Best Travel Acoustic Guitars of 2021 – Ultimate Review

| Last Updated: May 6, 2021

When you’re often traveling, it is difficult to handle a full-scale instrument.

Not to mention that most of us would be reluctant to take our high-end, expensive guitars with us due to the high possibility of ending up with a scratch or even worse, a damaged instrument.

However, there is more to the best travel acoustic guitars below than meets the eye. Let’s dive in!

What Size Acoustic Guitar is Best for Travel?

Even a jumbo size guitar would be best for travel if you feel comfortable with the weight and the potential of damage to your instrument. Most players prefer a shorter scale, such as ¾ guitars, which are highly portable and lightweight. This means that you still have a high-quality guitar with you, but the smaller size makes it easier to go about your business. 

Some guitars for traveling can be either ¾ size, ½ size, or even a full-size guitar that can fold itself at the neck. Some of them might even look a bit alien, but in the end, we all care about quality and durability. 

Why Did These Acoustic Guitars Make Our List?

We strive to provide you with information about the highest quality travel acoustic guitars to take with you wherever you go. Here’s how we picked them:

Quality

When it comes to long-term investments such as guitars, we always put quality on top of the list. There is no reason to buy a guitar that will let you down in a few weeks or even months. Thus, we carefully pick the best value for money, with good tones, great versatility and flexibility, and, of course, durability and quality of tonewoods. 

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

Portability

The primary purpose of a travel acoustic guitar is to be light and easy to carry around. Therefore, a high-quality guitar also needs to be portable and comfortable to make our list. We chose a wide range of types of portability, whether it means a ¾ size or a full-sized, foldable instrument. This is because some players with large hands would struggle to play ½ or ¾ instruments, so having another alternative sounds like a great idea!

Volume Projection

Another essential characteristic is the volume projection. All shorter scale guitars have less volume projection than their full-sized counterparts naturally, but this does not mean they are very quiet, either. We chose our guitars so that they have small sizes, but impressive volume projection.  

Comparison of the Best Travel Acoustic Guitars

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best travel acoustic guitar overall
  • Comes with a backpack carry case for portability
  • Mahogany top, solid wood body with sapele back, ebony fretboard and mahogany neck
View Latest Price →
  • Full-size collapsible body
  • Silent guitar ideal for discrete practice
  • Can be paired with headphones, has studio-quality effects
View Latest Price →
  • Solid spruce top with a unique contour
  • Best travel acoustic guitar for the Money
  • Perfect size and tone for travel, extremely portable
View Latest Price →
  • Built-in headphone amp
  • Best Travel Acoustic Electric Guitar
  • Solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides
View Latest Price →
  • Best Mini Travel Acoustic Guitar
  • Low oval neck for enhanced comfort and portability
  • Richlite fretboard with sitka spruce body and koa back and top
View Latest Price →
  • Best Left Handed Travel Acoustic Guitar
  • No fret buzz, sturdy built and impressive looks
  • Good volume projection for the minimalistic design
View Latest Price →

Review of the Best Travel Acoustic Guitars

If you are a musician planning on moving around quite a lot, whether touring or traveling, take a look at the models below to find one that suits your needs.

Best Overall:
Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany Top

PROS

  • Extremely loud output 
  • Crisp mid to high-range sound
  • High-quality materials, including great tuners
  • Good for studio recording or live performances
  • Featherweight construction with a backpack carry case
  • Textured feel with impressive output and lightweight build

CONS

  • Low-ends not so pronounced
  • Goes out of tune after a few days
  • Lightweight build sacrifices the sustain

What Recent Buyers Report

This short scale guitar is a serious competitor to its larger counterparts. It has great action, a portable and compact size, and it is incredibly loud for its size. It is definitely not a kid’s guitar! Buy this and you cannot go wrong. The included backpack carry case is also a great addition. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Taylor BT2 is a high-quality short-scale acoustic guitar. It has a matte, yet textured finish and feels featherweight. The neck is bolt-on and has two screws on the 16th fret. All hardware is chrome. It has a crisp, nice mid to high-range and a rounded back, which adds more resonance. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a traveling musician, this instrument has all the qualities you need. It is sturdy, well-built, and the sounds are way above other short scale instruments. The design is portable and lightweight, and it also comes with a carry case, so you can easily take it with you on all your trips. 

Bottom Line

The Taylor BT2 is a great travel acoustic guitar, perhaps even the best you can find. It is budget-friendly, comfortable, and portable, and there is no tune in your mind you cannot produce with this beauty. Crafted to impress, Taylor does the job once again and provides us with high quality and affordability. 

Runner-up: 
Yamaha Steel String Silent Guitar

Yamaha SLG200S TBS Steel String Silent Guitar with Hard Gig Bag, Tobacco Sunburst

PROS

  • Highly playable, due to slim body 
  • Includes a luxury gig bag, ideal for flights
  • Portable due to the detachable top section 
  • Innovative design with natural, quiet tones for silent play
  • Body-less guitar recreates the body resonance of an acoustic guitar

CONS

  • Not completely silent, but you can plug into headphones
  • Size is still quite large compared to other short-scale guitars
  • Back of the neck is not completely well finished, same with fretwork

What Recent Buyers Report

Unexpectedly for most guitars, this one has astonishing action right out of the box. The built-in tuner is accurate, and sound quality and build quality are way above the standards. The interaction between technology and craftsmanship makes this guitar stand out from the crowd. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Yamaha Steel-String Silent Guitar successfully combines tradition with innovation and creates a body-less guitar designed to fulfill all the desires of the traveling musicians. The near-silent performance makes practice simple and discreet, and it is incredibly playable and portable. 

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is for the non-conventional guitarists, looking for the high-tech combined with Yamaha craftsmanship. It is ideal for practice, stage use, or travel – you name it. It is easy to use, and the studio-quality effects enhance your performance to new levels. The collapsible body makes it ideal for flights!

Bottom Line

Overall, the Yamaha SLG200S is an innovative instrument and is worth every buck. With such amazing acoustic sounds, high-quality built-in effects, tuners, and the rest of the components, it is impossible not to fall in love with this beauty. Get in line with professional musicians who recommend it and give this one a try, it’s totally worth it!

Best for the Money:
Martin Steel-String Backpacker

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar with Bag

PROS

  • Comes with a gig bag and strap
  • Great resonance, lightweight and portable
  • Magical sound projection with perfect action
  • Impressive ergonomics and highly functional
  • Weighs only 2 lbs with the case, ideal for traveling
  • Unique neck profile enhances portability and comfort

CONS

  • Has only 15 frets
  • Some might find the shape a bit awkward
  • Basic hardware, not ideal for professional use

What Recent Buyers Report

This Martin Steel String Backpacker has a creative shape, which makes it extra-light and easy to carry around. What is more, it comes with high-quality Martin strings and the perfect action makes it very easy to play, while the fretboard is solid and has a natural feel to it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Martin Steel String Backpacker is a great, affordable guitar that offers a lot of value for money. It is made of solid wood with a spruce top, which makes it durable but lightweight. Its tiny body has impressive acoustic qualities, and you can easily adapt to its ergonomic shape. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you want an extra-slim guitar, this is the ideal choice for you. It weighs only 2 lbs with the carry case included, which makes it perfect for traveling. It is compact, easy to use and comfortable, but not recommended for professional use due to its simplistic, basic hardware and somewhat less bass and volume than other alternatives. 

Bottom Line

Martin Steel-String Backpacker is ideal for beginners and children and comes with an unbeatable price. It has a somewhat different sound characteristic, combining, to a certain point, a guitar with a ukulele. If this appeals to you, this is a good purchase for its intended purpose.

Best Travel Acoustic Electric Guitar:
Traveler Guitar CL-3E

PROS

  • Rich and full low ends
  • Comes with a deluxe gig bag
  • Small footprint with a massive tone
  • Classical design with a traditional tuning system
  • Includes preamp with tuner and headphone output
  • Compact body and headstock make it only 35” long

CONS

  • Similar to other short scales, it lacks low end
  • Needs intonation adjustments out of the box

What Recent Buyers Report

The CL-3EQ is a comfortable ¾ guitar. It has substantial mids and bright sounds, while overall, the tones are well-balanced. The volume is sufficient when unplugged, while when it is amped, it can rival any full-sized guitar. The electronics and the hardware are surprisingly high quality for this price range. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The CL-3EQ is not only a small, portable guitar, but it can be a strong rival to any high-end alternative. Despite its small footprint, the tones, volume, and other features are massive. The hardware and electronics allow you great versatility, and they are packed with care for quality. 

Who Will Use This Most

The CL-3EQ is a cutting-edge instrument, ideal for any guitarist looking for a compact, portable, and high-quality guitar. It is the ideal solution for practicing, gigging, or studio recording, and you can take it with you on all your trips in its included deluxe gig bag. 

Bottom Line

Overall, the Traveler Guitar sounds great both acoustically and with an amplifier. It has a stylish design and powerful features, ideal for beginners and more experienced players. The craftsmanship is astonishing, while the sound performance is well-balanced, providing you with flexibility. 

Best Mini Travel Acoustic Guitar:
Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa

Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa Pattern HPL Top with Padded Gigbag

PROS

  • Includes a heavily padded gig bag
  • Build quality is very robust and durable
  • Balanced tones with a focus on mid-range
  • Semi-gloss beautiful finish with a smooth feel
  • Great fretwork and action perfect out of the box
  • Is not very sensitive to temperature changes, unlike other guitars

CONS

  • Tuners could be improved
  • Issues when tuning with a capo
  • Stock strings need to be replaced

What Recent Buyers Report

This small guitar is great for children and traveling. Compared to other short-scale (3/4) models, it has louder, deeper tones, but they are also balanced. It is a great guitar for fingerpicking. You can tune-up/down two notes without risking snapping them and there is no buzz.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Little Martin Koa is a great short scale guitar with a robust build quality and masterful design and finish. It is strong, reliable, and very scratch-resistant. It can handle rough trips and handling, and is one of the sturdiest baby guitars you will find on the market. 

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is meticulously crafted from the highest quality, sturdiest materials. It is ideal for travel and trips, and it is not very sensitive to temperature changes. It is best recommended for fingerpicking rather than strumming, but this is the case with all short scale guitars. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this guitar is a great asset to any guitarist’s collection. Martin is well-known for its high-quality, durable, and sturdy instruments, with an excellent sound range at an affordable price range. If you are looking for a short scale guitar, this Little Martin is all you need.

Best Left-Handed Travel Acoustic Guitar:
Johnson JG-TR3-L Trailblazer Travel Guitar

Johnson JG-TR3-L Trailblazer Travel Guitar, Left Handed

PROS

  • Great value for money
  • Comes with a soft carry case 
  • Highly portable left-handed guitar
  • Quality components ensure no fret buzz
  • Ideal for traveling, camping, hiking, and many others

CONS

  • The fretboard is quite heavy

What Recent Buyers Report

This model comes as a hit for all the traveling lefties, since there are very few models for this purpose. The small-sized guitar has no fret buzz and the construction is durable and resistant, while the volume projection is surprising for such a minimalistic design. It is lightweight with most of its weight concentrated in the fretboard. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Johnson JG-TR3 is a travel guitar for left-handed people with a slim profile, and ¾ scale length. It comes with a full-sized nickel 21 frets and has a revebond fretboard and body. It is highly playable and comfortable, and ideal for many purposes due to its versatile tonal range. 

Who Will Use This Most

This is our top recommendation for left-handed players, whether traveling, hiking, or camping. The ergonomic design makes it portable, lightweight, and is a true pleasure to play. The action is great and it is a good buy for beginners or more experienced players. 

Bottom Line

Overall, most guitar sellers focus on right-handed players, but this does not mean we forgot the lefties. If you are left-handed, this Johnson JG-TR3L was specially picked to help you out when you’re traveling or going on a camping trip. Make sure you check it out!

Pros and Cons of Travel With an Acoustic Guitar

Here are the main pros and cons of choosing travel acoustic guitars:

Pros

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Versatile and flexible
  • Extremely convenient and comfortable
  • Ergonomic shape
  • Does not take much space
  • More affordable

Travel guitars are often useful for musicians who do not travel much, but who prefer a convenient and comfortable tiny instrument. They are useful for children or players with small hands because they are easy to carry, lightweight, and do not take up much space. They are ideal if you live in a small apartment or often travel by plane. 

Cons

  • Sonic abilities are more limited than full-scale guitars

Since they are smaller, they often lack vibration, and score quite poorly on bass and low range. Thus, a standard size guitar can often sound fuller or warmer than a short scale. This is rarely a shortcoming for most musicians, since the limits are not so deep – in other words, you can get top-notch performance with a short scale as well, but keep in mind that they are made with a different purpose than regular size guitars. 

Conclusion

Overall, the best travel acoustic guitars we introduced to you are innovative, sometimes even a bit alien-looking. However, they are artfully crafted from the best materials, limiting drawbacks as much as possible and providing you with quality sounds in a similar fashion to full-sized guitars.



Thalia has spent most of her life loving two things - writing and music. Thalia's passion for music saw her learning to play several instruments throughout her childhood and teen years. This passion also led to her earning two qualifications in Sound Recording Engineering, which she now uses by writing about musical instruments, studio gear, and the processes involved in making and producing music.