Feeling nomadic these days?
Wanting to travel around the world but can’t go a day without your 6-string friend?
Having a guitar by your side at all times allows you to draw inspiration from any place at any point in time. You also don't have to worry about hauling around your heavy, thousand-dollar Taylor guitar or having a disgruntled baggage guy toss it on the luggage rack carelessly.
Regardless of where you’re headed off to, we’ve got some top-notch travel guitars that you need to check out! Let’s get strumming shall we?
- 1 Top 7 Travel Guitars
- 2 What to Consider Before Buying a Travel Size Guitar
- 3 Time To Hit The Road
Top 7 Travel Guitars
Our #1 Pick
The Yamaha SLG200S is the granddaddy of travel guitars and solves just about every problem guitarists have when traveling.
Acoustic guitars are such a pain to travel with, which is why Yamaha uniquely slimmed down the body, making it easy to toss over your shoulder and take with anywhere.
You have the choice to either play in practice-like silence or plug-in for some studio-quality tones. The Yamaha SRT powered pickup system is top-notch, and the preamp system offers a ton of fresh ways to adjust your guitar's tone. They even give you the ability to add reverb and chorus with a small knob near the body's edge, something that we've never seen before.
The SLG200S is the perfect guitar to hop on stage with and perform too, as it gives you the ability to plug in and project without having to worry about the nasty feedback that comes from large acoustic openings.
Lastly, they’ve even included a small, onboard tuner so you can tune with ease without having to deal with a phone app or clip-on.
Bottom Line: Easy to travel with, silent and amplified playing, and insane sound customization, the Yamaha SLG200S is easily the top travel guitar on the market.
The coolest thing about the GTPROBK1 is the R-Trem tremolo system, as you don't typically see trem systems on guitars of this size. At just over 30", you can take this bad boy just about anywhere.
It's made with a hard Maple and has a headless design, meaning you won't have to worry about any adverse environmental effects when you travel to temperature-extreme places.
One of the other beautiful things about this guitar is that it's comfortable to play thanks to the leg rest that folds into the guitar when you're not using it.
Let's not forget about the sound on this bad boy though. The humbucker pickups are unique in tone and the middle, single coil gives it added versatility. You get a 5-way pickup selector too so that you can shuffle through the different pickups depending on the sound you want.
Bottom Line: For those who can’t go a day without shredding on their electric guitar, the Steinberger GTPROBK1 is your best bet.
The Baby Taylor BT2 is excellent for those who want a scaled-down version of their regular acoustic, as it plays just like a traditional Taylor, but in ¾ size.
We love the Mahogany top on this guitar, as it outputs a rich, dark tone unlike we're used to with the spruce top Taylor guitars. Beyond it being an excellent traveling partner, it's also perfect for kids who are looking to learn, as it has a shorter scale length.
The symmetrical design of the BT2 gives it a gorgeous aesthetic, and when paired with the durable, layered hardwood construction, it almost seems like you're getting a pro guitar for insane value. The symmetrical build also helps to provide a substantial amount of comfort too, as it forms to your lap nicely.
Bottom Line: The Baby Taylor BT2 is the perfect travel acoustic guitar for purists. It comes without electronics, though the sound projection is excellent enough to where you could bust it out at the beach or the hotel room and play just like you would with your full-sized acoustic at home.
Martin is known for having some of the best-sounding acoustic guitars on the market, so it's no surprise that their Backpacker model also sounds top-notch.
It's easily one of the most interesting guitar shapes that we've ever seen. It almost looks like it jumped straight out of a Renaissance painting.
The great thing about it is that it's incredibly portable and surprisingly resonant, even with the downsized body. Of course, you still get the gorgeous Mahogany-neck design with the rosewood fingerboard that adds to the sound, but that's just standard Martin quality.
What surprises us the most is the sound and hardware quality that you get for such a low price. Most Martin guitars are way beyond beginner and intermediate player price ranges, so the fact that they've wrapped up all of their beloved specs into a small, cost-friendly axe is pretty impressive.
Bottom Line: The Martin Backpacker is another excellent travel guitar for acoustic purists. The hardware is top-notch, the sound is large and resonant for such a small body, and the design is lightweight and compact enough to throw on your back while you’re on the go.
The people at Traveler seem like they made the company name so that you know precisely what their guitars are for right off the bat.
At just under 3lbs and 2.5-feet long, this is one of the smallest and lightest travel guitars on the market. Don't underestimate it though, as it's packed with several incredible features.
One of the unique things about the Traveler guitar is that the tuning system is placed in the body of the guitar, ridding the need for a headstock. Basically, you get full-scale playability with more portability.
There is a high-quality Piezo pickup with your standard ¼ inch output jack, allowing you to plug it into your amplifier or recording apparatus when you're ready to lay down some tasty riffs.
The sound that comes out of this little guy is ridiculous. The metal lap rest that it comes with is easy to attach and detach, giving you a bit more comfort when you're playing while sitting down too.
Bottom Line: The name of the guitar says it all. If you’re looking for the most compact guitar for travel that you can play with silently or plugged-in, the Traveler can do it all.
Cordoba is best known for its high-quality classical guitars, which can be found in beginner and expert ranges. For classical players out there, we highly recommend the Cordoba Mini M.
It's a reliable alternative to your heavy classical guitar, yet provides the same playability thanks to the standard fret spacing and wide-width neck.
The best way to describe the sound of the Mini M is "bright." With that said, it also has excellent projection, even with the smaller size.
The Mahogany body is not only gorgeous to look at, but has a natural resonance for dynamic playing. Do note that it comes with A-A tuning off the bat, though you can change it to standard E-tuning with ease.
Bottom Line: The Cordoba Mini M is the best classical-style travel guitar that there is. Not only is the build durable and high-quality, but it's also lightweight and sounds stunning.
Washburn has always been known for their line of beginner guitars. They continue to output quality instruments for a fraction of the price of big-name brands, which is excellent for those who are on a budget.
Not everyone wants to spend $400+ on a guitar that they're going to be taking around the world in unpredictable conditions. For those people, the Washburn RO10 Rover reigns supreme.
The first thing that you'll notice is the shape of the Washburn. The symmetrical shape is unique and eye-catching, making it far more portable than its traditional cutaway cousins. With that said, playing it might take a bit to get used to if you're sitting down.
The Rover is made with a solid spruce top and Mahogany neck, materials that are no strangers to top-notch instruments. It does have a brighter sound than full-sized acoustics, though it resonates and cuts surprisingly well. We would almost go so far to say that the design gives it a twangy, banjo-like quality.
Bottom Line: Whatever your take on Washburn is, this guitar is a top-notch travel guitar. From the beach to the campsite to the hotel room and beyond, it can go with you anywhere. For those on a budget, you won’t feel a massive hole in your heart either if something were to happen to it while on the move.
What to Consider Before Buying a Travel Size Guitar
While many companies like to brand their guitars as “travel” guitars, not all guitars are the same size.
Some guitars, such as ¾ size, are designed just like full-scale guitars, yet a bit smaller. There are also travel guitars that are made with folding necks to help them better pack up into small cases and bags.
Besides that, there are other guitars that are dedicated to travel and are made with in-body tuning pegs and bodies that are incredibly slim and lightweight.
Regardless, a travel guitar should be portable enough to take with you on the go with ease and convenient enough to where you can pull it out anywhere at any time and play. Whenever you look at the specs of a travel guitar, consider both the scale and the weight.
Speaking of scale, you’re going to want to look at the length of the guitar to see how playable it is compared to your standard acoustic guitar. A guitar with 24 frets vs. one with 18 frets is going to make a big difference.
Travel guitars with shorter scale lengths are a bit easier to play thanks to their reduced string tension. The downside is that they are also more susceptible to buzzing. Your best bet is to find a scale length that is similar to that of your main guitar.
It is essential to get a travel guitar that is comfortable to play when you're lounging back. There are a few manufacturers, such as the Traveler Ultra-Light, that add on small extension pieces so that they can rest nicely on your lap while you play.
Other guitars are made with traditional body shapes so that they form to your lap without any extensions.
If you can try before you buy, we highly recommend it to find the most comfortable fit for you.
When you consider materials, you're typically choosing between wood or something synthetic like carbon fiber. There are pros and cons to each.
Wood, unlike carbon fiber, is sensitive to environmental changes. Things like extreme heat and humidity can have adverse effects on a wood guitar's tone and shape.
On the other hand, wood guitars are going to project a little bit more and have a more natural tone that is reminiscent of something acoustic.
If you want a travel guitar that is going to project naturally, you're going to need one with a sound hole. The amount of projection you want entirely depends on what you'll be using your travel guitar for.
Do you need a guitar to practice your scales and songs while you're away or are you looking for something that you can post up with on the corner and play?
If you're looking for silence, you're going to want a "travel-made" guitar that acts more like an electric.
Now even smaller travel-style guitars can project if they can plug in. If you're looking to play through a small amplifier or record some licks on your laptop while you're away, you're going to want to get a travel guitar with built-in electronics.
These types of guitars work just like traditional electric guitars with pickups and a quarter-inch jack that can be plugged into a headphone amp or portable amplifier.
They're also far more versatile in that you can use them in professional settings too!
Time To Hit The Road
Ready to fly the coop?
We hope so. We hope even more that our best travel guitar guide has helped you to find the best style and design that fits your needs.
In all, if you have the money, we recommend getting your hands on the Yamaha SLG200S. It's high-quality, portable design, and sound customizability are entirely unmatched.
Now stop drooling over all these gorgeous axes and get one so that you can get on the road.