As other bloggers have written, parking your RV at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta “standard” lot is the way to go when you attend. It is “dry camping” but the shuttle bus alone is worth the location. The shuttle has dedicated travel lanes that make getting to the launch field a breeze. There are also other limited options for 30 Amp and water for your RV but these book up fast (booking starts next week for next year) and are much more expensive. In fact, one of the families that we met in the lot only lives four miles away from the Fiesta, but they camp here for the event to avoid the traffic. The parking fee for vehicles that commute in each morning or evening is $15 so that also helps to justify the campground expense.
The RV parking is a huge logistical undertaking with over 1,100 RVs staying there. It is a sight to see so many campers in one location. When you arrive, you register and wait to be escorted to a “rally type” parking spot. Water to fill your tanks is also available but there is little mention of it and you have to ask about it when you arrive. Once you are parked you cannot move your RV, so if you need water you need to either come with full tanks or fill-up upon arriving. There is also a company that will fill and empty your tanks for a fee. This year it was $25 to empty tanks and $30 to fill them. One additional note is that the Fiesta requires that all generators be elevated 24 inches above the ground. You should have a table, stand, or some other means of lifting the generator off the ground.
We had heard stories of it taking hours to get registered on the Friday before the Fiesta starts but it took us less than 15 minutes on their busiest day. A surprising number of people had come earlier in the week and were already here when we arrived. That would be the best way to avoid a wait. One thing to note is that they don’t park campers after dark for safety purposes. If you arrive late they just leave you in line until the next morning!
One thing we did not realize was that there are numerous groups that reserve spots together and also have discounted rates. For example, the Escapees Group has a section reserved for them. One group even had a very large tent setup for them to gather. Other groups “caravanned” to the Fiesta with planned activities and excursions.
We learned that the RV parking area was the old launching area for the Fiesta about 20 years ago. Even now, numerous balloons fly daily over the field and some even land here. The balloon chase vehicles will scurry around the campground to gather their team. It is quite a good view from the campground. You can see many balloons from your lawn chair and also see the fireworks at night.