Aerial photography has changed so much in the past few years with incredible new technologies allowing anyone to buy a drone at an affordable price. Many drone flyer fans and photographers start to travel with these amazing products but there are always many questions in play and researching for the answers can take quite a long time. We hope this basic guide of how to travel with a drone will make your thought process of doing so a little bit easier!
Should I bring my drone in checked luggage or carry-on?
If the airline lets you, you should bring your drone by carry-on. You will have no fear of your luggage being handled badly and make sure you avoid theft or damage. If they don’t let you, the alternative is to split all of your equipment by only checking-in the drone body and a few other parts and perhaps carry-on the camera gimbal, controller, etc.
Protect your drone
Don’t forget to make sure you have the right cases depending on the drone you have. Many frequent flyers with drones would tell you to not go for a branded drone protective bag as your bag can be targeted for an extra check by the security or airline crews, so you definitely don’t want that! The other reason why you should avoid it is that it’s an easy way to put your drone as a target to be stolen! Better just put it in a low-key bag to get less attention. The most important part you should not ignore is to give tons of protection for you camera gimbal and to not forget its plastic guard (comes with the drone). If you lose that piece, it’s essential you order another one.
What about the batteries? Most airlines say I can’t fly with a lithium battery
FAA regulations state that lithium and LiPO batteries must be carry-on. It has been very clear to travellers from FAA and DOT about these rules considering we have been travelling this past decade with tons of different type of batteries for our devices. It’s important for you to know this so you don’t check-in your drone battery and know to speak about this calmly if any airline is giving you trouble. You can be surprised how much staff can be misinformed at times. Make sure when you go through scans you put your batteries out and separated too so you don’t get double checked and go through the hassle of answering questions. Make sure to also confirm before with the airline you fly, how many lithium ion batteries you are allowed to have per person. Many allow only 2 over 100 watt hours (it should be marked on the battery).
Where can I bring my drone?
We can’t repeat this enough: check the regulations of each country you plan to bring your drone to! Many countries actually prohibits you from bringing a drone in, Morocco as an example. Some other countries require you to register or declare you drone. Being able to bring a drone in a country doesn’t mean you can fly freely. You must make further research on where you can fly and know about the no-fly zones. Drone regulations are serious in 2018, don’t take risks as they can confiscate your drone and there is nothing you can do about it! Flying drones over temples for example can be something mostly prohibited if you get caught. You technically can’t and can be in big trouble. If you want the footage so badly, apply for a license and get permissions to fly over restricted areas.
Bring extra gear!
Nothing worse than breaking a propeller and having no back ups. That’s just one of many other unfortunate things can happen to your drone so make sure you bring extra gear or even a repair kit if you are that serious about your drone!
Now it’s time for you to enjoy your trip and take tons of beautiful photos without the fear of how to carry your drone and if you can fly or now!