In the Store: Would you buy a jacket without trying it on? Of course not. So don't get a camera until you've held it in hand. How it feels is as important as how fast it focuses. » Don't lowball your memory card. When choosing a camera, budget money for a high-capacity card so you're not constantly micromanaging memory space. » When it comes to megapixels, "the more, the better" works only as a very general rule of thumb. Image quality is determined by lens quality and internal software as well as sensor size; don't get obsessed by numbers.
In the Field: Carry extra batteries, and keep them warm in cold weather (store close to your body). » And pack a blower brush to clean the lens and image sensor if you get caught in a dust storm.
At Home: Today's photo printers are cheaper and better than anything yet. Canon's new Pixma Pro9500 ($850) makes wall-worthy large-format prints, while the company's Selphy (from $150) units are so small they travel with you.