There’s no denying that taking your drone with you around the world is a great way to capture stunning new landscapes from an incredible aerial perspective.
But realistically, how easy is it to bring your camera drone with you?
Having done this myself, I can testify that it is 100% doable, and isn’t overly hard, especially if you’re prepared.
Admittedly, I did hit a few speed bumps along the way, which is why I’m now writing this guide to travelling with a drone, so that you’re as prepared as possible when taking your drone travelling.
Why Would You Want to Travel with A Drone?
Why go to the effort of hauling your quad copter and accessories on your back across the globe?
Well, why not? If you’ve got a drone, it’s an amazing way to create travel videos of epic proportions. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, so why not remember your adventures with a collection of awe inspiring aerial images and videos?
For some inspiration, check out this stunning aerial film of New Zealand. Who wouldn’t want to capture their latest trip like this?
Find the Right Drone
If you haven’t yet got a drone yet, it’s a good idea to find a drone that’s lightweight and easily carried.
Fortunately these days, you can get extremely compact drones that come with stunning 4k cameras. A couple of examples are the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum and the DJI Mavic Air. These are some of the best drones for traveling and will undoubtedly allow you to capture amazing footage from your trip.
I would recommend reading our article on 5 things you should know before buying a drone if you haven’t owned a drone before.
Take The Right Accessories
When considering which accessories to take, you should first think about the location you’re visiting. Is it going to be hot and sunny, or is it going to be freezing and snowing? If it is going to be cold, check out this article on flying a drone in cold weather, as it poses a few risks, especially if you haven’t done it before.
Backpack VS Hard Case
One of the big decisions to make is whether to take a backpack or a hard case. There really is no right or wrong here as it’s down to personal preference.
I used a backpack to take my DJI Phantom with me (the Manfrotto D1 to be precise) and it was amazing. I could carry my drone and all it’s accessories on my back easily wherever I meant. Plus, the bag was easily able to fit as carry on luggage, which as I’ll discuss later, is a must when travelling with a drone.
Of course, a backpack provides far less protection than a hard case would, however I felt that the added portability far outweighed the protection in my decision process.
If you do opt for a hard case, just make sure that you can use it as carry on luggage, as you can’t check in your drone or batteries when flying on a plane.
Spare Batteries & Propellers
Ok, this is where I hit a pretty big speed bump in my travelling. I only packed 1 spare battery, which to be honest, was no where near enough.
I quickly used up the juice of my two batteries and wasn’t able to recharge for a couple of days, which as you can imagine, was incredibly annoying as I had to miss filming some stunning locations.
I know batteries can be expensive, but I would recommend bringing around three batteries and if you can, get a charging dock that allows you to charge all three simultaneously.
Whether you’re travelling or not, spare propellers are always handy to have as these are potentially one of the most fragile components of a drone. Despite being fragile, you literally can’t fly your drone without them, so make sure you stock up before you go.
Fortunately, propellers are incredibly cheap so it’s definitely worth while getting your hands on a few spare sets before you go.
Travelling on a Plane with a Drone
This tends to be the area where most people get a bit stressed when travelling with a drone. I’ve taken my drone from the UK, to Singapore, to Thailand, to New Zealand and all the way back again with no problems.
I’ll list a few things below that you should do when flying with your drone.
- Bring your drone and batteries as checked in luggage
- Deplete all batteries to 30%
- Remove any battery from the drone itself
- If your batteries are 100 watt hours or less, you can bring as many as you want
- If they’re between 100-160 watt hours, you can only take two. You can often find the watt hour volume on your drone companies website under the “specs” section of the drone. Unless you’ve got a large drone like the DJI Inspire 1, your batteries are probably below 100 watt hours.
- I would recommend putting your batteries into a fireproof case – very cheap and sold on Amazon.
Flying a Drone in Another Country
When you’re in another country it’s best to be extra cautious when flying your drone as you never know how people are going to react to your crazy flying device.
Most people will probably be intrigued and ask you a few questions, however from personal experience you’re going to bump into people who aren’t massively comfortable with the idea.
If this ever happens to you, be courteous to the fact you’re in their country and move on. 99% of the time this won’t happen, however it’s always best to be prepared.
Before you make your trip, be sure you check the drone laws for that country. This really is a must as some countries such as India do not allow you to fly your drone very easily, as a permit must be acquired.
All in all, use common sense, suss out the situation and you’ll have the best chance of a problem free flight.
Hopefully this guide has helped you prepare for taking your drone on your next trip abroad.
Although it may seem a bit daunting, follow the steps we’ve listed in this article and you’ll be filming some incredible stuff at your next destination.
Have a great trip and be sure to share your incredible footage with us as Smashing Drones.