Do you miss your guitar when you are travelling? Then you need a travel guitar. Yes they exist, and no I'm not talking about guitars for children. I'm talking about amazing guitars by premium brands, which were designed to be portable and travel friendly.
That is what we will be talking about in this review. I will show you both acoustic and electric guitars, as well as a couple versatile options. So, you should be able to find something for yourself, regardless of what exactly you are looking for.
All of the guitars featured in this review are actually the best - they are praised by happy owners and rated very highly on dozens of websites. So, read on to find out which travel guitar is the best option for you!
The Martin travel guitar features a top made from solid spruce and sides made from tonewood. It has a 24” scale length and features 15 frets, which is not that much less from the usual 19. And it comes with both a strap and a case, so travelling with it is going to be very easy.
In fact, you can actually fit this guitar in overhead bins in planes. Some airlines will make you pay extra for it, but you shouldn’t usually have any issues if you call or email the airline beforehand. Just give them the dimensions of the bag and you’ll be fine.
Oh, and you can put some extra clothes in the bag - not only will this make your other suitcase lighter, but it will also protect your travel travel guitar.
The Backpacker guitar is very lightweight at only 2.4 lbs. Meaning that it’s super easy to carry anywhere, and that it won’t weigh you down one bit.
Martin is known for making backpacker guitars, and this one is one of their best selling models. That is because it is insanely portable, but also because it sounds really good. You will lose some volume, but that’s expected considering the size of this guitar.
And it has a great price tag on it. It is by no means the cheapest travel guitar out of the bunch, but it is far away from being the most expensive one.
The Journey Instruments guitar comes with set up with a really high saddle, which means the action is also really high. But, it also comes with a shorter saddle, which will give you lower action. And you can always adjust that, until you find your perfect setup. It has 20 frets and 6 strings, and it sounds just as good (if not better) then your normal guitar.
What makes this guitar amazing for travel is the collapsible neck. You can disassemble it in less than a minute and pack it in its travel backpack. The backpack is carry on sized, and features a TSA friendly laptop compartment, so it is an excellent addition to this amazing travel guitar.
The OF660 has a body made from carbon fiber, which is reinforced with fiberglass on the back and sides. What that means is that you never have to worry about humidity with this guitar - you can leave it out in pouring rain, and there won’t be any consequences. Plus, it makes the guitar look very elegant and sleek.
The price of this guitar is a pretty big downside. In fact, this is the most expensive travel guitar that I found, and it is definitely not for everyone’s budgets. But, you are paying for amazing sound, portability and quality of build.
Another thing that could be improved is the weight. This guitar is a bit bigger than most other I’ve showed you, and it’s also heavier. While that doesn’t impact its portability too much, it does mean that it’s not going to be as convenient to carry around as some of the ones that weigh less than 2.5 lbs.
The Yamaha GL1 is a cross between a guitar and ukulele. It has the size of a baritone ukulele (17” scale), but it also features 6 strings, just like a guitar. But the strings are nylon - that’s neither the best quality nor sound you can get out of a travel guitar. However, nothing is stopping you from cutting them off and putting regular metal strings on the GL1.
What you will love about this guitar are its size and weight. The Yamaha guitar was designed specifically for travel, and you will be able to take it anywhere you want. And you will get a soft gig case with the guitar. Plus, it is a great option for kids - even though it wasn’t designed as a children’s guitar, its size makes it more than suitable for the little ones.
It is also feather light, at only 2.65 lbs. That means that the GL1 weighs less than most laptops, which you are carrying to work every single day and not complaining. And that is one of the things that makes the Yamaha an amazing option for travel.
Another reason why you will love the guitalele is the price. It’s very affordable, especially considering who makes it - Yamaha is a brand known for manufacturing quality everything, from motorcycles to archery bows.
Obviously, you can’t expect this to sound just like a full bodied guitar, but it is going to sound amazing for its size. Which means that it is going to be perfectly suitable for practice on the go or for entertaining your friends on the beach.
Little Martin is the smallest guitar from this amazing brand, and it’s definitely a contender. It features Koa-grained high pressure laminate on its top, sides and back, with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The neck of this guitar is carved out of Stratabond.
Even though this guitar is tiny, it produces great sound. With 6 steel strings and 20 frets, this is going to sound fairly close to your favorite guitar. But the Little Martin has the advantage that you can take it anywhere you want - it weighs only 3.4 lbs and it is very small, which makes it perfect for the road.
And this guitar is great not just for travel, but also for children and adults with small hands.
The durability of Little Martin is another amazing thing about it. It is built to survive road trips, children and all kinds of weather. Especially if you regularly carry it in the gig bag that comes with it. Which has an exterior made from ballistic nylon, and an interior lined with plush. It also features backpack straps and a front zipper compartment, for any other items you want to keep close.
And the price of this guitar is not too bad either. It’s not among the cheapest options, but it is also not ridiculously expensive either. It is a little pricier than most other guitars in this review, but it’s undoubtedly worth it, considering the quality of both sound and build.
Cordoba has a series of mini guitars, and the M is their post popular model. The main difference between them is the wood combinations - the M features a solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides. The Mini M is also the best value for money - it is a high quality guitar with a very affordable price tag, and it’s perfect if you’re on a tight budget.
The downside is that it comes with nylon strings, so you’re not getting amazing sound out of the box. But that’s a replaceable part of the guitar, and should not be a deal breaker. And if you normally prefer nylon strings, than the Mini M is going to be just perfect as is.
What could be a deal breaker is that this is a right hand guitar. The others that I showed you were either ambidextrous, or you could choose between right and left hand. With the Mini M, you get no such choice.
And there’s nothing else bad about it. The guitar weighs a mere 2.5 lbs, which makes it perfect for travel. It is small enough that it easily fits into overhead compartments in airplanes, and it comes with a really solid gig bag.
It doesn’t sound like a full-sized guitar, but it definitely sounds like a guitar and not like a ukulele. It has a scale length of 20”, a nut width of 1.96” and a total of 18 frets, which not only feel familiar, but also make it sound more like a traditional guitar.
Traveler Guitar is a brand that makes some insanely portable guitars, both acoustic and electric. So, I will show you several options from them in this section, starting with the Travelcaster Deluxe. It is a full 25.5” scale travel guitar with 14:1 gear ratio turners. Which means that the playable area of the guitar is the exact same size of a full size guitar - only its body is smaller.
The Travelcaster features an overall length of 33.75” and weighs a mere 5.2 lbs. It comes with a soft gig case for ultimate portability - the entire case and the guitar only weigh 6.8 lbs. What’s even better is that you are not sacrificing playability for portability - Traveler Guitar is proud of how all of their guitars sound, and we have no complaints either.
In fact, you can check out the demo of this guitar right here:
This electric guitar comes with 3 single coil pickups - 2 tone controls, 1 volume control and a 5-way pickup selector. It also has a 2-point fulcrum tremolo for better and more stable tuning, as well as steel saddles for excellent tone.
The guitar boasts a poplar body with a maple neck and a maple fretboard with bone nut, which not only sound great, but also look pretty good. And you can get it in three colors - the black gloss option is unique because it features a catalpa fretboard with bone nut.
Back to Yamaha - the APXT2 is an excellent choice if you want a versatile guitar. It is both acoustic and electric, with a gorgeous exterior and an affordable price tag. This guitar features a spruce top, with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, for great appearance and sound.
It is a 3/4 sized guitar, and it is pretty much just a smaller version of the APX500III. It is equipped with an ART-based preamp, system 68 contact pickup and an on-board tuner, which give you a full-bodied acoustic tone when you plug it in. And you can also tune the guitar without having to plug it in any extra gear, which is convenient and great for travel.
One downside to the Yamaha guitar is that its orientation is right handed and there are no other options. So, it is definitely not going to be a good fit for all of you.
An upside is that you get a gig bag with the Yamaha, so you can really carry it anywhere. And it weighs just a little over 5 lbs, which is pretty good for a versatile guitar. It is not the lightest option you have, but it is great for a guitar that is capable of so much.
Meaning that the APXT2 is not just a good option for travel, but also for kids learning to play, as well as as petite adults that find regular guitars too big.
This is the smallest full scale electric guitar you can get your hands on, and it is perfect if you’re looking for something ultra-portable. And at only 3.1 lbs, this is also the lightest electric travel guitar out of the bunch. It also comes with a detachable lap rest, for easy transport.
Obviously, this travel guitar doesn’t have a proper headstock. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t tune it - in fact, the tuning system is included in its body, and it features a dual-rail humbucker pickup.
The chrome tuning machines feature a 14:1 ratio, for extremely precise tuning. Which means that you can have almost the same playing experience on this guitar, as you have on a full-bodied electric guitar that weighs a lot more.
One great thing about this guitar is that you have options - you can choose from four colors, three wood types, and also your hand orientation. And that means that it is going to be very easy for you to pick out a guitar that is perfectly suitable for you.
It comes with a lightweight gig bag that easily fits into overhead compartments in airplanes. Meaning that this guitar is just perfect for transport. You can carry it wherever you won’t, and you can fit some extra gear in the front pocket of the gig bag.
Other things worth noting are that this guitar features a standard 1/4” output, and that it feature a one-piece neck-through-body design.
The Leo Jaymz guitar features some rather stunning and unique decals on the body. I know that alone is not reason enough to buy it, but it sure is nice to see something other than a solid color body. It is an excellent option if you want something unique that plays extraordinarily well. It features a mahogany body with a smooth rosewood fingerboard and a maple neck.
The guitar comes with 6 (stainless steel) Jaymz strings that are excellent quality and very lightweight. And you also get an extra set for spare parts, which is rather generous from the brand.
It features original Grover machines that help with stable tuning, as well as two volume and two tone switches. This electric guitar also comes with a soft gig bag that has a front pocket for your additional gear.
While I really love the general design and quality of the Jeo Jaymz guitar, I am not impressed with its portability. Compared with the other travel electric guitars in this review, this is one of the least portable ones, because of both its size and weight.
However, if you want something that plays and feels just like a proper electric guitar, but that ultimately is more portable than one, then I think this is the right choice for you.
I know this looks a lot like the previous Traveler Guitar I showed you, but there’s one huge difference - this one is both acoustic and electric. It has an in-body tuning system just like the other Traveler Guitar, and it comes with a detachable lap rest. But this one is lighter, more portable and more versatile, making it one of my top choices.
And you get to choose which type of wood you want in your guitar, just like you can choose whether you want right or left hand orientation.
It doesn’t have a headstock, so it is going to take some time to get used to this travel guitar. But once you do, I’m confident you will love it and carry it anywhere - you will get the full scale playing experience, but in a much smaller package.
This guitar features an under saddle Piezo pickup, for amazing acoustic sound. And the standard 1/4” output allows you to plug this in the regular or headphone amp you already have.
Bear in mind that even though this guitar is going to sound amazing, it is going to be rather quiet in acoustic mode. Which is great for practice, but not that useful for showing off. You are compromising on that, but in return you are getting an instrument so portable you will want to take it wherever you go. And I think that is still a really good deal.
The main thing you should know is whether you’re looking for an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. Obviously you should get the one that you prefer playing.
The review is divided into two section - the first section features the 5 best acoustic travel guitars, and the second section shows the 5 best electric travel guitars. So, there’s something for you regardless of what you’re looking for.
And if you’re looking for both, you might not need to buy two guitars - there are some acoustic-electric guitars, and you will find them in the second half of the review.
There are loads of ways in which a guitar can be portable. Some of them are nearly full sized, but insanely lightweight. And there are guitars that aren’t too lightweight, but that have a really tiny body with a very small sound hole. This usually means that the sound is not nearly as good as it is on your normal guitar.
There is also a guitar that has a collapsible neck - this is a feature patented by Journey Instruments, and it is one of the best guitars in this entire review. You can remove the neck from the body of the guitar and easily pack it in a backpack, for ultimate portability. However, this feature is unique to this guitar, which happens to be very expensive.
Some guitars also have a pretty short neck, which also means less frets and weaker sound. But those are also very portable, and a great option for air travel since they are usually treated as carry ons.
In general, you should figure out which kind of portable suits your needs best. And which aspect of the guitar you are not willing to compromise on. I’ve showed you enough variety, and I’m pretty sure that at least one of the guitars you’ve seen in this review is what you are looking for.
The ideal guitar for you depends on which hand you play with. Most of the guitars that I’ve shown above are either ambidextrous or feature a choice of hand orientation. However, some of them are only for right-handed people, and you can see that info in the "cons" boxes below each product.
If you don’t see anything about hand orientation in the pro/con boxes, you can assume that the guitar is available in both options.
Travel guitars are usually more expensive than regular guitars. They are designed specifically to be lightweight and portable, and that’s going to cost you. The usual price range of these guitars is between $150-300, but you will find some that are much more expensive than that.
Whenever a guitar is pricier than the expected price range, it will be listed in the cons boxes. I haven’t really found any really cheap guitars - I don’t consider those to be the best travel guitars available.
Not sure which of this travel guitars is the right option for you? That’s okay - go for one of our top choices and you will not be disappointed!
The best acoustic travel guitar is undoubtedly the one by Journey Instruments. It is an amazing guitar that is perfect for pros, and it actually sounds better than some full-sized guitars. It also has a unique feature patented by Journey Instruments - collapsible neck. You can assemble and disassemble this guitar in just a few seconds, which is perfect for playing on the go.
My favorite electric guitar for travel is the Travelcaster Deluxe, which comes with a soft gig case. It is a full scale guitar that not only sounds amazing, but also looks pretty cool. It features three single coil pickups, two tone controls and one volume control, which is everything you need to sound amazing. Well, in addition to your talent - but that’s a given.
The best versatile guitar for travel would have to be the Traveler Guitar Acoustic/Electric option. It is remarkably lightweight, it has an in-body tuning system and it sounds really good no matter how you play it thanks to the Piezo pickup. Sure, it’s not going to be as loud as regular acoustic guitars, but all you need to do to get volume is plug it in. And you get the standard 1/4” output for that.
Head over to Amazon to see the prices of all of the travel guitars featured in this review.
And feel free to check out our related posts, for ideas on other portable gear everyone needs!