carry cash, most vendors only took cash. Also, do yourself a favor and get Green Chile on EVERYTHING.
Now, to leave…we waited until 9:45 to get in line to leave, and it was too late. We stood in line for another hour and a half to get on the bus to go back to the park & ride. You need to BE at the park & ride line by 4-4:30am and in the (c0rrect, there are several) line to leave by 9am (in my opinion).
- Take a Camera – You will want to capture the incredible balloons and colors! I took my iPhone which takes great photos, but also my DSLR and will cherish these photos forever.
- Dress in Layers – It is chilly in the morning, so a light jacket is needed. Check the weather before you go. We wore TOO many layers and ended up using the stroller as a catch-all. I wish I would have worn just a light jacket with normal clothes.
- For Kids – Take a stroller and/or carrier if your child does well in them. There are LOTS of kids, so try to keep them close. Also, plan to take them to the bathroom at a Porta-Potty (gross, I know, ehhhh) and now Laikyn is obsessed with them. Ewwwww. Also, don’t take a diaper bag. Keep your valuables & any unnecessary items at the hotel.
- Plan by the Event Calendar – Check to see what you want to see! We only went to the morning balloon launch, because the Night Glow wasn’t feasible for the kids this year. I can’t wait to go back and experience that part, though!
- ENJOY! – It’s seriously one of my favorite trips, ever! We had the best time. I’m so glad that my parents decided to come, too, because they were a HUGE help with the girls and also enjoyed it just as much as we all did!
It was such an amazing experience and I hope you get to take the trip, too! If you have been to this or any other balloon launch festival, send some tips and I can add them! This was our first time, so I’m sure I didn’t cover it all! Can’t wait to hear from you who are planning on going and/or go every year to see what you thought! I LOVE LOVE LOVED it!!!!
My Outfit Details: