Back in the day, drones are known as the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used by the military for intelligence, anti-aircraft target practice, and weapons. Today, drones are now popularly associated with travelers and bloggers who like to shoot impressive aerial footages of some of the best travel destinations in the world. The drone definitely ups the game in the field of video making. Hence more and more social media influencers are investing on this nifty device. But just like any powerful tool, it requires careful handling especially when carrying it during travels. To ensure a hassle-free trip with a UAV, here's a list of 5 tips for traveling with a drone.
1. Know the law
Due to its military significance and history, some countries have restrictions on the use of drones. In Australia, UAVs weighing 2kg or less can fly less than 400 feet (121 m) in a controlled airspace and only when the weather condition is good. For drones weighing over 2kgs, you need to be licensed or certified by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). In Bangladesh, route permit is required before you can fly a drone. Some countries have no-drone-zone like public parks in Japan and some sports and entertainments events in the US. There are some countries that have very strict laws against the use of UAVs that tourists are compelled to surrender their drones upon arrival in the airport. In Thailand, for one, flying a drone is illegal. To save yourself the trouble of dealing with authorities, make sure that you do your due diligence in researching any laws or regulations concerning drones before visiting a place.
2. Carry-on only!
Just like any expensive and fragile device, it is best to keep your drone with you especially when you are traveling. On planes, have it as a carry-on instead of checking it in. This will minimize the risk of mishandling, loss, or theft.
3. Get informed about battery care
Ensure to take extra precautions when storing, charging, and disposing the batteries of your drone. Place it in a separate bag that you can easily carry so for faster procedures when going through airport security. It is also best to invest in extra batteries, specially higher-charge ones as drones easily deplete battery life. When charging the batteries, do not overcharge as LiPo (lithium polymer) batteries are volatile and have the possibility of spontaneous combustion. Most airlines require storing the batteries in a fire-resistant bag for safety measures. Therefore, we´d recommend to do it always, as you never know when you might go on a spontaneous flight.
4. Bring a repair kit
Anything can happen while you're traveling including some mishaps (e.g., drone cash) so it's always best to come prepared. Bring a repair kit and extra propellers so you can fix your drone right away should you meet any issues along the way. This is especially helpful if you happen to travel somewhere with no drone operators who can fix the problem.
5. Get the right bag for packing the drone
Given the fact that drones are somewhat fragile, you have to ensure that you have the right back or case for packing this device. There are bags created and designed specifically for drones, and it might be wise to invest on those. But normally these are quite expensive starting at £120. When traveling through a plane, ensure that bag can fit inside the overhead cabin. Though drones can be checked-in by using a hard case, it is highly recommended that you take it with you for added security.
We made excellent experiences using our CabinZero Military 44L as our primary carry-on bag for travelling with a drone. It perfectly fits the DJI Phantom 4 case and leaves you some more space for a bit of clothing and a laptop or iPad. But let's hear some people who use it regularly:
Jeremy Goh, Singapore
Jeremy Goh is a photographer, videographer, and writer he is using his drone to capture great moments while travelling through South East Asia and especially Indonesia. You can check out some of his work on Instagram and Facebook and here is what he has to say about the Military CabinZero as a drone bag:
"Whether I'm hiking up a mountain or blasting down a dusty road in Myanmar on a bike, I've not had a better way to transport my Phantom 4 than in a Military CabinZero. It looks bare, but it's actually loaded with all the right features. The main compartment fits the rigid foam-molded container that the Phantom 4 Pro comes in nicely and leaves about 20% of the bag still empty for a DSLR and two lenses. The inner slip pocket accommodates a laptop, and the outer one lets you slide in loose items that you'll invariably accumulate along the trip. Aside from this, the CabinZero is splash proof has many loops on the outside to firmly attach it to a motorbike or the top of a bus, as well as allow items like a water bottle to be clipped on. And if that's not enough, the waist and chest straps distribute the weight so that walking long distances doesn't get comfortable. The result is that you can go further, climb higher, faster to get that crucial shot. I love my camping bags, my purpose made Manfrotto drone/ camera bag, but nothing beats the versatility of the Military CabinZero."
Stefan Ashby, United Kingdom
Stefan Ashby is a photo- and videographer from the UK. He considers himself as a professional storyteller. He creates images that represent the whole picture, but always celebrate the small details. You can check out some of his work on Facebook and his Website but let´s see what Stefan has to say about the Military CabinZero:
“When I initially received my DJI Phantom 4, I was struggling to find a decent method of transporting the drone from one location to another. I decided to try one of Cabin Zero Bags. The perfect fit was my Military CabinZero bags. Its size is ideal for holding the supplied foam case, with the case inserted into the bag it still allows room to carry other items. Generally, I take my Canon DSLR, wide angle lens and Formatt Hitech filters, the front pocket is still large enough to carry the tablet and various leads. What makes this bag stand out is its many attachment points, loops, etc. for carrying additional items such as water bottles and the like. Perfect size for carry-on hand luggage also.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marjorie Gavan is a writer by profession and by passion. She has a degree in B.S. Journalism and now has 15 years of writing and editing experience under her belt. She currently works as a knowledge specialist in an IT company in Quezon City, Philippines. She chronicles her travel adventures in her blog, Coffeehan.