You are taking a much needed summer vacation to beautiful Hawaii and all of your friends and family have told you that you must do a helicopter tour of the islands while you’re there. While this idea sounds fun and exciting, it will be your first ever helicopter tour and you have no idea where to start. Do you look at the best helicopter tours in Oahu or the Big Island? When should you schedule it for? No need to panic, the island life is all about relaxation and you’ll fit right in after reading the four tips below.

  1. Fly at the right time:You will probably want to pack your Hawaiian vacation with many other activities as well, but save a spot on the first or second day of your trip for the helicopter tour. This way you’ll have a good orientation of the island from your bird’s eye view before you embark on your other activities.

    The time of day of your flight is important as well. In general, the best time to fly is in the late morning or early afternoon. These times allow the sun to shine to its fullest potential, limiting the amount of shadows and making the colors more vibrant. The only exception may be on the Na Pali coast on the island of Kauai. This beautiful stretch of land is on the west side of the island, where the suns sets, so the afternoon sunlight brilliantly lights its valleys.
  2. Know the best islands to tour: Some islands look better from the air than others, and its helpful to know this before you shell out the money for the helicopter tour. Kauai is widely regarded as the most stunning island to tour over. The next best to tour by helicopter Oahu, the Big Island, Maui, and Molokai. Of course, whichever Hawaiian island you choose will be breathtaking. If you happen to be staying on Oahu, for example, the helicopter tours in Oahu or helicopter rides in Oahu are sure to be incredibly memorable.
  3. Know where you’ll be sitting ahead of time: Most helicopters used by touring companies seat six passengers, with two people seated in the front and four in the back. This means that two of the four in the back will be in the middle seats, slightly farther from the windows and at a bit of an angle. There are some tour companies that offer four-passenger helicopters, giving everyone on board a window. Seating will also be based on the weight of the passengers, as that must be balanced to ensure a safe ride.
  4. Compare safety records of tours: You have a couple of tools at your disposal to do research on the helicopter company’s safety beforehand. When you see a helicopter tour company advertise as a certified FAA Part 135 Air Carrier, that means they are held to a higher standard than general aviation operators. You can also search the accidents database on the the National Transportation Safety Board website. An Oahu helicopter tour, Big Island tour, or whichever you choose should be guaranteed safe for you and your loved ones. Although this may be frightening to consider, you will know how a company’s record holds up.

Hawaii saw approximately 220,000 visitors on an average day in 2016, and due to the stunning beauty of the island, you want to be among those visitors. Whether you settle on helicopter tours in Oahu, Kauai, or any of the islands, your trip will certainly be one for the books.

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