Best Travel Drones

Drones are the hot item in travel photography and videography these days. Never has there been more options and versatility in aerial photography than there is today. But navigating the market of drones can be daunting, overwhelming, technical, and frankly, expensive. We’ve put time and effort into researching and testing some of the best travel drones on the market to make your choice easier.

Best Drones for Travel

The things you must consider when choosing the best drones for travel are:

  • Size: both carry on size when it is folded up in its carrying case and also weight
  • Camera quality
  • Stability in wind
  • How quiet it is (you don’t realize how awkward it is until the sound starts drawing crowds)
  • Flight time on a battery
  • Flight speed and distance
  • Price

Best Travel Drones

I am only going to recommend DJI products. I have no affiliation with DJI, except in believing that they have the best technology and quality drones on the market. In the last few years since we bought our first DJI, the quality has only improved and the size has only gotten smaller, which is a win-win. Whether you’re a professional or just an amateur photographer, your criteria for the best travel drone may vary based on different specifications. I’ve broken it down by price range to make it simpler.

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Comparison of Best Drones for Travel

 DJI SparkDJI Mavic AirDJI Mavic ProDJI Mavic Pro Platinum
Photo
Price
$$$$$$$$$$
Size
Smallest
300 grams
Small
430 grams
Medium
734 grams
Medium
734 grams
SoundHighest pitch
Similar to Mavic Air
High pitch
Buzzing angry bees
Lower pitch
seems slightly quieter than Air
Quieter propellers available
Lower pitch
Quietest overall
Speed31 mph 42.5 mph40 mph40 mph
Flight Time16 minutes21 minutes27 minutes30 minutes
CameraGimble/Camera protected in body
12MP
JPEG
No internal storage
Gimble/Camera protected in body
12MP
JPEG/RAW
8 GB internal storage
Gimble/Camera more exposed
12.35MP
JPEG/RAW
No internal storage
Gimble/Camera more exposed
12.35 MP
JPEG/RAW
No internal storage
Video1080p 30 fps
24 Mbps
4K
1080p 120 fps
100 Mbps
32 MP Sphere Panoramas
4K
1080p 96 fps
60 Mbps
4K
1080p 96 fps
60 Mbps
Obstacle SensingForward
Downward
Forward
Downward
Backward
Forward
Downward
Forward
Downward
Remote Transmission Distance 1.2 miles2.5 miles4.3 miles4.3 miles

Best Budget Travel Drones

DJI Spark

I call the DJI Spark “budget” because it’s the most affordable drone of the DJI lineup. Add a bundle with extra batteries, prop guards, portable charger, travel bag, etc. and the price creeps up even more. You can still feel confident that you are getting a great product with the best technology for this price point though. There are plenty of drones under $500, and with the DJI Spark still being in this price range, I believe you get the best bang for your buck. CLICK HERE TO SEE LATEST PRICES

The smallest of the DJI drones, the DJI Spark is one of the best travel drones, especially for the price! It only weights 300 grams, it doesn’t have to be folded and unfolded, so it is always ready to go, has 1080p video resolution, forward and downward obstacle sensing, even gesture control – the ability to control all the drone’s actions with hand signals after it takes off from the palm of your hand. Say what?! Plus it comes in fun colors to boot.

The Best Mid-Budget Drones For Travel

DJI makes a few awesome drones in this category, but I’m only going to list the two that I believe are the the best travel drones. This means I am excluding the DJI Phantom series (which we also own and love) because they are just not travel friendly drones like these other two are.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI built a winning design with it’s Mavic Pro. This drone literally changed the concept of portability when it comes to traveling with a professional quality drone. It is solid yet compact, folding its “arms” and propellers up to be small enough to easily slip in your bag. You’ll exceed $1000 if you want accessories like extra batteries or a carrying case. So this one technically goes in both categories of mid-budget and splurge.

It has a 4K camera, RAW format, 27 minute flight time, 7 km video transmission, and a long list of Intelligent Flight Modes.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PRICES

Best travel drones DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Air

The DJI Mavic Air is sleekly designed like the Spark but incorporates the folding design of the Mavic Pro so it can fit into smaller spaces for transport. The propellers on the Mavic Air slide into the body but the propellers themselves don’t fold.

One of the biggest differences between the Mavic Air and the Mavic Pro is the size. The Air is almost half the size and weight. The gimble is also enclosed more in the body of the drone (similar to the Spark) so it is more protected and safer than in the Pro. Another added feature is obstacle avoidance when flying backwards, whereas the Mavic Pro only has forward and downwards obstacle avoidance.

It has built in memory (8 GB) unlike the other models, so if you are forgetful like us and leave your memory card at home, you at least have an alternative.

Gesture Control, aka Smart Capture is far superior and more responsive in the Mavic Air versus the Pro or the Spark.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PRICES

Best Travel Drones DJI Mavic Air

The Best Travel Drone Splurge

DJI Mavic Pro Platinum

I call this one the splurge simply because the price is higher than the others, not necessarily because I think it is the best one for you. All features and specs must be considered. DJI also has the Inspire series, which is the real splurge: professional filmmaking technology, but not nearly as portable as these other travel drones.

The major pros with the Platinum model is the quieter flight and the faster speed, both of which are pretty sweet features. If your first choice was already the Mavic Pro, why not splurge a little and upgrade to the Platinum? I would. If I were purchasing a drone, I would limit my Amazon search to “New” in the left hand column, unless you are interested in “Refurbished.” I would also choose a seller that is authorized by DJI so if you have an issue, it is under warranty.

If you want the ultimate bundle, here it is. CLICK TO SEE PRICES
The Takeaway on Best Travel Drones

You really can’t go wrong with a DJI drone. They dominate the market in user friendly technology for the consumer, both hobbyists and professionals. If you feel the need to buy something much cheaper to practice with, that’s understandable. But DJI really is user friendly and if you just take your time learning and practicing, you’ll gain confidence and skills to use your drone anywhere.

Most importantly, always know the drone laws pertaining to hobbyists in whichever country you are traveling. Some countries outright ban drones and you’ll have it confiscated at the airport. Know the laws and be responsible. Never fly near airports, historical tourist sites, over crowds, or in National Parks. Use common sense and be respectful. To see more details about the specifications of each drone, visit DJI.

Happy droning!

 

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2 thoughts on “Best Travel Drones

  1. Gary

    Great write up Jessica! I just saw a special on the dji Spark for $60 and ordered 2. I’ll send you the link. We’re back in Bham for the next 3 weeks, then back to Thailand.
    Keep on Trucking,
    Gary

    Reply

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