Drones have introduced an exciting way of travel: you get amazing shots from all angles and immerse yourself entirely in your surroundings.
The device has given rise to a community called “drone nomads,” which is digital nomads who travel around the world with a drone in hand.
Some of them make films or sell their images online to make money. You may need some time to muster the skill of drone videography, but once you do, your content will be compelling.
Best Drones for Travelers
Below you will find a short review of the best drones I recommend for travvelers and digital nomads. These drones are really good and you can produce high quality videos and photos with them.
On top of that they are light-weight and easy to pack. Let’s start with the DJI Mavic Mini, which is my favorite:
1. DJI Mavic Mini Drone
The DJI Mavic Mini is an exceptionally portable model from the DJI drone family. It is almost as light as the average smartphone, which positions it in the safest weight class of drones. The gadget weighs a mere 249 grams (8.8 ounces), and it escapes the FAA requirement of 250 grams.
You will not need to register the Mavic Mini or pass any online test. Keep in mind, however, that air space regulations apply. The model is also entirely foldable, which further boosts its portability. With its flexible arms fully, its dimensions are around the same as those of the Mavic Air.
DJI promises smooth footage with the Mavic Mini. It supports 2.7K Quad HD videos at 30fps or 1080p at 60 fps and 12Mp aerial photos. You can select any of the gadget’s Quickshot modes, including Rocket, Dronie, and Helix.
The Mavic Mini also has a 3-axis motorized gimbal for superior camera stability. The gimbal will provide sharp videos, even in breezy conditions. While the drone does not offer 4K or Raw video, the video output is excellent nonetheless, and 2.7K is decent for the average laptop monitor, tablet, or smartphone.
The Mavic Mini may be small, but it holds its own in the air. It is impressively stable and provides a transmission distance of 4km. The drone promises up to 30 minutes of flight time on a fully-charged battery. It is equipped with a couple of sensors at the base to ensure it lands smoothly, but it has no obstacle avoidance sensors on the front, back, or sides like those on the Mavic Air.
The Mavic Mini controller has no screen, but you can easily stream videos on an iOS or Android smartphone. The drone is packaged with a Lightning connector, USB-C, and micro-USB cables.
DJI has rolled up an improved Fly App with the Mavic Mini. Its interface has been re-designed to be more user-friendly, and you can expect fewer submenus.
You can view the kind of videos you will get with various modes with the example videos, which makes it easier to select between settings. You can also quickly change flight parameters, although you should not expect premium functions like D-Log.
The DJI Mavic Mini is an inexpensive and capable model for those looking for high-quality videos and images. While it lacks the expanded applications range of its more expensive cousins, it will give you excellent content.
2. Ruko F11 Pro Drone 4K Quadcopter
The Ruko F11 has made quite a splash in the foldable drone category. It is equipped with impressive features and capabilities and will especially suit beginner digital nomads. Ruko is a relatively new brand in the camera drone market, but it has become notable among consumers.
The model has a premium and compact design, and it is constructed of superior aluminum to differentiate it from toy-level drones. When folded, the F11 measures 7 × 4 × 3.2 inches and 17.5 × 15.9 × 3.2 inches. It will be easy to fly with it when folded, and you do not have to remove the propellers because they fold along its sides. You will, however, have to register it with the FAA because it weighs 520 grams.
The F11 Pro will not require a lot of maintenance, thanks to its brushless motors. The motors will not overheat and will enable the drone to stay in-flight for a more extended period. They also give the drone sufficient power to reach a height of 120 meters and power through seven levels of wind resistance. You can maintain a visual line on the drone at night with the help of the LED lights that are under the motor arms.
One of the notable features of the Ruko F11 Pro is its 4K UHD camera, from which you can expect good quality videos and stills. You can look forward to amazing superb footage with the 120-degree field view. The only drawback to the model’s camera performance is the lack of a gimbal stabilizer that should ensure that the camera is leveled throughout the flight.
The F11 Pro comes with two 2500mAh intelligent batteries, which have an inbuilt indicator to determine the amount of battery left. Each battery promises 30 minutes of flight time, which comes down to around 26 minutes in practice. The batteries take about 210 minutes to recharge, which might be long for some users.
The drone has several flight functions to make operation seamless. The GPS function prevents hovering by locking the right location, and you do not have to be concerned about vertical control. Users can also ensure that its nose direction is in the proper orientation using the headless mode.
Overall the F11 Pro is a good-quality drone camera with functional and advanced features.
3. Holy Stone HS720 Foldable GPS Drone
The Holy Stone HS720 model is an affordable camera drone if you are interested in good picture quality. This quadcopter is built on simple configurations, portability, and superior camera performance.
It features a black body with silver accents for a luxurious look, and it balances weight well to promote stability. Traveling with the HS720 is made easier with its foldable design and a carrying case that accommodates all accessories, including the controller.
The 2K FHD camera on the drone is complete with image stabilization. You can shoot 2048 × 1152P high-resolution images and videos without worrying about camera vibration. The inbuilt shock absorption function will allow you to use the camera even in less-than-serene weather.
It also has 5GHz FPV transmission to give you real-time visuals so that you make adjustments where needed. The 90-degree adjustable lens further boost usability.
The Holy Stone HS720 is fitted with an intelligent battery that delivers 26 minutes of flight time per charge. Its brushless motors discourage overheating, and they offer much more throttle to enable the drone to fly longer. The motors are also more durable than cheap brushed ones, and you can expect quieter operation.
The controller is incredibly easy to use, and it utilizes a 2.4GHz transmitter with a 3,000 ft radius. The monochrome LED screen will illustrate the battery level and the GPS signal. There is an on and off button for the drone light for situations where the amount of light changes.
The drone is designed with a GPS-assisted intelligent flight. It will return if the battery is low, you press one key return, or the signal is lost. Other additional features make the drone a joy to take along.
With the point of interest capability, the drone will fly or orbit around the path you set. The follow-me feature will get you professional footage while the optical flow positioning ensures the drone is stable even in indoor spaces.
Overall, the Holy Stone HS720 offers decent flight times and satisfactory performance, and its features will be handy for amateur videographers.
4. HUBSAN Zino Pro 4k Drone
The HUBSAN Zino Pro is an upgraded model of the HUBSAN Zino that features an extended flight range and other advanced capabilities.
You can capture great travel experiences with the 4K drone camera, which uses 30 fps to extract high-quality stills. The 3-axis gimbal detects and maintains horizontal lines even with the camera tilted and reduces blurring for crisp content.
You can choose between different rotation angles to take a panoramic shot. The lens is interchangeable, and you can equip it with different filters to minimize the amount of light getting into the sensor and control the camera’s exposure time and aperture.
The HUBSAN Zino Pro provides four flight modes. In the Line Fly Mode, the model will continue flying in a straight line. You can select the object around which the drone will hover, and adjust the flying speeds under the Obrite Mode.
If you want the drone to fly freely, simply activate the Headless mode. The Waypoints feature lets the user select the route through which the drone will fly by selecting several points in the X-Hubsan App.
You can enjoy full control of the HUBSAN Zino Pro even when it is further away from you with the GPS-GLONASS system that provides accurate positioning. The drone can look for the apron automatically and land on it accurately to minimize the risk of crashing. The flight control system will also automatically determine if the model can go back to the take-off point if the battery is low.
The drone features a 3000mAh battery that provides 23 minutes of flying time. The brushless motors are incredibly powerful to ensure that you enjoy a powerful flying experience.
5. Potensic D88 Foldable Drone
The Potensic D88 is packed with excellent flight features for beginners and enthusiasts. The quadcopter is suitably portable for travel, thanks to its foldable motor arms. It features powerful brushless motors labeled 1350KV, which provide superior performance.
The motors are exceptionally durable because they do not overheat. It comes in a hard casing that can absorb impact, but be careful when using it all the same.
You get a 2K camera with this drone with a wide-angle view at 110º, and you can further adjust it by 90º. The one-axis gimbal is useful for stability, but it does not function as well as the 3-axis gimbal on other drones.
Pilots can enjoy real-time image transmission at a range of 820 ft to 984 ft, although you will need a phon that accomodates 5G WiFi band. The camera is fitted with a 5MP sensor that provides sharp resolution and detailed footage and will appeal to beginner aerial photographers. It is also easy to share the footage on social media through the app.
The remote control has a simple design that makes it easy to use. Potensic opted for straight bottom handles instead of curved ones. Pilots will get vital information from the LED panel like distance, height, satellite lock, and battery level.
There is a retractable smartphone holder that can accommodate different iOS and Android phones. If you are flying the drone in an open space, you should be able the control is within a 1,500-meter radius, but expect a reduced range if there are obstacles.
The Potensic D88 is impressively feature-heavy. The WayPoint Route enables you to map out a specific route for the drone to follow using several points, and you can select the one with the most incredible footage. When using the Point of Interest feature, all you need to do is to pick out an object, and the drone will circle around it.
The Auto Return Home function directs the drone to go back to the take-off point once it detects a low battery or signal issues. The drone is fueled by a 7.6VmAh Li-po battery to give a flight time of 20 minutes. You may need spare ones, however, considering that the charging time is 4 hours.
The Potensic D88 boasts a wealth of features and a good camera, but will mostly fit beginners and not advanced pilots.
Why Should You Consider a Drone as a Digital Nomad?
A drone will become an excellent travel companion in your digital nomad journey, with benefits that include:
Document your Travel
Drones enable travelers to become the directors of their pursuits, and you can easily create movies out of your trips. Instead of trying to explain your trips to family and friends back home, you can simply use angles and heights to illustrate different places.
You can even inspire others to take similar journeys once they scroll down your footage. By capturing travel moments, you will always have those memories with you to go back to.
Make Stock Videos
Digital nomads are always looking for ways to make passive income while they are on the road, and you can do just that through selling drone footage. Numerous sites pay for aerial photography and videography, including Getty Images, Shutterstock, Pond5, and DroneStock. These platforms offer different rates, and the choice will depend on your goals.
Make YouTube Videos
Global travelers make a significant chunk of YouTube channels. One way of standing out is making well-crafted YouTube videos that tell a compelling story. Use different angles to provide various points of view and share incredible shots from the multiple destinations you travel.
Are Drones Allowed on Airplanes?
Before packing your drone in your bag, ensure that it complies with the drone laws in your destination and take-off location, airline policies, TSA regulations, and FAA hazardous materials requirements.
Different airlines have their regulations when it comes to carrying drones. American Airlines, for example, only permits the gadget if the battery does not exceed 160-watt hours, and its box measures less than 22 × 14 × 9 inches.
The drone policy of JetBlue Airlines requires the drone to be able to fit under your seat or in the overhead bin with the battery fully installed. The drone should be in the Off position throughout the flight.
Most drones come with lithium-ion (LIPO) batteries and should be therefore packed in the carry-on luggage. Batteries with 100 Wh or less can be packed in checked luggage, but only if they are firmly installed in the drone. Any spare batteries should go in a carry-on bag.
Do You Need a License to Fly a Drone?
The need for a license to fly a drone mostly depends on whether you are using it for commercial or recreational purposes. While you may not require a permit to fly a drone as a hobby, some countries like the US require one if you intend to make money with it. You should look at the drone policies of the countries you want to visit to be on the safe side.
How Much Does a Drone Weigh?
Drones vary in weight from the light ones at 5 kgs to 200 kgs to those used mostly by transport companies at 2000kgs. Lighter and foldable drones are best suited for constant travel.
Social media sites are filled with aerial images and videos with some of the most incredible footage.
You can easily capture the same kind of content by using high drones from brands like DJI, HUBSAN, Holy Stone, Ruko, and Potensic. It helps to check the drone policies not only of the destination but airlines as well.