How to Practice Guitar on Vacation (With or WIthout A Guitar)

There are two main approaches to the question of how to practice guitar when traveling.

You can either take a guitar with you and carry on with your usual practice routine (as much as your schedule allows).

Or, you can leave your guitar home, and find other activities and things you can do while you are away that will make you a better guitar player when you get home.

This choice may be out of your hands depending on where you are staying and how you will get there, but the practice options will be discussed through this article along with recommendations.

Do I Need To Practice Guitar On Vacations?

There are pros and cons to practicing guitar when on vacation. As you make your decision of whether, and how much to practice guitar while traveling, keep these factors in mind,

Pros of Practicing Guitar On Vacation

If you are ambitious and dedicated to furthering your skills on the guitar, you have likely put many hours into reaching a certain level of skill and understanding. If you manage to keep up your practice regime while on holiday you will return from vacation as a better guitar player.

This means that once you are home you can then take ANOTHER step forward, instead of playing catch-ups to trying to re-gain skills and abilities you lost.

Cons of Practicing Guitar On Vacation

One downside of practicing guitar on vacation is that there are some real positives of taking a break, from a mental perspective. If you are heavily focused on practice regularly, it can become a bit of a chore and you can lose some of the passion you have for guitar, which is why we play in the first place. So if you never stop practicing, even on vacation then you never give yourself the chance to re-gain your passion, which a little break can help with.

Another downside is that it is really important to take a break in general and unwind from the usual pressures of day-to-day life. If you never give yourself that opportunity, then the break won’t be as refreshing.

Lastly, in many cases, you will be holidaying with other people and it is a great chance to focus on those relationships. If you have your guitar with you and are focusing on that, the people you are with may feel that is not the best use of your time together on vacation.

Practicing Guitar On Vacation WITH A Guitar

If you are willing and able to practice guitar on vacation, then the first question to think about is the type of gear you want to take with you. If you have the room to task your full-size acoustic or full-size electric with an amplifier then you have nothing to worry about.

But if you are wanting to take a guitar, but need something to save space then there are a few things you can consider.

Travel Acoustic Guitar

There is a range of different travel acoustic guitars ranging from a 3/4 size typical guitar through to specialized acoustic guitars, such as the Martin Backpacker, designed to be small and lightweight for travel purposes. You could also browse the different guitars offered by Traveler Guitars ( to see the many different types of travel guitars available.

You can get also sorts of guitars that are reduced in size, even guitars that fold in half so they can easily and safely be transported.

Headphone Amp

If you are able to take your electric guitar, but no amplifier, then you might want to consider one of the many ‘headphone amps’ available. A Headphone amp is a set of headphones that also act as a guitar amplifier and give you certain class guitar amp tones (e.g. Vox AC30). Each set of headphones is usually dedicated to a certain guitar sound, so there is not much variation available, but they are a great way to get that classic amp sound, without needing to take the whole amp with you.

Practicing Guitar on Vacation WITHOUT A Guitar

If you are not able to take a guitar with you on vacation, then there are ways you can practice elements of guitar, and make yourself a better musician overall, while you are traveling.

Work on Music Theory Knowledge

Even though you aren’t holding your guitar. you could spend some time reading books, magazines, and even apps to try and increase your knowledge of music theory. This is a great use of your time and will make a huge difference to your overall competence as a musician.

Train Your Ear

Ear training is one of the best investments you can make as a musician and if you can develop your ear to better detect chords types, intervals, and more, you will reap the benefits for as long as you play guitar. It will improve your ability to improvise, to play on your own, or with other people.

Practice Sight Reading

It is never too late to start or improve your ability to sight-read. Whether you take a basic chart and then just practice going through it, identifying the notes, key signature, and tempo, or whether you download a free app that tests you, even 10 minutes a day on this will be a great investment of time, and you can do it anywhere.

Listen To Music

Take the time to listen to some music, and listen intentionally. Think about the style of music, the key signature, separate the melody from the chords and think about the song structure.

Grip master

If you want to try and keep your fingers in shape then a grip master can help to reduce some of the skills that can atrophy if on an extended vacation, If you are only away for a few days, then I wouldn’t worry about this, but if the break is extended, then this could be a wise investment.


Is It OK To Take A Break From Practising Guitar?

Yes, it is ok to take a break from practicing guitar. There are some consequences to stopping practice and the longer you stop practicing the more time it will take to get your skills back to where they were. However, there are also some positives to stopping practice for a while in that it can help you get excited and passionate about playing again, which is really important in the long run.

How Long Can You Go Without Practising Guitar?

There is no limit in how long you can go without practicing guitar, it is just a question of how significant the consequences will be. There are certain basic techniques such as strumming chords that you will not lose the ability to do if you take a break, however, if you do a lot of fo lead guitar and fingerpicking, then your body may lose some of the ability and co-ordination you have spent a lot of time building up.

If you miss a day or two, that really won’t be a problem, but once you start to miss a week or more, you can expect it to take the same amount of time, to get your skills back to where they were at.

What Would You Bring With You to Practice Guitar on Vacation?

The best-case scenario is to take your full-size guitar with you. If you are unable to take an amplifier then finding a set of headphone amplifiers that gives you a sound you like is highly recommended.

If you need a smaller guitar then there is a huge range of travel guitars available. From regular guitars at the 3/4 scale to highly modified guitar shapes designed to fit in suitcases and other small spaces.

Aside from guitar gear, it is a great idea to download some phone apps on music theory, sight-reading, and ear training to develop other aspects of your musicianship while traveling as they take zero space, and give you a huge benefit.