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Simply everything you need to know about travel adapters

A man with a backpack carrying travel adapters in a train station.

Travelling for the first time? Heading somewhere new and don’t know how you’re going to keep your phone charged or hair straightened? Here’s a comprehensive guide to all things travel adapters.

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Do I need a travel adapter?

If you’re travelling away from your home country or region of the world then chances are that yes, you do.

Power outlets have different shapes in different parts of the world and you may need an adapter to convert the shape of your home power plugs to the shape of the outlets in the region of the world you are travelling to. A universal adapter that allows you to change the pins is a great investment for any avid traveller, and with the move to more USB charging options worldwide, finding one with a slot for these is an even better buy.

Where to buy travel adapters

Travel shops (including online travel shops), department stores and even cheap knick-knack shops and kiosks are great places to pick up power point converters and travel adapters. Sometimes businesses like post offices, stationery stores, and money exchange counters sell travel adapters too. 

They’re also available in shops in airport departure lounges, but they can be a little more expensive there, so best to grab one before you go. A lot of hotels have spare adapters to lend in a pinch, but you should confirm with them in advance just in case.

travel adapters

Voltage converters

Do you need a voltage converter for your trip? 

Voltage is a measure of electrical force and this varies from region to region throughout the world. This applies to both sockets and your appliances – so depending on what region of the world your hair dryer comes from, for example, you may need to bring a voltage converter to use it in another region. 

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North America

A pair of black travel adapters on a white background.

Latin America

Europe

A white plug on a blue background, suitable for travel adapters.

The UK and Ireland

Australia and New Zealand

A person holding a travel adapter with two holes in it.

Asia

Africa

Africa plug and adapter

How many travel adapters should I bring?

It depends on how many electrical devices you plan on using really! Many hotel rooms only have 2 or 3 power outlets per room, so this should be taken into consideration. As a general rule though, 2 power point adapters (or a power board) should be enough for any trip. Many of the coaches used on tours in Europe are also equipped with European power outlets or USB slots for all your charging needs.

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