How Much Does it Cost to Ride in a Hot Air Balloon? Is it Worth It?

Hot Air Ballooning is an experience that is on most peoples bucket list, but cost is one of the reasons that people don’t go ahead and book a ride.
When my first wife got terminal cancer, her work colleagues pitched in to buy us a hot air balloon ride. It was a fantastic experience, something my late wife enjoyed with a huge smile on her face.

Now, hot air ballooning is back on my bucket list, and there are many places around the world that I want to see from above. Sailing over the landscape, silently floating above the landscape is a very surreal experience that I want to enjoy again…. and then again.
Because the price is an issue I decided to do some research on the cost of hot air ballooning around with the world and I’ve posted my results here.

What does it cost to ride in a hot air balloon??

The prices range from $70 (Laos, Asia) to $600 (Switzerland, Europe) per person. In the USA, rides are cheaper than the ones in Europe or Africa, having prices between $100 and $300 per person. The average cost of a ticket worldwide is $250.

City/Region Country Average Price per Person
(in US Dollars)
Napa Valley, CA USA $210
Las Vegas, NV USA $177
New York State USA $240
Arizona USA $191
Colorado USA $250
Tbilisi Georgia (Europe) $160
Barcelona Spain $174
Tuscany Italy $286
UK (in general) UK $152
Cappadocia Turkey $270
Vilnius Lithuania $120
Loire Valley France $227
Sydney Australia $210
Brisbane Australia $215
Yarra Valley Austalia $270
Queenstown New Zealand $350
Canada (in General) Canada $240
Luxor Egypt $120
Cape Town South Africa $235
Masai Mara Reserve Kenya $420
The Serengetta Tanzania $595
Bagan Myanmar $320
Northern Thailand Thailand $290
Vang Vieng Laos $95
Angkor Wat Cambodia $115
Data from company websites (at least 3 companies from each region

Now, hot air ballooning is back on my bucket list, and there are many places around the world that I want to see from above. Sailing over the landscape, silently floating above the landscape is a very surreal experience that I want to enjoy again…. and then again.
Because the price is an issue I decided to do some research on the cost of hot air ballooning around with the world and I’ve posted my results here.

For the money, the company you choose will make sure your experience is one of a kind. (don’t forget to check online reviews for the reputation of the company you are considering)

Once bitten by the ballooning bug, it is impossible to stay away from these fantastic floating balloons of hot air. There is more to it than just views and a glass of champagne. The freedom you feel up in the air gives you a buoyancy boost to last for several months, or even for the rest of your life.

Balloon Locally or Overseas?

There are probably some great options in your closest big city. It’s still an amazing experience, but you can take it to the next level by booking a balloon flight on your next vacation.

If you are a traveller or want to be traveller, I list below some of the best hot air balloon rides from around the world and how much they charge for the experience. You may even want to add some of these to your bucket list.

4 Hot Air Balloon Rides in Europe and What They Cost

Europe is one of the best places to hot air balloon. The landscapes are so varied you can float over fjords, castles, Alpine ranges, and cobblestoned villages. 

Here are some to add to your list:

  • The Alazani Valley which is located in picturesque Georgia. For the price of $138 or €120, you get an aerial perspective over Tbilisi, the capital city, and its surrounding region.
  • A 3-hour ride over Barcelona. This adventure will cost you around $190 or €120.
  • Tuscany is world-famous for its hills covered in vineyards. For the pleasure of marvelling at the Italian landscape, you must take out of your pocket around $279 or € 242.
  • Fly over Dimitrov, Russia to enjoy the mysteries of ruins belonging to a long-forgotten civilization. For this flight, you will pay $499 (€ 433 or £214).

4 Magnificent Balloon Tours in Asia

The biggest continent on Earth has countless options for visitors seeking an amazing view from the sky.

Consider:

  • Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) at sunset; for $230 or € 200 you will get an excellent view over temples and idyllic countryside.
  • Jaipur (India) or the Pink City; its splendour will make you fall in love with it forever; the trip costs $440 (€382 or £338).
  • A four-hour tour in the Northern part of Thailand; you will take off from Chiang Mai and fly over lush jungles and centuries-old temples; the trip plus the champagne breakfast cost $370 (€382 or £284).
  • Bali with its rice fields and unique tangled vegetation; the tickets are $117 (€101 or £90) per person.

4 Examples of Balloon Rides in Australia With Their Prices

Famous for the vast outback and surfing beaches, the southern continent has lots of surprises for tourists. The aerial views are one of them.

You should include on your itinerary one of the following air rides:

  • The Yara Valley, which is renowned for its rich-flavoured wines and mild slopes; a 12-hour ride with gourmet meals and hotel pick-up costs $420 (€365 or £323).
  • Alice Springs while the sun comes up in the sky; this four-hour trip takes you over the desert and gives you the chance to take photos of the unique wildlife
  • Melbourne and its urban landscape made of skyscrapers, modern architecture, and stadiums; to enjoy its serene beauty you must pay $352 (€306 or £270)
  • Brisbane: This flight takes you over both city, suburbs (wave to the locals bring in their trash bins), and rural areas. This romantic escape is great for couples and will cost you around $ 242 (€210 or £186). This was my first balloon ride as I mentioned in the opening paragraph

4 Stunning Hot Air Balloon Rides Around the World

Here are some other famous hot air balloon rides to add to your bucket list:

  • Serengeti National Park. Located in Kenya: The well-trained balloon pilots will fly you over vast grasslands where wild animals run free. The sunrises are surreal, and the breakfast spots are carefully selected. The price of $500 is a bit high, but you do get the chance to see a lion in its natural habitat.
  • Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa offers flying rides above Sun City for the price of $345 (€300 or £265); sunset is the best moment to take hundreds of jaw-dropping pictures.
  • Las Vegas by dusk for $168 per person; you will see the casinos and the desert area around the city in a new perspective.


  • Cappadocia (Turkey). It’s the ultimate ride for a an experience up in the skies The strange rock formations beneath give you the impression that you. This ride is ranked number 1 in many hot air balloon lists around the internet. Float over alien terrain; a 3-hour ride is about $200 (€173 or £153).

How does a hot air balloon work?

These flying machines lift themselves from the ground because the air inside the balloon is heated. Thus, it weighs less than the air outside.

If you see a hot air balloon on the ground, it means that the air inside is colder than the air outside the balloon.

The balloon takes off when the ascending force and the weight have equal values.

Preparing for a flight, it is not an easy task. The crew must pay attention to all steps and procedures. First, they take a burner and attach it to the basket. The balloon envelope comes next. The team lays it on the ground and inflates it with an enormous fan.

When the balloon takes shape, the crew releases the burner flame into the envelope. After approximately 15 minutes, the device elevates. The pilot maintains a steady flame to make sure that the nacelle is off the ground.

The landing process is more complex and takes a bit longer. To bring a balloon safely down, one needs a wide, open space without electric wires in close vicinity. The descent takes place progressively to avoid a hard landing, who wants that?

A hot air balloon consists of three crucial parts:

  • the balloon also known as the envelope; it is made of nylon which withstands rain, wind, and other natural phenomena; it has a one-end opening named “the mouth
  • the basket or the nacelle is the place where passengers sit; it is attached to the fabric part with resistant metal cables
  • the burner can be considered the engine of this flying machine; you will always find it at the mouth of the envelope

Is it safe to travel in a hot air balloon?

The answer is a definite and outright “yes”. With a skilled pilot, high-quality equipment and right weather, you have nothing to fear.

Accidents are rare, and most of them are the cause of carelessness and amateurism. Minor injuries might occur in case of a bumpy landing.

To avoid harmful situations, pilots and operators have to comply with several rules:

  • all passengers must fasten their safety belts while landing
  • only licensed and experienced staff is permitted to fly the balloons
  • weather changes must be observed in real-time
  • pilots have to be assisted by a ground team

People who manoeuvre a balloon go through extensive training sessions and lengthy exams. They attend classes in light aircraft. Instructors supervise their practice sessions.

Remember to check the company that provides the balloon tour. Read reviews, ask questions and do not rush into offers that seem too good to be true.

When is the best time to take a hot air balloon ride?

sunset in a hot air balloon

Most operators fly hot air balloons at sunset or sunrise. They do this not only for the tourists’ delight but also for safety reasons. At these times of day, the temperature and the wind are more stable. When the sun comes down, the surface wind is calmer than at dawn.

Most balloon rides are scheduled between April and October. You can also fly during winter, but the weather may spoil your fun. The best conditions for a flight include clear sky, light winds and not a single drop of rain.

What kind of weather is dangerous for balloon tours?

All pilots have the duty to analyze the weather forecast before taking off. If any risks are involved, a professional will not take off, no matter how much you insist. If you are unlucky, the company you have booked with will contact you to reschedule your ride in the case of bad weather. 

Here some of the things that can lead to an abandoned flight:

  • Strong winds may affect the balloon and deviate it from its established route. Plus, they influence the landing processes, making it rough.
  • Fog and mist are factors of poor visibility.
  • Rains and storms must be avoided at all cost. Remember that it is forbidden to take off even when there is the slightest chance of a downpour.
  •  Temperature is also a significant factor. Balloons float when their temperature is 140 degrees above the outside one. During boiling hot days it takes more time to prepare for liftoff.

How to dress for a flying excursion?

The obvious advice is to select your clothes, taking into account the time and the location of your flight. Keep in mind that the weather might change, and it’s better to be prepared.

As a rule of the thumb, you should wear:

  • casual or sports clothes
  • comfortable shoes as you have to stand on your feet the whole journey
  • a baseball cap or a hat
  • a scarf
  • sunglasses
  • Choose fabrics that will keep you warm and absorb sweat. Windproof clothes might be a wise option.

Avoid:

  • dresses and skirt because you must get in and then out of the basket
  • tight clothes
  • high heels

What items to take up in the air?

Balloon baskets have limited space. Some can indeed accommodate up to 16 people, but they were not built to transport all the belongings you own.

My suggestion is to put just the essentials in a handy backpack:

  • a camera to take beautiful photos or record the event
  • a bottle of water
  • paper napkins or tissues
  • a light jacket

Motions sickness is usually not a problem for those who typically suffer from it. Because balloons float, the flights are steady and smooth. There are no sudden movements nor abrupt change of directions. You can take your medication with you if this makes you feel better.

What is the age limit for children?

Usually, children over six can join their parents for the flight. Those who are under this age are generally not tall enough to look over the rim of the basket as the standard basket is around four feet tall. Your child should be six inches taller than the edge of the basket to enjoy the view.

Each company has different policies regarding children, so it’s best to check with them first.

A hot air balloon tour offers you an intense flying experience. The land is close, and you can feel the breeze caressing your face. For several hours you will forget all about your worries and problems. Relaxation and wonderful memories are worth spending money on.

If you like a bit of adventure have a look at our adventure bucket list

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