Drone photography: How to pick the best drone for travelling?

Drone photography: what is the best drone for travelling? We have been travelling with a drone for almost 2 years now. And I just love drone photography: you can take photos or videos from different perspectives. Besides, it is also a fun gadget to play with. But then the question is: “Which drone is best suited for travelling?”

That, of course, depends on what purpose you want to use the drone for; recreational or professional? Professional drones are quickly hundreds of euros more expensive than drones for recreational use. In this blog, I will help you with the difficult choice to find the best travel drone for you. Backpacking and taking a drone with you for photography can go easily together! All photos you see in this blog were taken with our drone (DJI SPARK).

Raggamuffin sailing trip Belize drone


Choosing the best travel drone: Where should you pay attention to?

The following aspects are important to consider when purchasing a drone with camera. What qualities of the drone are important when choosing a drone suitable for backpacking?

1. Weight and size of the drone | Backpacking with a drone!

When you are travelling you don’t want to carry too much stuff and weight. The lighter your luggage, the easier you travel. Especially if you are backpacking for a longer period, it certainly pays-off: how smaller the drone the better. Ideally, your drone should not weigh more than 500 grams.

A drone should easily fit in your backpack

The larger your drone, the more likely you are to leave it at home because you will find it a hassle to carry it around. Believe me, you encounter these situations more often than you think. Imagine you are as crazy about photography as I am. And you want to take your camera with you for a hike, perhaps with an extra lens. In addition, you also want to take your drone with you. Then your luggage quickly weighs a few pounds.

On top of that, you will need water, food and perhaps some extra clothing in case it gets cold on the mountain. Then your backpack will easily weigh more than 5 kg. If your drone, including extra batteries and control panel, weighs more than 500 grams, it is tempting to leave your drone at home to save weight. Therefore, less is more. The lighter and more compact your drone, the better!

Drone shot Lapland - Finland


What do you take with you when travelling for several months? A packing checklist for your backpack!


2. Quality of the drone camera | Drone photography while travelling!

The better the quality of your camera, the better your photos and videos will be. From my own experience, I can say that a drone camera of at least 12 megapixels and a video resolution from 1920 to 1080 (full HD) are sufficient to shoot good quality images in most (lighting) conditions. All photos you see in this blog comply with this.

Go for a drone that is equipped with a gimbal, a camera stabilizer. It is much easier to shoot sharp pictures with a drone that has a gimbal. Our drone meets the above characteristics and that is more than enough for good quality pictures.

Lake Bunyonyi

3. Flight range & flight time of the drone | Traveling with a drone!

Two other important aspects that you should pay attention to when purchasing a new drone are the flight range and flight time.

Flight range of drones

By flight range of your drone, I mean how far your drone can fly from the takeoff point. From my own experience, I can say that it is important to see the drone when you fly it. For the flight range, this implies that a drone doesn’t have to fly further than 1 km. If the drone is further away, you will no longer see the drone. In very specific cases, I would like my drone to be able to fly more than 1 km. So make sure you have a drone with a flight range of at least 1 km.

In terms of height it does not matter at all. There is a limitation so that you cannot fly higher than 240 meters and all drones do reach this height.

Cameron Highlands drone photography tea fields

Flight time of drones

Most drones have a minimum flight time of 15 minutes. Speaking from my experience, that is more than enough to make cool photos and videos. There are also drones that have a flight time of 30 minutes or more. That is of course nice, but absolutely not a requirement. Flight time of a drone is not really a feature that you should take into account when purchasing a drone, because nowadays the flight time of almost all drones is “long” enough. It makes more sense to buy extra batteries than to go for a model that has a longer flight time. Buying an extra battery is cheaper than buying a more expensive drone.

Lion's Rock us Sigiriya

4. How often do you use the drone? | Drone photography while travelling

Perhaps this aspect should be at the top. I know many people who, in their enthusiasm, have bought a drone for a trip. You can already feel it coming. . . and then barely use it. Don’t get me wrong, but I would only buy a drone if you are sure you will use it often. If you are not sure how often you will use a drone, go for a cheaper model.


What camera gear to we use while backpacking? Read here our packing list for electronics


5. The purchase price of drones | Backpacking with a drone

If you want a drone that meets the above aspects, it easily cost around €500. Sometimes this price includes extra accessories such as controller, protective cover and extra batteries (they call this “Fly More Combo”). Is this type of drone worth the money? If you love taking pictures and go on holidays often, yes the drone is definitely worth the investment!

Tanjung Rhu Beach droneshot

Conclusion: What are the best travel drones on the market?

If you take all 5 points mentioned above into account, I would recommend the following 3 drones: DJI Mavic Mini, DJI Mavic Air and the DJI Spark. The last one can be difficult to buy since it is no longer produced. So, you basically buy the last stock of the DJI Spark. However, the DJI Spark is still a great drone for backpacking and travelling!

DJI Mavic Mini – Fly More Combo | a perfect travel drone!

DJI Mavic Mini

This model is going to be our next drone for travelling! This drone is compact and weighs less than 250 grams. Perfect, because you don’t have to register your drone. You must register drones that weigh more than 250 grams and follow a so-called online theory course. The price of the DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo is also good: From €5oo.

Click on one of the stores below to see the price and specifications of this model drone.

DJI Mavic Air – Fly More Combo | Suitable for backpacking!

DJI Mavic Air drone

This drone has a flight time of 21 minutes and weighs 430 grams. The DJI Mavic Air also has an internal hard disk and the drone has Ultra HD video format. A guarantee for beautiful photos and videos.

Click on one of the stores below to see the price and specifications of this model drone.

DJI Spark – Fly more combo (limited available)

DJI Spark Drone

Until recently, the DJI Spark was the drone we always took with us on our travels. Unfortunately, after four years of use, I let it fly against a high cliff on Nusa Penida. That was the end of DJI Spark. The quality of photos and videos are really good as you can see on this blog. Available from $629 on Amazon.

Click on one of the stores below to see the price and specifications of this model drone.

Amazon

The best drone on the market: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

When both money and size of the drone do not play a role, go for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. With this drone you can take beautiful videos and photos!

DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone

Click on one of the stores below to see the price and specifications of this model drone.


What's in our Camera bag?

How do you transport your drone during your travels?

Yes, you have bought that beautiful drone! But how do you take the drone with you while backpacking and protect it? First, we always put our drone in our hand luggage. In this way, we are not dependent on how (sometimes careless) airlines process our luggage.

In addition, our drone comes in a protective cover that you receive when you buy the “Fly More” combination. This protective cover is not big and fits easily in your daypack and backpack.

Finally: if you choose the DJI Mavic Air or a larger model, it may be wise to buy a special cover or even bring a separate backpack for your drone. This protects your drone even better while backpacking. Click here for an overview of bags, cases and covers to protect your drone.


I hope this blog helps you to decide if you should buy a drone or not. In case, you would love to purchase a drone, I hope this article helps you to pick the right drone for you. If you have any questions regarding this blog, do not hesitate to ask us. You can do this by posting a comment under this blog, sending you a message on Instagram or simply emailing us.


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This post is not sponsored and only contains our own opinion based on our experience. This article contains affiliated links. In this way, we can continue to offer our travel experiences, tips and blogs to readers for free.

3 Comments

  1. by Greg on 24 August 2020  18:19 Reply

    Whether you’re an intermittent user or this is your first experience of the drone world, spending your entire monthly salary on a quadcopter may not be that appealing.

  2. by Drone pilot on 17 April 2021  06:28 Reply

    I travel a ton and really excited to have my Mavic. Headed to Colombia this weekend for my first international adventure with it then off to Geneva and Monaco next month. I agree with all you have said, this is the best drone for adventurers!

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