Snappy travels: The best travel cameras of 2024

You really can do justice to all of those amazing travel experiences with our pick of the best travel cameras.

Some of the best Travel Cameras

by Chris Duffill |
Updated on

You've packed your bags, double-checked your tickets and triple-checked your passport – the only thing missing is one of the best travel cameras to go with you. Your once-in-a-lifetime trip deserves one of the best cameras to capture all of those unique experiences and sights. After all, you won't get any second chances. You'll need a top-quality robust piece of equipment that will do the scene justice.

And that's where things get tricky. Finding the right one to suit your destination, and your mode of travel needs a little more consideration. Just throwing that old compact camera into your rucksack before you head out isn't going to seem like a good decision once you're back and want to re-live your adventure. What you really need is something compact and lightweight – but still packed with enough high-tech features to ensure great results. That's where our expert recommendations come in.

Best travel cameras of 2024 at a glance:

• Best overall: Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III – View at Argos
• Best budget: Nsoela DC403 – View at Amazon
• Best DSLR: Canon EOS 250D – View at Amazon
• Best waterproof**:** Olympus OM SYSTEM Tough TG-7 – View at Amazon

As with all digital cameras, it's tempting to go the way of pro photographers and chase ever-higher megapixels, larger sensors and monstrous shooting speeds. But, not only will that sink your budget, it'll also tank your ability to move around. If you’re backpacking around New Zealand or hiking in the Himalayas the last thing you need is a DSLR and extra lenses. Our handy buyer's guide at the end of the article will keep you on track.

If you can't bear the idea of leaving your full-size camera at home, we've included an affordable DSLR option too. It's an ideal entry-level camera for beginners and a sensible all-rounder for those with more room in their baggage. So, let's head out and take a snapshot of some of the best travel cameras of the year.

Best travel cameras of 2024

All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall

Argos/Canon

The Powershot G7 X MkIII is a reassuringly solid piece of kit. Compact enough to carry easily, it's also large enough to keep things usable while packing in some high-tech features. The large tiltable touchscreen and 24-100mm lens will make framing things up a lot easier too. With 20.1 megapixels to play with and fast and accurate autofocus, the G7 X will really capture the scene. And, in a step-up from the previous model, this can shoot 4K video too.

We love that professionals aren't left behind either, as there's RAW support for those who want to edit and enhance their shots at home. Considering the average holiday will take you into all sorts of light and environments, the 58-scene Smart Auto feature will work out the scene and tune the image as you shoot. Add the incredible 5-axis internal stabilisation system for smooth and level shots, and you have serious shooting power at your fingertips.

This comes as a bundle aimed at vloggers: with a tripod grip, battery pack and charger, mic attachments, wireless remote and a 64GB SD card. Amazing value and legendary Canon quality in a camera that can handle a wide variety of subject matter throughout your travels.

Pros

  • Typically excellent Canon image quality
  • Responsive autofocus
  • Smart Auto mode is ideal for shooting in all kinds of conditions and various travel destinations

Cons

  • Fixed lens means limited upgrade options (but the supplied lens is wide enough range for most)

Best budget

Amazon/Nsoela

If you've lost or broken a camera on holiday you might not want to take one that cost the Earth. Enter the Nsoela Digital Camera DC403. While it certainly fits the budget category, don’t be fooled – it strikes a perfect balance between affordability and functionality.

Its compact design ensures that it can easily fit into a bag or pocket and, believe it or not, has a very high resolution of 44 megapixels. That means that you’ll capture crisp, vibrant images of your travels in stunning detail. As you’d expect at this price, the lens is fixed wide angle – but it does have a 16x digital zoom. We’d have liked to have seen an optical zoom for better image quality, but that would push the price over the £100 mark.

It also supports video recording in Full-HD, presenting a decent enough option for filming your travel adventures in both stills and motion. One limitation, though, is that it only supports memory cards up to 32GB, so take plenty with you. All in all, while it doesn't boast the high-end specs found in more expensive models, the DC403 provides excellent value. For travellers seeking a straightforward, capable camera without breaking the bank, the Nsoela DC403 is worth considering. It could also make an ideal holiday snapper to give to a young adult or older child, sparing your more expensive camera from any dreaded holiday accidents.

Pros

  • A high spec for a low price
  • Compact and light so it won't slow you down
  • Shoots 1080p video

Cons

  • Not as robust or feature-rich as some others

Best DSLR travel camera

Amazon/Canon

When we reviewed the Canon EOS M50 MkII, we set out to prove that you really can find a highly capable kit in the sub-£1000 bracket. This EOS 250D is a prime example, but it also ticks all the right boxes when it comes to a self-contained DSLR that you can pack up and travel with.

This one comes with an EF-s 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens, which means your wide-angle cityscapes and landscapes are well catered for, with image stabilisation thrown in for good measure. If you're a pro or beginner who likes their DSLR but doesn't want to risk taking it on holiday, choosing this camera means you'll still have access to all of the tactile controls and features you're used to; manual focusing, f-stop and ISO control, plus in-camera adjustments.

And let's not forget that, despite the price, this is actually delivering excellent 24.1MP stills and 4K video. Amazing, especially as this is a Canon.

Pros

  • Canon build quality in an ideal first 'serious' DSLR
  • Easily swapped lenses
  • Plenty of manual settings and guided menus if you need them

Cons

  • Newer models have more features – for a price

Best waterproof travel camera

Amazon/Olympus

The OM System Tough TG-7 Series really does live up to its name. This little armoured tank of a camera boasts more protection than most on the market. Designed to the strict IPX8 rating, it's waterproof to 15 metres, can withstand crushes of 100kg, is shockproof and also freezeproof to -10 degrees. It's certainly not the highest resolution camera here, at just 12MP, but we think that what you lose in pixels you gain in its ability to survive almost anything.

It also has some welcome improvements over the previous TG-6 model, namely interval shooting, timelapse video mode and Bluetooth for remote control. The 25-100mm f/2-4.9 zoom lens plus 20 fps high shoot rate will really see you snapping away as you venture out too.

High-quality video is included, which allows you to shoot Full HD in 4k at 30fps too. You could also shoot 120fps for super-slow motion. A four-mode macro system also comes in handy for snapping any small creatures and the like while you're under (or over) water. This really does tick a lot of boxes when it comes to action cameras too. Brilliant for adventurous types.

Pros

  • Amazing durability – it's waterproof, shockproof, crushproof, and freezeproof
  • Compact and light so it won't slow you down
  • Shoots 4K video

Cons

  • Relatively low megapixel count compared to some

Best instant travel camera

Amazon/INSTAX
Price: $99.48
Alternative retailers
Walmart$79.95View offer
Adorama$79.95View offer
Target$79.99View offer
Urban Outfitters$80.00View offer

If you're looking for a fun way to take your holiday snaps and share them, the Instax Mini 12 camera delivers vibrant prints on the go. If you fancy ditching the chore of sorting through and printing digital photos once you get home, this is it. The Instax comes equipped with a fixed 60mm lens – fine for a wide variety of shots, and a basic flash system that enhances low-light shooting. It's also fully automatic, ensuring your photos are exposed correctly.

While it lacks the electronic storage of digital cameras, there's no denying that capturing memories in an instant print is both practical and nostalgic. It prints onto paper (Instant Film) at 62 x 46mm, so they're a handy pocket size to share or pin up.

Little extras include a selfie mirror next to the lens and a robust yet tactile and colourful camera body. However, we think that the film cost per shot is a little on the high side for those who like to take lots of photos everywhere they go. But, overall, the Instax Mini 12 serves as a straightforward, enjoyable instant camera for your travels.

Pros

  • Excellent quality instant prints so no annoying developing or home printing to do
  • Compact yet robust and well-designed for easy handling
  • Built-in flash and automatic exposure control for great shots

Cons

  • No digital photo storage

Best for adventurers

Amazon/GoPro

Sometimes less is more – and if you're travelling super-light, we think this is as compact as you'll ever need to go. When we reviewed the GoPro Hero 9 we found this 5K resolution action cam to be extremely versatile and practical. Of course, video is the king of the castle here, but this updated HERO12 version sports an increased resolution of 27MP for stills and a wider lens at 12mm.

It's ready for almost anything that your holiday will throw at it too as it's waterproof to 10m and can shoot 4K video at 60fps. Super-slow-motion mode will capture your adventures at 240fps, and HyperSmooth 3.0 Video Stabilisation will keep things nice and smooth too.

Naturally, you'll sacrifice things like zoom lenses compared to other compact cameras, but this does come with a wide-angle lens. There is, however, only an internal mic, so if you need an external one you'll need to buy a case accessory. The handy front-facing additional touchscreen makes things easier while shooting on your own. Plus it accepts voice commands for hands-free use. Pack this tiny lightweight 5K wonder into your hand luggage and take off to capture those holiday adventures with ease.

Pros

  • Very good Electronic Image Stabilisation
  • Front-facing display for easy framing
  • Waterproof with plenty of accessories and lens mods for added flexibility

Cons

  • Onboard mics are not great

Best for landscapes

Argos/Fujifilm

So, you're going to the Great Pyramid at Giza, or braving the Grand Canyon – how best to capture the wonder and spectacle of these sights for posterity? Well, this Fujifilm X-S10 Mirrorless Digital Camera is squarely aimed at serious photographers who want all of the quality but less bulk and fuss.

It's not cheap, but it is a mirrorless compact option with a prime lens. And it's that 15-45mm lens that makes this camera an ideal choice for landscape or cityscape photographers. For us, there's no better way to capture the size and scale of sweeping vistas. Thankfully, if you're feeling flush, you can modify the lens with others using adapters, rather than swap the lens completely.

Quality-wise, you have a 26.1MP APD-C CMOS image sensor and X-Processor 4. Working together, this camera delivers beautiful scenic images and 4K 30fps video quality with five-axis image stabilisation too. The rear-tilting touchscreen, advanced Hybrid Viewfinder and 425-point autofocus round off the feature set nicely. We think this is a truly stunning piece of photography gear from Fujifilm – just be sure to protect your investment and upgrade your camera bag to match.

Pros

  • The 15-45mm lens is a wide and flexible zoom lens suited to cityscapes and landscapes
  • The super-fast 425-point autofocus system is great for capturing the moment
  • One of the highest megapixel counts in this list - perfect for capturing all that detail

Cons

  • Unlike other FujuFil models, this one has no weather sealing – so invest in a waterproof cover

Best stabilised travel camera

DJI Osmo Pocket 3, Vlogging CameraAmazon/DJI
Price: $519.00

Another video-centric camera on this list, the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 can cope with all manner of movements as you explore the world. And it’s seen an upgraded 1-inch sensor and better stabilisation over the Pocket 2 model. This one captures 4K video at up to 120fps, but can also shoot 9.4MP still images. We'd have liked to see a bit more resolution for stills, given the 4K video on offer, but 9.4MP is good enough for casual travel shots.

Once again, this has such a slim profile so it can slide right into your pocket – perfect for more active holidaymakers. The key to Osmo's success is the 3-axis mortised gimbal technology that DJI are renowned for. It can smooth out the bumps to produce incredibly smooth footage. Imagine walking through the cobbled streets of an old Spanish town or the Great Wall of China with this little gem at the end of your arm.

There's a two-inch rear touchscreen (again, larger than the previous model) that's easy to reach, but of course, you can attach your phone via an app and take advantage of the larger screen. DJI even provide a fully-featured editing app for quick and easy editing. Three internal mics make for good sound quality, too. A real all-in-one solution for any traveller who likes to keep things small and simple while effectively capturing the scene.

Pros

  • Motorised three-axis gimbal for super smooth shooting on the move
  • 4K video at 60fps – better than many action cameras
  • A free (good) phone app and editing app

Cons

  • Internal mics are good, but to connect an external mic you'll need a handle accessory

Best that uses film

Amazon/Fuji

If you're old enough to remember when you took your snaps using a film camera, this is for you. But it's also a welcome antidote to the digital world for people of all ages. The Fuji Superia QuickSnap 27 Exposure Disposable Camera has a fixed 30mm lens and shoots on 35mm film. So, it’s ideal for capturing your travels in the most direct point-and-click way possible. Its compact design makes it particularly easy to carry, fitting snugly into any travel bag or pocket.

Being a film camera, there's only 27 exposures – but we think that's enough for the average trip. If no more battery packs, memory cards or expensive kit is for you, the Superia QuickSnap is a return to thinking before you click that shutter. Additionally, it features a built-in flash, enhancing low-light shots, ensuring you don’t miss a moment.

However, the single-use nature of the camera might not appeal to everyone, especially those concerned with environmental impact. That said, its ease of use and nostalgic charm (plus having those physical prints at the end of your trip) make this an affordable and low-hassle holiday camera.

Pros

  • A return to traditional photography using real film
  • 27 exposures mean plenty of shots during a medium-short trip
  • Built-in flash for low light conditions

Cons

  • You will, of course, need to send this away to be developed

Best for 4K video

Amazon/Sony
Price: £699.00 (was £769.00)

www.currys.co.uk

If you're a traveller who is as serious about video as they are about stills, Sony's Alpha ZV-E10L is the fully loaded travel camera for you. A seriously capable stills camera to boot, Sony has jammed as much of their photographic know-how into the compact body of the E10L.

And if you're serious about a compact but full-featured kit, Sony has its own interchangeable lens system offering maximum choice for creative shooters. We particularly like the fact that there are over 60 different lenses available too.

The ZV-E10L has lightning-fast autofocus that's best-in-class. While it clearly isn't priced for beginners on a budget, the video capabilities and image quality are professional-grade. We have 4K (up to 30p) and Full HD slow motion (up to 120P) but the combination of the 16-50mm lens and Sony's reputation for stellar image quality is what propels this into its own category. Part mobile filmmaking tool, part stills camera to rival some DSLRs – for us, this is probably the most well-rounded camera here.

Pros

  • Excellent 24MP resolution -higher than many others
  • Amazingly fast and accurate autofocus
  • Compact body with plenty of lens options

Cons

  • Battery life is medium, buy a spare

Best pocket travel camera

Amazon/Fuji

If you want to travel really light and don't want the weight or bulk of a normal camera around your neck, the Fujifilm Instax Pal stands out as a practical travel companion. It comes with a handy ring attachment that also doubles as a stand. So, you can slip the ring onto a finger and know that this little wonder is ever-present on your travels. It comes equipped with a modest 5MP sensor that some might find a bit limiting for more detailed landscapes – but that's not what this camera is aimed at.

This is a fun and casual camera for someone who likes to capture memories with a simple wide fixed lens. We love that the Instax Pal has a built-in flash and straightforward shooting settings. It has a durable build and can handle general travel wear and tear.

All in all, the Fujifilm Instax Pal is a fitting pick for travellers looking to document and instantly share their visual stories without worrying about settings. The quality isn't earth-shattering, but this is much more about reliving your memories with friends than capturing landscapes. Throw it into your bag or pocket and it'll be right there when you need it.

Pros

  • Super-small and pocket-sized, take it with you anywhere – or wear it with the ring attachment
  • Plenty of flexible storage space thanks to its memory card slot
  • Built-in flash

Cons

  • No screen – you'll need a smartphone to review your shots

Best travel cameras of 2024: Buyer's guide

If you can, travel light – but not too light

There's a balance to be struck, no matter how you're travelling, between the size of the camera and the quality it can deliver. After all, there's not much point in slimming things down to the point of failure. Many compact cameras make big claims about resolution and so on, but if the lens and sensor aren't up to the job, your lovely sunsets will look like a lightbulb behind a net curtain. Obviously, an all-singing all-dancing Canon DSLR or mirrorless camera plus lenses are really only for professionals on a photography holiday. Most of us would shudder at the thought of taking something so expensive on the average holiday, let alone the extra bulk.

We think the ideal middle-ground when it comes to the best travel cameras are the mid-range compact cameras with great zoom lenses and video capability. They offer the best size versus function ratio, which means lighter travelling without sacrificing quality.

Stick to your budget

Much like the advice above, travelling isn't a cheap business these days. So, consider your budget and weigh this up against what you're hoping to capture with your new budget camera. Our recommendations here will include some that excel at rapid shooting at high resolutions; others will clearly favour video and stability. Whatever your budget, should the worst happen and you lose your camera during your trip, it's always good to know it hasn't cost you the earth – so keep things sensible.

Stock up on essential accessories

We're not just talking about camera bags and backpacks here – although they are essential in protecting your gear as you explore the world. If you're in for a long haul, particularly in another country, it's worth remembering that you may not have easy access to accessories. Charging adapters, spare batteries or even memory cards can be scarce. So, stock up before you leave, and you'll be ready to capture anything – even in the middle of nowhere on a camping holiday.

Some vintage travel cameras
Thankfully travel cameras have become a lot easier to use and more compact than those of previous decades ©Chris Duffill/What's The Best

FAQs

Is it worth it to buy a travel camera?

Buying a camera, especially for your next trip, is a great idea for many reasons. Firstly, upgrading from a ropey old point-and-shoot camera is always a good idea. But, make a wise decision and you can avoid overspending and the stress of taking something overly-valuable away with you. Secondly, a good travel camera will also outdo any smartphone camera in several important ways. Whereas iPhones have some amazing lenses these days, they offer limited options in terms of zoom and choice. And then there are the sensors inside. They're naturally a lot smaller than most compact cameras so they don't perform as well in low-light conditions.

So, if you value being able to relive your trip vividly and accurately, having one of the best travel cameras is essential.

Which DSLR camera is best for travel photography?

Full-size DSLR cameras are the best option for budding photographers and professionals, but they don't always travel well. They're bulky, and heavy and require much more care and protection while travelling. Battery life can also be less than their compact rivals, again due to the sizes at work.

All of that said, there is one DSLR on our list that ticks the travel boxes: the Canon EOS 250D. It's cheap enough not to have to worry about it too much, but still has all of the features you're likely to need.

What is the best budget travel camera?

We love the OM System TG-6 Tough Camera. Its sheer survivability makes this a perfect choice for anyone – whether poolside, up a mountain or on the beach. It's cheap enough to make for a sensible budget option but functional enough to work in all kinds of environments.

Chris Duffill is a Senior Tech Writer and Reviewer for What's The Best. His background includes writing, editorial, marketing, design, video production and photography.

He specialises in home entertainment and audiovisual tech, including speakers, amplifiers, turntables, streaming media players, and TVs. He is also one of our resident experts in computing (PCs, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches), DSLR photography and all kinds of digital cameras. He also writes about retro gaming, game consoles and various electronic gadgets. If it plugs in, lights up or makes a noise, he’ll write about it.

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