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Tips to Travel With Drones: Your A to Z Guide

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Drones can be your fantastic companion on trips, enabling you to shoot mesmerizing pictures and videos not otherwise workable with handheld cameras. But be that as it may, there are quite some tips to travel with drones you need to know. With them, you will have the best possible experience.

Before diving into those tips, please note that here, we also express the term ‘drone’ as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), crewless aircraft, flying machines, or flying robots.

1. Go compact

Assuming you intend to purchase a drone particularly for traveling, we recommend choosing an extra compact product unit. It should not take too much space in your luggage. 

For those wondering which model to get, we have some recommendations from pros:

DJI Air 2S - by DJIDJI Mini 2 - by DJIDJI FPV Combo - by DJIParrot Anafi - by ParrotHoly Stone HS720 - by Holy Stone
Dimensions (folded)7.08 inches x 3.82 inches x 3.30 inches5.5 inches x 3.2 inches x 2.2 inches10.0 inches × 12.3 inches × 5.0 inches9.6 inches × 2.6 inches × 2.5 inches6.8 inches x 4.1 inches x 2.2 inches
Weight595 grams249 grams568 grams320 grams520 grams
Maximum speed42.5 miles per hour35.79 miles per hour86.9 miles per hour (capped at 31 miles per hour as standard)33 miles per hour44 miles per hour
Video quality5.4 K4 K4 K4 K4 K
Picture quality20 megapixels12 megapixels12 megapixels12 megapixels
Experience levelBeginner/ IntermediateBeginner/ IntermediateIntermediate/ AdvancedIntermediateBeginner
What you may like- Able to offer 5.4K/ 30p video quality
- EIS and gimbals enable super steady footage.
- Compact and lightweight
- Intelligent Geofence and FlySafe system
- No license is needed if you use the model for personal purposes.
- Super compact and lightweight
- Fantastic 4K camera with image stabilization
- Comes with remote and FPV goggles
- Super fun to fly
- Super quiet flight
- Fantastic video and picture quality
- A portable UAV with an upwards-pointing camera
- Integrated LED display on transmitter
- Impressive 5G Internet connection
- Fantastic video and picture quality for its price
What you may not like- App-based editing with only 1080p output at max
- Absence of in-camera filters
- Only 8-gigabyte internal storage
- Absence of color profiles and hyper-lapse
- Not most appropriate for harsh weather conditions
- Absence of obstacle avoidance sensors
- Absence of portrait mode
- Pretty pricey
- Short playtime of ten to twenty minutes
- Separate pay for intelligent flight functions
- Absence of safety sensors
- More sensitive to winds because of the light weight
- Long charge time of seven hours
- The battery charger may not be responsive.
- Buying a replacement battery is probably necessary.
Link to AmazonCheck Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

Further, make certain to take some practice before you leave. This way helps ensure the drone is in good condition when you are back from the trip. Operating it takes some getting acquainted, you know. 

2. Create a flight plan

Significantly, you make a drone flight plan before letting it airborne in a new location. This will let you take the photos and videos you wish. Plus, it decreases the likelihood of crashing the aircraft. 

Account for any big objects, buildings, electricity lines, and whatnot. Be certain to keep away from them. The Photopills (iOS or Android) and Google Earth (iOS or Android) applications are excellent for planning flights for your UAV. 

3. Tips to travel with drones and capture the best footage

preparing to travel with drones

When is the best time?

As far as we know, the most favorable time to use the camera to capture the footage is in the evening, right after or during sunrise, and early in the morning. Understandably, this is when the lighting is remarkable, and there are probably fewer people around.

Depend on a polarizing filter 

Use the specific filter if you shoot videos and pictures close to water (or practically anywhere). Keep this in mind particularly when operating your aircraft somewhere tropical on your excursion. Thanks to the polarizing filter on your flying machine, the glare will get cut from the water surface, and the result is desirable saturation and watercolor.

Depend on an ND Filter 

If you travel with your aircraft to places such as the beach, there is a good chance that the daylight is super bright. As a result, your video quality may become impacted. 

In bright conditions, you have to use fast shutter speeds. These likely cause the footage to appear choppy particularly when you fly the drone low and swiftly. But with ND filters,  you will use a more desirable shutter speed. Your video will look more cinematic. 

Take straight shots

Please note, unless you are legit great at the fancy moves, skip them. Flying your UAV in multiple directions does not always result in incredible-looking footage like the ones taken when you fly straight. For those who want something more fascinating, give the programmed orbit a try.

Depend on the Intelligent flight functions

Again, before your trip, figure out how to use your new drone’s autonomous functions. Doing so helps you take good-quality photos and videos during your travel. The features we like most are active track and point of interest orbits and they are quite simple to learn. What about you?

4. Be aware of laws 

Before you start flying a UAV, it is always advisable to make yourself aware of any destination-specific restrictions. 

On the one hand, different places have varied rules and regulations. But on the other, most countries have a couple of basic rules to adhere to and are becoming pretty universal. Sticking to them does not guarantee your obeyance of the laws of the nation you are traveling in, Still, they are a justifiable baseline.

  • Do not fly in spitting distance to residential buildings.
  • Do not fly above or close to crowds.
  • Do not fly within 100 meters (300 feet) of buildings.
  • Required to maintain a line of sight with your aircraft while operating it.
  • A no-fly zone is defined as nine kilometers (five miles) in any direction of an airport.
  • Do not operate the drone above 120 meters (400 feet).

5. Flying your drone at your resort: Is it allowed?

The popularity of UAVs has become no joke nowadays. That is why aside from cities and countries with no-fly zones, there are private properties and resorts with restrictions on this aircraft’s usage. You know, they want to protect their guests’ privacy. 

In this regard, the tips to travel with drones are always checking with your resort for their related guidelines and be certain you follow them. For instance, at Kuredu Island Resort & Spa (the Maldives), drone operation is restricted to several areas and particular times as well. 

Lots of resorts these days have no-fly rules, but we suggest asking for the resort management for a fly window, typically earlier in the day before so many guests are out of bed and do things.

6. Drone-friendly and -unfriendly countries

A list for reference

While we are the happy owner of a flying robot, we have not operated it on our expedition to Morocco. Wonder why? For your information, taking a drone to Morocco is not permitted. Luckily, we did some research beforehand. Should you bring one, the staff at customs will seize it and may get it back to you on exit. Yet, why put it at risk?

This led us to check whether we could curate a list of countries that you cannot take your drones in. Where there are not too many countries that ban these aircraft vehicles outright,  some others ask you to acquire permits before your trip. This way, lots of people find carrying drones is a challenge.

Here is a rundown of countries that either disallow UAVs or make it super hard.

  • Zambia
  • Syria
  • Senegal
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Oman
  • Morocco
  • Madagascar
  • North Korea
  • Nicaragua
  • Kuwait
  • Kenya
  • India
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Fiji
  • Ethiopia
  • Egypt
  • Cuba
  • Brunei
  • Barbados
  • Algeria

This list is not a fixed one. That is why before your trip, we recommend doing a little research

When you travel to drone-friendly countries

When going to a place where flying a UAV is legal, you need to: 

  • Check for its laws about UAVs.
  • Research any UAV laws particularly applied to foreigners. A few countries ask foreigners to acquire special permissions to airborne drone operations that are not applicable to their citizens. Few cases disallow foreigners to take UAVs through customs whatsoever.
  • Decide if you must register your aircraft with the country’s civil aviation administration or national authority.
  • Obey the county’s rules and regulations for UAV licensing and certification. There is a possibility that they require you to join an aeronautical knowledge exam or prove your flight proficiency following the country’s laws. It is highly likely when you are operating the drone for commercial/ professional purposes.

When you travel to countries that disallow drones

When going to places that flying a UAV is illegal, you should not bring it. The chances are, the customs staff will confiscate your aircraft. Will the machine be returned to you when you leave the country on your flight back? We are not sure!

When going to countries with no established laws about drones

When you go on a trip to countries without established UAV laws, do not be quick to jump to the assumption that you can take your aircraft to that country. Also, it does not necessarily mean you will be able to fly the machine the way or the place you prefer. Indeed, the drone regulation absence could imply that authorities there disapprove of drone use, particularly by travelers.

As an extra precaution for American travelers

You may choose to register your YAV with Customs as a Personal Effect Taken Abroad before your trip. This will help avoid any misunderstandings about whether you are coming back with the same robot you left with or are bringing a new model bought abroad.

7. Is special insurance necessary to fly your drone?

It has to do with the country you travel to. For example, in the U.S., insurance is not a requirement for operating a UAV recreationally or commercially. Meanwhile, Canada requires you to have liability insurance to fly a crewless aircraft vehicle for commercial purposes yet none for recreational pilots. 

8. Your airline’s UAV policy

Speaking of flying with UAVs, lots of airlines’ policies are unique and strange. The tips to travel with drones are, you should remember to disconnect every battery from your aircraft and put them in your luggage. More often than not, by doing so, things will be okay. 

Meanwhile, a few airlines have even sterner requirements. For instance, they ask you to have a max number of batteries for each person in your travel bag. Some restrict your battery’s powerfulness. 

As you see, it is difficult to provide a uniform drone regulation for every airline. That is why we suggest visiting the airline’s website before your flight. If you cannot seek out the info you need, do not hesitate to reach out to their customer service team.

9. Tips for your batteries

A flying robot is a fantastic piece of equipment whose ability is undoubtful. It can offer incredible footage and remarkable memories of your holiday. Yet, be that as it may, it is not so impressive without a working battery. As such, here are some tricks to ensure you take good care of your batteries.

Take along a spare battery

The last thing you want is to get alerted of the dreaded low battery while taking fantastic footage.

So it is always advisable for those planning overseas travel with a UAV to carry a spare battery with them. If necessary, you will have a backup.

How to transport Li-ion batteries

Because no airline allows Li-ion batteries in your checked baggage, you have to use the carry-on way to transport them. The number of batteries permitted to carry inside a plane’s main cabin is limited. Your battery’s Wh (watt-hours) is the determiner of what and how much to be carried. 

A big Li-ion battery tends to run in the range of 100 -160 Wh. Please note that anything more than 100 must obtain airline approval, and the quantity has limits. To prevent problems, do not pack over two 100Wh batteries in your travel bag. Checking in a spare battery is okay. Yet, no more than one can get checked, and storing it inside the UAV is necessary.

How to decide on your drone batteries’ watt-hours

The good news is you can apply a handy formula. To calculate your watt-hours, just multiply volts times ampere.  

Have the proper plug adapters

Undeniably, the drone batteries should be charged when needed. For this reason, be certain to have the appropriate plug adapters for the country you travel in. Also, we suggest checking whether there needs a voltage adapter.

Know your drone’s charging time

To charge fully, how long does your drone battery need? Make certain to figure that out because it can be pretty long. We often have to charge our aircraft for three hours or four to get half-an-hour usage!

10. How to carry the drone for air travel

Two ways are for your choice. One is carrying it inside the carry-on. Else, pack it inside the checked-in luggage. 

Want some tips to travel with drones in this sense? We are inclined to the latter when possible (airliner or destination possibly forbids it). That is because it is the safest way for our equipment. 

Is your UAV is the size of the super-popular Mavic Pro quad from DJI? Or smaller? If so, things cannot be easier. You have the option to use practically any backpack/ luggage provided that the UAV is kept safe in a pouch. 

What if you have a bigger machine, say DJI Phantom? Then, you are better off preparing a specialized backpack. This is advised particularly if you also bring along other photographic gear such as lenses and cameras.

Speaking from our own experience, we suggest using an Alta Sky 51D Camera Backpack from Vanguard. It is on the limit of pretty much any airliner’s carry-on baggage dimensions (will not be suitable for Easy Jet or Ryanair). 

Vanguard Alta Sky 51D Camera Backpack for Drones
Vanguard Alta Sky 51D Camera Backpack for Drones

For even larger drones or when you fail to bring it on board for some reason (for example, Budapest airport), we are pretty sure about check-in requirements. Also, you will need a hard case. One of the best recommendations is the Ultimaxx Waterproof Rugged Compact Travel Storage Hard Case. Remember, Wizz Air and a few other airliners will even require you to sign a waiver for successful completion of check-in of something this pricey. 

11. Spare some more time at smaller airports

You may assume a UAV in a garment bag will draw in plenty of attention in the airport security. Yet, one of our friends could pass quite easily.  Of her eleven total flights, the security staff only asked her to take the crewless aircraft out of her bag twice.  Better yet, only once legit concerned her. 

Where she was blessed with good luck, you can never predict what to happen in smaller airports in several countries, particularly when using budget airlines.  We have seen over one angry person that encountered unsuspected problems at an international airport.  There is nothing worse than handling such problems when you are already in a rush.  

Hence, in a few countries that are notorious for going on strike, we would suggest you create an emergency response plan for getting to the airport.

12. Watch out for wildlife and animals

Animals, particularly birds and dogs, are genuinely unfavorable of flying robots. As you know, this equipment’s sound stresses them out. And it can be scaring to them in a breeze. See to it that you maintain a safe and regardful distance from them. This is also true of safari though lots of firms already disallow the use of UAVs when you are on game drives.

Other tips to travel with drones are being legit aware of seagulls and other larger birds. Should you get too close, they will do their best to attack your machine. The situation is bad for not only the aircraft but also the bird!

13. Embrace the locals’ attention

Believe it or not, even at a Las Vegas park, most of the people gathered once they saw a UAV take off.

All but one, the friend we mentioned above had no difficulty operating his robot in the sky anywhere. She is not even once afraid of the locals attempting to damage or steal it. Instead, the flying machine demonstrated to be an incredible tool for helping her break the ice with locals.  

In a lot of less-developed places, no one had ever heard about or had a look at a UAV. So, they wished to see it. Even somewhere more developed, our friend caught the attention of many people whenever she flew her drone.  

This reminds us of a trip we made to the Romania rural locations.  Since we transport by horse and carriage, small children gather around our vehicle and eagerly received our candy. What a memorable experience it was! We could not imagine how excited these angels would have been if we had gone out of the vehicle and begun flying a UAV. It is also needless to say about their expected reaction with the impressive shots we could have taken.

Generally speaking, as drones are still not mainstream, they will be appealing to people practically wherever they show their presence. This makes them an effective tool for getting to know local people if that is significant to your trip.  

14. Be cautious in cold weather

drone travel tips

Bear in mind that consumer drones are solely intended to fly in temperatures above freezing. For this reason, should you go to a cold country, be cautious. If your flying robot becomes too cold, it may interpret this as the battery running out. Your drone will then drop in mid-night. 

Further, pro tips to travel with drones in cold weather are ensuring you maintain the batteries’ warmth. There is a good chance that the cold will reduce the charge. As far as we know, one of the most remarkable spaces to keep batteries is in your coat’s inside pocket. How nice and warm it is, you know.

15. Keep the line of sight and check for how to fly manually

On the one hand, direct video streaming from a UAV is impressive. That is because you can admire what your aircraft sees and get a chance to fly in first-person mode. But on the other hand, the video signal likely dies. And to the best of our knowledge, it does occur sometimes! 

So, it is significant to keep the line of sight. When you can see your machine, you can recover it manually and take it home. You will be in a tight spot if you cannot see the drone. 

16. Bring along extra propellers and repair tools

It is relatively easy to crash a UAV. And more often than not, the propellers are the first casualty. As you see, damaging them is not hard. 

The suggestion here is to take some extra propellers and a few essential repair tools for your robot. By the repair tools, we mean a small screwdriver, duct tape, and stuff. These can have your machine back up in the sky swiftly after a small crash. Great!

17. Ensure adequate storage space and prepare backup memory cards

One of the situations you desire to avoid is failing to record because of inadequate storage space. You never wish to be forced to delete several items to make room for more. 

That is why the best way is to carry some more memory cards, just in case.

All in all

Tourist preparing for starting with drone. remote controll in hands. for taking pictures rock cliff at desert grand canyon landscape in sunrise. aerial shooting, drone videography

On the one hand, flying a UAV is plenty of fun. Thus, do not forget to enjoy yourself on your trip with one!

Yet, on the other hand, there is nothing worse than your robot getting confiscated, particularly when you use it professionally. Following the above-addressed tips to travel with drones proves to go a long way.  

Any other questions? We are always available to anyone who wants to reach us for additional questions. Drop a comment right below, and we will ensure to get back to it. 

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