Traveling with your drone can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! When I got my first drone, the DJI Phantom 2+, I was terrified to take it anywhere with me. I was actually terrified just to fly it, which is disappointing because you’ll miss out on a lot of great footage. To help with that, here’s a few quick tips on how to travel with your drone.
KNOW & RESPECT THE RULES
When traveling to a new state or country, a pilot should look up the rules on flying in their new destination. A few quick google searches can easily help you out. For instance, when I traveled to Iceland last month, I spent quite a long time researching the drone laws for their country as well as looking into the rules for specific places I planned on visiting within the country. There may be State Parks, National Parks, or Monuments that you are not allowed to fly at. It’s best to not fly at these spots, even if you know that nobody is around. Respect the rules and locals so we can all keep flying happy.
PACK IT UP
Make sure to create a checklist of everything you will need while travelling. Micro SD cards, Laptop, Cables, Extra Batteries, Propellers, etc. There is a lot to remember, all while stressing out about the trip itself. Save yourself the headache and put together a list of what you need. Do you plan to be filming over several days? You should bring multiple SD Cards or a laptop to clear up your memory, There’s nothing worse than having to stop flying in order to swap out cards and missing a great opportunity.
PACK IT IN
I know this one seems obvious, but it’s amazing how many people out there still don’t use a camera backpack or hard case while traveling. Keep your drone and gear on you as a carry on. Not only does a backpack or hard case allow you to put all of your gear in one spot, it also offers a lot of protection for your gear. I use a camera backpack which easily holds my Mavic Pro, remote controller, all of my cables, a digital camera, extra lenses and even my laptop. I can’t explain how easy it is to go through security in an airport and only have to open the backpack up to show TSA all of my gear. Using a case with straps also made it very easy to hike with my drone.
When travelling, you never know when you’re going to have a great spontaneous moment to film something neat. Don’t let a dead remote or dead batteries stop you. Get yourself some extra batteries and keep all your gear charged up while on the move. If you plan on camping or being away from a direct power source, look into purchasing a few portable USB power banks. In Iceland last month, we toured the country by car and slept in a tent. This meant we had to charge up our camera gear while on the move. It’s real easy to forget to plug in your gear when you start driving off to your next destination, but it’s crucial that you do.
GET CREATIVE & TRY FILMING
Some of the coolest shots I’ve taken came at moments where I almost didn’t bring the drone out in the first place. A filming spot may not seem as cool from where you stand on the ground, but you may be surprised what the drone can capture from the sky. Take the drone out and get filming. Play around with the gimbal tilt as well, there are some unique patterns on the ground that can only be seen from up above.