Best Travel Guitar Under $200 - Cheap Doesn't Mean Bad

There is a big misconception that cheap guitars are inherently bad. But nowadays, companies like Martin, Taylor, Yamaha, and even Fender produce entry-level guitars for under 200 dollars. 

The traveler guitar category has some really good instruments that cost less than a better hard case for the guitar. Due to the overall small size of the travel guitar versus the regular guitar, the cost of the production is smaller. Don't expect Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor, Little Martin, or are real Les Paul for this price, but if you go to your nearest guitar store you'll notice a wide range of well-known brands. 

During the course of this article, we will help you choose the best travel guitar under $200 for your needs. All of the guitars we covered are from renowned companies and they offer good overall quality for the price. 

It is all up to your preferences, whether you want an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar to take with you on your travel.  Read on for our top 5 picks for the best budget travel guitar.

Best Budget Acoustic Travel Guitar - Yamaha JR1 FG

The Best Travel Guitar Under $200 A Yamaha Jr1 Fg Product Image
Pros:  Cons:
- Tone beyond its price point
- Free gig bag
- Decent low end for a small guitar
- No pickup

Enjoy the famous sound and feel of the Yamaha guitars packed in a more compact junior 3/4 size dreadnought acoustic guitar. 

Made out of a spruce top and tonewood sides and back and a rosewood fingerboard this acoustic guitar features a classic Yamaha FG (Folk Guitar) body and the sound you've heard countless times. 

With the price of just around 160 dollars, this is by far one of the best choices for beginners, but also for professionals seeking a smaller size instrument with a full-size sound to replace their regular guitar on their next journey. 

You get an amazing low end that budget 3/4 size guitars usually lack. You’ll also get a very bright tone associated with Yamaha acoustic guitars. Yamaha also includes a gig bag to carry your JR1 FG with you. 

This is an overall amazing deal and maybe even the best travel guitar you could get for under $200.

Cordoba Mini M / Mini M II

Cordoba Mini M
Pros:  Cons:
- Great sound
- Choice of tonewood
- Nylon strings are soft on beginners fingertips
- Strange standard tuning on the Mini M

These are both great little guitars. That is why we included two of their models on our list, but we'll count them as one and let you choose your preferred one. 

Cordoba Mini II M and the Mini II are by far the most unique and well-built travel instruments you could get for 200 dollars or less. Okay, the Mini II slightly excels our 200 dollar range with the price tag of around 220$ but, those additional 20 dollars are a good investment since they also include the gig bag. 

On the other side, you have the Mini II M with a price tag of 130$ and features that even some more expensive guitars lack. The Mini M II is made out of the mahogany top, back, and sides but also the mahogany neck, plus the Morado fingerboard. 

One thing to keep in mind before buying is that Cordoba Mini M is optimized to sound the best with a set of nylon strings and an A standard tuning while the Mini II M is made to be tuned to E standard tuning. 

Martin Steel-String Backpacker

A Martin Backpacker Guitar
Pros:  Cons:
- Great quality to cost ratio
- Tiny for an acoustic
- Light
- Not as resonant as a full-body acoustic

If you are in search of a new acoustic guitar in general, it’s hard to look past Martin guitars. Their acoustic guitars shaped modern music in numerous ways, and their Little Martin, Dreadnought Junior, and LX1e are some of the best acoustic guitar options for travelers on the market. 

Their uncompromised sound quality is something that every guitar player seeks. You'll have a hard time finding a bad guitar review of any Martin guitar. The same applies to the unique shaped Martin steel-string Backpacker. 

Even though this guitar excels our price range for a bit, it is by far the best cheap option for a tiny travel acoustic guitar on the market. This made-in-Mexico weirdo is equipped with a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, amazing sound quality for such a small body guitar, and a gig bag. 

And even though gig bag is usually cheap, in this case, it's very important that it comes with the guitar because you'll have a hard time finding one for the paddle shape of the Backpacker. 

Hofner Shorty

A Cyan Hofner Shorty Guitar
Pros:  Cons:
- Tiny
- Great playability
- Needs an amp

Hofner shorty is THE traveler guitar. It is so small that you can literally put this paddle-shaped electric guitar into your backpack and travel the world, rocking out wherever you see an amp. 

Even though it takes a little bit of time to adjust to the weird shape and size of the Shorty, the sound quality will blow you away the moment you plug it into an amp. For only 150 dollars you get unmatched german craftsmanship, a powerful humbucking pickup, rosewood fingerboard, a maple neck, and a basswood body. this all adds up to making a fantastic small electric guitar.

Besides that, you get a small gig bag to put your small ax in when you pack for your next trip. You just need your Shorty, a guitar strap, a cable, and an amp and you are ready to rock. This is one of the best bang for the buck electric guitar on the lower price market let alone being a great travel companion. 

Luna Safari Muse

A Luna-Safari-Muse
Pros:  Cons:
- Solid wood
- Fast neck for a cheap guitar
- Doesn’t stand up to the JR1 in terms of sound

Luna guitars are a relatively new name in the guitar manufacturing business but since 2005. since the company was established they slowly made their name with great, yet affordable instruments. 

The Muse is a 3/4 size acoustic guitar from their most affordable Safari series. Fully made out of mahogany it packs amazing sound quality similar to a full-size dreadnought acoustic guitar but in a smaller form, ready to be taken everywhere with you on your journeys. 

it’s a really powerful instrument with solid wood that was built to last. If you are a beginner guitar player or a professional guitar player seeking a mini acoustic guitar with an uncompromised sound quality look no further. Luna Safari Muse has an amazing neck and beautiful resonant mahogany body that will make your next bonfire night or a day at the sea memorable. 

Cheap Doesn’t Mean Bad

When you are constantly living on the road you don't want to carry a regular guitar or your prized Les Paul everywhere you go. They are much heavier, usually expensive and you don't want to think about what will happen to your instrument while you are carrying it everywhere. 

There are amazing traveler guitar options for under 200 dollars that are small, yet have the sound quality that can get near the Little Martin for example. 

We have plenty of content relating to small guitars. Make sure you browse around if you need to know more. You may even decide to opt for a ukulele instead. either way, let us know in the comments which you think is the best travel guitar under $200 for you.


  • Best Travel Guitar Under $200

    My "day job" used to be teaching but I decided to give that up to play music full time. I have gigged all over the world playing in bands or as a solo act since then. I still have a passion for teaching others anything related to music. Writing content for gives me an opportunity to combine my love of music and education.

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