It is often said the key to happiness is investing in experiences instead of things, and travel may be one of the most enriching experiences of all. While the feeling of seeing a lion in the wild for the first time, or the reverence you experience when you gaze on an ancient world wonder is irreplaceable, technology has made it easier than ever before to capture and preserve our most precious moments and share that awe and wonder with others. Our photo engineer, Tom O'Brien, selected the best compact cameras of 2019 to help you document your most memorable journeys. Don't forget to protect your precious cargo with one of our best camera bags for travelers, and elevate your everyday photos with camera accessories for your smartphone.
Tom O'Brien is a mechanical engineer and the photo engineer for National Geographic magazine. He designs and builds custom equipment for the photographers of the magazine. You can follow him on Instagram @Mechanicalphoto.
This article was updated from a previous version, published in November 2017, to reflect this year’s best camera models.