Unlike most other travel bloggers, my weapon of choice is the nascent, but light drone. I’ve always been fascinated with drones, their immense potential, and unique perspectives that they can capture. Over the years, I’ve flown, tinkered, and crashed just about every drone you’ve ever seen. I’ve taken them all around the world, from Old Town Stockholm to Interlaken Switzerland, to the Emerald Waters of Halong Bay. Below are my 3 tips to pick the best travel drone.
This may sound obvious, but becomes much more apparent depending on the type of trip you’re taking. During my trip to Stockholm I carry with me, my trusty, but old, DJI Phantom 3 Pro. It allowed me to take some amazing aerial shots, but was a pain to lug and carry around the city. I essentially had to carry two backpacks, one for the drone, and the other for my laptop and clothes.
I would recommend the Phantom series of drones for anyone who would be travelling domestically or by car most often, as it can be a pain to lug such a large drone around airports and through security.
Having a drone today still isn’t as cheap as it could be. They range anywhere from $100 to upwards of $20,000. Some of the best drones for the price tend to be in the $1500 range, with the Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic Pro, and Mavic Air right up there on the list. This component would greatly depend on your budget, but the Mavic Pro 2 is by far the most portable, and affordable drone on the market right now. With a 1 inch camera, latest obstacle avoidance, and small form factor, it’s the ideal drone for travellers.
For those looking to spend a little less, and need an even smaller form factor drone, there is the Mavic Air. This is the drone I currently have in my arsenal. For around $800 you still get a great camera in a drone the size of a water bottle. I took this drone with me to South East Asia as I travelling through Halong Bay, and was able to capture some amazing footage without compromising space in my 38 liter backpack.
This part gets a little more subjective. With DJI’s launch of the new Mavic Pro and the Mavic Zoom, photographers now have two options when it comes to picking their own drone. The Mavic Pro has a 1″ Hasselblad camera that puts it on level of the Phantom 4 Pro camera, while the Mavic Zoom allows you to capture up to 2x lossless digital zoom. If you’ll be flying during dusk or dawn, or would like to capture a broad range of colors, the new Mavic Pro would be the best choice for you.
On the other hand, if you would like to capture more dynamic visual shots, pans, and zooms, the Mavic Zoom will be the best choice for you. As always, the Mavic Air is still a close second for anyone who can’t afford the Mavic Pro line, while still capturing high quality footage.
The portability of the new Mavics make them my top picks for the best travel drone. The cost, form factor, and camera quality, all make these drones the best in the industry
Interested in purchasing a drone yourself? Check out My Recommend Drones to get my latest recommendations on the top drones for travel photographers.
What do you think of my list of top travel drones? What drones do you have and what do you think of them? I’d love to find out, post in the comments below.