Planning for a flight starts with good weather information. A pilot who is improperly briefed on the weather can have a disastrous flight. Weather information can be gathered from many sources such as, web sites, national weather service, flight service, local TV, and using your gut feeling is also important.
Once you have decided to fly, the crew needs to be lined up and a capable driver is very valuable. When deciding on passengers, the payload needs to be calculated based on the aircraft limitations and the outside or ambient temperature. The flight path must be determined. Because balloons flow with the winds, a pilot does not want to fly into an area that could be troublesome. Knowing your air space is vitally important. Are your radios and GPS's charged and operational. Do you have a sectional map as well as a local map of the area you are flying in. Cameras are a must have so photos during the flight can be taken of the incredible views you will experience. Aero medical factors are also important. How are you as a pilot physically and emotionally. Are you able to fly. Wear the proper clothing