6 Things You Need to Know about International Travel with US Electric Equipment

Important Questions for International Travel with US equipment.


What you
need to know to be able to use your laptop, iPads, iPhones, cell phone chargers,
camera chargers, curling irons, hair dryers, etc. in a foreign country. If you
have questions not answered here please comment and let us know. We will update
this list as necessary.

  1. What
    do I need to be able to use my electrical devices when I travel overseas?


       You may just need
    some plug adapters (see the

    World Plug Adapter Guide)
    perhaps a surge protector or power strip like the


    or the
    Your electronic devices (laptops, chargers, etc.) are probably multi
    voltage (input 100-240 volts) and any hair appliances may be dual voltage (input
    125/250 volts) 

    If the hair appliances aren’t dual voltage, it is strongly recommend that you
    replace them with ones that are from either a retail store near you
    or from our

    Voltage Appliance Store
    . If everything you are taking is either dual
    or multi voltage, you will just need the plug adapters and not have to mess with
    the expense and hassle of a voltage converter. Many hair appliance manufacturers
    warn that their product will not work properly with a solid state voltage


  3. What
    is a

    solid state voltage converter
    ? Is it the
    same as a



    They do the same thing that is, they change electricity from one voltage to
    another, but they are very different in some very important ways.

    Solid state voltage converters
    change the
    voltage with electronic components while a

    uses induction. The transformer method produces "real" or
    full sine wave electricity output while the solid state converter produces a
    modified sine wave output.

    The modified sine wave electrical output does not work with any electronic
    components which means any appliance with any electronic features will probably
    malfunction. Typically these solid state converters cannot be used for more than
    45 minutes to an hour and can never be left unattended plugged into an outlet.
    Transformers do not have any of these same limitations but they are typically
    heavier and more expensive than the solid state converters


  5. Do I
    need plug adapters when I travel outside the U.S.? Why do some countries have
    more than one outlet configuration type?


    Once you travel outside of the US and Canada, you will find that most other
    countries have completely different looking electrical outlets (receptacles) and
    you will need plug adapters. The exceptions are some countries in Central
    America and the Caribbean who have similar outlets and voltage as the US. The

    World Electric Guide
    shows the different plug
    adapters needed for all countries in the world. It also tells you what the
    voltage and frequency is for all of those countries.

    Many countries have multiple outlet configuration possibilities for a variety of
    reasons: upgrading a previous design or style to more modern standards but
    allowing the old design to be "grandfathered"; some areas of some countries use
    foreign contractors because of their proximity to their location; and, in some
    cases for geopolitical expediency. Regardless of the cause, be aware that you
    may run into one or more of the configurations that you find at out

    World Electric Guide.


  6. What
    does it mean for an appliance to be "multi voltage" or dual voltage?


    Many appliances that you want to take when you travel internationally are often
    either multi voltage or dual voltage. If they are, then you usually only need to
    bring the appropriate plug adapter for the destination country. You are then
    able to avoid the expense and hassle of trying to use a voltage converter not to
    mention the weight and space they require.

    If an appliance is multi voltage it will usually say "input 100-240 volts, 50-60
    Hz, …" someplace on the item itself or a charger. If an appliance is dual
    voltage it will usually say something similar "input 125/250 volts, 50-60 Hz,
    …." somewhere on the body of the appliance in most cases. Dual voltage
    appliance will sometimes have tiny switches that have to be moved or rotated for
    the higher voltage but many times they are "self-sensing" with no switch. If you
    have any doubts about your appliances, check with the manufacturer.

    Most (99%) of electronic devices (laptops, chargers, etc.) are multi voltage and
    many hair appliances (curling irons, hair dryers, etc.) are dual voltage. It is
    usually more economical to replace a hair appliance that isn’t dual voltage with
    one that is. A large selection of

    dual voltage appliances
    can be found at our

    Dual Voltage Appliance Store
    or maybe some retail stores


  7. What
    do the terms grounded and ungrounded mean? What does that mean for me when


    Basically, grounded refers to appliances that have 3 pins on its power plug and
    ungrounded refers to plugs with only 2 pins. If you are taking only ungrounded
    (2 pin) appliances when traveling then you should only need the ungrounded plug
    adapters for your destination country. If you are taking some grounded (3 pin)
    appliances also, then you would want to get both the grounded and ungrounded
    plug adapters. We sell them together in a discounted "bundle" but they cam be
    bought individually. We also have some

    plug adapter kits
    for entire regions, continents, and plug type.


  8. Do I
    need to bring a surge protector with me for the higher voltage found in most


    A good rule to follow is, if you use a surge protector when traveling in the US,
    then by all means take one with you when traveling in a foreign country but you
    will have to use one rated for the higher voltage like these

    Surge Protectors
    that are rated for the higher
    voltage. If all you really want is a power strip to allow you to plug in more
    than one item at a time the
    PS2 Dual Voltage Power Strip
    is a great choice.
    It is dual voltage, so it can be used at home also; it has a USB port for
    charging your USB items; and, it is extremely compact saving luggage space.
    Please remember that power strips and surge protectors do not change or lower
    the voltage.

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