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Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

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Birmingham, Alabama
posts: 1
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Hi. I am interested in planning a surprise trip for my parents for this year's Balloon Fiesta in October, as it coincides with my father's birthday. My question is, how early should we begin planning, and booking, hotels, flights, etc. Will the prices go down and then up? or just continue to rise the closer the time comes to the festival. I know it is January and it may seem a bit early, but in my experience hotel rates can escalate very quickly. Advice from past Balloon Fiesta attendees or experienced travellers would be great!

18 replies to this topic
Albuquerque, New...
posts: 2,168
reviews: 36
1. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

After 29 balloon fiestas, I can totally encourage you to book your hotels, rental cars, etc. ASAP. Prices do go up for the nine days of Balloon Fiesta, and those hotels closest to the balloon park (off Alameda Blvd, west of I-25), will fill up first. By booking early, you may reserve a lower rate.

Albuquerque, New...
Destination Expert
for Albuquerque, New Mexico
posts: 1,720
reviews: 34
2. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Yes, book very early. I don't know about airline deals, although the best deals seem to come from booking and pre-paying ahead. Southwest is a big carrier here. Lots of United, too. As far as hotels, I'd bet their rates ("high season" for most) are already set for that time. Booking early may not secure a better deal in all cases but may secure the accommodation of your choice. As you get farther away from the park, you may find hotels that don't adjust rates that much higher than usual. I'm just guessing on that, but always was my impression that, just for example, there were rooms available during the fiesta near the airport, which is quite a distance from the park. Generally speaking, I don't see much advantage of getting a place closest to the park. On other hand, the further away you are the more you will have to plan for travel to and from. Most people do want to stay around the north I-25 corridor. With very few exceptions, I think you are going to face similar traffic, parking or shuttling from anywhere you choose. Thus, by starting early you can shop around. Your choices will be more limited later.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
posts: 2
reviews: 92
3. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Definitely reserve the hotel room(s) now. The advantage to staying close to the park is the time spent in traffic approaching the parking lots. On the other hand staying near old town and all the other attractions in ABQ has its benefits. Whatever you do plan on staying several days so you have more than one opportunity to see morning and evening events in case weather becomes an issue. If you are really adventurous, reserve a balloon flight during Mass Ascension with Rainbow Ryders. Also check out the great souvenir book Aloft! www.aloftbooks.com

Columbia SC
posts: 32
reviews: 17
4. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

We also booked our flight to Albuquerque for the balloon fiesta in Oct. - our dates are Oct. 1 through the 16th. Looking for forums that can give us some sights to see or maybe day trip suggestions. I think we should rent a car - right now looking for what area to book our hotel. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Albuquerque, New...
Destination Expert
for Albuquerque, New Mexico
posts: 1,720
reviews: 34
5. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

I am impressed by how many days you have set aside, with days both before and after. One advantage is that you can hit some popular spots (the Sandia Tram, El Pinto restaurant, etc.) when crowd is not at its peak. (Although many other people, like you, do begin to come in before the first Saturday ascension.} Yes, you should rent a car for many reasons. Several day trip options, including Acoma Pueblo, Santa Fe, maybe Turquoise Trail, maybe Jemez mountains, Tent Rocks, Bandelier, and maybe even farther north, including the High Road, Chimayo and Taos. You may want to base some days in Santa Fe. You'll find more and more suggestions here...food, museums, tips, etc....so just keep posting questions. During the Balloon Fiesta, you probably want a few plans for day trips or local things to do in case weather doesn't hold up on a particular day and a few things to do for the middle of the day, when many balloon park activities quiet down. Accommodations, I think of those along north I-25 corridor near Journal Center, a few in Uptown and near ABQ Uptown, a few near Old Town, and possibly near the Interchange. Depends on budget, too. And are you looking for things with children?

Columbia SC
posts: 32
reviews: 17
6. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

no children - just two younger seniors :-). Was thinking of spending a day or two in Sante Fe but not sure how to break up the time. I have to look at the balloon schedule to see what days they are doing the mass flights. I was thinking about booking a hotel straight through, but if we go up to Sante Fe, that would change that thought process. Thanks for your input - open to any more suggestions.

New Zealand
posts: 7
reviews: 9
7. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

why not reegister as balloon crew You can say what days you are available for

Mass ascenion is always both days at the weekend with shapes rodeo starting on Thursday

Green Valley...
posts: 81
reviews: 33
8. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

We too, are starting to plan to attend the Festival October 2013. Friends travelling with us have a "5th wheel" RV. We are thinking of staying at the Sandia Casino Resort - we would stay in the Casino Hotel - they could park in the lot of the Casino. Any comments/suggestions about staying there ? - Do you know if they provide a shuttle service over to the park ? - Any other recommendations for accomodations ?

THANK YOU !!

Albuquerque, New...
Destination Expert
for Albuquerque, New Mexico
posts: 1,720
reviews: 34
9. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Sandia is a very good casino resort. Pretty location. I didn't know they allowed RV/Fifth Wheel parking. They don't advertise that but several web sites suggest it's allowed. The facilities at the hotel are above average: nice lobby, good rooms (I think some smoke manages to waft into the hotel from the casino), some good choices for food (some bars have terrific views), and recreation (including a beautiful golf course). Often some good entertainment; they have great outdoor venue. May be good site for viewing ascensions and fireworks during fiesta but you must get to park to really experience. Good location for driving access to park. Don't know about shuttles. I'm not aware of any hotel providing shuttles but if anyone does there's a good chance it would include Sandia, as they have many shuttles.

Albuquerque, New...
Destination Expert
for Albuquerque, New Mexico
posts: 1,720
reviews: 34
10. Re: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

By the way, the Fiesta is VERY popular for RVers, so you may want to pin down using Sandia. There is an RV park set up across the street from the balloon park during the Fiesta, too. Sandia's casino is very popular.

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