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What Should I Consider When Traveling with a Drone?

It wasn’t too long ago that images taken from a bird’s eye view were out of the reach of the majority, with only those having access to full-size aircraft being able to capture photos at altitude.

However, with the advances in drone technology at a consumer level, the interest in aerial photography has seen an explosion. Now there are  800,000 registered pilots of unmanned aircraft in the country looking to get their unique perspective on the planet.

For those who enjoy traveling, drones have created an opportunity for people to get an alternative viewpoint of some of the most stunning landmarks. While some remarkable images have been shared online, the boom in interest has also brought its fair share of issues. These pitfalls have gone a long way to highlight that getting airborne overseas involves more than just heading to your retailer, picking up the latest model and putting it in your luggage.

With that in mind, here is a shortlist of things you should consider if you’re looking to travel with a drone.

Drone Types

The type of drone you wish to fly can have a bearing on travel, as you may need permission to take your aircraft through customs. There is a wide range of drones on the market, and not all will be suitable. We would recommend a multi-rotor variant, perhaps something like the DJI Mavic Mini 2. That’s because it only weighs 249g; the importance of its weight comes from the fact that is that owners must register drones weighing 250g and above in most countries before they can take flight. The battery capacity on the Mavic Mini is also below 100wh, which means you can take more than two spares on the journey.

However, for the action enthusiast, there’s the option of the Karma by GoPro, which has a detachable action camera, which means you’re not limited to footage from the skies as you can remove the camera and use it on the go. However, the Karma is a heavy beast, coming in at over 1,000g, which would mean permits will likely be needed to fly, and that’s before you think about the considerable weight added to your luggage.

Transportation and packaging

Once you’ve decided on your drone, you need to make sure that it’s all suitably packaged up before heading to the airport. Imagine landing at your destination only to find the propellers have snapped in transit, meaning you can’t get that shot you’ve been dreaming of for months. There are so many different cases for drones, and the best ones are tough enough to withstand the rigors of a regular trip on a plane. Model-specific options such as the Nanuk 920 Hard Case are lined with pre-cut foam so your aircraft can nestle safely and securely within, also there’s space to store extra batteries and other accessories. In contrast, others like the PGYTech mini carrying case are small and compact enough to slip into your hand luggage but don’t allow for extra accessories to be transported within.

Check flying laws before departure

You need to do two things before booking your flight; first of all, speak to the airline to find out if they have any particular rules around transporting drones, as some do have policies beyond those of the FAA. Secondly, it’s prudent to check if laws at your destination allow the flight of drones in their airspace. While some countries allow relatively free flight, others require pilots to apply for a permit to fly their aircraft; meanwhile, places such as Morocco totally forbid drones in their airspace. In the case of the North African country, those found to be attempting to bring a drone in would have their device confiscated, and they’ll have a fine of around $115, before only getting their item returned upon departure.

While some may suggest traveling around the world with your device can be an arduous task, as you can see by following our tips and staying organized it’s not the case at all. It’s entirely possible to pack your drone before heading out into the world to take some of the best images anyone has ever seen.


by Virgin America Flight Attendant
TJ Newman



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