Back in 2010, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Europe with a group of high school classmates. As a 15-year-old student, I didn’t own a camera and was gifted a cheap digital camera for the trip. Unfortunately, while I remember most of the beautiful architecture, I have absolutely no photos to prove it because the camera I had created some of the fuzziest photos ever seen.
While you don’t necessarily need a camera to travel, it makes looking back on a trip much more enjoyable, and boy do I wish I had some photos to look back on from Europe! Learn from my mistake and invest in a high-quality, reliable travel camera that meets your needs and helps you document all those beautiful, one-of-a-kind experiences.
Using a Camera vs. Phone
Though nowadays cell phones tend to have pretty incredible cameras, there are a few reasons why you might consider investing in a separate travel camera. First off, your cell phone battery won’t last nearly as long as a camera battery, especially if you’re using your phone for things like navigation and video streaming. Additionally, if your phone doesn’t have a ton of storage, you may find yourself running out of storage space halfway through the trip. A separate camera can have practically unlimited storage, as long as you pack back-up SD cards.
Durability and Portability
Whether you’re road tripping, backpacking, or jet setting across numerous countries, you’re going to want a camera that is slim and portable. Regardless of where you’re traveling, you won’t want your camera to take up precious space in your backpack or suitcase. A small, portable travel camera can be right at your fingertips rather than stashed away in a bulky case.
The quality of the camera and its pictures is one of the most important considerations. Though it seems obvious, taking a moment to compare the number of megapixels one camera has over another can make a big difference in the product you’ll actually end up purchasing. Take a look at the reviews to see what buyers say, and if you’re lucky, many people will even attach images that they took with the camera. You know what they say, a picture paints a thousand words!
Consider Where You’ll Use It
While portability and camera quality are important, it’s also worth considering where you’ll be using your camera and what kind of potential conditions it will have to withstand. If you’re planning a trip to a locale where you’ll be doing lots of water activities, you may want to consider looking for a waterproof camera.
If you’re going biking, paragliding, or skiing, you might want to consider an action camera. If the kids are wanting to take some of their own pictures, maybe a kid-proof camera is what you need.
Canon PowerShot G9 X
The Canon Powershot G9 X is available in black or silver and boasts a 20-megapixel camera. With a touchscreen panel and minimal buttons, this is a simple camera designed for the amateur photographer.
Slim and pocket-sized, this camera weighs a mere 7.3 ounces and won’t take up a bunch of space in your luggage.
Bright 3x optical zoom allows you to take photos of up-close subjects like birds and flowers while still having the ability to photograph wide-frame landscapes.
Built-in Wi-Fi technology allows you to upload your images directly to your phone or tablet so you can share your photos with friends and family in real time.
Reviewers rave that this is the highest quality compact camera available and that the optical zoom and autofocus are especially excellent. Reviewers also mention the ergonomics on the camera are well-designed and the only major downfall of this product is that battery life isn’t the best.
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera
This 18-megapixel point and shoot camera from Panasonic has an optical image stabilizer and 60x zoom. The 3-inch LCD screen is visible even in bright sunlight, and minimal buttons make operation easy. Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to upload your images directly to your devices.
The 4k video capability allows you to take high-quality, full HD videos of your travels.
If you’re planning on taking photos at night, this camera has low light technology to provide you with high-quality images despite less than ideal lighting conditions.
With a 70 percent five-star rating from nearly 1,000 reviews, the Panasonic FZ80 is a high-quality camera for an affordable price. Reviewers mention that lenses are wide, and the image remains sharp and clear even when you zoom in all the way.
Canon PowerShot ELPH 190
Available in black, blue, and red, the Canon PowerShot features a 20-megapixel camera with 10x zoom. Integrated with Wi-Fi so that you can upload your images in real time, the PowerShot is a slim, simple option for the amateur photographer on the go.
The PowerShot is equipped with 720p HD video recording capabilities and a dedicated video button to capture those important moments on your travels.
Reviewers mention that though the PowerShot can have issues with zoom focusing, the camera performs very well overall for less than $200. Another reviewer mentions that the camera’s battery life is impressive, and they were able to make it last for multiple days after taking nearly 600 photos.
AKASO V50 Pro Native Travel Camera
If your travels are a bit more active and you need to be hands-free, you might want to consider an action camera. The AKASO v50 Pro Native camera offers 4k video and a 20-megapixel camera.
Built-in electronic image stabilization helps you capture a clear, seamless video rather than one that’s jittery and blurry. If you don’t plan on mounting this action camera, there is also a 2-inch touchscreen that allows you to manually film and take pictures.
The v50 also offers a variety of different angles to choose from so that you’re getting the image that you actually want. Choose from super wide, wide, medium, and narrow angles to fit the landscape.
Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share your travels instantly, while an HDMI port lets you broadcast your video on a monitor without having to download files.
Reviewers mention that AKASO v50 capabilities and quality are comparable to that of more expensive action cameras. The camera comes with two batteries and a multitude of accessories, and reviewers mention that the waterproof case is effective and trustworthy.
Waterproof Travel Camera
Perhaps you’re going somewhere like the Bahamas where most of your activities will be on, in, or near the water. This waterproof travel camera features a 24-megapixel camera and can be used in up to 10 feet of water.
Not only is this camera waterproof, it features a front-facing screen so you can take selfies. With just a few dedicated buttons, this travel camera is very user-friendly and makes snapping pictures underwater a breeze.
Though the battery only lasts 3 to 4 hours with constant shooting, reviewers mention the quality of the images is impressive.
Another feature that reviewers found to be beneficial was the auto-adjust settings. When you’re underwater, you don’t want to mess around with a bunch of settings, so allowing the camera do it for you is a huge benefit.
VTech Kidizoom Duo Selfie Camera
If you’re taking a family trip with the kiddos, you bet they’ll want to get in on the photography action! This kid’s travel camera from VTech features a front camera that takes 1600 x 1200-pixel images and a rear camera that takes 640 x 480-pixel images.
A feature called photo optimization takes multiple shots when you take a photo, and automatically saves the highest quality one.
Along with taking photos, the VTech Kidizoom takes videos and voice recordings and has a variety of games pre-installed. However, if you’d prefer that games aren’t an option, you can disable them.
Available in blue, camouflage, and pink, this camera is drop-resistant and designed with accidents in mind. As for battery life, it’s important to note this camera doesn’t have rechargeable batteries, but uses four AA batteries instead.