Best Travel Acoustic Guitar for Backpacking Musicians: 2020 Buying Guide & Reviews

When you buy an acoustic guitar for traveling you have to understand that this sort of guitar is just going to be basic. These guitars usually have all the features of other acoustic guitars, they don't tend to have the full and rich sound that a regular acoustic guitar will have. They're designed to simply play some chords, songs, or to get in a little bit of practicing as you travel. These instruments aren't designed for performances, recording, or anything of a professional nature. 

You can have a lot of fun with a best travel acoustic guitar but just keep in mind that the guitar is going to be just for traveling it's not going to be a professional instrument. The travel guitar allows you to leave you're more expensive acoustic guitar at home so you don't have to worry about it being stolen or damaged when you're traveling.

Best Travel Acoustic Guitar for Backpacking Musicians

Are you looking for a small travel acoustic guitar? When you are on the go and traveling as a guitar player, you still want to be able to practice, play some chords, and have fun with your instrument. The main problem with a regular acoustic guitar is said it's just too big to take most places when you travel such as an airplane where you would have to check it in, have an expensive acoustic guitar case to protect it, and not know whether or not is going to be damaged. With a small travel guitar, you can take it with you and put it in overhead bins on the airplane, in your boat, in your car, or take it just wherever you are traveling.

I know how hard it can be to find a good travel acoustic guitar so I've made it a lot easier for you. I've been playing guitar a lot of years and I have reviewed many guitars. These instruments should give you all that you need to play guitar when you're traveling and they won't cost you a whole lot of money. Let's have a look at my list of the top best travel acoustic guitars on the market.

Best Travel Acoustic Guitars

Cordoba Mini M Travel Nylon String Acoustic Guitar (with Cordoba Gig Bag)

Cordoba Mini M Travel Nylon String Acoustic Guitar (with Cordoba Gig Bag)

Cordoba makes several different acoustic guitars and they even offer ones that are ideal for travel such as the Cordoba Mini M Travel Guitar. This guitar has a top with mahogany sides and back. This guitar uses nylon strings and it has good tone. The finish is a natural satin and it has a standard acoustic style bridge. The neck is a U shape so it’s very comfortable to play. You can get different wood combinations as there are several minis on the current market. The instrument comes with a gig bag to protect your investment from damage.

Pros

  • Very small for travel
  • Sounds good

Cons

  • You need a special set of Cordoba strings to play the guitar

Final Verdict

This guitar is ideal for anyone that is traveling and has limited space. T sounds good right out of the box and looks attractive with added features such as a soundhole rosette and the company name on the headstock. The tuning pegs help to keep the guitar stable and you’ll find that the neck offers your hand a lot of comfort as you play. It doesn’t matter where you are traveling as this Cordoba guitar can go with you and be ready to play whenever you are.

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar (with Bag)

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar (with Bag)

Martin is known worldwide for their acoustic guitars. They offer a wide range of models including the Martin Steel String Backpacker which is ideal for the traveler. This guitar has spruce top with tonewood sides and back. It’s shaped a bit like a triangle so it’s easy to hold and much smaller than a regular guitar. You can use it with a backpack, on a plane, in a car or wherever you travel. The fretboard on this guitar gives you access to 15 frets and the neck is nice and smooth for easy playability.

Pros

  • Nnice sound
  • Solid hardware

Cons

  • Odd shape can get some getting used to

Final Verdict

The Backpacker is one of the best travel acoustic guitars due to its small size and easy portability. It’s a high-quality guitar from Martin which gives you all the tones you need to play a wide range of acoustic music. The guitar has a standard bridge and the tuners are stable which help keep this guitar in tune for longer. If anyone needs a guitar that doesn’t take up a lot of room when you travel, the Backpacker is one of the better choices in travel guitars.

Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String Travel Acoustic Guitar

Washburn RO10 Rover Steel String Travel Acoustic Guitar

Washburn makes a wide range of electric as well as acoustic guitars. For those that want to travel, Washburn offers the R010 Steel String which is an excellent travel acoustic guitar. This instrument has a mahogany body and it has a solid spruce top. It comes with a nice plush case to protect your investment. The guitar has a nice fingerboard and it’s very comfortable to play. The body shape is unique so it’s very comfortable to hold as well as play and it doesn’t take up much room.

Pros

  • Easy to play
  • Small enough for tight spaces when traveling

Cons

  • Odd shape might take some getting used to

Final Verdict

This guitar is a unique instrument which has a lot of plus points in term of portability for travel. The guitar is quite small and easy to take with you so it’s ideal for the plane, boat, car, or even on a backpack. You get a CD Rom with it to help you learn and you get picks as a well as a guitar strap. The guitar has a nice design around the sound hole and the Washburn log is on the headstock. The tuners are stable and help to keep this instrument in tune for longer. For anyone that needs a high-quality guitar for travel, this one is a great choice due to its size and great tone.

Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar (with Gig Bag)

Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III Acoustic-Electric Travel Guitar (with Gig Bag)

Traveler is a company that makes exclusive travel style guitars in both electric as well as acoustic. They have an excellent acoustic offering in the Traveler Guitar Escape Mark III. This guitar is small at ½ scale when compared to a regular acoustic. It has a natural finish and a maple bolt-on neck. The tuning pegs are on the guitar body, and not on the headstock so it’s a unique design. The guitar has a Custom Shadow preamp so you can use the instrument with your favorite acoustic guitar amplifier.

Pros

  • Unique design
  • Sounds great

Cons

  • Tuning the guitar is a bit odd and may confuse some

Final Verdict

This guitar is ideal for anyone that likes to travel. It has a full pre-amp and controls which give you a rich and vibrant tone when plugged in. The neck is smooth and easy to work with so your hand won’t fatigue. The instrument also has a built-in tuner so you can tune your guitar with ease.  There’s a nice cutaway which allows you to access the top frets of the guitar with ease. If you’re looking for a full-featured acoustic guitar to take with you on the go, this guitar by Traveller is the right choice.

Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar (with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth)

Yamaha APXT2 Acoustic-Electric Guitar (with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, Picks, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth)

Yamaha makes a wide range of electric as well as acoustic guitars and they have several that are well suited for traveling. The APXT2 ¾ is the perfect travel acoustic guitar. It has a spruce top as well as Meranti back and sides.  You can plug it in and play along with an acoustic amplifier as it features an ART-based pickup system. The guitar is much smaller than a normal acoustic guitar so it’s great for traveling. The bridge is made out of rosewood and it has a mahogany neck.

Pros

  • Looks great
  • Nice sound

Cons

  • EQ system may confuse some players

Final Verdict

This Yamaha guitar has everything you need to take with you when you travel. The kit comes with a gig bag, picks, tuner, instructional DVD, extra strings, and a strap. The neck is smooth and very responsive so it’s perfect for all styles of acoustic guitar. It has a solid bridge as well as tuners which help to keep this instrument in tune for longer. If you need a decent travel guitar that plays great and doesn’t cost a lot of money, you can’t go wrong with this Yamaha.

Luna Safari Series Muse Spruce 3/4-Size Travel Acoustic Guitar (with Guitar Care Kit Basic Bundle)

Luna Safari Series Muse Spruce Travel Acoustic Guitar

When you travel, you need a guitar that is small and lightweight but sounds great too. You get that with the Luna Safari, ¾ sized guitar. This guitar is the ideal choice for anyone that wants to travel but doesn’t have a whole lot of room for a larger guitar. It’s perfect for the boat, plane, car, or a backpack. The top of the guitar is select spruce and it has a mahogany back as well as sides. The guitar has nice detail with an attractive design around the sound hole. The smaller size is easy to hold and it’s comfortable to play.

Pros

  • Looks great
  • An ideal choice for any traveler

Cons

  • Could be too small for some

Final Verdict

This Luna guitar is a great choice if you want to travel. The instrument sounds very nice and it also comes with a gig bag to protect your investment. The bridge is solid and it has good tuners which keep the guitar in tune for longer. The guitar has extras such as a logo on the headstock and fretboard markers. If you need a low-cost instrument to take with you on your travels, this is the one for you.

Trav 1 by SX Traveling Guitar Portable (with Bag)

Trav 1 by SX Traveling Guitar Portable (with Bag)

Many guitars are just too large to be taken with you as you travel, SX offers the Trav 1 which is the perfect choice for any traveler. This guitar is small and lightweight and it can go with you no matter where you go. It has a solid spruce top with mahogany sides and back. The truss rod helps to keep the neck straight and it also features a rosewood bridge. It has a bone nut and a Graphtech NuBone saddle. The small size means that it’s very comfortable to play no matter where you are.

Pros

  • Nice look
  • Small enough for any traveler

Cons

  • Could use a couple more frets

Final Verdict

The Trav 1 by SX is a nice simple travel acoustic guitar that won’t break your budget. It has a lot of design extra s such as a rosette around the sound hole. The neck on the guitar is smooth and responsive for whatever acoustic guitar style you want to play. The guitar comes with a nice plush compact case to protect your instrument from damage. If you’re traveling and on the go this is a great guitar as it will fit just about anywhere.

Traveler Guitar AG-105EQ Acoustic/Electric (with Gig Bag)

Traveler Guitar AG-105EQ Acoustic Electric (with Gig Bag)

When you travel, you need a solid and responsible guitar. Traveler makes a wide range of excellent travel guitars such as the AG-105EQ. This instrument has a one-piece maple neck as well as a maple body. The finish is natural and adds to the design of this instrument. You can plug this guitar into an acoustic amplifier as it has an under-saddle piezo pickup. This guitar has a unique design as the tuners are built into the body and not on the headstock where thy ear normally found. The headstock is removed on this guitar to save space. The bridge helps to keep the guitar tuning stable of the instrument.

Pros

  • Unique design
  • Plays great

Cons

  • Strange tuner design may confuse some

Final Verdict

If you need a good guitar to take on the plane, boat, car or backpack have a look at the Traveler AG-105EQ. This guitar has a nice neck which is smooth and easy to play. You will find that this guitar is perfect for many different styles of acoustic style music. The body is small and easy to hold via the unique lap rest that folds out. You won’t need a lot of room to play this great instrument. You get a nice gig bag with this guitar to protect it from damage.  Any player that needs a good travel guitar will find a real winner with this one by Traveler.

Oscar Schmidt OGHS-A-U 1/2 Size Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar (High Gloss)

Oscar Schmidt OGHS-A-U Acoustic Guitar (High Gloss)

You need a solid and dependable guitar when you travel. You get that from Oscar Schmidt with he OGHS-U ½ sided acoustic guitar. This guitar is much smaller than a regular dreadnaught so it’s the ideal guitar for anyone that wants to travel and needs a small guitar for tight spaces. The instrument has a select spruce top as well as Catalpa sides and back. The guitar has engineered tech wood on the bridge and fingerboard. The instrument has a nice high gloss finish which looks great.

Pros

  • Easy to play
  • Great for smaller spaces

Cons

  • Could be too small for some players

Final Verdict

This Oscar Schmidt is an excellent choice for anyone that wants to travel and needs a good guitar that sounds great. This guitar has a smooth and a comfortable neck. The instrument has extras such as a nice rosette design and a logo on the headstock. The tuners are stable and the guitar keeps it tuning longer than similar guitars. This guitar is the perfect size for the overhead compartment in a plane, a small space in a boat, and much more. You will save space, but still be able to play when you own this Oscar Schmidt guitar.

Vangoa 3/4 Size Spruce wood Cutaway Electric Folk Guitar Travel Guitar

Vangoa Spruce wood Cutaway Electric Folk Guitar Travel Guitar

Whenever you want to travel, it can be difficult as a guitar player. You need a small sized guitar to fit in those confined spaces you encounter when traveling.  Vangoa has a nice ¾ sized travel guitar that’s well suited for you. This guitar has a spruce body and Sapele sides. The fingerboard is made from walnut. The guitar is a cutaway so it’s easy to play the higher notes on the instrument. You get a pickup and a 3 Band EQ (Bass, Middle, Treble), so you can play the guitar with an acoustic amplifier.  This instrument is easy to play and gives you all you need for traveling.

Pros

  • Easy to play
  • Looks great

Cons

  • EQ may confuse some

Final Verdict

This guitar package has a lot going for it as you not only get a good guitar but many accessories such as picks, guitar strap, extra strings, guitar case, guitar cable and more. This instrument has a solid bridge and good tuners so it stays in tune well. the EQ also has a tuner so you can tune your guitar wherever you are. The sound hole has a nice rosette design and it’s a well-designed guitar for not a whole lot of money so it’s a good bargain for any traveler.

Things to consider before buying a best travel acoustic guitar

Before you buy a travel acoustic guitar, you have several things that you need to keep in mind. Travel guitars have a lot to offer you because thy ear smaller and compact and can go with you no matter where you go. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you pick out the best travel acoustic guitar to meet your needs.

Types of Travel Acoustic Guitars

The first thing you need to consider is the type of travel acoustic guitar that you buy. Most travel acoustic guitars are smaller in nature so that they can fit in your car, on a train, on a plane, and other places when you travel. They're usually around 3/4 the size of a regular acoustic guitar. This small size makes them a lot more portable when compared to a full-size guitar.

Most travel acoustic guitars are not going to have the same type of sound as a regular full acoustic, but they usually do sound quite nice for what you get. Most travel acoustic guitars will be based upon the dreadnought style acoustic guitar which is the most popular type. It's a good idea to ensure that you have either a gig bag or a small hardshell case to protect your travel guitar. Since you're going to be traveling around, the guitar will be more susceptible to damage so you're going to need a good case for it to protect the instrument.

Nylon vs. Steel String

There are two main types of acoustic guitars which are nylon and steel string. When you're traveling you have to keep in mind that the guitar can still make noise so you might disturb people that are around you. A nylon string guitar and makes a lot less noise so this could be beneficial to you if you're traveling and you don't want to disturb people when you play. The steel string will be a lot louder so you have to factor in the plus and minus of each one of these guitars. It's usually just going to come down to a personal preference. The nylon string is a little bit easier to play than the steel string, but it will make more noise so depending upon where you're going for your travel, you can decide on the type of guitar that you want to take with you.

Making Space

When you travel you want to have as much space as possible and you don't want your guitar to take up most of the space. You should consider leaving bulky things at home such as music books or other books that you use for learning because these will take up too much space. Consider using a smartphone and an app because there are many programs out there that have music on them which you can use to learn songs, scales, and chords as you travel with your guitar. This will free up a lot of space in your case and luggage for just the guitar. Try to leave out a lot of the other regular accessories that you might use and just take the guitar, pics, and maybe an extra set of strings with you on your travels. The less you have with you, the easier it's going to be to travel around with your guitar and your pack will have less weight.

Setup

You will also need to ensure that your best travel acoustic guitar is properly set up. One of the most common setups That acoustic instruments have to go through is to ensure that the action is at the proper level for you. When you set the action on an acoustic guitar it's a little bit different when compared to an electric guitar. To lower the action on an acoustic guitar you either remove a small amount off of the guitar saddle or you can adjust the truss rod to lower the action slightly. To raise the action on acoustic guitar, a small shim is put under the saddle to raise it up which in turn will raise the strings off of the fretboard. These sorts of adjustments should only be done by a guitar technician if you don't know what you're doing because you can ruin the bridge of your guitar.

One Thing to Remember

When you buy an acoustic guitar for traveling you have to understand that this sort of guitar is just going to be basic. While these guitars usually have all the features of other acoustic guitars, they don't tend to have the full and rich sound that a regular acoustic guitar will have. They're designed to Simply play some chords, songs, or to get in a little bit of practicing as you travel. These instruments aren't designed for performances, recording, or anything of a professional nature. You can have a lot of fun with the travel guitar but just keep in mind that the guitar is going to be just for traveling it's not going to be a professional instrument. The travel guitar allows you to leave you're more expensive acoustic guitar at home so you don't have to worry about it being stolen or damaged when you're traveling.

I Have a Best Travel Acoustic Guitar, Now What?

Once you get your travel acoustic guitar home you still have a few things that you need to consider. Here are a few more suggestions to make it easier for you to get the most out of your travel acoustic guitar.

Amplifiers

If you're traveling, you're probably not going to need an amplifier, but there are options on the market for small amplifiers for acoustic guitars. These smaller amplifiers are usually only a few watts such as between 10 to 25 watts. You probably don't need more than this to travel with.
You could buy a solid-state amplifier or a tube amplifier that works with your acoustic guitar pickup, but it's a good idea to forego these because since you're traveling you may not have a lot of time at to plug your amplifier into a wall socket. One type of amplifier that you should consider for traveling is to use either an amp modeler which recreates the sound of famous amplifiers or to get a small amplifier that runs on batteries.

There are quite a few small amplifiers in the current market which will run on battery power. This makes it a lot easier to travel with because you won't have cumbersome chords to deal with.  These portable amplifiers using run on either 9-volt batteries or standard AA batteries. for example, Yamaha has a great amplifier called the THR which has electric guitar settings but it also has a setting for acoustic guitars and it just takes eight AAA batteries. This is of course, just a sample as you'll find many other amplifiers on the market which do use batteries.   these battery powered amplifiers are ideal because they are don't weigh a whole lot and they are easy to take with you when compared to other amplifiers which can be quite heavy.

Strings

It's up to you to decide the type of guitar string that you use with your travel acoustic guitar. There are many different gauges of strings that you can get anywhere from light two medium and everything in between. I find it the best gauge of acoustic guitar string is either a light-medium gauge or a plain light gauge. You may find that the medium gauge of guitar string is just too much pressure for a smaller travel acoustic guitar although some travel guitars are built well enough to handle the medium pressure. You won't have to worry about string gauge if you have a classical style guitar that uses nylon strings as these are basically all the same. You can do a bit of experimentation to decide on the string gauge and string manufacturer that you want to use for your travel acoustic guitar. String gauge usually just comes down to preference so use what you like and what you're comfortable with.

Insurance

If you travel with an acoustic guitar, It can be a good idea to get some insurance to protect your guitar from thieves when you travel. If you travel around with an acoustic guitar this can be attractive to thieves because it's something that they can sell it right away. If you do travel with your acoustic guitar make sure you keep it with you at all times and if it's in a vehicle while you're sightseeing, ensure that it is locked in the trunk and never leave it out on a seat even if you're just going to be gone for a few minutes. Also ensure that you never put any other valuables inside the guitar case even just for a few minutes such as your passport, money, phone, or any other valuable that you're taking with you. Some acoustic travel guitars will be small enough to put inside regular luggage so you might want to do this instead of displaying to other people that you're carrying around a guitar. This can be a good way to reduce the chances that your acoustic guitar will be stolen by someone.

Conclusion

You will find a wide range of travel acoustic guitars on the current market. These guitars are generally smaller than regular guitars and are easy to take with you because they are portable. Travel acoustic guitars May lack a bit of the tone and full sound of a regular acoustic guitar but they still have a sound that is good enough for simple traveling.

You can use your travel acoustic guitar to sketch out ideas, write a new song, or play a few songs by a campfire for your friends. When you travel, you can still take your music with you and this is why many people now look to travel acoustic guitars because it saves them the hassle of trying to travel around with a full-size guitar which really isn't practical when traveling. The travel guitar is lightweight, doesn't take up a lot of room, but still allows you to enjoy music and to express yourself musically when you're on the road and visiting new locations.

This guide should hopefully get you started should hopefully get you started. As you explore acoustic travel guitars and everything that they have to offer you.