A good camera can be an indispensable travel companion, allowing you to capture your adventures to share with friends and loved ones, but it can be hard to pick the right camera for your needs when there are so many options to choose from. For many people, the best camera to travel with will be the one they're already carrying around in their pockets—that is, their smartphone. If you're looking to up your photography game, however, there are a ton of suitable options to choose from. Picking the right camera for your needs will depend on several factors, including its portability, autofocus performance, battery life, and price.
We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras for traveling. If you want more compact options, you can also check out our picks for the best point-and-shoot cameras. Or, if you're interested in capturing beautiful landscapes on your travels, the best cameras for landscape photography might be of interest. Travel vloggers can also have a look at our top vlogging picks, as well.
The Sony α7C is easily one of the best cameras for travel photography you can buy. It's one of the most compact full-frame bodies on the market, so you don't have to give up image quality and low-light capability for portability. While it's the largest option on this list, and full-frame lenses will inevitably take up more space (for a more portable camera system, look to one of our APS-C or Micro Four Thirds picks below), it's impressive how compact Sony managed to make this camera while still including features like in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and a vari-angle screen.
Of course, that relatively compact size means fewer control dials and custom buttons, along with a disappointingly small viewfinder. But if you're after the best possible image quality for your travel photos, the α7C's high-resolution full-frame sensor will get you there. The camera has a fantastic battery life, so it checks all the boxes for a high-quality travel photography camera.
While the Sony α7C is impressively compact for a full-frame camera, an APS-C camera will still be cheaper and smaller. The Fujifilm X-T30 II is super portable and lightweight, with dedicated exposure dials that give you more control over your settings on the fly. It also feels well-built, has a good battery life, and looks stylish.
At its heart is Fujifilm's tried and true 26-megapixel crop sensor, which captures excellent-quality images and performs well for its size in low light. Of course, it doesn't quite compare to the results you can get with a full-frame camera, but for most people, APS-C will be more than enough. On top of that, you get a decent autofocus system and film simulation profiles to play around with the look of your photos in-camera.
If you're on a budget, consider the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, which is one of the best-value mirrorless cameras you can get. It's a great choice for beginners, thanks to dead-simple controls and an intuitive menu system. It's also super portable and lightweight, so it's easy to travel with and carry around for long days out and about. It has a very solid APS-C sensor, so image quality will more than satisfy, especially if you're just getting into photography, as well as a snappy autofocus system to keep your subjects in focus.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is also a great budget option, although it'll cost you a tad more upfront and uses a smaller sensor. The Olympus is one of the few cameras in this price range that comes with in-body image stabilization, too, so it's a good choice if you also like to shoot video. You can't go wrong with either of these cameras, but we like the Canon for its simplicity and hard-to-beat price.
If portability is your top priority, and you want something a little more capable than the phone in your pocket, a premium point-and-shoot camera is the way to go. The Sony RX100 VII pretty much has all you can ask for in a compact fixed-lens camera, so it's no wonder Sony keeps releasing new iterations. This model uses a one-inch sensor that's a bit larger than most smartphone sensors, plus it has a versatile zoom lens for quality travel snapshots that can range from wider landscapes to close-ups of far-away subjects.
The best thing about this little powerhouse is that it can fit in a larger pocket or a small bag, so you can take it wherever you go. It also has a tiny pop-up viewfinder, which isn't exactly comfortable to shoot with but is nice to have on very sunny days when it's hard to see the screen. And because it's a Sony, you can rest assured that the autofocus is reliably quick and accurate. Be aware that compact cameras tend to have disappointing battery life, but you can always bring a portable battery pack to charge it on the go.
The GoPro HERO10 Black is one of the best video cameras for travel, thanks to its tiny size and rugged, waterproof exterior. So, not only can you bring it along with you no matter where you go, but it's also perfect for capturing action footage of scuba diving, waterskiing, or any other adventuring you might do on vacation. And if it's crisp, detailed footage you're after, the HERO10 can record 5.3k video and 4k video. You also get plenty of frame rate options for smooth action or slow motion.
This camera is also a solid option for travel vlogging thanks to its front screen, which gives you a live view while recording. Best-in-class stabilization also means you don't have to worry about distracting camera shake. Plus, with the GoPro HERO11 Black newly released, you can also get the HERO10 at a lower price, but if it's still a little out of your price range, older models like the GoPro HERO9 Black are also still available and offer similar performance and features.
Sep 15, 2022: Restructured article and picks to align more closely with user needs.
Feb 10, 2022: Added the Canon EOS M50 Mark II as 'Best Budget Camera For Travel' with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as a 'More Portable Alternative'.
Jan 14, 2022: Renamed the Fujifilm X100V from 'Rangefinder-Style Alternative' to 'Alternative With Optical Viewfinder'.
Dec 17, 2021: Renamed the Sony a7C from 'Full-Frame Alternative' to 'Best Full-Frame Camera For Travel'.
Nov 17, 2021: Verified accuracy and availability of picks; no change to recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras for most people to buy for traveling, 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 US).
If you'd like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all of our 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.