Best Travel Guitars – The Top 10 Acoustics For The Road

best travel acoustic guitars
best overall rating
  • All-Koa body with solid Koa top
  • Built-in preamp and pickup
  • Built-in chromatic tuner
  • African ebony bridge
premium choice rating
  • Outstanding headphone sound
  • A stylish unique body design
  • Built-in preamp/pickup with tuner
  • Amazing SRT powered sound
great value rating
  • Amazing sounding instrument
  • No headstock, tuning machines in body
  • Built-in preamp/pickup with chromatic tuner
  • Headphone jack for private practice

A guitar nerd always carries their instrument with them whatever part of the world they find themselves. Whether you’re a backpacker making your way through New Zealand’s beautiful outdoors or an archeologist working in the ancient dirt of Egypt, the best travel guitar will keep your tingly fingers happy.

There are many reasons why you should get a dedicated travel guitar for the road. For starters, they are smaller than a full-size guitar and, therefore, easy to carry in your car or a backpack. The smaller size also makes it easy to carry the guitar aboard an airplane.

Also, you don’t want to carry around an expensive $4,000 Taylor instrument when roaming the globe. A decent portable guitar will let you move around while you enjoy playing without worrying about damaging or losing a high-end instrument.

However, a travel acoustic guitar comes in all sizes and shapes. It may be a full-size instrument with a foldable neck to make it portable, a 3/4-size guitar {}, a parlor, or an orchestra size instrument.

The chart below reviews the finest travel guitars on the market for those making long global travels or simply state-hopping. Go through the list to find the best acoustic for your next journey.

Top 10 Best Travel Guitars

Product PhotoGuitar and RatingDescriptionCheck Price & Read User Reviews
+ Taylor GS Mini-e

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Beautiful, portable, top-notch craftsmanship, amazing sound, lightweight, easy and comfortable to play. An ideal travel acoustic

+ Yamaha Steel String SLG200S TBS

Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

A traveler guitar with an unusual body shape. Amazing sound and excellent craftsmanship.

+ Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III

Overall Score: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

A portable and lightweight with a unique body shape. Headphone jack gives you endless hours of practice anywhere

+ Martin Little Martin LXM

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

A petite body with a sound that rivals a full-size guitar. This is a gorgeous and fun-to-play little instrument

+ Alvarez LJ2 Little Jumbo

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

This travel-friendly Alavarez is ideal for hitting the road with, lazying on the beach, or just for practice around the house.

+ Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

A small size body with a full-body sound. A beautiful, stylish and a well-built guitar with a free gig bag. Great for travel

+ SX Trav 1 Acoustic Guitar

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

A solid spruce top travel-size acoustic for less than $150. This is an ideal companion on your travels

+ Martin Steel-String Backpacker

Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

It is a great travel guitar that does exactly what it was designed to do. Great sound, affordable, and portable

+ Cordoba Mini II MH

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Very portable 1/2-size guitar that is fun and comfortable to play. Great quality at an affordable price

+ Fender CT-60S

Overall Score: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

A travel-friendly small body acoustic with solid spruce top at an amazingly low price. Excellent value for money

Taylor GS Mini-e

Taylor GS Mini-e x300

This grand symphony mini is our top pick because it is simply an awesome instrument for its price. The GS Mini-e from Taylor is a beautiful instrument with excellent craftsmanship and an amazing sound.

The body is smaller than a full-size guitar, but a single strum of the strings tells you this little beauty should not be underestimated. The volume and intonation will rival that of most full-size and higher-priced instruments.

This guitar strikes so many fine balances. It’s portable and yet powerful – It’s small enough for smaller players and big enough for bigger players. The GS Mini-e is expensive enough to be precious but not too expensive to be out of reach for most guitarists.

The top of the body is made from a beautiful Hawaiian Koa wood (there are Mahogany and Sitka spruce versions for those interested) with layered Koa sides and back. The neck is made from Mahogany with a 20-fret Ebony fingerboard. The neck is slim, which makes it ideal for people with smaller or regular hands. Those with excessively large hands may find it a bit difficult to play.

This instrument is an electric-acoustic, so it does come with a built-in preamp with a tuner and tone and volume controls. You can hook this acoustic up to an amp for playing gigs.

The smaller size, excellent sound quality, beautiful and high-quality craftsmanship, and the free hard case makes the Taylor GS Mini-e the best travel acoustic guitar for players of all skill levels.

Yamaha Steel String SLG200S TBS

Yamaha SString SLG200S TBS x300

The SLG200S is not your average acoustic guitar. This acoustic-electric is near-silent and has a collapsible body, which makes it an attractive instrument to travel with. This instrument isn’t completely silent but it is much quieter than traditional acoustics. The sound is more like playing an unplugged electric guitar.

The sound quality of this instrument is beyond amazing, but you’ll need a headphone or an amp to appreciate it fully. It comes with an auxiliary input jack, which lets you plug in a source of music (like an mp3 player) to play along to. The output you get through your is a mixture of the music and the sound of the guitar. Yamaha’s SLG200S is an excellent travel guitar that can be played anywhere without disturbing those around you.

This unique instrument has a detachable top side, making it easy to carry along as you travel. The body is made from a combination of Mahogany, Maple, and Rosewood. The neck is made from Mahogany with a 22-fret Rosewood fingerboard. The guitar has great action and intonation out of the box – it is a highly playable instrument for players of all levels.

The craftsmanship on this guitar is first class – it looks, feels, and sounds like a high-end instrument.

At the heart of the SLG200S is the electronics. You get a preamp with SRT technology, which allows you to output sound solely from the guitar’s pickup, the SRT, or a mix between the two. The electronics come with a built-in tuner and various other controls.

The SLG200S is a top travel guitar because of its size, weight, excellent balance, high-end look and feel, great sound, and easy playability. You also get a free bag to carry it in when on your travels.

Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III

Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III

The Mark III from Traveler is a single-cutaway body with a unique design. It is an electric-acoustic with a built-in headphone amp, which lets you play anywhere without disturbing anyone else.

This acoustic has no headstock and a smaller body, making it an ideal acoustic guitar to travel with. The tuners are located inside a groove in the body.

The instrument is quiet and sounds much like an electric guitar when played without a headphone or an amp. So, we believe it is a bit of an overstatement to refer to it as an acoustic guitar. However, it does come with acoustic strings, and it sounds just like an acoustic when connected to a headphone or an amp.

The Mark III is fun and easy to play, making it an ideal acoustic for beginners and advanced players to practice on. This portable instrument from Traveler is perfect for taking on the road with you. The small size makes it easy to carry onto airplanes or a small car.

Martin Little Martin LXM

Martin LX1 Little Martin

The Martin LXM is a travel-sized acoustic guitar that is also ideal for beginners and kids with smaller hands. The tonewood is the main distinguishing feature of the LXM from the LKX2 model.

The top of the body is made from Sitka Spruce with Mahogany back and sides. This combination of tonewood produces exceptional sound quality.

You get a free gig bag to carry the guitar in on your travels around the world. The LXM is a beautiful instrument with a great sound and should be considered by anyone wanting a good quality travel guitar.

Alvarez LJ2 Little Jumbo

Alvarez LJ2 Little Jumbo

This little dreadnought from Alvarez has a solid Sitka spruce to with Mahogany sides and back. The neck is also made from Mahogany with a Rosewood fretboard.

The LJ2 is an acoustic travel guitar with high-quality craftsmanship and excellent acoustic properties. The sustain is great, and the neck is comfortable to play. It sounds and looks great for its price tag. Travelers can easily fit the smaller body into the carry-on luggage compartment of an airplane without drawing many stares from your fellow passengers.

The best acoustic travel guitar should be easy to play and transport without sacrificing sound quality and great craftsmanship. The Alvarez LJ2 meets these requirements, and the best part is it won’t cost you as much as a Taylor GS Mini. You also get a free gig back when you buy this guitar.

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor

Taylor is a legendary brand in the acoustic guitar market, and the Baby Taylor BT2 is an example of their beautiful and high-quality craftsmanship. This guitar is ideal for travel and players with smaller hands than the average guitarist. This smaller-sized dreadnought packs a punch despite its body size.

The comparatively low price-tag belies the excellence of the BT2. The body is made of solid Mahogany with Sapele sides and back. The design and combination of tonewood make it sound like you’re playing a full-size Taylor instrument. The neck is made from Sapele with a 19-fret Ebony fretboard.

This 3/4-size dreadnought produces excellent intonation and sound projection for its small size. The back is arched slightly to help with the sound projection.

You also get a free gig back with this acoustic – this, coupled with the lightweight body and smaller body size, makes the BT2 a good choice for a travel acoustic guitar.

SX Trav 1 Acoustic Guitar

SX Trav 1 Acoustic GuitarThis lightweight and portable acoustic are perfect for planes and any other form of travel. The budget-friendly Trav 1 may be made by a brand that is not well-recognized, but it is worth your consideration if you travel and a lot and need to bring a guitar with you wherever you go.

You get an affordable instrument with a solid Spruce top and Mahogany sides and back. The neck is made from Mahogany with a highly-playable Rosewood fingerboard.

The size, weight, and easy playability offer plenty of enjoyable strumming whiles on your travels. You get a free gig back and decent quality hardware to boot, making the SX Trav 1 a worthy member of our best acoustic travel guitars list.

Martin Steel-String Backpacker

Martin Steel-String Backpacker

This uniquely shaped acoustic from Martin is made for travel and easy playability. As the name suggests, this acoustic from Martin is designed to easily carried wherever you go. The body has an oar shape with a 15-fret neck, but don’t be fooled by the compact size.

The Backpacker has a body made from a solid Spruce top with solid tonewood back and sides. The neck is made from Mahogany with a hardwood fretboard.

This travel acoustic guitar is extremely easy to play, but it sacrifices a bit of tone projection to accommodate the travel-friendly size. You get a free gig back and a strap when you opt for the Martin Backpacker.

Cordoba Mini II MH

Cordoba-Mini-II-MH-300x300

The budget-friendly Mini II is an excellent travel-sized acoustic guitar to carry with you on your travels. The body, back, sides, and neck are all made from Mahogany – the 19-fret fretboard is made from a composite material.

The smaller size produces a true acoustic guitar sound while ensuring easy portability for those who love to travel. It has great intonation and excellent playability for its price tag. You should note that this item does not include a free gig bag, so you’ll have to fork out a bit more to buy an optional bag.

Fender CT-60S

Fender CT-60S

Fender isn’t known for making smaller-sized instruments, and the CT-60S seems to be their best attempt to enter this market in the budget-priced range.

The body is shaped in the auditorium style with a full-scale neck. The top of the body is made from solid spruce and the back and sides from laminated Mahogany. The Mahogany neck comes with a 20-fret Rosewood fretboard with an easy to play and comfortable rolled edges.

This smaller-sized travel guitar has a good-quality sound for its size and price tag. The included hard case makes this extra attractive for hitting the road with.

What is a Travel Guitar?

A travel guitar can mean different things for different people. It is whatever you can carry comfortably with you when you’re on the road. As long as you are comfortable carrying the instrument onto a plane or train, it can be your travel guitar.

However, a travel guitar in the industry generally refers to instruments designed for easy portability. Most travel guitars have a reduced-sized body (3/4, 1/2, or mini) and may have an unconventional body. Some travel guitars may also be a full-sized instrument with a foldable neck, which reduces the size of the instrument for easy transportation.

The Best Travel Guitar – Must-Have Features

Different guitar brands {} tend to have some standard features but also some unique features. However, there are a few things you need to look out for when shopping for a travel guitar.

A portable size is obviously the first thing you need to look out for. The smaller size makes it easier to carry onto a plane if you’ll be flying to your destination. However, a smaller size shouldn’t mean that you have to compromise on craftsmanship or sound quality. On the other hand, a travel guitar shouldn’t be so expensive that you get scared of taking it on the road with you. Thankfully, all the instruments on our list of the best travel acoustic guitars are robust and affordable.

The choice of tonewood is not as important in a travel-friendly guitar as it is in a full-size instrument. Although a solid wood instrument may produce a slightly better tone, they are not as robust as laminates. However, you may want to buy an acoustic with a solid wood top and a laminate back and sides.

Although the best travel guitars have excellent sound quality, don’t expect to get the same projection offered by full-bodied instruments. Some of the instruments on the list are super quiet, which is great when you want to play whiles waiting at a crowded airport or when sitting on the train. You can just plug in a headphone and strum to your heart’s content without people giving your murderous looks. These “silent” acoustics with headphone jacks are also excellent when you want to play whiles sitting in a quiet café or your hotel room.

Another consideration is the cost of the instrument. Traveling with the guitar means it is more susceptible to being stolen or damaged, so you should either get an instrument that isn’t too expensive or get excellent insurance coverage for your expensive travel instrument. Leisure players, in particular, do not need to carry an expensive acoustic while globetrotting. It is something that should be left to the professionals or those traveling to play a gig.

Our Final Thoughts

There are several reasons why you’ll want to take a guitar with you on your travels. This article is mostly meant for leisure players and not professionals or gigging guitarists. Some of the instruments featured on our list are professional-grade, like the Taylor GS Mini, but most of the guitars on the list are ideal for practicing or for beginners.

Remember that you’ll get different tonal properties depending on the size and shape of the guitar you buy. Any of the instruments on our chart is ideal for carrying on the road, and we hope that you’ll pick one that suits you and roll with it.

We wish you all the best and hope you get the joy out of bringing an acoustic guitar with you on your adventures.

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