Along with your interchangeable-lens camera, consider bringing a capable compact camera as a backup, or for circumstances when your full kit is too cumbersome or possibly unwelcome (some locations and events consider interchangeable-lens cameras to be "professional" gear and restrict their use).
If you're staying domestic, the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Camera can connect to Verizon or AT&T (depending on the model) for a mobile Internet connection, letting you upload photos to a backup service or share on social networks. It offers a 21x, 23-483mm zoom, which will cover just about any subject. It can even respond to voice commands like, "Zoom in" or "Record video." Estimated Street Price: $549. www.samsung.com
Another smart option is a tough and rugged, all-conditions compact like the Olympus Stylus TG-3. It has a fast 25-100mm (equivalent) ƒ/2 zoom and a unique, optional LED Light Guide ringlight for macro photography. But its best travel qualification is its ready-for-anything attitude: It's waterproof to 50 feet, crushproof up to a 220-pound force, can handle drop impacts from up to seven feet and is freezeproof to 14º F. List Price: $349. www.getolympus.com
When choosing lenses for your interchangeable-lens camera, consider the benefits of a superzoom like the Tamron 16-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD. The "all-in-one" zoom covers an extraordinary range, from wide-angle to powerful telephoto, making it possible to carry just one lens—definitely convenient when trying to keep the weight down. It has Vibration Compensation (VC) built in to help keep shots steady without a tripod. Estimated Street Price: $629. www.tamron-usa.com
While we're talking about optics, there's one filter you must bring with you, and that's a polarizer. The polarizer is indispensable for its ability to block surface glare, render rich, intense blue skies and cut unwanted reflections. The Hoya PRO1D Circular Polarizer has an ultra-thin, low-profile frame, especially helpful with wide-angle lenses, and is multicoated to reduce lens flare and ghosting. Estimated Street Price: $159 (77mm; price varies by size). www.kenkotokinausa.com
You'll also want to have a lens cleaning tool on hand. The LensPen is one of our favorite solutions, as it requires no liquid or cloths. The retractable dust brush and Invisible Carbon cleaning tip safely remove fingerprints and dust from optics quickly and easily. List price: $15. www.lenspen.com