Being a hobbyist photographer (and a few times paid for my limited skills), I view travel as one of my best opportunities to take photos. I never hesitate to lug my DSLR. I have a small backpack that fits my camera, battery charger, memory cards, two lenses, a cellphone-sized HD video camera, and other assorted stuff… I don’t mind wearing/carrying it.
Of course your choice of camera equipment would depend on your travel style and activities, etc. I know eeeefarm does lots of underwater stuff, so she has specific needs. And people that frequent the beach and pool areas might not want to worry about water or sand in their expensive equipment. So far I’ve only stayed at resorts, but my time is spent exploring… walking and taking cabs and renting pedal bikes or scooters. I’m not a beach guy until the end of the day, under an umbrella, with drinks in hand. I take dozens of pictures every day when we’re travelling. And while the photographer matters more than the camera, I actually prefer a bulky DSLR that’s stable and fits better in my hands than a little, wobbly point-and-shoot.
So a shorter answer to the question is: I take photos for both reasons, vacation snaps and cool stuff I don’t see at home. I try to do some semi-serious photography, but mostly it’s about preserving memories. I never hesitate to take the monster everywhere I go.