Advantages Of Travel Adapters

Advantages Of Travel Adapters

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Last Updated on July 14, 2021 by Gabriel Goddy

Are you planning to travel abroad? If so, you’d want to be able to use all the appliances you’re traveling with in the new country. You can do that if you have what they call a travel adapter. It’s an essential device. In this guide, we’ll tell you more about the travel adapter.

An electric converter changes the voltage of your electronic device. An outlet adapter changes the shape of your plug, not the electrical voltage, allowing you to plug appliances into wall outlets in countries with different-shaped plugs than your own.

What are Travel Adapters?

When you want to plug in one of your devices during a trip abroad, you’ll need an adapter. Universal travel adapters enable a dual-voltage appliance – a transformer or a converter from one country to be plugged into the wall outlet of another country. The purpose of the travel adapter is to help the plugs on your electronic devices fit into other countries’ outlets so they can charge and work as they do in your own home country.

What is voltage?

Voltage refers to electricity; different countries have different types of electricity, meaning you need to consider voltage conversion. This means that your electronics are the same voltage as the country in which you bought them so if you take them to another country, they may not work.

If you plug a 120V device into a wall socket that’s meant for 220V (or vice versa) you will blow out a fuse in your device and possibly also the building.

Your hair tools such as blow dryers, wands, curling irons, and straighteners use up a large amount of electricity so they must be used with the correct voltage.

To travel with your electronics (and hair tools), you need two things: for the item to be dual voltage and you’ll also need to use a travel adapter so your plug can fit into the sockets in another country. Or, you need a voltage converter.

How do travel adapters work?

A travel adapter (sometimes called a travel plug converter) enables you to plug your electronics into walls with different sockets than the one used by your country. Not all countries use the same type of plug so I recommend you buy an international adapter.

The US uses a plug with two flat vertical prongs whereas the UK uses a plug with one top vertical prong and two bottom horizontal prongs. You need a travel adapter so your plug fits into the socket of a different country.

You can buy individual travel adapters for each country you plan to visit, or you can just buy one international travel adapter that will work for most parts of the world.

A travel power adapter or European converter adapter fits the plug into the wall socket, while travel converters change the electrical current from 120V to 220V or vice versa. The only time you’ll need an international converter is if you’re traveling with a device that is not dual voltage.

What is dual voltage?

Some electronics are designed so they can be used in different countries. This means they’ll be labeled as ‘dual-voltage. Dual voltage electronics have two options: 110-120V and 220-240V. They are ideal for travel because they are safe to use at home and abroad, too.

Some electronics, such as newer Macbooks and iPhones have a dual voltage that automatically adjusts in their destination. However, you may need to adjust the voltage manually by moving an external switch in certain items such as hair tools.

If your device isn’t dual voltage, you’re better off leaving it at home. However, most modern devices such as phones and laptops already have a dual voltage capability built-in.

Selecting the Right Adapter

It is very important to choose the right kind of adapter. While purchasing the adapter, have a look at the voltage number. It is important to match the voltage of any adapter with the device, which you intend to charge. Say if you wish to get your laptop charged up, you must make sure that the voltage is ideal enough. In case if the voltage is low, then the laptop will not get charged up adequately.

Even in the inverse case, if the voltage goes high, it might overload the circuits of the laptop. It is equally important to check the connectors, which must ensure that it gets perfectly fit with the power port of the laptop. Some of the commonly used connectors are cylindrical, USB, snap and lock, and Molex.

The cylindrical units are the insulated hollow cylinders that connect with the power port of the device. Snap and lock units are even called the Kycon 3-pin and 4-pin Dc power plugs. They bear 3 pins for 3 socket plugs which are surrounded by thin metallic cylinders.

USB units are the metallic tips one. This tip comes with some flat metallic pins. Molex connector comes with multiple insulated electrical wires, which are encased within the flat plastic case. This case comes with either 3, 4, or 6 terminals.

The universal plug adapter price is affixed at the nominal value. Now, this encourages people to acquire one because of its multi-benefit features. However, these units require a good amount of maintenance work else they stop working from time to time.

It is always considered a judicious decision to acquire a new one rather than getting it repaired. One can easily purchase these adapters from any electronic shop or online store. Avoid buying the cheap ones as they stop working after a short period.

Travel adapters come in many shapes and sizes, from small and simple single-region adapters to larger “universal” versions that cover most countries on the planet. While the universal ones are convenient if you’re going all over the world, their extra size causes two problems.

Firstly, they tend to fall out of the socket–especially if there’s any weight on them (like a heavy plug pack) or the socket is loose-fitting to start with. Secondly, the wider they are, the greater the chance they’ll block the socket beside them as well.

Take the smallest adapter, or set of adapters, you can find that will work in all of your intended destinations. Bonus: those single-region versions are often cheaper as well.

How do converters work?

If your electronics are not dual voltage, an international power converter (also called a transformer, voltage adapter, or international voltage converter) could be used. However, voltage converters tend to be large, heavy devices so they are less practical for travel. If your device isn’t dual voltage it requires a converter so it’s best to leave it at home, particularly if it’s a hair tool.

Because blow dryers and flat irons require a large amount of power, look for products with dual voltage options. Keep in mind that this does not guarantee your hair styling tool will work as well abroad as it does at home, even with the dual voltage setting.

As one tourist says, “I wouldn’t recommend using a hairdryer with a travel power converter. Likely, you will still blow a fuse, or worse, knock out power for half the hotel! You could also fry your device by doing this.”

Another adds, “Personally, I don’t recommend a travel electric converter. I’ve seen too many devices ruined when the power voltage converter fails. Either bring items that are dual voltage or leave them at home.”

How many travel adapters should one 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 PowerPoint 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.

Plug Types For Travel Converters

Type A

  • mainly used in the USA, Canada, Mexico & Japan
  • 2 pins
  • not grounded
  • 15 A
  • almost always 100 – 127 V
  • socket compatible with plug type A

Type B

  • mainly used in the USA, Canada & Mexico
  • 3 pins
  • grounded
  • 15 A
  • almost always 100 – 127 V
  • socket compatible with plug types A & B

Type C

  • commonly used in Europe, South America & Asia
  • 2 pins
  • not grounded
  • 5 A, 10 A & 16 A
  • almost always 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug type C

Type D

  • mainly used in India
  • 3 pins
  • grounded
  • 5 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug type D (partial and unsafe compatibility with C, E & F)

Type E

  • primarily used in France, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia & Czechia
  • 2 pins
  • grounded
  • 16 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug types C, E & F

Type F

  • used almost everywhere in Europe & Russia, except for the UK & Ireland
  • 2 pins
  • grounded
  • 16 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug types C, E & F

Type G

  • mainly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore & the Arabian Peninsula
  • 3 pins
  • grounded
  • 13 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug type G

Type H

  • used exclusively in Israel, the West Bank & the Gaza Strip
  • 3 pins
  • grounded
  • 16 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug types C & H (partial and unsafe compatibility with E & F)

Type I

  • mainly used in Australia, New Zealand, China & Argentina
  • 2 or 3 pins
  • 2 pins: not grounded / 3 pins: grounded
  • 10 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug type I

Type J

  • used almost exclusively in Switzerland & Liechtenstein
  • 3 pins
  • grounded
  • 10 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug types C & J

Type K

  • used almost exclusively in Denmark & Greenland
  • 3 pins
  • grounded
  • 16 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug types C & K (partial and unsafe compatibility with E & F)

Type L

  • used almost exclusively in Italy & Chile
  • 3 pins
  • grounded
  • 10 A & 16 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • 10 A socket compatible with plug types C & L (10 A version)
  • 16 A socket compatible with plug type L (16 A version)

Type M

  • mainly used in South Africa
  • 3 pins
  • grounded
  • 15 A
  • 220 – 240 V
  • socket compatible with plug type M

CONCLUSION

Many travel adapters on the market today are designed with single-use fuses to protect electronics from power surges and overloads but replacing them and carrying the spares around can be a hassle.