Travel blog

Up, Up and Away: Tips and Facts for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta



As opening day approaches, Balloon Fiesta Park becomes a boomtown. It buzzes with the sound of trucks and people rushing to prepare the site of one of Albuquerque’s premiere events. In this makeshift city, experienced workers and volunteers alike must come together to set up booths and facilities in anticipation of 900,000 guests. Since 1972, visitors have flocked to New Mexico each year to gaze upward and be awed by the magnificence of hundreds of hot air balloons.




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Topics: Americas, Balloon Fiesta


The White Dove of the Desert: Mission San Xavier del Bac



On the stunning façade above the ornate door of Mission San Xavier del Bac, a stone-carved cat, its sharpest details rounded down by years of wind and desert rain, crouches, ready to attack the mouse on the other side of the grand entryway. Legend says that when the cat finally eats, the world will end.

Nicknamed the “White Dove of the Desert” and listed as a National Historic Landmark, the mission is still an active church. It has been abandoned, survived an earthquake, and most impressively withstood both the ravages of the time and the encroachment of the modern world. It stands as a striking beacon in the Sonoran Desert, at what the Spaniards who built it considered the very edge of the known world.




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Topics: Americas, Balloon Fiesta, History


The Best Places to Travel With Your Mom





We have a lot to thank our mothers for. They’re the ones who carried us, who nurtured us, who showed us right from wrong, how to get over heartbreak, and the key to choosing the best watermelon (does it sound hollow when you tap it?). Our mothers are some of the most precious women in our lives, and Mother’s Day is the perfect day to celebrate them.

This year, why not rethink your Mother’s Day gift? Cooking classes and flowers are nice, but if you want to really treat your mom, don’t overlook the power of a well-planned experience. We have a list of options your mom is sure to love. These are the best places to travel with your mom—whether she wants to take a Bucket List European vacation, or to finally stand at the rim of the Grand Canyon, we have something for every style of traveler.

Not sure where to start? We can help you narrow down the kinds of trips your mom would like by determining her travel style. Here are eight of the most common styles we’ve seen, and the best affordable tours for each type!




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Topics: Asia, Americas, Planning a Vacation, Europe, Rose Parade, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Balloon Fiesta, History, New Zealand, International Travel


Balloon Events Around the World



Balloon festivals launch giant, colorful orbs into the skies to go, quite literally, “where the wind takes them.” Whether you’re lucky enough to see a nighttime glow, a dawn launch, or a mass ascension, it’s an experience you won’t ever forget. Here are our favorite balloon festivals taking off around the world:




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Topics: Balloon Fiesta


A Trip for Every Mother



Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. Some express their love quietly, while others shout it out for everyone to hear. All of them love us, and on Mother’s Day, we get to remind them we love them right back. 

This Mother’s Day, why confine yourself to gifts of flowers and brunch? Show the mom in our life you really care by giving her the trip of a lifetime. Perhaps she’d like a romantic cruise for two, or maybe a land adventure. It all depends on what type of mom you have.

While we can’t say for sure which trip your mom would like best, we do know a little about what certain types of moms like. So, here’s a list of the most common moms we see on our tours, and the type of tours we most often see them on.




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Topics: Asia, Alaska, Americas, Europe, Hawaii, Rose Parade, US National Parks, New England/Canada, Balloon Fiesta, River Cruises, History


Burn Baby Burn! Albuquerque’s Balloon Glow



At the shout of “all burns,” hundreds of pilots fire-up their burners in unison. The call signals the exact moment the scores of hot air balloons are to inflate, lighting themselves from within with bright yellow flames. The glowing “ornaments” are secured so they hover just off the ground like floating Chinese lanterns, brightening the night and illuminating themselves and each other from below like a kid with a flashlight telling stories around a campfire. Talk about a bucket-list experience!




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Topics: Balloon Fiesta


Up, Up and Away: What to Do After the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta



The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is without a doubt a once-in-a-lifetime experience. From the thousands of colorful orbs that paint the skies and cast shadows across the desert floor to the flaming fires of a nighttime launch, the most photographed event on the planet does not disappoint. But what’s next? As you prepare to leave the Valley of the Sun en route to the balloon fiesta, we recommend you take a bit of time to stop off at the Casa Grande Ruins.




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Topics: Americas, Balloon Fiesta