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Traveling This Winter? Here's Why You Should Fly On Vacation

A major benefit of being a pilot is that you have the opportunity to fly almost anywhere in the world. When you go on a vacation, consider renting a plane and going on a flight. Here's why you'll love it:

Swayne Martin
Swayne Martin

You'll Become A Better Pilot

Flying around your local area is great, but you never experience much diversity. When you go flying on vacation, you're often in a completely new environment. The terrain, planes, and other pilots can be completely different.

Take the opportunity to do something you can't do at home. For instance, in central Virginia where I live, there aren't any mountains. Last year, when I was in Lake Tahoe, California, I paid for my first ever glider lesson over the Sierra Nevadas. Sure, I'm no glider expert from that one flight, but it gave me a whole new perspective on mountain flying and how gliders can ride thermal air currents. Read more: First Glider Lesson with Soar Truckee.

Swayne Martin

You Can Share The Experience

One of the best parts of being a pilot is sharing the joy of flying; you can take friends and family along with you. It will give them a new and exciting perspective on where you've been staying. Seeing a vacation spot from the air is always helpful too; you might see places that you'd like to visit, many that you never noticed before.

Swayne Martin

Experience A Different Aviation Culture

Flying on vacation doesn't just apply to your home country. Over the summer, I flew with Ayla Aviation in Aqaba, Jordan. On our short 20 minute flight, we could see 4 countries including: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel. I learned about general aviation flying in the Middle East, seeing how it's so much more regulated and unavailable to everyday people. Even though the control tower at the King Hussein International Airport (OJAQ) used proper ICAO English, when I made radio calls, they had trouble understanding me. The instructor I flew with then repeated what I said, in his accented English, which the tower understood perfectly. Subtleties like this are great things to learn about in a new aviation culture.

All it took to set up the flight was simply emailing Ayla Aviation. They were more than willing to show me around and take me on an intro-flight. When you go flying in a new country with completely different aviation/pilot licensing regulations always try flying with an instructor.

Find A Local Flight Instructor

You're in a new environment, often with special procedures and hazards that you might not be aware of. If it's your first time flying in the area, consider finding a local flight instructor to go up with you.

For instance, if you're flying over a beach, there are often unpublished procedures and frequencies that local pilots use to stay in touch and give position reports. You'll often find banner towers, helicopters, and tour planes flying over busy beaches when the weather is good. Beach pilots also appreciate it when you call ahead to an airport for local information and procedures.

Here's the scenario: Imagine a private pilot, flying VFR, decides that they want to fly over the beach. They buzz over the beach at 600 AGL, possibly contrary to the traffic flow, giving no position reports to the dozens of pilots flying the same exact route. The local pilots don't expect to see a plane coming from the wrong direction, that's radio silent. This creates an extremely hazardous situation.

Swayne Martin

Places like Kauai, Hawaii, have the same sorts of issues. With hundreds of aircraft circumnavigating the island for tours each day, it's some of the most congested airspace around. Helicopters and airplanes have different routes and altitudes they use to maintain separation around the island.

I flew with Bruce Coulombe, the founder of Wings Over Kauai, around the island and couldn't imagine doing it solo. There were just so many unique and obscure rules the pilots followed; it would've been impossible for me to safely do it by myself.

He thanked me for choosing to fly with an instructor, as he frequently sees pilots come to the island, rent aircraft, and break all of the established rules governing flight for the area. It's scary for the locals, and sometimes creates dangerous situations.

Swayne Martin

CFIs Are More Fun Anyway

It's often more fun and relaxing on your vacation to fly with an instructor. A lot of stress is taken out of the new environment when flying with a knowledgeable instructor. As any good instructor would, they will brush up your flying skills and teach you to fly around the new environment safely. Better yet, you'll form a friendship and connection with a pilot in a new place - that's never a bad thing!

Swayne Martin

So next time you're planning a vacation, do some research and find a flight school nearby. Make sure to share the experience with friends and family. Always consider finding an instructor if you feel overwhelmed. But most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the views!

Where have you flown on vacation? Are you planning a vacation flight soon? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and a First Officer on the Boeing 757/767 for a Major US Carrier. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines, and flew Embraer 145s at the beginning of his airline career. Swayne is an author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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