5 Reasons to Choose a Travel Guitar

If music is your bag, you’re never short of things to spend your cash on. Whether amping up your accessories or adding to your instrument collection, there’s always somewhere for your spare notes to go. So, what’s the justification for adding a travel guitar to the top of your purchase list?

5 Reasons Why You Need a Travel Guitar in Your Life

1. Stress

The main selling point of the folding travel guitar is that you can carry it as hand luggage whenever you travel. Worrying about packing your instrument correctly and the potential of it being rudely stored in the hold massively add to the stress of any journey. Travel guitars fold away to fit in a space no larger than a standard backpack. Some electric guitars with removable body ‘wings’ go down smaller than that. This means that planes, trains or automobiles, however you’re travelling you can be confident that your instrument is safe and secure.

2. Size

The whole point of travel guitars is that they take up less space. This obviously makes them a more viable option for travelling – that’s kind of how they got their name. BUT it also makes them a good choice for general use too. With the current housing climate, few of us have all the home space we need. Folding travel guitars are much more easily accommodated than traditional instruments. They still produce the volume and the vibrant tonality any musician would look for. But when not being played, they pack away to a diminutive size.

3. Versatility

If you love to play guitar, you’ll play regardless of the instrument you have. Smaller, lighter and easier to transport, a travel guitar gives you many more opportunities to play. Don’t just take it when you travel, but to festivals, parties, camping. Take it to bust the boredom the next time you’ve got a long wait time ahead. Take it to the beach. Take it wherever and whenever you please. The folding travel guitar can be stuck in your backpack and it’s there when you need it.

4. Opportunity

Having a folding travel guitar that you can take and play pretty much anywhere doesn’t just give you more opportunity to play, but more opportunity to showcase and work. Whether busking, teaching, or gigging as a sideman, a travel guitar can enhance your prospects because you can carry your instrument with you without fuss or pretension. It can feed your travel habit. It can help you to make friends in foreign places. Or, if you want to audition, it doesn’t need to dominate your entire day, your instrument folding away effortlessly when you’ve finished.

5. Happiness

Playing music is good for the soul and good for the health. It can lift your mood and channel your thoughts. Having the freedom to take your guitar with you when you need it, or simply want it, will make you happy. It will. The happiness will start with the novelty of the instrument and the flexibility of the concept. But it will grow with the quality of the guitar and the pleasure of being able to pick up and play whenever you want.

Folding travel guitars developed, originally, as a problem-solving exercise. They were a means to overcome the stress and expense of travelling with a guitar. They have become a lifestyle accessory; a means to play music where and when it suits you. That’s why there should be a place for one in every musician’s collection.

How Folding Guitars Work

We get a lot of interest in our products, here at Snap Dragon. But some of the most common questions we have to answer are: What is a folding guitar? And, how does it work? The problem is that when you say the words ‘folding guitar’ or ‘travel guitar’, the majority of people harbour the image of the instrument’s novelty predecessors. Travel guitar conjures up the picture of a scaled-down instrument, compact enough to carry-on, but too compact for the over 12s to comfortably play. Folding guitar invokes a pointless plaything of less than dubious quality that people of a certain age would break out at parties. What Snap Dragon produces is neither of those things. So, let’s tell you a bit about what our folding and travel guitars actually are and do.

What is a Folding Guitar?

Snap Dragon folding guitars are full-sized instruments. They are designed to look, sound and perform just like any other well-made guitar… If not a little better (we might be biased!). When in playing mode, you’d be hard-pressed to identify a Snap Dragon folding guitar from its traditionally designed contemporaries. Our inimitable quality and style aside, of course. The difference comes when the instrument is packed away for storage or travel. Then, the neck of the guitar is folded down over its body, the strings are tucked safely away, and the size is reduced by at least half. That is a folding guitar. Available as acoustic, electric and bass, with all the usual variables – Evertune, Silent etc., – a folding guitar is completely interchangeable with any other kind of guitar… Unless you want to travel, in which case a folding guitar is better.

So that’s what they are, let’s have a look at how they do what they do.

How do Folding Guitars Work?

There are only two things about a folding guitar that differ from traditional instruments: a pivot, and in some models, wings.

The pivot, as you might imagine, is situated at the base of the instrument’s neck. When straightened for playing, string tension holds the neck in place. It doesn’t wobble around, it doesn’t unexpectedly collapse. You need to exert a little pressure, but when you’re ready to pack up, you can simply reposition the guitar’s neck, swivelling it round and down for storage. On models like the Mini TraXe, this reduces the carry size to just 54 x 31 x 8 cm. The benefits of this are obvious.

As for the wings, well, they’re there for when size really does matter. If you need your guitar to take up as little space as possible, an instrument like the SnapaXe E will deliver. In playing form, it looks like a very stylish yet nonetheless regular guitar. However, for packing away, the wide, curvy hips of the body can be removed. When combined with the neck pivot, this leaves a total carry size of 54 x 8 x 10 cm. Made of polymer, the wings are light weight and durable. And they click straight back into place without ceremony as soon as you’re ready to play.

You can see how both mechanisms work here:

So that, in a nutshell, is your guide to folding guitars. Simple, straightforward, and yet also a little bit clever – rather like us!

If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please feel free to give us a call +44 (0) 1277 321163

No Sweat – Why Cleaning Your Travel Guitar Matters

Travelling with your guitar brings no end of pleasure. If you’re on the road for work, it gives you that much-needed headspace at the end of the day. If you’re travelling for leisure, then what better way to spend your down-time than playing guitar? And the beauty of owning a folding travel guitar is that it’s no sweat to take it with you wherever you go. It’s perfectly playable, but can fold away to become completely compact, what more could you want? There is one slight problem though, and it’s an issue with all guitars, not just travel instruments: sweat. If you’re travelling in hotter climates you will sweat more. And that is not good news for your guitar.

Sweat Vs. Guitar

Everyone sweats, right? We do our best to mask it, but it’s all part of being this stinking biological mess that we call ‘human’. There’s nothing wrong with it. We can’t help it. But that doesn’t mean that our guitars have to like it.

Sweat works on guitars in two ways. Firstly, and most commonly, it will build up on the underside of the strings, compromising performance. The tone may differ as the strings become heavier. You’ll eventually reach the stage where your guitar just doesn’t sound right.

The other issue is that sweat is acidic. Some people’s sweat is more acidic than others. This can be caused by eating too much protein, cereals and sugars, or certain health conditions. And the more acidic the worse for the guitar. This doesn’t just mean that the guitar doesn’t perform as well as you’d like, but that the strings break more regularly. For some people this will mean replacing their strings on a weekly basis. But, worse than that, if the guitar isn’t cleaned, bridges and frets can tarnish and rust too, jeopardising the whole instrument.

For both these issues, the more you sweat, the sooner the problems will happen. So, be aware in hotter climates.

Now, you’re probably thinking; ‘hang on, professional musicians sweat allllll the time!’ And yes, they do. We’ve all been to gigs where the whole group finish their set looking like they’ve just stepped from the shower. The potential difference between them and you is that they look after their instruments properly… Or pay someone else to do it for them. So, what’s the answer for you?

How to Protect your Guitar from Sweat Damage

It’s kind of mundane, but the only real way to protect your guitar from sweat damage is to clean it. So:

  1. Wash your hands – you don’t want to get any other crud on your instrument while cleaning it.
  2. Remove the strings and clean them. A string cleaning kit will cost a couple of pounds. Wiping down your strings with a designated cleaner and a soft cloth will help remove any sweat, skin oil and general grime.
  3. Clean the frets. This is a bit more involved, but you can follow this simple guide here.
  4. Polish the body. The way you do this will depend on the make up of your guitar. For a polyurethane finish, you could just use a soft cloth or some wax. A matte finish guitar only needs a soft cloth.
  5. Buff all the metal parts with a soft cloth.
  6. Reassemble.

Cleaning is never the most glamorous of jobs. And when you have time to sit and play, it’s rarely a priority. But it’s what you need to do if you want to be able to play your instrument into the future. And it’s important to remember that your travel guitar is no exception. If you’re playing somewhere hot and sticky, your instrument will be getting sticky too. And that’s why cleaning your travel guitar matters.

Sea Shanties and Salty Air: What Ocean Breaks Can Mean for Your Guitar

Ah, life on the ocean wave. What could be better? The warm salt air, the sun on your face and breeze in your hair. Incredible sunrises and sunsets. New vistas every day. And your guitar in your arms… But about that guitar. How is it going to enjoy ocean travel? Short answer: Probably not that much.

Whether you’re planning a cruise this year, or a summer spent on the beach, there’s no reason why you can’t take your travel guitar along with you. After all, what’s the point of a holiday if you can’t take time to play? However, there are a few things worth bearing in mind, if you want your instrument to survive the experience.

Tips and Precautions for Beachside and Boating Holidays When Travelling with a Guitar

1. Watch the Humidity


Humidity is not your guitar’s friend. When there’s too much water vapor in the air – as is often the case by the sea! – the wood of a guitar can become swollen. This can lead to warping. While this can be fixed, and a DIY approach is possible, especially if you’re just talking about the neck, it’s far easier and much more sensible to take precautions to avoid it. So, when it’s not in use, store your guitar carefully, along with some silica gel packets to absorb any moisture. A digital hygrometer can also be used to monitor the humidity of the guitar’s storage environment.

2. Handle the Heat

Try not to leave your guitar anywhere that it’s likely to get too hot. If a guitar is overheated, it can dry out and crack. Or the glue can melt, leading to a different kind of repair. So, even if it’s in its case, don’t leave it out on the beach, or on the deck of a boat because a black case will absorb the sun and your instrument can be fried.

3. Stay out of the Sun

Obviously, you don’t want to spend all your time away sitting in the shade but be aware that too much sun can fade or crack your guitar’s finish. Some people like this; it gives an authentically ‘weathered’ look. But if you like your instrument just as it is, limit your playing time in the sun.

4. Sunblock

That being said, sunblock isn’t great for your guitar either! Most of the damage can be easily rectified – you’ll need to clean the frets, and practically everything else. However, some sunblock can dissolve the finish, so it’s best to try to avoid getting it on the guitar body.

5. Rusty Strings

Salt is corrosive, meaning that salt air can have a pretty detrimental effect upon your strings. Now, of course, strings can be easily replaced. But, if it’s a long trip, you need to make sure that you’re replacing your strings before the tarnish spreads to other parts of the instrument – such as the frets. And yes, most frets are made out of silver nickel, which means that they will tarnish more slowly, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t tarnish at all.

6. Store Safely

As with any kind of travel, you need to make sure that your guitar is safely packed. For a traditional model, this should involve a heavy-duty case. Folding travel guitars are usually supplied in tailor-made backpacks or bags. Designed for storage as much as transportation, these backpacks should give your travel guitar all the protection it needs when not in use.

A weekend at the beach isn’t going to do your guitar any harm at all. Even a couple of weeks onboard a boat will be fine. But regardless of your length of stay, it always pays to take precautions. Look after your guitar as if it were a pet. Keep it dry and comfortable. Clean it if it gets grubby. Give it somewhere safe to rest. Do all of that and you’ll be playing sea shanties way into the future.

Guitar Care while Travelling by Car

Whenever anyone talks about the problems of travelling with guitars, you immediately think about air travel. Almost everyone does. Because we’ve all heard horror stories of instruments being forced into the hold by unsympathetic flight attendants. It even happens to world-renowned musicians. It makes the stomach clench! But the thing is, it’s not only flying that can pose a rink to your guitar. Travelling by car can be just as damaging if you don’t take precautions.

What are the issues of travelling by car with a guitar?

We’ll put aside the size issue, because travel guitars take care of that. If you’re concerned about the logistics of ramming a guitar into your boot along with all your other travel gear, there are folding versions of every style of guitar available, with some taking up just centimetres of space. So, the actual car space required to transport your guitar is minimal. But there are other things that you should think about.

1 – The weather.

Extreme temperatures are not good for guitars. If you’re travelling in spring or autumn, this probably won’t be an issue. But in summer and winter your guitar might suffer. Heat and cold can both dry a guitar out. This can lead to: a bowed neck, a lifting bridge, or misaligned frets. Leave it too long without attention and the neck might even snap. In extreme heat, you might also be looking at melted glue, so there will be nothing to hold your instrument together.

2 – Temperature fluctuations.

Exposing your guitar to fluctuating temperatures is almost as bad for it as leaving it in the heat or cold for too long. So, a day in the boiling or freezing boot of a car before being moved into a heated or air-conditioned hotel room can really stress the instrument, causing the rapid expansion/contraction of the wood. This, in turn, can lead to cracking and warping. The obvious way to avoid this is storing your guitar in the main cabin rather than the boot. Admittedly more difficult with a traditional model; much easier with a travel guitar.

3 – Humidity.

Guitars are kind of like Goldilocks when it comes to humidity. Everything has to be ‘just right’. Not to dry. Not too sticky. This is an issue however and wherever you’re travelling. It can also be an issue at home, depending on the location/age/condition of your house. There are some fairly simple precautions you can take to protect your guitar against humidity though, so don’t panic!

As much as we all love to do it, travel can be an almighty pain. The packing alone can be enough to put a person off. And that’s before you’ve even factored in your guitar. But, when you think of the pleasure of strumming away on an isolated beach at sunset, or picking out chords in front of a roaring camp fire as your family or friends gather round, and it all begins to feel worthwhile. Of course, travelling with a guitar can be awkward, but choose the right instrument, pack it well and treat it like a passenger – c’mon, would you really leave Great Aunt Mable in the boot overnight? Really? – and it will give you some amazing travel memories.


Handling humidity when travelling with your guitar

Hoorah! You have purchased a travel guitar! Never again will you know the painful anxiety of leaving one of your limbs in the hold while you fly. The hours inflight, fearing the worst while hoping that your meticulous packing will save you from opening a case full of matchsticks when you reach your destination. Just when you thought that it was safe to get back on the aeroplane a new menace emerges: humidity.

Keeping your guitar with you when travelling will indeed help reduce the perils of temperature fluctuation on your journey. But, as hard as it might be to believe at this time of year, other countries are martyrs to humidity year-round. And if you’re travelling to one such destination, it can mean bad things for your instrument.

What does humidity do to a guitar?

We all need some degree of humidity to survive, otherwise we’d all be desiccated, and our homes would be deserts. But changes in humidity can cause us problems.

  • High humidity means that there is more water vapor there in the air. This can mean that the wood of your guitar may swell and warp.
  • Low humidity is when water vapor is depleted, usually by extremely high temperatures – as found in a desert. This can lead to your guitar drying out to the point of cracking.

Experts recommend that guitars are kept at a humidity level of 45-55%. While this might not always be possible, it’s the fluctuations between temperate and high or low humidity that are most damaging for guitars. This can cause a range of problems from swollen frets and glue failure to tuning problems and buzzing action.

Using a travel guitar can help with this, as you have more control over where your guitar goes – no sitting in freezing/baking loading bays before/after hours in an icy hold. But there are other things that you can do once you’ve reached your destination.

How to protect your guitar against humidity


The key word in that subheading there is ‘protect’. The more exposed your instrument is, the more susceptible it is to damage. So:

  • When you’re not using your guitar, keep it in a case – the best you can afford.
  • Use a guitar humidifier. There are loads of different brands and types available, but they’re all compact, easy to use and generally affordable. It’ll basically help to keep your instrument comfy. Buy don’t be tempted to overdo it, as you could cause the reverse problem.
  • When travelling somewhere with high humidity, pack some packets of silica gel in your guitar case to absorb any excess moisture.
  • If you’re travelling somewhere particularly dry and cold or hot and wet, or are planning a trip that will involve both, buy a digital hygrometer. It’ll read the humidity levels in your case and tell you when your guitar needs some TLC (any time that humidity is outside of the 45-55% range).
  • Don’t store your instrument by a heating duct, air vent, air conditioner or open window.
  • If you’re travelling by car, never leave your guitar in the boot. Cars can be subject to extreme temperature changes when not in use, frying or freezing anything left inside them. If you wouldn’t leave a puppy in it, don’t leave your guitar!

Guitars handle no end of wear and tear. It’s a sign that they’re used and loved. But humidity can cause lasting and irretrievable damage, so it only makes sense to take precautions before it becomes a problem.

How to pack a guitar for travel

Travelling with a guitar comes with its inherent problems. The instruments are fragile, easily damaged and susceptible to temperature fluctuations. Sometimes, it’s tempting to just leave them at home, but that’s not always an option. If you need to take your guitar with you, whether for work or pleasure, there are a few simple precautions that can help it survive the journey.

5 steps to pack your guitar for safe travel

1. Invest in a quality case.

OK, so that seems like an obvious one, but a lot of people don’t. If you’re not intending to travel when you first purchase your guitar, it’s tempting to go for the minimum expense. And that’s fine for about the home, but less so when your instrument has to face the rigours of air, sea, or even road travel. Either a solid case with a soft inner, or a soft case with structured inner is a really great option.

2. Prepare the instrument.

Loosen the strings so that changes in pressure don’t snap the neck. This is one of the most important steps you can take if flying. You might also want to consider purchasing a travel guitar/folding guitar so that you’re able to take your instrument on as hand luggage to avoid the potential threats that come with stowing in the hold. In theory, you should be able to take your regular instrument as hand luggage] . In practice, it’s not always that easy. A folding guitar can remove this problem.

3. Use bubble wrap.

Bubble wrap has become ubiquitous in the postal industry for a very good reason: it’s an excellent shock absorber and it’s cheap. For your purposes, it’s also pretty thin, so it can create an air pocket around your guitar without substantially increasing the required case size. Just line the case with a layer of the wrap and place your guitar on top. Leave a little space, as if the guitar fits too snuggly it will come under undue pressure. Cover the top of the guitar with a further layer of bubble wrap – it’s often easier to use one large sheet – and tape the sides together.

4. Further protect fragile areas.

The neck and headstock of your guitar are the areas most prone to damage, so wrap an additional layer of bubbles around them. The side of your guitar can also be vulnerable, so if there’s room, place another layer of bubble wrap down the sides.

5. Keep accessories separate.

While it’s tempting to lump everything in together, the more you have in your case, the greater the chance that your instrument will be damaged. So, unless your case has an integrated accessory store, keep your spare strings, picks, and especially your capo, in a separate bag.  

And that’s it. A little bit of prep can save you a whole heap of heartache, helping you to finish your journey with your guitar intact.  

Carry on carrying on: Your guitar CAN be taken as hand luggage

Anyone who travels regularly with their guitar would have read – with mild horror – the experiences of Dave Davies (he of Kinks fame) last December.

This is a man who has very successfully made his living playing guitar. Millions of people know his name. Millions more know his music. And yet in December ’17, BA insisted that he stow his guitar in the hold.

Oh, horror of horrors.

It’s the thing that every guitar player dreads when booking a flight, and few of us mortal folk are in the position to purchase an additional seat for our beloved instruments – even should the airline allow this. It’s a cause of so much angst.

So, you might be surprised to know that airlines are actually obliged to allow musicians to carry their instruments as hand luggage.

Uh, what now?

Well, exactly. According to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that’s the case. Read it for yourself.

(a) IN GENERAL—Subchapter I of chapter 417 is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘§ 41724. Musical instruments
‘‘(1) SMALL INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE.—An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if—

‘‘(A) the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the Administrator; and

‘‘(B) there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.

Doesn’t that make life happier?

Unfortunately, not always. There’s still much confusion and some airlines are intractable because that “if–“ allows for a huge number of caveats. Which is why dozens of people less famous than Mr Davies are forced to endure sphincter-clenching flights, in dread of carousel crushing, on a daily basis.

Travel Guitars

Travelling safely with a guitar is possible. There are things that you can do to better protect your instrument. But there’s no denying that hold storage is a bad idea for your guitar, and is best avoided if possible.

Quite aside from the fact that it could easily be smashed to smithereens en route, the air pressure and temperature fluctuations do terrible things to body and strings. That’s one of the reasons we’ve put such a lot of effort into creating folding guitars.

If you’ve not used a folding guitar (AKA travel guitar), it’s easy to be sceptical. How could a guitar that folds in half hope to have the integrity of a solid instrument? How can the neck not move around under pressure? Well, if you really want to know, it’s because we’re very, very clever.

Need more info than that? Tch! Alright then.

Essentially, it all comes down to a cleverly placed screw, which allows the neck to be straightened or bent. With the strings tucked safely inside the body and the neck bent forward, the travel guitar becomes small enough to fit in a hand-luggage sized backpack. When you’re ready to play, it takes just 30 seconds to unpack and restore the neck to its rightful position, tighten the screw and check the tuning – as you would before any session. In most cases, the strings are as tuneful as you left them. Tonally excellent, the guitar feels as solid and sturdy as anything you’ve ever played.

Quick, simple, problem solved.

If you fly with your instrument on a regular basis, a travel guitar is seriously worth considering. It saves stress, logistical nightmares, and an abundance of luggage…

Or, you could just keep on begging, pleading, bribing, picking fights with flight attendants, and developing ulcers every time you fly. Both are worthy options.

Have Guitar, Will Travel

Ah, travelling the world with a guitar strapped to your back. The life of a roaming minstrel seems such a romantic one… But it also seems totally out of the question these days. Travel is expensive; opportunities are few. So, what do you do if you’re not [yet] famous? Grab your funky folding guitar and read on, dear friends, read on…

6 ways your guitar could pay for you to travel

Bar Work

Any venue in possession of a live music license is always on the lookout for acts. Learn a few crowd-pleasers, or learn something unique; if you can play well, you’ll find work on your travels. Approach with politeness, be prepared to do a demo and play to the venue’s vibe. If they like you, you’ll probably be invited back for more during your stay in the area. If not, just try the pub further down the road.


So, this might seem improbable. If you want to make a living from teaching guitar you need to build up a client base, right? You need to have a fixed address and somewhere to hold your lessons. What you need are facilities. Well, yeah, if you want to do things the traditional way, but e-learning is becoming increasingly popular across a range of disciplines, making it possible to teach on the go. As long as you have a decent smart phone or laptop and can find a strong Wi-Fi signal, you can teach guitar – or music theory – anywhere. Skype and FaceTime have opened up a huge range of opportunities. And this means that not only can you teach from anywhere around the world, but you also have a potentially global client base.


Standing on a street corner with a hat sprinkled with pennies and the local authorities looming? OK, so may be busking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be a big deal with a potentially huge revenue stream. And backpackers everywhere have been switching on to this. If you can play your guitar well enough to draw a crowd – and you have a guitar that will easily travel – then busking is a great way to fund your adventures, particularly in Asia. Not every country requires you to obtain a busking license, but check first.

Song Writing

If there is one thing you will never lack while travelling, it’s inspiration. If you’re the creative type, good at picking out your own tunes and handy with a lyric, then song writing can be lucrative. And there is always a market. With your travel guitar to hand, you can do it at any time – no plane, train or bus ride need ever be wasted again. And the work will always follow you.


For anyone with an ounce of cool, becoming a cruise liner entertainer is seen as the epitome of naff. But, but, BUT… If you want to travel the world and get paid for playing guitar, then it’s a solid gold solution. Cruises are no longer solely the domain of the moneyed geriatric. A lot of the companies are now appealing to the younger generations, which means that the entertainment remit has broadened. While we can’t guarantee that you won’t be spending your days playing the greatest his of Max Bygraves and Brotherhood of Man, it’s definitely not a given.


If you know your instrument well, you can sell your services as a sideman – a professional guitar player for hire. For most of the time, this might mean performing in churches and local events. If you’re lucky, it could mean being picked up as emergency back-up for a band, show, or some other kind of tour. That’s where the money really comes in.

5 important tips for travelling with a guitar

Once upon a time, travelling with a guitar was a relatively straightforward process.

Regardless of your mode of transport, your guitar would pass as carry-on luggage. You could cosset it and care for it in whatever way felt right for you; no need to worry about luggage wreckers handlers doing their thing, or adverse conditions in the hold.

Now, however, things aren’t quite so simple. The travel industry has a different dynamic. With security precautions, limited space and ever-increasing prices, we’ve all had to get used to a new world-order… Which for anyone who’s even remotely serious about their guitar can only mean one thing: palpitations.

As frustrating as all this can seem, it needn’t be a deterrent from travelling with your guitar. It’s just a case of doing things differently.

1. Pack it tight and loosen up

One of the major issues of travelling with your guitar is that it’s a delicate instrument. It doesn’t take much to crack the guitar body or break its elegant neck, so packing well is essential. Investing in a good, sturdy case is an obvious starting point, but you need to go further. Tuck it into bed with extra padding – t-shirts, socks and pants will do the job without taking you over your luggage allowance. In packing all the nooks you’re reducing movement, which means there’s less room for damage if it’s not handled with care. Equally important is loosening the strings, especially if you’re flying. Changes in air pressure can seriously tighten your strings, creating enough strain to snap the instrument’s neck.

2. Prepare for your destination

Wooden guitars hate humidity. But they also don’t like it when the air is too dry. Too wet and it will swell. Too dry and it will crack. Neither is good news. And that’s before you get to glue failure, warping, shrinking frets and tuning problems. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take your guitar anywhere with a climate different to your home country, but you do need to research and be prepared. Mini de/humidifiers and moisture packets can save a lot of heart ache. Strategic use of air-con can help. A travel hygro-thermometer will let you know when things are right and when you should take care. And following on…

3. Think of Goldilocks

Guitars like everything to be ‘just right’, so try to protect it from extremes. If you’re on the road, don’t leave it in a hot car. The glue can melt, leaving the taut strings to pull the bridge out of place. If it’s too cold, the components can expand and contract at different rates, leading to separation. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight or in a draught, to prevent the wood and strings from drying out. Aim for the middle ground and keep old Goldie happy.

4. Buy a travel guitar

Travel guitars used to be slightly laughable novelties. No self-respecting muso would own one, other than maybe as a joke. But then people started realising that having a guitar which could easily travel was actually quite a good idea.

We think of Snap Dragon guitars as artisan. A huge amount of craftsmanship has gone into producing instruments that sound as good as traditional full-size models. Pros use them without flinching. They provide an alternative to traditional instruments and can easily make it through as hand luggage in all but the smallest of aircraft, providing flexibility and practicality.

5. Be polite, stay calm and play dumb

Of course, the best way to make sure that your guitar stays safe while travelling is to keep it with you. And for that to happen, you need to turn on the charm. Some airlines simply have a no-go policy. Others rely on attendant discretion. So, research first. In the latter scenario, the nicer you are, the better your chances. Explain that you’re happy for the guitar to be stored anywhere in the cabin. Explain why you need it there – with a smile. Don’t lose your cool if someone says ‘no’. And fall back on ‘they said it was OK at the check-in desk’. Boarding early and hiding your guitar behind other passenger’s hand luggage can also help!