The Travel Factory Blog

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Traveling Abroad

socket-5504_192_20190117-192357_1 European Electrical Sockets

Several folks are planning to travel outside the United States this coming summer or fall, and so they need to be aware of the electrical arrangements in those countries. Here in the United States, no problem, everyone uses 110V. But overseas in Europe, South America, or just about any other place except U. S. they have a different voltage. So, what do you do?

You go down to Best Buy or one of those tech stores and ask them for a converter. It converts the voltage they use to the US standard. You would also need an adapter. That is a device that has different plugs than those found in the U. S. One side of the device has the U. S. receptor that will accept your plug, the other side plugs into the electrical socket used in the other country.

I remember one time when we were going on a river cruise that began out of Amsterdam. I had purchased one of those adapters and converters from Target, so I plugged in the hair dryer, and it shorted out electricity on the whole floor. It took them several hours to get the electricity restored. But the hotel had a converter and adapter, and we used that one while we were there I learned too that most hotels have several of those to loan out because guests have left them behind when they left.

One columnist, Christopher Elliott, that I read frequently explained it this way in a recent column; “the key to prevent the problem is to understand the difference between an adapter and a converter. Adapters allow your U.S. appliance to plug into a European power outlet, but they don't convert the voltage. A converter, as the name implies, coverts your voltage, usually from 220V to 110V.”

Understanding this, if you are traveling outside of the United States to almost any other country, you would be wise to go ahead and purchase an adapter and a converter. I've seen some that have a dual voltage as well as different plugs on the same device. If you are planning on using a hair dryer, electric razor, telephone, tablet, computer, etc. then our tip is to save some grief, and travel with confidence, just go purchase a converter/adapter. I've also seen some that have a USB port or two, that's really helpful.

And, as Mr. Elliott reminds us, “if you forget your plug or adapter, politely ask the front desk.” They'll generally be more than happy to accommodate. Another thought is that most of the “big box” stores wherever you are will have adapters and converters, and you can bet that the hosts at the hotel will be happy to help you find just what you're looking for.

He suggest a couple of adapters and converters. One is the Tumi electric adapter that cost around $50 with several different plug configurations. Another one he suggested was the Twist World Adapter Duo from OneAdaptr at around $37. It also works in more than 150 countries and comes with two USB ports.

Hope this information helps someone when they are considering going out of town, and to help with further trip planning, contact The Travel Factory at 4150 Southwest Drive, or call us at 698-1421.We'd love to be of service.

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