A travel guitar is a guitar with a much smaller frame that makes it ideal for easy travel. In my articles on flying with a guitar and taking a guitar camping, I often recommend people get a travel guitar because of their convenient size.
Another nice feature of travel guitars is that they tend to be very affordable – it’s quite rare to see one for more than $500, and at that price point you’re getting one of the highest quality builds on the market.
Combining budget, size, functionality, and ease of transport, a travel guitar is a must-have for every guitarists’ collection – even if it’s just to have in a pinch for your campfire or roadtrip.
But that said: what’s the best travel guitar out there? As always, it depends what you’re looking for. In the section below I try to give a travel guitar for each occasion: an acoustic-electric, a backpacking guitar, and a smaller-size, but regular-shaped guitar. Check it out below!
1. The Martin LX1E or “Little Martin” (Bag Included)
As you’ll know if you’ve checked out my recommended premium guitars, Martin Guitars are perhaps the most legendary manufacturer of acoustic guitars out there, and my all time favorite brand. The Martin LX1E (on Amazon) or “Little Martin” is the smallest guitar they make, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in tone and playability.
The Martin LXIE features a solid sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a very attractive warm satin finish. It’s size and versatility makes it a great budget acoustic guitar for travel, student practice, or jamming out around the campfire. If you get it off Amazon it even includes a travel bag.
Martin LX1E (on Amazon) Standout Specs:
- Solid sitka spruce top
- Martin quality and craftsmanship
- Ideal for travel
- Ideal for young guitarists, small hands, etc
The size of this guitar is actually an awesome advantage – it stows perfectly in your trunk or in overhead airplane compartments. It is one of the best guitars for air travel, or frequent travel in general. The shorter scale length also makes it ideal for young guitarists, or those with weak or small hands.
2. Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar (Bag Included)
If you’re looking to go hiking or backpacking with a guitar, Martin also makes a steel string travel guitar specifically for backpacking (on Amazon). Again, this one includes a travel bag for your convenience.
Other Standout features include:
- Solid Spruce Top
- Solid Tonewood Back and Sides
- Unique Contour Neck Shape
- 24-Inch Scale Length
- 15 Frets
The Martin Backpacking Guitar (on Amazon) is specifically designed to be light, ergonomical, and backpacking friendly, all while retaining that legendary Martin tone. It’s hands down the best guitar for backpacking. The price is amazing on this one – usually coming in at or around $300, which is crazy for a Martin guitar.
3. The Traveler Guitar, 6-String Acoustic-Electric
Looking to pack even more convenience into your travel guitar? Consider opting for The Traveler Guitar (on Amazon) acoustic-electric – because hey, you never know when a Traveler piezo pickup may come in handy.
The Traveler Guitar (on Amazon) also clocks in at only 2lbs and 15oz – talk about light weight! This makes it perfect for lugging around the wilderness, or storing in an airline overhead bin. Again, a complementary travel bag is included with this one.
Other Standout features include:
- Full 24 3/4″ Scale
- Fits in airline overhead bins
- Only 2 lbs. 15 oz!
- 28″ Long!
- One-piece, Eastern American hard Maple neck-through-body design
- Traveler piezo pickup with standard 1/4″ Output
- Gig Bag included!
Is A Travel Guitar Right for You?
Thanks for reading, and as always, happy picking!
Ready to Get Better at Guitar, Faster?
Whenever you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, check out my favorite resources below:
Elixir Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings
- Unique polymer coating allows strings to last for months or years at a time, making for an exceptional value.
- Provide the perfect mix of boom, range, twang, and brightness that acoustic music is known for.
- Beloved by everyone from Paul Simon to Gordon Lightfoot, the D-18 is one of Martin’s most legendary guitars ever.
- An excellent, premier quality acoustic guitar for bluegrass, country, folk, rock and more. This is what I play myself.
Chords, Tabs & Lessons for 100 Songs
- This free guide from Acoustic World gives you chords, tabs, and video lesson for the 100 best songs to learn on guitar.
- I spent hours putting this together all by myself to help you get better at guitar, faster!
Fingerpicking vs Flatpicking Guitar
- Learn which picking style is right for YOU by exploring examples, history, and popular players of each style.
- Discover essential techniques and pros and cons of each approach.