All except for the hot air balloon 🎈” , says the munchkin to me after we had unsuccessfully attempted to see them in Helotes, Texas a few years prior. I mentioned our disappointment to a coworker after not getting to see any balloons go up and her recommendation was to “go see them in New Mexico”.
Every year, for a week in October, the international hot air balloon festival (fiesta!) is hosted in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After learning about this at school last year, the munchkin asked if he could go. I told him “Sure, we’ll go next year”.
This past week the munchkin and I took a road trip.
What was different about this trip is that I went alone with just the munchkin.
We traveled to a state where we knew no one, in the middle of the week during the school year (for all this, you can just blame my poor parenting skills 😏).
Last Tuesday we made the trip to Albuquerque, NM and returned home to Texas on Friday. Here are some tips that not only made the trip more enjoyable but also helped me save money.
Tip #1: Don’t stay too close!
While it’s tempting to stay in Albuquerque because the festival is in this city, you will typically pay more for a hotel room. A potentially cheaper alternative that we chose was to book a hotel in Santa Fe and drive 45 minutes to Albuquerque. Santa Fe is beautiful and quite scenic if you use the Turquoise Trail to commute to Albuquerque. Also, because we stayed in the hotel during the week, it was cheaper then the weekend rate.
Tip #2: Any day can be a good day….
….depending on the weather. According to the balloon fiesta website, mass ascension days were listed as Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday. While this is true, we saw balloons go up three of the four days we were in New Mexico (two of those days we saw them from the highway heading towards Albuquerque).
Tip #3: Get to the festival early, but be patient
Arriving to the festival early is important not only to secure a good parking spot, but because on certain days balloon activity starts before dawn. Patience is needed however, when early morning weather delays a green flag for hot air balloon ascension.
Have you ever been to New Mexico? What was your experience like at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta?