Up, Up, and Away — Should you take your kids hot air ballooning in Cappadocia?

Simply begin perusing Instagram travel photos and exotic tour operator websites and it doesn’t take long to spot many breathtaking photos of hot air balloons floating above a gorgeous sea of other-worldly looking geological structures. You’ve discovered Cappadocia! Settled in the center of Turkey, not far from two major cities, but rural enough that you feel you are quite remote, is this major tourist destination that is in fact a region famous for its geography, history, artisans, and BALLOONS!


So when we put Cappadocia on the itinerary for our recent trip to Turkey, it was inevitable that Marie would ask me if we were planning on going hot air ballooning with the kids.



Daybreak over the mountains in Cappadocia

I had a number of concerns and frankly after planning this big trip, I wasn’t exactly looking for yet another excursion to drop money on. I came up with all kinds of excuses why it was something that we should skip. Of course, my wife finally won out — it was her determination, my desire to please her, and the fact that a number of our friends who grew up in Turkey convinced me that this was not something to be missed. Nonetheless, here were my concerns and what we discovered in the process:

Concern #1 – Will the kids be afraid of heights? Will I be afraid of heights? 😂 Is it safe?
This was the biggest question in my mind. Our kids don’t seem like they are afraid of heights, but then again, we’re not talking about an airplane here. We’re talking about an open basket! I’m gonna be freaking out, won’t they be freaking out?

We found out this should have been the least of our concerns. Here’s why:

The sides of the basket are pretty high. Our 7 year old twins were just able to look over the side. No one ever once felt like they were at any risk of falling out.
Take-off and landing are so gentle. These pilots and crew are highly trained, certified by the government, and go up every day. We were so amazed at how they land right back on the trailer that brought the balloon, and how gently they did so.
The rise feels very gradual, you don’t feel any uneasy vertigo etc. And amazingly, you are quite a ways up before you know it.
The experience is so awe inspiring with the scenery of Cappadocia that the kids were completely captivated and they did not think to be afraid. Seriously, they were just amazed at what they were taking part in.
The baskets used in Cappadocia are on average quite large, holding 20-24 passengers. That makes them feel more stable and you don’t feel like you’re all alone. Ask your travel agent, tour operator, or ballooning outfitter to find out the size of your outfitter’s baskets.



Flying over cave houses!

Concern #2 – Do I really want to wake up at 3 or 4am and hustle to get all the kids ready?
I could totally picture us missing the shuttle that picks us up at our hotel because our kids would not want to get out of bed or even worse, we adults wouldn’t!

There are a few suggestions I would make to ease your mind. Get the kids excited enough that they are eager to wake up, but not so excited that they don’t sleep. Don’t worry about food. Usually your operator has coffee and breakfast waiting for you when you arrive at their office, prior to going out to the balloons. Lay out clothes the night before. That way you’re not rummaging around in the dark waking everyone up in the whole hotel! Slip the kids into their clothes and head on out. Most outfitters pick you up outside your hotel around 5am and are great about texting you the night before and that morning with updates.


Two of our boys at 4:00AM, dressed but not yet moving!

The reason you are going on this early morning tour, and not the few that are offered throughout the day is for the sunrise. It’s that thing that only happens once a day and oh is it dramatic. When you see the sun pop over those mountains, you will not regret waking up early for even an instant!



Concern #3 – Will our kids annoy the other passengers, the pilot, or us too much?
I could just picture our kids knocking into other passengers, being too loud, distracting the pilot, or causing an international incident.

Again, this was too monumental an occasion for this to happen. If anything, it took their breath away. And if our kids are quiet, I can guarantee you yours will be little angels 😉 Turns out our basket had quadrant dividers that each hold 6 passengers so there wasn’t a lot of movement, but you within that quadrant you could move around each other and shift position. It significantly reduced the number of people that could be inconvenienced by our crew.

The pilot and his assistant were great and probably made the most noise on the flight, preparing you, making jokes, and pointing out geological formations. Everyone was busy taking photos so there was relatively little talking anyways and the kids were the least of anyone’s concern.


Twins with the Pilot after touchdown!
Thumbs Up!!

Our biggest recommendation is to make sure the kids are clothed appropriately. It can get very cold at those altitudes so make sure to wear one layer more than what you are wearing on the ground…and a scarf. There’s a reason open air pilots are always portrayed with scarves! If you don’t want to pack one, you’re in luck, the region is famous for textiles so they are very affordable in all the local gift shops. The one main issue we had in 22F weather was the twins commenting that their feet were cold. We should have put their wool socks on them or a double layer of socks.


Just Do It!
So, as Nike’s old adage suggests, you’ve got to try it, this is really something you can’t miss out on. Here’s why:

1. The photos and videos you take are guaranteed to be some of the most dramatic of your life.
2. This is something your kids will not forget! And they may even one day thank you for. 😉 🤭 You’re doing it to make memories, and this experience delivers!
3. It’s super romantic! I don’t care if you have 20 kids in your balloon, it’s even gonna be special for you and your spouse. And if the balloon ride isn’t enough, the champagne toast following the ride will help too!
4. It’s a great way to get close with your Creator. For me, it’s impossible to see this kind of beauty and not feel gratitude to God for making such a beautiful planet. It’s like God is pulling back the curtain and showing you some of His greatest creations, some glimpses of heaven, and you realize that you are His beloved and that He made all this for us, and loves us far more. Hopefully it inspires us to focus on Him and eternity. And that lesson for the kids is priceless!


She was appreciative that we went!

Group Size
12 to 50

Homeschool Multi-Day SerVacations

Let us provide your homeschool group’s families with the opportunity to bring learning to life by discovering history, literature, science, and engineering in the places they actually happened! Mom’s and Dad’s can relax and leave the driving to us. With deluxe transportation provided, you can focus on having fun as a family and see more in the same amount of time. Below are some tour itineraries that are pre-designed with homeschool groups in mind, but we can also customize a tour to the destination of your choice. We will be adding new tours on a weekly basis, so keep checking back for new ideas!

Group leaders, we can help make the planning seamless for you whether your are looking to fly or bus from your area, or if you wish to let everyone make their own travel arrangements and meet in destination at the group hotel. Give us a call or contact us by filling out the inquiry form to the right telling us what trips you might be interested in and a possible timeframe, and we’ll be back in touch shortly with a sample itinerary to help you plan a vacation that’s sure to please all your families!

8 days
Group Size
24 to 40

Father's Day Baseball Lovers Tour of the Heartland! June 12-19, 2024

Make it the best Father's Day ever by traveling the Midwest with dad, enjoying sightseeing, shows, watching baseball, volunteering, and experiencing the best of American hospitality! Families will experience all the best sightseeing in “The Windy City” of Chicago, take a behind-the-scenes tour at historic Wrigley Field, and enjoy a Cubs game! Then you will head to Des Moines, IA for a Volunteer Service Opportunity and a AAA Iowa Cubs game, stopping at the World’s Largest Truck Stop and going to a show! Take a day trip to visit Omaha, Nebraska and the College World Series, home to legendary investor Warren Buffett and the largest city in Nebraska! We’ll then head on to Dyersville, IA to play ball on the Field of Dreams and tour the famous movie site before doing some sightseeing in Galena and Rockford, IL (to learn about the Rockford Peaches made famous in the movie “A League of their Own,”) while heading back to Chicago for the flight home!

* The itinerary below is based on last year’s schedule. Games and theater shows will be selected based on scheduling and availability.

Group Size
10 to 50

Homeschool Family Day Trips in Central Florida

Are you looking for meaningful , curriculum-based travel experiences with hands-on learning opportunities? Desire to show your children the importance of giving back? Our homeschool day trips combine volunteering and vacation into one, and are a unique and engaging way to supplement their classroom learning. By participating in volunteer vacations with SerVacations you are not only providing your children with unforgettable travels, but you are also instilling valuable lessons about community-building and service. And it’s not just a vacation for the kids! Parents and grandparents love the opportunity to relax for the day, meet other homeschool families, and experience new things through their children’s’ eyes.

Group Leaders, please check out some of our sample tour destinations below. Tell us what you’re interested in by clicking “Ask A Question” to the right and we’ll be in touch with pricing, details, and availability, or call us at 813-498-2229 to get started planning your group’s tour. We provide you with a private URL for your tour, and take care of all the registration and payment for your group. We are adding new itineraries every week. If you have a location in mind, please let us know!