What Type of Power Adapters Do I Need for International Travel?

There can be a lot of confusion and trepidation when it comes to traveling internationally, and rightly so. Running an American hair dryer in a European hotel with just a plug adapter will get quite exciting and likely get you a thorough scolding from hotel staff after tripping the breaker for the entire floor.

We’ll answer some of the common questions here and recommend the best international travel converter to help you with heading overseas with ease.

Do I Need a Travel Converter or Adapter Where I am Going?

It was only five years after Benjamin Franklin “discovered” electricity that he traveled to Europe. It was a busy schedule I’m sure but it would have been nice if he had solicited buy in to standardize electrical plugs. It was a century too early for that, but boy it would have been nice to get the world’s electrical grids on the same system.

As it stands, many countries operate on 220 volt electrical systems, while the United States and others operate on 110. OneAdaptr has created the World Power and Voltage Outlet Guide. Use it to see what your destination country is using.

As you think about a power adapter, people have three electric charging needs: your laptop, your USB devices, and normal North American appliances like hair dryers, irons and the like.

What Travel Plug Do I Need for My Laptop?: Basic Travel Plug Adapters.

All the different types of Basic GP type plug adapters.

That box that is in the power line for your laptop is a transformer. Since laptops are built for mobility, they are designed to work within both the 220 or the 110 voltage sources. Typically, all you need is a basic plug adapter to power your laptops. These do not convert the electricity in any way, they only make a connection from our North American plug type to your destination country’s outlet.

An easy and simple source for plug adapters can be found on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2IqkEbg

What Travel Adapter Do I Need for My iPhone? (or iPad, Ear Pods, etc): USB Adapters

Most of your devices have USB inputs. All of these run on the same voltage. One option for these devices is to simply use the basic plug adapters discussed above for your existing mini cube plugs. This requires a bag of adapters for each of the devices you want to charge, but is a viable route to go.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

As you visit more countries, you’ll develop quite a bag of plug adapters, so this isn’t necessarily the most economical choice. Read below for more options.

The Cube USB Power Converter: Ceptics CTU Series Dual USB World Power Adapter.

Ceptics CTU Series Plug that includes two USB and a North American Outlet.

One option would be to purchase a cube adapter for the country you are visiting. Minis like the Ceptics CTU Series Dual USB World Travel Adapter are made specifically for each country, and will power for a USB or North American standard plug. If you travel to a certain country regularly, it’s not a bad idea to have some of these on hand.

It’s very important to understand however: these do not convert voltage to that North American type outlet. You’ll blow a breaker or damage your hair dryer, iron or other basic electrical appliance if you simply plug in without a converter to 110. You would only use the North American standard outlet on these adapters with a device that converts voltage from 220 to 110. This would include your laptops, any regular USB device plug, etc.

Don’t let that scare you. If you’re only traveling with a laptop, iPad, phone and other USB type devices, this might be just what you need. Below is a list of devices for their specific country or region (all on Amazon):

As you can see from the list, buying all those cubes and keeping track of them can get expensive and confusing. In addition, you’ll need a cube for every two devices you need to charge. So, depending on your travel needs, you might need some more robust options. See below for our top choices of converters that might meet your specific travel requirements:

Traveling Light to Europe and England: Syncwire 34W 4-Port USB Wall Charger

The Syncwire 34W 4-Port USB Wall Charger adapter has two primary benefits: it is quite inexpensive and is very compact. Once you travel overseas, you’ll understand: when you plug into a European outlet, it’s usually an act of faith. It’s rarely a tight fit, and you wind up wondering how the whole thing stays in the wall. When you plug in a 1.5 lb heavy transformer adapter into the wall, it’s usually a surprise when the thing stays in the wall all night.

The Syncwire is quite compact and light, coming in at 6.7 ounces, so staying in the wall outlet requires less prayer. It’s another adapter that doesn’t convert to 110 from 220, and you can only plug in USB devices. it is, however, quite affordable, and allows you to travel with a single adapter for all your plug-in needs. You can purchase this on Amazon by clicking here: https://amzn.to/2DjiSo9

What is the Best Universal Power Adapter?: The OneAdaptr Twist World Adapter DUO.

If you want to buy a universal power adapter that will fit into any plug this side of the Sun from Mars, the OneAdaptr Twist World Adapter Duo is for you. It has a unique round design that will rotate to provide any plug combination you require. It has two USB and a good ‘ol North American plug input for your charging needs. Like the Syncwire above, the Twist World Adapter Duo does NOT convert 220 down to 110 for the North American outlet on this adapter. Keep reading for that solution below.

You can buy this handy, well designed converter directly from the manufacturer here. I do recommend buying from them directly, to be sure you get the most current version. Original versions from 2015-2016 had some complaints from their first manufacturing learning curve.

If you’ve got serious power needs, and want to bring your high amp, 110 voltage appliances with you, none of the solutions above will meet your needs. They can’t power your typical iron, hair dryer or straightener. If you’re bringing something like that, you need a power converter.

What is the Best Universal Power Converter for Voltage? The DOACE C11 2000W Converter

When the name of your international transformer and adapter sounds like a jet airliner name, you know it’s got power. The 2019 Upgraded DOACE C11 2000W Travel Voltage Converter is designed for folks who normally pay higher than average electric bills at home, and might have heavier than normal luggage while traveling. I would consider this the best travel converter for your hair dryer. If you need to dry your hair quickly, straighten it, iron your clothes, boil your water and power any of the other normal low voltage devices people normally carry, this is your beast of burden.

You can buy this converter on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2XeyctG

The DOACE C11 comes with standard adapters to plug into most of the world’s outlets, but you need something a little more out of the ordinary, it will fit any standard adapter that can be bought individually here: https://amzn.to/2Pc7BuF

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