This page will run down the top 3 cheap travel guitars as rated by
users, covering 3 key categories - ultra compact acoustics, compact
acoustics and electrics.
While reading through this page, if you haven't already, decide what
are the most important features you want in your travel guitar.
Do you just want the most compact solution available - something
that'll fit in your hiking bag? Perhaps you don't want to sacrifice too
much on tone and feel vs size. Would an electric travel guitar be more
suited to your practice needs?
This guide will help you make these decisions and present you
with the most highly rated guitars in the budget price range. Anything
below $400 has been considered, but as you'll see, you don't even need
to spend half that for a quality travel guitar.
Cheap Travel Guitar - Best Compact
Opting for a cut body size but with a full scale neck, Washburn's
Rover RO10 retains the feel of a regular acoustic in your
fret hand while maximising portability. A great value and highly rated
acoustic package that includes a rather swanky case and some useful
Washburn Rover RO10 Travel Acoustic Guitar - $159
Solid spruce top and mahogany body for
Full scale neck
Compact, light body
Body and neck binding
High quality travel case included
Strap, picks and "learn to play" software
scale / Solid spruce top / Mahogany body and neck / Rosewood
fingerboard / Nut width: 43mm / 19 frets / Quality geared tuners /
Professional binding and inlays
High quality cordura case with hard foam lined, molded interior /
Internal and external storage pockets / Backpack and luggage straps /
3D rings for straps or luggage clip ons / Sized to fit airline overhead
What users say
For many players, Washburn have got the compromise between portability and
playability just right. The neck feels like a proper adult
guitar neck - it's not something you have to spend a lot of time
adjusting to, and that's clearly an important factor for those who get
short, intermittent periods of play time on the road.
The materials and components are of surprisingly high quality for such
a cheap travel guitar. On first impressions, it doesn't look or feel cheap. This
quality is confirmed with the solid spruce top and mahogany body and
neck giving it the depth and robustness that travel guitars of this
size so desperately need.
Compared to others in its price range, the RO10 is actually one of the
more sophisticated and beautiful specimens, with detail such as the
binding giving you an overall feel of quality. Even the open gear
tuners look especially elegant.
As expected, the sound you get from the compact body is more like a
ukulele, but there's plenty of volume, sustain and
responsiveness to entertain even your rowdiest fellow roadies. Users
recommend replacing the factory fitted strings to really wake the Rover
While strumming might sound a bit weedy, the resonance of the RO10 will
definitely inspire you to work on your finger picking when you get back
to the hotel or campsite and, because the neck, and therefore the nut
width is "proper" size, you'll take any developed muscle
memory back home to your full size.
Cheap Acoustic Travel Guitar - 3/4 Size
Some prefer their travel guitar to retain the traditional, full sound
of a steel string dreadnought, if slightly smaller and lighter, and
portability points. The obvious choice is a 3/4 size guitar. The Luna
Muse Safari is a great option for those players who don't
want to lose the low end and the feel of a more familiar body on their
lap when travelling away from home.
Luna Muse Safari Travel Acoustic Guitar - $139
Fuller bodied travel acoustic
Mahogany top, back and sides available
3/4 size with shorter neck
laser etch / Body: ¾ Travel / Top: Spruce or Mahogany / Back and Sides:
/ Nut width: 43mm / Scale: 22" / Finish: Satin / 3.3
lb / Gig bag included
What users say
On first appearences this your typical short scale 3/4 size guitar
with a satin finish. Although it is available with a spruce top, it's
the all mahogany version what
separates the Safari from others in its price range. That, and the
attention to detail on aesthetics such as the "Celtic laser etched"
sound hole and the unique inlay moons from waxing to waning at the 19th
Users generally feel the Luna easily fulfills the travel criteria -
lightweight enough even for hikers, compact enough to fit into overhead
compartments (if not quite as tight as the Rover) and cheap enough to
not worry about the worst happening.
But what makes this one special is the presence of that baritone warmth
that many acoustic players would sorely miss on the road with the
Rover. The Safari sounds less like a ukulele and more like a... guitar!
Strumming isn't strangled and the mahogany gives finger picking depth.
Some users have even found themselves picking up the Safari back at
home more than their 1st guitar. You do get the feeling Luna have
specifically engineered it to get the most possible tone and projection
from such a small body, and not scrimped on quality checking either.
Overall, a clear favourite in its price range for those who want a more
moderate compromise between a full size and a ukulele scale.
Best Cheap Electric Travel Guitar
No definitive cheap travel guitar guide would be complete without an
electric offering. The Traveler
Speedster is another clear winner among jet setting and even
hiking electric guitarists, allowing them to practice their rock and
metal solos and
riffs away from home with portable amplification (e.g. a
Traveler Speedster Electric Travel Guitar - $380
High output humbuckers
Removable upper arm support
One piece maple neck & body
Fits in overhead airline bins
Neck Through Body: Eastern American Hard Maple / Fingerboard: Ebonized
Rosewood / Frets: 22 medium / Scale Length - 24.75 inches / Fingerboard
Inlays: Pearloid / Neck Width at Nut - 1.75 inches / Body Width: 7.5
inches / Length: 28 inches / Weight: 4 lbs. 7 oz / Pickups: Dual-Rail
Humbucker / Hardware: Chrome / Electronics: Volume, Tone
What users say
To travel guitar virgins, the Speedster looks a bit... weird.
thing you probably notice are the in-body tuners and, therefore, the
lack of a headstock (commonly associated with Steinbergers). But of
course, this does not fundamentally change how you play it.
You still get the 22 fret, 25 inch scale (same as a standard Les Paul).
Another striking feature is the removable arm rest, giving your
strumming/picking arm support when sat down. However, the Speedster
also boasts features that are reserved for high quality
electric guitars - a one piece neck through body construction meaning
maximum sustain, clear and high output dual rail humbuckers and quality
Users note it can be a little tricky to play sat down at first, and
prefer standing up using a strap, but Traveler have clearly opted for
the full scale neck and a smaller body as the logical compact solution.
Now, you most likely won't be lugging an amp with you on your travels,
so you'll need to invest in either a headphone
amp or portable amp of some kind. The humbuckers with tone
and volume controls are adequate for any practice session -
just don't expect to draw any meaningful comparisons to the pickups in
standard sized electrics. The Speedster is purely for practice and
getting ideas on to the fretboard.
Saying that, when comparisons are made to regular guitars, the action
on the Speedster can be set incredibly low without buzzing and there is
a truss rod installed so you can make the usual adjustments as you wish.
A great grab and go electric that you can take places you would never
dream of taking a regular...
the Top 3 Budget Travel Guitars
So, 3 travel guitars that fulfill different requirements. Here's the
want the most compact acoustic solution possible with a regular scale
want to compromise less in both tone and body feel but still need a
specifically want a compact electric guitar for use with portable amp.
body. Solid top. Mahogany body & neck. Hard case included.
3/4 size. All
mahogany body available. Gig bag included.
tuners. Dual rail humbuckers. Neck through body. Optional arm rest.