In order to choose the right camera you need to find on that enables you to take high quality photos while still being durable and reliable enough for traveling with.
I started out with a $100 point and shoot, I think it was the cheapest camera you could buy at Walmart at the time, but since then I’ve developed a passion for travel photography and I’ve used so many different cameras that I’m able to share with you what some of the best cameras for traveling with are.
Today, many people capture their travel adventures with a smartphone, but I don’t find that phones have the quality or capability that you will find with a more dedicated option like a mid range point-and-shoot, or even a DSLR.
If the photos you take with your smartphone are good enough for you then that’s not a problem, however, if you’re looking to take incredible travel photos and truly capture all of the best moments of your time traveling then here are your options when it comes to the best cameras for travel.
The Best Camera for Travel: An In-Depth Guide
- 1 The Best Camera for Travel: An In-Depth Guide
- 2 What to Look For
- 3 The Best Point-and-Shoot for Travel
- 4 Canon S120
- 5 Sony RX100 IV
- 6 Canon G7X
- 7 The Best Mirrorless Camera for Travel
- 8 Sony a6000
- 9 Canon EOS M3
- 10 The Best DSLR Camera for Travel
- 11 Canon Rebel T5
- 12 Nikon D7200
- 13 The Best Underwater Camera
- 14 GoPro Hero 4
- 15 Nikon CoolPix AW130
- 16 The Best Waterproof Camera Bag
- 17 DiCAPac WP-ONE Point & Shoot Digital Camera Waterproof Case
- 18 DiCAPac WP-S10 Pro DSLR Camera Series Waterproof Case
What to Look For
The features that you want to look for that the top travel cameras possess are that it’s portable, lightweight, durable, versatile and is able to capture great photos.
There are three different camera types available today:
- Point-and-shoot cameras
- Mirrorless cameras
- DSLR cameras
Point and Shoot Cameras
These make for some of the best small cameras for travel if you’re not looking to take ultra high quality shots and are a good idea if you’re looking for something affordable, lightweight and highly portable.
They are very small, typically able to fit in your pocket, but they are also very limited when it comes to picture quality and control options.
Point and shoot’s are a good choice if you want to take a better quality photo than you would be able to with a smartphone but you don’t want something is bulky or expensive as a DSLR or Mirrorless.
Mirrorless cameras are a relatively new addition to the travel camera market and have quickly grown in popularity for their portability and high picture quality.
Compared to DSLR cameras they are much more compact and they have a bigger sensor than what you would find in a point-and-shoot.
You can also change the lens when you’re using a mirrorless and this gives you more options when you’re out in the field taking pictures.
I believe that for many travelers a mirrorless is the best combination of the benefits that both point-and-shoot cameras and DSLR’s provide and I highly recommend you consider a mirrorless for your travel photography needs.
For professional photographers, and even for plenty of amateurs, DSLR cameras are the camera of choice hen it comes to traveling.
They take the highest quality of photos and have the most options, but they’re the heaviest and most bulky to travel with.
Unless you’re a professional photographer, or travel photography is a huge passion of yours, I recommend leaving your DSLR at home and traveling with a smaller and more portable alternative.
DSLR’s are also very expensive and using one could make you a target for theft depending on where in the world if you’re traveling.
Now that I’ve gone over the different camera options let’s take a look at the best travel cameras for each type.
The Best Point-and-Shoot for Travel
If you’re looking for a camera that you can actually fit into your pocket and not have to worry about traveling with then you’ll want to consider picking up a point-and-shoot.
On the lower end of the spectrum, in regards to cost, the options aren’t that great but some of the more expensive point-and-shoot’s take truly amazing photos, are compact and come packed with relevant features.
Today, a high-quality point-and-shoot will have a large image sensor that allows you to get detailed shots, a long battery life, built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and a variety of different camera modes that allow you to take more unique photos.
Point-and-shoots also are very affordable and are a good choice if you’re a budget traveler and don’t want to spend too much money on the camera. And, worst case scenario, a point-and-shoot isn’t the worst thing to lose or get stolen while you’re abroad – it’s much harder to cope with losing a DSLR.
Here are my recommendations:
- Weight: 0.48 pounds or roughly 220 g
- Sensor: 1/1.7 inch CMOS
- Video Quality: 1080p full HD
- Megapixels:. 12.1
- Best feature: Great low light performance and amazing battery life
- Drawback: Not the greatest zoom capability
- Average battery life: 230 photos
The Canon S120 is what I believe to be one of the best small cameras for travel and an ideal choice if you’re looking for a point-and-shoot that can take high-quality images and video while still being able to fit in your pocket.
This is one of my main cameras that I travel with and, although I’m in the market for something new, I’ll never sell or get rid of my Canon S120.
Along with being super portable the Canon S120 comes packed with all of the features you’ll ever need in a point and shoot. In its automatic mode the photo quality is superb, but one of the best things about the Canon S120 is its manual mode.
Using the manual mode you can control the shutter speed, ISO, aperture and almost every other setting on the camera by simply turning the dial on the front of the device itself.
Paired with the ability choose the best settings for the scenario you are in the Canon S120 has incredible low light sensitivity that let’s you take better interior and night shots without having to use the flash or an additional lighting setup
You can also use the Canon S120 for capturing high quality video and it’s able to record full HD at 1080p and 60 frames per second. The internal stabilization for video is quite good and with a steady hand you can hardly notice any visible shaking or vibrations.
To make it even easier to use the Canon S120 comes with a touch screen that you can use to quickly change settings or select a focus point on the fly.
One more thing that makes the Canon S120 such a good choice when it comes to finding the best camera for travel is that there is a built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to easily upload photos to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr without having to transfer them from your memory card to your computer.
This is an awesome feature and if you’re only taking photos and don’t need to edit video right away you can even forego bringing a computer with you on your trip.
If you’re looking for a small but powerful travel camera to bring with you abroad then I highly recommend you consider the Canon S120.
Sony RX100 IV
- Weight: Roughly 300 grams
- Sensor: CMOS 116 square millimetres
- Video Quality: 4K high resolution
- Megapixels: 20.1
- Best feature: High quality images and 4K resolution video
- Drawback: Cost and battery life
- Average battery life: 280 photos
The Sony RX100 IV is the fourth version of the RX 100 series of cameras from Sony.
It’s the most updated, technical and feature packed model that they offer in the point-and-shoot range and if you’re looking for one of the best cameras for traveling this is an option you’ll definitely want to consider.
It’s just small enough to fit in your pocket, although I recommend using a carrying case for it, but it’s full of features that makes its size well worth the trade-off. With the Sony RX100 IV you can effortlessly shoot 4K video and take advantage of a shooting speed that allows you to capture 16 frames per second.
This is awesome if you’re doing a lot of nature/wildlife photography or if you’re planning on making any travel videos during your time abroad. The LCD screen itself is much higher resolution and a better quality than the previous models and allows you to get an accurate look at the photos you took while you’re on the go.
Similar to the previous models the Sony RX100 IV comes with a large sensor for high quality images, a quick Carl Zeiss lens and, one of the most unique features of the camera, an electronic viewfinder that pops up out of the camera body.
The image quality with the Sony RX100 IV is on par to many higher-end and more expensive DSLR cameras but you get it all in a small, portable and easier to use device.
This camera is quite expensive but it’s one of the top travel cameras available currently and I highly recommend you check it out if you’re looking to take amazing quality photos and shoot high-quality video during your trip.
- Weight: 0.67 pounds
- Sensor: 1.0-inch High-Sensitivity CMOS
- Video Quality: 1080p 60 frames per second Full HD
- Megapixels: 20.2
- Best feature: A flip up screen
- Drawback: Battery life when shooting video
- Average battery life: 210 photos
The Canon G7X is a quality, dependable camera and is a great device to travel with. This is actually the point-and-shoot camera I want to upgrade to next to replace my S120 and, having done the research, I think it’s one of the best compact cameras for travel that you can find today.
With a 20.2 megapixel image quality, a huge sensor and the ability to film full HD at 60 frames per second, the Canon G7X is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a travel camera that’s small, portable, easy to use and takes stunning high quality images.
One of my favorite things about the Canon G7X is the flip up screen that allows you to take photos or videos of yourself while being immediately able to tell if your shot is going to turn out right. It also makes a good choice if you are planning on doing any travel vlogging or taking a lot of selfie’s.
The camera itself is quite fast, with a f/1.8–2.8 maximum aperture, and you’ll have the ability to take advantage of a 24–100 mm zoom for high quality close-ups and zoom shots.
From what I’ve read, one of the only problems that people experience with the Canon G7X is that the battery life during filming isn’t ideal. This problem can be easily solved by traveling with an additional battery and I wouldn’t base my purchase of it on the fact that the battery life for shooting video isn’t that great.
If you’re looking for an all around great camera for traveling with I recommend you consider the Canon G7X.
The Best Mirrorless Camera for Travel
As I mentioned earlier a good balance between the portability of a point-and-shoot and the image quality of a DSLR is the mirrorless camera.
Mirrorless cameras have taken the travel camera world by storm and many popular and experienced photographers have ditched their DSLR in favor of the mirrorless. In case you’re wondering, mirrorless cameras are a type of camera that don’t use a mirror reflex optical viewfinder.
That’s why they got the name mirrorless – there aren’t any mirrors in the camera at all. Since they don’t have a mirror they are able to be designed smaller, more portable in fashion, more durable and they’re still able to utilize an interchangeable lens.
These features make mirrorless cameras an ideal choice for traveling with and are the perfect choice if you want something portable that’s able to take amazing photographs.
One more feature that I love about the new mirrorless devices is that they use an electronic viewfinder. This allows you to view the scene in real-time through the viewfinder and make quick and relevant changes to the ISO and aperture. This helps to save on post processing time and results in better quality images overall.
The new mirrorless options make for what I think are some of the best compact cameras for travel that you can find and I highly recommend checking them out whether you’re in the market for a new camera or you want to upgrade your old model.
Be sure to check out my post on the best mirrrorless cameras for travel!
Here are my recommendations:
- Weight: 0.76 pounds
- Sensor: APS-C CMOS
- Video Quality: 1080p 60 frames per second Full HD
- Megapixels: 24
- Best feature: Image quality
- Drawback: Electronic viewfinder impact on battery life and flip screen
- Average battery life: 420 photos
In my opinon it’s hard to find a better mirrorless camera than the Sony a6000.
Sony went from not being recognized at all for their cameras to developing one of the best mirrorless cameras for travel available today.
If there was one mirrorless I would recommend for traveling with it’s the Sony a6000 and, not only is it perfectly suitable for travel, but it makes for a great camera all around as well. When it comes to image quality the Sony a6000 is hard to be beat as it uses one of the best in class sensors that you’ll find in any similar cameras.
For a mirrorless it’s quite small, compact and fits nicely in your hand for taking photos or video. The autofocus is super fast and you can easily change nearly all of the image settings on the go using the control dial on the back of the camera.
The one thing I don’t like about the Sony a6000 is the flip up screen. Instead of flipping up all of the way it only flips up halfway which makes it seemingly pointless and one of my only issues with the camera.
When it comes to shooting video there is the capability to capture full HD up to 60 frames per second, but this will definitely drain the battery life faster than simply taking photos. There is a built-in electronic viewfinder as well but it’s a lot easier to just use the screen on the back for capturing photos or videos.
If you’re looking for what I believe to be one of the best mirrorless cameras for travel I highly recommend checking out the Sony a6000.
Canon EOS M3
- Weight: 0.81 pounds
- Sensor: CMOS (APS-C)
- Video Quality: 1080p 30 frames per second full HD
- Megapixels: 24.2
- Best feature: high quality sensor and external microphone jack
- Drawback: no electronic viewfinder
The Canon EOS M3 is another great choice if you’re looking for a mirrorless camera for travel that’s small enough to travel with and takes stunning, high quality images.
The benefit of using a Canon mirrorless is the fact that you’ll be able to change the lenses with any other Canon lens that you might have or that are available on the market as long as they’re designed for mirrorless use or you have an adapter. This is an ideal solution for DSLR photographers that want the capabilities of a mirrorless but don’t want to give up the wide range of available lenses.
The Canon EOS M3 is compact, lightweight and allows you to manually control the majority of different image and capturing settings so that you can get the best shots possible.
With a 24.2 megapixel sensor you’re able to take huge photos that result in large RAW image files which is perfect for post-processing, blowing up your travel photos for your friends and family and helps to reduce any noise while guaranteeing higher details in the final image itself.
Even in low light the Canon EOS M3 performs quite well and you won’t need to use a flash or any additional lighting for getting great interior or night shots. One of my favorite features is the flip up screen which flips around 180° and gives you the chance to take perfectly framed selfies.
If you’re into making travel videos then the Canon EOS M3 is a camera you should definitely consider. It captures full HD, 1080p video at 60 frames per second and there is even a built-in microphone jack so you can add your own microphone for higher quality sound.
Finally, there is a touchscreen that’s easy to navigate and simple to use even when you’re out on the go and can’t be bothered to fiddle with settings period.
The Canon EOS M3 is, in my opinion, one of the best travel cameras and I definitely recommend you check it out if you’re looking for a mirrorless camera that takes incredible photos.
The Best DSLR Camera for Travel
Despite the rise of mirrorless cameras, many people still choose to travel with their DSLR. Using a DSLR is a good idea if you want to take advantage of a wide range of different lenses, a longer battery life, a faster focusing capability and a few more settings that you can’t change on other camera types.
They also excel at low light photography and the higher shutter speed means you’ll be able to capture better images of wildlife, weather patterns and anything else requiring a more intense zoom lens.
DSLR cameras are bulky, heavy and expensive to replace if they’re damaged or stolen but they still take the highest quality of images available on any photography device today.
There are a wide range of different DSLR models on the market and it really comes down to personal preference in regards to which model you choose.
I’d recommend going with a popular brand like Canon or Nikon since there are so many different lenses and attachments specifically designed for those brands that it doesn’t make much sense going with something else.
Here are my recommendations:
Canon Rebel T5
- Weight: 1.06 pounds
- Sensor: CMOS (APS-C)
- Video Quality: 1080p
- Megapixels: 18
- Best feature: battery life and
- Drawback: heavier than a point-and-shoot or mirrorless
- Average battery life: 500 photos
The Canon Rebel T5 is what I would recommend if you’re looking for an entry level DSLR that’s capable of taking high quality photos while still being a suitable choice for traveling with.
Over the years, many people have opted to travel with a lighter alternative to a DSLR, but if you want the functionality and choice of shooting modes that a DSLR offers then the Canon Rebel T5 is a great option.
The camera itself is quite rugged and takes advantage of a lightweight construction that makes it easy to carry and use for many hours on end. For capturing photos, I think you’re unlikely to find a more affordable and better quality DSLR in this range and the automatic shooting mode is perfect if you just want to get out there and take photos.
Being able to take around 500 photos is also a huge bonus when you’re traveling and reduces the need to carry along extra batteries, chargers, gear and just let’s you focus on capturing those special moments that you’re taking part of.
The problem is that DSLR cameras tend to be heavier and bulkier than other camera styles so unless you are really into photography and you specifically need the features that a DSLR camera comes with I still recommend going with a point-and-shoot or mirrorless.
However, if you’re looking for a good entry level DSLR for travel and you don’t mind carrying around the additional weight then I highly recommend you check out the Canon Rebel T5.
- Weight: 1.49 pounds
- Sensor: DX-format CMOS
- Video Quality: 1080p 60 frames per second Full HD
- Megapixels: 24.2
- Best feature: Battery life and image quality
- Drawback: Heavy
- Average battery life: 1110 photos
The Nikon D7200, while a mid range option, is in my opinion the best DSLR camera for traveling with. Besides having more than enough useful features that will allow you to take stunning, high quality photos the Nikon D7200 is rugged and durable enough to bring with you abroad.
At nearly one and a half pounds this is somewhat of a heavier camera but Nikon is known for their build quality and practical design so you won’t have to worry about being too careful with the D7200 and you can use it as you would any other camera.
When it comes to shooting still photos the Nikon D7200 really stands out when compared to the other similar mid range options on the market. It excels in low light and the autofocus tracking makes it easier than ever to capture both photos and video of moving targets without losing focus.
The image quality itself is some of the best you can find and I actually find Nikon images slightly superior quality than what Canon cameras are able to produce.
Some of the best features of the Nikon D7200 include the Wi-Fi capabilities that’ll allow you to pair your camera with a smartphone and the battery life, which will let you take upwards of 1110 photos per charged battery.
If you’re looking for what I think is one of the best cameras for travel for shooting great photos and taking high quality video I recommend you check out the Nikon D7200 and consider adding it to your photography arsenal.
The Best Underwater Camera
None of the different camera models I mentioned above are suitable for underwater use.
If you’ll be heading somewhere with a beach or you plan on doing some diving, snorkelling or participating in any other water based activities then you’ll want an underwater camera to capture all of those unique and special moments.
There are a few different options available and here’s what I recommend if you’re looking for the best underwater camera to bring with you traveling:
GoPro Hero 4
- Weight: 1.29 pounds
- Waterproof: up to 40 m
- Video Quality: 4K 30 frames per second
- Megapixels: 12 megapixels, 30 frames per second burst
- Best feature: ruggedness and features
- Drawback: none
The GoPro Hero 4 is, what I believe to be, the best waterproof camera for travel and bringing with you on vacation.
GoPro is known for their wildly popular and high quality action cameras and with so many features to choose from you’re unlikely to find a more suitable and practical option. There aren’t too many underwater cameras available and the cameras that are in fact designed for underwater use simply aren’t that good.
The GoPro Hero 4 on the other hand is able to do a lot more than just take photos and is a great choice if you need a backup camera and something fun to play with that you can use underwater.
Along with being able to shoot high quality still photos the GoPro Hero 4 can take time lapses, videos, burst shots and with so many different mounts available you can use it in almost every imaginable outdoor traveling scenario.
The GoPro Hero 4 is one of the newest additions to the GoPro Hero line and I think it’s a camera that everyone should be traveling with, regardless of whether or not you want something designed for underwater use.
Using the GoPro Hero 4 you can shoot ultra high resolution 4K video with ease and you can capture still photos of the 12 megapixels using a maximum burst of 30 frames per second.
Every GoPro Hero 4 comes with a waterproof case that can be used up to 40 m in depth which makes it perfect for using underwater and the best choice for snorkeling, diving, surfing or any other water-based adventure activity.
The camera itself is controlled using just a few buttons and you can easily switch the settings in just seconds without having to remove the camera from its waterproof case. This is a great feature for switching between modes when you’re already underwater and want to switch between photos and videos.
I definitely recommend picking up a GoPro Hero 4 if you’re looking for what is in my opinion the best underwater camera for travel, snorkeling, swimming or for any other water related uses. It’s highly durable, ruggedly designed, portable and great for capturing those unique and special moments when you’re on the go.
Nikon CoolPix AW130
- Weight: 0.49 pounds
- Waterproof: 30 m
- Video Quality: 1080p
- Megapixels: 16
- Best feature: Ruggedness
- Drawback: Lack of features compared to the GoPro
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the GoPro Hero 4 but you still want a reliable underwater camera for travel then I’d suggest you take a look at the Nikon CoolPix AW130.
Along with being waterproof up to 30 m in depth the Nikon CoolPix AW130 is also shockproof enough to withstand drops from up to 7 feet and has built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to quickly and easily transfer photos to your phone.
I find that the Nikon CoolPix AW130 is not as practical for underwater use as the GoPro but it still comes with some pretty cool features and is definitely good enough if you just need something to use underwater and don’t plan on using it for much else.
One of my favorite features of this underwater camera is the built-in GPS that allows you to track and map any points of interest that you come across underwater. It also has a wide-angle lens to give you a more detailed field of view and there is a built in vibration reduction to keep your photos and videos steady and blur free.
I would still recommend the GoPro but if you’re looking for a runner-up to one of what I think is the best underwater cameras then the Nikon CoolPix AW130 is a good alternative.
The Best Waterproof Camera Bag
Alternatively, you could pick up a waterproof case for your camera.
Here’s what I recommend:
For your point and shoot:
DiCAPac WP-ONE Point & Shoot Digital Camera Waterproof Case
For your DSLR:
DiCAPac WP-S10 Pro DSLR Camera Series Waterproof Case