Best Travel Drones – Comparison & Analysis

Looking for the best travel drone? You’ve come to the right place. Here you will find a collection of various drones for travel including drone comparisons, where to buy travel drones, reviews of travel drones, travel drone accessories, tips on how to travel with a drone and more.

Specifically we answer the following questions:

  • What is a good travel drone and what is the best travel drone?
  • How do I travel with my drone?
  • What are the top drones for travel?
  • How do I compare drones for travel?
  • What are the most important features for using a drone when traveling?
  • What is an affordable travel drone?
  • And much more!

Thanks for visiting the Best Travel Drone!

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Table of Contents

To jump to a section, simply click on the links below.

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Summary – Best Travel Drones 2020

For the impatient readers we’ve summarized our findings below and provided more detailed analysis (both in table and narrative format), farther down in this article. But for those looking for quick answers, here’s the tale of the tape:

*Note: GoPro has decided to exit the Drone business, however we have still included it because travelers may be able to find a few good deals – especially if already invested in a HERO6. 

The rest of this article examines the use cases for travel drones, how to pick a travel drone as well a summary of key technical specs for the various drones we cover.

Take me to the Drone Comparison Table, below, please!

Using a Drone for Travel – do I need a travel drone?

Drones have become wildly popular (and much more affordable) in recent years. Many travelers have started investing in drone technology to augment and enhance their travel experience.

Image of Woman Flying Drone from Best Travel Drones Image 5

In fact, drones have become one of the hottest travel accessories to hit the market in recent years. There are a variety of interesting ways that travelers are using drones. For example, travelers are now using drones to:

  • Take aerial photographs
  • Take aerial videos
  • Explore more of your destination
  • Improve influencer media posts
  • Take group selfies / pictures w/ out needing a photographer
  • Follow your adventure “from the sky”
  • Film / photograph interesting events while traveling
  • And more!

These are just some of the things travelers are using their drones for, and we’ve only just scratched the surface!

Learn how drones are reshaping all parts of society

Or watch this great video on the future of drones:

But, the question remains, do you really need a travel drone in 2020?

If you are still on the fence, here are some questions to ask yourself before sinking several hundred dollars into a high quality travel drone:

  1. How often will I actually use the drone when on my trip?
  2. Have I ever flown a drone before?
  3. Do I have time to practice using my drone before my trip?
  4. Does the country / location I am visiting allow drones?

These are just some of the questions to consider when determining if a travel drone is the right investment for you.

If you decide you need a drone a few other questions quickly emerge. These questions can help guide you on your travel drone buying journey:

  1. What is the best drone to travel with?
  2. What’s a good cheap travel drone?
  3. Maybe size is the issue and so you are curious: what’s the most compact travel drone?
  4. Maybe, just maybe, your question is what’s the best drone for travel videos?

And so on…you get the picture. USE CASE matters. How you intend to use your drone while traveling is important because it will help you find the perfect drone to travel with.

Take me to the Drone Comparison Table, below, please!

How to pick the Best Travel Drone

Picking the right drone for your trip is the fun part. But, it also requires some forethought and planning. Some drones can be quite expensive while others can be incredibly cheap (and junky). And there are plenty of options in between.

Getting the right drone for your trip is important; it should be based on a combination of your needs, budget and experience / aptitude with flying drones.

Several key factors are important to consider when picking the perfect travel drone. Some of these include:

  • Ease of Use – how simple is it use?
  • Price – self explanatory, but how much does it cost? What can you afford?
  • Portability – is it going to be easy to travel with?
  • Weight – how much does it weigh?
  • Camera strength & quality – how many megapixels does it support? How about the quality of video? If high quality photography (or video) is crucial for you, these features need to take more prominence in your search.
  • Drone Accessories – what kinds of accessories will I need to buy?
  • Maintenance – What kinds of maintenance will I need to consider (e.g. buying new propellers, cleaning lenses, etc)
  • Warranty & Support – what kind of warranty comes with the travel drone? What happens if I damage it? How do I get support?
  • Battery life / Flight Time – How long will my drone stay charged? How many batteries will I need to travel with.
  • Safety Features – Does it have collision avoidance and/or return home features?

Making an investment in a travel drone is something worth thinking carefully about. Finding the drone that fits your unique travel needs, your individual skill sets, and budget is important.

Image of Two Drones Flying from Best Travel Drones Image 1

Comparison Table of Best Travel Drones for 2020

To aid our readers we’ve provided a quick summary table of 4 of the top travel drones, below, with a more detailed investigation of each drone after the table. Plus we’ve added a few others for consideration as well.

Best Travel Drones Quick Ref Comparison Table

Best Travel Drones

In this section we examine each of the 4 travel drones noted in the comparison table in much greater detail, plus we highlight a new drone to hit the market.

New Travel Drone: DJI Mavic Mini – the hottest new travel drone to hit the market

The DJI Mavic Mini is a new-ish drone to hit the market from industry leader DJI. This drone has taken the drone world by storm because of it’s compact size. In fact, it’s often referred to as the Compact Drone. In addition to it’s size the Mavic Mini really packs a punch with battery life featuring a 30 minute battery charge (which is very long for LiPo drone batteries).

Key Features of the DJI Mavic Mini

  • 30 Minutes of flight time
  • 12MP images
  • 2.7K Quad HD videos
  • Uses your iPhone or Android as the controller

If you are looking for an inexpensive, but still high-quality drone for your next trip, the DJI Mavic Mini is worth serious consideration.

DJI Mavic Pro – flaship consumer & travel drone – the perfect combination and the best travel drone 2020

The DJI Mavic Pro is consistently ranked by drone enthusiasts as a “best value” sort of drone. For travelers looking for the right combination of features, value, quality without breaking the bank, this is a win.

For example, ranks it a 9/10 and calls it “The best flying eye-candy you can buy.” And calls it the “The Best Small Drone.”

Many drone enthusiasts rate the DJI Mavic Pro the best drone for travel.

DJI marketing materials note that the Mavic Pro has “24 high-performance computing cores, an all-new transmission system with a 4.3mi (7km) *range, 5 vision sensors, and a 4K camera.”

Key Features

  • 21 min flight time
  • Camera: 3-axis gimbel with 32 mega pixel camera
  • Excellent portability – 9.7 x 8.9 x 4.7 inches and it folds for convenient transport
  • Speed: 65 kph
  • Key features:
    • Includes 8GB of onboard storage
    • Simple Control – the ability to take photos using hand motions
    • Tap and Fly – where you tap your phone screen and the drone flies in the direction of your tap
    • Active Track – automatically recognizes objects and track them based on where they are and how fast they are moving
    • Ultra Smooth technology – dramatically reduces shake and rolling shutters
    • Return Home (RTH) brings your drone safely back if you lose it

Click Here to See the Price of the DJI Mavic

Why you should consider the DJI Mavic as your travel drone

Travelers looking for the best value for their investment in a drone should consider the DJI Mavic Pro. It is the ideal combination of value, price and quality and is consistently rated as the one of the top travel drones time and time again.

Downsides to the DJI Mavic Pro 

  • Some travelers have noted it can be a little difficult to hand catch which is important for travelers flying drones in denser areas
  • Other reviewers have noted that the DJI Mavic can have trouble with high winds, but there are mixed opinions on this with plenty of reviewers reporting no issues with reasonably high winds.
  • It is not a cheap travel drone

DJI Smart Controller Video

Check out this cool video from DJI explaining their smart controller technology:

How to fly your DJI Pro – check out this cool video on how to get started with the DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Spark Drone Quadcopter – best affordable travel drone (aka the Selfie Drone)

The DJI Spark is the best affordable travel drone of the bunch. It’s also the most feature-light and most compact drone for travel. We like to think of this drone as more of an entry level travel drone or a beginner’s drone.

The DJI Spark, in our opinion is more of entry level travel drone

While all of the major features that most DJI drones have are included with this drone (like quick launch and active track), it has a little less horsepower in areas like battery life (which impacts flight time) and camera quality.

In fact, drone enthusiasts often refer to the DJI Spark as the Selfie Drone because it’s great for selfie takers, is easy to use and the best affordable travel drone on the market.

The DJI SPark is a “mini-drone” which makes it the smallest of the drones we have shared above. Price and size are the DJI Spark’s primary benefits.

Click Here to See the Price of the DJI Spark – aka Selfie Drone

It’s key features include:

  • 16 min flight time
  • Camera: 2-axis gimbel with 12 mega pixel camera
  • Maximum portability – 6.7 x 7.8 x 9.7 inches
  • Speed: 31 mph (50 kph)
  • Colors: Alpine White, Lava Red, Sky Blue
  • Apps: Supports DJI GO 4 App
  • Key features:
    • Faceaware Quicklaunch technology – drone can take off after recognizing your phase for quick use
    • Simple Control – the ability to take photos using hand motions
    • Tap and Fly – where you tap your phone screen and the drone flies in the direction of your tap
    • Active Track – automatically recognizes objects and track them based on where they are and how fast they are moving
    • Ultra Smooth technology – dramatically reduces shake and rolling shutters
    • Return Home (RTH) brings your drone safely back if you lose it

Why you should consider the DJI Spark as your travel drone

If an affordable travel drone that still features good quality manufacturing and a big name (DJI is the leader in drones) the DJI Spark will do the trick.

Amazon sells the DJI Spark and you can buy it directly from DJI themselves (usually with free shipping).

DJI Phantom 4 Professional V2 Quadcopter

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro Version 2 is a high-end travel drone for serious users looking for the maximum amount of features and capabilities. In other words, it’s a professional drone for experienced drone users.

Travelers looking for a more affordable (and better rated, presently anyway) version, but still high-end quality drone, might consider the DJI Phantom 3 Pro which is one of the highest rated drones. In fact, some drone enthusiasts consider it to be a better drone than the Phantom 4, even. Click Here to See the Price of DJI Phantom 3 Pro

Travelers considering buying this drone for use on their next trip are advised to have experience with flying drones and have the money to expend on this pricey option. It’s also advised to make sure you really need the features and capabilities the Phantom 4 Pro V2 has to offer.

Speaking of features and capabilities, the Phantom 4 Pro V2 is the Cadillac in the DJI family. Here are some of the key features:

  • 30 mins flight time
  • Camera: 3-axis gimbel with 20 mega pixel camera
  • Fastest Speed: 72 kph in sport mode
  • 7 km transmission – meaning you can fly it a long ways
  • Key features:
    • 5 direction obstacle sensing technology (collision avoidance)
    • OcuSync video transmission which employs time-division multiplexing technology to send control signals and receive video signals simultaneously. OcuSync system scans for the frequency band with lowest interference and switches accordingly to maintain clear transmission
    • 1080 Live View – crystal clear live video

Click Here to See the Price of the DJI Phantom Pro V2

Why you should consider the DJI Phantom 4 as your drone for traveling

If you are the kind of traveler looking for the highest end drone experience you can spend your money on and you have the money, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 is for you. Make sure you have some experience flying drones, too.

GoPro Karma with HERO6 Black

Adventure sports film leader GoPro entered the drone business with the release of their (currently) only drone on the market: the Karma.

The Karma is a drone that allows users to attach an existing GoPro HERO6 to it, thus providing a more economical approach to your drone investment.

However, the Karma will not be around for long so buyers beware (see announcement). GoPro has announced it’s exit of the drone market.

That said, travelers are still able to find deals on existing inventory and for folks who’ve already invested in a GoPro camera might find this to be a rational and more affordable way to get your hands on a drone.

Click Here to See the Price of the GoPro Karma

Why you should consider the GoPro Karma as your travel drone

If you already have invested in a GoPro HERO6, the Karma might be worth the risk.

A few other drones to consider for traveling

In addition to the drones noted above, here are a few other drones to consider for your travels.

Parrot Anafi

While DJI drones are incredibly popular, they are not the only drone company in town. The Parrot Anafi has performed well in many reviews and is typically fairly affordable (relative to DJI drones in some cases).

Click Here to See the Parrot Anafi Price on Amazon

PCMag gives it 4/5 bubbles on it’s review page.

The Parrot Anafi has several features worth noting:

  • Size: 2.5 x 2.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Weight: 11.3 oz
  • Flight Time: 25 mins
  • Max Speed: 49.8 kph
  • Portability: It’s a foldable drone designed for easy travel
  • Camera: 21 MP

For more information, visit Parrot’s website for details.

Here’s a video on why the Parrot could be (in some people’s minds) better than the DJI Mavic (we remain unconvinced, but they do make some interesting points):

Yuneec Typhoon H Pro

Yuuneec, while not as large or successful as DJI has still grown their consumer drone business in leaps and bounds. The Typhoon H Pro is a good example.

Click Here to See the Price of Typhoon H

The Typhoon H Pro is a six propeller drone that’s a bit on the large (and heavy size) which is a bit of a drawback for travelers looking for optimum portability. However, the features still make it worth considering for folks looking for an alternative to DJI products.

Key Features:

  • Size: 20.5x18x12.2 inches
  • Weight: It’s heavy at 4.3 lbs (but that’s really not that heavy)
  • Flight Time: 25 mins
  • Max Speed: 69.2 kph
  • Camera: 12.4 MP
  • Intel RealSense Technology which is used for obstacle avoidance.

Travel Drone Accessories

When buying a drone to use when traveling be sure to verify what’s actually in the box. Drone manufacturers often create various bundles for consumers that include (as an “upsell”) additional accessories that travelers might find useful.

Common Travel Drone accessories to consider include:

  • Extra drone batteries
  • Drone controller (if not included)
  • Spare propellers
  • Drone Travel Cases
  • Camera Lens Filters
  • Car Chargers
  • Battery charging hubs (to charge several batteries at once)
  • Propeller guards
  • Hood to block sunlight when using your phone as part of the controlling system
  • Gimbal Protectors
  • Caps for your motors
  • And literally so much more…

And while there are a lot of different accessories to choose from the most important travel drone accessories are highlighted below:

  1. Batteries
  2. Batteries
  3. And more batteries…lol. You get the picture…you need a fair amount of batteries.
  4. Extra propellers. It is not uncommon to damage your propellers and having a few spare sets can make the difference on your trip.
  5. Storage Cards (SD Cards). Video can take up large amounts of space, so come prepared with lots of storage.
  6. Good travel case. Drone mfrs usually offer hard and soft shelled cases. Make sure to check what kind of case (if any) comes with your drone, and get a case for your journey. If you are going somewhere where you have to check your drone, get a hard case. If you can carry it on, a soft case might be easier (and lighter) to transport.

Pro Tip: If traveling to a foreign country make sure you have plugs that are compatible with that countries power distribution systems. When (and if) applicable, buy a universal plug. Be a shame to not be able to charge your drone on your amazing adventure!
We’ve provided links, below, to different accessories for the drones we’ve covered above.

Traveling with a drone – can I bring it on the plane?

Now that you’ve bought your drone, the real fun can begin. But you might have some questions about traveling with your drone. We got you covered. Here are a few things to consider when getting ready to take your drone on your next trip.

Let’s start with some of the questions drone travelers might have:

  • Can I bring my drone on the plane?
  • Should I check my drone or carry it on?
  • Can I take my drone to any state, city or even country?
  • How do I know if I can fly my drone on my trip?
  • Do I need to register my drone before I go? And in the (say) country I am visiting?

These are really great questions and we’ve attempted to answer some of them here.

Let’s start first with “Can I bring my drone on the plane?” and “Should I check my drone or carry it on?”

The answer is almost certainly, yes! Unless you have a very large drone (like really large) your airline will let you bring your drone on the plane (that’s certainly the case for US airlines, anyway) and either check it or carry it on.

The question you should be asking is do I need to check it or can I carry it on because that’s the more important question. Each airline currently has its one drone policy (or in the case of Delta, no policy, which means you CAN bring it on or check it).

You might be interested in the TSA Drone Policy restrictions (which are minimal)

For example, American Airlines will let you check your drone or carry it on. However, when carrying it on there are some restrictions – namely size and battery related. You can read our full article on the American Airline Drone Policy, here.

Check out all of our Drone Airline Policies here.

Should you check it or carry it on is also important. We recommend drone travelers carry their drones on. Ever seen a baggage handler toss your suitcase off the plane onto the baggage cart? Now imagine your $1200 drone getting that treatment. Or worse, stolen.

Whenever possible, carry your drone on. Buy a purpose built travel drone backpack or hardcase and carry it on the plane. If you must check it, make sure you get a TSA-Approved lock and a hard case.

Another question to ask when traveling with your drone is related to your destination. “Can I even bring my drone to where I am going?

This is a more difficult question to answer. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • Cities, States and Countries are still figuring out how they are going to treat drones from a civic law perspective (e.g. what is allowed, not allowed). Restrictions / Laws / Etc vary wildly.
  • In addition to government related destinations, you may not be able to use your drone at the attraction you are visiting (e.g. it’s fine to bring your drone to Bali but the Beach you are staying at doesn’t allow drone use)

After reading that you might be thinking “why did I just waste $1400.00 on a travel drone. How am I going to explain this to my wife!?”

Deep breath. It may sound a bit ominous, but in reality it’s not. What we’ve found is that many cities, states and counties have very limited restrictions. Most US locales will not have an issue with you bringing a drone and using it with some exceptions.

For example, you might want to use your drone on your trip to the Grand Canyon. You’d be fined. In 2014, the US National Park Service banned the use of drones in National Parks (read the full order here).

Picture of Grand Canyon Drone Policy
Image of the Grand Canyon Drone Policy

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t bring it with you and use before you get to the park or at other areas on your visits.

It’s best to do some simple google searching for the destinations you are visiting on your trip before you lug your drone with you.

A really great website that’s worth reading before you take your trip is Know Before you Fly. It’s an excellent site full of great resources about flying your drones, what to stay away from, etc.

Image of Know Before you Fly - Travel Drone Information
An Excellent Resource for Drone Flying Information, Rules, etc

Another question we get a lot is “Do I need to Register my Drone?” or “I registered my drone in my country, do I need to register it in the country I am visiting?”

Again, great questions and again, somewhat difficult to answer.

Let’s start first with do you need to register your travel drone at all? Let’s assume you are in the United States, too.

The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA has published guidance on drone registration. And it’s based on the type of drone flyer you are. For our purposes we will assume you are a hobby drone pilot or recreational drone pilot you have to register your drone. Unless you are actually a real pilot (like certified and stuff…then you are a hobbyist).

The FAA’s policy is pretty clear, and we’ve provided a snapshot of their website so you can read it yourself:

Image of FAA Drone Registration Policy
FAA’s Drone Registration Policy

So, basically you need to register your drone. It’s not a big deal. Just get it done.

If you are visiting the US you also need to register too. Click the image, above, to find the process.

As another example, let’s look at the United Kingdom. Pocket-Lint notes about the UK’s drone policy:

“The amendment to the Air Navigation Order requires owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and for drone pilots to take an online safety test to ensure the UK’s skies are safe from irresponsible flyers. “

So there you have it. All of your burning travel drone questions answered. See, that thousand dollar drone wasn’t a bad idea after all. Now…to go figure out some ideas to convince your wife it was a good idea. Good luck!

Learning how to use my Travel Drone

Now that you’ve invested a good chunk of money into your drone how do you fly the silly thing? What happens if you crash it?? Great questions.

It can be a little unnerving sending that thousand dollar drone up into the air knowing you (yes you!) might crash it.

Not to worry though. Most modern drones have collision avoidance technology which helps mitigate the chances of that happening.

Image of Drone Flying on Brown Background from Best Travel Drones Image 3

Moreover, some practice flying is definitely worth your while. Before you do that, though, you need to do some homework. Specifically, you need to do some learning. Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Read your travel drone’s manual completely and thoroughly – get to know it!
  2. Watch a few videos on flying drones (ideally your make / model of drone) – see a few we posted, below
  3. Research other guides / manuals / tips on learning how to fly your drone
    1. DJI’s How to Fly a Drone Beginner’s Manual
    2. How to Fly a Drone – A Beginner’s Guide (from UAVCoach)
    3. How to fly a quadcopter (from DroneNodes)
    4. Consider joining a local drone enthusiast club or find a drone meetup.
  4. Take a class!
    1. ABJ Academy (highly recommended)
    2. UAV Coach has lots of great programs
    3. Dart Drones has programs as well
  5. Practice, practice, practice

After you’ve mastered the art of flying, it’s time to go deeper. You’ve invested in a travel drone to take your trip to the next level. That means high quality video and great photography.

Here are some resources to help you take better photos and videos with your travel drone:

Videos to Watch on Learning how to Fly your Drone

Here’s a few drone videos that might help you get your travel drone journey started:

Final Thoughts on the Best Travel Drones

We hope you enjoyed learning about and comparing travel drones. What drone did you decide on? We can’t wait to hear about it. Send us a video!!

If you are interested in Travel Tips, make sure to check out our main site, where you will find a variety of practical travel tips, travel hacks, product reviews, travel memes, and the latest travel news.

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