Electrical Adaptors and Converters
You'll Need Them To Plug-In For International Travel

Electrical adaptors and converters.... really? Can you think of anything less sexy and exciting when it comes to planning your trip and packing for travel?

Adaptors and converters are essential items to pack when you travel…

...Whether you spell it adaptors or adapters…

Put them on your basic packing list because you'll need them so you can plug in to all those funny shaped electrical sockets you find around the world.

"Stop!", you say...


You've got your itinerary planned, your suitcases are open.... you're just going to throw a few clothes into your suitcase... and now I'm telling you that you need to worry about plugs and sockets... Why?

Because if you don't have the right adaptors and converters, you're appliances just might not work!

AdaptORs and Converters or AdaptERs and Converters?

OK… we don't want to get called out on our spelling here.

There seems to be a bit of controversy… depending on which reference source we looked up, either adaptER or adaptOR was fine…

We think you can spell it any way you want… you don't need to be right with the spelling… you need to have the right adaptors and converters so that you can plug your electronics in and use them or charge them.

So what are adaptors and converters anyway?

Let's look at adapters first... they're what you're going to need most often.

What are adaptors and converters

Electrical adaptors for travel are plugs that go between your appliance with their US or European style prongs and the foreign electrical wall socket with the receptacle for a different arrangement of prongs.

Does that make sense?

It changes… or adapts… the plug shape to match the outlet.

And there are plenty of different shapes to adapt to! Actually 16 different types of electrical outlets that you may encounter throughout the world.

How many do you need to carry?

Electrical adapters come in a variety of shapes and sizes

We take several styles of adaptors when we travel so we are prepared to plug in...

...no matter what country we go to.

(That's not a "just in case" packing problem…

...it does work with our "pack light" philosophy… they don't take up much room.)


Some countries even have two different styles of wall sockets, so you might need two kinds of adaptors. You can even encounter different shaped sockets in the same room, not just in another country!

You may have one or two types of these already, but be sure you have all the appropriate ones. If not, you can get them at any travel store or order them online...

Check out Magellan's - America's Leading Source of Travel Supplies... one of our favorite catalogs. They have adaptors and converters... Just what you need! They also have all kinds of travel supplies and clothes that are easy to pack.

To be a savvy traveler, tuck a pouch of adapter plugs in a corner of your luggage to be prepared for any socket you might encounter…. like we said… they don't take up much room.

You mean there's more??? Sorry... there is, but only a couple of things...

    Will the adapter take polarized plug blades?

Be sure the adaptors you take accept polarized-blade appliance plugs.

WHaaattt?

I'm writing in the U.S... so we'll use US plugs as an example. Take a look at the prongs or blades on one of your plugs... on a polarized plug, one is wider than the other. It will only fit into the socket one way... and it won't fit into an older socket that isn't polarized. (But there IS an adapter for THAT too!)

Seriously though... check that out. You don't want to get on your trip and find that your adaptor fits nicely into a foreign electrical socket.... but your curling iron won't fit the adaptor!!!

    Will the adapter fit into a recessed socket?

You'll also want to make sure they fit down into the recessed sockets you'll find around the world. They really do sit down in a hole sometimes.

Some of of our old adaptors fit into the sockets, but because they're recessed, it's hard to get those old adaptors out.

    A silly aside... One time we wrapped dental floss around the plug, so we could pull it out. We DON'T recommend that… and we did go out and get a new one pretty quickly! ...You don't want to be digging around in an electrical socket!


Now... do you need adaptors AND converters?

Maybe. This comes back to the fact that electricity worldwide is not the same. Adaptors do not change the voltage.

    You will NOT need a converter if....

You have a dual voltage appliance or your electronics are multi-voltage.

Multi-voltage electonics do not need converters

Most newer electronic devices now have smart "multi-voltage" power supplies that can be used almost anywhere in the world with the proper adaptor.

Digital camcorders, battery chargers for digital cameras, your phone, and computer chargers tend to be multi-voltage or dual voltage, so they are OK with only an adapter.


Dual voltage appliances travel well

Other than those multi-voltage electronics, most of the appliances we take are "dual voltage"....

...my curling iron automatically senses if we are using 120 or 240, and all I need is the adaptor plug.

Mark's old razor had a switch he could turn to go from one voltage to the other. (He now has a new dual voltage razor... easier!)

    You WILL need a converter if....

If your appliances don't allow for the change in voltage in one of these ways...

Then you will need a voltage converter or transformer that will go between your appliance and the adaptor plugs. Be sure you research which type of converter or transformer you need.

  • Electrical razors can operate with a small converter (50 watt converter)....
  • Appliances that heat up such as a hair dryer or curling iron need a larger converter (1600 watt converter).

Those "shaver only" electrical outlets in hotel bathrooms have a converter inside, but it's for the smaller wattage. That's why you can't plug curling irons or hair dryers in there.

Doesn't that drive you nuts? I'm always looking for an electrical outlet I can use... and there's never a mirror close to one. I think all of those bathrooms were designed by men!

IF you need a converter.... as an American going abroad, you'll need a "step-down" converter to bring the voltage down to 112-120 that your appliance uses. If you're from almost anywhere else in the world, you'll need a "step-up" converter.

You can go to a site like Voltage Valet to help you figure out the voltage and electrical frequency of the country you'll be visiting. The Magellan site listed above is also a pretty good source.

Don't let all of this seem hard... You really don't need to be an electrical engineer... Once you've figured out which electrical adaptors and converters you need to pack, you'll be plugged into a good trip. Simple as that.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about? Search our site for a destination or travel tip.

Protected by Copyscape Online Copyright Infringement Tool
But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it...
Thanks, Judy and Mark

Go to International Travel Tips l Europe Travel Tips
Hotel and B&B Tips l Packing Lists and Tips
Go from Adaptors and Converters to MouseToursTravels Home Page

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.

Ready For A New Adventure?

We escape by traveling…
But there are more ways to escape. 
Work on something you LOVE…

SBI!

Already have a website or blog with WordPress? Make it better!
bizXpress

For The Travelers In Your Life
Get Luggage and Travel Gear

Magellans - Your Trusted Source of Travel Supplies

We love this catalog!

Magellan's is the place to find...
-packing organizers
-travel clothes with security pockets
-purses with steel cables in the straps
-adaptors and converters...
The list of great travel items you'll find goes on and on. Magellan's - America's Leading Source of Travel Supplies

Just looking for a carry-on suitcase or other luggage... ...Need a New Bag? Get up to 70% Off Top Brands at eBags!


Link to eBags.com with On-site offer

Timely Tips

Summer Vacation
Travel is fun in the Northern summer... but don't neglect the Southern Hemisphere at this time of year.
Yes, it's winter in South Africa, but that's their dry season. It's a good time to travel there.
Lions stop traffic in Kruger NP South Africa
Sometimes you need to watch rain patterns instead of just seasons to figure the best time to travel...

Whether you're taking a road trip close to home or traveling abroad...
whether it's summer or winter in your part of the world...
the way you pack can make it all more pleasurable.

Check out all our Packing Lists and Tips.

Here's one of our favorite places for great travel clothes and supplies to help with your packing...
Magellan's - America's Leading Source of Travel Supplies

Need travel ideas?
Things to See in Europe
Africa Calls!
Travel In America

Don't just dream about it...
Start making plans!

Custom Tour Planning List
International Travel Planning Tips
Foreign Is Fun - Not Scary!
Get Your Passports and Visas

Search

Search MouseToursTravels
Travel questions or destination info? Find our answers faster...

Related Searches

Translate

We want you to feel comfortable out in the world and on our pages - so surf away in your own language...

Navigate Our Site

Related Pages
on
Packing Tips

Packing Basics

Carry-on-Packing Tips
What Is Carry-On Size?
What Do Airlines Call A Personal Item
What We Recommend... Travel Light!
Packing Right
Why Put Identity Tags On Luggage?
Tips to Prevent Lost Luggage
Packing For Road Trips


Packing Lists

Basic Packing List
Tropical Vacation Packing List
Cold Weather Packing List
Mixed Weather Packing List

Luggage

Packing Methods: Fold or Roll It?
Travel Luggage Recommendations
Travel Luggage Options

Packing for Airport Security

Security Packing Tips
Travel Security Alert Packing Guide
How to Pack That Plastic Bag?
Requirements for That Plastic Bag?
Packing Your Cosmetics for Today's Security

Electronics

Electricity Worldwide - What You Need To Know
Dual Voltage Appliances
Adaptors and Converters
Electronics for Travel - IF You Use It
Keep In Touch - Not Just Postcards!
GPS Satellite Messenger - Let Friends Know Where You Are

Packing Medication

Packing Medications
Pack Enough Medication
How To Pack Pills

Follow Your Passion!

Travel Is Our Passion
What's Yours?

We have fun traveling... and we've had fun creating this website. It earns us money too! No get-rich quick scheme here... just honest pages about our travels.
Is a website something you've ever wanted to try?

Are you passionate or knowledgeable about something?
An expert even?

Cars ...or... cooking?
Boats ...or... business?
Plants ...or... parenting?
Anything!

Turn it into a web business. Click on the SBI TV icon below and learn how a new life could be yours...

Look at it... Think about it...
Why NOT you?

If you're like me, you like to talk to a real person and get answers to your questions... We get that!

Your Questions Answered Here.

Honest answers... Honestly... Promise!

Two Ways To Like Us!

Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below
Thank You!