One of the best parts of having a drone is traveling to faraway places and taking pictures of vistas that you may never see again. But to do that, you need one of the best drones for travel. It needs to be compact, light, and have a great camera and other features on top of that. Oh, and it helps if you have a travel bag of extra batteries and other accessories.
And if you needed to register your drone, bring that paperwork with you! With so many things to consider, it can be hard to pick the best drone for travel.
But you’re here for my opinions on drones, and I intend to deliver! My favorite drone for travel is the DJI Mini 3 Pro. It’s so light that you don’t need to register it with the FAA, but more on that later.
It’s foldable, so it can fit in your travel bag with no problems. Its camera is awesome, it has over 30 minutes of flight time, and it’s a solid drone, especially for its weight class! It’s not even that expensive as far as drones go (but it’s not the budget pick). Keep reading for more on the best drones for travel!
I love DJI, and the DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best overall drone if you want to go on the road or in the air. DJI makes great drones, and the Mini 3 Pro is no exception. Features such as true vertical shooting, MasterShots, and timelapse mean that you can make excellent use of its 4K video and its 48-megapixel camera.
But that’s not what makes the DJI Mini 3 Pro the best drone for travel. The camera features are excellent, but if you’re traveling, the weight and foldability matter more than how good your camera is.
Let’s talk about weight first, because weight prevents a lot of the other drones from taking the top spot. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, pilots must register any drone over 250 grams, or 0.55 lb. To put things in perspective, that’s about the weight of a stapler.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro weighs less than that. Some international flights have strict weight requirements, so that’s a point in itself. But as a drone pilot, you care more about registering your drone (or not). Note that buying anything extra (such as a larger battery) to enhance this drone may push it over the weight limit.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is also very compact. The official website lets you see what it looks like folded and unfolded. When it’s folded, the drone fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. Imagine how easy that would be to fit in a travel bag! It’s the best budget drone for a reason.
There are two major downsides to the DJI Mini 3 Pro: its fragility and some inconsistent transfer features. Protect it during travel; it’s easy to jostle. Some Amazon reviews report their high-grade photos coming in oddly pixelated. But most people love the DJI Mini 3 Pro, and I’m one of them!
The Holy Stone HS720 is another favorite of mine. It’s great because it’s foldable. However, it’s not great because it weighs 460 grams instead of 249—boo! It’s less than 500 grams, just not enough to avoid registration. The things it can do still make it the best budget drone on the list. The Amazon reviews also report excellent customer service!
But one marked upgrade that the HS720 has over the DJI Mini 3 Pro is its return-to-home (RTH) feature. It can follow you like many drones, but if you give it the GPS coordinates, your Holy Stone will return to a given location. This might save your drone! Even though it’s not as light as the Mini 3 Pro, its other features make it one of the best drones for travel.
Again, no drone is without flaws, and one of the biggest issues with the HS720 is its battery charge time. This drone can take 3–4 hours to charge. Even if you manage to fly it for the supposed 52 minutes, the time it takes to charge can be a downer.
The Autel Nano+ drone has great privacy features, obstacle avoidance, and many flight modes. It features a 50-megapixel camera that takes great photos and captures 4k video at 30fps.
The drone has a well-designed remote that fits a smartphone in its cradle, but it has a high price tag compared to some other models.
It offers excellent value for money, with features that rival more significant, premium drones beyond its class, and a solid flight time.
I’ve sung the praises of the Autel EVO Nano+ on other posts, and it’s still the best for image quality. You just can’t beat the Nano+’s 50MP camera, 16x digital zoom, and adjustable ISO. Autel consistently gives DJI a run for its money when it comes to pint-sized drones that take amazing pictures.
Did I mention that this drone, like the DJI Mini 3 Pro, is under 250 grams? It’s called “Nano” for a reason! Tiny drones like this make great travel companions. But, like the DJI Mini 3 Pro, any augments might push it over that weight cap.
With the Autel EVO Nano+, not only do you have a foldable drone that weighs under 250 grams, but it has a pro-grade camera attached! The biggest differences between this and the DJI Mini 3 Pro are the price and slightly lower battery life (28 minutes VS 34 minutes). Also, this drone comes in bright orange—great if it flies away!
This is probably the most compact and most durable drone out there. Its intuitive controls allow anyone to become a master pilot almost instantly.
As the name suggests, it's a selfie stick on steroids! Ideal for taking photos and group selfies when out and about.
Do you like taking selfies? Let me rephrase that: do you like taking selfies without the horror stories about people taking selfies? If you answered “yes,” the AirSelfie AIR NEO is the easiest-to-use drone when you want to take pictures of yourself in front of famous landmarks. If you’re really into selfies, it even has features that let you upload your pics directly to social media!
The AirSelfie AIR NEO is very user-friendly. Beginners on Amazon love it for having step-by-step instructions. It even comes with backup propellers in case you break it. This drone is perfect for people who want to experiment with drones on their vacation.
That said, it does only one thing and does not compare to more advanced drones. Buy it if you’re a beginner who wants to have fun on vacation. Most experienced drone pilots will find better models. But if this gets you hooked on drones, then know that you’ve seen only a taste of what drones can do!
Boasting not only its unique design but also very impressive battery life, the Falcon by ZeroZero Robotics will impress you with its quiet flight. It can sustain flights up to 50 minutes which should give you plenty of time to enjoy flying this bi-copter.
As many other drones in its category this drone offers a 3-axis gimbal which will stabilise the 4K video for some of the best shots of your activities.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…wait, this is a weird-looking drone! But the V-Coptr Falcon’s unique shape makes it the best for portability. It’s highly foldable, has auto-following features built into its camera, and has automatic electronic stabilization. There’s a reason this drone is constantly sold out on Amazon!
The V-Coptr Falcon also boasts the longest flight time of any drone on this list—a whopping 50 minutes! The V-shaped copter setup also makes it eerily quiet, which is great if you want to photograph noise-sensitive wildlife. All of this is possible because the Falcon looks different from the average drone. Its form fits its function, I guess.
But there are some downsides to it as well. The Falcon is a lot bulkier than other drones, weighing in at a beefy 760 grams (1.68 lb.). And maybe looks aren’t deceiving; there are a few issues with the RTH and obstacle avoidance features that might make you think the drone was meant to be eccentric!
You’re a drone pilot on the go and can only take one traveling companion. Which drone do you take with you? Here are some things to look for when buying a new drone—or sorting through your collection!
What to Look for in the Best Drone for Travel
Here is an abridged list of things to consider when looking at the physical specs of the best drone for travel.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it merits restating here: in most parts of the world, you do not have to register a drone that weighs under 250 grams/0.55 lb. Aside from dodging paperwork, who wants to add more weight to their bags? Some airlines have strict weight restrictions, so always consider weight when picking a drone to travel with!
Drones for travel need to be compact, especially if you want to travel internationally. Again, many airlines have specific size and/or weight restrictions for bags. And if your drone folds, that’s even better!
Along with various features, drones may come packaged with travel accessories—usually for an increased price. Look for these extra accessories when buying your drone!
A drone gimbal reduces vibration on your drone’s camera. You can buy protectors to shield this area from dust and water during transportation. Some drones already come with unflappable gimbals, but you can’t be too careful.
Companies that sell drones often offer a special travel bag with them. This bag usually fits the drone and all of its accessories. If you travel often, it’s worth spending a little extra to save a lot of hassle.
Finally, some drone packages come with the sweetest gift of all: extra or replacement batteries! Never miss a view again when you have a spare battery on hand.
If you want to take unforgettable vacation photos, you will need an excellent camera. Not only do you want HQ photos and video, but you want them to be streamed from your drone or tablet. Be sure to double-check any images to make sure they look as good on your phone as they do on your drone.
“Smart features” are any features that the AI of your drone is capable of. These include, but are not limited to:
Pre-Planned Flight Paths
In some cases, you can program a drone along a GPS-guided flight path. Instead of piloting every action of your drone in a park, you can give it a course to run and take pictures and movies from below. Combine this with “follow me” to reduce your piloting to a minimum and enjoy your vacation!
Automatic “Follow Me”
This feature tells your drone to follow you wherever you go. You won’t have to control your drone to keep it above you!
Return-to-home is a useful feature that uses a drone’s GPS to return to a certain spot. You can tell a drone to go there if it’s out of batteries so that you don’t have to pilot it.
The best drone for travel should have some form of obstacle avoidance. This will keep your drone from crashing while it’s on an automatic flight path.
Photography Software Features
Some of the best drones for travel are also the best photo drones. They may already come with features such as facial recognition, auto-focus, and subject tracking. Some even have automatic noise reduction or features for taking pictures in low light!
The last thing you’ll have to worry about with the best drones for travel is flight time. Remember that flight time is a two-way trip: if the battery lasts 50 minutes, you need to plan for 25 out and 25 back. Err on the side of caution; if your drone has an RTH feature, tell it to start flying back once the battery is low. You don’t want your drone falling into the water!
Drones are one of the best ways to take photos of unforgettable vacations. But to find the best drone for travel, you might have to look around a little. I like the DJI Mini 3 Pro plenty thanks to it being a solid 249-gram drone all-around.
But some options have better cameras, better AI features, longer battery life, and so on. If you’re new to flying drones, maybe a cheaper option like the Holy Stone HS720 or the selfie-specialized AIR NEO. Even though the DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best drone for travel, it might not be the best fit for everybody. Bon voyage!
P.S.—If you wind up traveling with your drone to take pictures, check the laws on drones at your destination. Have any necessary paperwork on-hand, ready to show at a moment’s notice. It’s never worth getting arrested to fly your drone—especially in another country!