Traveling the world and playing the guitar are my two greatest passions. But, unfortunately, they don’t seem to go hand-in-hand, do they? Traveling requires minimalism, and guitars are big, awkwardly shaped and are not fun to haul around in airports and buses.

For years I had to make the tough decision –  to either travel without a guitar, or to painfully drag my oversized acoustic around the world. Both options sucked, and after years of this, I needed something different.

So finally, I bought myself one of the best travel guitars and my life literally changed forever.

Unfortunately, as I was researching which travel guitar to buy, I realized there are hundreds of travel guitars… and a ton of them suck.

Which is exactly why I wrote this epic guide to the best travel guitars.

bsuking spot in christchurch
Slinging that six-string. | Photo: @themanwiththetinyguitar

As a guitarist of 15 years, and a non-stop world traveler of 10, I know exactly what is needed from a travel guitar.

With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to easily know which of the best travel guitars is perfect for you and your style of music and travel. We’re going to cover a whole scope of six-stringed sweeties in this post: travel acoustic guitars, travel electric guitars folding neck guitars. Something for every homeless musician out there!

Get excited because here are some of these best traveling guitars and they are epic!

Busker traveler with his electric gitar
Something for every style…

Quick Answers – The Best Traveling Guitars

The Best Traveling Guitars Mega-List: Acoustics, electrics, and a few bass guitars because why not?

Today, we’re cutting straight to the goodies because goodies are delicious! First, we’ll round up the most portable guitars just built for travel and worldwide escapades. After that, I’ll get to the no less delicious goodies on choosing the right travel guitar for your needs.

Are you ready? Ok, you sexy shredder; let’s do this! The best guitars for travel that most certainly do not weep.

Product
Descripiton
BEST TRAVEL ACOUSTIC GUITAR #1
best-travel-acoustic-guitar
BEST TRAVEL ACOUSTIC GUITAR #1

Martin Steel String

  • > $$
  • > 2 lbs
  • > Great action
BEST TRAVEL ACOUSTIC GUITAR #2
best-travel-acoustic-guitar
BEST TRAVEL ACOUSTIC GUITAR #2

Baby Taylor BT-1

  • > $$$
  • > 4.41 lbs
  • > Taylor-made
BEST TRAVEL CLASSICAL GUITAR
Cordoba Mini M Travel Acoustic
BEST TRAVEL CLASSICAL GUITAR

Cordoba Mini M Travel Acoustic Nylon-String Guitar

  • > $$
  • > 2.5 lbs
  • > Vibrant classical tone
BEST BUDGET TRAVEL GUITAR
best-budget-travel-guitar
BEST BUDGET TRAVEL GUITAR

Yamaha GL1 Guitalele

  • > $
  • > 3.6 lbs
  • > Durable
BEST TRAVEL ELECTRIC GUITAR
Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric Travel Guitar
BEST TRAVEL ELECTRIC GUITAR

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric Travel Guitar

  • > $$$
  • > 3.13 lbs
  • > Humbucker pickups
BEST TRAVEL ELECTRIC-ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Best Travel Electric Acoustic Guitar
BEST TRAVEL ELECTRIC-ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Best Travel Electric-Acoustic Guitar

  • > $$$
  • > 2lbs 14 oz
  • > Great neck
Best Folding Guitar for Travel
best-folding-travel-guitar
Best Folding Guitar for Travel

Journey Instruments OF660M Carbon Fiber Acoustic Guitar Matte

  • Best Folding Travel Guitar > $$$$$
  • > 9.35 lbs
  • > Great for professionals
Best Travel Bass Guitar
best-travel-bass-guitar
Best Travel Bass Guitar

Traveler Guitar TB-4P Electric Travel Bass

  • Best Travel Bass Guitar > $$$
  • > 6 lbs 8 oz
  • > Great for professionals
BEST UKULELE
luna_ukulele
BEST UKULELE

Luna Hight Tide Koa Concert Acoustic/Electric Ukulele

  • > $$
  • > 2 lbs
  • > Level-10 Portability

The Best Travel Acoustic Guitars

For the natural earthy sound. The downside of the portable guitars is the sound isn’t so rocking as an electric baest. The upside?

…Well, you don’t need an amp.

These are the travel guitars you can bring to the campfire or out at the hostel at night to the sneak into the hearts (and pants) of wayward travelers around the globe. Sexy and swooning.

Best Travel Acoustic Guitar #1 – Martin Steel String

Martin Steel String - the best acoustic travel guitar
The Martin Steel String Travel Guitar was an easy pick for the best travel acoustic guitar.

If you are looking for the best travel acoustic guitar, do yourself a favor and stop right here because this creature is as good as it gets.

Martin’s Steel String is an extraordinary instrument and they have accomplished the goal of creating an affordable yet high-quality travel acoustic guitar.

In typical Martin fashion, you get only the best of the best. A solid spruce top, a unique fret design, and a 24-inch scale length mean that you’ll never have to sacrifice quality to have an amazing travel guitar.

This Martin was designed for lightweight travelers in mind. The guitar and strap only weigh a total of 2 lbs combined, making this our smallest travel guitar. And when placed in the included protective bag, the two combine to weight a total of 5 lbs!

Pros
  • It’s a Martin, baby! One of the best sounding travel guitars
  • Only 2 lbs – the perfect small travel guitar
  • Low action
Cons
  • Shape can be awkward or uncomfortable to some
  • Very small – not ideal for professionals
  • Only 15 frets

While I clearly think this guitar is the cream of the crop… I don’t recommend it for everyone.

This traveling guitar is for backpackers; perfect for those who love to travel with their guitar but aren’t trying to do anything too hardcore with their music careeer. Why?

In an effort to make this mini guitar as travel-friendly as possible, Martin gave it only 15 frets. This means while you’ll be able to play chords and some scales, don’t expect to be able to rip a Metallica solo on this guitar. Because of that, I think this compact guitar better suits the casual-musician.

Bottom line:  If you are a traveling professional musician, or need more than 15 frets, this might not be the guitar for you. Everyone else – if you can afford it – the Martin Travel Guitar is literally as good of a travel guitar you can get. Click the button below to see the best price.

Best Travel Acoustic Guitar #2 – Baby Taylor BT-1

Baby Taylor BT-1 - the second best travel acoustic guitar
The Baby Taylor BT-1 is one of the best travel acoustic guitars on the market

Taylor guitars are one of the most reputable acoustic brands on the planet and this guitar is an incredible example of why.

The Taylor Baby BT-1 is not technically a travel guitar; it’s just one of the best 3/4 guitars out there. This means that it’s 25% smaller than a normal-sized acoustic guitar, and many 3/4 guitars are made for kids.

But obviously one can see why 25% less guitar would be very beneficial for travelers. An extra 25% of the guitar means an extra 25% weight off your back and the ability to stow this guitar on tons of flights.

Plus, along with a smaller size, you also get everything else that is amazing about Taylor guitars – solid wood, ebony fretboard, and a beautiful sound that resembles a choir of glowing angels.

Pros
  • It’s a Taylor, baby! This means high quality and long term durability. This guitar will purr
  • Great for traveling professionals
  • Come with a gig bag
Cons
  • Almost weighs 8 lbs with the case
  • Pricier
  • Probably too big for lightweight backpackers
  • 19 frets might still not be enough for some

What you’ve got to love about this guitar is that for a 3/4 guitar’s size, it almost sounds exactly like a full-sized acoustic guitar. That’s why it’s easily one of the best travel acoustic guitars on the market. Typically 3/4 guitars sacrifice sound for size but with this Taylor, the tradeoff is barely noticeable.

Taylor has earned their reputation, and this compact guitar is another sterling example. If you don’t mind dishing out a bit more cash, you’ll be very pleased with the tone and sound of this instrument.

Bottom line – The Baby Taylor BT-1  delivers a phenomenal sound and long term durability all of which comes at 3/4 the size of a regular acoustic guitar. If you are looking for an ultralight travel guitar, look elsewhere. But if the quality is your number one concern, you may have found the mini travel guitar of your dreams.

Best Travel Classical Guitar #1 – Cordoba Mini M Travel Acoustic Nylon-String Guitar

Cordoba Mini-M Travel Acoustic Guitar - best travel classical guitar
Moving away from steel and into the realm of nylon…

Now something for the travelers who prefer a guitar with a classical feel. The Cordoba Mini M is a masterpiece of instrumental engineering, and could quite possibly be the best travel guitar ever made!

With a solid spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, and a gorgeous mahogany body, this classical guitar is stunning in that sexy classical fashion like a finely produced oil painting. Cordoba clearly invests a lot of time in design, and this travel classical guitar is one of the best examples of that.

And thankfully it sounds as good as it looks! This classical guitar is well-reviewed, giving warm and bright tones. Similar to other travel guitars the Cordoba Mini is tuned to A. This ensures it delivers the best sound for its size and build.

Pros
  • Nylon strings for the nylon lovers
  • Gorgeous looks and sound
  • Comes with gig bag
Cons
  • If you prefer steel strings,then this is not the guitar for you

The Cordoba Mini M ain’t too pricey and it ain’t too big – good things come in compact and affordable packages! You are getting an extremely well-designed and beautiful acoustic classical guitar that is built just for travelers.

Bottom line – Whether you are a professional or casual musician – if you are looking for a travel classical guitar, this is a fantastic option at a good price.

Best Cheap Travel Guitar #1 – Yamaha GL1 Guitalele

Yamaha GL1 Guitalele - the best cheap travel guitar
A cool mix between a ukulele and an acoustic, this is our pick for the best budget travel guitar.

I’ve gone through a ton of guitars in my life, but one of the best, most durable acoustics I ever owned was a $200 Yamaha. Did it have the rich sound of a Martin? Obviously not. But it played well, had great action, and was so durable I was convinced it would survive a nuclear apocalypse.

This is exactly why the Yamaha GL1 Guitalele is my pick for the best cheap travel guitar!

Yamaha makes solid guitars for low prices, and the GL1 Guitalele is a perfect example. Well reviewed and affordable, this was an easy pick for the best budget travel guitar.

Pros
  • Super affordable and well-reviewed!
  • Yamaha’s products are always durable
  • A cool fusion of a guitar and ukulele and their A/D/G/C/E/a tuning ensures you get a great sound
Cons
  • It’s still cheap, but for $75 more you can get something significantly better
  • Alternate tuning might dissuade some
  • Nylon strings may not be ideal for others

Something to consider is that this is technically NOT a travel guitar. As the name would suggest, this is a hybrid between a ukulele and an acoustic guitar. To accomplish this fusion in the best way possible, Yamaha strings this guitar up to the 4th in the tuning of A/D/G/C/E/a.

If this scares the crap out of you – don’t worry! It just means due to its smaller size, this guitar sounds best with a non-standard E/A/D/G/B/e tuning. Since this is a great cheap travel guitar, this also makes for a great traveling gift!

Bottom line – If an alternate tuning doesn’t scare you and you are on a budget, then this is the best budget travel guitar. A cool guitar-ukulele-combo, the Yamaha Guitele is a solid choice for a traveler looking to save a bit of money on their instrument without compromising too much on quality. It also just happens to be the best guitalele – go figure!

Best Budget Travel Guitar #2 – Hohner HAG250P 1/2 Sized

Hohner HAG250P 1/2 Sized - an inexpensive travel guitar to get the job done
It’s cheap but it’ll get the job done! One of the cheapest travel guitars around.

OK, before I continue, I should clarify: this is absolutely, without a doubt, 100% a toddler guitar. This is, however, one of the best inexpensive guitars you’ll find.

It’s small, not of the highest quality, and won’t last a lifetime… And that’s exactly why it’s the best budget travel guitar on this list! A bargain guitar this cheap means all feelings of love and affection go out the window: throw, bang, and transport this instrument on buses in Asia to your heart’s content… unless you get attached.

But we’re travelers; we don’t go in for that attachment nonsense anyway.

Think of it this way… have you ever been to a hostel and they have that small, beat up, classical guitar sitting in the main room? Or have you ever been to a beach party, and some dude with dreadlocks busts out a nylon-stringed guitar that looks like it was made in 1953 for a hobbit?

That’s exactly what this guitar is. It won’t win you a grammy, but it’s cheap, and you better believe that it will play… albeit maybe slightly out of tune.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Cheap
  • Cheeeaaaap
Cons
  • It’s a cheap guitar… don’t get your hopes up

The Hohner 1/2 Sized is for anyone looking for a cheap travel guitar to buy online. Simple as that.

Bottom line – This is the ‘I’m on a shoestring budget backpacking through Southeast Asia. I’m going to party on beaches and all I want is a throwaway guitar I can play some Sublime singalongs on in between cheap beers in hopes of getting laid’ choice. If this sounds like you, then look no further.

Best Travel Electric Guitars

Do you want to power those chords properly? Whammy those sustains? Really get that cheap meaningless sex at hostels in Thailand?

Then here we are: the best electric travel guitar. Something with a bit more shazam for the busker in all of us.

Best Travel Electric Guitar #1- Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric Travel Guitar

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric Travel Guitar - the best electric travel guitar
Talk about lightweight! Great design and amazing reviews make this the easy pick for the best electric travel guitar.

While not the most creative company name, Traveler Guitar has put together some pretty impressive traveling instruments and this was an easy pick for the best travel electric guitar.

Amazing design and stellar reviews make this electric guitar one of the coolest travel guitars on the market. The Traveler Ultra-Light comes with dual rail humbuckers and packs an impressive sound. Depending on your amp and pedals setup, this electric should be able to get whatever sound you need out of it.

The Ultra-Light guitar is 28% shorter and 68% lighter than a typical electric guitar all the which while retaining 100% of its size between the nut and the bridge. This means that while this guitar is not going to feel 100% like a full-sized electric… it’ll come close. Plus, you shed all of that weight in the process.

Pros
  • 68% lighter than a standard electric guitar
  • Humbucker pickups
  • A gig bag is included
  • Lap rest is included as well
Cons
  • Might not be enough for professional traveling musicians
  • Mixed reviews on comfort of detachable lap rest (and overall balance in general)

This travel electric guitar is perfect for super lightweight travelers who need an electric guitar with them at all times. But unfortunately, the lightweight build comes with some sacrifices. And the sacrifice here is the balance.

By eliminating 68% of the weight, some reviews claim the guitar is difficult to balance, or that it’s too light to play or solo on comfortably. Others claimed this was easily overcome with a couple days’ practice. Regardless, if you are considering purchasing, expect a bit of discomfort and imbalance at first, but don’t worry: you’ll be rocking that Red Hot Chili Peppers cover in no time  😉

Bottom line – Maybe not the best choice for professional musicians but this is still a great travel size electric guitar for someone who loves to shred while they journey. While the balance might take a bit of getting used to, there is simply no better-designed travel electric guitar on the market.

Best Travel Electric Guitar #2 – Traveler Guitar TCD SFG Deluxe Electric Travelcaster

Traveler Guitar TCD SFG Deluxe Electric Travelcaster - runner-up best electric guitar for travelers
An intuitive design makes this guitar super lightweight and our pick for the best travel electric guitar.

Traveler Guitar gets the number one and number two spots for best travel electric guitar.

Just like the Ultra Light Travel Guitar, this model is unique in it’s design. But unlike its sibling, Traveler Guitar looked at the Travelcaster as an opportunity to give you a full electric experience while still trimming as much weight as possible.

To accomplish this, they’ve basically cut out everything in the body OUTSIDE of the pickguard.

By cutting out the majority of the body, Travelcaster has created an electric guitar that is 14% shorter and 35% lighter than a typical electric guitar. And the impressive part? All of that is done while still keeping the guitar 100% at scale from the bridge to the neck!

Pros
  • Full electric experience, but 14% shorter and 35% lighter
  • Awesome for traveling professional musicians
  • Gig bag included
Cons
  • Too large for casual musicians
  • Won’t play like a Strat (please don’t expect it to)
  • Mixed reviews on its playability out of the box – might take some tweaking to get desired the feel and sound

Aside from its innovative design, this kickass travel electric guitar comes with 3 single-coil pickups, 2 volume knobs, 1 tone knob, and a 5-way pickup selector.

While this compact electric guitar is highly recommended, you will still have to accept that its bold design can cause some complications.  While this travel electric attempts to mimic a full-sized electric – don’t expect it to feel exactly like a Strat or Tele. It comes close, but you can’t expect the same feeling (especially when sitting down).

Truthfully, if you are looking for one of the best electric travel guitars, there aren’t tons of well-reviewed options and Traveler Guitar is the only company putting out quality products.

Bottom line – If you are a traveler looking to shed a few pounds off your electric guitar – this is a kickass option. The Travelcaster was meant to be lightweight while sacrificing as little playability as possible… Highly recommended for a professional who isn’t sure if the Ultra-Light can make the cut for them.

Best Travel Electric-Acoustic Guitar – Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric

Traveler Guitar Electric-Acoustic - a little bit of both worlds
While I would not recommend this for every guitarist, it’s a fantastic travel electric-acoustic guitar.

Welcome back Traveler Guitar! Lemme make you a tea; you’re welcome anytime as long as you keep pumping out the grade-A stories.

With their third product on this list, I have to say I’m impressed by Traveler Guitar’s commitment to their niche. This product is one of their best!

It’s 100% full scale from the nut to the bridge, but 31% shorter and 43% lighter than a typical acoustic guitar. In particular, this guitar has a nice aesthetic and a gorgeous finish. Reviews claim the neck is smooth and that the guitar is durable and stays in tune very well.

Pros
  • 43% lighter than a typical acoustic guitar
  • Great finish – well-reviewed neck
  • Gig bag comes included as well
Cons
  • Too niche – only recommended for those who ALWAYS plug in their acoustic (or record acoustic)

But where I think their other products are more versatile… I would only recommend the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric for a very specific person.

Simply put – this guitar only sounds great when it’s plugged in. Why?

Well, think about it. This guitar has no body (aka – where an acoustic gets that warm, vibrant, reverb-y sound from). In the pursuit of lightness, Traveler Guitar made an instrument that only sounds good when plugged into an amplifier – which can totally work for the right person!

When it is plugged into an amp it sounds delicious! But otherwise, it’s basically just another electric guitar that gives much less when unplugged. It’s good for recorders, buskers traveling with an amp, and people gigging… and that’s about it.

Bottom line – Look at the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric as an electric-acoustic guitar, and ONLY as an electric-acoustic guitar. If you love to record acoustic while you travel, or play a ton of live shows – this could be your axe. Everyone else – look elsewhere.

Want to keep your money safe?
money belt compressed png

You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.

Get your money belt here.

The Best Folding Guitar for Travel

You could get a mini guitar that carries on your back… or you could just get one that folds in half completely! Holy folding guitars, Hendrix! Lookout virtual reality and simulated blowjob machines – the future is here!

In all seriousness, a folding guitar is a supreme traveling instrument. Easy to carry, stow on planes, and you’re not so likely to snap the neck. Trust me: nothing breaks your heart quite as much as a broken guitar neck.

Journey Instruments OF660M Carbon Fiber Acoustic Guitar Matte

Journey Instruments OF660M Carbon Fiber Acoustic Guitar Matte - the best folding guitar
Journey Instruments OF660M Carbon Fiber Acoustic Guitar Matte is an easy pick for best folding travel guitar.

To be fair – in terms of quality, this is absolutely the best travel guitar that money can buy. It’s the best sounding travel guitar, it’s got a gorgeous make, and it packs up real nice.

But here’s the con – it’s ridiculously expensive. Like, I peed myself a little when I first saw the price tag.

But if you have no problem dropping a bit more money, this is a guitar that will not only be your primary travel guitar… it will be your primary guitar – period. Made from carbon fiber, the Journey OF660M is a modern, durable, sexy looking axe. This guitar gives a super warm, bright and rich tone, and is extremely versatile.

Pros
  • The best travel guitar on the market
  • Rich sound – every note rings
  • Carbon fiber is the real deal, making this guitar super-durable (important for travel!)
Cons
  • Most expensive guitar on the list
  • 10lbs means what you gain in quality, you lose in travel convenience

Old school guitarists might not like the new school design or the fact that it’s made of carbon fiber, but I must disagree… While I think carbon fiber is an amazing material for any guitar, it’s especially perfect for traveling guitarists!

Traditional wood guitars need to be kept out of humidity and heat to keep them from warping. In contrast, carbon fiber means you can bring your guitar in any weather and travel to any climate stress-free. While I respect the traditionalist view, carbon fiber has proven to be a durable material for guitars, while also providing the guitar with a modern, cool look. No warping, no fear of heat or humidity; this is a huge factor to consider for any traveler guitar.

Bottom line – If you have the budget, don’t need something super-light, and are looking for the best sounding travel guitar money can buy, you’ve found your match.

book-iconDon’t forget to pack a good book! Nick Wall’s Around the World in 575 Songs is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.

Time for Some Other Stringed Travel Instruments

Everyone and their mom knows how to play the guitar! Well… that’s quite true. It would be fairer to say that everyone and their mom knows how to play a C, G, Am, and F chord. So let’s branch out… starting with a travel bass guitar.

Bass players are sexy. Have you seen their fingers? Think of the things they could do with those fingers…

The Best Travel Bass Guitar – Traveler Guitar TB-4P Electric Travel Bass

Traveler Guitar TB-4P Electric Travel Bass - the best travel bass guitar
Traveler Guitar yet again makes another great light instrument – an easy pick for the best travel bass guitar.

Another Traveler Guitar? Seriously? What can I say: this company does it right!

Similar to their travel guitars, this awesome travel bass guitar is designed to feel as much like a standard bass, while trimming as much of the weight as possible.

The Traveler Guitar TB-4P is well reviewed and well designed. It weighs in at 25% lighter than a standard bass – which you will definitely appreciate while traveling – an also measures at 22% shorter than a standard bass. Slap that sucker across all seven continents!

Pros
  • 25% lighter and 22% shorter than a standard bass!
  • Good sound
  • Well designed – innovative wrap around tuning design
Cons
  • Balance might be an issue for some
  • Not going to sound as chunky as a standard bass
  • Not cheap

The Traveler Guitar Travel Bass comes with volume controls, tone controls, and the standard electronics to get your bass rigged up to any pedal or amp you need! A cool side-perk is they also include a 1/8 inch headphone jack. This means that while you are at your accommodation, you can still pop some headphones in and really jam out!

Remember though, the sound will be nice, but not as full as a typical bass. Duncan pickups help this bass to deliver some great tones but don’t expect to sound exactly like Flea.

Bottom line – This is the best travel bass guitar money can buy. Like all of the best travel guitars, you are definitely going to sacrifice some tone for the sake traveling lighter,  but if light is what you need, then Traveler Guitar TB-4P Electric Bass got you covered.

Annnnd the Ukulele – Luna High Tide Koa Concert Acoustic/Electric Ukulele

The Luna High Tide Concert Ukulele - a ukulele for travel
Because I had too.

C’mon, you had to see this coming. It’s the quintessential rookie-backpacker move. Buy a uke, learn the aforementioned C, G, Am, F, ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ and ‘I’m Yours’, strap your new companion to your backpack, and you’re officially that guy!

I’m taking the piss. I adore ukes! …In the hands of someone that actually plays the ukulele. Once you learn the chord variations up and down the fretboard and some scales, they’re actually quite darling.

So, what’s the best ukulele for travel? Well, that’s the beauty of ukes… they all are! They’re all small enough to go as carry-on on a plane and they strap nicely to most backpacks.

So what’s the best ukulele? Well, probably not this one; I imagine the best ukulele was crafted by an ancient Hawaiian God and is sitting lodged in a rock at the bottom of some volcano somewhere waiting to be exonerated by the chosen one. Otherwise, though, there’s this one!

Pros
  • Electric-acoustic so plug in for an even sweeter sound
  • Built-in tuner
  • Same uke used by one-half of Twenty-One Pilots so that’s kinda cool
Cons
  • The intonation isn’t perfect for a connoisseur’s ear
  • Excellent for beginner’s and a great intermediate uke but experts may seek elsewhere

It’s a sexy uke that sounds pretty. The built-in tuner is a massive plus and plugging to an amp is really gonna make this bad-boy shine (yes, I did just refer to a ukulele as a “bad-boy”). Luna make good gear and they’re not just in the ukulele space either.

Also, the High Tide just looks mega-pretty. Koa, mahogany, walnut, and a seductive satin finish to seduce the park hippies (and South Asian men) with.

All in all, if this is just you following the stereotypical first-time traveler route, there are cheaper ukuleles you can spend your money on and that’ll do the job right. But, if you’re upgrading from that phase, or are just genuinely interested in learning the ukulele it’s a fine choice.

Bottom line – Well, my mom says ukes are cool! Actually, she hates them but she has to put up with me anyway. This may not be the best travel guitar but it’s certainly a good deal lighter and smaller than any portable guitar you’ll find.

Protip: Try finding nylon guitar strings that fit the gauges (it’s super doable) and putting them on to swap that high G out for a low one; a uke with a bass not – yum!

Traveling with a Guitar – What to Look For

As an avid traveler and musician, I can tell you that buying a great travel size guitar was one of the most important decisions I ever made. I can now easily transport a guitar anywhere I go in the world, meaning never have to be without a guitar again!

Me perusing a travel guitar option
Is this a guitar…?

When it comes to the best travel guitars, there are a few things, in particular, you want to keep an eye out for. Here are some important things to consider when you are trying to pick your personal travel guitar.

1.  Do you need a top quality travel guitar?

The guitars on this list are certainly some of the best travel guitars on the market… but some are certainly higher quality than others. Keep an eye out for prices. Yes, we are all trying to save money with our broke backpacking ways, but sometimes spending the extra $50 can be the difference between a just-ok travel guitar that will get you by or an exceptional travel guitar that will literally change the game.

This is especially true if you are a traveling professional musician. Do not try and get something cheap – it will quickly come back to haunt you.

Backpackers looking for a travel-friendly guitar that they can just jam on, have a bit more leniency in their choices.

2. How many frets for your travel guitar?

Something I overlooked was the fact that travel guitars don’t always have the standard amount of frets! Obviously it makes sense as the smaller the neck, the more travel-friendly the guitar. Consider your guitar playing style. Do you prefer to shred solos high up the neck? Or are you just looking for something to jam out with beachside, and play some zombie chords?

A tonkori in Japan - not the most inexpensive travel guitar
Maybe this is a guitar…? | Photo: @themanwiththetinyguitar

If you don’t need the additional frets, you’ll find that your options are better and the portable guitars to choose from will be much more compact.

3. What about the length and weight of your travel size guitar?

The first thing you need to consider is your travel style. Are you a fast traveler or slow traveler?

If you travel the world spending a month at a time in AirBnb’s , you won’t be as concerned about the size and weight of the guitar. If you blitz from hostel to hostel, then you should seriously consider purchasing one of the lighter and more compact travel guitars.

4. Remember this one important fact…

Here’s the deal…

The standard guitar is literally a miracle. It’s a perfectly crafted instrument. Over the past 500+ years the guitar has slowly been tweaked to perfection. With the modern-day guitar, the size, shape, and build of a standard guitar ensures that you get the absolute best comfort, sound and durability from this amazing instrument.

This is where traveler guitars screw the proverbial pooch.

Playing a ukulele while traveling in India
Could this be a guitar…? | Photo: @_as_earth_to_sky

Ultimately, travel guitars are smaller, and because they are smaller they aren’t going to sound as good as a standard guitar. There is no way around this. If you want a smaller guitar, you are going to have to make some other sacrifices. To get a guitar smaller, lighter, and more travel-friendly means sacrificing a few other important things (like possibly sound, comfort, balance).

Don’t worry- the best travel guitars sound amazing! Just don’t expect it sound like a song from ‘Eric Clapton Unplugged’… Because it won’t.

But I promise you, whatever travel guitar you choose it will sound awesome, it’ll be lightweight, and it will accompany you around the world  🙂

The Best Travel Backpack?!
Nomatic 30L Travel Bag

Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite carry on backpack is the Nomatic Travel Bag.

Read our full review!

Can a travel guitar replace my primary guitar?

The easy answer – absolutely.

The more complicated answer… well, it depends on your needs.

If you are more of a casual guitar player (like I am these days) then you will be stoked to know that a travel guitar can absolutely replace your primary guitar (especially if you don’t mind spending a bit more). The selections from Cordoba, Martin, and Taylor on this list are truly epic instruments, and if you don’t need to worry about gigs, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised that your travel guitar can absolutely become your primary guitar.

A man playing on his well-worn traveler classical guitar
Now that’s a guitar! (With added flair.)

But people that are truly invested in their musical journey, possibly even at the sake of their world-wandering journey, a travel guitar, long-term, isn’t going to cut it. Eventually, the lack of frets, or the lower quality sound, or some other aspect is going to wear thin.

Eventually, in your world-wandering journey, you’re going to stumble across a truly magnificent instrument and that’s when your mini guitar built for travelers isn’t going to feel so special anymore.

Closing thoughts on the Top Travel Guitars

There you have it! The 10 best travel guitars (plus two extras).

I know that with the help of this epic buyer’s guide, you’ll easily be able to identify and buy the travel guitar of your dreams. Get out there and find your baby.

Treat her well too. It’s a lonely road and there may come a night in the future where it’s just you and her alone under a bridge in the storm. Trust me, on that day

Is there anything I missed? What’s your favorite travel guitar? Comment below! It’ll help other travelers know which guitar is best for them – safe travels!

street performer in europe playing his traveling guitar
We be jammin’.

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