As is often the case, the best camera for the job is the one you've got on you, and that's especially true when you're traveling and likely don't have the space to pack a bulky camera kit. For most people, a smartphone will suffice, especially as smartphone cameras have gotten better and better. But if you want to take your travel photography to the next level, a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera will get you there. While the battery life on mirrorless cameras isn't as strong as their DSLR counterparts, mirrorless cameras are tough to beat when it comes to portability, making them great travel cameras if you want something you can switch out lenses with.
We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras for travel. If you'd prefer a fixed-lens compact camera, check out the best compact cameras for travel instead. If you're a travel vlogger, you can also take a look at our top vlogging cameras. Or, if you want a mirrorless camera for use beyond just traveling, check out our recommendations for the best mirrorless cameras overall.
For the best combination of image quality and portability, look no further than the Sony α7C. It's one of the most compact full-frame bodies on the market, proving that portability and performance aren't mutually exclusive. While full-frame lenses are still bigger than APS-C alternatives, the compact body goes a long way in making a more portable kit. The camera's also weather-sealed, so you can go out and shoot, rain or shine. Its compact size does mean fewer custom buttons and an uncomfortably small viewfinder, but these are small sacrifices to pay if you need portability but still want the best possible image quality.
Battery life is also fantastic, so it can easily last long days on the go. Plus, it has Sony's superb autofocus system, which can track moving subjects with ease. The real selling point, however, is its excellent full-frame sensor, which can capture beautiful images—from busy street scenes in European cities to breathtaking landscapes in the mountains of South America or anything in between.
Going with a Micro Four Thirds option like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III can be a great way to save money, not just on the camera body but also on lenses. While a smaller sensor means a trade-off in low-light capability, you can still get excellent images out of a camera like this, especially for those who share their work online. Plus, you get a more portable overall kit since the crop factor on the sensor means you can get more focal reach out of physically smaller lenses.
On top of that, the E-M5 is weather-sealed and ruggedly built, giving you some peace of mind while traveling. Plus, built-in image stabilization allows you to get clear shots at slower shutter speeds, and the camera has a pretty decent autofocus system, though it falls short of the Sony α7C's class-leading autofocus. Battery life is also a bit underwhelming, but if you're looking for a portable and feature-packed camera system that won't cost you a ton, this is a sure bet.
The Fujifilm X-T30 II doesn't offer a huge amount of upgrades over the original Fujifilm X-T30, but if something ain't broke, why fix it? As far as portable mirrorless cameras go, the X-T30 II is a fantastic mid-range option with a super portable body to boot. Not only does the camera's retro styling look good, but Fuji's old-school approach of using dedicated exposure dials gives you more hands-on control over camera settings on the fly.
Its APS-C sensor falls between the full-frame Sony α7C and the Micro Four Thirds Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, giving you a nice balance of image quality and size. And while APS-C competitors like the Sony α6400 (or one of its α6x00 series siblings) might have better autofocus, the combination of physical controls and Fuji's film simulation profiles make the Fujifilm a blast to shoot with. Add a solid selection of fast prime lenses, and you've got a great camera for travel photography, particularly if you're interested in capturing people or street scenes.
If you're on a budget, the best mirrorless option for travel is the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. Simplicity is the name of the game here. This entry-level model has a highly intuitive menu system and basic controls, making it a great choice for beginners. It's also very lightweight and portable for travel. That, along with a high-resolution APS-C sensor and a quick autofocus system, gives this camera a lot of value for its price.
Also worth looking at is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, the entry-level cousin of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III mentioned above. It's a touch smaller than the Canon and includes IBIS for smoother handheld shots, but it's a little pricier up front, and the smaller sensor is less suited to low light. Both are excellent starter cameras, but if you're on a tighter budget, the Canon offers a lot of value and simplicity for aspiring travel photographers.
If you're more inclined to shoot videos while traveling, consider a vlogging camera like the Sony ZV-E10. It's small and lightweight, so it's super easy to pack in a bag and take on the go. While it doesn't have a viewfinder like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II or the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, its fully articulated screen is perfect for vlogging, allowing you to monitor yourself while shooting. Plus, it has vlogging-friendly features like a detachable windscreen to cut down wind noise, along with no recording time limits and great battery life.
It's worth noting that the camera doesn't have built-in stabilization, and its e-stabilization feature introduces a distracting wobble effect, so you're better off keeping it disabled and using an optically stabilized lens if you want to keep camera shake to a minimum. Otherwise, the ZV-E10's affordable price, convenient size, and solid video features make this the ideal travel vlogging camera.
Jan 09, 2023: Checked accuracy of picks, with minor adjustments to text for clarity.
Nov 10, 2022: Reviewed article for accuracy and clarity; no change to recommendations.
Sep 13, 2022: Restructured article to better reflect the current market and user needs; removed irrelevant Notable Mentions and updated introduction for clarity.
Jan 19, 2022: Changed the Sony a7C from a 'Full-Frame Alternative' to the 'Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera For Travel'. Renamed the Canon EOS M50 Mark II from 'Best Mirrorless Travel Camera For Beginners' to 'Best Budget Mirrorless Camera For Travel'.
Nov 24, 2021: Replaced the Sony a7 III with the Sony a7C as the 'Full-Frame Alternative' to the Sony a6400.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best mirrorless cameras for travel for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).
If you'd like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera reviews, ranked by their suitability for travel photography. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.