While it may seem a bit chunky for the road, your DSLR takes high-quality images and can be your best friend. Besides, look at the portable darkrooms travel photographers used to take with them — the DSLR is pretty small in comparison.
Travel photography used to be a novelty, and people could purchase prints of geographic landmarks and the untamed wilderness to vicariously live what they could not go to see. It’s still appealing today, as well as more easy and to capture and share than ever with modern-day equipment.
If you’re interested in the history of photography, check out this blog post from Travel Photography History. It’s a year old, but the information’s still a fresh, interesting look back into the past.