TRAVEL ADAPTERS explained

In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about travel adapters, power plugs and outlet styles around the world, like how different countries use different voltages and frequencies, what to look for when you’re buying a travel adapter, and why all that matters when you travel abroad.

This article is brought to you by Ceptics, a number one brand for travel adapters on Amazon.

Here are our top 5 recommendations:

5. CHECK THE TYPE OF PLUG FOR YOUR DESTINATION

The types of plugs are distinguished by letters:

  • Type A and type B are used in North America, some countries in South America, Japan, and Philippines.
  • Type C is used in the majority of continental Europe and some parts of Asia, some parts of Africa, and some parts of South America.
  • Type D is used, for example, in India.
  • Types E and F are used in most parts of continental Europe and parts of Asia, and some parts of Africa.
  • Type G is used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Arabian Peninsula, parts of Africa Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
  • Etc.

SEE THE FULL LIST HERE.

Make sure to always check what outlet system they use in the countries you are traveling to.

4. CHECK VOLTAGE (V) AND FREQUENCY (Hz)

Another important thing to know before using your devices abroad is voltage and frequency.

While most countries in the Americas and Japan use between 100 and 127 volts and 60 Hz, almost all other countries use twice the voltage, between 220 and 240 volts and 50 Hz.

Why is that important for you? Your devices must also be compatible with the voltage and frequency of the country you are traveling to or you can risk damage to your device or even fire.

Most devices we bring to our travels, like cell phones, laptops, or cameras are usually set up in a way that can be used with different voltages and frequencies.

However, there are still some appliances that are not. Hair driers, hair straightness or and steam irons are some examples. Many of them are designed for a specific voltage only.

Each device should include information about voltage and frequency compatibility. Here is how you can find it. For example, this phone battery charger is compatible with voltages and frequencies in all regions.

3. WHEN TO GET A TRAVEL ADAPTER

If your device is compatible with the voltage and frequency of the country you’re traveling to, but the country uses a different outlet style, you will need a travel adapter.

A travel adapter is basically a device that adapts to fit your power plug with the country’s power outlet.

Adapters can come in all kinds of shapes and forms, and it’s important to distinguish between grounded and ungrounded adapters.

Grounded plugs have three prongs instead of two. The extra prong is used to “ground” or send any extra power into the ground. Smaller devices such as cell phones don’t need grounding, while some devices, such as laptops, are designed to be grounded so you should always use a grounded adapter.

2. WHEN TO GET A VOLTAGE CONVERTER

If need to bring a device that uses one voltage or frequency, like a hair dryer, you should consider using a power converter or transformer instead.

Voltage converters and transformers step up or step down the voltage and make it safe to use your device. Some devices that can be used are, for example, hair dryers, or curling irons. However, voltage converters and transformers are only intended for short-term use, and they are not suitable for larger devices such as microwaves or mixers. Don’t forget to unplug your device after use.

1. WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING AN ADAPTER?

If you have already arrived at your destination, buying an adapter can be costly, especially at the airport, or you might not even have a chance to buy one, so we recommend getting one before your travel to make your trip easier.

Additionally, your hotel room might be equipped with only one power outlet, while you might need to charge multiple devices at the same time so consider buying an adapter with more than one outlet and additional USB and USB-C slots.

If you travel a lot, consider buying an adapter that comes with multiple outlets styles and you can simply replace it when you arrive in a different country. You can also buy an all-in-one international adapter. Or a set of individual adapters like this one.

It is important to know that not all adapters might fit well. Some lower quality adapters might be loose, will have trouble staying in the outlet, or might charge your devices slower, so be sure to always check the reviews of the adapter you’re buying.

The adapter we use the most is Ceptics Mini Travel Power Strip with multiple attachments. It allows us to charge up to four devices at once, since most hotels only have a few outlets. And we can just take the right attachment with us in a pouch. 

So what adapter is right for you? It all depends on where you travel, how often, how many devices you need to charge, etc. Keep this in mind when buying one.

Plug images credit: ostapenko / 123RF Stock Photo

Leave a Reply