Travel Tips

5 Tips for the 2015 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

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If you’re attending the 2015 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for the first time, here are some tips to make the most of your experience!

1. Be flexible with your daily plans to maximize your chance of seeing the balloons go up.

The Mass Ascension of 500 hot air balloons going up is completely dependent on weather, so don’t make any non-refundable plans or you might find yourself watching the balloons go up in the distance on a day they weren’t originally scheduled.
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Double View Balloon Fiesta Mass Ascension

2. Save and money by taking the Fiesta Express Park & Ride

The autonomy of having your own car is great, but you will wind up spending a lot of time waiting to enter and exit the parking lot, not to mention walking to the balloon grounds. Parking is $10 per session but when purchased in advance the Fiesta Express Park & Ride round trip ticket is only $4 more than the admission ticket.
And do buy at least 6 hours in advance, otherwise the prices go up $8 more per person.
In the mornings you can be at the Fiesta within 30-45 minutes of leaving downtown and your return trip will probably be even faster. ( Even at the 5:45 crush I boarded in 20 minutes and was at the park by 6:30. The line into the parking lots was backed up a long ways. Plus it was only $4 more than admission for a round trip.

3. Dress warmly and wear comfortable, closed toe shoes in the morning.

I needed to dress for my whole day (which was got up in the 80’s), which meant a long dress. But I was perfectly warm early morning in with the addition of long johns underneath, trench coat, and delightfully thin Tilo scarf.

The only part of me that was cold were my feet, since I only had room to pack my favorite Teva Cabrillo Wedge site-seeing sandals which left my toes exposed to the dewy grass.

4. Give the famous grilled cheese donut with bacon and green chile a try.
I was skeptical but since the balloon ascension was cancelled for the time I was there, I had nothing else to do. I didn’t wind up finishing it but it was a fun flavor experience!
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta 2014 Grilled Cheese Donut Bacon Stand

5. Save on your rental car by using Uber or the airport shuttle on your last night.

It’s about $100 a day to rent a car during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, so it actually winds up cheaper to reserve the car for the days you actually need it. Don’t need a car your last night in town? Drop it off and take Uber ($15-$20) or the Sunport Airport Shuttle ($11) back to your downtown hotel and then to the airport the next day for a net svings  of $60-75.

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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