Last updated: July 19, 2018

Whether you're piling the family into the minivan for a trip to the Magic Kingdom or backpacking through Southeast Asia, you'll probably want a camera that has a larger-than-average sensor, a versatile lens and wireless features for beaming your images back home.

Our selection includes a variety of cameras, including pocketable compacts, larger bridge cameras, a few mirrorless models and a fixed prime lens compact. For our main recommendations we ended up selecting two very different-looking cameras...

Our pick: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI

The RX100 VI displaces our previous recommendation (the RX10 III), by offering a lot of what the larger camera does in a much more convenient package.

Its 24-200mm equivalent lens offers most of the reach you'll need for a wide variety of shooting situations, while its maximum aperture of F2.8-4.5 means it's pretty flexible. Allied to this is one of the best autofocus systems we've ever encountered in a compact camera, meaning the little Sony can turn its hand to almost anything you might encounter on your travels. There's also a fairly easy-to-use Wi-Fi system to send images to your phone.

Video is also good, though the lack of ND filter or means of fitting one means having to use higher shutter speeds than is ideal, leaving your footage looking less professional than the camera is capable of. Overall, though, the RX100 VI is the most capable travel camera on the market: nothing matches its combination of size, capability and image quality.
hscreen, both of which make the camera a bit harder to use than we'd like.

Also recommended: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 (TZ100)

A less expensive alternative to the RX100 VI is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100. It too has a 20MP 1" sensor, but trades zoom power for a much more compact body. Its lens has an equivalent focal range of 25-250mm, which is fine for most situations, but maybe not for bird or whale-watching. Image quality isn't as good as the Sony due to a softer lens and somewhat heavy noise reduction in JPEGs.

The ZS100 has both a touchscreen LCD (which is, sadly, fixed) and a small electronic viewfinder, although we have found that some folks may notice a 'rainbow effect' when using the EVF, which can be distracting. The ZS100 captures 4K video that looks pretty good, with a hybrid 5-axis stabilization feature available at 1080p and below. Panasonic has a pretty solid Wi-Fi system that gets photos off of your camera and into emails or Facebook with relative ease.

Overall, we like the ZS100 not because it's the best camera in its class, but because it strikes a great balance between size and focal range.

We considered all of the cameras below when picking our winner, and even though we think the RX100 VI and ZS100 are the best all-rounders, the cameras on our shortlist are also worthy contenders. If you're not convinced by our pick, take a look at the following cameras for a detailed breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses.

Also consider: