Top 7 Best Travel Acoustic Guitars

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Last year I was traveling 6000 miles by plane. I am so addicted to guitar that I just had to take in on that journey with me. It ended up being terrible experience.

Do you know why?

I didn’t prepare myself for that trip.

If you are planning to travel and you cannot spend a day without your guitar, feel free to take a lesson from my experience and also learn about the best travel acoustic guitars that are truly worth its money.

Travel size guitar chart

Technically there is no separate type of “travel” guitars. Any guitar can be considered “travel” as long as it’s comfortable to carry around. Generally, you want to aim for guitars with smaller size and weight for obvious reasons.

First of all, domestic flight airplanes are quite narrow. Can you imagine yourself with a full size acoustic guitar boarding on such a plane?

Secondly, if you have traveled by plane before, then you probably know that sometimes there are really long lines in the airport, specially if it’s an international flight. Yes, you love your guitar. I love my one too. But don’t let it ruin your travel experience.

If you are just planning to purchase a guitar for a journey – make sure you stick to 1/2 or 3/4 model – these models are perfect candidates for a travel guitar. In case you are not familiar with guitar sizes, here is a size chart with a brief description of each model, from the smallest to the largest.


Ukulele is the smallest guitar out there. Besides producing higher end notes, it also has only 4 strings and is tuned differently from regular guitars. It’s not recommended for beginners since chord and scale shapes look different on ukulele. On the other hand, it is perfect as a travel guitar due to its compact size.

Recommended for traveling: yes


If you want a regular guitar with 6 strings that is also very small and easily portable – then guitarlele is the perfect choice for you. Keep in mind these guitars are tuned higher – their open 6th string is not E but A (5th fret on a regular guitar). This model is also a great guitar for children. First of all, it’s small and fits your child’s size. Secondly, it’s not that loud so it won’t play on your nerves as much as a full-size dreadnought model would.

Trust me – a kid learning to play the guitar can be very painful to hear sometimes (and by sometimes I mean always).

Recommended for traveling: yes

The Halfie – Half-Size Guitar (1/2)

As the name suggests, this guitar has half size of a standard guitar. Unlike guitarlele, the halfie has standard guitar tuning as well. This type of guitars are great for traveling because have compact size and at the same time they provide the functionality of a regular guitar. Besides traveling, this one is also also great for kids.

Recommended for traveling: yes

3/4 Size Guitars

These are standard guitars with 3/4 of regular length. Both electric and acoustic models are available in 3/4 size. While they both have the same length, electric guitars will have a thinner body since they don’t need a huge hollow body to produce sound, which is better since you plan to travel with it.

With that being said, keep in mind that even though electric guitars have smaller bodies, they are actually much heavier than acoustic models.

Recommended for traveling: yes

The Parlour Guitar

These are the smallest full size guitars. They are less bulky then Dreadnought and Jumbo models.

Recommended for traveling: yes

The Auditorium Guitar

Auditorium guitar have the same size as Dreadnoughts, but they are a little bit curvier. They produce a deep, bass sound and are great to play acoustic songs near a campfire or on a party. But because of the size, it’s not really suitable for traveling.

Recommended for traveling: no

Dreadnought And Jumbo Acoustic Guitars

These are huge guitars that are even too big for some people to play at home. These types of guitars are definitely a no-go for traveling by plane, train or car.

Recommended for traveling: no

Can You Travel With A Guitar By Plane?

Yes, you can. Although different airline companies have different regulations so you want to check with the airline policy. Generally, you do not want to check your guitar at the luggage counter because who knows how they treat the luggage – they might be playing soccer with your precious guitar. I have traveled with a full size electric guitar and I didn’t have any problems with carrying my guitar on the plane. If a flight attendant doesn’t allow you to do so – at least tell them that it is very expensive guitar (even if it’s a cheap, how do they know it anyway?) and it must be treated carefully.

Travel case/bag

There are many great guitar cases out there and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this topic. If you have a guitar case – make sure you pack it with paper or bubble wrap so that your guitar won’t get scratched or cracked during the trip. At the same time, don’t carry too much stuff in your case. If it ends up being too heavy – the flight attendant might now allow you to take in on the plane. This is something I wouldn’t wan’t to happen with me because even the most reputable airline companies treat luggage like garbage (I wonder if it’s a coincidence that these two words rhyme). After traveling with American Airlines all the zippers on my backpack were cracked. I can imagine what will happen with a wooden guitar.

What price should you pay for a travel guitar?

While there is no rule here, please keep in mind that traveling with a guitar and playing it at home is a different. Many things can happen to the instrument: you can accidentally crack it, your airline company can damage it, you can lose it, you can even forget it. God forbid any of that to happen, but in case you are just planning to buy a guitar to travel with, I recommend not spending too much on it. You can buy a regular acoustic guitar just for around $200-300. In case you are planning to purchase a folding guitar or a shred neck, those of course can get more expensive, but they are definitely worth the money. On the other hand, due to their reduced size you can even fit a shred neck in your backpack so you don’t have to worry about losing it.

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Alan Jackman

Meet Alan, the guitar-slinging, blog-running, lesson-giving machine. By day, he shreds on the six-string like a rockstar, and by night, he shares his knowledge with the masses on his online blog. With Alan, you'll learn how to play the guitar like a pro!

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