May your next vacation look cinematic…

Travel drones turn amateur travel snaps and videos into something that looks like a Michael Bay film. There’s hardly anything more satisfying than documenting the amazing places you’ve been, things you’ve seen and views from high above than with one of the amazing new drones on the market. Why? Not only are they easy to fly, they capture stunningly gorgeous shots of life from above, taking your memories – and potential Youtube career to the next level. In no particular order, the five best travel drones under $500 are…

Hubsan H501S X4 Professional

This is a great drone offering some of the best features you’ll find for the price. The “Follow me” function works like a charm and the camera is surprisingly decent. If money is the key factor, this is great bang for your buck.

Key Travel Drone Features: One key return to origin, GPS positioning, 1080P photos and videos, headless mode for easy operation and “follow me” for great moving action shots, like running on the beach.

X Factor: Price to feature ratio is outstanding. The LCD display is a dream for entry level.

Price: $260 / £220.

DJI Spark – Fly More Combo

If you can push the boat out, this drone has a whole lot to love. The stability and panning is off the charts, allowing for cinema quality pans and captures from the sky. The size makes it a real winner, even for carry on only travelers.

Key Travel Drone Features: 2 axis stabilized 12 megapixel camera with 1080p photo and video, intelligent flight mode for smooth videos with panning, use your phone to watch live feed, GPS, easy operation.

X Factor: Size. Incredibly compact, even in it’s case it’s hardly larger than headphones.

Price: $450 / £320 for complete package.

Hover Camera Travel Drone

This is one of the coolest new drones on the market with a camera that rivals what’s in the very best phones. The orbit mode makes for really cool panning shots. If you have a fear of the blades, this is the safest bet, since they’re housed inside the drone caging. Oh – and it folds!

Key Travel Drone Features: 13 megapixel camera, autonomous flight with facial recognition which can “find you”, orbit mode for 360° views, enclosed blades for safe access and flight, foldable, live stream.

X Factor: 4k video on an intelligent drone of this price is absurd. Autonomous flight is cool too.

Price: $349 / £265

ZeroTech Dobby

The Dobby offers a more cost effective solution to the great features found in the Hover Camera. Both are awesome, both will travel well and get you fantastic shots, with virtually identical cameras, but if you can get your hands on one of these, the savings are great.

Key Travel Drone Features: 13 megapixel camera with 4k video, fits in your pocket, controlled by smart phone app, capable of following and orbiting without controlling, just 199g weight. Easy sharing.

X Factor: Foldable propellors and phone app make it truly pocket sized.

Price: $199 / £150 / cheaper in China.

Holy Stone HS160 Shadow Drone

Whether you’re an actual kid or just a big kid getting started, this is the simplest, easiest travel drone to get started. And at $99 bucks, you’ll be a lot less upset if you happen to crash it! The photos are nowhere near the image quality of the other drones here, but at less than half the price, it’s a great foray.

KeyTravel Drone Features:  One touch start, altitude and GPS hold for easy control, foldable arms, decent entry level camera, wifi live video feed and instant photo downloads, perfect starter drone.

X Factor: Price friendly first starter drone. It’s not the best, but for the price – it’s great.

Price: $99.99 / £69.99

What’s your favorite travel drone?

Featured image copyright Prasit Photo / Getty Images.