Hot air balloon rides are becoming more and more popular across Montana. What better, more gorgeous state to enjoy from above? Here's what you can expect regarding FAQs, locations, cost and where you end up.

The first rule of ballooning? The breeze is in charge. That simply means that you'll never know EXACTLY where you're going until you're actually going there. The pilot of the balloon has a little control but it's mostly up to Mother Nature.

It generally costs between $300 and $400 per person to ride in the balloon. (In the summer of 2022, many operators are adding a 4%-5% fuel surcharge, FYI.) That is not expected to last.

What is included in the cost of the hot air balloon ride? Pretty much everything. You'll have a meeting place such as parking lot. Then the company will shuttle you to the launch site. The balloon ride happens and then wherever you land, your company might have a picture session and perhaps a toast. Then they'll shuttle you back to your vehicle where you first met.

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How long is the actual hot air balloon ride? You'll be in the air for about an hour. It might be slightly shorter or a little longer, depending on how far you fly. For instance, if there's very little wind your balloon ride distance may not be more than a few miles. If there's a decent (but safe) breeze, you may travel 20 miles from your launch site.

Don't be afraid. Don't bring too much. Don't forget to clean your camera lens. Don't forget to enjoy the scenery. Sure, having great pictures is important to most folks, but it's not every day that we get to ride in the skies above our towns. Put that camera away for a few minutes and smile. Your balloon ride is going to be amazing.

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