Drones are really fun! And they allow you to make unbelievable aerial pictures and videos! The problem with them was that they used to be expensive, huge and difficult to carry around making them an impossible item for us to use on long trips.
As backpackers, a drone wasn’t even a possibility, despite our lust for aerial photos… But those were the old days now there are small and foldable drones which are easy to carry around (and some are surprisingly cheap)! In fact, there are so many options that the problem is choosing between all of them! So, we decided to investigate all the available drones we could find bring to you a list of the best portable drones for you to travel with! Some of these are pocket-sized drones others are foldable drones!
To make your life easier we even cataloged the best travel drones with their features, pros, and cons!
Best portable drones to travel
The best budget portable drone – REVELL CONTROL C-ME
The Revell control C-ME is very fun to use, with good features at a very decent price. In our opinion, it is the best budget drone for travelers, particularly if you are looking for a selfie drone. The quality of materials isn’t the best (mainly cheap plastic) but we can’t find a better-equipped quadcopter at this size and price.
Performance & Features
- Onboard GPS – prevents it from drifting
- 8 megapixels Camera and 1080p video
- Operated via smartphone, both iOS and Android
- 20 meters WIFI range
- Easy Return home – by just tapping the screen of the phone
- Battery life of 10 minutes
- Product dimensions: 12.8 x 6.3 x 2.5 cm
- Easy to use
- Good photos quality
- Excellent value for money
- No image stabilizer which reflects mainly on the video quality
- Short flying time
The C-Me is worth considering if you’re in the market for a selfie drone that’s easy to fly and cheap to buy. It’s also very fun to use, can take good panoramic pics and reasonable videos under the right conditions, although it can’t reach the quality of other (more expensive) options on this list.
The best entry-level drone for travelers – JJRC H37 Baby Elfie
The Baby Elfie is the second generation of foldable drones of JJRC and a big evolution of its predecessor the Elfie… There have been a few major upgrades in contrast to the original model, making baby Elfie a proper champion. Even though the biggest upgrade is definitely the camera, the flying stability also has been improved and now it’s much smaller.
The Baby Elfie is our choice for an entry-level drone, i.e., if you are a traveler looking for your first drone to try things out this is your best option. This foldable drone comes with many interesting features available in more expensive ones at a very low cost!
Performance & Features
- 720p sensor
- WiFi FPV – transmits live video feed straight from the camera
- 6 to 7 minutes of flying time
- 60 minutes to charge
- 30 meters of range with FPV
- 50 to 100meters range from its controller
- Headless mode
- Weight: 57g
- folded: 11.3 * 5.7 * 3 cm
- Unfolded: 13.5 * 11.3 * 3cm
- Camera angle can be adjusted;
- Incredible low-cost price;
- It’s so small it fits almost everywhere;
- Image quality is better than we would expect in such a budget-friendly drone;
- No stabilizer – but that’s not surprising for this price tag;
- Very Short flying time;
- There are some reports of it falling out of nowhere;
If you love to travel, don’t have a drone but really love to try one… this is a great first option! It’s a fun, easy-to-use drone and very, very travel-friendly. You’ll be able to get it everywhere and play with it. You may even get some nice pictures, but don’t expect to have the same quality of a drone that costs 10x to 20x more…
The best selfie drone – Hover camera passport
The Hover Camera passport is a funny little fellow! Aesthetically is completely different from all the others, with the rotors are encased in a plastic grille and folding like a… passport, where the left and right rotors fold together like a page. This is incredibly practical for travelers and, although I have read many critics about the design, I like the way it looks. These characteristics make the hover camera passport the perfect selfie drone but unfortunately, it’s only that! The range and battery don’t allow it…
Performance & Features
- facial recognition and face tracking.
- 360 degree spin for panoramic footage. In orbit mode the drone flies in circles around you, filming as it flies.
- Gesture mode – makes it very fun to control
- Obstacle avoidance system in the form of built-in sonars
- The camera delivers images at 13MP and 4K video at 30 fps. Sensor 1/3.06″ (CMOS)
- Folded size 182 x 132 x 33mm (7.17 x 5.20 x 1.30″)
- Weight 242g
- Max Speed 8m/s (17mph)
- Top Service Ceiling Above Sea Level 2000m
- Max flying time 10min (no wind)
- Suggested Control Distance Up to 20m
- Unique design – safe to hold and handle
- Ultralight – making it easy to carry around
- Very User-friendly
- Good camera
- Very short range, only 20 meters. I would say it is unacceptable for its price range
- Small battery life – less than 10 minutes;
- Rudimentary image stabilization;
The incredibly limited range doesn’t allow it to be anything but selfie drone. All the other features are very good and this could be the best value for money travel drone. If you want a selfie drone than this is a very strong option for you, but if you want more than that then you should have better options, with a bigger range.
The very best travel drone – DJI Mavic Pro
The DJI Mavic Pro is a high-end product, with almost all the features of its bigger brothers in a compact foldable body. This foldable drone can deliver an amazing performance and its camera is among the best and bigger drones. This is incredible because when it is folded, the framework isn’t much larger than a smartphone! The DJI Mavic Pro offers high-end features in a compact form factor to fully meet the needs of travelers, which include five vision sensors, the high-tech transmission system, and a 4K Ultra HD camera… Furthermore, it’s a freakin’ beautiful drone!
The folding design is very clever, with the front and rear arms folding under and over the main body. The shield for the camera and gimbal also help to protect the drone when folded an carried around.
Features & Specifications
- ActiveTrack, TapFly and other smart features make professional looking video effortless
- True 4K, fully stabilized ensures smooth footage
- Obstacle Avoidance combined with sensor redundancy increases flight safety and reliability
- Vision positioning paired with GPS and GLONASS ensures precise positioning indoor and outdoors
- Folded size: H83mm x W83mm x L198mm
- Max camera resolution: 4K/12.35 megapixels
- Great Camera;
- Almost 30 minutes of flight time;
- huge 7-km range;
- The price – it’s the most expensive drone on the list…
In a hindsight, the Mavic Pro is one of the best drones in the market, foldable or not! This makes it the best option for you if the price tag isn’t important for you!
The best pocket drone (but not foldable) – DJI Spark
The DJI Spark is the only not foldable drone that made this list, however, this can easily fit into any kind of backpack you have lying around. It’s so small (smaller than foldable ones) even without the folding capability but still retains an awesome performance. This drone does almost everything well but does not excel at anything. It’s kind of a compromise between the Mavic and all the others.
Unfortunately, the dedicated controller isn’t included in the standard package… Tough, if you opt to buy it, it transforms the Spark into a smart, yet limited, self-flying drone into a surprisingly capable high-end camera drone. Almost on par with the mighty Mavic Pro!
Performance & Features
- Camera resolution: 1080p/12 megapixels
- 2-axis mechanical gimbal
- Battery life: 15 minutes
- WiFi Range: up to 100 meters
- Controller Range: 1.2 miles
- Gesture mode, though only really useful to play and take selfies
- Multiple Intelligent Flight Modes available – ActiveTrack, TapFly, QuickShot
- Weight: 300g
- Dimensions: 143 x 143 x 55 mm
- It does everything well (though not greatly!)
- Takes great selfies
- Comparatively affordable
- Very small!
- Propeller arms don’t fold – this would make it incredible for travelers;
- Not 4k video – only shoots 1080p
- Battery life could be longer
- The standard package doesn’t include the controller
The DJI Spark isn’t the best, but it’s very close to it. If we take into consideration that this drone is almost half the price of the Mavic, then this is probably the best value for money portable drone!
Additional suggested reading
Portable Drones quick FAQ
Do portable drones have good cameras?
It really depends on the drone and how much do you want to pay… Most of the drones on this list have a good camera. The Mavic is one of the best cameras and even the Spark can take great pictures and make good videos!
What is the biggest disadvantage of a foldable drone?
This is a very trending with a big variety of drones these days… there are drones for almost every tastes and wallet. The only disadvantage we see in a foldable drone is that it may not be as resistant as others, but that really depends on the quality of the materials and construction.
Are foldable drones, pocket drones and portable drones the same thing?
A pocket drone is one that’s so small that fits in a small bag or even a pocket, while a foldable drone is one that you can fold the propellers, making it easier to transport! We call a portable drone, one that is very easy to transport! It may be because it’s foldable, extremely small or both! Not every pocket drone is pocket drone is foldable, not every portable drone is foldable…
How long is the flight time in portable drones?
This really depends on the drone and ultimately on the price. While the Mavic has an autonomy of 27 minutes, most of the entry levels drones may only fly 6 to 7 minutes! Though keep in mind that in the cheaper ones the batteries usually are also cheap so you can buy more batteries to mitigate this problem.
What features do portable drones have?
This is a very good example of an industry where we pay for what we get! The cheaper drones usually have only the basic features like headless mode and return button while other more expensive have all the features and flight modes you’ll want and use, and then even more! The gesture control of the spark is a great example 🙂