Pack your bags and take a lot of photos

BySharita J. Wilson

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There’s nothing to elevate travel footage like bringing a drone along — whether you’re going to a big city or a natural oasis, there’s always a stunning aerial view to be filmed. If you’ve seen those cinematic tracking shots of a single car speeding down a desert road, or a panoramic overview of a cityscape at night, or a zoom-out clip of the waves crashing against a beach, then you’ll know what we mean. Drone shots are like nothing else, and will both allow you to appreciate the scope of the new place you’re visiting and show it off to your friends later.

And when it comes to drones, there’s almost no competition for DJI. The powerhouse brand manufactures drones for both consumer and industrial use, so they really know what they’re doing. While all their consumer units are equipped with excellent cameras, the Mini 2 stands out for its portability. It’s specifically designed to weight under 250g, which is the threshold for requiring FAA registration (a pain at the best of times). This means that depending on where you’re travelling, you probably won’t need a license to fly your drone. Most countries follow this 250g limit, including the U.S., Canada, and the UK, but be sure to check your destination’s regulations. Some destinations, like U.S. national parks, for example, don’t allow drone flights without prior authorization.

Despite its lightweight build, the Mini 2’s specs are still very impressive. It’ll take 4k video and high-quality still pictures with built-in photo optimization for vivid colors and clear angles. Video is where it shines, like most drones: With three panoramic modes (Wide-Angle, 180°, and Sphere), you’ll be able to choose what kind of a cinematic shot you want.

Plus, the DJI app gives you access to all the features that makes it the dominant drone manufacturer in the market. FlySafe will prevent you from accidentally taking off in or flying into restricted areas, which could get you into trouble — definitely helpful when you’re exploring a new place.

For all its selling points, the Mini 2 has a few shortfalls — unlike other DJI models, it lacks obstacle avoidance, so you want to be careful while flying, especially in inclement weather since it’s so light. Apart from that, its possible disadvantages are the same as that of any other drone — battery won’t last all day (at over half an hour, it already boasts fairly impressive battery life for a drone), and it’s really mostly suitable to aerial videography.

Still, nothing captures the breadth of a moment quite like a drone shot, so in our opinion, it’s worth taking one along on trips, when you can.