I should add to my Canon G1X recommendation that the one thing it can't do is get shallow depth of field. Yes it has a larger sensor but the zoom lens isn't particularly fast and can't compare to Micro Four Thirds (or larger) lenses with fast apertures. Travel photography in particular isn't particularly demanding of thin depth of field, so it is a good compromise when couple with Canon's excellent image stabilization. A camera like the G1X offers a much larger zoom range than you can get with Micro four thirds in a similar size. While dSLRs are available and cheaper than the G1X, they usually need at least one other lens which both ups the price and seriously adds to the bulk.
My personal travel kit is a Panasonic GH2 with a couple of fast primes (20mm f/1.7, 45mm f/1.8). I give up zoom range to allow for more interesting shots... But it is a lot more expensive to get a GH2 or OM-D with multiple prime lenses.
May be E-5 or OM-D + 4/3 converter. ))) Lightweight, waterproof, high quality kit optics and compact. I have now Oly e-420. I save every pound in the journey. I think you know how important this is. )))
Some entry level DSLR are priced closely to higher end compact point-and-shoot. You might want to consider entry level DSLR. Their sensors are much bigger than the compacts, with better noise handling performance. It will be useful in lower light conditions. Unless you are very good at removing noise in post processing, then well..
I suggest buying a Panasonic LX5 has a good zoom range and marked Leica optics, which corresponds qualitatively to the mark. The sensor is larger than that of the other cameras and has the measure contained of 10 megapixels, to produce excellent images with pocgissimo noise, obviously at low sensitivity! For further clarification you can watch dozens of same on the internet, this camera is small compared to many prestigious evil enough! I hope I was helpful, others do not hesitate to contact me!
I also have an Olympus. An E520 and I just bought a Nikon D5100. The Olympus kit lenses in my opinion are much better for close ups. They just seem sharper to me than the same shots made with the Nikon kit lens. But the D5100 is a great camera and I don't regret buying it!!! I am now saving for a better lens but I am only shooting with the D5100. I bought it because Nikon is the best in low noise wich makes it perfect for shooting indoor without using a flash. I don't regret buying it at all! I looked for price vs quality and dit not want to spend more than $600-$700. You might also take a look at the new D3200. Also an amazing camera! Others may come with Canon but for me it's Nikon from now on. I am not a fanboy and did my research between Canon and Nikon. But Canon is also an amazing camera! If I had the budget I personaly would have bought a professional Olympus but they were way to expencive. Good luck!!! :)
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