Traveling With Your Electronics

No need to leave the comforts of home behind, even when visiting the most exotic locales. When visiting even the most exotic of locales, travelers are often reluctant to leave behind certain comforts of home. Hair dryers, styling irons and cell phones are a high priority when packing for a trip abroad – these electrical appliances and electronic devices are essential traveling companions throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. But even seasoned travelers get confused by the myriad outlets and configurations between and within countries. With a little pre-trip preparation, however, you’ll be able to use your electrical appliances and charge your electronic devices abroad without harm or unpleasant surprises.

1. Find your adapter.
Every traveler needs an adapter. This will let you physically plug your product into an electrical socket. The adapter will not change voltage or electrical output, but simply allows you to plug your device into a different-shaped outlet.

Even if your destination country uses voltage that's compatible with your devices, the wall receptacles may be configured differently. In order to use these outlets, you’ll need to use a plug adapter to make it fit.

2. Know the voltage at your destination.

In this entire world, there are only two different types of voltage, 110-120 volts and 220-240 volts. North America is in the 110-125 range. In other countries, volts are delivered in the 220-240 range. That means if you have an electrical device that you want to use in a country that has a different voltage than yours, you need a converter.

Voltage converters and transformers increase or decrease the voltage that reaches your equipment, making it safe to use your electronics and personal-care appliances abroad. If it’s too much, your equipment may overheat and burn out. If it’s too little, you won’t get the performance you expect and may cause damage to the motor, fan or heating unit.

3. Know what you need. Gather the voltage requirements for your electronic devices and personal-care appliances.

Many modern appliances are configured with dual voltage. But to be sure, check the rating plate, which is usually a small, flat plate or label on the bottom or back of the product. In some cases, it will be located on the plug or on the AC adapter/charger that came with your electronic device. There will be a V (for voltage) after a number or pair of numbers.

If your device is not dual voltage, you will need a converter to be able to use it in other countries.

Voltage Ratings
120/240V: The slash between the numbers indicates a dual voltage device. Some modern hair dryers, styling irons, hair clippers and travel irons are dual voltage and can operate on 120V or 240V. A voltage converter or transformer is not needed if you travel from the U.S. (120V) to a country that uses 240V.

120-240V: The hyphen between the numbers means the product can operate under multi-voltage conditions. It will work within the range of voltages indicated. Newer cell phones, tablets, laptops and other digital devices are commonly dual-voltage You can use these devices in countries with voltage standards within this range without a voltage converter or transformer.

110V: if there is only 1 voltage value listed, the device is designed for single-voltage use. Appliances that were not designed for travel, including hair dryers, tea kettles and irons, are often single voltage. You’ll need to use a voltage converter or transformer to operate these in areas where the voltage differs.