Is a Helicopter Tour Right for You?
In many tourist locations, you will find helicopter tours available. I’ve even seen helicopters for hire at state fairs, and they’re not cheap. Why should you spend the money for a short ride in a helicopter? Are there other factors to consider besides money? Is a helicopter tour right for you? We have a few things for you to think about before jumping aboard a chopper!
On our 2015 trip to Hawaii, we overheard a couple discussing just how amazing their helicopter tour was. “It was $500, and worth every penny!” “We’re coming back next year to do it again!” Really? Okay, so they got our attention. We don’t like to miss out on incredible experiences, but we’ve also learned to take suggestions like that with a grain of salt.
After finally going on my first (and Mark’s second) helicopter tour in Alaska last year, we decided to share with we learned about our adventure in the sky. Here is a list of things you may want to consider before booking your helicopter ride.
Does a helicopter tour fit or break your budget? Helicopter tours can be quite the splurge for most people. Even short rides are expensive. Trying to fit a helicopter ride into your vacation budget can be tough, but may be worth saving up for.
To help with costs, go with a group instead of a private or couples flight. Look for available coupons and deals before-hand. Compare the prices of the helicopter tour companies before leaving home. Vacationing aboard a cruise ship? Definitely check to see if buying through a local company is cheaper than the excursions offered by the cruise itself (and make sure the locals have a guarantee to get you back onboard before the ship leaves! You don’t want to be left behind!).
2. Motion Sickness
Are you prone to motion sickness? I am. And, as it turns out, I had every reason to be concerned about flying in a helicopter.
The motion of the helicopter is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Unlike a boat, car, or plane, helicopters have a complete up/down/every direction range of motion. I always take motion sickness medication in preparation for travel, but it didn’t block the nausea from creeping up on me in that copter.
Did I survive without throwing up? Yes, I did. Would I do it again? Yeah, but I will definitely alert my doctor before-hand to prescribe some more potent motion sickness meds.
See Related: 5 Tips for Snorkeling with a Fear of Water
3. Time Management
Are you short on vacation time, but want to see it all? A helicopter tour can allow you to see more in a short period of time. This may not always be important, but, as an example, what if you only had a few days in Las Vegas and also wanted to squeeze in a trip to the Grand Canyon? Not really time efficient. But, there are helicopter tours that could zip you right out to that natural wonder, show you a beautiful birds-eye view of the canyon, and have you back in time for a dinner buffet.
Time management via helicopter could save you some traveler’s remorse. I know I hate being so close to some incredible place and not having time to visit. So close yet so far, but a helicopter can save the day.
4. The Views
Do you want to change your perspective for a better view? Sometimes, a change in perspective can be incredible. Have you ever wondered why tall buildings, towers, and overlooks are so popular with tourists? It’s that change in perspective that provides a different, beautiful view of cities and landscapes that people are wanting to view and photograph. What if you could go higher?
Flying over forests, mountains, and canyons can show their immense size, simultaneously making you feel super, super tiny.
I’d also like to add that I am super afraid of heights, but I never had a problem while in a helicopter. I always felt secure.
See Related: Hawaii’s Waimea Canyon: A Photo Essay
5. Exclusive Locations
Ever read about an amazing place that’s not accessible by car? Every once-in-awhile, you’ll find a location that is only viewable or accessible by air. For example, much of the Hawaiian island of Kauai can only be seen by air, and it’s such a beautiful place that it is on our list to view via helicopter one day.
Jurassic Park fan? The famous waterfall from the movie (you know, the one where they land on the helipad) is on Kauai, and you can only get there via helicopter.
We got into this very situation (well, minus dinosaurs) in Alaska. In order for us to dogsled on actual snow, we had to be taken by helicopter out to a glacier. Beautiful and totally worth it!
See Related: Dog Sledding in Juneau, Alaska
6. Bucket List
Is “ride in a helicopter” on your bucket list? A helicopter can definitely be bucket list-worthy. Especially if you choose the right location. Done correctly, a helicopter tour is one adventure that you will never, ever forget!
We started out believing that helicopters were a tourist trap and a waste of (lots of) money. Now, we have a list of places we’d love to see from the air! It’s a “you get what you pay for” experience, and, if you consider this numbered list, we believe you’ll make the best choice of whether or not a helicopter tour is right for you too!
Have you ridden in a helicopter before? What did you see or what place would you love to see from the air? Is there anything we should add to this list? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below!
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Jennifer is the founder of Just Chasing Rabbits travel blog. She lives in Mississippi with husband/travel companion, Mark, and three fur babies. After obtaining a BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has combined her love of travel and photography to form this blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.
You can follow Jenni on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.