I like to travel and take snaps a lot, I usually use my mobile camera for this, but it is not worthy at all. Can someone suggest to me a good and affordable digital camera between the range of $100 - $200 (It is the only amount I can spend currently). I studied a lot on the 'net, but you can't tell how it will perform until you buy it. So, please suggest a good one, which you guys have already used or experienced. Megapixels can be compromised like (5-7 MP will do) but I would really love to have some optical zoom, and point and shoot capability.
It will be more effective to post your question in one of the many camera forums such as DPReview. They have a large and thriving membership that is very active. They commonly answer questions about camera choices and upgrade paths. You will get many more replies from some very experienced and knowledgeable members.
Since those sites are usually partitioned according to camera make you can pose your questions to the supporters of the different camera makes. In this way, by hearing the opinions of the different supporters, you can form a good overall impression of what will best suit your needs.
The debate about make of camera often inspires a great deal of biased partisanship which is best kept in the relevant forums. Such divisive debates about what is in the end a very subjective issue will harm the objectivity and neutrality of this site and reduce its informative value.
Considering your budget and requirements, I'd suggest something like the Canon SD 1400.
While it would not be considered a super camera by most serious photographers, I think it may be more than enough for your needs.
I've been using Canon compacts for years and they surely deliver a lot more than expected at first glance. :o)
One thing I like a lot is how simple is to use the P mode on them, where you can have more control over exposure (how much light goes in the picture) and focus (being able to switch from landscape to close ups easily is very important).
But of course your mileage may vary...
I believe you should go for a model which provides some manual control also, rather than a simple point and shoot. I use Canon S3IS, which is a great camera. Newer models have come in, which you can check.
The advantages of such a camera :