Drone technology has come a long way in the last 10. Its growing popularity has spurred innovation and made prices accessible to the point that drones are now used in a range of industries, from construction to agriculture and yes, travel.
The fact is, high-quality drones have never been easier to travel with. Modern models are portable, affordable, and easy to operate. Often, the best way to capture the most breathtaking moments on a trip is to use a drone camera. Both professional and enthusiastic amateur travelers are increasingly taking a drone with them whenever they get on a plane.
If you’re considering buying one, here’s a list of things to look out for to identify the best travel drone for you:
Drones can range from being incredibly lightweight to fairly heavy. Think about how you want to use the drone and where you plan on traveling to. Typically, the higher the battery life and the more advanced its flight capabilities, the bigger the drone. Really heavy ones can make packing and taking a drone on a plane a bit of a challenge, so be prepared for that if features are important to you.
- Camera Quality
What kind of photography do you want to capture with the drone? If you’re a travel blogger or an influencer and you just want some nice aerial shots on your trip, an average quality drone camera will do fine. However, if you want to capture video and create vlogs, it’s best to use a high-quality drone for travel.
- Your Level of Experience
If you’re accustomed to operating a drone, you’re likely to have an easier time of it during your trip without some of the most high-end features. Premium-quality drones, however, come with built-in features like obstacle avoidance that can make flying a drone much easier for newbies.
The Best Drones for Summer
With summer just around the corner and vacation plans in full tilt, here’s our selection of the best drones for travel photography:
1. DJI Mavic Air
This drone offers an excellent combination of size, flight features, and optical quality. It comes at a very reasonable price and is highly portable. When folded up, it’s more or less the size of a tablet. It can fit into an everyday travel bag or even a jacket pocket, making it the perfect drone to take on a plane. Its controller is collapsible to a smaller size as well. The drone is fairly responsive and offers around 22 minutes of flight time. Its camera is impressive as well, with 4K video capture possible at up to 30fps. Overall, this is probably the best choice for a consumer travel drone.
2. DJI Phantom 3
This is an excellent model for beginners. If you’re new to drone photography, the DJI Phantom could be the drone for you. It’s a tried and tested model and one that has consistently delivered performance over the years. It’s also quite affordable and very reliable. It delivers excellent image and video quality as well.
3. DJI Mavic Pro 2
This is perhaps the best travel drone for professionals who are used to operating drones. It’s one of DJI’s most recent models with cutting-edge technology. The Mavic Pro 2 is a compact model and can do practically anything in terms of flight maneuvers. It also delivers an excellent 30 minutes of flight time, and a controller that remains responsive at a distance of up to five miles.
4. DJI Spark
The DJI Spark is the best travel drone for budget buyers. It’s equipped with much the same technology and features as most of the other DJI models including Quick Shots, image stabilization, object avoidance, and more. However, it packs all of this for a price of less than $500, making it the best budget option out of all of them.
5. Parrot Anafi
This is an excellent (and in some ways more adaptable) alternative to some of DJI’s models. The Parrot Anafi is built for travel and has a very impressive camera. Its optical performance offers an incredible 21 MP resolution and 4K video recording at 30fps. It can also zoom in and rotate a full 180 degrees up, down, and to the sides, offering the best flexibility for you of all the travel drones on this list. The Anafi is quite thin and lighter even than the Mavic Air, making it an excellent drone to take on a plane.
6. Potensic D68
This is another excellent beginner-friendly drone that offers high-quality capture. The Potensic D68 is packed with some outstanding features, including a built-in GPS and a ‘return home’ function that allows it to return back to you when its battery is low or if there is poor signal reception. Its battery life is very good at 25 minutes and the camera can record in 4K as well. The D68 is very affordable as well—one of the best budget drones for travel.
Consider X-naut iPad Support Systems to Go With Your Drone
As a drone pilot, an iPad is likely your go-to companion during your travels. You don’t want your iPad overheating or its battery dying on you just as you’re in the middle of a sortie. At X-naut, we’ve developed a range of patented iPad Cooling Case systems that can keep your device cool and powered up all day—and they’re the perfect way to secure and stabilize your device in rugged, outdoor terrains. Combined with our specialized drone pilot accessories, they can help you get the most out of each drone flight and ensure you capture some top-notch photography during your trip.