Hot air ballooning is one of the purest forms of air travel. The activity is a literal interpretation of the traveler’s creed “go where the wind takes you.” While the pilots can control the altitude of the balloon, the air currents decide where you’ll end up and how fast you’ll get there.
Perhaps one of its draws is its simplicity. You inject some hot air into the nylon material and away you go. No need to mess with complicated jet engines and spinning rotor blades. It’s certainly the oldest form of air travel; the first manned balloon flight took place in 1783 in France.
Below are 10 balloon festivals around the world launching in the next few months. Whether you’re a passenger, a spectator, or if you want to get your hands dirty helping get one off the ground, these events all have something for you.