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Albuquerque Innsights

Former New Mexico innkeeper knows secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

Preparing for the 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

It’s time to start preparing for the 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the busiest time of the year for tourist visits. While the event is fun, no doubt, the festival can get a little chaotic if you’re not adequately prepared for it.

Here are some ways to make sure your visit goes smoothly to make your first or next time as enjoyable as it should be.

Hot Air Balloon artistic photoTry Not to Book Late Flights to Albuquerque

The festival’s balloon events start early, at around 6 A.M. This means that if you’re flying into town the night before, you may experience delays that cause you to miss the events entirely.

Not only are flight delays potential setbacks, but rental car companies typically close after midnight, which can make it impossible to find a set of wheels when you desperately need them.

If you want to avoid these complications, try to fly in earlier, ideally a full day before the event at the latest.

Make Sure to Wear Comfortable Clothing

Albuquerque isn’t warm all day long. It may shoot up to the 80’s later in the day, but the mornings can be a little chilly. If you want to stay comfortable, it’s ideal to wear jackets and pants throughout the balloon events that keep you warm until it’s time to switch to lighter clothing in the afternoon.

The grass field where the balloons launch can make the feet cold in the morning, which is why it’s suggested you wear closed-toe shoes throughout the events.

Stay in Albuquerque Throughout the Weekend

2014 saw particularly cold and windy weather linger in Albuquerque, meaning that the balloons were unable to launch. If you only allow yourself one day in town to see the balloons launch, you may find yourself disappointed in the end.

Instead of making the balloon events the highlight of your trip, try to plan your trip around them as well. Think of good restaurants to visit, bars to enjoy, museums, landmarks, or even a Breaking Bad tour that you can use to supplement your trip and serve as main events if the balloons remain grounded.

There are plenty of things to do in Albuquerque that can occupy more than a weekend, so avoid making the balloons your sole focus.

Albuquerque Internaltional Balloon FiestaUse the Shuttle Buses to Ride into Town

If you want to save money on traveling through town to the Balloon Fiesta, consider taking the Park & Ride shuttle bus. It’s economically sound and can get you to the event in no time, along with other areas of the city.

To further save money, consider staying at local hotels to keep you both close and within your budget. The combination of low prices and convenience is always invaluable. Bed and Breakfasts in Albuquerque and the surrounding area offer a variety of accommodations and the best local expertise, so you may want to check them out as well. There is something for everyone in all price ranges.

Balloon Glow - Photo by Helen Vanderbeek, Albuquerque, NM

Balloon Glow – Photo by Helen Vanderbeek, Albuquerque, NM

Take an Airport Shuttle or Uber When Leaving

Want another way to save money at the end of your trip? Once you’ve gotten your share of fun from the Balloon Fiesta and everything else you wanted to do in Albuquerque, consider taking either Uber or a local airport shuttle back to the airport.

Renting a car can cost upwards of $100 a day, while an Uber drive or shuttle ride can cost significantly less. Certain hotels are located close enough to the airport to save you plenty of money on a trip through these services. You can save a lot more this way, as the average Uber drive alone shouldn’t cost you more than $20 between any major locations in town.

These are some of the key ways you can make the 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta one of the best experiences during your weekend stay in Albuquerque. You’ll be able to avoid any stress while taking full advantage of what the entire city has to offer you, while also saving money in the long run.


by a guest blogger


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copyright 2009 :: sarah dolk, adobe nido bed and breakfast, albuquerque nm :: photos by susan see, abq, nm & marianne groszko, mariannephotography.net