The best travel camera for 2024: the finest choices for your adventures

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Road trip or flyaway vacation, the best travel cameras let you capture incredible images of your holiday adventures. From action cameras to compact mirrorless models, we've extensively reviewed the top travel-friendly cameras and rounded up our recommendations in the expert guide below. Whatever your itinerary, this is list is your ticket to the ideal travel camera.

Based on our tests, we think the best travel camera overall is the OM System OM-5. A portable, weatherproof Micro Four Thirds model, it shoots higher quality images than a smartphone while offering the useful flexibility of interchangeable lenses.

Whatever your expectations and budget, you'll find a travel camera to fit the bill below. Our list includes some of the best mirrorless cameras, as well as some of the top compact cameras. Our expert reviewers have spent many hours testing the best options, using them in the real world to assess how well they perform when traveling. You'll find the results distilled in the list below, together with buying advice to consider when choosing a travel camera.

Written by
Timothy Coleman
Written by
Timothy Coleman

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras editor, with over 15 years in the photo video industry and most of those in the world of tech journalism, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with all things camera related. He’s also worked in video production with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi.

The quick list

If you don’t have time to read our full list of the best travel cameras, you can read the round-up below for a shortcut to the top options for your needs and budget. If you find one that takes your fancy, use the links to jump to our full write-up.

The best travel cameras in 2024

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Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best travel cameras in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best travel camera overall

The OM System OM-5 camera sitting on a tree branch

(Image credit: Future)
The best travel camera for most people

Specifications

Sensor: 20.4MP MFT Live MOS
Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1.04m-dot
Viewfinder: OLED 2.36m-dot
Continuous shooting: 30fps electronic / 10fps mechanical
Movies: 4K/30p
User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Small, weatherproof body
+
Excellent stabilization
+
Great range of compact lenses

Reasons to avoid

-
Average EVF
-
Only 4K/30p video
Buy it if:

✅ You want a robust travel camera: Light enough to travel with but tough enough to deal with bad weather, the OM-5 is a ruggedly dependable camera.

✅ You shoot handheld a lot: The OM-5 has excellent image stabilization for stills, meaning you can cross a tripod off your packing list.

Don't buy it if:

You want the best image quality: Its Micro Four Thirds sensor is decent enough, but some rivals offer more pixels and better low light performance.

❌ You have large hands: Handling is surprisingly good for a small camera, but the grip is not very deep, especially for those with bigger hands.

The OM-5 is only a relatively minor update of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, but its combination of talents make it an ideal travel camera in our book – particularly if you want the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. It shoehorns a lot of features into a compact, weatherproof body that's compatible with a wealth of equally small lenses. Most of its skills, including excellent in-body image stabilization and computational photography modes, are also designed with travelers and adventurers in mind.

Our tests found that the OM-5 delivers excellent video and stills quality for its size, helped by a stabilization system (good for 6.5-stops of compensation) that gives you a high hit-rate of keepers. We also enjoyed the high-quality feel of the camera's dials, as well as in-camera software tricks, like Live ND and in-camera focus stacking, which are ideal for macro shots or blurring skies for an ethereal effect. Less good are the fairly average EVF resolution, 4K/30p limit for video and relative limitations of its smaller sensor, but these are all acceptable trade-offs considering this camera's size and price.

Read our in-depth OM System OM-5 review

The best-value travel camera

Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200, one of the best travel cameras, on a table with a map, a guidebook and a passport

The best value travel camera you can buy

Specifications

Sensor: 1-inch type, 20.1MP
Lens: 24-360mm, f/3.3-6.4
Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,240K dots
Viewfinder: EVF
Continuous shooting: 10fps
Movies: 4K
User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Large 1.0-inch sensor
+
Decent 15x zoom

Reasons to avoid

-
EVF still feels pretty cramped
-
Expensive for a compact
Buy it if:

✅ You want an all-in-one compact: You can’t beat the TZ200 for portability, but it’s also a feature-packed option with a useful zoom range and 1.0-inch sensor.

✅ You want a large zoom range: At 15x optical zoom, the TZ200 offers the versatility to shoot all sorts of subjects on your travels.

Don't buy it if:

You like an ergonomic grip: The Lumix TZ200 has plenty of manual controls on the metal body, but there’s not much of a grip to get your fingers around.

❌ You want a cheap camera: Its generous feature set makes the TZ200 excellent value, but its still pretty pricey for a premium compact.

With smartphones now raising the bar for point-and-shoot photography, compact cameras have to offer something special to justify their place in your travel bag. The ZS200 / TZ200 does that with its large 1-inch sensor and versatile 15x optical zoom. It might be towards the upper end of the compact camera market, but Panasonic's travel zoom continues to offer great value.

Its large 1in sensor produces better natural image quality than most smartphones, despite the latter's advances in multi-frame processing. Our tests found colors to be nice and punchy, with the dynamic range allowing you to recover lost shadow detail with post-processing if needed. Even at 24mm, vignetting and distortion is nicely controlled. There's also a handy built-in electronic viewfinder, which makes it easier to compose images in bright light. It's still quite pricey, but this is still the best travel zoom compact camera available right now.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 review

The best-looking travel camera

The Nikon Z fc, one of the best travel cameras, camera on a park bench

(Image credit: Future)
The best-looking retro travel camera

Specifications

Sensor: 20.9MP APS-C
Lens: Nikon Z mount
Monitor: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040K dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360K dots
Continuous shooting: 11fps
Movies: 4K at 30fps
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning retro design
+
Vari-angle touchscreen

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of native lenses
-
Grip a little for large lenses
Buy it if:

✅ You care about camera design: From the retro dials to the circular viewfinder, the Nikon Z fc channels classic style to fantastic effect.

✅ You like manual exposure control: Dedicated dials for ISO, shutter speed and exposure, complemented by a lens control ring, give excellent manual control.

Don't buy it if:

You need a wide choice of lenses: There are only a handful of Z-series kit lenses designed for the APS-C format, limiting your options for expansion.

❌ You want a rugged camera: Although it looks like the sturdy FM2, the Z fc isn’t weather-sealed, so it’s not one to take on rainy adventures.

Travel photography is all about capturing memories and Nikon’s Z fc fully embraces the concept of nostalgia: it’s a stunning homage to the 30-year-old Nikon FM2 – complete with retro styling, dimensions and dials. Despite the throwback design, it’s a very modern camera inside, sharing many of its specs with the capable Nikon Z50. While some photographers might wish for a full-frame sensor, the Z fc’s APS-C number does a stellar job of capturing stills and 4K video, aided by reliable tracking autofocus. Our tests found that its 20.9MP sensor had an excellent handle on noise, especially under ISO 800, while dynamic range was impressive.

Its vari-angle touchscreen is also a brilliant addition, making it easy to frame travel selfies – or folding away completely for a leather-back look that lets you pretend it's the Eighties. The Nikon Z fc isn’t as sturdy as the camera that inspired it (there’s no weatherproofing, for example), but it’s still a beautifully unique camera for casual use. And with dedicated dials for ISO, shutter speed and exposure, plus a customizable lens ring, it’s also an easy one to control on the go.

Read our in-depth Nikon Z fc review

The best action camera for travel

The GoPro Hero 11 Black action camera sitting on a wooden platform

(Image credit: Future)
The best action camera for travel

Specifications

Sensor: 1/1.9in CMOS, 27MP
Lens: N/A
Monitor: 2.27-inch rear touchscreen, 1.4-inch front screen
Viewfinder: N/A
Continuous shooting: 30fps
Movies: 4.3K/60fps
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile aspect ratio for cropping
+
10-bit mode useful for color grading

Reasons to avoid

-
Still not great in low lighting
-
Budget rivals offer better value
Buy it if:

✅ You want a rugged travel camera: Waterproof down to 10m, the GoPro Hero 11 Black is a great choice for capturing action-packed travels.

✅ You plan to share on social: The 8:7 aspect ratio of its sensor gives you lots of flexibility to crop footage for social, including vertical videos.

Don't buy it if:

You plan to shoot in low light: Its 1/1.9in sensor shoots sharp footage, but it still struggles with noise handling in lower lighting conditions.

❌ You want a hybrid for stills: While the sensor can shoot 27MP stills, you’ll get a better photography experience from a standard alternative.

Thanks to a new 1/1.9in sensor with an 8:9 aspect ratio, we think the GoPro Hero 11 Black is the top action camera for travelers. Its max resolution of 5.3K/60p is the same as the Hero 10 Black, but the option to reframe footage for different social channels without sacrificing quality is a big deal if you like to share your adventures. So is the ability to capture dramatic TimeWarps at 5.3K, raw bursts at 30fps, and 24.7MP stills from 5.3K video.

Physically identical to the Hero 10 Black, the Hero 11 Black ships with the larger Enduro battery as standard, giving more time between recharges on the road. Its updated interface lets you tweak the user experience, with ‘Easy’ and ‘Pro’ modes to suit your skill level. It proved a polished tool in testing, wrapped up in familiarly robust housing. Improved Horizon Lock and HyperSmooth 5.0 smarts also do a remarkable job of stabilizing handheld video. Stills quality can’t compete with a proper camera, but the Hero 11 Black is still an impressively rugged, pocket-friendly choice for adventurous travelers.

Read our in-depth hands-on GoPro Hero 11 Black review

The best tough travel camera

Olympus TG-6, one of the best travel cameras, on a concrete surface

(Image credit: Future)
The best rugged action camera for travel

Specifications

Sensor: 12MP 1/2.3-inch
Lens: 25-100mm, f/2-4.9
Monitor: 3.0-inch, 1,040K dots
Viewfinder: N/A
Continuous shooting: 20fps
Movies: 4K/30p
User level: Beginner/intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Intuitive to use
+
Raw shooting and 4K video

Reasons to avoid

-
Inconsistent image quality
-
Small sensor at its heart
Buy it if:

✅ You want a hardcore camera: With a case that’s waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is built to take a beating.

✅ You like a simple interface: Premium features include RAW shooting and 4K video, but the camera itself is easy to operate, even in tricky conditions.

Don't buy it if:

You want the best image quality: Results from the 1/2.3in sensor are fine, but the TG-6 tends to overexpose, and detail is lost at the telephoto end.

❌ You like using a viewfinder: The Tough TG-6 doesn’t have a viewfinder, and the 3-inch LCD screen has limited visibility in bright sunlight.

Olympus arguably started the rugged compact camera trend with its Tough series, and the TG-6 doesn’t break the mould. Innovation might have slowed, but the Tough TG-6 is still one of the best travel cameras you can buy – and there’s no questioning its freeze-proof, shockproof and waterproof credentials. 

Its industrial design felt reassuringly rugged in our tests, with (slightly fiddly) catch mechanisms that protect the ports. Large buttons make it convenient to operate beneath the waves, while the improved 3-inch LCD display also offers decent visibility in most conditions. 

We found image quality to be reasonable for a camera with a 1/2.3-inch sensor, with nice, rich colors – although there was a tendency to overexpose and blow out highlights. An equivalent zoom range of 25-100mm is fair, plus the inclusion of 4K video and raw shooting enhance flexibility. It isn't a major upgrade from the TG-5, but the Olympus TG-6 is nevertheless a stellar option for all-action travelers.

Read our in-depth