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Overseas Travel with Electrical Apparatus

November 15, 2011

A frequently asked question from those about to travel abroad is whether or not their electrical devices will work.  And the answer is yes and no.

Obviously it depends on where you’re going.  North American operates on 110-120 volts while most of the rest of the world uses 220-240V.  Plugging in a device without checking the voltage can result in the destruction of your apparatus or even damage the operating system of the outlet you used.

First of all, do you really need it?
We all are such creatures of habit and when packing for a trip tend to think we need to bring more than we actually need, especially personal appliances such as a hair dryer, travel iron, clothes steamer and beverage heater (check to see if they are dual voltage).  In this day and age, most hotels provide these as standard in room amenities, so we have second thoughts about this added baggage weight.

Check the voltage!
Small electrical devices are another issue.  Computers/laptops tend to be dual voltage as do camera battery chargers.  This means they can operate on 100-240 volt range.  People suffering from sleep apnea bringing their CPAP or BIPAP machines need to check the voltage.  This information is stated either on a label on the actual device or in the owners manual. Always know the operating level of your device before plugging it into the outlet!

Electrical Adapters

If you turn out to need a voltage converter be sure to get to correct type.  The choices are Solid State Converters and Transformers.  They convert electricity from 220-240volts down to 110-120V (or vice versa).

Be sure to check this!
You are most likely to need one or more adapter plugs.  These do not convert electricity, they modify foreign outlets to accommodate US plugs and you can need more than 1 type within an individual country.

A good source of information to determine your need is .  You can purchase individual plugs, sets of plugs and/or multi-function units which house 4 of the most common  adaptor/converter/USB charger in one device.  There are several online sources for these products plus they’re usually available in stores that sell luggage, some hardware stores and places such as Staples.

Another consideration, especially in third world countries or those with marginal power sources, would be a surge protector.  These are voltage specific, so if you’re in a 220-240V region you must have that capacity protector.  There are units that provide complete three line power and modem protection.  A good source for these protection products would be:

There are any number of products out there which can be used with a wide range of electronic, motorized and heating appliances to make your overseas travel safe and comfortable.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2011 8:55 am

    Incredibly useful information. Having the proper converters make travel, and life, a lot easier. I especially love the minimalist approach – do I really need to pack this stuff? Thanks for this.


  1. Overseas Travel with Electrical Apparatus « Wilton Chamber Leads Group

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