As technology and trends continue to evolve, the things that we pack to take on our vacations keeps on changing. Where we might have needed a few books, we can now take just a Kindle. CDs or DVDs have been replaced by a phone or tablet with streaming apps. Cameras have also been usurped by our phones, but for anyone wanting their vacation photos and videos to have that extra drama, a drone is the new essential for your suitcase.
However, before you work out how many pairs of socks you really need in order to fit a drone in your case, it’s worth checking out if you’d even be able to use it while you’re on vacation. The technology may have become much more affordable, but this has led to more fears about how they could be used in terms of both privacy and safety – particularly when they are used around airports.
There’s 143 countries around the world with some kind of drone regulations, so you can’t take it for granted that you will be able to arrive at your destination and start taking swooping footage of your villa/chalet/beach hut/hotel balcony. Here’s a quick guide:
So far, Europe has relatively few regulations on drone usage. The only country on the continent where drones are completely banned is Slovenia, while 27% of the countries with drone-related legislation are ‘unrestricted’, including Sweden, Greece and Austria. This is much higher than the global average of 18%.
North and South America
The main restrictions for drone usage tend to be based around whether you can fly it beyond your own line of sight. In North America, 33% of countries allow for experimental drone flights beyond the line of sight, which is well above the 22% global average. That includes both the USA and Canada, while down in South America there are no bans at all but only Guyana allows you to fly your drone beyond your line of sight.
Middle East, Asia and Oceania
The world’s most populous country, China is home to the world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI, so it’s no wonder that the restrictions there allow for experimental drone flights beyond the line of sight, as do the authorities in Japan and Australia. The good news for Lord of the Rings fans is that New Zealand’s restrictions aren’t too strict either, so you should be able to recreate some of those iconic walking scenes with your drone.
There’s less drone legislation in Africa than any other continent, but of those countries that do have restrictions 21% have an outright ban, a much higher percentage than anywhere else, with another 13% having an effective ban. Egypt is a good example of this situation, where you can technically use a drone with permission from the Civil Aviation Authority, but these permits are notoriously hard to come by.
So, if you’re thinking of taking your drone on vacation with you next year, it’s worth having a look at this guide to global drone restrictions from Surfshark.