Drones are an exciting new technology that can be used for many purposes, such as capturing high-quality aerial footage and exploring uncharted territory. With so much potential, it’s no wonder why they’ve become a popular travel accessory among adventurous types. But don’t let this popularity fool you – there are still plenty of rules to follow when traveling with your drone. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure safe and enjoyable travels!
Now go ahead and enjoy the rest of our blog post on how to travel with a drone and check out practical drone travel tips so that you can travel safely and smartly with peace of mind.
How To Travel With A Drone
Bring Your Drone To A Plane
These are the steps to follow when you pack a drone in your checked luggage or carry-on.
- Make sure the drone is turned off and any switches are protected from accidental activation.
- To protect your drone from any damage, you might consider purchasing a drone carrying case like this one.
Check with your airline to determine whether your drone should be packed in your checked baggage or carry-on baggage. Due to the DOT ban on carrying lithium-ion batteries in passenger plane cargo compartments, some airlines require that drones be carried in carry-on
Bring Your Drone Batteries To A Plane
You must comply with FAA hazardous material regulations, as most drones run on lithium-ion (LIPO) batteries. LIPO batteries must be kept in your carry-on bag. You may be allowed to carry them in your checked luggage under certain conditions. However, the rules for traveling with a lithium-ion battery are simpler and more straightforward when you’re carrying on baggage.
Lithium-ion Batteries In Carrying On Baggage
You will need to know how many watts (Wh) your LIPO battery can last before you pack it in your luggage. This section explains how to calculate Watt-hours.
These are the steps to follow when you pack LIPO batteries of 100 Wh or lower in your carry-on luggage
- You can protect LIPO batteries in carry-on baggage from short circuit by packing them in one of the following ways: Leave the batteries in their original packaging, wrap the terminals in tape, use a case or a battery sleeve inside a camera bag or put them in a protective pouch.
- You must only bring batteries for your own personal use, which includes professional use. You should not bring batteries to resell or distribute by a vendor.
- You should check with your airline to see if there are any restrictions regarding LIPO batteries being carried onboard.
These are the steps to follow when you pack LIPO batteries that have more than 100Wh, but less than 160Wh, in your carry-on baggage.
- You will need approval from the airline to bring a larger LIPO battery (more than 100 Wh) aboard your carry-on baggage.
- You should not have more than two batteries of more than 100 Wh.
- To protect batteries from short circuits, store them in the original packaging or in a battery case.
LIPO batteries in checked baggage
LIPO batteries of 100Wh or less may be checked in with checked baggage provided they are securely attached to the drone. LIPO batteries with more than 100 Wh cannot be packed in checked baggage without approval from the airline.
Checked baggage cannot contain spare LIPO batteries. Checked baggage is only allowed to contain the battery in your drone. You can only check your drone’s battery in checked baggage.
How to Determine Watt-Hours In Your Drone Batteries
The majority of small consumer drone batteries are less than 100 Wh. However, it is important to verify the Wh for your particular batteries.
For watt-hours, multiply the voltage by the ampere-hour (Wh = Ah).
Example: A 12-volt battery with a rating of 8 Amps is rated at 96 Watts (12 x 8 = 96)
For more information on how to pack your LIPO batteries, view this list of TSA prohibited items and the FAA’s guidelines for batteries carried by airline passengers.
Taking Your Drone Thru Customs
Most countries have a national or civil aviation authority that sets and enforces drone regulations. In the United States, drone regulations can be set by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), while in Canada, they are set by Transport Canada Civil Aviation. You can find out about drone law by identifying the civil aviation authority of the country you are traveling to.
When traveling to countries where it is legal to fly a drone, you should:
- Do your research on the drone laws in your country. As a guide, we recommend using the Master List of Drone Laws to start your research.
- You should check for drone law that is specific to foreigners. Some countries require foreigners who wish to fly drones that aren’t allowed to be flown by their citizens to apply for special permissions. Some countries prohibit foreigners from fly drones through customs.
- Find out if you are required to register your drone at the national or civil aviation authority of your country.
- For drone certification and licensing, please follow the requirements of your county. A test of aeronautical knowledge or flight proficiency may be required depending on the country. This is likely if you’re flying for professional/commercial purposes.
We do not recommend that you bring your drone to countries where flying drones is prohibited. Your drone could be confiscated by customs. You may be asked to return your drone after your flight.
You should not assume you can bring your drone to countries without drone laws. It doesn’t mean that you can fly anywhere you want in countries without drone laws. In fact, authorities could be opposed to using drones, particularly by tourists.
This cautionary warning applies when bringing a drone through customs. Some drone-specific laws may not be followed in certain countries. In these cases, customs officials might confiscate the drones.
You may be able to register your drone with Customs prior to travel as a personal effect taken abroad. This will ensure that there are no misunderstandings about whether you are returning with the same drone you left with or are importing a new drone purchased abroad.
Traveling with a drone can provide exciting filming and photography opportunities. A drone can make a great travel companion. You don’t need to worry about legal problems or having your drone taken away. We would love to hear about your drone travel stories on our forum.
19 Tips For Traveling Safely With A Drone
1. Respect and learn all drone laws in every country where you are traveling.
This is crucial. This is very important as drones are becoming more common around the globe. Different countries have come up with different drone laws that govern what drone owners can and cannot do.
Drone enthusiasts who disregard the rules are branded a disgraceful group and could lead to more restrictive regulations. It is therefore important that all laws regarding drones be respected.
You should research the laws governing drone use in your destination before you travel with one. They are constantly changing, so you should check them often. The EU is constantly updating civil drone laws. What you thought was true last year may not be true this year.
Also, make sure to check whether you need to register your drone with the national civil aviation authority. It is often a tedious process and one of the first tasks you will have to complete. Unfortunately, I didn’t complete this task on my recent trip to Portugal. It can take up to two weeks for the paperwork to be completed, so I was unable to fly my drone.
2. Travel with your drone as carry-on baggage
A drone can be used for air travel. However, it is expensive and fragile equipment that you do not want being handled by airport baggage staff. Drone batteries can also be dangerous because they are made from lithium.
It wasn’t so long ago that I thought I could smell burning on a flight from London. As I looked around at other passengers, I could see their fear and how they felt it. The airline staff explained that there was a small battery fire but that the aircraft’s control system had alerted it. They said nothing to be concerned about.
But. Believe me, the Atlantic Ocean is 38,000 feet high, and you can smell burning. It was the worst thing I have ever done, and it almost killed me.
If you’re taking your drone with you on a plane, it is best not to place the drone in your checked baggage. Instead, bring your drone and accessories along in your carry-on baggage. Check with the airport to see if your drone can be transported in checked-in luggage.
3. Airport security personnel should be treated with kindness
Cooperation and politeness are key to aerodrome security. Drones are rare, and aerodrome security may ask you many questions before you allow them to check you through.
It will make your flight experience more enjoyable by being polite, responsive, and accommodating to their questions.
4. Get a drone that is travel-friendly
There are many sizes and shapes of drones. DJI makes popular drones like the Phantom 4 or Mavic Pro.
Despite being an excellent drone, it’s difficult to transport it with you in your luggage across different countries due to its larger size. Due to its small size, the DJI Mavic Pro is a great drone for travel.
5. A good case is essential
It is important to have a drone case when you travel with it. This protects the drone and makes it easy to transport. You can carry your drone around in any bag with no worries, thanks to the case.
6. Spare batteries
The best drones that are capable of flying for 20-30 minutes on a fully charged battery is one of the best currently available. This is often not enough time to capture all the information you need. To avoid losing flight time, it is important to always have a spare battery, especially lithium-ion batteries.
You can quickly swap batteries and continue taking photos or recording videos while the battery charges up. I recommend at least two spare batteries.
If you plan to fly, make sure you know how many watts your spare batteries can last. Most airlines have a maximum number of spare batteries you can carry. You should be fine if it is less than 100 wh. However, if you have more powerful batteries, make sure you check the airline rules. The FAA states that drone batteries exceeding 100 wh can only be used in one drone and two spares.
Batteries are only for personal use. You can’t bring 50 batteries that are less than 100 watts. However, it is acceptable to show up at airports with them. Expect lots of questions to prove your case.
A car inverter may also be necessary to charge your drone batteries inside vehicles. One final warning: Do not put them in your checked baggage.
7. Use neutral density filters
You should have neutral density filters for your travels. The majority of drones have a fixed aperture. This allows the camera to choose between ISO and shutter speed to achieve a balanced exposure. It is often wrong. It is possible for settings to change in the middle of a shot, leading to poor footage.
It will reduce the chance of this happening if you use neutral density filters.
8. Know your charging time
What is the average time it takes for your drone’s battery to fully charge? It can take a while for your drone to fully charge. To get 25 minutes of use, I typically need to charge my drone for 3-4hrs.
9. Avoid crowds
To protect privacy, most drone laws in countries prohibit the use of a drone to take pictures near people.
If something goes wrong, your drone can be dangerously close to a group. Drones can experience technical problems at any time. A drone can also cause serious injuries if it crashes into someone.
10. Always keep a flight plan
It is essential to create a flight plan before you take your drone into the air, especially if you are flying in unfamiliar territory. This will allow you to plan how you will capture the footage in the time you have. It also ensures that your drone remains within range throughout the flight. Keep your distance from trees, power lines, and buildings, and other large objects
11. Learn how to fly your drone by yourself
Sometimes, your drone may not be able to direct video streaming, or you might lose it in mid-flight. You can easily return your drone to your place if you are familiar with how to use it manually.
12. Flying requires you to keep your line of sight.
Keep your drone in your visual line of sight. This will allow you to still see it and bring it back safely.
13. Respect animals
Drones are not liked by some animals, especially birds and dogs. They can make a scary sound to them. Seagulls and other bird species may attempt to attack drones thinking they are another animal.
Always be aware of all wildlife in the area where you are flying and keep your distance. This applies to game drives as well. Most wildlife parks have established guidelines for drone use.
14. Take care in cold weather
We all know there has never been an alliance between electronics and cold/wet conditions. Drones for consumer use are not designed to operate in cold or rainy conditions. Be careful if you’re visiting a cold area, as drones can sometimes fall from the sky in extreme circumstances.
15. Fly when it is the best time to shoot
Most drone owners agree that the best times to take photos or videos with your camera are in the morning, just before or after sunrise, as well as in the evening, just before or during sunset. Because of the amazing lighting, there will be fewer people.
16. Flying takes extra time
It is important not to get so busy setting up your drone and taking footage that you lose the opportunity to enjoy the actual experience of the place you are visiting. It will take time to set up the drone and capture footage. Make sure you have enough money for this while still enjoying your moment.
17. Keep basic repair tools
It is impossible to predict what might happen on the trip. You never know what could happen to your drone while you’re out there. It is possible to repair your drone anywhere you are if you keep your tools handy.
Extra parts are also necessary, particularly the propellers. They are often the first to be damaged in a crash.
18. Make sure you have enough storage space.
Insufficient storage space is something you don’t want. It is not a good idea to have to delete items in order to make room for more. To be safe, it is a good idea to bring a few more memory cards.
19. Be friendly with the public
It’s possible that most people you meet on your travels have never experienced a drone in action. You will be able to attract attention from locals, who may also want to see what you are doing.
Using this opportunity to have a conversation with them put their mind at ease so they realize drone pilots are nice people and even offer to take their photos or videos with your drone. You could make lots of new friends by being polite.’
In addition, you should read some information on flying a drone-like:
- Where Are Drones Banned? Best Full Guide 2023
- Where Can You Fly Drones In Colorado 2023: Top Full Guide
- Where To Fly Drone In Los Angeles 2023: Top Full Guide
Can you take a drone through airport security?
Yes. Although there are some restrictions by the Transportation Security Administration regarding drone travel, it is generally easy to bring your drone through airport security.
Is it possible to check a drone into checked luggage?
The TSA doesn’t have specific regulations prohibiting drones from carry-on and checking baggage. However, it advises passengers to verify airline policies. You can carry spare lithium batteries for personal use in your carry-on luggage. However, there are restrictions.
Can you travel internationally with a drone?
It all depends on the laws of the country where you are traveling. While some countries ban drone use, others like the United States have their own laws regarding drones that can differ from the EU’s. You should check the drone laws of the country you are planning to visit and adhere to them. Your license must be with you. You can often find the civil aviation authority in the country where you are going to be flying.
What kind of battery is prohibited on planes?
Checked baggage is not allowed to contain spare (or uninstalled) lithium metal and lithium-ion lithium batteries, electronic cigarettes, and vaping devices. These items must be brought along with the passenger in carrying on baggage
Are AA batteries allowed on board a plane?
The following batteries are allowed to be carried on baggage: * Dry cell alkaline battery: Typical AA, AAA, and C, D. 9-volt, button-sized, etc. Consumer-sized lithium-ion battery (up to 100 watts per battery). … You can carry up to 2 grams of lithium per consumer-sized battery
Your drone can be a great companion to take on your next adventure. LucidCam hopes you find this article is helpful in answering some questions about traveling safely with a drone and what considerations need to be made before going on an outing with it. You might also want to check out our other blog posts for more information about drones, including how they work or the various types of drones available today.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! Happy flying!