Ever traveled abroad and wanted to charge your appliances, only to realize that your North America plug doesn't fit in the Europe one?
Here's how not to fry your electronics when you're abroad. There is a LOT information you need to know just to make sure you don't fry that hairdryer when you're traveling. Check it out!
Power Adapters? Voltage Converters? Huh?!
There is good news and bad news, first up… the good news; if you are here rest assured you will soon be on your vacations because for the love of boredom there is no other reason to be studying up on power adapters and voltage converters. Now, the bad news; you are about to read an informational article about power adapters and voltage converters zzzzzzzzzz. Are you still awake? Neither are we.
If you are not a seasoned traveler or electronic nerd (sorry techies) then the words power adapters and voltage converters are most likely foreign to you. You will probably be very shocked (no pun intended) when you first see the wall sockets in your Australian, New Zealand or European hotel room. They’re big and different from what you see in the US. There are also less of them, (those sneaky sockets like to hide).
So what’s the Deal?
It’s really quite simple. The plugs outside the US are bigger and shaped differently, so you will need something to make your US electronics fit properly into non-US outlets. Cue sound bite, power adapter to the rescue. But wait; alas there is never a quick fix. There is one other major difference you need to know. European, Australian and New Zealand outlets output about twice the amount of voltage compared to American outlets. No, No, our outlets aren’t puny; they are just “different.” This is where the mighty voltage converter comes in. Because this amount of voltage is too much for many American appliances (remember…”different” not puny), you could “blow” your appliance if you do not use a voltage converter. Now I don’t know about you, but blowing up your phone, ipod, or camera does not sound like a good time to most non-pyro travelers. So, lets discuss both power adapters and voltage converters in more detail. Fun!!
Will I Need a Power Adapter?
When traveling outside the US and our friendly friend to the North; Canada, with American devices chances are you will need to bring a power adapter. How many should you bring? I’m glad you asked. Because those tricky non-US and non-Canadian sockets like to hide, you can get away with brining two or three power adapters. In fact, most hotel rooms will only have two or three power outlets per room anyway. For you techies who plan on bringing a lot of electrical devices, you may need more. Also, you will be pleased to know that Contiki tour buses are equipped with European power outlets. So if you do not have enough outlets in your room to charge your electronics you can always recharge between destinations.
Will I Need a Voltage Converter?
In short, if you are traveling outside of the US and Canada then most likely the answer is yes – it is better to be safe than sorry, plus having no means of documenting your amazing trip or worse having frizzy hair because your electronics blew up is just not an option. Bragging rights are the best part of traveling with Contiki.
Now for the long technical answer, voltage varies from region to region; whether or not you need a voltage converter depends on the voltage capacity of your electrical device. Many modern electrical devices are capable of handling a range of different volts. That being said, it is always a good idea to check the voltage capacity of your device printed in the owners manual and at times on the actual device itself. If your device says ‘100-240V’ or ‘50/60 Hz’ then ding-ding-ding, you win, and need only a power adapter not a voltage converter.
Most devices can take between 110 to 240 volts and some even have a switch to swap between the two. If you happen to have a device that only takes up to120 volts (most commonly hairdryers and straighteners) and you plug it into a European, Australian, or New Zealand outlet it could blow your beloved appliance ensuring bad hair days for the remainder of your trip. Riveting topic isn’t it? You chose to read the technical answer so don’t blame me.
Where Do I Buy Such Contraptions?
You can purchase power adapters or voltage converters at travel shops, department stores, and even airport departure lounges (but like everything last minute, expect to pay out the you-know-what). Rule of thumb, be wise and plan ahead. If you’re here, then your probably already on the right track for a smooth vacation.
A Little Extra Info for You Tech-Savvy Nerds
Wow you must reaaaaaaally love power adapters and voltage converters. Step aside Mr. Thomas Edison! This Contiki site outlines the official voltage for North America, The UK, and Ireland, the rest of Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Check it out to get that extra edge in epic game of trivia! Or, take a gander down below at this handy visual that breaks down all the different types of plugs you may need on your next trip!
Well that’s it folks. Everything you needed to know about power adapters and voltage converters. That wasn’t so bad was it? In case the not so discrete sarcasm scattered throughout this blog isn’t quite apparent to you yet, yes that was a rhetorical question!