A good camera can be an indispensable travel companion, allowing you to capture all of your adventures abroad to share with friends and family, but it can be hard to pick the right camera for your needs when there are so many options to choose from. For many, the best option for traveling will be the camera you've already got in your pocket—your smartphone. However, if you're looking to step up your photography game, there are a ton of suitable options to choose from. Just be sure to consider your budget and ergonomic preferences, along with things like portability, battery life, and build quality.
We've bought and tested over 80 cameras in our lab, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best travel cameras. If you want more compact options, you can also check out our picks for the best point-and-shoot cameras for travel. Or, if you're interested in capturing beautiful landscapes on your travels, the best cameras for landscape photography might also be of interest. Travel vloggers can have a look at our top vlogging picks as well.
The Sony α7C is the best camera for travel photography that we've tested. It's one of the most compact full-frame bodies on the market, proving that you don't need to sacrifice 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, it's impressive how compact Sony managed to make this camera while still including features like in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and a fully articulated screen.
Of course, that relatively compact size means fewer control dials and custom buttons, along with a disappointingly small viewfinder. However, if you want your travel photos to have the best possible image quality, the α7C's high-resolution full-frame sensor will get you there. The camera also has a fantastic battery life, along with a sturdy, weather-sealed construction that can put up with extensive use in more adverse weather conditions. Overall, it checks all the boxes for a high-quality travel photography camera.
While the Sony α7C is impressively compact for a full-frame camera, choosing a Micro Four Thirds camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III can be a great way to save both money and space in your luggage. While the E-M5 Mark II has a smaller sensor than the Sony, it's significantly more portable, with the added benefit of using smaller lenses. There is a bit of a trade-off in image quality and low-light capability, but you'll also get more focal reach for far-away subjects.
Aside from its compact size, the camera also feels well-built, with weather-sealing for added peace of mind when shooting outdoors. It has an excellent five-axis in-body image stabilization system, which can help you shoot at slower shutter speeds or reduce the impact of camera shake in travel vlogs. Just note that its battery life is on the shorter side. Still, if you're looking for something small and mighty, this is an excellent travel camera for the price.
If you can do without IBIS and want something a little more affordable, the Fujifilm X-T30 II is a fantastic mid-range option. It uses a larger APS-C sensor than the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III but still has a portable, lightweight body that's ideal for traveling. Though it isn't weather-sealed, it's still relatively sturdy, with dedicated exposure dials that give you more hands-on control over settings, along with retro-inspired styling to match.
Inside is a high-resolution APS-C sensor, which delivers excellent image quality straight out of the camera and performs well in low light for its size. Of course, it doesn't quite compare to a full-frame camera like the Sony α7C mentioned above, but for most people, an APS-C sensor 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 tighter budget, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is an excellent choice that brings a lot of value to the table. Like its higher-end sibling above, it uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which makes for a remarkably portable camera kit with plenty of lightweight and affordable lens options. It's also a great choice for beginners, thanks to simple controls and a host of creative shooting modes.
On top of that, it's one of the few cameras at this price point with in-body image stabilization, so it's a good choice if you also like to shoot vlogs or videos. It comes in handy in low-light situations, letting you get stable shots at slower shutter speeds. That said, it's an entry-level model, so build quality isn't the greatest. Its autofocus system can also be somewhat sluggish. For better AF, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a good alternative with a larger APS-C sensor. However, lens options are more limited for Canon's EF-M mount, especially now that the M50 has effectively been replaced by the Canon EOS R50.
If portability is your top priority, and you want something more capable than your smartphone camera, a premium point-and-shoot is the way to go. The Sony RX100 VII has been going strong for seven iterations and has all you can ask for in a compact fixed-lens camera. This latest model uses a one-inch sensor that's larger than most smartphone sensors, so image quality is very solid. Its built-in lens has a fairly long zoom range that's great for travel snapshots of everything from landscapes to close-ups of far-away subjects.
The best thing about this little powerhouse is how portable it is—you can easily fit it into a small bag or pocket. It also has a small pop-up viewfinder, which is nice to have on sunny days when it's harder to see the screen. Be aware that compact cameras like this have limited battery life, though you can always bring a spare battery or a portable battery pack to charge it on the go. If you're looking for something more minimalist, the RICOH GR III is a great alternative. It doesn't have a viewfinder, and its lens is fixed to a 28mm equivalent focal length, but it has a larger APS-C sensor that's even better in low light.
The GoPro HERO10 Black is one of the best video cameras for travel, thanks to its small size and rugged, waterproof exterior. Not only can you bring it 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. If crisp, detailed footage is what you're after, the HERO10 can record 5.3k video on top of 4k and 1080p. You also get plenty of frame rate options for smooth action or slow motion.
It's also a solid option for travel vloggers, with a front screen that lets you monitor yourself while recording. Best-in-class stabilization means you don't have to worry about distracting camera shake. The newer GoPro HERO11 Black offers some advantages, especially for vloggers, thanks to an 8:7 sensor that lends itself a little better to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. However, the HERO10 can still do most of what the 11 can do at a lower price point. If you want to save even more, you can also find older models like the GoPro HERO9 Black or the GoPro HERO8 Black and get similar performance and features, albeit with fewer frame rate and resolution options.
May 10, 2023: Brushed up text to add mention of the Canon EOS R50 and to clarify discussion of the GoPro HERO11 Black. Renamed the GoPro HERO10 Black from 'Best Travel Camera For Action Video' to 'Best Action Video Camera For Travel' for consistency.
Apr 14, 2023: Checked that picks were still accurate and relevant to user needs.
Mar 08, 2023: Added mention of the RICOH GR III as an alternative to the Sony RX100 VII and removed the Fujifilm X-E4 from Notable Mentions.
Feb 09, 2023: Replaced the Canon EOS M50 Mark II with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as the 'Best Budget Camera For Travel'.
Dec 15, 2022: Moved the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III from Notable Mentions to the 'Best Upper Mid-Range Camera For Travel'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras for most people to buy for travel photography, 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 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.