View Full Version : Travel Ukes? Any suggestions

10-25-2010, 05:26 AM
I was wondering anyone had some input about travel/ ukes that can take a beating. I have a KoAloha concert which I love and I really don't want it to get damaged. I want a uke that I can throw in the car when I go camping or take on vacations, but is still playable and nice sounding. I have been trying to look around for a good sounding uke but inexpensive. I was hoping for koa but it may be a little pricey. I was thinking about a Big Island Honu, but I dont know. I am open to suggestions.


10-25-2010, 05:41 AM
Grab a Fluke or Flea. There is no better instrument for what you're looking for.

10-25-2010, 05:47 AM
I'd also say a flea or fluke. But if you can try one out or listen to some sound samples online. I love my flea and think it sounds great but it's not as "traditional" sounding as some other ukuleles in the same price range.

10-25-2010, 07:21 AM
I have a tenor flea that sounds great and is fun to play, and I'd be willing to subject it to the harsh outside world of camping and airline travel. I also have a couple of Kala thinline travel ukuleles. I ordinarily take one of the Kala ukuleles (instead of the flea) when I fly because their thinness permits me to carry them in my carry-on backpack, so my ukulele doesn't have to be counted as a separate carry-on item. You can see all the Kala thinline travel ukuleles here (http://www.kalaukulele.com/Search_Results_Travel.asp?txtsearchParamTxt=&txtsearchParamCat=12&txtsearchParamType=ALL&iLevel=1&txtsearchParamMan=ALL&txtsearchParamVen=ALL&txtFromSearch=fromSearch&btnSearch.x=8&btnSearch.y=6).

MGM usually as some in his online store (http://stores.ebay.com/Musicguymics-Room/_i.html?_nkw=travel&_sid=34517586).

10-25-2010, 07:26 AM
As the others have said, it depends on which part of "travel" you want to emphasize. On a pure size basis, the Kala thin ukes are great, and sound good, too. But if you want something that can withstand more abuse, the flea or fluke are the obvious choices.

10-25-2010, 10:50 AM
My travel uke is a Lanikai LU-21. It costs 1/3 of what a Flea or Fluke cost. Looks more like a real uke, though it is not as loud nor as indestructable as a Flea or Fluke. Still it has travelled the world in my checked bag or my carry on bag, protected only by clothing that I placed around it. I'm not putting down the Flea and Fluke, I'd like one of each. Just putting up a cheaper alternative.

The Ohana sopraninno looks nice as well, but is probably more delicate than my Lanikai.

10-25-2010, 10:56 AM
Another vote for Soprano FLEA! I have an Ohana Sopranino, and while it would be easier to fit in my backpack, it just doesn't sound as good as the flea for fingerpicking style.

I took my travel flea to Ireland, Spain and France, and had my friends there write on it with a sharpie. Great memory.


Uke Republic
10-25-2010, 10:59 AM
Lots of choices- Kala pocket uke and 3 thinline travel uke options in size. Ohana's sopranino is very popular with travelers. You probably wouldn't want to beat this one up to much but we carrry the LoPrinzi Bambino in lots of different tonewoods. I think all the mentioned are great for travel.

10-25-2010, 11:08 AM
The flea's sound great. I would go for a Concert neck flea. Correct me if I'm wrong people but the body size stays soprano its just a concert neck?

It has 15 frets, robust, and you could carry it around in a shopping bag if you wanted to keep weight down.

This is the one I always eye up http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=45

As for myself my travel uke is a Koaloha soprano with concert neck. Super light, loud, fits in a soprano case, and has that concert neck to allow for that extra playing up the neck and finger spacing.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-25-2010, 11:57 AM
I got a Risa Soprano Solid, but that requires an amp (pocket or full-size) with batteries/power and cables.

Then I got the Kala Soprano Travel Uke and carried it around for a full year and love it.

I most recently acquired an Applause Soprano, acoustic-only and I'm enjoying it as my current 'travel' uke.

I'm planning a trip home (Honolulu) and I'm leaning toward taking the Kala because of it's very thin form factor
which makes it very easy to include in a carry-on bag (open or backpack). The fitted, padded gig bag
fits the uke snugly and provides a fair amount of protection. I can carry a digital tuner and a stuffed toy in
the case!

So my suggestion, esp if you are a Soprano player, is the Kala Soprano Travel Uke.

Keep uke'in',

10-25-2010, 01:04 PM
I think those Kala travel ukes are well made, and they sound good, too. However, for me they're just too thin, and excessively top heavy (with the geared tuners). I actually had to take mine back and exchange it. That was just my experience, though. People seem to really like them. By too thin I mean hard to hold- there's no body to grasp.

jordan bello
10-25-2010, 03:26 PM
My "travel" uke for car/beach is a makala dolphin.

10-25-2010, 07:14 PM
I second the Dolphin, i actually have the Orange Burst as well.

10-25-2010, 10:30 PM
I love my Kala travel uke. It is so light and easy to pack as others have said, but for me it's the sound. I was blown away by how good the sound from that little guy is. I swapped the tuners for some grover friction tuners and now the balance is spot on. Feels light as a feather. I have taken mine on airplanes, coaches, trains and on hikes. The dolphin is a great uke, but if you want that little bit more quality, then the Kala is a great buy.

mm stan
10-26-2010, 01:11 AM
Aloha The_Oddness_of_It_All,
If you want a durable ukulele, I wouldn't get an expensive Koa or Pono..My feeling is a Fluke or Flea as the other posts have said.
That being said, even those shouldn't be mishandled and thrown around...and given care to if you want them to last.....MM Stan

Ukulele JJ
10-26-2010, 05:37 AM
The Flea would be my top choice. It holds its tune with an iron grip, in all sorts of conditions. It stands up on its own. Rugged plastic back and fretboard. Perfect! (A Fluke is probably going to be a wee bit too big for traveling, IMO.)

The idea of an LU-21 is great one too. I keep one in my car and it gets knocked around a bit. Still kickin'! I do find that I have to retune it much more often than the Flea.

Third choice (or maybe even tied for second) would be a Dolphin, particularly the newer ones with the plastic back.

If you can find an old plastic uke (TV Pal, etc.) for cheap, then that would probably be the ultimate "go anywhere" uke. You could play it in the shower. Not exactly the most high-end sound though.


10-27-2010, 01:46 AM
Thanks to everyone who replied! I got some great suggestions. I hadn't even thought or a Fluke or Flea before, but it makes sense. I think now its all about playing them and seeing which ones I really like. I feel like the plastic ukes would be more durable but I cant see them sounding too great. Is this true? Thanks again!

10-27-2010, 02:59 AM
Make sure you play the Fluke and Flea (if possible) before you buy. Their sound isn't for everyone. They don't sound bad, just different.

10-27-2010, 05:55 AM
Kamoa soprano. $100, laminate (tough), nice sound, accurate intonation.

10-27-2010, 06:37 AM
Depends on your budget, but I love the sopranino. It is Solid Mahogany and the more you play, the better it sounds. And I can sneak it into anywhere it is so small, but the tone is usually great!!!

11-08-2010, 05:38 AM
I have always thought that the sopranino was really cool, i just wonder if its a little hard to play...Frets?..are they smaller than normal?

mm stan
11-08-2010, 05:47 AM
Make sure you play the Fluke and Flea (if possible) before you buy. Their sound isn't for everyone. They don't sound bad, just different.
Member Skitzic makes a good point....that's a good advice....good going Skitzic...

11-08-2010, 10:27 AM
I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the Backpacker Ukulele by Captain Ukuleles. Here is a previous thread about them:


They are light, durable, reasonably priced, available with a concert scale neck and fit in a backpack. If I am on a business trip and my playing time is limited, I take the backpacker with me. If I am going to have more time, I take my Mya Moe soprano. I have never had any problems taking a ukulele with me on a plane. I put it under the seat in front of me until everybody has loaded the overhead and then if there is room, I put it up there.


11-08-2010, 04:50 PM
My Ovation/Applause acoustic/electric soprano UAE20's have traveled around the globe with me and have been played on beaches, in the mountains and in the ocean spray in the South China Sea off 1,000 Islands in the Philippines and they still play strong!





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Hippie Dribble
11-08-2010, 06:37 PM
Grab a Fluke or Flea. There is no better instrument for what you're looking for.

Howdy O Odd one

just putting in another vote with Mark, Bongo, the Soupmeister, Chap and Skottoman for the flea or fluke:)...really durable...can take heaps of punishment...great price...cute graphics too and better than average sound...my choice would be a soprano or concert neck flea...how much money do you want to spend though? Current retail for the standard flea with the polycarbonate fretboard is $218.

Only other one I'd suggest would be something like a Bruko #6 soprano ($185) cute as a button and fairly decent sound...Mike from UkeRepublic could help you there...many here are also big raves for the Makala Dolphins which are way cheaper than these and if set up with decent strings, sound great from all reports

happy shopping!!!