You’ve got it all planned. You’ll launch your drone from the grass beside the Eiffel Tower. When it reaches the top, you’ll circle around the tower once, then end the video with a perfect landing. It’s the kind of thing you bought a drone for. It’s the kind of thing that makes for epic Instagram videos.
It’s the kind of thing that’s illegal and could get you fined thousands of dollars.
We’re in a weird time when it comes to drones. The devices are still relatively new, but their popularity is booming, and as such many cities, companies and managerial agencies are all erring on the side of no. Their concerns are numerous, including noise issues, the potential for property damage and personal injury, and other safety concerns. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring your drone when you travel, it means you should consider several factors before you do.
If there’s a place you want to fly a drone, chances are someone already has and likely got in trouble for it. To avoid a similar experience, start your research with an online search of where you’re going, and specifically the exact spots where you want to fly. A few places to start are Airmap.io, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Where Can I Fly? and Knowbeforeyoufly.org.
DJI, the largest manufacturers of drones, also recommends some preflight research: “When traveling with your drone, it’s always important to check the rules and regulations for the countries you are visiting so you are aware of what is allowed or what is not.” DJI also has an interactive map that lets you select your drone and location for any alerts or restrictions.