September 6, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Sept. 6, 2009/ Troy Media/ – Electrical adaptors and converters: You’re going onvacation, not studying electricity. Why do you need to know about these?
Because if you don’t have the right adaptors and converters, you’re appliances just might not work!
Electrical adaptors for travel are plugs that go between your appliance with their North American or European style prongs and the foreign wall socket with the receptacle for a different arrangement of prongs. It changes the plug shape to match the outlet. There are actually 16 different types of electrical outlets that you may encounter throughout the world.
We take several styles of adaptors when we travel so we are prepared to plug in, no matter what country we go to. 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.
To be a savvy traveler, tuck a pouch of adaptor plugs in a corner of your luggage to be prepared for any socket you might encounter. Be sure the adaptors you take accept polarized-blade appliance plugs and fit down into the recessed sockets you’ll find around the world. Some of our old adaptors fit into the plugs, but because they’re recessed, it’s hard to get them out.
Now, do you need adaptors AND converters? Maybe.
Adaptors do not change the voltage. Most new 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, and computer chargers tend to be multi-voltage or dual voltage, so they are OK with only an adaptor.
Most of the appliances we take are “dual voltage.” My wife’s curling iron automatically senses if she is using 120 or 240, and all she needs is the adaptor plug. My razor has a switch he can turn to go from one voltage to the other.
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) but heating appliances such as a hair dryer or curling iron need a larger converter (1600 watt converter). (That’s why you can’t plug them into those “shavers only” plugs in hotel bathrooms!)
If you’re a North 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. Once you see which electrical adaptors and converters you need to pack, you’ll be plugged into a good trip. It’s as simple as that.