If you’re like me, your precious Martin guitar doesn’t leave your home—ever. How can you risk anything happening to it? After all, it’s your baby. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t get the itch to play when you’re on the road even if it’s just a weekend getaway. That’s where a travel acoustic guitar can step up to the plate.
These guitars are often smaller than your standard one. You might see ¾ size models too. It doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice great sound. And you don’t have to break the bank to buy one either. You can get a decent one for well under $400. Some run under $100 if you’re budget-minded.
Some guitars come with a gig bag which is always a plus given their smaller sizes. You’ll find them with some goodies like picks and a strap thrown in too. Bear in mind that the sound and tone will vary from what you’re used to playing. Some may have narrower necks or different body shapes. For the most part, they’re a sideways move and aren’t game changers.
Check out our roundup of the best travel acoustic guitars.
SX Trav 1 Traveling Guitar
The SX Trav 1 stands out as a great value for under $200. It has a solid spruce top and a mahogany body. The sound is surprisingly good—after you replace the stock strings. The tone is bigger and clearer than we expected. It has a welcome richness to it that we can see enjoying while playing around the campfire. The action is decent too. The neck is smaller, so it will take some time to get used to playing it. That’s not a big deal though to us but may bother others. Besides, it’s so darn cute! The guitar comes with a gig bag.
Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar
The first thing you notice about the Martin Steel String Backpacker is its odd, paddle-like shape. It doesn’t even look like a guitar! Don’t let its small size deceive you because it delivers big sound despite its ergonomic shape. Even though it’s a bit out there, it is ambidextrous which is a point in its favor. It has 15 frets which isn’t uncommon with these instruments.
It’s well-made from its solid spruce top to its chrome tuners. It has lovely resonance. The intonation is excellent too, and it stays in tune. The neck is heavier than you may expect, so it’s a good thing that it comes with a strap. It also includes a bag. The only downside we found is its unique sound. It has a banjo-like quality to it too which some may think is too twangy.
Cordoba Mini O Travel Acoustic Guitar
Cordoba Mini O Travel Acoustic Guitar is a gorgeous instrument thanks to its solid ovangkol top. It has laminate back and sides with a mahogany neck and a rosewood fretboard. The neck is a bit on the wide side for some players. The sound is warm and big, considering its diminutive size.
There are no electronics on board with this one which may be a dealbreaker for some. It does have a full-size neck which is certainly a point in its favor. However, it has a ukulele tone to it that also may turn off a few looking for something more in the acoustic line. Overall, it’s well-made which we’d expect from Cordoba. The guitar comes with a gig bag.
Luna Safari Series Muse Travel Acoustic Guitar
Luna Safari Series Muse would make a fine entry-level guitar for someone. It’s affordable and well-made, making it a good investment. It has a stunning mahogany top, back, and sides with a satin finish. It will certainly turn some heads when you pull it out of the bag.
The sound is great despite its ¾ size though the volume isn’t overwhelming. On the downside, you’ll need new strings out of the box. It comes with a gig bag such as it is without any padding to protect it. You’ll definitely want to pop for something more substantial before hitting the road. Tuning is a bit wonky, but otherwise, it’s a decent guitar for the price.
Guitar Works Travel Guitar
The Guitar Works Travel Guitar is really a package that includes a strap, gig bag, and picks. That makes it a great option if you’re looking for a beginner guitar with all the bells and whistles to start. It is a value-priced instrument that surprisingly has an adjustable truss rod. We liked the fact that you can choose the strings you want with the build from a small selection of choices.
The top and body are laminate which isn’t unexpected in this price range. It has a standard size neck which was welcome. Often, these types of guitars have only 15 frets. The sound is good. It comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
Cordoba Mini SM-CE Travel Guitar
Cordoba Mini SM-CE differs from other instruments we reviewed so far with its solid cedar top and spalted maple back and sides. The latter adds brightness to its tone. It’s a higher-end guitar with a matching price. Its sound and intonation are impressive which we’d expect from Cordoba.
The electronics are okay, not great if that matters to you. We liked that the width is standard rather than narrower which we often see in these guitars. While it looks great, it misses the mark on some design features. There is no adjustable truss rod which we’d like to see at this price point.
Luna Safari Series Tattoo Travel Guitar
Luna Safari Series Tattoo is one that you either love or hate because of the design. We liked it. It has funky moon phase inlays on the rosewood fretboard and an island-inspired tattoo on its face. It has a mahogany top and body for those mid-range tones. It’s a good choice for beginner guitar with a huge wow factor to it. It’s well-made with good action. It’s comfortable and easy to play. The sound is full and rich even when considering its ¾ size. But you might want to swap out the stock strings to kick it up a notch. It’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t include a gig bag. Other than that, it’s a good value for this price point.
Johnson JG-TR2 Travel Guitar
The Johnson JG-TR2 has a classic design with its skinnier profile. It has the full 22-fret rosewood fretboard with a whitewood top and body. It is also an ambidextrous model. It is smaller at less than 34 inches long which may take some time for you to get used to playing. The action and sound are quite good even at this size. It’s not loud, but not enough to be a dealbreaker.
It’s well-made which is a good thing considering the case that you get with the guitar. It is a steel string guitar and won’t take nylon ones. It is a good value for what it is at an affordable price that won’t break the bank.
Traveler Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar
The Traveler Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar brings the best of both worlds for your travels. If you thought the Martin Backpacker was out there, this one takes it a giant step further. It is the only instrument in our roundup that is a one-piece model with its Eastern American maple body and neck. It also has 22 frets. We weren’t sure what to think about the tuner placement in the body, but it actually makes sense for a travel instrument. It makes it lighter and shorter.
It has an under-saddle Piezo pickup and features an adjustable truss rod. The sound isn’t anything to write home about concerning its volume. However, it scores major points on portability. It is a bit trickier to tune it, given its design. It’s a bit more expensive which is a given considering the electronics. Overall, it is the essence of a travel guitar.
Feixiang Classical Travel Guitar
Feixiang Classical Travel Guitar is our second of the package type. It comes with a gig bag, picks, strap, and even a capo. Bear in mind that the color choices of the bag are random. It’s the luck of the draw, folks. It is also the only one we reviewed that is under $100. Talk about value! It has a spruce top with a laminated Sapele body and a solid mahogany neck.
It’s not a bad guitar for the price with a pleasant sound, albeit, not very loud. It came with better strings and components than we’d expect for a value-priced instrument. It’d be an excellent choice for a beginner with everything they need out of the box. It only comes with a 30-day money back guarantee which is definitely on the light side.
No matter what your budget, there’s a travel acoustic guitar waiting for you. Any of these models will fit the bill for an instrument to take on the road to satisfy your urge to play wherever your journey leads you. The best things about them are their affordable prices and lighter weight which makes them convenient to take along whether you’re driving or flying.
Our picks all delivered bigger sound than you’d think possible with these smaller instruments. The quality of the construction was top-notch too. A travel guitar is a worthwhile investment if you have to have your music fix even when you’re away from home. You can get a lot of guitar for the money for a new instrument.