A couple of years ago, bringing a drone while travelling meant lugging around a large case. Today, drones are much smaller than they used to be. Some are even foldable and will fit into your camera bag nicely. The latest drones make travelling with one a lot more convenient. They also have more capable cameras and better gimbals or stabilisers.
Choosing a drone for travel purposes is not straightforward. There are several things you need to consider to find the right one according to your specific requirements and preferences. Here are the aspects to consider when shopping for a drone.
Size and Practicality
Even the DJI Phantom now feels a bit large compared to the smaller drones available on the market. The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 and the DJI Mavic Pro transformed the market, especially the traveller market segment. They are reliable and have smaller footprints when folded, so you don’t need a separate bag just for your drone equipment.
Practicality matters too. There is no point in carrying a drone while travelling if it is too complicated to set up. A good drone must be able to fly within minutes of you taking it out of the bag. Older models, unfortunately, still need to be assembled. Sometimes, it takes more than installing the propellers to get a drone ready for flight.
Drone cameras have also improved substantially over the years. Even the older DJI Phantom 3 models, which now sell at attractive prices depending on the version you go for, have cameras capable of capturing RAW photos and 4K aerial video with great detail. Sadly, not all drones have a capable camera for stunning travel videos.
Some of the smaller ones have small camera sensors, so you can’t expect the same low-light performance and colour rendition as the more capable options. You also need to know how to maximise the settings of these drone cameras to get the best results. Set them correctly, however, and you’ll have plenty of drone videos to add to your next YouTube travel vlog.
The little features added by drone manufacturers are handy to have. Obstacle detection, for example, can help you fly the drone without the risk of crashing into objects in its path. Keep in mind that obstacle detection is not always available on all four sides.
Another great feature is the follow-me mode, where the drone detects an object to track and follows the movement of that object as it moves. You can set it to track your position while surfing or driving and instantly have the ability to produce an amazing, very cinematic video to post on YouTube or a drone video sharing site like AirVuz.
One last feature to look for is ground detection. DJI Mavic Pro was among the first to implement this feature. An additional sensor on the bottom of the drone will stop it from crashing into the ground, either by accident or when you try to land it too quickly.
By taking these factors into consideration, you will have no trouble at all finding a drone that suits your specific travel needs. You can also stick to your budget and still have the best drone money can buy.