Traveling with your drone is more complicated than traveling with a camera or a phone. There are some concerns and considerations to think about before you can relax and pursue your drone-related activities. To help prepare for this, we will cover most of the important ones in our must-know drone travel tips.
Always know the local drone laws
It is impossible to overstate how vital knowing local drone laws is. You can get into some serious trouble if you do not bother to do research! Instead of trying to learn how to shoot better travel videos with a drone, spend some time on this. Be warned that it is not enough to know the basic drone laws for a state or country. You also need to be familiar with what you can do in any national park, city, or landmark you visit. For example, drone use is entirely banned in the Grand Canyon, which is a valuable piece of information before deciding to travel with your drone.
Be particularly careful with drone laws pertaining to using a drone in urban areas.
What happens if you break the rules?
You might be thinking: Who cares! I will send my drone up quickly to get one cool shot, and that’s it. I won’t get caught! This is not an intelligent thing to do. The most lenient of consequences you could face for doing so is fine. And before you go thinking you would be okay with ‘paying’ for a photo or video, know that such fines are exorbitant. In the U.S., they go upwards of five thousand dollars. Even in countries abroad, you can still expect to pay at least three thousand dollars in local currency. And remember, this is the least serious consequence you could face. Your drone could be confiscated. You could be deported from whatever country you are visiting. It is even possible for the whole thing to end up in your permanent police record.
Know if you should take your drone with you at all
One of the most critical drone travel tips is that you should always triple check if you should risk taking your drone through the customs of a particular country at all. There are currently fifteen countries that ban drones from passing through customs: Algeria, Barbados, Brunei, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Morocco, Nicaragua, Senegal, Syra, and Uzbekistan. If you try to travel here with a drone, know that it will be confiscated. This, of course, makes organizing electronic devices when moving to these places and trying to prepare everything properly a bit tricky if you are fond of your drone. At least as a one-time visitor, you will only be parted from your drone while on vacation there.
Keep in mind the weather you will be experiencing
Always research the weather you will be traveling into. Any experienced drone user will know that the weather changes things a lot—both when it comes to using your drone and taking care of it afterward. You do not want to have to use your knowledge of what to do when you crash your drone because the country you visited had heavy rainfall, and you still insisted on flying according to your original plans! If you are traveling somewhere purely to get drone photos or footage for whatever reason, then weather research should be top of your to-do list anyway. This also means you should bring along any maintenance and storage equipment required to deal with the weather conditions.
Take your drone with you as carry-on
If you are wondering, you will be relieved to know that you can take a drone onto a plane, if you take batteries out beforehand. Also, if you are planning to travel by plane, then the most useful of our drone travel tips is to take it with you as a carry-on. Plane luggage compartments are not very gentle with whatever ends up in them. This means that your drone would be facing a very bumpy ride. And that’s not something you want to be done to a delicate piece of equipment! It is much better to have your drone by your side and personally ensure that nothing untoward happens to it.
Bringing drone accessories onto a plane is typically not an issue.
Bring extra batteries
It is, of course, only smart to bring extra batteries when you are traveling—no matter what kind of a battery-using device we are discussing. The same naturally applies to drones, but a few questions come up. Can I take drone batteries onto a plane? If yes, how many can I take with me? The answer to the former question is yes if the battery watt-hours are under 160. The latter question has a slightly more complex answer. If your batteries are between one hundred and one hundred and sixty watt-hours, you can bring along two, and you will require airline permission to do it. On the other hand, if your batteries are under one hundred-watt hour, you can bring along as many as you want in your carry-on bag.
Use a proper bag or case
The final drone travel tip we have to offer you is always to use a proper drone bag or case. Preferably the original one that came with your drone. Or one you have bought for your drone from the original manufacturer. This is the best way to keep your drone safe. Otherwise, you risk making your effort to learn about your drone and how to use it pointless in the face of accidentally breaking it in transit.
A drone bag is the best possible protection for your device!
We hope that our must-know drone travel tips will help make your travel plans come together that much more easily. Just remember that, even if you ignore all our other advice, you should always do proper research on the drone use laws of the place, state, or country you will be visiting!