As a full-time traveler and a commercial drone pilot, I get asked all of the time, “What are the best drones for travel?” While this is not a question with a straight forward answer, there are many drone options out on the market today that will work well for travel.
The goal is to make the selection process easy for you so you can find the drone that will work best for you.
I’d like to start with what you should know and what you should be looking for when buying a travel drone. Then we are going to break it down on what drones are available and how they relate to travel and your intended use.
Some drones you will know, like the DJI Phantoms, and some of the other drones that I mention are not as well known but work still work great for travel.
My background? Do not just take anyone’s words about drone use; I’m a professional traveler with a commercial drone license. I have spoken at different conferences around the world regarding drone use for travelers. I’ve worked with tourism boards and private companies all around the world to produce high-quality drone imagery and video. Both my wife and I understand drone rules and regulations around the world and abide by them. Our photographs have been seen all around the world and have been featured by known travel companies like DJI, GoPro, Travel + Leisure, Travel Channel & Afar to name a few.
This is a 10,000 word extensive guide on the best drones for travel, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Read from the top or jump to the section that gives you just what you are looking for.
Things To Know Before Buying a Travel Drone
Everyone wants to buy a drone these days. But before you do, here are a few things you should know.
- Don’t just buy off of name, DJI is not the only company in the world that makes drones.
- Some drones are compact and others have fixed landing legs that do not collapse, making them difficult to travel with.
- Some drones have fixed cameras, others require GoPro like cameras.
- Drones are not easy to fly. Yes, some say everyone can fly them easily but that is not the case. They are hard to fly and take lots of practice to become competent.
- Not all drones come ready to fly. You will need to check that you have a compatible smart phone or tablet. Some require updates and registration before you can fly.
- Not all drones are the same. All drones operate differently. Some have more features to make flying easier and some are more advanced. Some have fixed cameras and some need to add a GoPro or DSLR. Some have sensors to stop you from crashing into things while others do not.
- Some countries do not allow drone use. You have to research every country you want to visit. It is best to get the “Can I Fly There” app that gives you an on-the-ground spot check if you can fly there or not. Other great apps include SkyCatch, Hover and Know Before You Fly.
- You can’t always fly them due to weather and restrictions. There are also moral values like flying over churches. We traveled in Europe for 3 months and only flew 10 times due to weather and restrictions.
- Size does matter. You may be looking for a compact travel drone but keep in mind that while it may take up limited space you could have trouble flying a smaller drone in light wind. Larger drones tend to be more reliable in varying weather conditions.
- Do you have the room to carry a drone while traveling?
- If you do not know how to shoot in manual on a DSLR you will have a hard time producing quality with a drone. The best drones require manual operation knowledge to produce the best content.
- Do you check your bags while flying? Or do you carry on? If you have a drone do you really want to check it?
These are just a few things you should think about before buying a drone for travel use. Every traveler will answer those questions differently, but they are questions that should be answered before you invest in a drone for travel.
Four Categories of Travel Drones
Drones have taken the world by storm and there are hundreds of different kinds out on the market. So where do you start when looking to buy a drone for traveling? First off you need to decide what type of drone fits your travel style. We have split these into four categories: Selfie travel drones, compact travel drones, non-compact travel drones and professional travel drones to help you make the right decision in buying your drone for travel. Understanding each category will help you find the right drone for your travels.
Selfie Travel Drones
Selfie type travel drones are self-explaining, they are made for taking selfies while traveling. Think of it as your flying selfie stick. You just throw it into the air and smile. Selfie travel drones are simple to use and are no larger than a smart phone. They are made to hover and fly short distances around you to capture unique angles while traveling. There cameras vary in quality and abilities.
Many selfie travel drones are more like toy drones and are priced ranging from $40-$400. This is a great drone if you’re looking to capture yourself in a location. Most selfie travel drones do not have a gimbal built in and are single axis up/down cameras that require digital stabilization to be added to the film after the fact. This type of drone is great for beginners who are new to flying drones.
Compact Travel Drones
Compact travel drones are the most popular drones out on the market and are the best for all around travel. Their propeller blades fold up making them as small as a smartphone or water bottle. This is great because they take up little to no room. They are easy to use and many units can capture footage as high quality as the more bulky professional units can. This type of drone is used by full time travelers across the world.
Non-Compact Travel Drones
Non-compact travel drones are larger units that do not break down for traveling. They have fixed landing gear along with fixed propellers and they take a little more time to setup for flying. They are still easy to fly like compact travel drones but they can handle higher winds. Being a larger unit, they normally carry a better camera than the selfie or compact travel drones. Non-compact travel drones are used by travelers who are looking for professional quality every time they put their drone up in the air.
Professional Travel Drones
Professional travel drones are made for the professional photographer who wants to essentially put a DSLR up into the air while they are traveling. They are not compact and they take up a lot of room but the quality is worth it. This is the type of drone professional marketing companies and film makers use. They are not very easy to fly and they are not for beginners. They also tend to be much more expensive than the other drone options.
Best Drones For Travel
Below I’ve compiled a list of the best drones for travel. Some drones are compact and others are not. When we first started droning the options available were very limited, luckily today there is a variety of drones on the market that are suitable for all types of travelers.
When buying a drone for travel you need to think about space and function. If you are just heading off on a vacation and want to use your drone for fun, you probably do not need a pro unit. However, if you want to produce high-quality content to license and sell, you will want something that takes the best quality photos and video footage. Below are our picks of the best drones for travel.
Before we break them into different categories and go into more detail we will list out our top 10 drones for traveling by 1 to 10. We determined these drones based on the travel rating, taking into consideration: the good and the bad, design, battery, features, ease of use and video/photo quality.
Top 10 Best Drones for Traveling
If the selected drone fits your traveling style or you can click the buy it now to order it right from Amazon. The Best Drone for Traveling is: 1. DJI Mavic Pro 2. 2. DJI Mavic Zoom. 3. DJI Phantom 4 Pro. 4. Swellpro Waterproof Splash. 5. Parrot Bebop 2 Power. 6. Yuneec Breeze 4k. 7. Autel EVO. 8. DJI Mavic Air. 9. DJI Spark. 10. Hover Passport 2.
1. DJI Mavic Pro 2 2. DJI Mavic Zoom 3. DJI Phantom 4 Pro
4. Swellpro Waterproof Splash 5. Parrot Bebop 2 Power 6. Yuneec Breeze 4k
7. Autel Robotics EVO Drone 8. DJI Mavic Air
9. DJI Spark 10. Hover Passport 2
Selfie Travel Drones – Our Top Picks
Photo sourced from AirSelfie
The AirSelfie is a pocket-sized travel drone that connects to your smartphone and allows you to take HD photos or videos of yourself while traveling. You can literally take this little guy out of your pocket, take off from your hand and capture yourself in some of the most iconic locations in the world. It’s designed for life on the go. I know what you’re thinking, it can’t be that simple, but it is. The AirSelfie is a travel drone that is operated by your smartphone buy a simple to use IOs/Android app. Just slide to take off, shoot photos, take videos, then simply land. It has great features like a 10-second timer delay that allows you to put down your phone, take multiple shots, then share them directly to your social media account so your friends can be jealous of your travels.
The AirSelfie is one of the first selfie travel drones that I would really consider carrying with all of my travel gear. Many selfie drones feel like they are toys and that is not the case with this one. It’s built well with a durable anodized aluminum frame and that feels like quality. I love that you can take off and land right from the palm of your hand. The four blades are built sunk into this little unit, so you will not clip your finger on its blades. When buying this drone keep in mind it’s a selfie drone.
AirSelfie Drone Specs
Weights: 2.8oz – 12 MP wide-angle (81) HD camera – Flys up to 65 feet (20 meters) – 3.8 long x 2.8 m wide and .05 thick, Built-in 16 Micro SD card.
The Good: Simple, intuitive controls. Autonomous flight modes. Durable design survives crashes, extremely small, landable anywhere, ultra-light.
The Bad: Requires a mobile device to fly. Not great in any type of winds. Battery life is only 10-15 minutes. Limited flight height (But that’s a selfie drone.) No gimble – just a single- axis up/down movement. No built-in stabilization.
Drone User Rating For The AirSelfie Drone
8- Design | 7- Battery | 6- Features | 10- Ease of use | 7- Video/Photo Quality
**** Note: AirSelfie introduced three new drones in 2019 they will be added as they come out to the public and we have a chance to test them to see if they are a good drone for traveling. We feel it is important for us to truly test out the product before adding it to any list. This is notes from AirSelfie at CES 2019 ****
AIR 100 – The AIR 100 is AirSelfie’s most affordable and intuitive entry-level aerial camera. Retailing for $99.95, the value-priced camera is geared toward casual photographers and videographers aged 10+ featuring a 12MP camera, HD video and 6-minute flight time between charges. The One-Touch app experience makes the AS 100 perfect for capturing life’s everyday moments.
AIR ZEN – The AIR Zen is the industry’s first autonomous flight, zenith aerial camera. The AIR Zen features a 13MP 120˚ zenith camera and plastic carbon reinforced body that flies and captures spectacular photos and 4K videos without a connection to a smartphone. The AIR Zen has water-resistant capabilities, allowing it to be safely used outdoors without incurring damage. Retail $139.95.
AIR DUO – The AIR Duo is the first aerial camera on the market to feature dual lenses for landscape and zenith photos and HD videos. The AIR Duo features a 12MP FOV 80° front camera and a 12MP FOV 110° wide-angle zenith camera, along with a 120G aluminum alloy body and 7-minute flight time with removable battery for extending flights. Retail $229.95.
Photo sourced from Hover Passport
Hover Passport 2
This is a great travel drone for someone who wants something portable that’s small enough to fit in their pants pocket that can take good quality quick shots. The Hover Passport 2 travel drone is perfect for that. It is small, but it has a powerful camera that takes good photos. It’s your self flying personal photographer. I feel the biggest positive about the Hover Passport 2 travel drone is its design. It’s made out of carbon fiber so it has a light weight but has a strong feel to it. The propellers are 100% encased, so you can launch it from the palm of your hand also allowing you to be able to grab it out of the air when you’re done filming. That’s right, no more clipped fingers.
Where the Hover Passport is different from the other selfie travel drones is you can fly this little unit up to two miles away allowing you to get some killer shots right out of the palm of your hand. This is huge if you are traveling with limited space. The Hover Passport can easily be crammed into a backpack or day-bag taking up little room without the fear of hurting the unit.
Just like most drones on the market this little unit has many preset flying modes such as birds-eye and follow-me. These automatic functions are great for that traveler wanting to record someone while they are walking, cycling, kayaking, surfing and so on. Just set your subject and let this little unit follow. It also has gesture mode that allows you to take photos or videos with just a hand sing. Most people only think that technology is only rivals on DJI drones but that is not the case.
Hover Passport 2 Drone Specs
Weights: 242g – 18.2 x 13.2 x 3.3 cm when folded – 13 MP 4k camera – Max speed: 17 mph. 2.4 GHz Wi-fi frequency.
The Good: Comes with a spare battery and carry case. Simple, intuitive controls. Autonomous flight modes. Durable design survives crashes, extremely small, landable anywhere, ultra-light. Good camera for being a selfie done.
The Bad: Requires a mobile device to fly. Not great in any type of winds or light weather. Battery life is only 8-10 minutes. No gimble – just a single- axis up/down movement. No built-in stabilization.
Drone User Rating For The Hover Passport
8- Design | 6 – Battery | 7- Features | 9- Ease of use | 8- Video/Photo Quality
Photo sourced from DJI
DJI Tello Quadcopter
Travel drones can be a large investment if you want something that has decent flight time, plenty of features and from a top drone company like DJI. But wait, this is where the DJI Tello drone comes into play as it’s a feature-rich, compact travel drone made by DJI. This little unit is a step between selfie travel drones and compact travel drones. The DJI Tello will impress you and also give you a lot of bang for your buck. Which is great, so you have more money to spend on that trip you have planned instead of travel gear.
The DJI Tello is easy to fly and you can simply take it right out of the box and start flying instantly. But don’t think this little guy is just for the novice flyers, for the more experienced pilot there are plenty of advanced features. Something that most selfie drones don’t have is a Pressure Sensor Altitude Hold feature that holds it at altitude while flying. The one touch take-off and landing are also a great feature. One tap liftoff and one tap auto landing, it’s that easy. You can literally throw and go, that is what makes the DJI Tello a great travel drone.
The DJI Tello makes the best drone for travel list because it’s built very well, extremely well priced, compact for easy travel and it will provide you great footage of your travels.
DJI Mavic Tello Specs
Weight: 80g – Dimensions: 3.86 x 3.64 x 1.61 – Flight Time 13 Minutes – Range 100M – 5MP Camera – Video 720p at 30 fps with ESI
The Good: Compact design. The DJI Tello has great stability in the air and is way easy to fly right out of the box. Safety features are unmatched by other drones. Superb image quality for being a selfie drone. Quiet operation.
The Bad: It’s a selfie drone, don’t expect a DJI Mavic Pro 2. No controller, you must use a smartphone.
Drone User Rating For The DJI Tello
9- Design | 6- Battery | 7- Features | 9- Ease of use | 7- Video/Photo Quality
Photo sourced from Holy Stone
Holy Stone HS160 Shadow
The Holy Stone HS160 Shadow produces some of the best video quality I’ve seen in selfie travel drones, which is killer for the price of this little unit. The flight time maxes out at 8-10 minutes, which is pretty normal for small compact drones and it comes with a spare battery. The compact size makes it great for traveling since it folds down into itself allowing you to easily toss it into a backpack or even into your pants pocket while traveling.
Another huge reason why the Holy Stone HS160 Shadow makes our best drones for traveling list because of its use of a smartphone for its controller. This is great for those who don’t have extra room for accessories while traveling. All navigation can be done through your mobile phone and it is easy to operate. The Holy Stone HS160 Shadow is extremely affordable and is one of those best travel drones that gets missed since it’s not under the name DJI.
The Good: Extremely affordable travel drone. Great video quality compared to other selfie travel drones. Compact size and weight. Mediocre camera.
The Bad: Limited to no sensors, Due to its size and weight it can be affected by wind easily. 8 to 10 minutes of battery life and it comes with a spare.
Holy Stone HS160 Shadow Specs
Comes in Black or Red – Weight 83g – Size folded 17x67x30mm, Unfolded 180x180x30mm – Flight time 8-10 minutes – Flight distance 50-70m – 1280x720p Camera
Drone User Rating For The Holy Stone HS160
8- Design | 6- Battery | 7- Features | 8- Ease of use | 8- Video/Photo Quality
Photo sourced from Wingsland
Wingsland S6 Pocket Drone
The Wingsland S6 pocket drone is a great throw in the air and go selfie travel drone. It is controlled by your smartphone and there’s no controller available. It’s a good drone for what it is, especially for those type of travelers who want a drone to play around with while on vacation without spending much money. It’s pretty basic which makes it great for first-time drone users or kids. The camera transmits and records good quality video that is very smooth for not having a gimbal.
This little unit can take video and stills. You’re not going to win travel photography awards with this unit but they will be decent quality for the price. The point of interest function is extremely cool and allows you to capture a 360 pano shot. I really like that it comes with a wide range of flight modes including follow me and home lock modes. The return to home key works extremely well landing just 6 inches from where it took off. My larger travel drones can’t do that.
The Good: It’s tiny, Orbit mode,1 00m range, Ok camera, Stable flight. GPS, Course lock mode, Home lock mode, Follow me feature, Outdoor auto hovering
The Bad: Limited to no sensors, Due to its size and weight it can be affected by wind easily. 8 to 10 minutes of battery life.
Wingsland S6 Pocket Drone Specs
Weight 230g – Pocket size 139mmx79mmx26.8mm – Flight time 8-10 minutes – Flight distance 50-70m – 4k30P and 1080P 60P HD Video – 13MP Camera
Drone User Rating For The Wingsland S6
7- Design | 6- Battery | 7- Features | 8- Ease of use | 7- Video/Photo Quality
Compact Travel Drones – Our Top Picks
Photo sourced from DJI
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
DJI has struck again with the Mavic 2 Pro. This is my go to travel drone. If you like to do a lot of hiking, kayaking or you find yourself in situations where you can’t be lugging a lot of gear, this is a great drone that you can bring with on any travel adventure. It has replaced all of my other drones I carry while traveling and at one time that was two drones. The DJI Mavic Pro was a game-changer when it came out in the fall of 2016, however I was never really impressed with the footage I got from it. That is not the case with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
The Mavic 2 Pro really takes some great footage and is the first to be fronted by a Hasselblad camera that has a one-inch sensor, making it a premium compact travel drone in its lineup of compact travel drones. It can shoot 4k at 30fps and 20 MP still images but is still small enough to fit in a bag being only about the size of a water bottle. This combination makes the DJI Mavic 2 Pro one of the best travel drones you can buy.
This drone has great high performance, easy to use features and automated flight modes that you will love besides the ultra-compact body. In the air, the Mavic 2 pro feels very fast and responsive. It is one of the quieter drones on the market making it a little less obvious and distracting in flight. Another huge key is its sensors, when on they allow you to fly without fears of crashing into anything. The gaming style remote is also very easy to use and packs away easy with removable joysticks.
For us, this is the drone we use while traveling full time. It’s designed for travelers who want to push their creativity to the limits while exploring all of the corners of the earth. Ask any full-time traveler and this is and will be the drone they are traveling with. The DJI Mavic 2 is now the product to beat in the travel drone market.
The Good: Compact foldable design. Easy to use packable gaming-style controller. The battery life is very good for a small quadcopter. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro has great stability in the air and is way easy to fly right out of the box. Safety features are unmatched by other drones. Superb image quality. Quiet operation with 8 GB internal Storage.
The Bad: Overall there isn’t really a whole lot of bad things with the DJI Mavic Pro 2. The gimbal unit needs protection while being stored. I feel the price is a little expensive but well worth it. There have been some occasional app issues but I feel that is the app’s problem, not the drones but it still needs to be noted. No built-in optical zoom or Dolly Zoom. No SuperRes
DJI Mavic 2 Pro Specs
Weight: 907g – Dimensions: Folded 214x91x84 mm Unfolded: 322x242x84 mm – 4k Video Resolution with HDR video mode – 31 minute max flight time – 8 GB Internal storage – 1-inch Image Sensor – 20 MGP Image Resolution – Color Profile over 1 billion colors – ISO Range 100-12800 – Enhanced HDR 14 EV Photo
Drone User Rating For The DJI Mavic Pro 2
9- Design | 8- Battery | 9- Features | 9- Ease of use | 9- Video/Photo Quality
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
This drone is our second pick for best compact travel drone. It’s a few hundred dollars less than the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and has a different camera from that top travel drone. The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom camera comes with a 2x optical zoom lens, which is a first for a compact travel drone. This allows you to zoom in on your subject. This is a cool little feature and it will allow you to push your creativity a little farther.
It takes some amazing stills with its super-resolution mode, so if you are a photographer that is a huge plus, but for those who like to shoot video, the quality isn’t the best compared to the Mavic 2 Pro. Don’t get me wrong, the Zoom’s footage is not terrible by any means, but it takes some time to get used to fine-tuning the settings that will best fit your needs. Essentially, this drone is exactly the same as the DJI Mavic 2 Pro in terms of build but it has a different camera.
The Good: True optical zoom. Super-resolution mode for detailed still photos. Less expensive than the DJI Mavic Pro 2. Compact foldable design. Easy to use packable gaming-style controller. The battery life is very good for a small quadcopter. The DJI Mavic Zoom has great stability in the air and is way easy to fly right out of the box. Safety features are unmatched by other drones. Superb image quality. Quiet operation with 8 GB internal Storage.
The Bad: Video lacks detail compared to the DJI Mavic Pro, No HDR video mode. The gimbal unit needs protection while being stored for travel.
DJI Mavic Zoom Specs:
Weight: 905g – Folded 214x91x84 mm Unfolded: 322x242x84 mm – Image Sensor ½.3 inch – Image Resolution 12 MGP – 2x Zoom – Color Profile 16 million colors – ISO Range 100-3200 – Dolly Zoom – Enhanced HDR Photo 13 EV – SuperRes Shooting – 8 GB Internal storage
Drone User Rating For The DJI Mavic Zoom
9- Design | 8- Battery | 9- Features | 9- Ease of use | 7- Video Quality | 8- Photo Quality
DJI Mavic Air
The DJI Mavic Air is a hybrid offspring of the DJI Mavic Pro. It’s not a new generation like the DJI Mavic 2 pro and the DJI Mavic Zoom. One huge feature is its ability to become compact. It folds up to the size of a stick of deodorant, that’s about ½ the size of the DJI Mavic Pro 2 and the DJI Mavic Zoom. This is amazing when you consider the features it has.
This unit is equipped with a 4k camera capable of shooting UHD video and 12-megapixel stills. It takes ok photos and videos but overall I have not been impressed with the quality. There seems to be a huge quality jump from the DJI Mavic Pro 2 compared to this unit. I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve not seen mind-blowing video or images from the DJI Mavic Air. Many professional photographers and travelers are complaining about the camera quality since they thought they would get the same image quality as the DJI Mavic series. Unfortunately, that is not the case. While it solves the portable issue of carrying a drone, it does lack in quality.
People love the ability to fly this unit right out of the box with ease. The game style controller is collapsible for easy storage while traveling and it is a basic controller that does not have a built-in telemetry display like it’s larger brothers. This little unit has may features like obstacle avoidance, sport mode, Active Track and Quickshot flight modes, to name a few. The DJI Mavic Air isn’t the best travel drone on the market but for terms of size, price and raw flight performance, it knows the tricks that rival or exceed the much more expensive travel drones. This is a great jack-of-all-trades travel drone that can go anywhere and handle any situation.
The Good: Size is everything (Compact size), lightweight and portable, Dedicated joystick controller, 4k camera, Robust obstacle avoidance – safety features, Plentiful intelligent flight modes. 3 axes gimbal.
The Bad: No built-in HDR video option, Not great battery life, Photo/Video quality, Touchy camera controls, unless you’re in the cinematic mode, No sideways obstacle avoidance. Occasional connection problems at inopportune times.
DJI Mavic Air Specs:
Weight: 430g – Folded up 168x83x49mm, Unfolded 168x184x64 mm, Flight Time 20 minutes – ½.3” CMOS 12 MP Camera – 4k Video
Drone User Rating For The DJI Mavic Air
9- Design | 7- Battery | 9- Features | 9- Ease of use | 6- Video Quality | 7- Photo Quality
Say hello to the Spark, this mini-drone has almost all of DJI’s signature technologies, allowing you to seize the moment whenever you feel inspired. The DJI Spark is the size drone every traveler is looking for. It’s no larger than an iPhone, which allows you to carry it anywhere in your jacket pocket. However, the video and photography quality is ok, at most. So you may be able to seize the moment but with B rate film. This may be ok for the once a year weekender or the person who is just going to fly it a few times but if you are someone like a travel blogger this should not be your go-to drone. The DJI Spark has intelligent flight control options, a mechanical gimbal, and a camera with ok image quality. This allows you to quickly launch, control easy, create and share.
Things no one tells you about the DJI Spark: The controller is your smartphone which makes controlling the drone limited. Reception between the phone and the drone can be weak and you should be prepared for interference and signal loss. They do have a remote controller for the DJI Spark but it’s sold separately. 9 times out of 10 people buy the controller and that now puts the unit into the same price bracket as its brothers. Another thing people don’t talk about is because of its size this little unit does not do well in the wind. If it’s a small breeze the unit will not let you fly. This can be frustrating at times, I’ve run into this a lot.
The Good: The best thing about the DJI Spark for traveling is its small size. It will take up no room at all which is huge for travelers. DJI Makes quality drones and this little guy is great quality for its value. It comes with most of DJI’s great features. It’s easy to use right out of the box.
The Bad: Due to it’s small size it is limited in the wind. The camera on the DJI Spark is limited in quality. Battery life is also limited like most drones but with the Spark you will get around 10 to 15 minutes depending on weather conditions. You will need the non-included controller and that adds to the overall price of the unit.
DJI Spark Specs
Weight: 300 g – Folded up size: 143x143x55 mm- Max Flight Time: 15 minutes – without wind – Max Flight Distance: 0-98 Ft – Attached Camera with Gimbal- Lens FOV 81.9° 25 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.6 (Shooting range: 2 m to ∞)
Drone User Rating For The DJI Spark
8- Design | 6- Battery | 8- Features | 8- Ease of use | 6- Video/Photo Quality
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum
I was excited when the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum came out, I own a Mavic Pro but I feel there’s more that can be done with simple updates to make this unit great. I had hopes that those updates happened when DJI came out with the Platinum but was really shocked to find out that besides an updated name, there were only a few updates done on this drone. Updates from the DJI Mavic Pro to the DJI Platinum are: longer battery life and different blades so the flight is quieter.
The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum has one of the longest lasting battery lifes on the market for drones topping out at a full 30 minutes. This is a small step into longer lasting batteries compared to other drones that only last 20-25 minutes. It is also equipped with DJI’s smallest three-axis stabilized gimbal. Its professional motion camera can capture 4k video and 12 M pixels Raw or JPEG Images. This is why the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is one of the best travel drones used by travel bloggers.
The Good: The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum compact foldable design makes it one of the best travel drones on the market. Its gaming-style controller is equally compact, saving you room in your backpack. The battery life is the best on the market. The DJI Mavic Pro has great stability in the air and is way easy to fly. 4k image comparable to Phantom 4 & Inspire 1. 65 km/H fast speed.
The Bad: The phone mount isn’t the best. The user cannot repair this drone, you must send it in. It is not as easy as just throwing it up into the air to fly. It seems there is always updates that need to be done before flying. The camera lens is narrow so it is not great for landscapes. The vertical angle of the camera is limited and many users have autofocus tap issues. Low dynamic range as previous drones.
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum Specs
Weight: 1.62 Lbs – Folded up size: H83mm X W83mm X L198MM – Max Flight Time: 30 minutes – Overall Flight Time 27 minutes – Max Flight Distance: 9.3 miles – Attached Camera with Gimbal – Lens FOV 78.8° 28 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.2 – Distortion < 1.5% Focus from 0.5 m to ∞ – 60 Mbps
Drone User Rating For The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum
8- Design | 9- Battery | 9- Features | 8- Ease of use | 8- Video/Photo Quality
Parrot Anafi 4k Drone
Many people don’t realize that there’s another large player in the drone world besides DJI. Parrot is a company that has been around as long a DJI and is best known for drones tailored to kids or beginner pilots. However, in the past few years that has changed. The Parrot Anafi 4k drone is their answer to compete against DJI’s Mavic Air. The Parrot Anafi 4k drone is a great travel drone since it’s compact and captures stunning aerial footage in 4k.
One feature that everyone is buzzing about is the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom’s ability to zoom in. Well I hate to tell you the Parrot Anafi travel drone could do that way before the Mavic could. This little unit can zoom in without losing image quality. While filming in 4k you can zoom up to 1.4x and if you’re filming in 1080p it can go up to 2.8x without losing detail. The most important feature on this travel drone is its camera. It’s 4k 100 Mbps bitrate footage looks great and to be honest, is better when compared to the DJI Mavic footage. The Parrot Anafi 4k travel drone comes with a built-in HDR video option which is killer for the price range this drone is at. The Parrot Anafi 4k also makes the best drones for traveling list because of its ability to tilt the camera upwards towards the sky. This is a neat option and opens up the world of possibilities while shooting.
The Good: Unique lens and camera feature not found on other travel drones, Ok battery life with solid connectivity. Comes with a carrying case for traveling. USB chargeable.
The Bad: Week/poor design, difficult to fly for new flyers, Autonomous features require an extra purchase, Buggy software.
Parrot Anafi 4k Drone Specs:
Weight:320g – Size folded up: 244x67x65mm – Size unfolded: 175x240x65mm – Max flight time: 25 minutes – Sensor ½.4” CMOS – 4k HDR – 2.8x zoom
Drone User Rating For The Parrot Anafi
8- Design | 9- Battery | 8- Features | 8- Ease of use | 9- Video/Photo Quality
Photo sourced from Autel
Autel Robotics EVO Drone
The evolution of flight has arrived for the traveler. Autel Robotics EVO drone gives the DJI Mavic 2 Pro a run for its money and should be a unit you strongly consider. It offers a compact folding design that allows you to take it wherever your adventures take you. Designed with portability in mind, this little unit is built well and you can really feel it compared to other drones out on the market. But what makes this lesser-known travel drone a champion is its industry-leading camera. The camera on this little guy is professional grade, capturing 4k 60fps in ultra HD (DJI maxes out at 4k/30p). On top of that the still image quality is top shelf. A great reference is if DJI put the Phantom Pro 4 camera into the Mavic drones, which they won’t do.
Besides having all of the same bells and whistles that the DJI Mavic 2 Pro has, another huge win for this lesser known travel drone is that the remote comes with a built-in 3.3 inch OLED screen that gives you a live feed at up to 720P- with no need to plug your phone into your drone’s remote controller. That’s right the compact controller has a screen built right in.
The Good: Industry leading camera – Compact and portable size – Front & downward and rear obstacle avoidance system – 3.3 inches built-in OLED screen remote controller with 720p live video – 30 minute flight time – Speeds up to 20 meters per second – Intelligent flight features & more.
The Bad: It’s lesser known ( Compared to the DJI Mavic). The gimbal unit needs protection while being stored for travel.
Autel Robotics Evo Drone Specs:
Weight: 863g, Folded up size: H83mm X W83mm X L198MM – Flight time: 30 minutes – 3D object detection – 12 Mp Camera – 1 year no questions asked replacement.
Drone User Rating For The Autel Robotics Evo Drone
8- Design | 9- Battery | 8- Features | 8- Ease of use | 9- Video/Photo Quality
Non-Compact Travel Drones – Our Recommendations
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is not the best for traveling because of its size but if you are serious about travel photography this is the drone you must travel with. It is like sending your DSLR camera up into the air. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is pricey however worth it for all of its features. I love the Optical Sensor unit that allows the drone to avoid obstacles while in flight. If the drone detects an object in its path, it will either fully brake or automatically plot a course around the object, if it can. That’s a great feature for travelers. No more running into iconic landmarks.
Other features that are great for travelers are the follow me and the course lock. If you want to follow fast-moving objects just tap the ActiveTrack feature and it will track making it great for things like mountain biking. The unit does take some time to learn and there are lots of adjustments you can do. The only downside to the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is that the landing gear does not collapse and isn’t easily removed for travel. It is not compact and this unit takes up a lot of room in a backpack.
The Good: Camera image quality and features are the best compared to all of the other drones on the market. Easy to fly. Battery life is one of the best on the market that only last 30 minutes. Outstanding flying range.
The Bad: The price puts it just outside of “entry level,” but the Phantom 4 Pro is the no-brainer if you’re serious about drone photography. Optional touchscreen controller is $300 add-on
DJI Phantom 4 Pro Specs:
Weight: 1388g – Diagonal Size Including Propellers: 350mm diagonally (13.7 inches) – Max Flight Time: Approx. 30 Minutes – Attached Camera with Gimbal- Lens FOV 84° 8.8 mm/24 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8 – f/11 autofocus at 1 m – ∞ – 100 Mbps – Front and Rear Collision Detection
Drone User Rating For The DJI Phantom 4 Pro
8- Design | 8- Battery | 9- Features | 8- Ease of use | 9- Video/Photo Quality
DJI Phantom 4 Advanced
The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced is one of the best drones out on the market for traveling since it’s a mix of two models, the Phantom 4 that it replaced and the Phantom 4 pro that still remains in the lineup. If you read a DJI Phantom 4 review, that’s pretty much a DJI Phantom 4 Advanced review. This drone uses an upgraded camera that first came out in the Phantom 4 Pro. It’s a much larger image sensor then the cameras on the older Phantom 4 and 3 models, which leads to even better image and video quality. That is a huge win for travelers who like to showcase their quality work. Many people wish DJI would just put this camera into the Mavic drones and be done with it.
The Phantom 4 advance cost less then it’s bigger brother the Phantom 4 Pro however it does lack some of the major features that the Phantom 4 Pro has. What doesn’t come with this unit is the additional obstacle avoidance sensors that comes with the Phantom 4 Pro. To me that’s not a huge loss as the Advanced has two forward sensors that will prevent you from flying into something head-on, but it does not come with side and rear sensors. It also does not have the downward-facing positioning system that is useful when flying indoors. That’s not a deal breaker for most traveling drone users since they are flying their units outside.
Just like the other DJI Phantoms, the landing gear does not collapse and isn’t easily removed for travel. It is not compact for traveling but that’s what you get for a non-compact travel drone. To me its worth carrying for the image and video quality compared to the compact travel drones.
The Good: Easy to fly – Incredible operating range
The Bad: Limited obstacle detection – True mission planning requires a third-party app. Does not break down for traveling.
DJI Phantom 4 Advanced Specs
Weight: 1368g – Diagonal Size Including Propellers: 350mm diagonally (13.7 inches) – Max Flight Time: Approx. 30 Minutes – Attached Camera with Gimbal- Lens FOV 84° 8.8 mm/24 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8 – f/11 autofocus at 1 m – ∞ – 100 Mbps – Front Collision and Downward Detection
Drone User Rating For The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced
8- Design | 8- Battery | 9- Features | 8- Ease of use | 9- Video/Photo Quality
Photo sourced from Swellpro
Swellpro Waterproof Splash 3
Not many people researching drones know about this guy. The Swellpro Waterproof Splash drone is one of the only drones out on the market that’s waterproof. That is why it has made our best drones for traveling list, There’s no need to worry about waterfall mist or light rain, the Swellpro can fly in those weather conditions that all other drones out on the market can not. It is ideal in damp wet conditions. This drone is remarkably similar to the DJI Phantom Pro in shape and features. The Splash Drone 3 is made out of a durable 3mm reinforced ABS, that ensures a perfect waterproof seal. All external parts are designed to be water and corrosion resistance for use in fresh and saltwater environments.
Swellpro’s unparalleled waterproof 4k camera captures smooth videos and sharp photos both while flying as well as underwater with its Sony ½.23” COMS camper sensor. This will allow you to truly push the limits while traveling with a drone. It’s footage has been impressive and comparable with many of the top-selling drones. It has many smart flights modes like: follow me, mission planning, tap to fly, circling flight, return to home and smart cruise. All easy to use with just a swipe of a finger. It’s controlled with their easy to use game style type remote controller what connects with your smartphone or tablet.
This top waterproof drone is not very compact as its propellers only come off. So you will need a larger carrying bag. I feel the footage is worth the extra space compared to compact drones. The Swellpro Water Proof Splash 3 travel drone is a must carry for those type of travelers who are out pushing the limits and they can’t worry if mother nature gets in the way.
The Good: It’s a waterproof drone, camera features are good. Easy to fly, has many great flight modes with outstanding range. Game style remote control. Offered with two different gimbals.
The Bad: It’s not compact, the gaming style remote control also takes up room. It’s loud while flying compared to other units.
Swellpro Waterproof Splash 3
Weight: 1388g – Diagonal Size Including Propellers: 350mm diagonally (13.7 inches) – Max Flight Time: Approx. 30 Minutes – Attached Camera with 2-axis Gimbal or 3 -axis gimbal- ½.3” CMOS sensor – 6G all-glass non-fisheye lens – 4K 24FPS Video – 14MP Still Photos – 106 field of view (FOV) – Remotely adjustable roll (40) and tilt (90). – Front and Rear Collision Detection
Drone User Rating For The Swellpro Waterproof Splash 3
8- Design | 8- Battery | 9- Features | 8- Ease of use | 9- Video/Photo Quality
Photo sourced from Parrot
Parrot Bebop 2 Power
The Parrot Bebop 2 Power drone makes the list of best drones for travel because of its easy piloting an ok camera. It is also small enough to stick in your average backpack for traveling. This is probably one of the most fun drones to fly. You can easily do barrel rolls and flips that no other drone can do. This would make for some pretty cool travel videos.
Capture all of your moments from the sky with follow me feature and GPS tracking. The camera is mounted where you will not get any propeller props and landing gear in your shots, unlike DJI’s. This little unit shoots in full 1080p HD. This little guy was made to be transported easily and go with you wherever you go.
The Good: The size is great for traveling. Parts can be easily replaced. Propellers stop instantly when they are obstructed. Stable to fly both inside or outside. USB chargeable.
The Bad: The video quality is ok. In-app purchases are required for features other drones have included.
Parrot Bebop 2 Drone Specs
Weight: 500g – Full HD 1080P Camera- High-Level Flight Stability
Drone User Rating For The Parrot Beop 2 Drone
8- Design | 7- Battery | 7- Features | 8- Ease of use | 8- Video/Photo Quality
Yuneec Breeze 4k
The Yuneec Breeze 4K is the lightest drone on our best drones for travel list. Sitting at under 1 pound, it’s compact and lightweight design allows it to easily fit into a backpack making it great for traveling. The Yuneec Breeze 4K makes shooting aerial video and photos easy. There is no need for a controller, just use your smartphone or tablet and go.
This feature is great because controllers take up so much extra room. This is a great drone to travel with and is good for anyone who is looking for great quality and a low price. The camera is mounted where you will not get any propeller props and landing gear in your shots, unlike the DJI’s.
The Good: Easy to fly. Shoots in 4K. Easy to replace parts.
The Bad: Battery life is way short at 12 minutes. The image quality is ok and is great for sharing or viewing online or on a phone.
Yuneec Breeze Specs
Dimensions: 196mm x 196mm x 65mm – Weight: 385g – Camera: 4K 4160 x 3120 Pixels (13 MP)
Drone User Rating For The Yuneec Breeze
8- Design | 6- Battery | 7- Features | 9- Ease of use | 7- Video/Photo Quality
*** Note: Yuneec has come out with a new compactable drone that may be great for traveling called the Mantis Q. This drone only has been out on the market for short while now and once we can get our hands on one to see if it is a good drone for traveling, we will update our top drones for traveling list. We feel it is important to us to test the product out before it ends up on our list. ***
Professional Travel Drones
DJI Inspire 2
For those who are looking to produce professional quality footage while traveling the DJI Inspire 2 is the drone for you. This drone is not for beginners and you really can not compare it to the Phantoms. It is the drone used in movie production and the drone most of us full-time travelers wish we had. It is the best of the best in the drone world and many say that DJI’s Inspire 2 has two times everything compared to the Phantom line.
The quality of the DJI Inspire 2 is unmatched in the drone industry. The props feature DJI’s self-locking feature that ensures they’ll never come loose during flights. The Prop arms are made out of carbon-fiber tubing, allowing it to be light but strong. Overall, the design is a huge win for DJI.
There’s a number of features that make the inspire 2 stands out from the rest of the pack. The DJI Inspire is all about its pro-grade detachable Zenmuse camera that does not actually come with the drone. It’s designed to work with a handful of cameras DJI has to offer, but the top-of-the-line one is the Zenmuse X7. That features a forward-facing FPV camera that allows the pilot to keep an eye on what’s ahead of the drone with simultaneously watching/controlling the Zenmuse camera. You can also swap between one of the 8 different lenses, ranging anywhere from 18mm to 90mm. This gives you more creative freedom and allows you to pick a lens that works best for the shot you’re trying to get. It’s also equipped with dual motion sensors, dual barometers, and dedicated processors for various subsystems. The DJI Inspire can be controlled by two controllers allowing one pilot to control the flight of this unit while the other pilot or ground crew can control the camera. This allows the users to really dial in there footage instead of worrying about flying.
Besides its killer camera setup, the DJI Inspire 2 arguably has the best flight time out of all the drones on the market due to it’s dual battery setup. This not only gives this drone more flight time but it also protects it from battery malfunctions and also pervades ample power for ancillary systems like the camera, stabilizers, sensors, and processors. This means you can easily fly in high winds, this is huge for us since ocean winds can be a battery killer.
The DJI Inspire 2 is equipped with great smart piloting features (Intelligent flight modes) like: TapFly, Waypoint, Point of Interest, Active Track, and so much more. The Inspire 2 is also equipped with spotlight pro mode, which is immensely useful for filming moving objects. Have a need for speed? This unit is incredibly fast allowing it to easily keep up with anything moving up to 45 miles per hour.
The DJI Inspire 2 is the Ferrari of drones if you’re a pro travel filmmaker and want something way more powerful then your DJI Phantom. Thanks to its upgradeable custom design and high-end specs, the inspire is remaining at the top of pro-grade drones for years to come, which is great since DJI keeps making their Phantoms obsolete.
The Good: It’s the best pro grade drone out on the market. Its camera is unmatched in the drone world. This unit has power, great in high winds. Duel controlling with endless intelligent flight modes. Removable landing gear.
The Bad: This unit is huge, not suitable for traveling. Charging time can take a while since there are two batteries. Does not come equipped with a camera.
DJI Inspire 2 Specs:
Weight: 7.58 lbs – 58 mph max speed – Up to 7km control range – 1080P live view – CineCore 2.1 Image processing system with 6k @4.44Gps CinemaDNG, 5.2k @2.08Gps Apple ProRes and
Drone User Rating For The DJI Inspire 2
9- Design | 9- Battery | 9- Features | 7- Ease of use (Not For Beginners) | 10- Video/Photo Quality
Photo sourced from Yuneec
Yuneec Typhoon H
The Yuneec Typhoon H is one of the only travel drones on our best drones for traveling list that is a six-rotor design. When flying this unit looks like a flying insect. It has a 360-degree rotating gimbal with fully retractable landing gear that’s great for traveling. It also offers the same great features that the DJI Inspire offers, Cable Cam, Orbit, Follow mode and many more. This allows the user to focus on capturing epic travel photos or videos without worrying about flying. You can actually link two controllers together at the same time allowing one pilot to dial in the flying and the other to dial in the filming. This is something you can’t get out of other off-the-shelf drones and why it gets classified as a pro-grade travel drone.
The Yuneec Typhoon handles well in the wind with limited issues. There are two modes you can fly in, Angle and Smart. Angle moves the drone in the direction the control stick is pushed relative to the nose of the aircraft and Smart mode move it in the direction the right-hand control stick is pushed relative to the pilot and no matter which way the nose is pointed. The controller is large but offers a great 7-inch touchscreen built right in, so you don’t have to mess with a phone or tablet. All controls are at your fingertips and can be used easily. The transmission range for both video and controls is rated at up to 1.6km or 1-mile which is great for capturing epic landscape shots while traveling.
The Good: 360 – degree rotating 4k camera – Retractable landing gear – Control the drone and the camera separately – Sonar-based object detection – Replacement parts are easy to find, and you can service it yourself – Dedicated touchscreen controller – A great bang for your buck!
The Bad: It’s not very sturdy compared to other drones – Rotor support hinges feel flimsy – Long battery recharge times.
Yuneec Typhoon H Specs:
Weight: 1.9kg – 2.06kg with RealSense – 480x425x295 mm – Flight time up to 25 minutes – UHD: 4K @ 30 FPS – Full HD: 1080P @ 24/2530/48/50/60/120 FPS – 12.4 Megapixels – ½.3 CMOS camera sensor – Microphone
Drone User Rating For The Yuneec Typhoon H
8- Design | 9- Battery | 9- Features | 7- Ease of use (Not For Beginners) | 9- Video/Photo Quality
Photo sourced from PowerVision
PowerVision PowerEye Quadcopter
I feel the PowerVison PowerEye Quadcopter is one of the lesser known professional travel drones out on the market but is one of the best. The overall quality of this unit and the quality of the film it can produce is unmatched. This is a great drone for those travelers who are looking at producing 4k professional footage while traveling.
We love the powerful 650mm size m43 camera that allows for interchangeable lenses. Unlike other drones used for traveling, they have fixed focal length typically very wide-angle. With an interchangeable lens, you can choose the field of view that best suits what your filming while traveling. This is huge, change it for landscapes then swap it out for subjects. There is no question about this it is one of the best drone cameras out on the market.
It comes in a nice size carry-on travel case with wheels, that makes it great for those travelers who do not check luggage. So there’s no need to buy an extra travel case to protect your unit. This drone boasts an array of integrated sensors along with the ever-popular flight modes. Just like the popular professional travel drones, you can use two controllers allowing one person to focus on capturing epic travel photos while the other person can focus on flying.
The Good: The Camera is one of the best in the drone industry – Slew of innovative features, modes and obstacle avoidance – Interchangeable lens – Collapsing arms and rotors – 3.1-mile flying range
The Bad: Long battery recharge times.
The PowerVision PowerEye Specs:
Weight: 8.7 lb – 340mm x 285mm x 296mm Close – 513mm x 513 mm x 310 mm Open – Max flight time 29.5 minutes – 4/3” CMOS Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH (Standard) Olympus M.Zuiko 17 mm f/1.8 – 60 Mbps – 4K 4096×2160 : UHD 3840X2160 –
Drone User Rating For The PowerVision PowerEye
8- Design | 9- Battery | 9- Features | 7- Ease of use (Not For Beginners) | 9- Video/Photo Quality
Best Drone Backpacks For Travel
Vanguard ALTA SKY 45 D 2. Lowepro Quad Guard 3. Ape Case Drone
4. Manfrotto Lifestyle NX CSC 5. Lowepro View Point 6. Vanguard ALTA 51 D
7. Manfrotto D1 8. Smatree DP1800S
9. Lowepro Flipside Trek 10. Lykus DBP
Best Drone Carrying Cases For Travel
Hermitshell EVA 2. DACCKIT Travel Drone Case 3. Smartree Smacase 500
4. Hermitshell Hard Travel Case 5. Hisoul EVA Waterproof 6. Smartee Pro Waterproof Case
7. LTGEM Drone Case 8. US-PopTrading Military Drone Case
9. Myriann EVA 10. Oumers Waterproof Carrying Drone Case
Useful Drone Apps For Traveling
Below is a list of the most useful apps that every drone user should be using to perform a safe and successful flight while traveling. All the apps listed here work around the world and we’ve never had problems running them in other countries.
BONUS: Most of the listed apps are free to download.
- Know Before You Fly
- UAV Forecast
- 3D Robotics Tower
The use of these apps will help you to fly safely and abide by location-specific regulations. They help you to locate no-fly zones while traveling with a drone in areas that you are not familiar with and can also assist you weather watching. I really like the ones that tell you the wind speed and weather forecast.
Remember, You Represent All Travel Drone Pilots
If there is one thing we practice and preach, it is to be respectful and abide by all listed rules and regulations for drone use. Don’t be that traveler that ruins it for everyone else. There are rules in place for a reason and you should abide by them at all times when traveling and flying a drone. Breaking the rules to get that one shot could very much ruin it for everyone else.
A couple of years ago, it was a one irresponsible drone operator that chased wildlife in a US National Park, now nobody can fly in them. Be responsible, be respectful and if in doubt ask questions to the officials around you.
Happy and safe droning!
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