Best Travel Acoustic Guitars

Every guitarist has come across the dilemma of traveling with their full-size guitar, or being forced to leave it at home. Camping trip? Boarding a plane? Just heading to a friend’s house? Do you take your full-size guitar, or do you not take one at all?

This is why every guitarist needs a travel guitar.

That’s why we wrote this guide to the best travel acoustic guitars. We took key features such as price, size, and durability into consideration when ranking our top favorites.

Lightweight and more portable, a travel guitar is way more versatile than a full-sized when you step out your front door.

No More Reading, Show Me The Best Travel Acoustic Guitar!

Also See: Our Budget Pick

Key Features to Look for in a Travel Acoustic Guitar

  • Size: The whole point of a travel guitar is to be smaller than a regular guitar. Saving valuable storage room in the car, in a tent, or just about anywhere else (not to mention lighter on your back while carrying it), size does indeed matter.
  • Volume: It’s important to remember that travel acoustic guitars will almost always never be as loud as a full-sized guitar. Because there simply isn’t as much room for sound to reverberate in, max volume is limited. However, getting a travel guitar that can come close to the volume of a full-sized guitar is ideal.
  • Price: Travel guitars are almost always cheaper than their full-sized counterpart. Which is a welcoming thought considering travel guitars are at higher risk for damage. But just because they are cheaper than a full-sized, doesn’t mean they are of cheap quality. There are numerous high quality travel guitars that we have listed below.
  • Durability: Travel guitars are going to take a few knocks, but that’s the point. A fragile guitar on the road is bound to get damaged. Durability is an important factor when it comes to travel guitars.

Taylor GS Mini

Pros: Sound quality
Cons: Price
Weight:
11 lbs.
Features:
Comes with hardbag, 18 x 42 x 8 in., Mahogany (top), Sapele (back), Ebony (fret)

Easily the best sounding travel guitar on the market, the GS Mini is truly in a league of it’s own.

High build quality and sound, the GS Mini is precisely what we have come to expect from Taylor. We picked Mahogany over the GS Mini Natural because the Mahogany has a higher bass response, which can be difficult to find in a travel guitar. Also, the arched back adds structural integrity which allows Taylor to skip out on the back braces- keeping weight down.

While we consider the price of the GS Mini to be more than fair for what you’re getting, it does lean on the expensive side for the application of travel. However, if your budget is on the higher-end, you can find no better travel guitar than the Taylor GS Mini.

Luna Safari Series Muse

Pros: Price
Cons: Doesn’t hold tune well
Weight:
4 lbs.
Features:
Gig bag included, 4 x 17 x 36 inches, Spruce (top), Mahogany (sides & back), Rosewood (fret)

Luna Guitars has become popular over the years for their unique looking guitars, and the Muse carries that tradition in a modest, yet elegant way. With an attractive Celtic design around the soundhole, and moon-phase symbols as fret-markers, the Muse makes a neat looking travel guitar packaged at a low weight.

Because of it’s low price, and essentially full sound, the Muse is definitely a guitar to consider for your travels. However, because of it’s lower price there will be drawbacks.

The most notable drawback is it’s inability to hold tune for very long. A feature that can be a bit irritating when you’re on the go. We would have also liked to have seen the gig bag have a bit more padding for protection on the road. But a bag is certainly better than no bag.

For it’s price, the Muse is a good sounding guitar that will make a great travel companion for any guitarist.

Baby Taylor BT-1

Pros: Great action
Cons: Awkward balance
Weight:
4lbs
Features:
Comes with gig bag, 31.5 x 13.8 x 5.9 inches, Spruce (top), Sapele (sides & back), Ebony (fret)

The Baby Taylor has been around for over a decade – and for good reason.

Essentially setting the standard for what modern day travel guitars should be like, it has been the go-to guitar for countless travelers. The action on the Baby is phenomenol, and the intonation is actually pretty decent for a travel guitar. The tone of the guitar leans ”bright”, which can be a positive or negative depending on preference.

The Baby Taylor is a great middle of the road guitar, but if you want more oomph go with the GS Mini listed above, or if you want more bass response to take away some of that “brightness”- go with the Little Martin below.

 

Yamaha APXT2

Pros: Sound/Price
Cons: Cheap Tuners
Weight:
5lbs
Features:
Acoustic/Electric, Gig-bag included, 36.2 x 16.5 x 4.5 inches, Spruce (top), Meranti (sides & back), Rosewood (fret)

Based off of Yamaha’s best-selling APX500, the APXT2 is a great travel guitar at a really fair price.

As the only acoustic/electric guitar on the list, the sound is suprisingly good both acoustic and electric. We listed this guitar for the traveling musician who might want to plug in at a coffeshop or outdoor show. Also, the APXT2 sits and plays really comfortably, which can sometimes be an issue for travel guitars. Included is a built in tuner and gig bag.

We would have liked to have seen better quality tuners, but it’s difficult to complain at this price-point for an acoustic guitar sounding so good plugged in.

Little Martin LX1

Pros: Good full sound
Cons: Neck heavy
Weight:
9 lbs.
Features:  
Gig-bag included, 34.5, 12.5., 3.5. inches, Spruce (top), Mahogany (sides & back), Rosewood (fret)

Martin has a long reputation of building sturdy guitars, and the Little Martin continues that legacy.

We were impressed with the rich bass-response from the LX1, which beat out the Baby Taylor’s bass response (and at the same price point). The sturdy construction is also something we loved to see, especially for travel. The high pressure laminate back and sides and stratibon neck make it sturdy and tough for travel, but Martin made sure to keep the solid spruce top which contributes to it’s great sound. Another win is the awesome gig bag that comes included with the LX1. The bag is padded pretty well, especially for a guitar at this price point.

All in all a win from Martin.


Honorable Mentions

The guitars listed in our ‘Honorable Mentions’ category were guitars that almost made our “Best Travel Acoustic Guitars” list, but were exluded because we felt the cons outweighed the pros. However, we decided to include them here for you to view incase their unique qualities were better suited for your travels.

Martin Backpacker

Pros: Small and Lightweight
Cons: Poor sound/Poor design

Purely for those who want a lightweight and skinny guitar for their travels.

Hey, a guitar is better than no guitar right? The Martin Backpacker was very close to making our list, but the poor sound and wonky design kept it from the list. One of the design features that really irritated us was the placement of the strap button right behind the 10th fret. So your hand will hit your strap if you try to play high. However, if you want to just strum some cowboy chords and not worry about lugging around a heavy guitar- it’s not so bad.

Yamaha FG JR1 Bundle

Pros: Price/Comes with everything you need
Cons: Poor quality

The Yamaha FG JR1 did not make our list purely for quality reasons. However, it’s low price point and neat bundle does make for a decent travel guitar – depending on where you’re traveling. If you’re going somewhere with high risk for damage, this might be a good guitar for you because it won’t be a huge loss on investment if it gets damaged.