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Small Musical Instruments Guide for Travellers, According to Digital Nomads

If there’s a universal language, other than love, it’s music.

It’s perfect for bonding over when you travel and even for earning a couple of bucks if you lose your wallet.

You just need a travel-sized instrument to be sure of having fun and friends wherever you go and we’ve got some awesome small musical instruments to learn.

Check them out!


Flute

The flute is a very affordable instrument that anyone can start to learn and you’d be surprised how easy it is to pick up a tune on one. 

Of course, if you want to play a flute in an orchestra, that’s going to take quite a bit more work and eventually, a more expensive instrument.

It’s super easy to fit your flute into a bag and it shouldn’t cause any consternation at customs, either. 

Flute

Harmonica

You won’t be playing a harmonica in an orchestra, mind you, but it will be a welcome addition to almost any kind of live music in a bar or pub.

It looks awesome and you definitely won’t need a second mortgage to buy one, it’s one of the cheapest instruments out there. 

You can slip a harmonica into a pocket at any time and hit the road. No packing required. 

Harmonica

Slide Whistle

If you don’t feel up to the challenges of tackling a complex instrument then you might find yourself drawn to the slide whistle.

It’ll barely put a bulge in a shirt pocket when you want to carry it around with you and it shouldn’t take more than a day or two to learn to play.

It’s also a low cost option and a favorite of backpackers the world over. 

 Slide Whistle

Melodica

The melodica is a slightly less common instrument though you’d be forgiven for looking at it and thinking, “that’s a keyboard!”

It is just a smaller and easier to carry version of a keyboard. It won’t win any prizes if you want to play live somewhere, mind you, but it’s great for learning on.

The skills you gain on a melodica are transferable to the keyboard or piano. 

Melodica

Ukulele

The guitar is an awesome instrument to learn but the trouble is, guitars are big and once in a travel case – they’re heavy too.

Its smaller brother, however, is the ukulele and it’s a super popular travel instrument that’s quite easy to take with you anywhere.

The ukulele originated in Hawaii, a fantastic place to visit. 

Ukulele

Mandolin

If you like to stand out from the crowd but still want something that will slip inside a flight case with the minimum of fuss – you want a mandolin.

This instrument is brimming with personality and not that much harder to learn than the ukulele. However, be warned – it does require regular maintenance to sound at its best. 

If you dare to be different, you’re going to love it. 

Mandolin

Djembe

If you want to keep the beat, then the djembe is a great choice of drum. It’s super portable and you don’t need any drumsticks to play it.

It’s the kind of instrument that’s ideal to pass round at a camp fire or to take to a talent show on the road.

Everyone has fun playing this and it’s a great stress reliever too. 

Djembe

Bongos

Don’t get the biggest pair of bongos that you can find because they can be quite hefty to carry around but get a standard sized pair.

They are very easy to pack away given their shape and solidity and they aren’t very heavy.

The best part is, it’s not the hardest of instruments to learn to play and having bongos just screams “I am the life and soul of the party!”

Bongos

Kalimba

This is a nice unusual choice if you want to get a bit of attention for the instrument you choose.

The kalimba is also called the “thumb piano” and it has a completely unique look. The good news is it doesn’t require much maintenance and it’s easy to learn to play. 

Kalimba 

Recorder

The children’s classic first instrument can also be an adult’s preferred instrument. It’s cheap and cheerful and very easy to pack wherever you go.

And it’s a surprisingly versatile instrument too, you can get a lot of different tunes out of a recorder. 

Recorder

Final Notes

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of some of the awesome small musical instruments that are easy to carry, fun to play, and great for travel.

Hit the musical road!

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