3 Compact Cameras for Better Travel Photography

So, you’re going on an adventure. Although sharing moments from your trip with the world isn’t as important as enjoying them first-person, capturing photos and videos you’re proud to share is always nice. When I travel, I carry 3 compact cameras for better travel photography, including my drone, iPhone, and mirrorless digital camera. 

In this post, I’m detailing the devices I use and why, as well as how to pack a photographic punch without needing to bring a separate suitcase full of camera gear. Traveling light is essential, and I rarely sacrifice an easy transit — not even for the perfect travel photos. 

DJI Mavic Mini 2 Drone

The DJI Mavic Mini 2 drone is small but mighty and a massive step up from the “Spark” drone that preceded it. In my opinion, the best part is its incredibly compact size. Even with a hardshell case, it’s easy for me to tuck inside my carry-on or travel tote. The image quality on the Mini 2’s photos and videos is great (though not as good as some of the larger models). It does, however, capture stunning 4k videos that are impressively smooth. If you’re looking for unbeatable aerial shots of your next destination without lugging around unnecessary weight, the DJI Mavic Mini 2 should be your go-to. Just be sure you bring more batteries, propellers (it comes with extras) and remote-to-mobile device connection cables.

Canon RP Mirrorless Camera

If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera and don’t want to go into debt to acquire one, the Canon RP is a fantastic option. Before this camera, I owned a Canon 5D Mark III and a Sony A7 III. My former Canon produced incredible images (especially when equipped with a 24-105mm lens or this cheap but mighty 50mm prime), but it was a hassle to lug around. Most of the time, it sat in the hotel room while I snapped away on my iPhone. So, I transitioned to the smaller Sony A7 III. As a lifelong Canon user, I found the Sony’s interface too cumbersome and the image quality somewhat disappointing. Finally, I picked up the Canon RP and haven’t looked back since. Because I use it almost purely for travel (and no longer for engagement shoots or anything more “professional”) it’s perfect for me. The image quality is still exceptional and the compact size makes it a clear winner over the larger Canon DSLR cameras. Plus, I can still use those fabulous L-series Canon lenses when I want a step up from my typical travel lens.

iPhone Pro Series (or comparable mobile phone)

Odds are, you already own an iPhone or a comparable device from Samsung or Google. For me, the iPhone 13 pro (soon transitioning to the 14 pro) is my most-used and most important travel camera. If you’re in the market for a new iPhone and debating between the regular and pro lines, I highly recommend opting for a pro. The pro devices have much better cameras with larger sensors, which means you can capture better images over all — especially in low-light settings. If you’re taking videos with an iPhone, be sure you toggle over to 4k to improve the quality and smoothness of each clip. Every time I watch a 4k video shot on an iPhone, I’m blown away by how a tiny camera can produce such incredible results.

And that’s it! Those are the three compact cameras that improve my travel photography. If you’re looking to take better travel photos and videos without making a massive investment or feeling like a pack mule at the airport, I highly recommend choosing a similar tech stack.

If you have other cameras you swear by, please drop a comment below! I would love to hear about your preferred travel photography kit.


Lacey is an artist, marketer, photographer, foodie and beach connoisseur who likes to "think deeply" from time to time.

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