Best Drones For Travel: Everything You Need To Know About Flying a Drone With Christine Lozada – Episode 136

Best drones for travel with Christine Lozada
Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

Dive into the world of drone photography with Christine Lozada. Find the best drones for travel and learn how she turned her drone skills into a thriving career.

Drones have come a long way over the last ten years. Once heavy, expensive, and had limited battery life, drones today have become more affordable, user-friendly, and safer to use. Drone technology has improved to the point where launching and landing a drone is as simple as pushing a button. If you’re considering purchasing a drone for travel, let me introduce you to Christine Lozada, a travel pickleball player and drone pilot.

Christine shares what travelers need to know about flying drones, the best drones for travel, and features to look out for depending on your travel style. Christine also shares how she turned her drone flying skills into a lucrative career as a travel creator.

Listen to this podcast episode for:

  • [5:36] The benefits of drone photography.
  • [27:16] Tips for choosing the right drone for travel photography based on travel style and budget.
  • [39:24] How Christine monetized drone photography skills.
  • [45:09] Other unique opportunities flying drones.

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Drones are easy, fun, and simple. Christine has helped thousands of people learn how to fly drones FAST with How To Fly a Drone 101. Use ‘DRONE20’ for 20% off the course.

00:00 Danielle Desir Corbett Hey, financially savvy travelers, and welcome back to another episode of the Thought Card Podcast. I am Danielle Tiziera-Corbett, and today we are joined by Christine Lozada, a travel pickleball player flying drones. Yes, that is right, flying drones. Christine is a travel creator, a drone pilot and educator, and the host of the Drone Party podcast sharing helpful drone tips. As a travel creator, she captures the beauty of the places she travels to and tells stories that inspire and help others discover new destinations. Seriously, my friends, you have to check out Christine on Instagram at Christine Lozada. Scroll through beautiful photos and videos on land, underwater in the ocean, and also in the sky. If you've ever wanted to fly your drone and capture stunning images, now is the time. In this episode, we're going to be talking about what beginners need to know about flying a drone, the best drones for travel, the features that we should be looking out for, as well as how Christine translated her drone flying skills into income and a thriving career. As you know, this podcast is half travel and half personal finance, so I made sure we covered all of our bases. For all the resources mentioned in this episode, including the drones Christine recommends, scroll down to the show notes and click to add to cart or purchase. While you're at it, don't forget you can purchase any of my travel books like Affording Travel or Traveling with a Full-Time Job, which are quick reads, but they are chock full of my best strategies and tips so you can travel more. By the way, before we jump into the episode, if you are a travel creator, specifically a writer or a blogger, I highly recommend listening to episode number 52 after this one, because in that episode, we talk about how Christopher Mitchell was able to leverage travel to become a prolific content creator. Welcome to The Thought Card, a podcast about travel and money where planning, saving and creativity leads to affording travel, building wealth and paying off debt. We are the financially savvy travelers. I am so excited for today's topic because when we're on Instagram, primarily on Instagram, I would say, and even some on TikTok, you see lots of beautiful drone imagery, whether that's photos or videos and all of these cool aerial shots. And I remember having a drone a couple of years ago. It was super crappy and it felt complicated. So I just literally donated it. So I know that I'm missing out on opportunities to not only capture great content as a business owner, but also as a traveler. And it offers just a unique perspective that folks aren't typically going to see on the ground. So Christine, welcome. Tell us about your show first and foremost, the Drone Party podcast and what listeners can expect.

03:41 Christine Lozada Hello, I'm so excited to be here. The Drone Party podcast is one that everybody is invited to that party. And it's really supposed to reach out to people who are either considering drones or are just getting into it, or even those people who are just trying to fine craft their skill. And I try to interview pilots and talk about, like, what do you wish you knew when you first started? And, you know, I really like to keep it real. So we talk about the, oh, like, tell me about the most beautiful thing that you've captured. But we also talk about what was like the worst moment that you thought that it was just all going to go bad. And how did you get out of it? And what did you learn? And like, how can we pass that on to others? And so we talk about all the things, the good, the bad, the ugly. And that's what the Drone Party podcast is.

04:35 Danielle Desir Corbett And I also know that you have other podcasts as well. So can you share about that as well?

04:40 Christine Lozada Addicted to podcasts. Yes. So I also have my travel podcast, which is called Everyday Badassery. And especially through flying drones, a lot of people ask me, like, how are you such a badass in the things that you do? So what I wanted to do was highlight the stories both from my own travels and other travelers that I meet. And like, what are the things that are making them, which is one percent more badass today than they were yesterday? And what can others take from that for themselves to improve yourself? And so it's a podcast of inspiring travel stories.

05:14 Danielle Desir Corbett I love that. And not only do we have an episode on travel podcasts, but I also have a blog as well. So I'll make sure to add yours to that list. We have 26 so far and counting. So I will definitely make sure Everyday Badassery podcast is on that list. OK, so let's start at the beginning because I really want to build our foundation. So by the end of this conversation, folks are going to be interested in more of like the types of shots and more tactical things. But before we even get to those strategies, let's define drone photography and how this type of photography and videography differs from other styles out there.

06:00 Christine Lozada You know, I was thinking about this because I recently put my old hiking boots back on trudged up this hill and it took me I was like five miles of straight uphill, which in the world of hiking, it's honestly not that bad. And like think about your own hikes, like how many hikes have you done where you're like, I'm going to do this hike and I'm OK with it if there's no view at the top. Right. Or think about a time that, you know, I saw you most recently in New York City. I'm going to go to this rooftop bar, but I'm OK with there not being a view. It's like, no, like we're there to get to the top, to get that best view. Now, imagine not having to pay for the rooftop cocktail or not having to trudge up five miles. You can literally just send a drone to get that view. That you are either putting in sweat equity to go get or paying to go see. Right. It's that view from the plane. Like everyone loves the window seats so they can see that different perspective. And that in itself is like what differentiates drones. Right. You can get your camera very, very easily to a place where you can see things that you can't normally capture when you're on the ground. Just the view from a drone versus a view from what you're seeing with your hands over a camera or even your own iPhone are just so wildly different from each other. And I'll just give like one quick example where I wanted to take a picture of the black tip shark migration. And if you don't know what that is, it's like, imagine like it's not even 500. It's closer to like 700 to a thousand plus sharks swimming down the coast of Florida. And so for one, I could stand on the pier all day and just like, look, like, oh, maybe they're coming, you know, like maybe that's them. Or I could literally in a matter of 30 seconds between turning on my drone and sending it 500 feet out off of the pier, see all of them and not only see all of them, but take pictures up close and from far away and at different angles. Because that's the other thing about drone photography is you don't need to move around to go get your different shots. You stay in the same spot, but your drone moves. And that makes it really easy because there's a lot of times I'm on location shooting and it's like, okay, like pack up the tripod, like pack up all the cameras, like get all the gear together. All right, let's move over here. Oh crap. We need lights for this section. Like pack up all the, and then like with the drone is just like, just move it over there. And so it not only makes it a lot easier for the person who's capturing, but it also enables you in a way that you just can't, you can't get those shots without the drone. And so those are some of the key differences between drone photography, aerial photography and regular photography.

08:51 Danielle Desir Corbett I love the stories and analogies you weaved in there because I can just imagine the views that you're talking about with all of those sharks like swimming closer. Oh my gosh. That's like so incredible. And you are absolutely a hundred percent right. Because as a travel content creator, I know that when I go to like photography classes, they tell you it's all about the angles, right? Like capture the photo from a different angle. That's not just a hundred percent straight on. Right. So I love that these things are automatically built into drone photography. So how did you like get started with drone photography? Like, did you go to school for this? Like on the fly interest? Let's start at the beginning of your journey there.

09:39 Christine Lozada That's a good question. And I actually, I only recently started flying a drone. And so I had mastered the craft very quickly. I started flying in the beginning of 2020. And the reason why I wanted to fly was twofold. One, to be able to storytell with my drone, because there's no better way to talk about travel destinations, the places I've been. I create YouTube videos about my travel and a drone is the best storytelling tool. Because you can get lots of shots and you can also get a lot of your first opening shots that set the scene. And so I love flying a drone for storytelling. And also, I mean, tell me about a time you've opened up a drone shot on Instagram or TikTok and been like, ew, that's so ugly. Probably never. Right. Like it takes zero effort to get a great shot. Like you're already up there in the best view in the house. Like you can be the crepiest photographer. I have zero photography, zero videography background. And I have been able to just get in the right place, which is in the sky, to be able to get my shots. And the second reason I got into flying drones is because it has helped me to truly appreciate the places I travel because again, right. Why do we do the hike? Why do we go to the rooftop view? Why do we sit window seats so we can go see it? And so for me, like being able to truly see the places I travel to and I chase an endless summer. So I love beach vacations and I love to scuba dive. And so for me, being able to drone over the ocean and then scuba dive in the ocean is very meaningful for me. And so my love of drones runs deep.

11:30 Danielle Desir Corbett I love that. Right. Like there's the storytelling aspect, but also the appreciation for the destinations, the views. So it's like this multifaceted, multilayer love. And it's just like you mentioned, an amazing tool to capture all of this. What would you say are some of the most common misconceptions people have about drones? And I'll be the first to admit that I feel like it looks really complicated. And I would say like, I'm not a techie person, which I'm like a podcaster. So you are, you are kind of a little techie, you know, what would you say are like the common things that you hear as to why people are like, eh, is this really for me or not?

12:12 Christine Lozada Yeah. Well, we have to first just pause and think about it. Like, what do you do on a daily basis? That's like flying a drone. And like, if you drive a car, like when you first started driving a car, that you kind of had two things going for you. One, you were probably young, right? And you're just like willing to like kind of mess up and stuff. When you're older and you're learning to fly a drone, it's like, you're not used to messing up like that. And so it doesn't feel as natural. But the second thing about a car is that before you go drive a car, you've likely spent your entire childhood being in cars with people, or at least watching people drive cars or seeing people drive cars in movies. If you didn't live anywhere where people really drove cars at all. And so what's different about drones is there really isn't anything in our daily life that's like that. And so a lot of people feel very overwhelmed when they first handle a drone. And they are just so afraid of it because I can't blame people because there is nothing like it on our day to day. And so there are a couple of things about drones that like always surprises people because a lot of people see it and then they make assumptions about how hard it is. And so like, I'll just share a couple of them. One, drone technology has gotten so good these days. Like think about cell phones from the 90s, right? Like heavy brick, like, oh, super expensive. And like, I don't know, your battery probably lasted for one phone call. And that phone call probably costed you like $20 for five minutes or something like that. It's really how drones have evolved and been since like 2015. Like imagine going from phones back then to the smartphones we have now, right? Totally different, better technology. But the thing about drones is they do a lot to keep you safe. And so a lot of people don't know that to launch and land a drone, you literally just push a button. And the other thing is that not only do you just push a button, your drone will fly and hover in place. It won't go anywhere. Like literally just hover in place and do nothing unless you tell it to do something else. A lot of people have this misperception, actively keep it in the air and you don't. Like it is the best boyfriend. It will do nothing until you tell it to do something else. Like it will listen to your every command. And so it hovers on its own. And nowadays, the amount of safety features that are built into the drone, if you accidentally try to do something, a lot of times you can't. Like I tried launching from across the street from an airport without the proper authorization. It won't even let me push the button to take off. It won't. It'll just be like, yo, Christine, hello. Like, look at the map. Like it literally will tell you that. It will say like drone authorization zone cannot take off and it will not allow you to. Another thing your drone will do for you before the 2015 drones. You're stoked if you have a battery life of like eight minutes. Now drone battery life is like up to 42 minutes. But your drone is is watching how you're flying and at what speed and calculating how much battery you have left. It knows, Daniel, exactly where you're at, because if you are flying too fast, too far, and you might not get back to that 42 minutes, it will be like, yo, beeping. I'm going to come back home to you right now. And you can't fly anymore because you're out of battery. And it will do that for you and it will fly back to you. And like I would say, one more example is a lot of people are afraid that they will lie their drone and, oh, my gosh, what if I fly it out of my sight? Like, what if I can't see it anymore? There is an auto return to home button where you literally just push the button like you just called your dog to come back to you. Your drone will fly back to you and it will either land directly where you launched it from, or you can tell it to do something else like the great boyfriend that it is. Right. And so these are some of the examples. And I didn't even get into like the sensors and obstacle avoidance. It's a wild end. Like sometimes if I don't turn off obstacle avoidance, if you're like, what the heck is obstacle avoidance? Basically imagine the drone having like these sensors where I tried to ram it into the fence. I was like, Oh, see what happens. And I'm flying it directly at the fence. And then it just goes and it literally stops. It's funny because if you keep pushing, like, come on, go forward, go forward, it won't do it. It'll just stop. And then it will show you on the screen. So you're not like, Oh, what the heck is my drone? No, it will show like there's an obstacle in front of you. Like stop trying to fly it forward. And so there is a lot of things safety wise and technology wise that your drone can do for you. I probably just touch the tip of the iceberg, but it has made flying drones so easy that the hard part really is just what you want to capture next. Where are you going to find that next good drone shot at? And so those are some of the basics.

17:19 Danielle Desir Corbett Wow. That was so impressive. And also like you just mentioned like 2015, which is probably when I had my first drone and that's why I was like, eh. Old school. Right.

17:30 Christine Lozada Exactly. You had a cassette player. Absolutely. You know, when you had to take out the cassette and you had like wine, the tape.

17:36 Danielle Desir Corbett I remember, I remember, I remember. Oh, that's like so interesting to see how things have progressed. And like I mentioned, I'm just really curious and interested in like how things are working these days. And like you mentioned, there's just so many features that are built in that really help to keep you safe and also make sure that you're just utilizing the drone in the most appropriate ways. So one thing you mentioned really briefly was this map. You mentioned like drones have a map. What is that? Is there a monitor that you could like when you're holding your handheld, like walk us through, like what's the equipment that comes with the actual drone? And can you actually see what the drone is looking at when you're flying? Yeah.

18:20 Christine Lozada So there's really two things that are the main ingredients of your drone. It's the drone itself. That is what you send out to go fly and capture all the beauty. And then there's the remote controller and the remote controller. And actually a lot of people don't know this. There's two ways you can buy a remote controller. One's a standalone one and it just works on its own. And the other one is one that you attach to your phone and you're using an app to fly your drone and your drone knows where it's at with GPS. And right now I'm going to speak specifically to DJI drones, to what they call a fly safe database so that it knows where you're located versus all of the other things. And a lot of people like they get confused about these maps because they're like, well, and you don't have to become a pilot to be able to fly a drone. Anyone can fly a drone recreationally. A lot of people think like, Oh, I have to be a pilot to be able to read these maps. The drone maps literally look just like Google maps. And you just tap your finger around just like on Google maps. When you tap your finger on Google maps, we'll be like, well, you know, there's a gas station there. We're like, Oh, there's a McDonald's there. But except on this map, when you tap, it will say like, this is like flying drones is one of my favorite ways to find prisons. It's like, Oh, wow. I didn't know there was a prison there. And obviously you can't fly a drone over a prison because they don't want you to be able to map the prison, you know, well, I'm not going to make any assumptions about how people feel about mapping prisons, but I don't have a need for mapping a prison, but some people do. And so it's helping you to just know like, Oh, okay. Oh, there's a naval base there. I can't fly there. Like, Oh, the lighthouse, I can't fly there. And so it's really, it's easy. It's just tapping around. And so that's like the fly safe database in that map. There's also a separate map that's just literally showing you again, just like Google maps, where you're located, where your controller is located and where your drone is located. And this is a map that you have that's on your screen while you're flying. And like, let's just pretend that we're flying a drone right now. When I look down at my screen, there's a couple of things I'm looking at. The first thing I'm looking at is exactly what my drone is looking at. Right. And I can maneuver the drone to go look at different things. You know, do I want to look at the sharks from this angle? Do I look at it top down? Do I want to look at it from the side? And then there's just like all like the important information. How much battery do I have left? And then like your camera settings, you know, are you in photo mode or video mode? Do you want to change what kind of video you're taking? And then there's the map that I'm referring to. So when you click on that, you'll know where your drone is at versus where you're located. Now, a lot of people don't even know that exists. And it's really important because one of the top things that makes people afraid is, oh, I just flew my drone and I looked down for a second, you know, because I got a text message and I looked up and I don't know where it's at and they can't find it. And then they start pushing a million buttons and you could just press the return to home button. But if another way is you just look at the map and you'll be able to figure out exactly where the drone is located. It's like, oh, that's right there. And then you can either, you know, find it with your eyes or fly it back to you so that you can get it in your visual sight again. And so that's what it looks like when you're looking through the drone screen.

21:49 Danielle Desir Corbett I appreciate that. And I'll make sure in this show notes, you have great tutorials on your YouTube channel as well as on your Instagram. So we'll make sure to link to additional resources. But that is very clear. And I understand what you're saying there, which is great. So, OK, so we are all travelers here and either aspiring or really experienced. Maybe we are travel creators, but I really want to dive into the best drones for travel. And I want to talk about finances, budget drones, mid-tier and then high end. And what's the key differences for those price points overall?

22:33 Christine Lozada Yeah. You know, it's interesting is that the amount of drones and the consumer market coming out is growing so quickly that I'm going to kind of talk broadly about what's out there because literally tomorrow the answer is going to change. Like, I'm not even talking about a year from now or a couple. I'm talking like a couple of weeks or potentially a couple of months from now. And in the world of drones, DJI owns over 75 percent of the consumer market. And one thing to consider, it doesn't mean and I'm not at all sponsored by DJI, but one thing to consider is when you have a manufacturer that's specifically going after the consumer market, they are anticipating the grandmas. My mom flies a drone and the kids, my nephew flies a drone. My grandma's way better than him. They're anticipating the dumb things that they will do. And so they are building safety features into it to help prevent them or help keep them safe. And so there's a lot of reasons why I recommend DJI. But I'm going to talk about DJI drones for a second, because I also think in terms of technology advances going way up and just like flat screen TVs, the price going way down. It's amazing what's happening with DJI drones right now. And so let's talk about kind of like a good, better, best and kind of the way I like to think about it, because a lot of people are like, oh, well, I want the smallest drone out there. All of the drones are not that big. All of them, all of them, when folded, will fit into the palm of your hand. They're really small. Like they fit in my fanny pack. To be totally honest, I put it in my fanny pack a lot. And so size is kind of a different thing. It's really about use and where your footage is going that can help you to understand what kind of drone you should have. And so in terms of good, better, best, the good drones. Oh, my gosh. Like even now, you can get a great like 4K drone at around a three hundred dollar price point, which is amazing. And the Mavic mini series is exactly a great place to start. Too many people think that they need, oh, well, even before I go into that kind of a price point, you know, I should go get a practice drone so I can get good. And a lot of the toy drones that might be 20 bucks, 50 bucks or something like that aren't going to actually teach you how to fly a drone. A lot of the toy drones don't fly like a real drone. And if anything, it's kind of like, well, I'm going to practice driving this car, but the car is not going to have a steering wheel. And so it doesn't make you actually good at flying the drone. I would actually recommend going to a free simulator for as long as you need to be there for just practice flying there, because that's exactly what it's like to fly a drone. And there are so many out there. I mean, you could literally just Google search them. DJI obviously has their own free simulators and you can even download the app for it. And so a good drone would be like the Mavic mini. The current ones out now would be like the Mavic mini 2SE fantastic drone or even the Mavic mini 2 and the Mavic mini 3. And then you move into the good drones and the good drones are just giving you a little bit more. So right now, currently on the market would be like the Mavic mini 3 pro. So the camera is professional. And then there's the Mavic Air series. And in the Air series, you have a little bit of a bigger drone. And this is one where whenever people ask me, I'm always like, what a traveler are you? Are you like me where you're like climbing up mountains or flying off of boats or you're in a lot of weather? I fly in the snow. I was just in the desert training for an off-road race. We were flying drones in 112 degree heat in the sand. And like I needed a drone that's a little bit more sturdy because I was flying in like 40 mile-hour winds, which is very, very windy. And so the bigger drones can help you in situations like that. But you're getting instead of, I mean, to be honest, especially for social media or really anything these days, 4K is great. So you're already covered on the good drone. In like the Mavic Air 2S, for example, which is my favorite drone currently, I can shoot in 5.4K and I use that for a lot of my project work. And so that's where you're getting into good and better. And then the best drones that are out there, again, still coming down in price. And that's when you go into the Pro Drone series and that's, you know, the Mavic 3 Pro. They just came out with their third version of one in the last year. And so that drone has just even more on the camera front. And that's the traveler where I ask them, hey, like when you travel, are you also packing a mirrorless or a DSLR? Because if you are, you probably want that drone. If you are constantly doing project work or you're constantly selling your photos and videos, you're probably going to want that drone. But I would say a lot of even the excellent content creators I know, or even avid photographers who are just travelers who want to capture their stuff, the Mavic Air series is just fine. And so to recap that, like the good drone would be the Mavic Mini series. And on the lower end, you can get them for 300, a little souped up one for $400. And then your better drone would be your Mavic 3 Pro, your Mavic Air series. Now we're getting to a price point of around $800 to a thousand dollars. Not that big of a difference. And then when you jump up to the Pro Drone, like the Mavic 3 Pro or the Mavic 2 Pro is still a fantastic drone. Those drones will start getting into like the $2,000 range. And so that's what it looks like in terms of the lay of the land.

28:37 Danielle Desir Corbett I love that breakdown. And I'm so happy we delved into that because I really thought it was way more expensive because when you're talking about digital cameras and mirrorless, it's

28:49 Christine Lozada pretty pricey, especially for your lenses, especially for lenses. You don't have to buy an additional lens. And like that's all in. Like there aren't additional things you need to buy on top of that. Like that's the drone and like, that's all you really need. Like you might want some extra batteries depending on what you're doing, but for the most part, like that's it. But I will say one last thing. If you're considering a drone, don't get one until you know it's time to use it. Because the technology is getting so good. More drones are coming out and the prices are dropping so quickly that it's like, I know people who were so excited and got a drone and it's still in the box a year later and that drone is ready to be sent to the museum because it's obsolete. Like it's not a drone, like does not exist anymore. So it's important to get one when you're ready.

29:42 Danielle Desir Corbett That was like a huge tip, a huge gem tip, especially for us, financially savvy travelers. When would you say you're ready to get one? For example, let's say in a couple of months, maybe like four months, you have a trip planned and you want to start flying your drone. When is a good time to get the drone, start practicing? What does that look like in terms of that ramp up time?

30:07 Christine Lozada Yeah, it's a good question. And everyone learns differently, right? And everyone has a different level of tech savviness. And to be honest, you don't need a lot of tech savviness with a drone. But I will say the biggest thing that deters people's ability to learn quickly is simply their nerves. If you can just chill and relax and know that it's just going to be fine, you can learn as quickly as it takes me to teach people how to fly a drone perfectly well, which is around six minutes. It should take you six minutes to learn how to fly that drone like a B-O-S-S boss. It does not take that long. And so really understanding how to fly it, fly safely and maneuver it in the way I think when you say go left, like it will go left. All of that stuff does not take that long. I will say when I've spoken with a lot of people on my podcast, for example, it's the trip, it's the trip that gets people to do the kick in the butt. And I will say this, the thing that takes the longest is setting up your drone and getting all the firmware and the software updated. Like, and that's not active time, right? It's like baking cookies where it takes a long time for it to sit in the oven, but well, baking cookies is not a good idea. Baking cookies with pre-made cookie doughs, what I meant. And so it takes time for it to update and stuff. And so that's what takes a lot of time. Don't wait for your vacation on your vacation to be doing those activities. Do it before. Do one drone flight, at least before you go, just be familiar with it. Because, you know, when you're in a new place or a new country and as you have a new drone, you're flying for the first time, it's just a lot of stuff. It's a lot of stuff. And so I know a lot of people who've done it super successfully. And I know a lot of other people who've done it extremely nervously. And it was not as difficult as it should have been, but they waited until they were on location in Iceland in a challenging situation to fly and to have their first flight. It can be done. Just, you know, yourself, give yourself the amount of time that you need to learn, but really six minutes, it's all you need.

32:20 Danielle Desir Corbett I love the tip about make sure everything's updated and downloaded ahead of time. Cause that would really suck the excitement out of your photography of just your journey when you're just like, Oh, I can't use this right now. So that's fantastic. You also mentioned travel style and making sure that you're picking a drone that matches what you're looking for. So what kind of features would you recommend for travelers to be on the lookout for? You talked about like wind resistant. Is there anything else that you would say, okay, keep this on your radar, your little checklist as you're picking out which drone to purchase?

33:01 Christine Lozada Yeah, I have two thoughts on that. So one is really around what level of photography or photographer you are. And then that just goes up in terms of how good you need the camera to be. And then when I say style, now I'm coming to size of the drone. And again, all of them fit in the palm of your hand, but the Mavic mini series is a half a pound. That's only difficult when you're doing Pilates and you're doing like, you know, that little bicep curl, like 8,000 times and like 8,001 is really hard. It's really light. And then the Mavic Air series is like, I don't know, it's like two pounds. So it's still, you know, you're still doing 4,000 bicep curls with that thing, but you know, it's a little bit beefier, but it will perform differently in the wind. You can ask anyone that owns both of these drones and the DJI will always advertise them. Oh, they're both like level five wind resistant. They're both amazing. The heavier drone can take more wind period. And so if style of travel for you is like a lot more nature, like, you know, like there's calm beach and then there's like Miami beach where like the hurricanes coming in any second. And then, you know, there's someone who likes to kayak on like the river and it's calm. And then, you know, there's Christine in the middle of the Maldives where it's like extremely choppy. I'm not talking the beautiful, like clear see-through water. I'm talking about like the humongous waves. And those are different kinds of travel situations where you need a beefier drone. And so that is one thing. So type of camera and then size of drone. And then I would say one more thing, and I'm sure we'll get into it a bit with some of the regulations and laws, but when you have a drone and a lot of people are like, why does it matter that the Mavic Mini is 249 grams? DJI did something really tricky, which is at 250 grams. Anything below that, it's technically considered a toy. And when it's a toy, it means that sometimes, depending on where you're traveling to, you can get around some of the regulations, depending on how you're using your drone. So for example, I'm just going on vacation with my girlfriends. We just want to get us in the pool on all our unicorn floaties, like having a good old time, you know, like we're not going to sell this on a website, whatever we're going to do, right? We're not going to make money off of these shots just for us, just for fun. If you're somewhere that has more regulations around drones, generally it will not apply to that drone because it's technically a toy and it's different everywhere. And a lot of people get frustrated because they want all the drone laws to be the same, but think about it. Not all the driving laws are the same. The way you can take a left turn in Michigan, your Michigan left is not the same thing as what you're allowed to do in New York City, wanting to take a right turn onto a one way road that is also a right. You have to wait at the light. You can't go on red, for example. Or I don't actually even know if that's a thing. Anyway, there are lots of different driving laws. There's just different everywhere and it's no different with drones. So the other thing to consider is the size of the drone in terms of skirting around some of those regulations.

36:22 Danielle Desir Corbett So let's quickly talk about those regulations. Is there a place that we should be going to as a resource to know what to expect? Like I'm going to Paris soon. Can I even, you know, fly there? Any thoughts?

36:36 Christine Lozada Yeah. Well, I would say there's really one source that you should always go to and it's the government website. So if the way I'm going to answer this is really around like traveling and flying your drone, and let's use your example with Paris, the way I think about it. So in every country, right, there is a different federal aviation administration. I don't know what they call it in Paris, but there they'll have their own website with their own drone regulations on there. And that's where I always start. And a lot of times I'm having to throw all of that language into a translator. I mean, how's that any different than looking at the menu when you're in Zanzibar, for example, right? And so I'm looking for their updated regulations to understand what it is over there, and then I'm looking at the actual drone maps to see, is there anything on there that shows, okay, you may or may not be allowed to fly here or there. And then after I've done the government research and the fly safe database research, then I'm turning to, okay, what other helpful resources are there? Right. And that's who has recently flown there, what blog posts are out there. One thing I actually really love to use is getting real-time info via Reddit. You know, like who are the drone pilots on the ground in Paris right now? What are they shooting and what are they saying? And, you know, that has helped me to get the vibe of what it's like, because some places you might be perfectly fine flying a drone, but the locals do not like it. And it's helpful to know that in places. I will say, because I was recently connecting with Greg, Greg has the pilot Institute and a podcast associated with that, but he just started a database. It's a user-driven database talking about all the places people have been flying their drones and what's the info that they want to share. And again, government websites first, and then same way, it's like, now do you like that restaurant or not? Like what are people saying about it? And so his is another great resource that once you fly in Paris, go add your info to his website to share where you flew from, the things to know, et cetera, et cetera.

39:03 Danielle Desir Corbett Incredible and very, very helpful. And again, we'll make sure to have all of this. I feel like it's a checklist, or it's like a list to kind of keep yourself organized, because this is very, very important, very important to make sure you're being a law abiding citizen. So before I head out, Christine, I really wanted to touch upon how you have been able to translate your flying skills, your drone flying skills into income and a thriving business. So what did that look like for you? And what does like your life look like now with all of this freedom as an entrepreneur?

39:41 Christine Lozada That's a great question, because a lot of people ask me like, how did you do it? And I was really focused in on the content creator route. I wanted to continue traveling the world with the freedom that I have, because there is a lot of lucrative careers that you can do with the drone around construction, construction, mapping, mapping cities, doing inspections of buildings. Like this is very lucrative, real estate photography. These are very lucrative things for people who are in one place. I haven't been in one place for more than three weeks and over seven years. And so that means I can't like be in just one spot doing these types of jobs. And so for me, there's a lot of different ways in which I've monetized with my drone. And I'm going to go back to one of the things I said in the very beginning, which was the last time you're on social media, saw a drone shot and was like, I'm going to barf in my mouth. That is so ugly. Never. Right. So says every hotel, so says every tourism board, so says every PR company doing travel stuff. So one thing to consider is that everybody, everybody wants drone shots of their fill in the blank with whatever it is. And one of the things I'm working on right now is becoming a professional pickleball player. And in the spirit of transparency, cause people are like, Oh my God, tell me something like, how are you making money? Blah, blah. I was able to land a sponsorship with a brand through pickleball simply because I do drone shots. I do drone photography and they're like, your shots are so unique and different than anything we've ever seen. We'd love for you to come on board as an athlete. Actually, I have a UPS box of about a thousand dollars of gear coming in the mail with lots of thousands of dollars in checks coming after that. Once I start delivering photography with myself, with this product. And so it's one of those things where it's like, everybody wants drone photography and videography. And as you're traveling, like, I mean, the easiest one is hotels, right? And another thing is, and I'm going to talk about an example of an opportunity I had with a side hustle I added on. And so I was invited to be one of the drone pilots aboard a yacht. I lived on a yacht for a month in the Maldives and I was helping. I mean, the fastest way you can find a manta ray in the ocean. We would drive around on, we'd have the yacht, then we'd have two smaller boats. We would drive around for hours all day looking for manta rays, or you can just send drones. And so I would go search for the manta rays with my drones. And then once we found them, we would go out there and then we would scuba dive with them and collect research data with the manta rays, amazing opportunity. And so I was working on this project and simultaneously as we were, we went through parts of the Maldives no one's ever been through before, but we also went through parts of people have been to with sexy overwater bungalows and hotels on them. So what did I do? I shot all of them while I was there. A lot of people are like, oh, there's nothing around where I'm at. I bet there's a lot of hotels or other buildings around where you're at. And go pitch someone, hey, show them an example shot that you got, try to sell back some of that imagery. I mean, obviously of course you can put your drone photography, videography on stock sites. But another way that you can build relationships places is sell back the photography of what you shot. And, you know, there were a lot of hotels I passed. I probably shot three terabytes worth of drone stuff while I was out there. And so that's just one example. But for me, it's really been about finding the opportunities in the things I want to do with travel, with pickleball, with whatever it might be. Everybody wants drone shots. And to be honest, it's not hard to get good ones. Like you're already in the best view of the sky. I said, I don't have a photography background. I don't have a videography background. In my opinion, I just know if it looks good or it looks like crap. And, you know, sometimes it's like, oh, it looks, I don't know. Maybe it's okay. But like, just take 20 more shots and there'll probably be something in the boulder that looks fire. Right. In the first two months that I owned a drone, I went to the website of a tourism board and I read what their, you know, what their current marketing campaign is, because you'll see it as soon as you open the website. And then what it said was discovering like the beauty of nature and hidden gems. Right. And I knew that there was this top place that's beautiful to kayak at that no one has captured by drone. I went and I wanted these shots for myself. I went and I got a photo of me in that kayak in the beautiful place. And I was the cover of a tourism board magazine within the first two months of ever flying a drone and that drone was a Mavic mini one, like that thing is ancient. I didn't even shoot it in like a super high res. That drone doesn't even shoot 4k. You know, it's shot 2.7k in video, but it was perfectly fine. And so I share these stories because the opportunities out there are huge. Everyone wants drone shots. Just look for where you can put yourself because there's, there's room for everyone to be flying drones, making great content out of it.

45:21 Danielle Desir Corbett You know, what I loved about everything you said there is that yes, there are going to be some people who are going to fly drones for the love of it or for trying it out and doing it for leisure. But there's also a pathway and avenue where you can monetize this skill, this tool, and as I was preparing for this chat, I did see a lot of things like construction and real estate and I didn't understand why, but you mentioned it like perfectly, like I can see why, because people are searching for how to make money doing these things, especially if you're like stationary and you're not like a digital nomad or traveling quite often. So I appreciate both sides and that's exactly like why I wanted you to come on and just share all of your wisdoms and just amazing stories with us. So for those who want to learn more, like how to get the best shots or ways to avoid ruining and crashing and burning your drone, you have a drone course. Christine, please tell us more about it as well as how to connect with you before we head out.

46:31 Christine Lozada I have tons of free resources. Actually, I just created one, which is like, if you want to fly a drone in 2023, what do you need to know? Cause like things have changed since 2022. So that's actually a free course. It's like a mini course that you go through and you learn everything you need to know. And so that's one. I also have a 101 course, how to fly a drone, literally just how to fly a drone. And it gives you a do it with me tutorial of how to fly your drone with confidence. And it gives you all the fundamentals so that you never crash your drone and you can go confidently fly and explore or confidently fly and go get your shots. However you want to do it with your drone. And then in my 102 course, and actually I just, I was filming on site at a hotel where I had gotten permissions and I'm actually screening and recording and talking through how I'm setting up these shots, how I got like this job and like talking you through and like you, you're watching the whole thing. You see all my settings on the screen and how I'm getting the shots. And so I not only build upon like more advanced skills, if you want to fly through things, if you want to do more advanced things with your drone, like hyperlapses and panoramics and all the things that's all in there, but also like how actually on site I'm doing a lot of these shots and so ChristineLazada.com slash drones has all of those free resources and my other courses as well. But actually here's something important going back to the money conversation real quick. My first drone, you know, you can rename like their name. It was CL's Money Maker 1. And then I now have CL's Money Maker 2, 3 and 4. And I had a 5, but I gave away one of my drones to a content creator in need, but they have lived true to all their names. So I will just say that.

48:28 Danielle Desir Corbett And in three years, right? It's just like a decade long, you know, no, it's a very short amount of time, which is like so inspiring. I highly, highly, highly recommend checking out Christine's Instagram page. It is absolutely stunning. And you have such a vibrant personality too, which really comes on in your videos and in your photos as well. So my native side of the travelers, that is all for this episode. Let us know what you enjoyed. There's tons of resources to dive into. So that's all for now and we will see you in the next one. Bye. Bye bye. Bye bye.

Why Drones For Photography and Videography

Drones can be used to capture stunning images and videos from the sky, providing a unique perspective that is not typically seen from the ground. This makes drones a valuable tool for capturing high-quality footage, whether for personal use or for businesses.

Drones are lightweight and portable, making them easy to transport and operate in various locations. They can fly at different altitudes and angles, adding depth and creativity to visual storytelling.

Drone photography and videography offer a wide range of creative possibilities. They can capture panoramic views of landscapes, cityscapes, and architecture, providing a comprehensive view of the surroundings. Drones can also capture dynamic shots of moving subjects, such as sports events or wildlife, from an aerial perspective, adding a sense of scale and excitement to the footage.

When flying a drone, follow local regulations, and obtain the necessary permits and licenses. Take safety precautions and be mindful of respecting the rights and privacy of others.

Christine Lozada: I only recently started flying a drone. And I mastered the craft very quickly. I started flying in the beginning of 2020. The reason why I wanted to fly was twofold.

One, to be able to storytell with my drone, because there’s no better way to talk about travel destinations. Drones are the best storytelling tool. You can get lots of opening shots that set the scene.

I mean, tell me about a time you’ve opened up a drone shot on Instagram or TikTok and been like, ew, that’s so ugly. Probably never. Right. It takes zero effort to get a great shot. 

I love flying a drone for storytelling. I like being able to truly see the places I travel to. I love beach vacations and I love to scuba dive. Being able to drone over the ocean and then scuba dive is very meaningful for me.

Prefer to listen to this podcast episode on YouTube?

How To Choose the Best Travel Drone

What are the best drones for travelers?

Christine recommends to choose a drone based on travel style and specific needs.

One brand that stands out in the drone market is DJI. With over 75% of the consumer market, DJI has established itself as a leader in the industry. Their drones are known for their high-quality performance, innovative features, and user-friendly design.

One of the key reasons why DJI drones are highly recommended is their focus on safety. DJI understands that many consumers, including beginners and older individuals, will be using their drones. As a result, they have incorporated safety features into their drones to prevent accidents and ensure a smooth flying experience. These features not only protect the user and those around them but also the equipment.

Drones are easy, fun, and simple. Christine has helped thousands of people learn how to fly drones FAST with How To Fly a Drone 101. Use ‘DRONE20’ for 20% off the course.

Christine Lozada: Firstly, if you are looking for the smallest drone, all of them when folded, will fit into the palm of your hand. They’re really small.

Figuring out use and where your footage is going can help you to understand what kind of drone you should get. Looking for the best drone for travel? Let’s break down the options into good, better, and best.

Good Drones For Travel (Starting at $300)

Christine Lozada: Right now you can get a great 4K drone at around a $300 price point.

The Mavic Mini-series is a great place to start such as the Mavic Mini 2SE or even the Mavic Mini 2 and the Mavic Mini 3. They weigh around half a pound.

For beginners or casual travelers who simply want to capture their travel memories, the Mavic Mini series is a great choice. These drones are compact, lightweight, and easy to use. With prices starting at $300, they offer excellent value for money spent.

However, this series may not have all the advanced features of higher-end models, but they still deliver impressive image and video quality.

Better Drones For Travelers (Starting at $800)

Christine Lozada: For those looking for travel drones with more features, consider the Mavic Mini 3 Pro. The camera is professional.

Then there’s the Mavic Air series. With the Air series, you have a bigger drone, weighing around two pounds. These heavier drones are more wind resistant.

Mavic Air 2S, for example, is my favorite drone currently, I can shoot in 5.4K and I use that for a lot of my project work.

If you are a more experienced traveler or content creator who wants to take your photography and videography to the next level, the Mavic Air series is a good option. These drones offer enhanced camera capabilities and advanced flight features. Prices for the Mavic Air series range from $800 to $1,000, making them a more significant investment but still relatively affordable compared to professional-grade drones.

Best Drones For Travelers (Starting at $2,000)

Christine Lozada: When you travel, are you also packing a mirrorless or a DSLR camera? Because if you are, you probably want the DJI Pro Drone series, the Mavic 3 Pro. If you are constantly doing project work or you’re selling your photos and videos, you’re probably going to want that drone.

But I would say a lot of even the excellent content creators I know, or even avid photographers who are just travelers who want to capture their stuff, the Mavic Air series is just fine.

Summary:

When considering which drone to choose, assess your travel style and specific needs.

If you are constantly on the move and prefer to travel light, the Mavic Mini series is a perfect fit. Its compact size and affordability make it ideal for capturing travel memories without the need for additional equipment. On the lower end, you can get them for $300, a little souped-up one for $400.

On the other hand, if you are planning to engage in more professional or project-based work, the Mavic Air series or the Pro models are better suited.

Then your better drone would be your Mavic Air series. Now we’re getting to a price point of around $800 to $1,000.

When you jump up to the Pro Drone, like the Mavic 3 Pro or the Mavic 2 Pro. Those drones will start at the $2,000 range ideal for professionals or enthusiasts who rely on their drone for project work or selling their photos and videos.

While they may be pricier, the investment is justified for those who prioritize the quality and versatility of their aerial photography and videography.

What are some of the mistakes travelers make when picking a drone?

Christine Lozada: Too many people think they need a practice drone so they can get good at flying drones. A lot of the toy drones that might be under $50 won’t teach you how to fly a drone.

Toy drones don’t fly like real ones.

Also, if you’re considering a drone, don’t get one until you know it’s time to use it. Because the technology is getting so good. More drones are coming out and the prices are dropping quickly.

I know people who were so excited and got a drone and it’s still in the box a year later — that drone is ready to be sent to the museum because it’s obsolete. So it’s important to get one when you’re ready to use it.

Do you have to purchase additional lenses for drones?

Christine Lozada: You don’t have to buy additional lenses. Drones has everything you really need.

You might want some extra batteries depending on what you’re doing, but for the most part, that’s it.

When is a good time to get a drone? What does that look like in terms of ramp-up time?

Christine Lozada: Everyone learns differently, right? And everyone has a different level of tech savviness. But to be honest, you don’t need a lot of tech-savviness with a drone. The biggest thing that deters people’s ability to learn quickly is simply their nerves.

If you can just chill and relax and know that it’s just going to be fine, you can learn how to fly a drone in six minutes. It does not take long.

The thing that takes the longest is setting up your drone and getting all the software updated. Don’t wait for your vacation to be doing those activities. Do it before.

Do one drone flight, at least before you go, just be familiar with it. Because, you know, when you’re in a new place or a new country, flying for the first time, it’s a lot.

Give yourself the amount of time you need to learn, but really six minutes is all you need.

Let’s talk about those regulations. What’s the best resource to know drone restrictions?

Christine Lozada: There’s really one source that you should always go to and it’s the government website.

In every country, there is a federal aviation administration. They’ll have their own website with their own drone regulations on there. That’s where I always start.

I’m looking for their updated regulations, and then I’m looking at the actual drone maps to see, is there’s anything on there that shows you may or may not be allowed to fly here or there.

After I’ve done the government research and the fly safe database research, then I’m turning to blog posts.

One thing I actually really love to use is getting real-time info via Reddit.

Beginner tips for flying drones with Christine Lozada.

How have you been able to translate your drone flying skills into income?

Once you have your drone and are ready to start monetizing your drone skills, there are several avenues you can explore.

Christine Lozada: There are a lot of lucrative careers you can have with drones around construction, mapping cities, real estate photography and doing inspections of buildings.

I haven’t been in one place for more than three weeks in over seven years. And so that means I can’t be in just one spot doing these types of jobs.

One thing to consider is that everybody, everybody wants drone shots of their fill-in-the-blank with whatever it is. Pitch someone, show them an example shot that you got, and try to sell back some of that imagery. You can also put your drone photography, and videography on stock websites.

Everybody wants drone shots. And to be honest, it’s not hard to get good ones. Like you’re already in the best view of the sky. As I said, I don’t have a photography background. I don’t have a videography background. In my opinion, I just know if it looks good or if it looks like crap.

In the first two months that I owned a drone, I was on the cover of a tourism board magazine. I didn’t even shoot in super high resolution. That drone didn’t even shoot in 4K. I share this story because the opportunities out there are huge.

Everyone wants drone shots. Just look for where you can put yourself because there’s room for everyone to be flying drones, making great content out of it.

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.

Whether it’s through offering services to industries in need of aerial shots, selling your photography directly to businesses, or leveraging social media to secure sponsorships, the possibilities for monetizing your drone skills are vast. With dedication, perseverance, and a keen eye for capturing breathtaking aerial shots, you can create a successful and fulfilling career as a drone photographer.

By showcasing your unique and creative drone shots on social media platforms or through your own website, you can attract the attention of brands or companies looking for influencers or ambassadors. This can lead to collaborations, sponsorships, or even product endorsements that can provide both income and opportunities for growth.

Overall, choosing a drone based on your travel style is essential. There are a lot of options that cater to beginners, casual travelers, and professionals alike. Assess your specific needs, budget, and how you plan to use it to determine which drone is the best fit for you.

Resources

  1. Drones are easy, fun, and simple. Christine has helped thousands of people learn how to fly drones FAST with How To Fly a Drone 101. Use ‘DRONE20’ for 20% off the course.
  2. Master your drone and gain the confidence to easily fly. Drone Like a Pro 102 is for Mavic Mini and Mavic Air drones. Use ‘DRONE20’ for 20% off the course.

Noteworthy Quotes by Christine Lozada:

  • [6:33] “Now, imagine not having to pay for the rooftop cocktail or not having to trudge up five miles. You can literally just send a drone to get that view.”
  • [29:12] “If you’re considering a drone, don’t get one until you know it’s time to use it.”
  • [30:32] “If you can just chill and relax and know that it’s just going to be fine, you can learn as quickly as it takes me to teach people how to fly a drone perfectly well, which is around six minutes.”
  • [43:39] “Everybody wants drone shots.”

About Christine Lozada

Christine Lozada is an ward winning travel creator, drone educator, speaker and podcast host helping 3M+ to travel smarter.

Website: www.christinelozada.com

Instagram: @christinelozada

Podcasts: The Drone Party and Everyday Badassery

Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy

How To Become a Travel Creator With Christopher Mitchell – Episode 52

Digital Nomad Lifestyle Pros and Cons – Episode 84

Best Travel Podcasts For Wanderlust (blog post)

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