For family & friends filming, a pocket camera would be a better choice, as it is significantly cheaper and lighter than a traditional camcorder. What makes them so small is the lack of optical zoom. If you plan taking a digital camera when you travel, you can easily take photos of anything you want close-ups and using the pocket camera for all your motion video. Unless you plan using the camcorder on its own while travelling or for filming plays, you'll get away without optical zoom.
If you need zoom or for it to take good photos also, probably the best option is the one I mentioned above, i.e. the DMC-TZ7. It is one of the smallest cameras I'm aware of where you can use optical zoom while taking video footage.
Another thing worth doing is visiting an electronics store to see what a few are like, even if you don't plan purchasing from that store. At least this way you'll have an idea of what the actual size, weight and feel are like.