People keep asking “how do you travel with a drone”, “can I clear airport immigration with my drone” or “can I bring my drone on the plane”. You CAN travel with your drone, bring it on the plane and clear security.
After travelling with my drone to 4 continents and multiple countries, I will share some tips on travel with a drone in this FAQ.
Just for fun, watch Casey Neistat fly a drone ON the plane. See, you CAN bring the drone on the plane. Please DO NOT fly it on the plane.
[Pre] Travel with a Drone
Can I travel on a plane with a drone?
Yes, you can. Make sure your drone is in your carry on, especially the batteries.
At Airport Security
Drones can clear airport security. Remove the drone batteries and place them in a separate security bin. So far, I have been to USA, Europe, Asia & Africa. Not one person asked me about my drone at security.
Popular countries where people fly their drones
What are the countries that do not allow drones aka ban drones?
Cuba, Nicaragua, Morocco, Fiji, Zambia, North Korea (duh), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kenya, India, Iran, Ethiopia.
What happens when you bring your drone to these banned places?
They take your drone away at customs. They are not returning it. Say bye bye to your drone.
Countries with strict drone laws?
Bhutan, Belgium, UAE, Slovakia, Croatia, Denmark, Belize, Russia.
What should I do when I travel with my drone?
Which Drone To Travel With
Which drone is best to travel with?
Without a doubt, DJI Mavic Pro.
- Portable: setting up and flying is quick and easy.
- Light-weight: top criteria for a travel gadget
- Heavier than DJI Spark & Mavic Air: I flew in many places with the crazy wind (South Africa, Scotland, Mauritius). You need a drone that has some weight to be stable when flying. I almost lost my drone many times because the wind blew it away and the signal was lost!
- Quality of image/picture: 4K high quality
Flying a drone is like flying a small aircraft. Don’t buy a shitty one. DJI is the best in the market. Don’t buy a shitty one and waste your money.
What should I bring?
Extra batteries. A Mavic Pro battery can last up to 16min. If you buy the “Fly More Combo”, it is pricier but it includes 2 extra batteries and other gadgets. The Fly More Combo is more value or money.
The package also comes with a pouch to carry your gadgets. I fit my drone + controller + 3 batteries in it. Super easy for travel!
What do I need for great shots?
To be honest, that is all I bring. Some people will recommend you stuff like drone bags, propeller guards, quieter propeller bladers, etc. Sure, they’re good. But the basic is good enough. If you want more gadgets, feel free to get extra accessories.
[During] Flying Drone Abroad
Beware of these when you fly your drone:
- Weather: my greatest fear is the strong wind. If the wind is too strong, you might lose control of your drone, especially if the drone is flying against it.
- Cold weather: cold weather might shorten your battery’s lifespan. Make sure you don’t fly it too far so you can get it back when the battery is low.
- Local laws: know your laws before & after entering a country. Check if you can bring the drone into the country. Check where you can fly. i.e. in general, it’s not possible to fly in city centers. (Refer to above)
- Safety: avoid crowds and be extra vigilant when you fly. Watch out for things that may obstruct your flight route.
- Animals: birds might think your drone is a friend. Watch out for animals when you fly.
If you’re a beginner:
Use tripod mode on the drone for slower speed. Do not engage in sports mode.
Best places to fly:
- At peak of mountains (Eg. Lion’s Peak in Hong Kong, Stairway to Heaven in Oahu)
- Rooftops of buildings (Eg. Rooftop of our hotel in New York City)
- By the beach with no one around (Eg. Plenty of beaches around the Garden Route in South Africa)
- Local Facebook groups in the region. You get to meet people or trade tips on flying.
- DJI Forum: MAVIC Pro | SPARK | PHANTOM | General
- [Tom’s Tech Time] Drone Setting
- [Kraig Adams] How To Fly Cinematic Shots
- [Casey Neistat] Mavic Pro vs Mavic Air
- [Peter McKinnon] Cinematic Drone Shots
- [Drone Film Guide] Drone Editing Tips
Flying a drone is basically being a pilot. You have to be aware of the rules, the safety of people and fly with confidence. Many of the drone footage you see online requires practice. Practice at home before travelling with your drone.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.