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Hi, I'm Barbara!

I'm passionate about travel. Here I document my adventures, provide helpful tips for how to plan your dream vacation, and offer insights from my 30+ years as a professional travel agent.

Let's Talk Voltage

Let's Talk Voltage

One thing that people often forget about when traveling abroad is packing an adapter for your electronic equipment. For those of you traveling outside North America, you'll almost certainly need one – that is if you intend to use your cellphone or laptop while in another country! This blog post will help you determine if your electronics will work outside the United States, Canada and Mexico, or if you'll need to purchase an adapter. 

First, you should know that there are dozens of different types of adapters, and there are many options available to you. Several kinds of adapters have multi-country use. It's important to double-check with hotels and tourist offices for additional information about the electricity and voltage in each destination.

The types of adapters you'll need vary and should be confirmed with your travel agent or hotel. Many hotels have a small supply of adapters to lend. My suggestion is to always bring your own, as they often run out of the loaners!

The adapters can be used with dual electronics. Each device has instructions and should be read carefully for proper use.

A dual voltage appliance will have the following on the plug:

                 INPUT: AC 100V-240V  50-60 HZ

If you have devices that need to be adjusted for use outside your home country, it is extremely important to set your electronics to the correct voltage. I found my hair dryer had a button on the bottom near the power cord. I turned it to the voltage I needed and it worked perfectly. Read the instructions that come with your electronics to be sure how to correctly use them.

When the device does not have dual use or the input stated above, you may need either a STEP UP or STEP DOWN converter. Do a little research for information regarding the proper use of these converters. Step up or down converters do just that – they add or remove the voltage to adjust the appliance to be used properly. Newer equipment, cellphones, curling irons, hair dryers, etc., are dual voltage more often than not, but be sure to check all before using the incorrect adapter. You don't want to end up with a fried phone from using the wrong adapter!

Have advice, questions or comments about an experience using a converter or an adapter? Post them in the comments below!

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