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10 Oct

napa hot air ballon ride with Cloud 9 Living.

mario-piombo-9713a few weekends ago, robbie and i went on a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley with Cloud 9 Living! it was definitely one of the best experiences we’ve shared together. robbie actually isn’t super comfortable with heights, but going on a hot balloon ride has always been on my bucket list and i hadn’t checked it off yet. luckily, i convinced him to go after reading it’s completely safe. for those of you who are also uncomfortable with heights, the basket is very big and sturdy, doesn’t sway at all, and the views aren’t daunting but spectacular! {now if only i can convince robbie to let me skydive now…}.

we woke up one Saturday morning at 4:00am to drive up to Napa for a meet time of 6:00am. there they went over safety instructions and then shuttled us to an open field for our launch time of 7:00am! with its unbelievable greenery and vineyard views, i believe there are few places, if any, more beautiful to fly over than Napa, especially at sunrise.

below i’m sharing a few tips and insights for your hot air balloon excursion, because you have to do it! if it’s been on your bucket list too, make it happen! and let me tell you right off the bat, i am so glad i hired a photographer to snap these photos! it was such a memorable experience for us both, so i love having these images to keep forever. plus, the golden light is everything. highly recommend if it’s in your budget to hire someone to come shoot pictures!

read on if you’re planning to go on a hot air balloon in the future! you can use code ‘sassyred15’ for $15 off your own adventure with Cloud 9 Living when you book by the end of October! xx

don’t wear a dress, do wear layers. i almost wore a dress because i knew we would be taking photos. it wasn’t until i read someone else’s blog post about going on a hot air balloon ride that i realized that is definitely a no-no. you literally have to climb into the basket and it’s easily a couple feet high! no need to give everyone a show. since you’ll most likely be meeting early in the morning, wearing/bringing a layer is a good idea! it warms up once the sun is up, but before that it’s quite chilly. we went the end of September in these photos, so unless you are going in the summer, i imagine it’s also cool in the mornings before launching.

leave your bag in the car. we met our group at the Domaine Chandon winery in Napa. they provided pastries and coffee/juice while getting everyone checked in before launch. they either make you leave your bag in your car or lock it up at the winery. the basket of the hot air balloon is much too small for people’s belongs, so just something to be aware of. a lot of people brought their phone and cameras {and a hat/sunglasses}, but you can’t have a bag with you during the ride so plan accordingly!

enjoy the moment. we spent 30 minutes in the air {some rides are an hour long}, and while snapping photos is a great way to have physical memories, don’t forget to actually enjoy the ride with your friend{s}/significant other! it’s really so spectacular being up so high and not being in an enclosed airplane. the views are incredible and so worth it to soak up the moment without the distraction of social media {for most the time at least}!

speaking of photos, i mentioned that i hired a photographer to shoot us pre-launch, which was the best decision! if you can, do it! i found a local Napa photographer through social media who met us at the launch site. if that’s not in your budget, bring you own camera! we only took our phones on the hot air balloon, but most people had their cameras, too. the hot air balloon company will also snap group photos while on the ride, which you can then buy after.

come hungry! most packages include breakfast since it’s so early. Domaine Chandon fed us pastries and coffee/juices before launching and post-landing we were shuttled back to the winery for a full breakfast spread {including mimosas made with their signature champagne, if you’re into that sort of thing}! it was the perfect way to end our experience and we highly recommend this particular package with Napa Hot Air Balloons and Cloud 9 Living!

this truly was such a fun experience for both robbie and i! the weather was perfect that day too {if it’s not, your ride may be re-scheduled}. we were even able to see the San Francisco skyline in the distance! our guide told us his favorite time to go on a hot air balloon ride in Napa is mid-October, since the fall colors are in full effect. one day, i’d love to take my parents because i know they would love it. Cloud 9 Living offers such great gift ideas if you’re looking to gift an experience rather than an item. you can check out your local experiences they offer here.

happy monday! xxmario-piombo-9728 mario-piombo-9799 mario-piombo-9736 mario-piombo-9812 mario-piombo-9742 mario-piombo-9807 mario-piombo-9779 mario-piombo-7366 mario-piombo-9822 mario-piombo-9816 mario-piombo-9749 mario-piombo-9806 mario-piombo-9737 mario-piombo-9849 mario-piombo-9820 mario-piombo-9825 mario-piombo-9841 mario-piombo-7412 mario-piombo-7447 mario-piombo-7453 mario-piombo-7414 mario-piombo-7427 mario-piombo-7461 mario-piombo-7474 mario-piombo-9860 mario-piombo-9935 mario-piombo-9862 mario-piombo-9938

photos by Mario Piomba

this post is sponsored by Cloud 9 Living