As for the right camera, well, the film-versus-digital issue remains a tough one to resolve. Yashica's T4 Zoom ($200; www.yashica.com) is a fine little number; it will give you good service and excellent photos from your trip. Digital cameras have a slight edge in that memory sticks are lighter than equivalent film canisters. There might be some issue with batteries, as digital cameras are real power-hogs compared to film cameras. Still, a digital camera such as Canon's PowerShot A75 (about $300; www.powershot.com) is an excellent alternative. Good lens, well-made camera, easy to use.
What would I do? If you forced me to make the call, I'd probably go with the T4, but it would be a close run thing indeed. Regular readers here know I'm still sort of an analog, film-based kind of guy. But I sure see the appeal of digital cameras, and their quality just keeps getting better.