Drones are becoming a trendy item to buy amongst travelers! Drones can help you capture amazing photos and videos from your vacation. However, there can be regulations associated with them, which vary according to location. If you plan to take your drone with you on your next vacation, here are some tips to help you travel safely with while traveling with a drone.
When you purchase the drone
Once you purchase a drone, there are steps that you have to take before you can legally pilot your drone:
- If your drone weighs more than .55lbs, you must register your drone with the FAA. The cost to register your drone is $5. Your drone should have it’s FAA registration number marked on it, and also travel with proof of registration. Unless you have a label maker, you can order labels to display the registration number and your phone number on Amazon or Ebay.
- As of June 2021, all recreational drone flyers (flying for fun or personal) must take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) test by using an approved administrator. The free course takes about 30 minutes and you are provided with a certificate to print so you can show it to any FAA or law enforcement upon request. View the approved list of online test administrators here. Be sure to print/save the certificate as the certificate is not held on file anywhere. If you lose it, you will have to take the test over.
Before you travel
- It is important to find out the regulations in place in the country you intend to go, concerning flying drones. To do so, identify the civil aviation authority in the country as they create and enforce drone laws in most countries.
- It’s possible that the country you intend to visit doesn’t permit drone flights. In that instance, I’d advise that you don’t travel with your drone. If you do, you stand the risk of confiscation of the drone when you are checked at customs.
- Even in countries with drone regulations, not all airspaces are permissible for drone flight. You can use the B4UFLY app or website to determine the classes of airspace available in the location.
Traveling with a drone
- If traveling via airplane,turn off your drone and ensure you pack it in a way that protects the switches from accidental activation. Also ensure your packing protects it from damage, which may require purchasing a special case or bag for it.
- Make sure you enquire from your specific airline if you should pack your drone in a checked bag or as part of your carry-on luggage. The DOT bans the transportation of lithium-ion batteries in passenger airplanes’ cargo compartments. So you may have to pack your drone as part of your carry-on luggage.
- Pack your drone’s batteries in your carry-on baggage, because the FAA regulations state that these batteries, which are usually lithium-ion (LIPO) batteries, should not be packed with checked baggage..
- Check the weather and wind speed just before you fly. The wind speed is important to know in conjunction with knowing the max wind speed your drone can fly in. An easy app to check the weather and if it’s safe to fly is UAV Forecast.
Drones are the perfect gadget for vacation and recreation. Although traveling with a drone can involve some technicalities, all you need is some planning and research, and you are good to go. Be sure to keep up with any changes from the FAA to ensure you are compliant. It is better to travel safely with a drone than end up with a fine and/or jail time. If you are new to drones and want to know what to consider before you buy a drone, check out this free,drone buying checklist!