As a musician, you’ve probably wanted to be able to bring an instrument with you wherever you go. Luckily for you, the best travel ukulele is waiting for you!
And it’s not just one – we have reviewed different models and are presenting the top 5 best ukuleles for traveling musicians!
If you are in a hurry this are our TOP 3 Picks:
- Solid Spruce top, Ultra thinbody
- Mahogany back and sides
- Spruce Top, mahogany back and sides
- Open Satin Finish
- Solid ovangkol top with ovangkol back and sides
- Natural satin finish
- Great Bundle
- Backed by a Lifetime Money Back Guarantee
- Ultra Thin Body and Archback
- Includes Kala logo gig bag
Table of Contents
BEST TRAVEL UKULELE REVIEWS
Best Travel Ukulele Under $350:
To preserve the unique sound of a ukulele, the instrument uses Custom Aquila string set, normally tuned to A, but a set for tuning it in E can be requested instead.
It includes a preamp and piezzo-style pickup which means that you can hook this beauty to an amp and perform even for bigger audiences. If you have to perform abroad, this ukulele is the way to go.
The solid mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard feel really good and capture all the nuances of your playing. This is even more true when used with the Cordoba electronics.
But we are willing to forgive that as the instrument comes with a unique custom Cordoba gig bag.
- Portability 96%
- Quality 94%
- Sound 98%
Best Travel Ukulele Under $250:
Over the years, Kala has proven that they are the masters at building great and affordable instruments. The Kala KA-SSTU-T Travel Ukulele is a tenor ukulele that packs lot of features in a very compact size.
Even though the ukulele is very thin, the sound is still pretty loud. The tone is very nice, although somewhat thin, and the ukulele stays in tune for a long time after the strings settle in. The synthetic bone nut and saddle help create a modern yet natural sound.
You could change the G string into a wound low G to improve the sound and give the instrument more low-end and thickness, but that is not necessary.
The tenor ukulele size allows you to tune this great uke to a baritone tuning if you decide to do so, while keeping a fairly small size.
This Kala is fairly cheap and as such it is not extremely sturdy. The gig bag it comes with is good but you should upgrade to a hard case if you can.
This model has a very comfortable necks and are very thin. It is astonishing how Kala has managed to construct a ukulele this thin yet this loud.
The die-cast chrome tuners keep the uke perfectly in tune, while the Solid Spruce top and Mahogany sides and archback are a great combination.
The only bigger problem is that the ukulele is somewhat hard to hold when standing because of the thin body and the ukulele lacks strap pins – something which it would greatly benefit from.
The tenor size ukuleles are generally avoided when you are buying a travel ukulele as a smaller model would be better suited for that task. This ukulele is the exception, mostly because of its thinline body.
The gig bag allows you to take your uke anywhere and by need you can put the whole gig bag into a backpack.
- Portability 94%
- Quality 92%
- Sound 91%
Best Travel Ukulele Under $200:
The soprano size is even more traveler-friendly than the tenor version, it has the same thinline body and the KA-SSTU is one of the lightest ukuleles available.
This Kala Soprano Ukulele has a very sweet sound, albeit not as loud and maybe even more shallow than the tenor version. Adding a low G can help with this, but tuning to a baritone tuning is out of question.
On the other hand, the sound is very bright and punchy. We think that it is a fair trade-off considering that this is a travel instrument that you will most likely play on a beach and not use for bigger performances.
All in all, it gets the job done nicely!
The tuners are great and the parts are very modern. The combination of modern features and the traditional scale length result in a very unique experience that is hard to describe.
It is perfect for people with smaller hands or children, but it is not the sturdiest instrument so it requires a delicate touch. The neck feels great and the instrument is extremely comfortable. The only thing that it really needs is a pair of strap buttons.
Upgrading to a hard case isn’t really worth the hassle because this ukulele is meant to be a perfectly transportable instrument. It is short, it is thin, it is light, it has only four strings and it comes with a gig bag.
If you need an extremely light instrument for the road and don’t want to spend a load of money, then the Travel Ukulele is the way to go.
- Portability 92%
- Quality 89%
- Sound 90%
Best Travel Ukulele Under $150:
Here we have a very balanced instrument that offers a great blend of affordability and quality. While the Eddy Finn Travel Ukulele is by no means a professional high-end instrument, it is a great spare ukulele for holidays and road trips.
The sound is very good with a solid response rate, a beautiful sound and clear, natural sustain. It is a great thinline instrument with full sound and a unique sound hole which means that the instrument has a very recognizable and unique sound.
The bone nut offers great tonal elements. In combination with the Aquila Nylgut Strings, you get a very crisp sound. It is a little bit thinner than with bigger ukuleles, though.
This axe has a great design that doesn’t affect the tone negatively. The bone nut is of good quality, as well as the build in general and the woods used.
The Spruce top and mahogany back and sides guarantee bold projection. The tuners could be better though. The instrument feels a little bit rough if you are used to higher-end ukes.
The slim body makes for easy tucking in the smallest backpack, but sadly it seems that the uke comes without a gig bag and without a case.
This is a real shame considering the price. While the free video lesson in person or via Skype is nice and a very unique addition, a gig bag would be nicer.
- Portability 89%
- Quality 84%
- Sound 86%
Best Travel Ukulele Under $100:
The UBETA UC-031 is a beginner-friendly travel instrument which has great features for a very modest price. The uke comes with a lot of goodies, like a ukulele tuner, chord charts, strap pins and a strap.
There are different models to choose from and some even offer a Piezzo Style Bridge for amplified playing.
For the price, you’re getting an instrument that is much thinner than regular ukes, but the rounded back allows for better resonance and warm, bright tones.
It is not quite up to par with things like Godine, but both the acoustic and acoustic/electric models sound fairly decent, even when amplified.
The strings stay in tune and offer a good sound. The wood looks nice and is fairly sturdy. The quality of the additional gear is debatable, but at this price point, the ukulele itself plays decently and everything that comes in addition to it is nice.
The uke is not completely playable out of the box as the strings are somewhat too high.
This model comes with an acceptable gig bag that is especially useful if you are going to carry around the additional gear. It is thin, light and feels good.
- Portability 88%
- Quality 79%
- Sound 80%
BUYING GUIDE – THINGS TO CONSIDER:
What To Look For In A Travel Ukulele:
A travel ukulele isn’t only needed by ukulele players who require a spare axe for traveling – they are also extremely useful for guitarists and bassist who want to keep practicing even when they are on holiday.
As with other instruments, there are many things you need to consider when buying a travel instrument.
One good thing is that your travel ukulele is probably your second instrument and because of that you don’t necessarily spend insane amount of money on it, unless you are a full-time professional musician that travels a lot (for the best ukuleles that money can buy in general, you can read up additional texts in our Ukulele section).
Things that are especially important in a travel instrument are as follows:
This can include different things regarding tone color, the tuning and how loud the instrument is. Ukuleles can play chords, which is already a good thing, but ukuleles with bigger bodies and high quality woods can make the sound even bigger.
This element is determined by the materials used, additional features of an instrument, hardware (tuning pegs, bridge, nut etc.), and certain design decisions, such as the thickness of the neck.
Many features impact how good an instrument is for a traveling musician. These include weight, form, whether or not the instrument comes with a gig-bag or case, but is also influenced by the sturdiness and the build quality of the instrument as you really don’t need an instrument that is going to fall apart during your travels.
As we’ve mentioned in one of our earlier articles, these elements can often influence each other. While a heavier instrument with a thick neck may be louder and have more sustain than a very light instrument, it is not really travel friendly.
Finding the middle ground is not always easy, but the biggest and best companies use only the best materials. Thus, the build quality can be the decisive element when choosing a travel instrument.
Choosing a travel instrument is not as stressful as choosing a main one, but it still requires you to consider many different things.
If you have a few hundred dollars to spare, you maybe want to take a look at our other ukulele reviews, but if you are on a budget, these travel instruments are all very good and get the job done.
But as it is so often the case with musical instruments, you always get what you pay for.
A final tip is to consider upgrading the strings on all your ukuleles as the stock strings are rarely the best ones available, even though they get the job done. With a few upgrades even a cheap travel instrument can feel and play great.