6 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Drone as a Travel Blogger

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Drone shots are everywhere nowadays! It makes sense because drone photos and videos will definitely make your blog, Instagram or YouTube channel stand out. However, before jumping the gun and buying a drone right away, there are a few things you should know.

I myself invested in a drone (the DJI Spark) to step up my photography game before travelling to the Dominican Republic. In this article, I’ll be referring to camera drones because those are the ones that travel and lifestyle bloggers will benefit the most from. I hope these tips will help you avoid costly mistakes!

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1 • Where To Buy A Drone?

Since I am focusing on drones for bloggers in this article, you are probably looking for the best beginner drone with a camera. Well look no further, I can definitely recommend DJI drones!

DJI is the leader in camera drones either for videos or photos. They have been the most reliable and easy to fly drones. They also make really compact and easy to carry drones so for travel bloggers this is a highly appreciated feature. If you want to buy a DJI drone, I would recommend getting it directly from DJI or from any retail chain selling electronic products in your country (this means la Fnac for France or Alza for the Czech Republic for example) or even Amazon or Best Buy.

However, bear in mind that if you are using a third party you might not get the newest version of this drone. DJI makes small hardware or software changes to their drones every few weeks or so. The obvious first place to get the new hardware is always the DJI Store. However, I bought mine in Alza and didn’t have any problem with it – and it was cheaper than buying it directly on the DJI store because the shipment to the Czech Republic was expensive. So depending on your location, Amazon could also be the best choice. Check out below the different DJI drones:

When it comes to a good starter drone, any drone user would recommend the DJI Mavic Air or Mavic Pro. I would also like to add the DJI Spark to the mix! All these models are great and the difference is only that is you pay more you get better features, which makes sense. DJI are also super popular drones and buying a popular drone makes it easier for you to get answers to any question you might have which is important when you start your droning experience! The more you invest, the better the quality, camera, performance, and features you will get.

DJIs drones are really easy to carry around while traveling as well. If you are interested in travel photography, check out the ultimate packing list and gear here!

2 • Insure Your Drone For Damage

If you get a DJI Drone, there is something called DJI Care Refresh which is their accidental damage protection program. It helps if you happen to crash your drone while trying to fly it as a new drone user.

DJI Care Refresh will only accept the drone for repair in one area of coverage which is the area where you purchase the care. This means that if you crash your drone in China but you bought the care in the US, you can only obtain the care/reparation in the US.

3 • Learn The Rules and Have a Good Flying Etiquette

As a new drone pilot, you have to learn the current airspace regulations in your country.  On top of those, you need to know the general rules of flying.  I couldn’t find a good database of international and universal drone laws that would be applicable everywhere but just to mention a few, there are rules you should follow:

  • Follow the local flying regulations
  • Fly below 400 feet above the ground (122 m)
  • Stay 5 miles away from all airports (8 km)
  • Fly in open areas
  • Always fly within line of sight
  • Don’t fly over people or private property without permission
  • Don’t fly over government facilities or national parks

In some countries, you must register your drone or even have a permit to fly it. In others, they are illegal! Always check the drone regulations in each country you are travelling to. You will avoid having to leave your drone at the airport’s locker! I would recommend that you directly go to the official website for drone regulations in each country – since those seem to be changing quite often. Certain rules also apply if you take your drone with you on a plane.

4 • Buy Drone Related Components

Besides the drone, you should also consider a budget for drone accessories. There are other costs such as extra batteries, propellers, cases, etc. that you might want to invest in especially if you are planning on using your drone a lot.

Having at least 2 batteries is a must because the flying time of a drone is between 15-30 min depending on which one you have and if you travel in remote locations you might not have enough time to charge your drone every time it runs out of battery. Also, if one of your propellers breaks, you cannot use your drone anymore so it is smart to keep extra propellers with you. If you want to buy a drone you should consider buying the extra features with it.

For example, I got the DJI Spark Fly More Combo which allows me to have:

  • The drone itself
  • A remote controller
  • 2x batteries
  • 8x propellers
  • 4x propeller guards
  • Battery charging hub (this allows you to charge up to 4 batteries at the same time!)
  • Charger + power cable + USB cable
  • Storage box + shoulder bag

Make sure to know about these extra components before throwing all your money for just the drone. Check out below the different combos for DJI drones:

5 • You can’t just buy & fly

Usually, photography drones require some setup before being able to fly them. You obviously have to do some simple things like charge up the battery, install the propellers or bind the controller to the drone.

You also need to install software on your phone, connect your phone to the controller and register the drone to DJI (if you get a DJI drone). You also usually have to download and install the latest firmware and finally calibrate the compass (you need to calibrate it every time you move to a new location). You can then start flying and using the camera but always remember to follow the rules and to be careful!

6 • Drones Are Easy To Fly But Also Easy To Crash

Nowadays, drones are super user-friendly and even your sweet grandma could potentially be able to fly it easy breezy. Well not exactly. Drones are easy to fly, that’s true. But they aren’t full proof.

Even if you feel pretty confident with your drone, remember that they still are fragile creatures. You can easily damage it, especially if flying in poor conditions. Drones are super lightweight and they can be moved a lot depending on the wind. Drones are usually equipped for detection systems and collision avoidance but not all of them!

One sensor that can get interferences is the GPS receiver. The GPS tells your drone where it is, and without a good signal, your drone could end up flying in circles over and over again and eventually crash! If there’s a large amount of interference, DJI drones usually let you know and it is better to recalibrate it.

I hope this article was helpful for you, new drone owner! Let me know in the comments which drone you want to get!

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Want to step up your photography game? Check out my gear below:

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