10 Best Travel Guitars in 2020 [Buying Guide]

best travel guitar

Hey, welcome to glencampbellmusic.com, today I am going to share with you the process of finding the best travel guitar. I have had the chance to test a bunch of different travel guitars, if you are here and you’re about to take a trip and considering to get a guitar to take with you on your adventure then here are my top 10 choices of the best travel guitars on the market.

10 Best Travel Guitar Reviewed And Rated

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Product
Product Details
Our #1 Rated

Taylor GS Mini

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar ,...
This is my personal favorite travel guitar. It has everything you need from portability to great sound and design.
Our #1 Rated

Taylor GS Mini

This is my personal favorite travel guitar. It has everything you need from portability to great sound and design.

Premium Option

Yamaha SLG200S

Yamaha SLG200S Steel String Silent Guitar - Trans Black...
When money is not a factor there is no other guitar that can beat the Yamaha SLG200S. Just a unique guitar that is famous for its sound and tech.

Premium Option

Yamaha SLG200S

When money is not a factor there is no other guitar that can beat the Yamaha SLG200S. Just a unique guitar that is famous for its sound and tech.

Most For The Money

Martin backpacker

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar with Bag
For you 200$ you get a durable guitar that both sound and looks good. It's slim and lightweight making easy to bring to flights and adventures, highly recommended for those of you on a budget.

Most For The Money

Martin backpacker

For you 200$ you get a durable guitar that both sound and looks good. It's slim and lightweight making easy to bring to flights and adventures, highly recommended for those of you on a budget.

1. Taylor GS Mini -Best Overall

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar ,...
  • "Body Body type: Taylor Grand Symphony Mini Cutaway: No Top...
  • "There's something undeniably inviting about the Taylor GS...
  • That mix of portability and musicality has proven to be a...

First I will start out with my personal favorite travel guitar, the Taylor GS mini. It comes in a variety of wood combinations and colors, but I will link my favorite version above. Featured with mahogany back and sides and layered sapele bracing.

It’s easy to carry during your travels, comes with a hard case bag, you can get it with electronics and the sound is unreal. Equipped with Taylor’s relief route and X-bracing making it sound so full, punchy and filled with volume and a great tone, simply put its amazing.

The Taylor GS mini doesn’t need much explanation or endorsement from my side, most guitarists know the quality and value this travel guitar brings to the table. If you are looking to get the best travel guitar available on today’s market then check out the Taylor GS mini, you won’t be disappointed.

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2. Yamaha SLG200S  – Premium Option

Yamaha SLG200S Steel String Silent Guitar - Trans Black...
  • Authentic plugged-in sound by SRT Powered
  • Unique, striking looks
  • Super-compact, collapsible construction

The Taylor GS Mini is great for those of you who are looking for a travel partner, but if you want something more unique, special and high class then the Yamaha SLG200s is a great choice. It has a lightweight and eye-catching design crafted in mahogany wood.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room, this guitar does not have a body. So how does this guitar sound so big and punchy without even having a body to resonate the sound in?

The reason this guitar is still great without its body is because of the patterned SRT Yamaha system. This stands for Studio response technology, what this does is that it isolates the data and sound input and both amplifies it and make it sound like a full-blown jumbo guitar.

The goal of this guitar is not making it sound like an amplified wood bar, but a mice top full-bodied acoustic guitar. The SRT system is what makes this it so special. In addition to this, it has even more incredible features such as the built-in reverb.

The reverb adds chorusing and atmosphere to the sound of the guitar. With the built-in chorus, you can play without any sound making it possible for you to play a full-blown concert without annoying anyone close to you.

It’s an excellent guitar that is unique, it sounds great and its perfectly suited for travel because of its design and weight. With technology you can’t get anywhere else you have a high tech guitar that can impress anyone it encounters both beginners to skilled musicians.

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3. Traveler Guitar AG-105EQ

Traveler Guitar, 6-String Ultra-Light Acoustic, Right,...
  • Full 24 3/4" Scale acoustic-electric travel guitar
  • Fits in airline overhead bins. Only 28 in. Long!
  • Eastern American hard Maple neck-through Body

Its innovative design allows you to bring a full-sized 25.5 scale lenght guitar along on your travels. What allows Traveler to make a full-sized guitar so compact is their streamlined tuning system. Each string in their tuning system is attached to a plate, to tune the guitar you just need to screw on a few nobs to adjust the sound to your liking, and there is no tool needed in this process.

To shorten the guitar while still remaining the same distance from the nut to the bridge they have removed the traditional headstock and replaced it with an endcap. The strings are attached in two places, firstly under a screw and second inside the endcap, both of these can be adjusted by using a small tool you can include with your guitar.

The guitar comes with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides which make for a quality tone that was more punchy and loud than I expected.

Included with the guitar you get a custom fit padded bag making it easy to hold and protect your guitar during travel. In terms of electronics, the guitar does not disappoint. Featured with a shadow electronics and a versatile amp that allows you to adjust and turn up the volume to your liking.

Overall it’s a great travel guitar that gives you the pleasure of playing on a full-scale guitar wherever you go.

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4. Martin LXM

Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
  • Mahogany pattern HPL (high pressure laminate) textured...
  • Rust Stratabond neck, shortened 3/4 scale
  • Chrome small-knob tuners. Tusq saddle.

Martin LXM is one of the most popular choices out there in terms of travel guitars. It comes with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides making a pleasure playing on. It has a full and great sound to it that makes it stand out in the crowd of travel guitars.

Its made of high-pressure laminate, which is a wood fiber that is infused with natural reasons that are made to look like a wood-like surface and is excellent at projecting the voice of the guitar.

You will notice that this guitar has a very nice voice and ring to it providing resulting in a budget guitar that gives you a lot for your money.

With this compact guitar size, you have a guitar that is ready for travel and adventures. Overall it’s a great guitar that works well, sounds good and comes at a great price.

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5. Baby Taylor BT2 

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany Top
  • 6-string Acoustic Guitar with Mahogany Top
  • Layered Sapele Back
  • Sides - Natural

The Baby Taylor BT2 was the guitar that scored best on our best acoustic guitar for small hands article. We have reviewed this fellow guitar several times in our blog and that for a very good reason.

Crafted with a solid mahogany top and sapele laminated sides and back that resonates well in its voice. Featured with ebony fingerboard, bridge and X-bracing making it sound like the beauty it does.

It comes with a solid bad and if you want you can get it with a pickup. I wouldnt say it is cheap since it feels far from it. But its absolutely a budget choice compared to the other models on this list. Still, if it comes at a great price it still sounds very good!

I know a lot of people struggle to decide between this guitar and the Martin LXM and the only thing I would say is the deciding factor here is the price. If you can afford the Martin LXM go for it if you cant then pick the Baby Taylor, it’s really that simple.

Great guitar at a great price.

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6. Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Electric (ULE BKM SK)
  • Full 24 3/4" Scale electric travel guitar
  • Fits in airline overhead bins. Only 28 in. Long!
  • One-piece Eastern American hard Maple neck-through-body...

The Traveler Ultra-light is yet another innovative guitar from the Traveler brand. The guitar is very light making it easy to take with you on your travels and adventures. It’s more comfortable compared to AG-200EQ and comes in a variety of colors. Crafted in a single piece of solid Eastern American hard maple with a satin finish.

The Ultra-light is featured with an ebonized rosewood fretboard and a traveler dual-rail humbucker pickup that allows you to tune the voice of the guitar to your liking. You get a travel bad and other handy equipment with your purchase as well.

This guitar gives you the luxury of having a guitar that suits in the fits in airline overhead bins. With its lightweight build and good looking aesthetics, you have a good sounding guitar that is worth a second look.

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7. Martin Steel String Backpacker

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar with Bag
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Solid Tonewood Back and Sides
  • Unique Contour Neck Shape

The Martin Steel String Backer is a super slim guitar that is both lightweight and takes up little space making it a guitar suited for travel. As the name states the guitar is suiting for backers and guitarists who are looking for a guitar that can easily be carried.

The solid spruce top provides durability and more sound than you would expect from such a small guitar. Playing on the Martin backpacker can be a challenge in the beginning because of its unique design, but the new look and feel is something most guitarist adapts to fairly quickly.

With the Martin Steel-String backpacker, you have the option to have a guitar in your backpack at all times that both sounds and look great. It’s a unique guitar piece that has received a lot of positive reviews in both our store and on amazon because of its aesthetics and sound.

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8. Traveler Guitar 6 String Escape Mark III

Traveler Guitar 6 String Escape Mark III (Alder),...
  • Full 25 1/2" scale acoustic/electric travel guitar
  • Alder body with bolt-on maple neck; natural finish
  • Custom Shadow preamp w/headphone out and 1/8" aux-in

The last traveler we have on this list is the Escale Mark III. The Traveler never stops to impress. The Mark III is featured with its innovative tuning system that makes the guitar more compact and suited for traveling. It’s 26% shorter and 47% thinner than a regular full-sized guitar. The traveler managed to accomplish this by removing the headstock and implementing a unique design to the body of the guitar.

Featured with a built-in shadow headphone amplifier, auxiliary input, and EQ controls. Because of the sensitive under-saddle pickup, there is no need for a bigger body. The guitar sounds great and has a great acoustic tone.

Mark III is crafted in mahogany wood and comes with a cutaway that allows for higher frets. 

This is yet another great traveler guitar that allows you to bring a normal-sized guitar along on your travels that both sounds and look good.

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9. Cordoba Mini II MH

Cordoba Mini II MH
  • Comfortable 1/2 size guitar, with standard tuning
  • Layered Mahogany top, back and sides
  • Nub one nut, 1. 875" Width

The Cordoba Mini II is here replace the popular original series. Featured in a full mahogany body you get an acoustic travel guitar that actually sounds like one and not like a ukulele. 

In terms of sound there nothing else to say than perfect. The mahogany wood resonates well with the sound giving it a warm and comfortable voice. The volume is good compared to other guitars with similar size and it was bigger than what we expected.

With under 200$, you get a full mahogany bodied guitar that sounds great. The Cordoba Mini is both light and portable making this guitar under 200$ a steal.

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10. Yamaha JR2

Yamaha JR2 Junior-Size 33-Inch Acoustic Guitar -...
  • 21 1/4" scale length; 33" full length
  • Spruce top
  • Mahogany back and sides

The Yamaha is one of the most popular travel guitars on amazon, so we had to give it a try. In terms of sound, we found the guitar to be very loud and clear for its size. The Yamaha JR2 is clearly designed after Yamaha’s popular FG series, just that the JR2 comes in a smaller package.

The JR2 comes with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The neck is made of nato and comes with a rosewood fretboard and bridge.

With the sound and looks of the JR2, you have a complete travel package that won’t let you down. Featured with high-quality materials you can be sure that this guitar will last you for a very long time.

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What is a travel guitar?

A travel guitar is a guitar crafted and designed for the purpose of being portable and easy to take along on travels and adventures. You will find that a travel guitar is normally both smaller in terms of thickness and lenght.

There is no set lenght, thickness or weight to qualify beeing a travel guitar, you can find travel guitars that can be anywhere from full-lenght to beeing a 1/2 size. There is a variety of functions and creative designs that are invented to making portable and easy to use as possible.

An example of such an invention is Travelers’ built-in tuning that allows them to remove the headstock making the guitar both lighter and shorter. You will many such inventions through this list, but some are simply just downsized guitars similar to a ukulele in terms of looks.

What to look for in a travel guitar

When trying to find a good travel guitar, you should look to find a guitar that is both light, slim, and lightweight. This will help you to transport the guitar without too much of a hassle. But portability is not the only factor. Both sound and looks are essential. These are what make the difference between the good and the bad.

Sure, you could take your full-sized dreadnought guitar along on your travels, but I am sure after dragging it on the air, bus or train that you will realize it’s not really worth the effort.

Materials

When it comes to travel guitars, solid wood is not so important. Solid wood does not handle stress and climate changes as well as a laminate. If you want both the sound and durability than a solid top and laminated back and sides build is your best choice.

Sound

The smaller the body the smaller output a guitar will have. Because of new technology and designs, the travel guitars in today’s age sound pretty good and loud. They cant be compared with a full-sized guitar, but they are still very impressive. A guitar that caught me off-guard on this list was the Yamaha SG200. Yamaha’s technology on this guitar is just remarkable if you haven’t read the review then scroll to the top and you will find it.

Cost

A travel guitar should not be the most expensive guitar in your arsenal. During most adventures, your guitar will take a beating in terms of physical punches or climate changed that impacts the wood.  You should expect your travel guitar to either get stolen, broken or destroyed through its lifetime. However, if you are a professional musician looking for a top-shelf travel guitar to use for concerts and shows then there are choices for you as well.

If you are an average guitarist looking for a practical and portable guitar I would recommend you stay within the 100-400$ range since it will give you the option to buy great guitars, but it won’t ruin your economical situation if it gets destroyed either.

Where to buy a travel guitar?

There is a variety of guitar shops that sell travel guitars, but my preferred way is Amazon. Through their platform, you have all the top brands and products in one shop. Online retailers will often provide you with the best price as well since it is so easy for you as a consumer to compare prices online compared to in the store.

Best backpacker guitar?

If you are looking for a backpacker guitar then I would assume you want something that is both light, portable and robust. If so then Taylor GS mini and Traveler Backpacker should be your go-to choices. They both are fitted for backers in both weight and design.

When you are looking for a backpacker guitar you dont want to spend your whole savings since the guitar will be laying your backpack at all times and can easily be damaged during an adventure. It’s important to use a hard or compact travel bag that offers good protection for your future travel partner.

If you either go with the Taylor GS mini or Traveler Backpacker I am sure you won’t be disappointed. They both offer a lot of value for the money and they both sound great.

Best sounding travel guitar?

In terms of sound, I would highly recommend the Taylor GS Mini and Yamaha SLG200S. In terms of sound, these two guitars are excellent. My personal favorite is the Yamaha SLG200s, it has nobody, but still, it sounds like a million bucks because of Yamaha’s new technology. However, if your budget is on the smaller side the Taylor GS mini will do the job perfectly. The Taylor mini has a small body, but a combination of high-quality materials and design the guitar still manages to put out a lot of volume with a great tone.

last Words

There you have it, my favorite travel guitars compressed in one list. I tried to include a variety of guitars for you so I would cover every taste out there.

If you pick either one of the guitars on this list I am sure you will be pleased, I have personally tried and tested all these and I can confirm that they perform far and beyond what they promise.

If there is a brand or guitar you think I have left out then please let me know in the comment section and I will be sure to include it if I agree to your opinion.

Make sure to listen to the guitar on youtube before you purchase it, that way you can listen and know that you like the sound before you have it on your doorstep.

Thanks for reading, have an awesome day!

Cheers, Fredrick.