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Best Travel Guitars: A Guide To A Portable Adventure

November 22, 2023 
Last Updated on November 22, 2023

Travel and music are soulmates that create memories to last a lifetime. Whether you're sitting around a campfire, lounging on a beach, or unwinding in a cozy hotel room, a guitar can be your best companion.

In this guide, we'll explore the world of travel guitars, those compact and portable instruments designed for the wandering musician. From their unique designs to their surprising sound quality, we'll help you find the perfect travel guitar that doesn’t compromise on quality or playability.

So, pack your bags and tune your strings, as we look at the best travel guitars, ensuring your next adventure is musically unforgettable!

Included in this guide:

Best Overall
Martin Backpacker Travel Acoustic Guitar

Martin Backpacker Travel Acoustic Guitar

  • Body, top, and sides made with Spruce and Mahogany 
  • Chrome-enclosed tuners
  • Richlite fretboard material and alloy steel strings
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Taylor BT2 Baby Acoustic Guitar

Taylor BT2 Baby Acoustic Guitar

  • D'Addario XS Coated Phosphor Bronze strings 
  • Die-cast tuners
  • Nubone nuts and Micarta saddle
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Top Pick
Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric

  • Eastern American hard maple body and neck material
  • Black walnut or Indian laurel fingerboard
  • Dual-rail Humbucker electronics
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Top Pick
Fender Squier Mini Electric Guitar

Fender Squier Mini Electric Guitar

  • Poplar and Alder wood body and back material
  • Indian laurel fingerboard
  • Hardtail bridge and three single-coil pickups
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Lowest Price
Yamaha JR1 ¾ Size Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha JR1 ¾ Size Acoustic Guitar

  • Laminated wood, spruce, and mahogany body material
  • Rosewood fretboard and bronze strings
  • Fixed guitar bridge system
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Related Article: Best Starter Acoustic Guitars: Top 5 Picks For Beginners

The Top 5 Best Travel Guitars

The most notable feature of this travel guitar is its unique narrow and slender backpacker body shape, making handling and storage easier. When it comes to sound quality, this guitar produces more sustained notes—thanks to its mahogany and Sitka spruce tonewoods. Additionally, this 6-string Martin guitar is made with alloy steel, contributing to the sound's liveliness. Alloy steel strings are also known for their increased magnetic capacity. They’re excellent at playing high notes, too.

  • Compact and lightweight, weighing a little more than two pounds and only about 24 inches in length
  • Loud and professional sound quality, considering its size and price
  • Made with highly durable, sustainable, and low-maintenance hardwood
  • The unique shape can be unappealing to some users. 
  • Lacks electronic support and has no strap lock.
  • The nuts aren’t the best quality since they have poor lubricating properties and are less hard.

This small-form dreadnought guitar from the leading acoustic guitar manufacturer projects soft, mellow tunes with excellent depth. This portable dreadnought guitar weighs about 4.4 pounds and is about 34 inches long. Its top and body are sturdy mahogany wood, while the back and side material is layered sapele. 

High-quality ebony wood makes up its guitar’s fretting board. This material is reputable for its extreme durability and resistance to wear. Meanwhile, its bronze strings allow smooth and light-tension strumming. Lastly, the chrome-plated tuners are stable and smooth to operate.

  • Slim neck and smooth frets allow for better grip
  • Promising sound volume despite its compact size
  • The screw-on removable neck allows better storage or transport
  • For users who prefer a more refined electronics system, this guitar model isn’t the best bet. 
  • Lacks an in-built strap lock to secure guitar straps
  • Bass tones are a bit muddy

Measuring about 25 inches and weighing less than 3 pounds, this travel-friendly electric guitar is an excellent choice for traveling professionals and beginners alike. Despite its small size, the Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric guitar is a full-scale and full-featured guitar model. 

This guitar features an Eastern American hard maple body and neck. Interestingly, this hardwood is long-lasting and highly resistant to environmental changes. Its fingerboard material is black walnut with micarta nuts and chrome closed-gear tuners, which seals the gear from dust and elements. Each purchase includes a foam lap rest and a heavy-duty gig bag.

  • Produces high-quality professional sound that can match full-size electric guitars when plugged
  • Its extremely lightweight and portable design makes it easy to store in luggage or airline bins
  • With its piezo pickup and output jack, you can connect it to any device (e.g., headphone amp or a recording device)
  • Despite being compact, the fretboard is full-sized, so it may not offer a good grip for beginners or those with small hands
  • Quieter than full-sized electric guitars when unplugged.

The Fender Squier Mini Stratocaster electric guitar features a vintage-style headstock with synthetic bone nuts. Its body material is made of poplar with a glossy polyurethane finish. The hardtail bridge and single-coil pickups support solid and smooth tuning stability. Meanwhile, its nickel-plated strings and light string gauge contribute to the lively sound output. Plus, this type of string is highly resistant to corrosion.

  • Highly affordable, costing less than $200
  • Best for children, beginners, and users with small grip due to its slim and lightweight design
  • Loud sound projection for a compact model
  • The durability and quality of this guitar aren’t as promising, so it may not be suitable for daily use. 
  • Since it’s marketed as the ideal instrument for children or beginners, it may not appeal to intermediate users and pros seeking excellent tonal depth.
  • The frets are rough.

With its laminated wood body, mahogany wood back, and spruce top, this compact guitar features excellent craftsmanship. This guitar also has an open chrome tuning machine and bronze strings that produce smooth and warm sounds. Consequently, its Rosewood fingerboard allows warm and full-tone projections. The Yamaha JR1 weighs about 5 pounds and measures 22 inches in length.

  • Beginner-friendly and compatible with the Yamaha Player Port mobile application that has a free tuner and professional tutorials to guide newbie guitarists
  • Its configuration is compatible with both right-handed and left-handed users.
  • Its short, slender neck allows better grip and comfort.
  • Made with laminated wood, it may not be as durable and wear-resistant as its solid wood counterpart. 
  • The sound quality and depth of this Yamaha guitar isn't as excellent as full-scale acoustic guitars like its Yamaha FG predecessor.
  • The gig bag doesn't have backpack straps, which can disadvantage some users.

Related Article: Best Mini Guitar Amps: Compact Powerhouses With Amazing Tone

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best size for a travel guitar?

The ideal size for a travel guitar depends on your needs and comfort. Generally, a ¾ size guitar is a great balance between portability and playability. These guitars are small enough to be easily carried, yet large enough to offer a satisfying playing experience.

Are travel guitars harder to play?

Not necessarily. Travel guitars are designed to be more compact, which might require some adjustment in playing style, especially for those used to full-size guitars. However, many travel guitars are built with playability in mind, so with a little practice, they shouldn't be harder to play.

Do travel guitars need different strings?

Travel guitars typically do not require special strings. They can be strung with the same types of strings as standard guitars. However, considering the guitar's size and scale length, lighter gauge strings might be more suitable and comfortable for some models.

How do I protect my guitar while traveling?

To protect your guitar while traveling, invest in a good quality, padded gig bag or a hard case. It's also wise to loosen the strings slightly to reduce tension on the neck, and if you're flying, check airline regulations regarding instruments as carry-ons or checked baggage.

Can you learn on a travel guitar?

Absolutely! Travel guitars can be excellent for beginners. Their smaller size can be less intimidating and easier to handle for new players. Just keep in mind that transitioning to a full-size guitar later might require some adjustment.

Product Recap

In conclusion, choosing the right travel guitar can elevate your musical journey to new heights. Our top pick, the Martin Backpacker, stands out for its exceptional sound quality and portability, perfect for the traveler seeking a premium experience. For those who prefer a close second, the Taylor BT2 Baby Acoustic Guitar offers a splendid blend of tone and convenience. And if you're on a budget, the Yamaha JR1 is an unbeatable choice, delivering quality at an affordable price. No matter where your travels take you, these guitars promise to be reliable and melodious companions on your adventures. Safe travels and happy strumming!

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"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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