I Never Travel Without This Gadget!
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.
In a recent post about my weekend trip to Palm Springs, I shared a photo captured with my drone. Million Mile Secrets reader John asked me to write about which drone I use. I’m happy to do so because I think a high-quality flying camera is one of the coolest things you can buy!
I’m definitely not a drone expert. But I can share a bit about the 2 drones I have and why I take them everywhere I travel.
The 2 DJI Drones I Take With Me on Trips
Link: DJI Mavic Pro
Link: DJI Mavic Air
There are many different consumer drone manufacturers. A search on Amazon or Best Buy will show you hundreds of different models.
And drone technology is constantly improving, which is why I have 2 of them. I originally purchased the DJI Mavic Pro because at the time of purchase, it was one of the smallest foldable drones with a high-quality camera. But just a few months later, the company released 2 new models that were even smaller. That’s why I ended up acquiring the DJI Mavic Air. And there are rumors of an even better model coming out in the next few weeks.
Drone size was one of the most important factors for me when I became interested in buying one. I wanted something that could easily fit in my carry-on bag. I knew if it was too bulky or had to go in checked baggage, I wouldn’t travel with it and it would be a waste of a purchase.
The design of the DJI foldable drones is impressive. You can unfold the legs quickly and without any tools. So it doesn’t take long to go from taking the drone out of its carrying case to getting it in the air.
The drone models I have cost ~$750 to ~$800 each. Keep in mind, you could spend more if you shop for accessories, like extra batteries, car chargers, and spare propellers.
There are definitely cheaper alternatives available. But DJI is the market leader for consumer drones. And my experience with both products has been very good.
If you’re considering buying a drone, I strongly recommend comparing features across different models. I often hear from family and friends that they see new drones for sale in the ~$200 or ~$300 price range. But all drones are not the same.
The models I have can capture extremely high-quality video footage in 4K, as well as high-resolution photographs. And they each have a battery life of ~20+ minutes.
One question I’m often asked is about the difficulty of flying a drone. Although I’m a bit of a tech geek, I can say that operating the drones I have is really straightforward. Both models have sensors to prevent them from flying into trees or buildings. And there are preset functions that allow you to take off and land just by tapping a button.
That said, it does take some time to learn all of the different controls and settings. There are some phenomenal video tutorials on YouTube to learn more about specific features of various drones. I feel like I’m constantly learning new tricks.
For an amazing comparison of both drones I have, check out the thorough video review done by Ready Set Drone.
A drone might seem like a toy, but there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with owning one of these flying machines. Rules and regulations are still evolving as technology becomes more prevalent, so it’s important to keep up with any changes.
I like the DJI drone software because it ensures you don’t fly in many restricted areas. For example, when you’re within proximity of an airport, the drone will not be able to take off. Also, the software doesn’t allow you to fly into restricted airspace.
Keep in mind, certain towns and cities have banned recreational drones. So I always recommend checking the rules before you fly because violating them can come with hefty fines.
Flying a drone in exciting travel destinations gives you an opportunity to experience and capture a whole new perspective.
There are lots of drone models available. The 2 I travel with are the DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Mavic Air. Both of these drones are foldable, which means I can fit them in my carry-on luggage. And as a drone novice, I love how they’re easy-to-fly.
Drones are not for everyone. But for less than $1,000, you’re essentially buying a high-quality flying camera that allows you to capture high-resolution photographs or 4K video.
Anyone else travel with a drone? Let me know in the comments below!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardAPPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)