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Is A Balloon Ride Worth Giving As A Gift

Aug 12, 2008
When it comes to giving gifts to your loved ones there is always a dilemma. Do you give them something practical or pretty, something extravagant or economical, something lavish or something that will last?

Of course, much depends on the age and sex of the person and the reason for giving as well as your budget. When it comes to great aunt Maud she may have exhausted the list of original ideas for gifts because she's managed to get to the ripe old age of 415 but that's still no reason to give her a Formula One racing day experience simply because it's the one thing that she hasn't had.

So, you weigh up the pointers: male, female, closet adventurer, desperate to be pampered, milestone birthday, divorce defender (this is usually the most extravagant) young, young at heart, shy and retiring, extrovert. There are many things to take into consideration. So, what are the choices?

Well, we've already covered the Formula One track day, this comes under the heading of adventurous days out. Some gift ideas that, at first, seem adventurous often turn out to be relatively calming. Take balloon flights, for instance.

One person's view of balloon flights might be terrifying, up in the clouds with no feeling of control and no way down that's not going to hurt. This can be particularly harrowing if they have a fear of heights.
However, balloon flights can be exhilarating and surprisingly calm. Because you are travelling with the breeze you don't really feel it so it's not exceptionally cold. You will have a very experienced pilot with you as well as a ground crew following along in case of emergencies. So let's think about the possibilities for a balloon ride as a serious gift.

Maybe it's coming up to a special birthday and you want to do something that will be remembered rather than buy something that your lover can keep. You cannot buy memories, they can only be made but you have to have a grounding for them.

Book a sunrise balloon flight, particularly if it's summer. Wake them early with a surprise breakfast in bed, then take them to the launch site. Up, up and away and it's just the two of you and a very discreet pilot coasting along on the breeze, in awe of the beautiful sights below you.

There is a completely different aura to the world at sunrise. It is a pretty mystical time to be floating high above the countryside with barely a sound to be heard. High up away from all the hustle and bustle that is beginning miles below. The view is muted by the beautiful shades of the sunrise and it begins to warm your skin as you glide through the sky in peace and quiet. There can be no more tranquil way to start your day.

With a little planning, or a few extra quid to the ballooning company, you can be greeted at your destination with a breakfast of champagne and strawberries. Balloon rides are not as expensive as many people think but you will be getting the sort of experience that truly builds memories. You can take photographs and video that will store that memory in crystal clear vision.

If ballooning is not your thing and you think your loved one may appreciate something a little more subdued, you could always try a gift of a session at a photographers. Again, for a small price, memories are captured forever.
About the Author
Entertainments expert Catherine Harvey looks at how a balloon ride can be exciting but calm at the same time.
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