Best Compact Cameras for Travel | Budget Airfare

What Are The Best Compact Cameras on a Budget

When you are going on vacation sometimes you just don’t want to take your phone with or at the very least you don’t want to take it with you everywhere you go while you are with your family touring around. You are trying to relax, have fun and get away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life back home. This is where, in part, a compact or point and shoot camera can come in handy.

Before I go any further, I realize that there are a ton of articles out there already about compact cameras or point and shoot cameras so I am not going to try and reinvent the wheel here and go into depth about each and evey point about each camera and list their pros and cons. I am just going to gear this post and recommendations on cameras that are basic, easy to use and can do a better job then your smart phone.  The reason being is that this is what you would like going as an alternative to taking your smartphone with you.

You are not going to want a camera that is large and bulky or a camera where you have to change lenses and bring a whole other backpack of equipment with you. This post is just going to be about what I would bring if, for example, I decided to leave my smartphone at home but wanted to take great pictures and share them with my friends while traveling and when I got home.

Depending on what it is that you consider your priority is for this type of camera, I have listed what cameras I would choose for each specific attribute and links to Amazon where you look at them more closely for comparing and pricing. You will see some overlap with the cameras,  if they happen to excel in a couple of the areas that I believe are important:

What I Consider When Buying A Compact Camera for Travel:

Price – Although maybe not THE most important consideration, it is certainly something I think about when looking for a camera that will do a better job then my smartphone.    In part because, I may just be using this while on vacation and getting back to my smartphone when I get back home.  Needless to say, you don’t have to go to the poor house these days in order to get a great camera. Although less expensive cameras don’t come with the latest and greatest features, which maybe you wouldn’t use anyway, they still are able to take fantastic pictures which the goal in the end.


Small and Light – Who wants to carry around a brick when on vacation or really at anytime for that matter? This is one of the more important considerations for me as I don’t want to feel like the camera is a burden.  I don’t want to feel like I want to leave the camera in the hotel room simply because of the weight and/or size and then maybe miss a shot or memorable moment.  In addition, if you fall into the category of a hiker or backpacker, then these 2 choices have impressive shooting performance as well as being compact and lightweight and are excellent options:


WI FI – In today’s day and age and because I have it on my cell phone and I have gotten used to it, I would really like to have it on my camera. Not only for sharing purposes such as getting photos up to Instagram, Facebook or some other part of my social media so I can send it to my friends, but more importantly I can have the photos sent up to my photo file that I have stored in the cloud.  This way I never lose any photos, should I have the unfortunate experience of losing the camera or something goes wrong with the media card.


Zoom Camera – This is not an imperative for me but it certainly would be nice in case I may not able to get as close as I want to my subject. A compact camera that I can travel with which can get me close enough to monuments or landmarks is a great feature and is something my smartphone just cannot do with any degree of quality.  Therefore if this is a major feature for you I would look at:


Video – To be frank, I almost never edit any videos I take, as its more of a process than I am willing to go through. That doesn’t mean however that I think video is not important to me as maybe one day I’ll have the ambition to do this (or they it will make it easier to edit). Therefore I would like a camera that has 4k capability and thankfully almost all reasonably priced (notice I didn’t say cheap) compact cameras for the past couple of years have 4k video. That said not all 4k video is the same in all cameras but since i am trying it make it simple here I won’t go into those details but give you recommendations on ones I liked the best:


Low Light –  Low light photos with smartphones lets just say..leaves a little to be desired.  In addition trying to get a printable image using the flash on a smartphone for low light photos does not improve your photos very little, if at all. The reason for this is that taking picture in low light is hard for even some of the more advanced cameras, so finding a compact camera that can do this well can be a challenge.  Since I like to photograph places with low light, for example, a church in Europe(or anywhere for that matter) or a moon rise over a city, finding a compact camera that will do a decent job is appealing.  Here are a couple of cameras that have the ability to capturing light even when its hard to come by.


Durable- I can be a bit tough on cameras since I want them easily accessible. I am always putting them in places that are not ideal for making a camera last long or look its best. I am also not a big fan of the camera case so I don’t have anything to protect the phone should I drop it.  In addition to being durable this camera also hits all the basics that I am looing for such as a good lens, 4k video, and some great macro options.

Only 1 Recommendation here: ( bonus: Its waterproof as well)

Best Camera for Budget Travel | Budget Airfare

What’s the best memory card to use for saving all these photos?

This could be another case study in and of itself, but like the recommendations above I will keep it simple and not go into all the details that are given on the cards such as I could see readers start to fall asleep as they read the details about Speed Class, Card type etc. I will just let you know the ones I would get and why. Also keep in mind that these cards go on sale pretty frequently so keep an eye out. Whether you go with one of the ones listed below or not, whatever you do, do not go with the cheapest card you can because as my brother likes to say “cheap is expensive in the end”! It would be terrible to lose all those memories!

Recommended Memory Cards:

San Disk Extreme Pro: The card is rated as waterproof, shockproof, X-ray proof, and can operate in extreme temperature. In addition, the company that makes this card has always been reliable and the card comes in a variety of storage sizes and I would say go with the one of the higher ones such as the 128gb card as you won’t have to switch cards out that often you’ll have plenty of room for both photos and video.

San Disk Ultra: With the same company as the extreme pro just slightly less expensive. It also does have quite the read and write speeds as the extreme or as durable. But if you aren’t going to shoot alot of video and keep your pictures to small sizes like JPEG’s instead of RAW, then this card will work fine. I would get a cards of at least 32gb so you don’t have to be too concerned about running out of space.