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, allowing you to snap some amazing shots so long as you put a little thought and care into your composition. 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, period.
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 size and performance aren't mutually exclusive, after all. While full-frame lenses will still be bigger than APS-C alternatives, the compact body goes a long way to making a more portable kit. It's also weather-sealed, so you can go out and shoot, rain or shine. The compact size also means fewer custom buttons and an uncomfortably small viewfinder, but these are small sacrifices to pay if you need portability.
Battery life is also fantastic, so it can easily last long days on the go. It also has Sony's superb autofocus system, which can track moving subjects with ease. It has an excellent full-frame sensor that'll capture beautiful images, regardless of what kind of photography you're into—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 might mean worse overall image quality and low-light capability, you can still get excellent images out of a camera like this, especially if you only plan on sharing them online. Plus, you get a more portable overall kit, which is ideal for traveling, as the crop factor on the sensor means you can get more focal reach out of physically smaller lenses.
It's also weather-sealed, fairly comfortable to shoot with, and packed with extra features like a high-resolution composite mode. Built-in image stabilization allows you to get clear shots at slower shutter speeds, and the camera has a pretty decent AF system, though it falls short of competitors like the Sony α7C. 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, Olympus is one of the best options.
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 is one of the best mid-range options. Not only does the camera's retro styling look good, but its small body is ideal for travel and Fuji's old-school approach of using dedicated exposure dials gives you tactile control over your camera settings on the fly, so you don't need to dive into menus when you're in the moment.
Its APS-C sensor falls in 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 in 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. It's super portable and has a very simple control layout along with a highly intuitive menu system, making it a great choice for beginners while offering a lot of value for its price for those who can't afford a higher-end model. Simplicity is the name of the game here, so it's also one of the easiest cameras to jump into straight from your smartphone.
Also worth looking at is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, which is 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 large 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, on top of no recording time limit and great battery life, and you can see why this is such an appealing option for travel vloggers.
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 much 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.
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.
Sep 27, 2021: Replaced the Canon EOS M50 with the Canon EOS M50 Mark II.
Jul 29, 2021: Replaced the Fujifilm X-T4 with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III as the 'Best Mirrorless Camera For Travel Vlogging' and moved the X-T4 to Notable Mentions. Added the Fujifilm X-S10 as 'APS-C/Crop Sensor Alternative'.
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.