Tips on traveling with a drone

I have to admit, when I first started doing research for this post and typing in “tips on traveling with a…” the first suggestion that popped up was “baby” before I finished typing “drone” and for a second I had to question my life. But for now, drone it is, so let’s move on.

If you’ve been obsessed with drone’s eye view photos for as long as I had been and are looking to elevate your travel photography, I would say getting one will be worth every dollar you invest in it. I have the DJI Spark, which is one of the best, sophisticated camera drones out there that you won’t have to completely break the bank for.

My feelings about Spark so far? It. Is. Everything.

Now, considering that, I want to take it everywhere, fly it everywhere, use it to elevate every picture I take from basic to badass. But evidently, there are rules.

There are basic ones, like packing drone batteries in your check bag since certain high wattage batteries aren’t always allowed in carry-ons (but this is only for massive monster drones, so if you have a Spark or even its daddy, Mavic, you can safely take your batteries with you).

But it’s the not-so basic rules that get trickier, like which countries allow drones and which don’t.

Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first. There are places in the world where drones are outright banned and you don’t want to be caught in the airport of said country trying to convince a customs agent that you promise you won’t fly it while you’re there. That will not be a good look and you’ll likely end up droneless. And nobody’s got time for that.

Countries where drones are banned: Cuba, Egypt, India*, North Korea (surprise, surprise), Morocco, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Russia* (again no big surprise), Saudi Arabia. Also, Washington, D.C., though I am aware that is not a country, but thought you should know.

A lot of these are not shocking, and the starred ones mean drones are not totally banned, but you need permission from governments and civil aviation authorities to fly in advance of arriving to the place with it, and though I don’t have experience with this, I don’t think the likelihood of getting some of these countries to approve drone photos for your Instagram hobby is very high. So better to go without it to those places, just in case.

Across most of the Caribbean though, where I personally think the most stunning drone shots are made (no bias here at all), there are little to no restrictions on drone usage in most of the islands. #plug

If you’re tired of reading about rules, here’s a really handy map to click through for drone laws depending on where you’re traveling to. Go forth and drone in all the right places.