We found 7 experts who’ve traveled with their drones and asked them to share their top tips for traveling with a drone.
Here at BestTravelDrone.com we love to talk about two things: Drones & Travel. We think they are the perfect combination for most trips. But…there are some things to consider when traveling with your drone.
Here are the 7 top tips for traveling with a drone!
Please don’t forget to check out our drone comparison table where we examine several different travel drones based on features, price, value, etc.
7 Tips for Traveling with a Drone
We found 7 travel experts who also love drones. They’ve traveled with their drones and learned the hard way some of the ins and outs of traveling with a drone. We’ve collected their favorite tips in this collaboration. Enjoy!
Traveling with a Drone Tip #1: Can I take my drone to “x” country?
From: The Travelling Twins
I’m the happy owner of a drone, however, I didn’t fly it on my recent trip to Morocco. Why? Because Morocco doesn’t allow you to bring one into the country. Fortunately, I had researched Morocco Travel Tips before the trip. I have also read that if you do take one it will be seized at customs and may be returned to you on exit, but why risk it? The customs staff at Agadir certainly checked all my photography kit quite carefully.
This prompted me to see if I could find a list of other drone-unfriendly countries. The number of countries which ban them outright is quite small, but several others require you to obtain permits before you travel. This makes it all but impossible for most people to carry them.
Here is my long list of places which either disallow them or else make it very difficult.
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
This list may change, so wherever you go, my tip is to do a bit of research well in advance. Find out whether they are allowed at all, and if so, what hoops you might have to jump through to avoid disappointment at the border.
Check KnowBeforeYouFly.com for potential information about flying your drone in your country of destination.
Traveling with a Drone Tip #2: Can I take my drone to my final destination (e.g. national park, tourist attraction, etc)?
From: Our Kind of Crazy
Drone footage always adds an awesome new perspective to your videos or photos. However, it’s important to be aware of any destination specific restrictions while traveling with a drone.
While many countries will allow you to fly your drone in many parts, there still may be many places that are “off limits” to pilot your equipment. For example, the US prohibits flying a drone in any National Park.
So before you start it up, be sure to check the rules of the place you are in and make yourself aware of the rules if you plan to fly.
Traveling with a Drone Tip #3: Can I fly my drone at my resort?
From: Mumpack Travel
Drones have become so popular these days that it’s not only countries and cities that have no fly zones – resorts and private properties are also restricting drone usage to protect the privacy of their guests. When you’re traveling with your drone you should always check with the resort you’re staying at for their operating guidelines and make sure to work within them.
At Kuredu Resort in the Maldives, for example, flying was not only restricted to certain areas, but also specific times due to the light aircraft transporting guests in and out of the island.
While many resorts now have no-fly rules, it can pay to talk to the manager to organise a fly window, often early in the morning before too many people are up and about. I did this at the Shangri La Tanjung Aru in Borneo and was given permission and a confirmation note from the General Manager to show security – who approached me as soon as they saw me setting up.
Traveling with a Drone Tip #4: What is my airline’s drone policy?
From: Dream Big Travel Far
When it comes to flying with drones, many airlines tend to have unique and quirky policies. Most of the time, we find that it’s okay so long as you disconnect all batteries from the drone itself and store them in your hand luggage. Whereas some airlines have even stricter requirements. Such as requiring you to have a maximum number of batteries per person in your carry-on.
Others limit how powerful the batteries can be, Ultimately, it’s hard to give one fixed rule that covers the drone policy for all airlines. As such, it’s best to check your airline’s website before you fly and even contact their customer service team if you can’t find the facts you need.
Traveling with your Drone Tip #5: Did I bring enough batteries for my drone?
From: More Life in your Days
A drone is a great piece of kit that can provide some amazing shots and awesome memories of your trip away. But it is not much good without a working battery so our top tip for travelling with a drone is to make sure that you look after your batteries.
There is nothing worse than being in position for an awesome shot and seeing the dreaded low battery alert coming up.
For this reason, we advise anyone that plans international travel with a drone to make sure that they take along a spare battery so that you always have back up when you need it.
Of course, you need to ensure that the batteries are charged when you need them so make sure that you have the right plug adapters for the country that you are going to and you may want to check whether a voltage adapter is necessary as well.
All these tips assume that your batteries have arrived safely with you to your travel destination. To ensure that this is the case, if you are flying with a drone, make sure that you always take your batteries on board with you in your cabin luggage. This is because the airplane hold is not pressurized and temperatures can fluctuate. In fact, many airlines have policies about proper storage of your drone batteries.
Traveling with a Drone Tip #6: How to pack your drone for air travel
From: Trip and Trail
There are two ways to carry a drone—inside your carry-on, or inside your checked-in luggage. I always prefer the latter if I have the choice (destination or airliner may forbid it) since it’s the safest for my equipment. If your drone is the size of the ever popular DJI Mavic Pro (check price) or smaller, then things are easy. You can use pretty much any luggage/backpack as long as the drone is protected in a pouch. For bigger drones like DJI Phantom, a specialized backpack is probably a necessity, especially if you also carry other photographic equipment with you (cameras, lenses).
I use a Vanguard Alta Sky 51D which is on the limit of most airliners’ cabin luggage dimensions (won’t fit Ryanair or Easy Jet). For even bigger drones or when you can’t take it onboard for any reason (e.g. Budapest airport), then I’m afraid that check-in in inevitable and a hard case is definitely needed (even if you put your drone inside a luggage in which case the drone’s box may be enough).
Keep in mind that some airliners like Wizz Air will even demand you to sign a waiver in order to check-in something this expensive.
Traveling with your Drone Tip #7: When using my drone on my trip am I monitoring for wildlife?
From: Expedition Wildlife
When traveling with your drone, avoid conflicts between drones and wildlife by considering ahead of time the kinds of wildlife you might run into during your flight time, particularly if you plan to be in natural areas. Many national parks, wildlife preserves, and conservation areas are off-limits to drones, as the presence and sound of a foreign object can negatively impact sensitive wildlife, especially during breeding seasons.
Having a spotter, or additional person to watch out for animals that could be impacted by the drone’s presence, can be beneficial in lessening your effect. We never forget our binoculars to scope out the potential animals in the area ahead of time, and we keep an eye on them while the drone is in the air. If the behavior of the animals changes, we discontinue flight and wait until they’ve moved on, or come back another time.
Know the rules and regulations for flying near certain wildlife, as threatened, endangered, or otherwise legally protected species are strictly protected against harassment. Not only could this save you from incurring hefty fines, but you might also avoid having your drone dive-bombed (and destroyed!) by territorial birds.
For more ideas and tips on traveling with your drone check out this video (specifically battery rules)
Final Thoughts on Traveling with a Drone
So there you have it. 7 tips on traveling with a drone. We hope this collaboration has been helpful. Use these tips on your next drone tip (and send pics!).
Special thanks to all of our contributors! Their insights were invaluable – be sure to check out their blogs!
Please check out these great articles including more travel drone related content, travel tips and more.
- Best Travel Drone – comparison & analysis of the top drones for travelers
- What’s the TSA Drone Policy?
- American Airlines Drone Policy – can I take my drone on an American Airlines flight?
- Delta Drone Policy – there is no policy!
- Top 5 Drones on Amazon.com
- 147 Travel Tips – the ultimate list of road warrior tips & tricks