Admit it: your superpower of choice would totally be the ability to fly. It’s ok, you’re not alone on that! There’s just something about being able to soar swiftly above it all that has enticed us humans since long before the tale of Icarus strapping waxy feathers to his arms.
Flight has come a long way in the past century or so — and it’s gotten ever more creative. These days you can find high-flying fun on every continent, and in nearly all countries, in a variety of extraordinary modes. Here we’ve gathered a few of the most unique, adrenaline-igniting flight options to try out during your next vacation, or even next weekend!
Ultralight: Imagine the love child of an airplane and a hang glider, and you’ve got an ultralight. It’s a tiny 2-seat body (pilot in front, passenger behind) with an engine, affixed to a hang glider. Once you’re securely strapped in, you zip down the runway, finally lifting upward to swirl beneath the clouds like a butterfly on a breeze.
Parasailing: It all started in 1961 when Pierre-Marcel Lemoigne had the brilliant idea to tie a parachute to a moving boat. The result? A seaborne adventure that offers you (and up to two of your friends, depending on the power of the boat) spectacular views — and maybe even a refreshing dunk in the water, if that floats your… well, you know.
Hang Gliding: For the extra adventurous (and least height-shy), here’s your chance to truly enjoy a bird’s eye view of the world. Tandem hang gliding transforms you and a trained pilot/instructor into eagles on the wind. One way to get airborne is to be towed into the sky by an ultralight, but the more common route is to take a great leap from a lofty location.
Hot Air Balloon: While floating ‘around the world in 80 days’ may not be feasible, an hour or so spent drifting above incredible landscapes is definitely doable — and you should definitely do it! Even the height-adverse can generally dig a hot air balloon ride, which moves slowly and securely through the sky. Fun factoid: ballooning was invented in Philadelphia in 1793, making it the oldest reliable method of flight in human history.