Drone technology is always changing, and last year’s best drones for travel may not be this year’s greatest.
In order to stay on top of professional drone camera tech, we looked at what drones our peers are using, researched hundreds of current Amazon drone reviews, and compiled this list of the best of the best.
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Your guide to the best drones for travel
Not too long ago, drone photography quickly emerged as the best way to make compelling travel videos that go viral. Sab from Just One Way Ticket and Lost Leblanc have proven this in spades with their beautifully recorded Philippines drone videos.
Although we’ve covered how to make long range drone videos rank on YouTube in the past, my wife and I have never really explored which devices are the best drones for travel.
We thought we’d approach this topic for Nomad is Beautiful readers first because of the influence of this blog in the travel photography space.
It wasn’t that long ago that we learned how Gianni and Ivana used photography tours to kick start their nomadic lifestyle, so I felt that their blog would be the best place to showcase professional drone camera equipment for 2019.
In this post we are going to cover a range of HD video drones, from our favourite mini drone with camera (that also happens to be the best cheap drone for travel) – to larger, long range drone with camera technologies.
All of these travel-friendly drones have been tried and tested by our peers in the travel blogging community.
|Drone||TakeOff Weight||Size||Flight time||Max transmission range||Video format||Price|
|300g / 0.6lb||9.8 x 3 x 8.2 inches|
|16 minutes||distance: 100 m / 328 ft|
height: 50 m / 164 ft
|743g / 1.63lb||8.3cm x 8.3cm x 19.8cm||27 minutes||distance: 80 m / 262 ft|
height: 50 m / 164 ft
|1375g / 3lb||35cm|
9.9 x 15.7 x 6.8 inches
|30 minutes||2-7km / 1.24 - 4.3 mi||MP4||$1,719.00|
|889g / 1.96lb||9cmx36cm |
8.6 x 3.2 x 6.3 inches
|20 minutes||1km / 0.62mi||MP4||$299.88|
|1.2kg / 2.5lb||35cm x 19.5cm|
13.8 x 7.7 inches
|25 minutes||1km / 0.62mi||4K||Check on Amazon|
|320g / 0.7lb||24cm x 6.6cm x 6.3cm|
|25 minutes||4km / 2.5mi||4K||Check on Amazon|
Best cheap drone
When you travel, electronics tend to break, get lost, stolen, or die a horrible death. With that in mind, let’s start with the cheapest and most compact option on this list (without ignoring quality).
Whether you’re looking for the best drone for photography or something compact -the DJI Spark has features that both amateurs and professionals will appreciate – it’s our best mini drone with camera selection.
First off, it’s size and weight; the DJI Spark’s dimensions are just under 15 cm in either direction and 5.5 cm high, and it comes in at just over half a pound.
Its camera can record videos and photos at 12 megapixels, and it’s small enough to fit inside a backpack, or strapped to the back of it.
It packs a lot into a small package, although I wouldn’t recommend it for long range drone videos, as it will need to stay within 100 metres during operation and it’s smaller size might not handle higher velocity, high up winds as well as a larger unit would. And that’s why it’s our favourite travel drone out of the bunch.
The only downside of it being so small and light is that it’s battery is quite small, with only enough juice for 15 minutes in the air. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best long range drones with GPS and camera
Since everyone’s going to have different criteria for what they consider the best drone to buy, we’re going to open up your options for long range drones.
The remainder of this article will touch on the 5 best drones with camera functionality –ones that are a little chunkier, can go further, and hold their own under somewhat windy conditions, as is common the higher up you fly your drone.
For a majority of drone enthusiasts, the DJI Mavic Pro is the best for sports, hiking, and general travel. DJI still found a way to keep this drone quite compact, at 8.3 cm high, 8.3 cm wide, and just under 20 cm long.
It’s got up to 27 minutes of flight time, can fly at a distance of 80 metres from the controller, and has a 12 megapixel camera.
The DJI Mavic Pro is only 1.64 pounds, which is quite light compared to it’s even bulkier (albeit slightly more professional) big brother, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro which comes in at around 3 pounds. Check the latest price on Amazon.
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Official specs, view on Amazon
The newly updated DJI Phantom 4 Pro v2.0 is a beast. An expensive beast that cracks the $1k barrier – and yet it’s worth every penny.
20 megapixels, massive photo sensor, up to 7 km radio range, and approximately half hour flight time; the DJI Phantom 4 Pro v2.0 is a must for the serious vlogger.
Slightly larger than other drones on this list, this drone is about 35 cm across. Check the latest price on Amazon.
This one is a little iffy. While GoPro has managed to keep the software and compatibility current as of Summer 2019, they’re going to be discontinuing the hardware on this drone.
On the plus side, you can probably get it quite cheap and it is compatible with the Hero 5, 6, and 7. On the down side, it may not be compatible with whatever comes out after the GoPro Hero 7.
Most travelers already have a GoPro or two, so the Karma Drone may be the next logical step. Although it is a little large and bulky at approximately 9 cm tall, 36 cm long, and just over 20 cm wide folded up and just under 2.5 pounds. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Pack and travel:
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View on Amazon
This drone is made by a company that makes actual drone vehicles, that people can ride in.
The Ehang Ghost 2.0 VR delivers insane value for the money that is comparable to a DJI. It comes with VR goggles that are equipped with head tracking so you can control your drone with your head, and flight time is around 25 minutes.
This 12 megapixel camera drone comes in at 2.6 pounds and has slightly smaller dimensions than the DJI Phantom, coming in at around 25 cm long, 25 cm wide, and 20 cm tall. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Official specs, view on Amazon
The Anafi 4k drone by Parrot has comparable dimensions to the Ehang Ghost mentioned above, although it is under 1 pound which makes it feel a little more fragile when you hold it in your hand.
This drone is capable of 4k video and still images at 21 megapixels, is capable of a 25 minute flight time, and has a maximum controller range of 4 km.
It’s great value for the money, and it’s extremely light and portable. Check the latest price on Amazon.
The drone market is seeing intense competition in 2019, so watch this space as I imagine we’ll have to update this article from time to time.
If I had to guess, drone technology is going to make a very big leap this year and 5G is right around the corner.
Pro Tip: You might want to save this infographic for after you create your first long range drone video! Youtube SEO can be tricky, and in the infographic below we cover the 5 commandments of SEO for Youtube to help your drone videos rank.
Get inspired by more travel articles:
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- Ecotourism in Southeast Asia: Tips on Destinations and Activities
Do you have a burning travel question? Join our Nomad is Beautiful travel community on Facebook and ask experienced travelers!