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Travelling with a guitar

Posted by Jleef on 29/9/2009 at 23:03

Hi all, looking for some advice on travelling with an instrument.

As a musician embarking on a 6 month trip to SE Asia in Januray, I'm wondering whether or not I'll be missing my guitar during my travels. Although I've considered taking a harmonica instead, or perhaps holding out on the hope that hostels here and there will have an old acoustic I can bash around on whilst there, I'm wondering whether I shouldn't just take my own.

I've seen the Washburn Rover ( ) which, at 92x29x14.5cm in its padded case and 6lbs in weight, is a reasonable amount to travel with. However, I'm pretty set on the travelling light option, and only taking a hand-luggage sized rucksack with me.

Has anybody been in a similar situation, or can share any thoughts? I don't really know what I'm going to encounter in my travels, which is why I was set on the carry-on bag option...will I soon get fed up with dragging a guitar to hostels, beaches and buses, whether it's travel size or not?

Thanks for any advice!

#1 Jleef has been a member since 6/7/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 36

Posted by DLuek on 30/9/2009 at 01:38 TF writer

Hi Jamie,

While I recommend travelling light, the guitar could come in handy. I've seen many people travelling in SE Asia with a guitar and although I always felt it would be kind of a pain, I at times wished I had one too. If you're someone who plays everyday and writes your own music via the guitar, I'd think you should possibly bring one. You will certainly come across guitars at guesthouses, restaurants, etc. on occasion, but they're often too crappy to waste your time with. On the negative, you'll come across busses/trains where travel space is tight, and a soft case will not always cut it when being banged around at the bottom of a bus (I once endured a broken neck on a nice acoustic some years back while travelling across the US in a friend's van). But on the positive, I for one have readilly found inspiration while travelling in SE Asia; Imagine how good it would have been to have the option of putting that inspiration to music in the same moment? Also how fun would it be to have your instrument with you at a campfire on some secluded beach in Thailand, or while waiting around for a visa or to cross a border?

I suppose if you do bring one, stick with something on the cheap side.

Good luck,


#2 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,297
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Posted by MADMAC on 8/10/2009 at 15:48

If you're a good player and venture into provincial Thailand, you can probably find some places to play. A lot of people here enjoy quality guitar.

#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by mmmmbeerlao on 16/10/2009 at 09:56

dude, dont do it. dont be that guy

#4 mmmmbeerlao has been a member since 8/10/2009. Posts: 8

Posted by think87 on 1/11/2009 at 07:27

Just don't fly united with it LOL

They broke this guys guitar and because of this video it was all over the news. Then they agreed to let him speak about proper bag handling to employees at a later date, and they lost is bags while he was on the way to give a speech about proper bag handling! lol

#5 think87 has been a member since 5/3/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 116

Posted by krisited on 22/12/2009 at 16:54

cool video..a lesson for all!
anyway, if it is possible that you'll travel without it, that would be better..bringing a guitar is quite bulky..and you just can't trust anybody to carry it for you, unless they know how to handle it the one on the video lol

#6 krisited has been a member since 23/11/2009. Posts: 25

Posted by Este on 12/2/2010 at 12:24

Do everyone a favour and leave it at home. There's nothing worse than being in a hostel or guesthouse wanting a bit of peace and quiet, maybe even sleep, but there's some teat who thinks he's Bob Dylan sat in the corner playing his guitar nonstop.

#7 Este has been a member since 12/2/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by Jleef on 12/2/2010 at 13:16

Thanks for the advice, Este, but I've already been in Thailand for a month now, without a guitar. This thread is five months old!

Furthermore, if I had brought one with me, I wouldn't dream of being an inconsiderate, Bob Dylan inspired teat. There are some of us who enjoy having an instrument near us for reasons more than to irritate the nearest unwilling listener with dire renditions of Knocking on heavens door =)

#8 Jleef has been a member since 6/7/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 36

Posted by craigdon on 12/2/2010 at 15:32


Oh, and I always enjoy your rendition of stairway to heaven, J.

I could listen that 6\7 times a night easy! Ha ha

#9 craigdon has been a member since 23/2/2009. Posts: 6

Posted by Seonach on 5/4/2010 at 06:33

K I know this thread is really old but here's a suggestion for the guitar dilemma - bring a ukulele instead! They're cheap and small and easy to play if you can play guitar already.

#10 Seonach has been a member since 24/2/2010. Posts: 12

Posted by GoodWill_SF on 8/11/2012 at 18:06

So I am in a similar situation and just purchased a travel guitar and mini amp that fits in my bag. After reading this I feel like I am gonna regret bringing it. I play in 3 bands and part of the reason on taking 3 months in SE Asia was to write some good material without distraction of career and craziness. Let me know if you wish you had one. Other sites made it sound like if show anything of value I will probably get rolled or mugged. I won't bring it if I cannot show it in public. My other option is to just bring my beat up acoustic that is awkward to carry but not as valuable. Let me know if you have words of wisdom.

#11 GoodWill_SF has been a member since 8/11/2012. Posts: 1

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