A Hot Air Balloon Adventure

Up up and away with Sundance Balloons!

Who said that you had to travel abroad to fulfill your bucketlist?  Yes, if you look, you can find it right at home and it is just as rewarding as if you travelled abroad.

High up on my list of adventures to do was hot air ballooning.  While it is true that I did envision fulfilling this dream while ballooning over a vineyard in Italy, or high above the Grand Canyon, I am just as happy to have had this fantastic experience right here in Ontario with Sundance Balloons.  Ontario offers so many activities and adventures and a hot air balloon ride must be added to the list.

hot-air-balloon-adventure-with-sundance
Hot Air Balloon Adventure with Sundance Balloons

About Sundance Balloons

Sundance Balloons has its head office in London, Ontario, and has flown over 30,000 passengers across Canada.   Since beginning its operation in 1985, Sundance Balloons has grown to be one of the world’s largest hot air balloon operators, offering flights in cities across Canada:

Because of the weather in Canada, flights are only offered between May and October.

Booking Your Hot Air Balloon Adventure

Booking your hot air balloon adventure with Sundance Balloons is as easy as 1, 2, 3.  You can either book online or call and book over the phone.

Tip:  I recommend booking your hot air balloon adventure at least one month in advance 

You can book a flight for one and join other adventurers, you can book the entire balloon, or you can book a private flight if it is romance you are looking for.  Given that I am a solo traveller, I booked my flight for one and I joined nine other passengers on this adventure.

When considering going on a hot air balloon adventure, you must decide whether you want to take a sunrise or sunset flight. I’m definitely not a morning person, but my adventure began at 7:00.

sunrise-hot-air-adventure
Preparing for a sunrise hot air balloon ride adventure in Kitchener-Waterloo

Immediately after you book your flight, you will receive an email confirmation with your flight date and time, as well as an instruction sheet, waiver form (bring this with you on the day of the flight), and newly added is the COVID questionnaire, which is also to be brought with you on the day of  your flight.

Preparing for Your Hot Air Balloon Adventure

Confirming Your Hot Air Balloon Adventure

In the instructions you receive upon booking, you will be given the telephone number for the flight line.  If you a.re taking a morning flight, you will be instructed to call the number after 11:00 p.m. on the night before.  If taking an evening flight, you will be instructed to call after 2:15 p.m. on the day of the flight.  At this time you will be given confirmation as to whether your flight will be taking off, based on the weather (more on this below), as well as the meeting place for take-off.

My adventure was from the Kitchener-Waterloo area, and there are 3 places that the captain can choose to depart from.  The departure spot and time is given when placing your call to the flight line.

Cancellation of Hot Air Balloon Adventure

Safety is always the primary concern, and if the weather isn’t perfect your hot air balloon adventure will be cancelled.  Unfortunately, the weather in Canada is extremely unpredictable and flights are often cancelled.  The status of your scheduled flight will be determined before the designated time for calling the flight center.

If your hot air balloon is cancelled due to unsatisfactory weather, you will need to call to re-schedule.

What Weather Conditions are needed for a Hot Air Balloon Ride?

In order for a flight  proceed as scheduled,  the winds must be less than 10 knots, with no rain or approaching storms.  Flights also require a visibility of at least 4 kilometres (2.48 miles).

What to Wear and What to Bring on Your Hot Air Balloon Adventure

I am pretty sure that it is safe to assume that not all of us have taken flight in an open-air basket over 7,000 feet in air before and we may wonder what to wear when going on this adventure.  I have only two recommendations on how to dress for a hot air balloon adventure:

  1. Dress in layers; 
  2. Do not wear flip flops or heeled shoes.  Running shoes are best;
  3. If you are sensitive to sun, bring a hat;
  4. Bring completed waiver form that is provided in your confirmation email;
  5. Bring completed COVID form which is provided in your confirmation email; and
  6. Bring a camera to capture the breath-taking views from above.

This will also be addressed in the information sheet that you will receive from Sundance Balloons when you book or you can find more information on their website.

COVID-19 Precautions Taken by Sundance Balloons

Like all businesses in Canada, the government has placed COVID-19 conditions and restrictions on hot air balloon adventures in order to keep employees and guests safe.  Sundance Balloons has introduced the following precautions:

  1. Each passenger must complete a COVID-19 questionnaire which is provided with your confirmation email;
  2. The number of guests has been reduced to 8, plus the pilot (usually it is 10 guests, plus the pilot);
  3.  Plastic barriers have been installed to separate passengers;
  4. Post flight Champaign has been temporarily postponed;
  5. Guests must wear face masks.

My Hot Air Balloon Adventure

Arrival for Hot Air Balloon Adventure

I was scheduled for a sunrise flight from Kitchener-Waterloo which has 3 departure locations:

  • Victoria Park
  • Concordia Club
  • Waterloo Rod & Gun Club

When I contacted the flight line the night before, I was advised that my flight would be departing and I was to be at the Waterloo Rod & Gun Club by 7:00 a.m. the next morning.

preparing-hot-air-balloon-for-take-off
Preparing the hot air balloon for take-off

Upon arrival, I checked in with a member of the flight crew and gave him my waiver form and COVID questionnaire.  I then waited until all passengers arrived and I watched one of the hot air balloons being fired up for a private flight.

The flight crew are the employees who remain on the ground during the flight and follow the hot air balloon to meet it at the landing site.

Hot Air Balloon Departure

Once all passengers had arrived and checked in, we were given a safety briefing and the hot air balloon that I would be riding in was fired up and ready for departure.

Hot air balloon all fired up

Once the air in the balloon reaches a certain limit, we climbed in the basket where the pilot continued to use the fire to blow up the balloon even more.

The pilot releases fire into the balloon approximately every 2 minutes throughout the flight.

I was curious to see what the views would be like from up above, as we were departing from a city.  I expected to see city streets, houses and high-rise buildings, but I was pleasantly surprised to see farmland as far as the eye could see, as well as forests and numerous streams.  The scenery was spectacular and out of this world!

Hot Air Balloon Flight

The pilot said that the weather conditions for my flight were absolutely perfect and we were able to do tree-tops and water-dips throughout the flight.  The hot air balloon was lowered enough for us to grab leaves from tree branches and it was lowered even further so that we skimmed the water of the river.  It was so clear that we could see the bottom.  The highest we flew during our 1 hour flight was approximately 2,500 feet.

tree-topping-in-a-hot-air-balloon
Beautiful forest from above! We were lowered into the forest close enough to grab leaves from the trees
mennonite-farmland-in-st.-jacobs-ontario
Farmland in St. Jacob’s, Ontario
Water dipping in a hot air balloon
The basket skimming the water during our hot air balloon adventure

At the end of our hour flight, we landed in a farmer’s field.  The landing was so smooth that you didn’t even feel a bump.

The flight crew were on the ground to meet us, as was the Mennonite family whose field we landed in.  The flight crew packed up the hot air balloon while we chatted with the Mennonite family and had some pictures taken.

landing-in-a-hot-air-balloon
Coming in for the landing!

Once everything was packed up, we all loaded into the van and were transported back to our departure location.  It is at this point that we normally would have had our Champaign toast, but instead we all went on our merry way.

packing-up-a-hot-air-balloon
We were met by the flight crew at our landing spot and driven back to where we departed from

Check That One Off My Bucketlist

This adventure had been on my bucketlist forever, and while I had always dreamed of having this adventure somewhere abroad, I am more than happy that I was able to do it right here at home.    If you are afraid of heights, not to worry so am I.  The pilot will keep you entertained, not to mention you will be so immersed in the beauty below you, that you will not even notice that you are in the air. 

hot-air-balloon-adventure-in-kitchener-ontario
Check that adventure off my bucketlist!

Taking a ride on a hot air balloon is one adventure that I would highly recommend to anyone who loves beauty and adventures and I can’t wait to do it again!

SAFE ADVENTURES 🙂

Kelly xoxo

This is not a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are more own and I will always be explicit if any of the content is subsidized or sponsored.

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50 thoughts on “A Hot Air Balloon Adventure

    1. Just One Passport

      Yes. They took every precaution possible (for the most part). The only issue was that I went solo so I had to share my little space with another stranger who also went solo. Each pod holds 2 people.

      Like

  1. Sarah Camp | In Search of Sarah

    This is awesome!!! I had no idea they were in TO and London area as well! Not sure if my fear of heights would let me do this but I’m going to check it out. It’s not something you get to do every day!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      Sarah, I’m TERRIFIED of heights, but honestly I didn’t even notice. There was so much to look at and I was so busy taking pictures. You have to do it. It’s gorgeous! The one I went on was over the St. Jacab’s area.

      Like

  2. mwantje

    Riding in a hot air balloon is on my bucket list too! I’m glad you got to check it off yours 🙂
    My only concern is as you mentioned in the comment before – I wish they were limit the pods to parties that know each other! I’m not sure I would want to ride with a stranger in these unknown times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Krista

    This is giving me serious travel envy! I’ve always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride, and every time I research it in a place I’m travelling to it’s really expensive and not in my budget. It looks like an amazing experience and the views look unreal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ramya

    I like the way you defined and detailed everything. Somehow Turkey is able to sell its hot air balloon experience pretty well. I was pleasantly surprised to know, we have one in Ontario too. The only problem I see is they are little bit expensive. Though the way you described it seems the experience is worth it and definitely worth trying once in a lifetime. I am going to include this on my travel wish list.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Polly

    This is so amazing! I have wanted to do a hot air balloon adventure for so long and I have been looking at the options of doing this in Cappadocia – maybe one day. It is so cool that you got to do this at home. I do not think that we have these types of experiences locally here in Bulgaria, so I might need to wait until travelling abroad is safer again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 13weekstravel

    This is such a beautiful experience and I wish to go on hot air balloon one day. I have previously had 3 opportunities to have a go but unfortunately the weather was always an issue. Fingers crossed for a good weather and hot air balloon experience one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I had that same problem. I booked 3 times last summer, but all were cancelled due to weather. We have been having the perfect weather this year in Canada, so I was able to do it on my 1st attempt.

      Like

    1. Just One Passport

      I bet a hot air balloon flight would be breah-taking in Austria. You MUST do it! I’m also TERRIFIED of heights, but honestly, I didn’t even notice the fact that I was high up. I was too busy snapping pictures and taking in the beauty.

      Like

  7. Anuradha

    I once did hot air ballooning in Lithuania, and instantly loved the activity. We went in autumn and almost at the verge of sunset, so we got to see sunset on one side and moon rising on another side. Quiet a fascinating sight and great experience it was.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Stephanie

    This is such an amazing and detailed experience, I’m so happy to have read it! You’re so brave! I think the fire and the sound of it would definitely have me intimidated HAHA I felt a little nervous just watching the video. However, this IS on my bucket list, so this was really helpful information. I would never think to do a lot of these things like bring a hat or wear sneakers. If I didn’t read this I would definitely just roll up in flip flops and entirely unprepared (like I always do.) So THANK YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kelly

    This looks like such a great experience! I had no idea this was offered in so many places across Canada! I should look into here in BC and if not definitely check it out when I’m in another province 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Courtney The Explorer

    Oh my gosh, this looks so amazing! What a perfect adventure during COVID – so far away from everyone in the air! haha Thanks for all the info – adding this to my bucket list!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kanupriyaa

    I love hot air balloon adventures! I did one in Kenya and it was lovely. This is so great that there are some so close by as well. I will def take one if I visit near Ontario!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Medha Verma

    So cool that you managed to check one more thing off your bucket list and didn’t have to travel far for it! I’ve done the sunrise hot air balloon experience as well and loved the views of the desert in Dubai. I can see that your views were equally lovely. I would love to go for it again somewhere else in the world where I can either fly over mountains or the sea.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kendra

    You are so courageous! I am scared of heights too; I don’t know if I could do this, especially SOLO! I’ve been waiting to do it with someone I trust a lot who will hold my hand the whole time. You are an inspiration Kelly!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. bye:myself

    Normally, I’m afraid of heights so I’d think that this would be a nightmare. On the other hand, I’m not scared on planes, so maybe it would work for me. I simply should try it out. I would love to go up high in Cappadocia.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sandy N Vyjay

    One of the most satisfying and thrilling experience is that of floating high among the clouds in a hot air balloon.As you feel the wind and watch the earth slowly recede below your feet, it is an awesome feeling. Really great that you were able to tick this off your bucket list right at home.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Arnav Mathur

    Must’ve been quite the adventure. I so want to experience this. We were this close of experiencing it in Bagan, but it was all booked up.
    It’s amazing to know that the operators are taking proper steps and letting travellers experience this in these COVID Times.
    And those views are so so awesome. I bet that 1 hour would have literally flown by.

    Liked by 1 person

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