Why stare up at the skyline when you can experience it directly with a helicopter sightseeing tour? For individuals and groups tired of the lines, the sidewalk crowds, and double-decker buses stuck in traffic – not to mention the wasted time and usually poor views – a helicopter tour seems like just the thing for making a vacation to New York, Los Angeles, or even Hawaii memorable.
Nevertheless, the limited space, weather, and heliport locations make planning required. As you put together your vacation, consider the following five tips:
1. When will you be on vacation? Many helicopter tours do not operate on holidays. As a result, if you want a great view of the skyline and sights up close, schedule your tour on any other day.
2. Are there deals? Who doesn’t like a discount or a great tour package? Helicopter tour companies themselves occasionally offer deals, or another travel service may present a discount or a package pairing the sightseeing excursion with a day at a museum. If you want the greatest bang for your buck, seek out such a combination in advance.
3. How much do you want to see? When it comes to one of the most popular tour options, New York City, short trips (10 to 15 minutes in length) just touch on the most notable landmarks, while larger, more comprehensive options travel to multiple boroughs. Similarly, decide how long you plan to be in the air – can you handle a 30-minute tour? – and at what point during the day you wish to travel. At least in New York, it’s recommended to avoid tours when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, as pictures will turn out better and the sights will be clearer.
4. Where does it leave? All helicopter sightseeing tours begin from heliports. That being said, the congested atmosphere that made you decide on a helicopter tour in the first place may prove to be a detriment. In this regards, consider how the tour will fit into your overall plans to prevent delays and being marked as a “no show,” and instead, be at a heliport ahead of time.
5. Make alternative plans. Weather unceremoniously cancels helicopter sightseeing tours, so travelers are expected to make alternative plans ahead of time. When you notice dark clouds, rain, or snow during your trip, contact the company in advance about your plans, and ask if the tours are still scheduled. If not, some companies offer a refund for canceled tours or will reschedule the trip for another day.
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