Want to take your drone along during your travels? Here’s a guide on how to pack your drone while traveling. Check it out!
The last couple of years have been a little strange for all of us and we’ve barely been traveling, if at all. But as things are slowly starting to settle down, you’ll probably want to get out and resume traveling.
And with that, you’ll want to carry your drone with you to capture some great footage from the places you visit.
This article is aimed at ensuring that when that time comes, you’re going to be ready. This includes learning how to research drone laws in different states and countries, how to pack the drone, how to travel with LiPo batteries, and some other general tips for carrying a drone on a plane.
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How To Pack Your Drone While Traveling: Tips & Tricks
How to pack the drone
Tip 1: Get A Camera Bag With An ICU
When it comes to the actual packing of the drone and its accessories, there are a couple of ways to go about it. You could use a camera bag with an ICU (Internal Camera Unit), inside it.
This offers flexibility to put in all parts of your drone, any accessories you might need such as spare batteries, lenses, phone, controller, etc., and even your SLR camera. All these components are divided by foam inserts to keep them secure within the bag.
Using this method means that you have all your shoot-related gear in one place, with the downside of it being quite heavy to carry around.
Tip 2: Get A Hard Case For Your Drone
The most common method for packing a drone for travel, however, would be using a hard case. There are many different types of hard cases designed specifically for your particular drone model.
Whether it’s the Mavic 2 Pro, or the Zoom, or the Mavic Mini, or the old Phantom series, or whatever model really that you’ve got, you’ll be able to find a hard case online that is specifically designed for it.
Hard cases are the most secure way of packing your drone for travel. The only downside to using hard cases would be that they can be more cumbersome than a camera bag.
You can also find drone backpacks online that are specifically designed for each drone model.
How to travel with LiPo batteries
What is a LiPo battery? A lithium polymer battery is a rechargeable battery of lithium-ion technology using a polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte. They are particularly useful in applications where lightness is a key feature, like in drones.
Why are there restrictions while traveling with them, especially in airplanes? Simply put, it’s because of the risk of them catching fire.
As you are reading this, you might remember reading or hearing about one of these batteries catching fire and causing some damage. A failing LiPo battery can catch fire and cause some serious damage.
Tip 3: Check The LiPo Batteries Before You Pack
So it is important to regularly inspect your drone batteries, whether you are about to go traveling or not. You should check for puffiness, gaps, leaks, or any irregularities. If there are, you should dispose of it in a safe, appropriate manner and get yourself a new drone battery.
Tip 4: Put The Drone’s LiPo Batteries In Your Carry-on Luggage
DJI suggests that it’s best to carry the batteries with you in your carry-on luggage while boarding an airplane. This way, you can monitor it during the travel and be able to act quickly if it were to spontaneously combust, however unlikely that scenario might be.
It is also good practice to pack it in a separate small hard case or a fire-proof battery case for even further safety. As much as LiPo batteries are great for being able to power drones while keeping the weight low, they are still relatively dangerous and need to be treated with care and caution.
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Tips to carry a drone onto an airplane
Tip 6: Turn The Drone Off When You Pack It
Firstly, you’re going to want to be sure to turn the drone off and protect the switches so they don’t accidentally activate.
Tip 8: Check The Airlines Rules For Carrying Drones
The third and final tip is to check with the airline you are flying with for their specific rules and regulations surrounding carrying a drone. You also want to get details of their rules regarding LiPo batteries.
Drone laws To Know Before You Travel With A Drone
Drone laws are the first things you need to know when you are traveling. Drone laws and regulations differ from country to country, even from state to state within America. In most cases, the country’s national or civil aviation authority will set and enforce drone regulations.
For example, in the United States, you have the FAA, which is the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA sets and regulates drone laws nationally. In Canada, you have Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) which does the same thing.
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A simple search on the internet will reveal vast databases of drone laws and regulations across various states and countries around the world. So, if you want to find out what the regulations are in the place you are traveling to, finding them on the internet will be fairly simple.
There is also the question of foreigner-specific drone laws – yes, that’s a thing. Some countries require foreigners to have specific special permissions to be able to fly their drone in that destination to which their own citizens are not subject.
There are certain countries, such as Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc., that have a flat-out ban on drones. You simply can’t take your drone through customs on arrival, and if you try, your drone will be confiscated.
In some of these countries, like in Morocco, if you declare your drone on arrival, the customs office will take the drone away from you and hold it in a room until the time you leave the country. They will give you a form that you show to the same customs office when you leave the country, after which they will return your drone to you.
Some countries might allow you to carry your drone into the country, but will require you to have registered it with the national or civil aviation authority. If you don’t register your drone and are caught flying it, you could be subjected to a fine or other forms of punishment.
Therefore, it is wise to have prior knowledge of the laws and regulations before traveling.
Can you travel with drone?
You can travel with a drone on an airplane. You can either put it ion your carry on baggage or your check in baggage (depending on its size and weight). But make sure to remove the drones batteries and pack it along with your carry on luggage.
Can I carry drone in cabin?
Small drones can be carried in carry-on luggage in cabin along with batteries. If it’s a large drone, it must be packed with the check-in luggage without the batteries. The batteries always go in the cabin baggage.
Can I take drone batteries on a plane?
Drone batteries can be taken on a plane. Airplanes allow drone batteries in the carry-on baggage but not in the checked-in luggage. So make sure that you pack the drone batteries in the carry-on bag.
With the world slowly opening up again, it’s exciting to be able to travel and shoot some footage with our drones again. It’s wise to know the rules and regulations that apply to traveling with a drone, especially on airplanes. We hope the packing ideas and the tips and tricks discussed in this article were helpful to you.
Do not forget to check with your airline about their specific rules and to research laws in the place of your destination. Ensure it is legal to fly a drone in the destination country, especially as a foreigner.
Find out if you are required to register your drone with the countries civil aviation authorities before-hand. Pack your drone and its batteries with care before your flight and carry it with you in the cabin, if possible. Here’s wishing you all safe travels and some incredible drone footage.
Jon is a passionate photographer and videographer who has been flying DJI drones for over 5 years. He loves the freedom and creativity that comes with capturing aerial footage and the unique perspective it provides. Jon is always on the lookout for new locations to explore and capture with his DJI drones. His favorite DJI drone is the Mavic 2 Pro, which he uses to capture stunning 4K footage with its Hasselblad camera. Jon is always eager to share his knowledge and experience with other drone enthusiasts and is a member of several online drone communities. When he’s not flying his DJI drone, Jon enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.