Packing,  Photography,  Travel Essentials,  Travel Tips

Best Travel Cameras

When you travel for leisure, you expect to enjoy many different experiences. Travel gives you the chance to appreciate changing landscapes, explore your taste buds, take home souvenirs, and even form new relationships. These elements all become memories that we can forever cherish, but there is only so much the human brain can store before these precious memories start to fade. Luckily, we have cameras to help us document and preserve our journeys. In this day and age, finding the right camera, is as important to traveling, as finding the right suitcase. Here are some of the best travel cameras for your next adventure.

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Narrowing Down the Best Travel Cameras

Although you want a camera that you can use anywhere for any purpose, it also helps to know what kind of scenes you plan to photograph. This, of course, depends on where your destination is and what you plan to do there. Here are some basic questions to consider when selecting the best cameras to take while traveling:

  • Will you be spending most of your time outdoors or indoors?
  • Do you plan on traveling during the day or nighttime more often?
  • How many other things will you be lugging around?
  • Are most of your photos scenic landscape shots, action, or street photography?

Since there are so many types of cameras to choose from, your answers to the above questions will help narrow the options down to what it is most beneficial to you. For instance, if you plan to visit somewhere sunny and pass your time at the beach, you might want a camera that shoots well in intense sunlight. If you plan on doing a great deal of shopping at a street bazaar, you might prefer a lightweight camera that is easy to carry.

You can have multiple cameras on hand and simply choose which one is best suited for your next trip. To further help you decide, we listed some of the pros and cons of the best cameras to take while traveling.

Phone Cameras

Today many people, including avid explorers, use their smartphones in place of or in conjunction with, traditional cameras. This is a perfectly understandable decision because the phone is an item you (usually) always have with you, especially when traveling. It is small enough to keep in your pocket or bag, light enough not to weigh you down, and important enough for you to need at all times.

Phone cameras are also the easiest to access because even if you do not own a camera, there is a high chance that you do own a phone. The average smartphone almost always comes equipped with a camera tool, making it easy for you to take pictures on-the-go.

Smartphones; photo by Daniel Romero

Phone Cameras – Pros

The greatest advantage to using a phone as your camera is its convenience. Not only is your phone easy to carry around, it is also a multi-task tool that can make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and so on. When you have location services enabled, your phone (and its camera tool) will automatically take note of where your photos were taken and who was with you (provided that you assign a face to your contacts). You can also browse through your photos any time you want.

Using a phone makes it extremely easy to immediately post your photo or video to social media, or even go live.

Automated settings are another big advantage to phone cameras. Without prompting, the phone will automatically focus subjects and balance colors, saving you the hassle of having to edit photos later. This allows for crisp, vivid images. Most phone cameras even come with editing functions that allow you to adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation. They even have built-in filters for your selected photos.

Phone Photo Quality

*Note that the crispness and quality of the picture depends on the model of the phone. In my opinion, anything taken with an iPhone 5 or above is already excellent quality. Other camera phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, the Google Pixel, the One Plus 9 Pro or a similar phone comes with one of the best travel cameras and you will likely have it with you anyway.

With a phone, it is generally easy to capture a wide range of images from scenic to people to action, since the lens is not specific. Many camera phones do offer a “portrait” feature that allows for more depth of field, and a video feature that often has the option of slow motion and time lapse. So, you are able to combine many great features into one small package.

Photo sample from an iPhone5
Photo sample from an iPhone7

Phone Cameras – Cons

The phone’s best features are also its top drawbacks. Although the smartphone’s many functions are a definite advantage, it is also nearly impossible to use each function at the same time. If you need to browse the web or start a video call, you cannot do so while taking photos. However, the more pressing issue is the fact that the more you use the camera tool for pictures and videos, the more it drains the phone’s battery. This can be dangerous if you need your phone to make emergency calls or use your map. If you are in a busy or uneven environment, you might also have reservations about taking your phone out for fear that it slips from your hands, gets lost, or stolen.

Another disadvantage to the camera phone is the simple fact that it can only capture images within the range of its screen size. This means that the larger the phone, the more ground its camera can cover, with the opposite holding true for smaller screens. When you flip the camera tool to take a selfie, your range is also limited to the length of your arm, making it difficult to capture both yourself and the background. The photo may also be of a lesser quality, depending on the quality of the reverse camera.

Phone Cameras – Cons – Lens Limit

The lens on the phone cameras is also limiting. A lens selection allows you to have greater creative control over the frame, light, distance, and depth of field. For example, you may want to take a wide landscape photo, or a closeup of a person in the street, without being obtrusive. For these images, ideally you’d want to use a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens respectively. With a phone, you pretty much have the lens that is on it, a zoom feature, and a panoramic option. The one way to get around this is to buy a lens package for your phone.

Lastly, as with most any camera, the phone struggles to snap clear photos under excessive darkness and excessive sunlight.

Jenny’s Tips

There are ways to circumvent some of the camera phone’s flaws. In the case of battery shortage, you can purchase battery cases. Slightly bigger than the frame of your phone (sans regular case), these specialized cases slide onto the phone and begin charging the battery without the need for additional cables. However, you must first charge the battery case fully before using it on your phone. Be aware that different brands (iPhone vs Samsung, etc.) and models are only compatible with certain battery cases.

To take selfies, or even regular photos, from a farther distance, simply consider a selfie stick. This is an extendable tool that basically functions as an extra arm that holds up your phone. Once again, be aware that certain selfie sticks can only function with certain brands and models.

Selfie stick

Smartphone Suggestions of Best Travel Cameras

If you do not already own a smartphone or are looking to exchange one, here are some of the newest models to consider. Regardless of whether or not you intend to use your phone as a travel camera, make sure you choose the phone that is right for you. The camera is important, but the phone’s ability to serve you is also an important factor.

*The following suggestions are only based on the phone’s camera capability:

Samsung Galaxy:

S21 The Samsung Galaxy S21 comes with a high resolution camera able to take detailed close-up shots and landscapes in daylight and at night. This is great for the traveler who enjoys snapping photos on a whim, whether during a late night walk or a morning hike.

S21Plus The Samsung Galaxy S21Plus comes with a camera able to take photos and videos with twice the resolution of the S21. Capable of producing crisp, quality images regardless of day or night, this camera is perfect for quickly capturing moments of your trip in ultimate detail.

S21Plus Ultra The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Ultra has a camera with resolution on par with DSLRs. With incredible zoom capability, it can capture photos and video with stunning professional quality. This is ideal for travelers who want to quickly record every moment of their trip as vibrantly and larger-than-life as they wish.

Apple iPhone:

XR The iPhone XR leans on the more affordable (and durable) side of newer iPhone brands. The camera quickly adjusts under different ranges of lighting and easily takes photos and videos with crisp, vibrant quality. It is great for travelers who stop for photos on leisurely walks and want smooth, colorful memories to keep.

11 The iPhone 11 camera is equipped with a dual-camera system, allowing it to take photos and videos with dynamic, professional quality. Able to capture action and scenery beyond the phone’s frame, this camera also has a night mode that adjusts for low lighting. It is perfect for culture shots, landscapes, sports, and wildlife.

12 The iPhone 12 camera shares the same dual-camera system as the iPhone 11. Just as, if not more dynamic and high in quality, as the iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 can adjust for even darker environments. Excellent for portraits, landscapes, culture shots, and street photography, this is ideal for travelers admiring the world from sunrise to sunset, whether in the city or in nature.

One of the Latest!

13 The iPhone 13 Pro Max is super water resistant and 5G capable. It offers up to 28 hours of video playback with the best battery life yet from an iPhone. It has a 12MP TrueDepth front camera with night mode and 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording. Cinematic mode adds shallow depth of field and shifts focus automatically in videos. The Pro camera with 12MP Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras, a LiDAR Scanner, 6x optical zoom, and the ability for macro photography, offers a wide range of options for your creativity. This phone has many features, such as; photographic styles, ProRes video, Smart HDR 4, Night mode, Apple ProRAW, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording and an A15 Bionic chip for lightning-fast performance.

Best DSLR Travel Cameras

If you prefer a camera whose only purpose is taking photos, then you may consider a DSLR camera instead of a phone. DSLR stands for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. In layman’s terms, there is a mirror inside the DSLR camera that reflects light from the subject. This mirror moves aside once you snap the photograph, allowing said light to travel to an image sensor.

The DSLR camera is especially popular among professional photographers and artists because of its high quality and vivid images. There is a lively depth and cinematic energy to DSLR photos that other cameras cannot match. This makes the camera ideal for documenting your travel experience. Although best for photography, DSLRs also capture videos with excellent quality. The DSLR camera, however, is a tool that requires patience.

Best Travel Cameras
Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR

DSLR Cameras – Pros

Definitely one of the best cameras to take while traveling, there are several advantages to the DSLR camera. Aside from the high image quality of its photos, DSLR cameras are also equipped with settings that you will not find in a regular digital camera or phone. For example, DSLR cameras have modes for shooting human portraits, landscapes, and subjects in action. The difference between each mode is subtle, but significant enough to change the texture of the photo (Ex. portrait mode will soften the subject’s features while blurring the background). You can also choose settings best suited for indoor or outdoor light, subjects in the shade, subjects at night, and so on. Many DSLR cameras come with built-in filters that you can apply to photos if you wish.

DSLR cameras let you manually adjust light sensitivity (known as ISO, the International Organization for Standardization) values as well. These kinds of specific manual settings form the best feature of the DSLR camera, but the camera also offers automatic functions that set light balance and focus for you. This allows you to take clearer photographs and videos even with lower light.

Another of the DSLR camera’s best traits is the fact that it can work with multiple lenses. Since the lens is separate from the camera, you can constantly switch out lenses for different lengths and effects.

Varanasi India
DSLR Photo Sample Varanasi India: Jennifer Barbaro

DSLR Cameras – Cons

Despite its many advantages, the DSLR camera is still not without its flaws. As previously mentioned, the camera does take some time to familiarize yourself with. Unlike the smartphone, it is not something you can efficiently use without first exploring its features. As a result, there will be some trial and error to your photography settings if you are new to your DSLR.

Learning your camera is best done prior to travel. You would not want to miss out on possible once in a lifetime images. There is a chance that your DSLR photos will appear slightly different than what you saw in the camera’s viewfinder. This is because it uses the internal mirror to focus subjects.If you do not have time to learn at least the basic camera functions prior to your trip, it may be best to bring a backup camera.

Weight and Bulk

While not all DSLR cameras are the same they can be significantly heavy and quite bulky. The DSLR in general has noticeable weight and might tire you if walking extensively with it. It is not always ideal for recording long trips or hikes. You will also need to pay special attention to the lens so that it does not scratch or fall. As long as the lens is attached correctly, there is little chance of it falling but it is still important to be vigilant.

It is important to realize that lenses add more weight, even if your DSLR camera body is on the lighter side. On the DSLR many of the features are built into each lens, such as stabilization, which makes it heavier. If you are a photo enthusiast like me, you likely want to carry more than one lens for varied situations. When traveling and capturing street photography and landscapes, I usually like to minimally have a wide angle as well as a telephoto zoom lens. With two lenses and my camera body, it adds significant weight as well as takes a good deal of space in my luggage.


Unless you prepare multiple batteries for your DSLR camera, you will only have one battery to work with at a time. Although you can save power by putting the camera’s screen to sleep when not taking photos or videos, the DSLR’s battery lasts around 6 hours. This might be enough time for some, but you may prefer a camera with a longer battery life. The more batteries you carry, the more weight as well.

While having additional creative options and power is generally a plus, most travelers struggle with weight and space when packing.

Jenny’s Tips

Most DSLR cameras come with a strap upon purchase. If not, we highly recommend one. This makes the camera easier to carry because you can simply hang it around your neck. A strap allows for safety when photographing from high up, above water, or in many situations that could pose a risk to your camera. Buying at least one extra DSLR camera battery is also something to consider. If you have pre-charged batteries on hand, you will not need to worry about losing power early.

Although you can save photos directly to the DSLR camera, it is best practice to write onto an SD card instead. Some SD cards are faster or have more memory. They are not all created equal. Popular SD card options include:


Lexar 256GB This has extremely high storage capability, making it ideal for storing photos and videos. It also transfers data into the computer at high speeds. This is best for travelers who do not want to carry extra SD cards or who do not want to stop and change SD cards once memory runs out.


128GB With high transfer speeds and storage space, this SD card is physically durable even in the harshest conditions (it is also waterproof). It is perfect for travelers that plan to take their cameras near water or environments with extreme temperatures.

64GB With relatively large storage space and high transfer speeds, this SD card is just as durable as the 128GB SanDisk. This makes it just as ideal a card to insert into cameras that you plan to take on trips near (or under) water and destinations with extreme hot and cold temperatures.

32GB Physically durable and capable of storing high quality files, this SD card works best as a backup card for when you run out of room on your other SD cards in the middle of a trip. It is affordable and expendable, but still reliable.

DSLR Models

Consider these affordable and functional DSLR camera models for travel:

Canon EOS Rebel:

T6i The Canon EOS Rebel T6i leans on the cheaper side of DSLRS, but still has all the benefits. It can capture high quality images in low and high lighting, even without flash. Able to focus sharply on moving subjects, this camera is excellent for sports, wildlife, and street photography. We recommend it to travelers on a budget who want to make the most of every trip.

T6 The Canon EOS Rebel T6 has accurate autofocusing capabilities, as well as the ability to shoot vivid images in a varied range of light. It is ideal for trips in the night, nature hikes, and anything else that requires travelers to constantly be on their feet from sun up to sun down.

T7 The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is perfect for travelers new to DSLR photography and looking for a camera they can learn to operate quickly. This Canon has many benefits of the T6 and T6i (namely the ability to capture sharp, quality photos in low lighting and speedy autofocus capability), while having functions that are easier to use and learn.


D3500 24.2MP DX Format Camera: With a compact camera body, this DSLR is lightweight and easy for travelers to carry on their trips. Able to produce sharp, high-resolution images and videos in a wide range of light, and equipped with continuous shooting capabilities, this camera is perfect for capturing those magical moments of stillness and human connection on your journeys.

D5600 DX Format Camera: A sleek DSLR, this is a choice camera for travelers who want to document their journeys on the move. It has continuous shooting capabilities and the ability to work in a range of low light (it allows you to make time-lapse videos as well), making it great for action, wildlife, and street photography.

D850 FX Full Frame Camera: For travelers who do not have time to stop and adjust for lighting, this Nikon can quickly capture images in extremely low light, allowing you to snap photos of scenes as they pass. Able to process an incredible range of textures and natural colors, this camera is ideal for street photography, culture shots, and landscapes.

D6 Nikon’s flagship FX Full Frame Camera: This is Nikon’s ultimate professional camera and probably one of the best Nikon’s ever. For the rugged traveler that wants professional travel photos, it is indestructible, and very fast firing (and for so long without the system clogging up). It works in very low light and is full frame.This camera is especially great for sports, action, and moving wildlife. 

Best Point and Shoot Travel Cameras

Point and shoot cameras are perfect for quick, hassle-free photos. A point and shoot camera does exactly as its name suggests. You target a subject (you point) and the camera automatically configures settings for the photo before you snap the picture (it shoots). Unlike DSLR cameras, point and shoot cameras mostly rely on automated settings, so you do not have to manually focus subjects or light sensitivity.

In this manner, point and shoot cameras are much more like smartphone cameras in the sense that you can easily pull them out for photos any time. Small and compact, point and shoot cameras are ideal tools for those of you who want to travel light but do not want to record everything on their phones.

Point and shoot camera; photo by David Grandmougin

Point and Shoot Cameras – Pros

Compared with DSLRs, point and shoot cameras are much lighter and easier to pack. Since point and shoot cameras do not have an internal mirror, they are also quieter than DSLRs when capturing photos. Despite the lack of more complicated settings, they can still produce high quality images and videos. The reliance on automatic settings also means there is less of a learning curve when it comes to operating the point and shoot camera. You will not need to spend much time finding the right settings because they have already been selected. Instead, you can just pick up the camera and go.

Although some point and shoot cameras come with specialized batteries, many such cameras can operate on regular AAA and AA rechargeable batteries. Depending on the brand and model, point and shoot cameras also generally come much cheaper than DSLRs and phones.

In spite of its limitations, the point and shoot camera retains its popularity due to its size and ease of use.

Photo taken by a point and shoot camera

Point and Shoot Cameras – Cons

Unlike DSLRs, point and shoot cameras do not come with detachable lenses, limiting you to their built-in lens. The automatic settings might save time and make photography easier for some, but they can also be limiting to others. If you prefer artistic control over your photos, be aware that point and shoot cameras allow little innovation from the photographer.

Point and shoot cameras may produce images with lesser quality than you would expect from a DSLR camera. You can expect satisfying photos and videos, but maybe not cinematic quality portraits. Many point and shoot cameras cannot take ideal photos under low lighting and battery power tends to drain quickly because of its digital screen.

Jenny’s Tips

Be sure to constantly back up your photos from the point and shoot camera by transferring them from an SD card onto a hard drive or computer. It is best to keep multiple batteries on your person while traveling with the point and shoot camera. Although you can capture video with these cameras as well, we suggest primarily using them for photos. Also, the mega pixels on a point and shoot camera matter. Generally speaking, the more mega pixels, the higher quality image.

Point and Shoot Models

If you feel that point and shoot cameras are the best cameras for your travel, here are some models to consider:


Crystal Canon Elph 180 This Canon has professional stabilizing, autofocusing, and zooming capabilities. As such, it is great for shooting subjects from a long distance (even if they are moving), making it perfect for capturing landscapes, wildlife, and every day scenery. The compact size also makes it easy to pack and carry, especially if your bag has little room.

Canon PowerShot SX420 (SX540, SX630) Able to create crisp, professional-quality photos and videos, this Canon has excellent zoom, autofocus, and image stabilization functions. It is a lightweight camera ideal for travelers who cannot stay still for long. It is especially great for distant landscapes, wildlife, and moments on the go.


Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 This compact Panasonic camera is another great option for travelers who prefer lighter, smaller cameras to carry. Also able to stabilize images, it can capture bright, vibrant photos and lets the photographer choose which parts to focus on after snapping the image. The electronic sensor is quite large, making it easy on the eyes when inspecting your image. Great for daytime and nighttime shooting, this camera can shoot sports, landscapes, and even fireworks.

Panasonic LUMIX LX10 Another compact Panasonic, this camera can autofocus on subjects moving at high speeds, take high-quality photos, and zoom in for up-close-and-personal shots. It is ideal for sports, moving wildlife, vehicles in motion, and close-up portraits of things and people. We recommend it for travelers fascinated by the world in motion and the intimate textures of the places, people, and objects they meet.


Vafoton This camera and similar ones are great beginner cameras that have 2.7 megapixels and are easy to use. They are great for backpacking and hiking as they are lightweight and very small. The photos are easy to download and the menu is very straightforward. This camera fits in most pockets too!

Kodak PIXPRO This Kodak camera is a cheap and easy-to-use option for travelers eager to try a point-and-shoot camera for the very first time. It has zooming capabilities, image stabilization, a lens that captures beyond the camera’s frame, and a relatively large image sensor. This is great for those traveling in groups (and plan to take group pictures).

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W800 This Sony camera is sleek and lightweight, ideal for those who prefer to travel light and who want to save room in their bags. Aside from image stabilization and a large sensor, this camera has professional zooming capabilities and can snap vivid, high-quality photos. It also has a paranorma function (which allows you to combine continuous photos into one image by sweeping the camera through the view you want). For the traveler always on the go, this Sony is excellent for culture shots, landscapes, and natural phenomena.

Mirrorless Cameras

Nikon Z7 Best Travel cameras
Nikon Z7 Mirrorless Camera with 24 to 200 Zoom Lens

For me, mirrorless cameras offer the best of both worlds. If you choose a high quality mirrorless, you can achieve professional quality images. You will have a choice of lenses, with a relatively lightweight alternative to the DSLR.

Mirrorless Camera Pros

Since, as the name implies, they have no mirror, the camera body tends to be less bulky and much lighter compared to a DSLR. Many of the lenses are lighter, too, because most of the stabilization is in the camera body versus the lens. High end mirrorless cameras and lenses offer creative control and superior quality over many other camera options. While the DSLR is still considered the professional standard, a full frame mirrorless camera offers amazing image quality.

Mirrorless Camera Cons

Many mirrorless cameras tend to be a hair slower than DSLRs because of the digital viewfinder. The digital aspect goes through battery life at a high rate. It is imperative to have spare batteries. On the more modern cameras, the SD card tends to be expensive.

Jenny’s Tips

Some of the mirrorless cameras, such as the Nikon Z series, can use DSLR lenses with an adaptor. This is a great feature if you have old lenses that you still want to use. Note that many DSLR lenses have the stabilizing feature in the lens, which combined with the adaptor adds weight onto the mirrorless.

It is also nice if you are traveling with both a DSLR and a mirrorless body. I do this when I am traveling a variety of places on one trip. I like the mirrorless when I’m walking far or for long periods because it is lighter. When I’m in town, have a vehicle, or generally will be in one location, I prefer my DSLR.

Mirrorless Models

Nikon Z7ii One of most dynamic mirrorless cameras, this Nikon has a sturdy build and the ability to take professional-quality photos. Compatible with multiple lenses, it captures movement with stunning resolution. It is perfect for moving wildlife, sports, street photography, and culture shots.

Sony Alpha A6400 This Sony camera is also compatible with multiple lenses. Easy to pack and operate, it captures images with professional quality and boasts one of the fastest autofocusing technologies in the world. It is best for speedy travelers who want to capture action and scenery while on the move.

Canon EOS M200 This Canon camera leans cheaper for a mirrorless model without sacrificing any of the quality. With professional resolutions and excellent autofocus, it is ideal for travelers in need of lighter cameras. Able to take photographs vertically, the camera’s vibrant images are great for sharing to social media; as such, it is great for travelers seeking to share their experiences as they go.

Panasonic Lumix G7 This professional Panasonic camera is equipped with fast and precise autofocus capability and stunning resolution, and the ability to shoot in light so low that moonlight is all it needs. It is perfect for people and wildlife in motion, culture shots, street photography, and moonlit landscapes.


While true that many travelers prefer taking photographs of their excursions, there are still plenty of travelers who also enjoy recording their memories in video format. If you are one of these travelers, you might want to invest in a camcorder instead of a digital camera.

There is a high chance that you or a member of your family has already owned a camcorder at some point. Camcorders are portable video cameras that once recorded videos to tape. Now they use internal storage and SD cards. Although most camcorders now also have photo-taking abilities, their primary purpose is still video.

Sony Handycam

Camcorders – Pros

Earlier camcorders tended to be a bit bulky and heavy. As time went on, the camcorder became sleeker and lighter. Today, most camcorders can fit in the palm of your hand. This turns them into great travel companions.

Depending on the brand and model, camcorders come with a variety of settings. With settings, the user can explore light sensitivity options. The camcorder offers you more control of the picture than a regular point and shoot camera, but in a less complex manner than DSLRs. This strikes a nice balance for users who want more creative power, but lack the time to configure settings with every shot. Otherwise, you can rely on the automatic settings for your video.

Like the DSLR camera, the camcorder can be set to standby when not in use, saving battery. Most camcorders also operate on rechargeable batteries that have longer lifespans than those of other cameras. As for image quality, camcorders can generate sharp, high definition videos. While not as cinematic as DSLR recordings, camcorder videos are still of superb quality.

Another plus if you plan on recording a good amount of video is not to fill up your phone space. All your video will be on a separate card. Also, if you want to regularly interchange photo and video, like on a safari where you do not want to miss something, having a separate video camera set up is a great option; then you can be camera ready for stills too.

Camcorders – Cons

As is the case with point and shoot cameras, camcorders come with fixed lenses that cannot be removed. Their settings are also more limited in comparison to DSLRs (Ex. camcorders cannot focus on subjects and blur nearby backgrounds), which can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the individual. You need to get into a very high end camera in order to really control manual focus.

Camcorders tend to work best under some source of light. You will have difficulty shooting videos in dark or poorly lit environments. This can result in grainy or unclear recordings.  

Some camcorders have internal batteries that you must charge by plugging a cable into the camcorder itself. This means you will not be able to replace the camcorder battery any time you want, since you need to stop and charge the entire device.

The other negative is that you will likely still want some type of still camera, so in terms of space and weight for packing, this would likely be an additional item.

Jenny’s Tips

You may take photos with the camcorder if you wish, but it is still best to primarily use it for videos. It is also best to record your videos to an SD card instead of the camcorder’s internal memory. Before choosing the camcorder over another type of camera, make sure that you will be using it in the daytime or nicely lit environment on your next trip.

Sony Handycam HDR-PJ540

Camcorder Suggestions

If camcorders are the best camera to take while you travel, look at the following products:

Vmotal Camcorder 2.7K Relatively cheap and easy to use, this lightweight camcorder comes with an external microphone, allowing you to record quality sound and video at the same time. Equipped with infrared technology, this camcorder can capture video in dark and lowly lit environments. It can even be used as a webcam. The Vmotal camcorder is ideal for travelers who want to document (and even livestream) their journeys after dark.

Inexpensive Handicams

Kimire Video Camera Camcorder This camcorder is an inexpensive option for the traveler on a budget. Compact and friendly to use, it easily adjusts for different lighting situations and captures clear, quality video. It is ideal for the hiking traveler, thanks to its image stabilization and ability to capture video on the move.

Kicteck Video Camera Camcorder Another cheap lightweight camcorder, this is one more option for the traveler looking to save packing space. Able to take vibrant daytime images and stabilize video, this camcorder is a nice starter-handicam for those wanting to document their trips while testing how camcorders feel in their hands.

Panasonic Camcorder

Panasonic HC-V180K This Panasonic camera is a professional-quality camcorder ideal for travelers looking to document their journeys in crisp detail. It has excellent picture quality, zooming capability, and image stabilization, as well as the ability to record under low light and a lens that captures people and scenery on a larger scale. It is best for capturing moments between travel companions, journeys through wildlife and landscapes, and culture shots.

Sony Camcorders

Sony HDRCX405 Easy to operate and carry, this Sony camera is great for first-time handicam users. It can stabilize shaky images, zoom in on subjects with amazing detail, and capture videos with stunning quality, even in low lighting. It is perfect for moving travelers looking to record up-close-and-personal details of their journeys in landscapes, streets, and culture shots.

Sony HDR-PJ540 This camera has unfortunately been discontinued by Sony, but it is kind of cool if you can find one in the used section. This camcorder comes with a built-in-projector and microphone, large memory storage, image stabilization, and the automatic ability to adjust and focus in different lighting. It is great for travelers who record as they move from dawn to dusk through cities and nature, and wish to see their videos as soon as possible; simply shine the projector on a wall and see your handiwork come to life.

NOTE: If you just want a small, portable, and easy to use projector, this one has many bells and whistles.

Go Pro

The Go Pro is a popular video recording device as it is small with a wide angle lens and has many functional uses, especially for active or adventure travel.

Go Pro Pros

The Go Pro is especially versatile when you are participating in activities. It has an extremely wide angle lens that captures the action around you and offers point of view shots. The beauty of the GoPro is that you can buy kits containing all sorts of handles and mounts.

The Go Pro can mount on everything from a ski or bike helmet to the hood of a car. It is fairly self explanatory to use, lightweight, and small. The Go Pro handle accessory allows for stabilization to follow movement by hand. There is even a waterproof casing so the Go Pro can truly be used for most any condition.

Go Pro Cons

The Go Pro is an extremely wide lensed camera purposely so you do not miss capturing any of the action in frame.. For some video, that may not be desirable or necessary. The only real downside is that it is more to pack. The Go Pro is most effective when you bring the various handles and accessories in order to have diverse mounts for various activities and situations. While you can take a still, this would not be the camera you’d choose for still photography. It is pretty much just wide angle.

Jenny’s Tips

I love using a Go Pro while traveling for anytime I am in the water, like snorkeling. It is also great if you are on a road trip and want to capture the surroundings. I have used it when zip lining and bike riding, mounted to my helmet. It makes a great hands free device.

Check Out the Go Pro and Some Less Expensive Competitors

Go Pro Hero:

9 The GoPro HERO9 shoots images with incredible quality, able to capture movement in action and in slow motion. Equipped with image stabilization, this camera is great for sports, moving wildlife, and sweeping landscapes.

9 Bundle This is a waterproof GoPro able to stabilize images and shoot action in slow and accelerated motion. It produces photos and videos of incredible quality. This camera is ideal for travelers who want to be the camera. Use this GoPro mounted to your helmet or body to bike, snorkel, and explore with the GoPro recording every step of the way.

Other Brands:

Action Underwater Camera This durable, waterproof GoPro style camera is great for capturing high-quality images in motion. This purchase comes with accessories for bicycles and helmets. It is ideal for travelers to take on hikes, biking trips, and sea and snow expeditions.

Akaso EK 7000 This action camera is perfect for travelers on the lookout for a cheaper GoPro substitute. Waterproof and durable, it also produces professional-quality photos and can capture images from a variety of angles. It is great for underwater activities, sports, and scenes in motion.

Polaroid – Best Cameras to Take While Traveling

A nod to the past, polaroid cameras have existed since 1948. Literally described as instant cameras, these devices produce physical photographs as soon as you snap a picture. Today, polaroid cameras come in two types, digital and analog. Digital polaroid cameras provide the chance to look over a picture and make changes before sending the photo to print. Analog polaroid cameras, on the other hand, take traditional polaroids. They develop and print the photograph the moment you take it.

With polaroid cameras, you can capture images of what you see in real time. Instead of using digital storage, you will instead see your travel memories immortalized on a solid photograph. For those who prefer scrap books and photo albums to digital slideshows, the polaroid camera might be perfect for you.

Polaroid camera; photo by Annie Spratt

Polaroid – Pros

These cameras are generally easy to operate, with a simple learning curve for devices that have more user settings. Like the point and shoot camera, polaroid cameras are also devices you can grab and immediately use. There is no need for an SD card because the polaroid camera prints its own photos. Although some models allow you to use an SD card if you wish). You will not need to develop your photos anywhere else in order to receive physical copies.

Despite their ability to print photographs with a single click, polaroid cameras are surprisingly inexpensive. They come cheaper than DSLRs, point and shoot cameras, and camcorders. Although many polaroid cameras are powered by AA batteries, some also rely on rechargeable batteries instead.

The best part of travel with a Polaroid camera is going to remote locations. Often people there do not have cameras, access to the internet, nor photos of themselves. It is also great even for people with access to modern technology. People love to receive an instant tangible memory of your encounter with them. It truly makes such a nice gift to leave behind with people you meet on the path less traveled.

Polaroid – Cons

The typical size of a polaroid photo is quite small, usually with an area of 7cm X 7cm. Unlike DSLR photographs, you cannot print polaroid photos at larger sizes. Most polaroid cameras also do not come with digital viewfinders so you will have to rely on your own eye. Again, the polaroid camera only has one fixed lens and does not capture darkness well.

When purchasing polaroid cameras, you may need to buy separate film or photographic paper. The downside is the fact that once you open and use your film, you must use it all up within a month or less. If not, moisture may ruin the film and waste your purchase. Also, carrying many packs of film can be cumbersome to pack. The film is often heat sensitive too.

Jenny’s Tips

Always remove the lens cap before taking photos, otherwise you will produce pictures of black squares. This is easy to do with a Polaroid! Once the picture prints, do not shake the photograph for faster development. It is better to let the photo develop naturally (usually about 15 minutes). Since the polaroid camera works its magic best under bright light, be sure to use it more often in the daytime and vividly lit environments.

Polaroid samples; Photo by Hello I’m Nik

Instant Camera Models

If you consider bringing a polaroid cameras on your travel, you might be interested in the following models:

Polaroid Originals

Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Easy to use for Polaroid beginners, this camera shoots nicely under a variety of lighting situations. It can switch between two lenses, and connects to smartphones via bluetooth. You can manually frame and snap photos, or with the compatible iOS and Android devices, digitally control settings as you would in a modern camera. This is perfect for travelers who want the Polaroid experience, but want to minimize the risk of wasting film.

Polaroid Originals Now I-Type Instant Camera The camera is extremely lightweight and easy to operate. It has autofocus capability and takes vivid, colorful images. This is great for still shots and patient travelers who want the retro polaroid experience of snapping moments as they happen.

Polaroid: Fujifilm

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera This camera is a combination of modern features and the classic functions of Polaroid cameras. It comes equipped with automatic exposure for a variety of lighting, a selfie lens, and the ability to take high quality photos. It is ideal for travelers who want instant photos but do not have the time to adjust for the right picture through trial and error. With this camera, they can quickly snap and go.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Easy to use and carry, this camera also comes with automatic exposure, the ability to take quality images, and a selfie lens. It is excellent for travelers who stop and capture the small moments of life, whether it is between the people they meet on their trips or a flower by the side of the road.

Polaroid: Kodak

Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Camera An affordable instant camera, this Kodak is easy to operate and carry. It prints durable, water-resistant, photographs that do not rely on ink. This purchase comes with 10 sheets of Kodak Zinc paper. The prints are adhesive, making them perfect for sticking onto albums and boards. This camera is great for those who want to create hard durable copies of their travel memories as they move.

Remember to Purchase Compatible Camera Film:


Color I-Type Film This film can only be used with Polaroid Originals OneStep+ and I-Type cameras.

Color Film This film is compatible with Polaroid Origianls OneStep and I-type cameras, as well as older models (Polaroid 600, Polaroid Impulse, Polaroid SLR680).

PIF300 Instant Film Replacement This film is compatible with Fujifilm Instax Minis.

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