The Best Drones For Every Kind of Adventure
There’s no better way to get great images and videos of your adventures that with a drone, but lugging one around from country to country is no picnic. Luckily, drones are getting smaller and more portable as technology advances, making it increasingly possible for every traveler to take professional-quality photography on the road. From a micro option perfect for weekend travel to a selfie-taking pick, here are the 7 best drones for travel.
The Selfie Pro: Pocket Drone Quadcopter
If you’re looking to take your selfie game to the next level, the Pocket Drone Quadcopter is the way to go. It has the most features we’ve seen in any sub-$500 drone, including app control, a compass, three speed modes, a self-timer, and obstacle avoidance, all in a drone that weighs less than a pound. The app sports a flight simulator, so you can hone your skills without risking flying it into a ceiling fan, and it also lets you edit photos, cut videos, add music and subtitles, and share everything you capture.
The Automaton: Yuneek Breeze
If you can’t be bothered to pilot a drone during your trip, the Yuneek Breeze is your best bet. Weighing less than a pound, this pint-sized camera sports five flight modes, four of which don’t require a pilot. Journey mode sends the drone out a specific distance, then zooms it back for a dramatic selfie; selfie mode sets it in a fixed location to take a perfect photo of you and your buddies; orbit sends it on a circular track around you to capture a dramatic video of your trek; and follow me does exactly what it sounds like. The 4k images and 13 megapixel still give you great footage, and the auto-land and auto-return to home commands keep the piloting dead-simple.
The Tough One: Parrot AR 2.0
The Parrot AR 2.0 is the best drone for travelers who play rough. Yes, it records in 720HD, and yes, the iOS and Android app lets you record it from your phone, but what really impressed us about this drone are the foam guards around the blades, which provide useful bumpers if your flights get out of hand. At under 5 pounds, the AR won’t add a ton of weight to your checked baggage. Bonus: It’s toughness and wallet-friendly price-tag (just over $200) makes a great starter drone. Bummer: You’re looking at about 10 minutes of flight per charge.
The Splurge: DJI Mavic Pro
Whether you’re an actual professional or an aspiring one, DJI’s Mavic drone is the best travel drone that money can buy (and at $1,000, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny). The Mavic’s on-board 3-axis camera is no slouch: it sports 4k recording and 12 megapixel raw images, and the drone’s flight options are equally impressive. Not only does it boast a 40-mile-per-hour top speed, but it also has a 4.3-mile range, GPS and GLONASS antennas for spot-on positioning, obstacle avoidance, and a handy follow-me feature. And if that wasn’t enough, the whole thing folds down to the size of a water bottle. If money is no object, this is the one to get.
The Bargain: Force1 Drone
As the only drone in this piece under $200, the Force1 is great for budget-minded travelers — in part because you can lose it/break it/have it confiscated without losing a significant part of your savings account. And what exactly you get for $150? A 720p HD camera, live video feed on your phone, custom route mapping, and altitude hold functions. Even better for the beginner are the one-button take off and landing settings: just press a button and the drone hovers at a specific height. Press another button and the drone touches down for a gentle landing.
The Tiny One: Micro Drone 3.0
If you’re looking for the smallest fully-functional drone available, look no further: the Micro Drone 3.0 literally fits in the palm of your hand, so it won’t up much room in your suitcase. We’re not sure how they crammed features like auto-leveling, live-streaming video, 720HD video, and a flight range of up to 300 feet into such a small package, but we’re not complaining, and neither are the backers who raised over 3.5 million on Indiegogo.com. Bonus: Micro Drone is offering customizable 3D-printed frames, from dragons (yes please) to wasps (no thank you), and will be releasing new 3D accessories every month.
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The Pocket Drone: Air Selfie
If your only objective is getting a better shot of your buddies on your hike or your family hanging out at the beach, make the Air Selfie your go-to. The minuscule drone fits in your cell phone case, then deploys when you need a good image. The 5 megapixel camera drone can hover wherever you set it, making sure you get the perfect angle. The Kickstarter raised over 5 million pounds, and the product ships in March of 2017. Bonus: The case also acts as a charger, giving you up to an hour of flight time before you need to plug in the battery pack.
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